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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Any advice/concerns/warnings about buying a used Supercharged Frontier?

I'm looking at buying my first Frontier, and one of the most promising candidates is a 2002 Longbed Crew Cab with the supercharged v6. It has low miles for the year (92K) and seems to be well priced (about $8500), but I want to be sure i understand all of the implications of having the supercharged version before I spring.

Since it's used, I obviously can't be sure of the care and feeding that the engine received before me. Am I correct in understanding (after studying other threads on this site) that the octane level of gas used in the past shouldn't have a negative effect on the health of the engine today?

Anything else I should be checking or looking for before buying?

Anything I should be aware of regarding the owning and maintenance of a SC Frontier?

I don't feel any particular need to own a Supercharged version, but there are few choices available in my area. By budget could stretch up to about $13k, but there are no other Frontiers in that range with fewer miles that I've found in my state (MT).

My uses will be daily driving (which often features heavy snow and icky conditions), light hauling and dump runs, hunting and exploring on nasty unimproved FS roads (maybe mild off-roading), and potentially some light towing in the future.
 

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I would get a good mechanic to check the engine at supercharger over with a fine tooth comb. If the supercharger has 92K on it, it may need to be rebuilt.

Read somewhere that turbo or supercharger engines run hotter than normal aspirated engines. My concern would be is the condition of the whole drivetrain.
Also how did the current owner drive the Frontier. (hard or easy).

imo, I would pass and wait for something else to come along. Even if you had to look further out of your area.
 

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I used to have an 02 Xterra with the Supercharged 3.3L V6. It was one of the best vehicles I've ever owned mechanically speaking. I generally found the X rather under powered but the supercharger gave the little motor a nice kick in the pants when it engaged. My biggest complaint with it was the fuel mileage plus I was only putting in premium gas so it was kinda pricey. That said the thing was geared like a tractor came factory with 4.60 something gears and had a real transfer case with a handle. Mine towed my 12 foot flat deck trailer and two quads on it just fine, thirsty but fine.

Like any used vehicle have a mechanic inspect it and have a close look for any potential head gasket problems in particular. I'd also throw a code reader on it to see if there's anything showing that may not have set of a CEL or is still being stored in the memory.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
We don't have any authorized Nissan Dealerships near where I live. Does the supercharger add any complications to regular maintenance that would make it necessary or helpful to go to a Nissan dealer for my maintenance?
 

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The supercharger is an Eaton M-62 that doesn't require much in maintenance, but does require premium fuel. If you don't, it could trigger the knock sensor, which will cause the ECM to disable the boost and pull the power out of it. Nissan kept it on the safe side and ran a larger pulley to keep the RPMs down on the supercharger, which according to Eaton, can go safely up to 14,000. If you want more power, you can swap the stock supercharger 2.6 pulley for a 2.4 and gain another 15-20 HP. If you want to help it out some more, get rid of the stock air filter and all of its resonators and install an aftermarket CAI system and install headers and better exhaust. Listen for any knocking noises inside the supercharger, which could be an indication that the bearings are bad. Rebuilt superchargers run about $800. The cons about the supercharger is that it is pretty noisy due to the supercharger "whine," especially if you do install an aftermarket CAI system, and the gas mileage sucks! Don't be surprised if you see 12 MPG...even a little less if you are heavy on the pedal. Also, even the replacing spark plugs on the VG30E is no picnic, they are even harder on the VG33ER. Also, remember that this is a timing belt engine, which should be replaced every 105,000 miles or 6-years. If it's still original, this will add to the expense. IMO, if you can stretch your budget to $13000, I would start looking at Gen 2 Frontiers. The VQ40DE has a lot more power and gets better gas mileage than the VG33ER and you can get something a lot newer.
 
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Also, remember that this is a timing belt engine, which should be replaced every 105,000 miles or 6-years. If it's still original, this will add to the expense.
Yep - Unless you absolutely know for sure that the timing belt has already been replaced, you'll definitely want to have it done - which isn't terribly cheap.

IMO, if you can stretch your budget to $13000, I would start looking at Gen 2 Frontiers. The VQ40DE has a lot more power and gets better gas mileage than the VG33ER and you can get something a lot newer.
Unless it's a manual transmission, you'd probably want to replace the radiator on an early Gen 2 Frontier, too (due to not knowing if the original has already been replaced) - or at least bypass the ATF cooler inside the existing radiator. Replacing the radiator isn't particularly expensive, and is probably something you can do yourself.
 

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We don't have any authorized Nissan Dealerships near where I live. Does the supercharger add any complications to regular maintenance that would make it necessary or helpful to go to a Nissan dealer for my maintenance?
The supercharger on my old X added next to no extra maintenance aside from maybe replacing a belt. Having the supercharger wouldn't require you to go to the Nissan dealer for regular maintenance unless that's were you wanted to go.
 

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Thanks. It's no longer an issue as I wend ahead and bought a 2008 pickup on Friday. The radiator has been replaced and the transmission is acting fine, so I think I'm good for a while.

I sure do prefer the look on the 1st Gen trucks though, esp pre-2002. Oh well. I think I made a practical choice.
 

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Enjoy your new ride, congrats!
 
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