1997 Nissan Hardbody Pickup Reviews

1997 Nissan Hardbody Pickup 2.4 from North America

Model year1997
Year of manufacture1997
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2014
Engine and transmission 2.4 Automatic
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.0 / 10
Distance when acquired123000 miles
Most recent distance158000 miles
Previous carNissan Pickup

Summary:

Nissan knew what they were doing when they built this truck

Faults:

The only things that have gone wrong with the truck were the starter, radiator and alternator.

The "swirl valve" is a different story.

The radiator was simple and only cost 47.00 on eBay.

The starter was a little more challenging, but doable.

The alternator was easy to replace also.

The swirl valve is difficult. If you have the "Service engine soon" light come on and the code P1130 comes up on a OBD2 scanner, you are in for some real fun.

For starters, let me make life easier for you and tell you where the swirl valve "really" is on a 1997 Nissan pickup. The swirl valve is located between the firewall and the back of the engine valve train cover. You will have to take off the air intake cover to see it. It looks like a small silver vacuum actuator with one vacuum hose connected to the bottom of it. The swirl valve is connected to the back of the engine block by a bracket. Removing the engine hoist pick point makes thing easier to work on. You will need a box end wrench for the pick point and a right angle #3 screw driver to remove the two screws that hold the swirl valve in place. These can be seen with a mechanic's mirror. There is also a E-clip connecting the top of the actuator to the control arm that goes into the throttle body.

I spent my Saturday and $125 bucks on a swirl valve finding out how to do this, so my truck could pass smog. I did not want to pay $400 for a mechanic to fix it. Once I replaced the swirl valve, the light went out and I passed smog. Found out later that the swirl valve can be found on eBay for $75. I used a genuine Nissan part. The part number is "14517-86G0A Actuator-Power". Good luck.

General Comments:

Don't let the size of the truck fool you, this is a tough little truck. The rear drum brakes are the same size as a full size truck. I use my truck as a daily driver, and also for side work. I have had the whole truck bed packed tight full of 6' fence pickets up to the edge. The truck rides a little low, but gets the job done.

I bought this same truck again because I used to own a 1994 Nissan pickup that I drove 100+ miles to the navy base and back every day for 10 years with zero problems, only regular maintenance and a battery. "Very reliable".

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st January, 2014

1997 Nissan Hardbody Pickup XE 2.4 from North America

Model year1997
Year of manufacture1996
First year of ownership2007
Most recent year of ownership2013
Engine and transmission 2.4 Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
10.0 / 10
Distance when acquired136000 miles
Most recent distance169000 miles
Previous carNissan Pickup

Summary:

Reliable, dependable & good looking little truck. Love "Lil' Red"

Faults:

Front end alignments.

Headliner sagging.

1 headlight replacement.

General Comments:

Great little truck! Owned by a family business & driven by 1 employee who was very meticulous on cleanliness & service. Bought from the company as our back-up vehicle & routine daily driver for a while. Also hauled stuff on a farm.

Gas mileage is around 24 MPG empty, 19-20 hauling. Unfortunately it has sat in the sun & weather outside, which took a toll on the headliner, which is sagging badly & needs to be replaced. Paint is still glossy, despite being outdoors since 1997 until 2012, when a place was made for it in a garage.

Dependable -- reliable -- nice looking red with factory sporty striping, AM/FM/cassette radio & A/C as the only creature comforts.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th June, 2013

1997 Nissan Hardbody Pickup Extra Cab EX 2.4 from North America

Year of manufacture1997
First year of ownership2010
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission 2.4 Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 3 / 10
Dealer Service marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.2 / 10
Distance when acquired125000 miles
Most recent distance144000 miles
Previous carCadillac DeVille

Summary:

Well built little brute!!

Faults:

OK.. Got this truck from a used car lot where it sat for 2 months. As a result, the thermostat was stuck open. Easy $11 fix from Napa.

Belts and hoses under the hood were all original, thus I replaced them all. I changed out those stupid wire type clamps Nissan used, for the band and worm screw type ones.

2 months after I got it, the throw out bearing needed to be replaced. $17 part, but was $450 in labor to replace it. I didn't have the right tools, and it was in the middle of the winter. LOL!!

Other than the above, this has been a good little truck.

General Comments:

The Nissan 2.4 has to be the most capable grunty work horse I have ever owned. Considering its size, it's like a Mini Pincher dog (all attitude and willing to take on larger dogs) HAHA!!

The 5 spd manual is smooth and well built. Winter driving in this 2wd is doable with 300 lbs of sand in the back. Good tires are a MUST! I have the Cooper CS4 touring tires rated at 80,000 miles.

Steering is smooth and responsive. Not a sports car, but better than my Cadillac.

Suspension is a little stiff, but it's a truck. I keep forgetting though, because it corners like a sports car. I'm thinking about getting some Monroe Sense A Tracks to help with the ride.

MPG is decent considering the HardBody 2.4 is a real truck motor (timing chain). I realized that with any vehicle, if you keep your foot off the floor, the EPA MPG rating is on par.

Working on this little guy is a breeze. The engine bay is what every car manufacturer should strive to do. Plenty of room for my big hands. Replacement parts are plentiful and reasonable for being Japanese. If you can afford it, then use Nissan or Napa parts. Most parts from the dealer are either made in Japan, or the good Ol' USA.

The only inherited issues with the 2.4 are that the plastic timing chain guides become brittle over time and will break, thus allowing the chain to rattle on start up for about 3 seconds until oil pressure builds. Everyone I talked to says it's harmless. The parts manager at my dealership ran his to 300,000 with no ill effects. I use Nissan oil filters with the patented anti-drain back valve. It seems to be helping. Every MFG has its own quirks. Yes, even Honda is not perfect. Remember, cars are machines that are designed by fault riddled humans.

Long story short... I would buy another HardBody in a second. I'm currently looking for a 93-97 HB 4x4. They are hard to find with low miles. I wonder why? :) I over paid for this truck, but hey it has lived up to the HB reputation. If you do light hauling and want a well engineered vehicle, then the HardBody is the one.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd May, 2011

23rd Oct 2012, 20:41

Go to Nashville TN, you can get one there.

31st Jan 2013, 18:02

I have had 2 Hardbody trucks; a 94 and now a 97. Somebody took the 94 and it was never found. So with a little looking, I found a 97 rust free with low miles (47k)! Being in Wisconsin, it's stored for winter.

I love this little truck. I'm looking for another, just for fun...

Average review marks: 7.8 / 10, based on 28 reviews