Quick buying advice (non technical)

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Pazuzu
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Quick buying advice (non technical)

Postby Pazuzu » Sat Jun 22, 2019 6:09 am

Hi everyone. This is my first post
I have read most of the technical articles regarding R50 and am ready to buy one and found one I might like.

--2001 LE auto. AllMode 4WD, Leather, heated seats, sunroof, ugly fake wood trim (Can one replace those with custom panels of a different finish?)
--Owner installed tow hitch. (looks like a good clean install)
--92,000 miles
--2 owners.
--In very good to excellent condition, in and out. No rust. Test drive was solid.
--Was asking $6,100 and has agreed to $5,100
--Current owner has recently done: plugs, brakes, O2 sensors, oil change, brake fluid change, and ATF fluid... (WHY? preventative, he said).
--Passed recent state inspection.


Current owner hasn’t owned it for long and wants to get a 4runner but is sort of a Nissan suv collector of some sort. Had a very old mint R50 form the 90s in his garage.

However when I asked if I can get a pre purchase inspection done at a shop of my choice and at my cost he says he doesn’t have time this week to do it. Also didn’t want to me to bring it to a shop without him.
(I guess I can sort of understand THAT part, although he met my whole family already when we saw the car...)

He is emailing the VIN later today, so I can run a carfax or auto check report. (Will update when I get it)

What do you think?
Is it a good deal? for the price and the condition
Should his hesitancy about the pre purchase inspection be regarded as a bad sign? Or should I be ok if the carfax report is good?
Am I being too difficult?
Should I not buy until he can take the car for the PPI? (Then I am afraid it will sell and I lost a good chance)

Thanks IA for any advice you might have.
Last edited by Pazuzu on Sat Jun 22, 2019 8:21 am, edited 4 times in total.


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palmerwmd
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Postby palmerwmd » Sat Jun 22, 2019 6:51 am

I am an R51 guy vs an R50 but this does sound like a very fair deal.

Some random thoughts:

The only thing that could bite u is rust (always the nemesis of R50s) but if you inspected it properly yourself you should have spotted any rust bad enough to be an issue.

As for mechanical if you did a throughout test drive it should have come up.

Your request to have it tech inspected is not unreasonable but neither is his condition.

If you like the car pull the trigger essentially the perfect used car does not exist.. that is called anew car :)

Is it 4x4 or not.. ? that influences its desirability.If he also owns a perfect R50 he likely has done the maintenance as described..

Pazuzu
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Postby Pazuzu » Sat Jun 22, 2019 7:34 am

palmerwmd wrote:I am an R51 guy vs an R50 but this does sound like a very fair deal.

Some random thoughts:

The only thing that could bite u is rust (always the nemesis of R50s) but if you inspected it properly yourself you should have spotted any rust bad enough to be an issue.

As for mechanical if you did a throughout test drive it should have come up.

Your request to have it tech inspected is not unreasonable but neither is his condition.

If you like the car pull the trigger essentially the perfect used car does not exist.. that is called anew car :)

Is it 4x4 or not.. ? that influences its desirability.If he also owns a perfect R50 he likely has done the maintenance as described..
Thanks for the quick reply.

I did not notice any rust.

Test drive by me and wife: engine and everything sounded an felt fine; but I must admit I am not an expert; better than the average car person but not a big expert; then again if something BIG was there I would have noticed it.

The current owner is the 2nd owner and only put 8k miles on it. All else by previous owner, and that's what I am trying to find out: did HE to maintenance well? Current owner says he checked it out really well. I believe him; his wife drives this PF daily which is also a good sign. Perhaps the CarFax will shed light on this.

And yes, it has All Mode 4WD switch on dash.

One other thing: the LIGHT/bulb on the driver's heated seat switch doesn't light up BUT owner says the heated seats themselves WORK.
Was hard to test in 90F heat when we drove it. (This is something I would like a tech to test during a PPI, for example...)
Owner went out early next day when it was cooler and tested the seats again and texted me that they DO work. but admitted bulb is out on the driver side switch... (how much is THAT gonna cost? I know it's not a critical flaw, BUT little things like that bug me)

I am also wondering this: (Hope I am not rude to think this): Why would someone get a PF and then install a hitch and all that - which sounds like he's gonna keep it for a while - and then get rid of it so soon? I asked him why he's getting rid of it: he has too many SUVs (he does - i saw at least 6 in garages) and now wants a NEW 4 runner: so his wife wants get rid of at least one SUV he owns.

Also: current owner ran regular gas always; I am not too worried about that; seems a lot of PF owners use reg gas unless they tow etc. I didn't notice any pinging etc.

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smj999smj
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Postby smj999smj » Sun Jun 23, 2019 1:25 am

We can only speculate why people do the things they do, but if he has several SUV's and it sounds like he takes care of his vehicles, maintenance-wise, we can assume he has a little money to play with and maybe decided he really didn't need the extra vehicle?

As far as the price, it's still a little high even at $5100. Per N.A.D.A., clean retail price with those options and credit for the low mileage is $4587. Now with that you can deduct the cost of the heated seat switch, if that's an issue for you. I'm just taking an educated guess that the switch is around $35-$45 but should only take about 10 mins. to replace, if I remember correctly.

