Last post on Jun 30, 2013 at 8:32 AM
You are in the Nissan Pathfinder
What is this discussion about?
Nissan Pathfinder, SUV
#4842 of 8191 Re: Jiggly Ride
Apr 01, 2002 (5:08 pm)
I suspect that the rough ride of Pathfinder(compared to Lexus RX 300) is mainly due to its solid axis rear suspension. Nissan missed a opportunity when they re-designed Pathfinder in late 1995 and early 1996. Pathfinder probably was the only unibody SUV on the market then, but it did not get the rear independent suspension. Less than two years later, the Lexus 300 came out with independent rear suspension and hence much better rear leg room, and became a benchmark of SUV ride. But Nissan was in the verge of bankruptcy in the middle 90s, so all they could think of was to save cost. And they did not even give the Maxima a independent rear suspension. Ever wonder why Maxima seems always cost $1,000 less than similarly equipped Camry and Accord? Now Nissan is in better shape, so they will soon offer the Murano. With its independent suspension, it will have much better rear leg room and probably better ride.
Apr 01, 2002 (7:48 pm)
PF01 is correct in that part of the reason for the jiggly ride is the solid rear axle...everything else being equal the rear suspension would be more compliant if it were independent. However, the PF has the softest highway ride of any current mid-size SUV with a solid rear axle...this is because it has softer springs than it's solid axle competitors such as 4 Runner, Rodeo, Passport, Grand Cherokee, Explorer (prior to 2002), Blazer, etc. The tradeoff of the softer springs is that PF's bottom out quite easily when carrying only a moderate load or pulling a trailer with anything more than a minimal tonque load...that's why all the mentions of the Air Lift Kit here. What really intruiges me is the towing capacity of the '02 Explorer despite the independent rear suspension, and that the '03 Expedition will also have an even greater towing capacity with an independent rear suspension. I always assumed a solid rear axle was a requirement for heavy towing.
I agree with PF01 that it would have been nice if Nissan had changed to an independent rear suspension the last time the PF was totally redesigned in the mid 90's, but I disagree that competition dictated the need to.
The PF competes well against its competition - the truck based SUV's listed above (of course one could that the PF is not really a truck based SUV given it's unibody construction...so perhaps there's a third category...non car based SUV's with unibody construction...this would include the PF and Grand Cherokee) Anyway, the RX300 is not really a direct competitor of the PF. It is a car based SUV that does not have the off road nor towing capabilities of a truck based SUV like the PF. The trade off is that the RX300 has a car like ride, and the PF has a more jiggly (trucklike) ride.
The opportunity Nissan missed was to not have a car based SUV before now...but PF01 is correct...development funding was limited at Nissan, and a car based SUV may have looked like a big gamble 7 years ago.
I do disagree with PF01 on one point. There were at least two other significant unibody SUV's on the market in the mid 90's...the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee.
#4844 of 8191 Air Lift Experiences
Apr 02, 2002 (4:51 am)
I have an '01 PF, and I'm curious what others' experiences have been with the Airlift kit.
What pressure seems to work best for light load conditions? Does the kit have any effect on ride or handling during light load conditions? Any additional noise from the suspension?
I frequently tow a boat and trailer totalling about 4300 lbs., and I estimate the trailer tonque weight to be about 100-125 pounds. Given that the towed weight is so close to the 5000 lb. towing capacity specified by Nissan, I try to minimize passengers and cargo in the truck when I'm towing. Does anyone have experience with the Airlift kit at a similar tonque weight? What inflation pressure do you use? Does it significantly improve the ride and handling when towing? Currently my rear suspension bottoms out frequently when towing, and at night I'm blinding oncoming drivers with my headlights.
Thanks in advance for your input.
#4845 of 8191 Can I tow my trailer with a Pathfinder?
Apr 02, 2002 (10:20 am)
Hi, I'm new here. I Live in Utah (GO 2002 OLYMPICS!!) I worked for SLOC during the Olys and Para-Olys. I have always had a travel trailer and now would like to tow it with an SUV. I wonder if anyone has done this. My trailer has a gross weight of about 4000 lbs and a tongue weight of about 400 lbs. I use an equalizer hitch. Has anyone successfully pulled this much load with a midsize SUV? Which one/s? I really like the Pathfinder's power and would like to get one but I do need to tow the trailer.
#4846 of 8191 Can I Tow My Trailer with a PF?
Apr 02, 2002 (2:10 pm)
Cacheguy, see my post above (#4661). I have been towing slightly more weight than you for 2 years with my '01 PF with auto trans. The engine and drivetrain seem to handle this much weight relatively easily so long as you take it easy on the hills and manually downshift the trans to keep it from heating up.
I know you have some big hills in your area...you might need to go all the way down to second gear to pull a 4000 lb. trailer up the hill from SLC to Park City with a PF! I do have to climb a very steep hill for about a mile to get to my house and I do get a wiff of burnt trans fluid on a hot day.
If using the truck for towing, the owner's manual calls for an engine oil and filter change every 3750 miles or 3 months, a trans fluid change every 30K miles or two years, and if equipped with a limited slip differential, a rear diff gear oil change every 15K or once a year. I am installing an air lift kit to assist the rear coil springs...not certain if you will need to given the equalizer hitch you use. Note that model year 2000 and earlier PF's have a much less powerful engine. Although Nissan rated their towing capacity as 5000 lbs. (same as model year '01 and '02) I would assume they would not be as adept at towing 4000 lbs. One last thing...the stated towing capacity for late model PF's with manual transmissions is only 3500 lbs. versus 5000 for an automatic.
Previously I had a Grand Cherokee with a V-8, and the PF seems to be better at pulling my boat (although the Jeep did seem to handle the tongue weight better).
Apr 02, 2002 (3:15 pm)
I've made a number of trips towing my 3800 lb. boat/trailer to and from the Colorado River. There's only one significant grade outside of Indio, CA. when heading east to go out there and my '01 Pathy (auto.) pulls it fine if I downshift. The tongue weight is 320 lbs. I'm the one that just installed the Air Lift kit because the rear end sagged so much while towing.
#4848 of 8191 Was this a good deal
Apr 02, 2002 (3:29 pm)
I bought a demo 2001 Pathfinder LE without leather or navigation system with 5800 miles for $26,000. I also bought the 5 year 100,000 mile warranty. Was this a good deal?
#4849 of 8191 Air Lift Experiences
Apr 02, 2002 (3:46 pm)
Stockstiming- I'd appreciate it if you could read my post #4661 regarding the Airlift kit and let me know your experiences. Thanks.
Apr 02, 2002 (4:35 pm)
I'm still sorting out problems with the shop that installed my Air Lift kit, so I can't really give you any feedback on how well it works. I'm sure it's going to do well. xplorx4 could probably give you good info on this, although he may only tow a jet ski trailer.