1994 Nissan Serena FX 2.0 turbo diesel from Australia and New Zealand
If you look after it, it will last for 300K+ km
Rust in the left front sill under the mudguard.
Rust either side of the tailgate hinges.
Bad valve cover oil leak - yet to fix this; possible causes are blow by valve or leaking gasket. Still, the leak is relatively minor, with about a teaspoon of oil dripping below the rear of the engine.
Leaking rear heater core (fixed by bypassing up front).
Paint fade on roof (but I can't blame Nissan for this as the car is 20 years old).
Overheated due to leaking coolant T fitting on the right hand side of the block (by the injection pump); all fixed with a new pipe.
Turbo manifold cracked.
Exhaust cracked after muffler.
Suspect intake/exhaust gasket blown or warped. The leak is only minor though (a puff of smoke above the engine bay when starting).
Reliable people mover. The design is not as futuristic as the Toyota Previa, but that said it is easier to maintain. Visibility is superb, and as the engine is near the COG, it is more stable than you think. It is also solidly built, despite the cheap price tag. The CD20T is a little noisy, but is a reliable workhorse that is much easier to fix than say the Toyota Estima (3CT) if something goes wrong.
Some issues I have fixed:
Overheating - These models have an overly complex cooling system, and leaks develop e.g. rear heater core leak and rusted piping. I have overheated it about 5 times now - but it is NOT due to head gasket or cracked head! I filled it up with coolant and it overheated (thermostat didn't open - top hose hot, bottom cold). These vehicles need to be properly bled with the bleeding screw on the right side of the radiator, and add coolant slowly - top up the expansion tank NOT the radiator initially.
Timing belt (replaced with Mitsuba 111RU25) and tensioner replacement. Parts NZD$100. A DIY job if you know what you're doing - if not, leave it to a mechanic LOL.
You could replace the injection pump belt, but it has much less load so I didn't... it won't cause catastrophic failure anyway.
Treated the undercarriage with rust shield and fish oil; however in NZ there is no salt on the roads, just cold damp winter.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 28th April, 2014