If you don't feel comfortable without a mechanic looking it over, then you should have a mechanic look it over. He may actually be a busy guy and doesn't have the time to make a trip and wait for it to be checked over. Have you considered getting a mobile mechanic to go to the seller's house to check it over? That way, you can make an appointment on his schedule.

As far as the gas, Nissan recommends premium for "maximum performance." It will run run on 87 octane, but like others have told you, running premium while towing isn't a bad idea.

The AUTO mode transfer case is a nice feature and is only on the LE trim. The LE was the "luxury" trim and came standard with leather seats, faux wood trim (you should be able to find aftermarket options if you don't like what you have), Bose stereo and LE specific wheels. I'm surprised the tow bar wasn't on it from the factory.

If you get it, check on Nissan's site for any open recalls and have them done. As far as typical problems that can occur on these, there are a few. Upper and lower, rear suspension link bushings can split or break and cause erratic handling at highway speeds. There were a number of these with the VQ35DE that had the power valve screws fall out due to an insufficient amount of thread locker and they could potentially end up inside the combustion chamber where they could do major engine damage. Some people have had the upper plenum removed and all of the screws checked and/or had thread locker applied to them to prevent the possibility of this happening. There have been a number of these engines that had the oil control rings on the piston seize up with carbon and caused an oil-burning engine, which could also clog the upstream catalytic converter(s). Check engine lights due to oxygen sensor failures and issues with the variable intake valve timing (caused by bad actuators, sensors, low or dirty oil or any combination of the three). Rust at the lower, front strut towers was an issue on some and subject to a recall just a few years ago. I'm not trying to scare you out of it, but these are the things I've run across in my years as a Nissan tech so you can look out for them.

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Postby Pazuzu » Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:25 am

Thanks so much for the detailed reply.

I don’t think I should buy it unless I am allowed to inspect it. I am patient and can look around more. I also agree that it’s still a bit higher priced than it should be.

How much would checking the power valve screws cost? I am not able to do it myself

(There’s another 2002 SE I am looking at with only 53k miles but dealer wants almost $7000. No All Mode 4WD. but it has the floor shift 4WD. is it much worse than the All Mode? I don’t care for the luxury stuff of the LE really. This will be an extra vehicle for me on bad weather days. )

I did run a CarFax on the LE myself. And checked Nissan website for recalls

- no recalls open
- no red flags of any kind.
- 2nd owner had “exhaust system replaced†and “oil cooler seals replacedâ€
- several regular maintenance services by Nissan dealerships.
- current owner did say he replaced o2 sensors done due to a CEL when he bought the car. Can’t find records of it but CEL was not on during test drive

i also see that KBB and NADA suggest around $4,700

I think I am going to tell him that as a buyer I have to use those tools available to me and offer $4,600

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smj999smj
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Postby smj999smj » Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:28 pm

I'd expect no more than 2-hours labor to R&R the intake plenum and put thread locker on the power valve screw threads, plus the cost of the gasket.

The standard transfer case is fine. The AUTO mode transfer case is similar to GM's Smart Trak II transfer case. You can use it like a "standard" transfer case, putting it in 2WD, 4-HI or 4-LO. How it differs is when it's in the AUTO mode. AUTO mode utilizes a wet clutch that can proportionally send power to the front up to a 50/50 front/rear split. In AUTO, during normal driving, it will stay in RWD until it senses a slip and then will apply the amount of power to the front wheels, as needed. It can also anticipate when it will need send power to the front, like when you are at a stop and then mash the gas pedal to WOT. The AUTO mode transfer case has both an electric and manual oil pump. When in AUTO, the vehicle will turn on the electric pump with the vehicle at a stop, in reverse or at speeds below 35 MPH to lubricate the clutch. At speeds of 35 MPH and above, it will turn off the electric pump and rely only on the mechanical pump. They all take a lot more fluid (ATF) than the standard transfer case.

Pazuzu
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Postby Pazuzu » Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:33 pm

Thanks again. That was a great explanation but simple to understand. I think it’s similar to the auto AWD Mode the Ford Escape has called control trac II.

The PF seller refused to have the vehicle inspected despite me being ready to pay for it and take it to the shop.

I told him that am no longer interested. He responded angrily, saying I am a “tire kickerâ€. Had to google that term.

I will keep looking for a PF. I have time and can be patient :)

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Postby smj999smj » Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:40 pm

Honestly, if I was going to spend $5000 on a Pathfinder, I would be looking for an R51 model rather than an R50. But, each has their pros and cons.

Pazuzu
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Postby Pazuzu » Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:43 pm

I think this is a case of where I just prefer the boxy design with straight lines and simple windows ... in other words, despite knowing that the R51 is a better vehicle, I am just drawn to the look and personality of the R50. My brain agrees with you but the heart doesn’t kinda thing. To my eyes the R50 has a classic, lean look, whereas the R51 looks “puffyâ€. it’s all a matter of preference of course. I am sure the newer ones are better at almost everything like performance and MPG and reliability.


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