Vehicle research - school me on Titans....


Wiffleball Batter
While the 'Burb is still running strong at nearly 170k miles, I figure it's prudent to start doing some research on its soon-to-be replacement. Hoping to get at least one more year out of the Burb but if I have a catastrophic or expensive failure or an accident I might have to replace it on short notice.

I've looked at the later Chevy and Ford half tons but honestly had never seriously considered either Nissan or Dodge (Ram) but I have noticed that they seem to be lower priced and pretty well equipped, so I thought I'd ask here about anyone with Titan experience.

The last 2 main "overlanding" vehicles I've owned I kept less than 3 years each. I'm really hoping to be able to get one that will last me at least 8 or 9 and for that reason I'd be willing to spend a bit more to get something newer, nicer and with lower miles.

What I'm looking for is a vehicle that will function primarily to pull our ~3500lb travel trailer all over the Rocky Mountains (where 11,000' passes are the norm), be able to take us on some mild off-road adventures while we're out (nothing more challenging than, say, White Rim or the Maze district of Canyonlands) and to haul my butt to work 3 days a week (I work from home the other two) where my commute is only about 10 miles each way.

My requirements would be:

Crew cab / short bed configuration (I need the ability to carry at least 4 adults, so that rules out extended cab/double cab/bonus cab or whatever they call a less-than-crew-cab. And yes, I'm willing to accept a shorter bed in return for a bigger cab.)

Really would like 2016 or newer since I plan on keeping this for a long time. Won't rule out brand new but I generally don't like to buy new because I hate taking the first depreciation hit. I have to say I kind of like the 2017 redesign of the Titan, even though in general I'm not a fan of the "flying brick" appearance of modern half ton trucks, I think Nissan did a pretty decent job with theirs.

Definitely want a V8 but that doesn't appear to be an issue since all gasser Titans seem to have the 5.6 V8 (I'm not interested in a diesel for a lot of reasons I won't go into here.)

Those are my only requirements. As far as desires go, there are a few:

* Biggest gas tank possible. It's hard to get a firm answer on this but it appears that the tank on the CCSB Titan 4x4 is 26 gallons, is that right? I know better than to ask about aftermarket options ;)

* Built in/integrated trailer brake. Am I right in thinking this usually comes with the "towing package?" Getting tired of busting my knee on the brake controller.

* Rear E-locker is desirable. Is there a specific "package" this comes with?

* Flex fuel capability. No, I don't want to start a debate on the relative merits of E-85 :rolleyes: but it is a nice capability to have, IMO.

So does the 5.6 have any known 'issues' or weaknesses? I'm assuming that like the Toyota V8 it's an OHC design with a timing belt that needs replacing around 100k miles?

What about transmission/t-case/axles - any known issues there? Any specific options to seek out or avoid?

For those who have one, would you buy another and if not, why not?

Thanks in advance! I'm posting a similar thread in the Domestic/full size sub-board.
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New member
I have a 17 XD diesel, same config you are looking for. Pretty sure a Pro 4x package will be what you are looking for due to having a locker. I get why you may be avoiding diesel, but might be worth taking a look at a gas XD. Better tow platform and you still get a 6.5ft bed. After 8k and a trip to the mountains towing a 20ft trailer I'm still happy with my truck. I bought an SV and my only real complaint is lack of a backup camera but every package above base SV has one. Good luck.


The 5.6 is the VK56VD in 2017+ and VK56DE. The VD has direct injection, the DE does not. Both are DOHC with a timing chain. The only major issue I know is exhaust manifold cracking. Not sure if they ever fixed it but I know there are several reports of it.

neil d

I've had two Titans, a 2009 and it's replacement, a 2011 Pro 4X. Just about to turn 100k on the clock. You are correct, that Nissan and Ram both seem to be 'sleeper' options that give a lot of bang for the buck, especially on the used market. That was attractive to me.

