1A Auto Video Library
Our how-to videos have helped repair over 100 million vehicles.

Top 5 Problems Nissan Pathfinder SUV 2nd Generation 1996-04

Share on:

Top 5 Problems Nissan Pathfinder SUV 2nd Generation 1996-04

Created on: 2020-05-05

This video shares the top problems with the 2nd Generation Nissan Pathfinder!

Installation Video
Watch video

In this video, we're gonna be going over the top five problems on the second generation Nissan Pathfinder.

Now there's nothing wrong with this vehicle, there's nothing wrong with owning one or buying one. Every car has their problems, we're going over the top five for this one.

Number one, the distributor. Now some of the engines are a little bit different, but this is the older version with the 3.3-liter engine. Now, what this does is this is going to distribute the spark to each individual spark plug. The computer sends a signal into here and the coil is actually located internal there, sends the spark down the wires into the spark plugs and that's what's going to fire off each cylinder. So some of the symptoms you may have with a bad distributor is a crank no start. When you go to crank the vehicle and it just turns over and over but never catches. That's because the internals have been worn in the distributor, the coil could be worn inside there. Now you can get the coil separate, but sometimes it's easier just to replace the whole distributor and same with the cap and rotor underneath there. There could be a problem with that and that could give you a misfire too. So you could have an engine drivability issue where the engine runs really rough.

Number two, also related to a no start is the engine timing belt. Now the timing belt is located underneath here. There's a lot of stuff you have to take off in front of it. Now the timing belt is a maintenance item that should be replaced every 100,000 miles or less, depending on the model year. You want to check the owner's manual and make sure you do that within that time span. So what the timing belt does, it actually connects the crankshaft sprocket to the upper camshaft sprockets on the engine. This is an overhead valve engine, and you need to have those valves synchronized with the crank. Now, the later models of this vehicle actually had timing chains, they didn't have belts, but there's nothing wrong with this engine, you just want to make sure you keep up with those timing belts.

Number three, VVT solenoids. Now on the later model engines, they actually had timing chains. Those had VVT solenoids witch it's variable valve timing solenoids. So if you don't change the oil regularly, or the oil level goes below where it needs to be, you're going to clog up those valves and they're going to cause a drivability issue or even a check engine light.

Number four, problems with the EVAP system. The first thing you want to do whenever you have an EVAP problem is check the gas cap because it's one of the simplest things you can do and it causes a lot of times an EVAP problem. Just grab the gas cap, give it a shake, make sure it's not loose. Take it off, take a look at the seal. If there's any cracking in that seal, you're going to have to replace it. This one looks okay. And then also check the ratchet. If it feels really loose, it's probably not tightening down tight enough and you would want to replace it. But one of the parts that's actually common on this vehicle is the purge solenoid, and it's located under the hood right here. That's what gives the EVAP system the vacuum when this valve opens up. It opens and closes. Normally it's closed and when it gets power and ground, then it opens the valve, sends the vacuum back towards the back of the vehicle. So these can go bad, pretty easy to replace. Sometimes they can be stuck open, stuck closed, or they can actually leak. To replace it, disconnect the connector right here, just push down on the tab, take these hoses off, just use some pliers to remove those clamps, and then there is a nut on the backside. Take that nut off, put the new one on, reconnect it, you're good to go, clear the code. Underneath the back of the vehicle is the EVAP canister right here. Sometimes these will leak. They'll either crack or just the seams will leak, so that could be an issue. There's another valve right here, that's the vent. Could have an issue with that. And then also over here, kind of hard to see, but there is kind of a junction right here. It's a little plastic like diaphragm and it kind of splits off the lines. Those could leak and you could have an experience when you're driving the vehicle. When you come to a stop and you get out of the vehicle, you actually smell fumes of the gas and could be that right there.

Number five, the rear suspension. We have these lower and also the upper trailing arms, and there's bushings in these trailing arms. Some right here, behind here, and then those two. And then over time, those bushings wear out and when those bushings wear out and you're driving along especially higher speeds, you may feel the rear of the vehicle actually wobbling and it's not safe. So what you want to do is replace those bushings, or sometimes it's almost easier just to replace the whole arm. So if you feel something loose in the rear of the vehicle, chances are these need to be replaced. Just like a lot of parts on this vehicle, we sell these at with videos on how to fix them.

So those are our top five problems on the Nissan Pathfinder. If you enjoyed this video, make sure you subscribe to our channel. Make sure you ring that bell, turn on all notifications so you don't miss any of our videos.

Search Videos
Go To Top

Same Day Shipping

Need your part faster? Choose expedited shipping at checkout.

Guaranteed To Fit

Highest quality, direct fit replacement auto parts enforced to the strictest product standards.

USA Customer Support

Exceeding customers' expectations, our team of passionate auto enthusiasts are here to help.

Instructional Video Library

Thousands of how-to auto repair videos to guide you step-by-step through your repair.