1995 Nissan Pathfinder SE from North America


I have a 1995 Pathfinder that I purchased in 2001. At time of purchase, one head was warped. Replaced at $700. Other head now warped and needs replacement. Main Seal is now leaking and needs replacement. Transmission is now very clunky when changing gears especially when down shifting.

CV Axel boots now need replacing.

Over the past 5 years this has been a fairly reliable car with the exception of what I have mentioned above. It seems that at about 10 years old though all the problems mentioned above seem to happen all at once.

General Comments:

New this might be a good choice, buy a used 5 year old Pathfinder, but be very aware that somewhere around 10 years you will have significant expense in repairs.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th September, 2006

1995 Nissan Pathfinder (Unknown) w/ Sport Package 3.0 V6 165 hp from North America


Wonderful all-purpose, rugged vehicle


Nothing has gone wrong with this vehicle so far that wasn't already wrong with it or had anything to do with the vehicle manufacturer itself.

2 weeks after I had my mechanic order some new belts because I'd noticed my current (not original) ones were cracking, and had scheduled them to be replaced the next day, the A/C belt snapped and ripped the other 2 (water pump, fan & alternator) off. So keep in mind this engine's construction may be more prone to catastrophic belt failure. Just pay attention to the condition of your belts and it'll all be fine.

The interior does scratch easily, but it's not all that worse than other vehicles. Generally speaking it actually looks nicer than other brand cars I ride in that are only 4-6 years old. This all depends on the owner. Take care of your vehicle and it'll look good till the wheels fall off.

Speaking of wheels falling off.. after I purchased this vehicle from the previous owner, I had to have 4 new tires put on (apparently the other guy had put 98,000 miles on the current ones - they were more than a little worn). I went with cheapo tires: about $65 each. Note here that my vehicle requires a very peculiar sized tire, 31x10.5xR15. With less than 1,000 miles on the new tires, the right rear one blew out completely, the sidewall shredded, on I-95 at highway speed. Needless to say, I switched to different (twice as expensive) tires, very stiff ones with Kevlar reinforcement. The only reason I make mention of this is that my mechanic - who's a trusted friend and has been working as one for over 30 years - stated that he's sold this type of tire countless times before and never, ever seen a blowout like this; however, the tires he was legally required to put on mine were wider (ie, more rubber, bigger sidewalls) than anything he's sold of this brand before.

Now, the major problem with my '95 Pathfinder is an engine tapping sound. The engine will make this noise no matter how hot or cold it is, how long it's been running, how hot or thick or high the oil is. It's only audible at below about 20 mph, and is loudest when idling. When I play with the accelerator a bit while parked, I noticed the pitch and volume of tapping raises dramatically after letting off the accelerator quickly, after raising it to anything above idle.

My mechanic and I have even tried an excellent brand-name engine cleaner to no avail. The previous owner, whom I'm still in contact with, said that it started many years ago before even 100,000 miles (it's currently just past 170,000 miles) were put on it. He said that it used to get better after an oil change, and was a 'little better' after he had the timing belt/chain (?) replaced, but it's never fully gone away. Everyone that listens to it has a different opinion on what might be wrong - sticky valve, bad bearing, piston slap, etc. If anyone here could tell me an inexpensive way to definitively conclude what's causing the engine noise, I'd be greatly appreciative. It wasn't until I came to this site that I became aware of the exhaust manifold problems; maybe it could be that. Strangely, the mechanics at the Nissan dealership had no clue at it when I took it to have it looked at. They simply advised me to 'keep a cell phone' on me at all times.

General Comments:

I love this vehicle. Since purchasing it 6 months ago I have put over 13,000 miles on it (part of my job; I'm on-call all over the state). It's an adequate city vehicle as far as SUVs go, but the few times I've taken it off the beaten path convince me it'd perform fabulously in any offroad condition. I have yet to put it up against the harsh Northeast winter - and I rather look forward to it.

For a '95 model with 170,000 miles on it, I've probably lucked out as far as its condition goes. There are no holes whatsoever in the frame, something I see a lot of people complaining about, even though the prior owner drove it on beaches occasionally. The wheelwell mud guards are still almost completely intact so this may have something to do with it.

The transmission works flawlessly while driving and has no issues shifting in any way. The only peculiarity I've noticed is, the longer it sits without being used, the longer a delay there is when I first start it up going into drive; it can be as much as 3 seconds, and I know when it engages because the rear end lurches.

Compared to driving a friend's '99 Chevy Tahoe, this Pathfinder handles like a small car. The turning radius is my only complaint as far as handling goes. Unfortunately, it was made a year or two before the easy-steering system was introduced to most trucks and SUVs, so the much larger '99 Tahoe can drive circles around me. Not a major problem unless I'm trying to park in a tight spot.

The 'full-size' spare tire is a POS donut. However, the original owner managed to procure a letter from Nissan stating they'd pay for any damages or towing if the included tire gave him any trouble. Unfortunately I can't tell if it's meant to be transferable.

The spare tire carrier latch needs adjustment now and then; the roads around here are subject to extreme temperature changes and are very bumpy as a result. I've had the carrier fly open twice after hitting some big ones, but with a ratchet and tweaking, it'll stay shut as long as it's maintained properly.

That's the main point here - I know this vehicle will last practically forever if I maintain it well. I lubricate the doors and rear gate/carrier and even the original motorized antenna, change the oil when it's due, use a thicker oil than the manual calls for (10W-30), and even plan on replacing part of the front wheelwell mud guard that's ripped off (just a plastic flap) to keep the frame from rusting out. As soon as I can afford it, I'm going to have the engine noise researched and rectified.

I plan on keeping this vehicle going for years to come.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th September, 2006

4th Sep 2006, 20:17

Your tapping noise is probably a stuck valve lifter. I had the same problem in an Isuzu Rodeo and drove it for years in that condition. It has no bearing on the life of the engine. I remember a 30 weight motor oil changed every 3k or so kept it quiet.