Quick summary: I love the truck. My criteria are similar to yours: needs to haul the family, pull a travel trailer, and be capable off the pavement. Plus, performing weekend truck stuff. The truck checks all the boxes.

Here are my specific thoughts, in no particular order...

- The Titan is definitely more spartan in it's interior design and creature comforts than most other full size trucks. This may have changed with the 2017 redesign, but the previous models showed very little innovation or change between model years. Fortunately that does not matter to me, as I just want AC, 4hi/lo, bucket seats, and cruise control.

- No choices for engine or box length, at least historically. I think the 4dr/short box combo looks a bit goofy on all trucks, including mine, but I've found the 5.5' bed to be just adequate for what I need. The engine is a monster, good torque, acceleration and range of gearing.

- You seem to understand that there is very little aftermarket support for the Titan. It is truly limited, if that matters.

- In terms of durability...I've heard it said about this truck that 'the engine is strong, the systems are weak'. Can't say I have an opinion either way. The truck has not been as reliable as my 2002 Toyota sedan, but that is probably not a fair comparison. The only real random issue I've had is a leaking pinion seal (changed the first one myself, second truck was done under warranty). I had to replace the steering rack and front shocks at about 90k miles, but I think that was my fault after running the Ubehebe-Racetrack road at 40+ mph. That was dumb, and it also sploded my buddy's shock on his JK...that washboard is a killer. Bilstein 5100s on there now and all is well.

- Off highway capability: OK, this is an overlanding forum, but my reality is getting off pavement to camp, explore, and generally spend time in wilderness. This means places like Death Valley, Mojave Road, and forest service roads throughout the Sierra. I have no interest in trails more technical than something say like Lippincott in DV. The truck has done everything I have asked of it, and been sure-footed the whole time. It is really all I need to leave the pavement. I've used the locker a few times and it has worked as it should.

- Towing: i have an ancient 23 ft Prowler that is heavy as sin, probably approaching 5k lbs dry. The Titan pulls it with absolutely no issues, except that I can literally see the fuel gauge moving when I'm passing big rigs going up a mountain pass. But the truck tows like a champ. Big Tow package and aftermarket trailer brake.

- Fuel economy: you know that it sucks. I don't track my mileage. I feel mileage is adequate on the highway if I keep my foot out of it, but it really does suck in stop n go traffic. This is not my daily driver, but my 2009 was, and it was expensive to operate that way.

Would I get another one? Maybe, maybe not. I haven't looked in detail at the new ones, although the integrated brake controller and passenger side forward-looking camera are neat ideas. I think the F150 platform has a lot to offer, especially the small twin turbo engines. But I'm hopeful that I get many more years out of my truck...after all, it is paid for.


Since you are looking at '16 and newer, forget anything from the '15 and prior. So much has changed they are not a good reference point.
No diesel, Got it. The only other option at the moment is the 5.6 V8. Rumor of a V6 but no sign of it coming anytime soon.

So the new Titan come in two different flavors. The XD and the regular half ton. The XD gets a big massive frame, it is pretty much an under rated 3/4 ton truck. The frame and axle are comparable to the 1-ton cargo vans.
The regular Titan has a small and lighter frame. It is more of the regular half ton truck. There are some cab/bad configurations that are only available on one frame or the other. Crew cab short bed is probably the regular Titan.

The regular Titan gets a more road friendly rack and pinion steering and better ride. Unless you plan on living with a slide in camper (not likely with a short bed) or towing a large trailer (no mention of that) I would pass on the XD.

No fuel tank options. 26 gallon sounds correct for any Titan.
Trailer brake controller is part of the tow package.
E-locker is only available on the Pro-4x model. No other trim level has it. But all trim levels have a brake limited slip feature in the ABS system that works pretty good in most places. Takes a little different driving technique to use it. When you get a little tire spin, don't lift, add a little more throttle. Sounds odd, but the engine/transmission/ABS all work together to spread the torque when it can go down. If you back off the throttle you are asking for less torque. The system can't see where to send what it is making unless it sees a little tire slip. If the tires are not slipping, there is no need to actively channel the torque.
When they went to direct inject they lost the E85 capability. You would have to find an old '15 and prior to use E85
The direct inject 5.6 and 7-speed have been around since 2011 in the QX56/QX80. That did a pretty good job getting the bugs out.


New member
I realize you're looking at a newer model, but I had to chime in. My 2008 Pro4X has had only one issue, albeit rather a show stopper: the rear end 'prematurely' failed. It took weeks to get another to replace it, because of the electronic locking diff. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another because it's never left me stranded, or given me any other issue. I bought my truck used, the rear end failed around 138k.


I picked up a 2017 SV 4x4 a few weeks ago and am pleased. Very comfy, easy to drive despite its size - doesn't drive "heavy." There were some complaints about the transmission shifts in 2017's that was rectified in 2018's. I have no issue with the way my 2017 shifts but the 2018's I test drove did seem to have a slight advantage punch wise off the line. I'm not racing around and have never felt inadequate shifting so I'm good. Sounds like you will want the Pro4X version for rear locker...Mine will be a daily driver only truck for at least a few years, I figure the aftermarket should catch up and offer a rear locker by the time I want one. Great truck for the price, recommended.


The Strong, Silent Type
I really like this truck. I find it a way affordable than let’s say the tundra.
It’s got a better frame and a factory elocker unlike the tundra.
But the weirdest thing is the axle ratio. The 2017 Titan has only got 2.9 axel ratio ( vs Toyota Tundra’s 4.3 axel ratios)
Can anyone explain it to me why the heck would some put such a high gearing in such a big truck? What is logic behind this?

Bayou Boy

I know you asked about the Titan, but since you mentioned the Ram, this seems like a perfect job for a PowerWagon. Clean, late model, low mileage examples are easily found in the low $30s.

Deleted member 9101

I have friends that have had them as well as my younger brother (uses his to run a company that manages orange groves)... they only had two complaints:

1. Lack of aftermarket options
2. Gas mileage sucked


I really like this truck. I find it a way affordable than let’s say the tundra.
It’s got a better frame and a factory elocker unlike the tundra.
But the weirdest thing is the axle ratio. The 2017 Titan has only got 2.9 axel ratio ( vs Toyota Tundra’s 4.3 axel ratios)
Can anyone explain it to me why the heck would some put such a high gearing in such a big truck? What is logic behind this?
Fuel economy rises as the axle ratio lowers...


But the weirdest thing is the axle ratio. The 2017 Titan has only got 2.9 axel ratio ( vs Toyota Tundra’s 4.3 axel ratios)
Can anyone explain it to me why the heck would some put such a high gearing in such a big truck? What is logic behind this?
Look at overall ratio. Nissan likes a really low ratio in the transmission.
Another thing is a taller ratio (the 2.9) is an inherently stronger gear set then a lower ratio. It is also more efficient. Robs less power and that means less fuel burned. Probably never be noticed in the fraction of a decimal point range but it will add up over the life of the vehicle.

I remember the ads for the old Titan claimed the 3.3 ratio was comparable to a 4.10 ratio of the competition back when they only had 4-speeds (think '04). The overdrive was very minimal (.85 when the others were in the .75 to .70 range), but first gear in the Nissan was 3.5 when the others were only 2.4 to 3.0 or so. Todays modern 7-10 speed transmissions make comparing final drive ratios even more confusing. In the end, it comes down to overall gear ratio. Sometimes cruising speed isn't even in high gear. I drove a Ram truck once that preferred to be in 7th gear most of the time on the highway, only going into 8th on a long downhill stretch.


The Strong, Silent Type
This track interests me very much.
I saw one in Manhattan a few days ago. It seemed a bit smaller than a Tundra or F-150.
And it is cheaper too.

Unfortunately we don't see them in overland communities as much as Tundras or even F150s.

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