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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This will be my 5th Datsun/Nissan if I pull the trigger on this guy. for the record:

1975 620
1984 720
1991 Pathfinder
1998 King cab 4x4
2003 ?

So, what can everyone tell me about getting a 2003. Most issues I see are with the fuel tank, sending unit all rusting out. That's a big problem if you need to replace a fuel tank at this point. So is it an issue with most trucks in the cold climate areas or just a few upset customers

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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The '98 and '03 are both first generation Frontiers, so whatever experience you had with your '98 will likely be similar with an '03, except for the whole four cylinder vs. six cylinder thing, and of course manual vs. auto if applicable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The rust is what is killing the '98 truck, especially the exhaust. 220,000 miles and the engine is as solid as ever.
 

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I have a 2003 Frontier LB 4x4.

Been driving it for 10 year and has 97k. 2003 & 2004 are the best years for 1st gen. They fixed the cracked exhaust manifold, updated the brakes, fixed the gas tank rust, and did minor engine layout updates.

The bad things that are still there are found on every 1st gen frontier, knock sensor, distributor, AC thermal resistor, and engine knock at startup.

At this old of age you will probably find issues with emissions (just fixed a leak on mine), and fuel injector failure (#4 on mine needs replacement).

Other than that it's been a great truck. I will be looking at selling soon when I can get a 2013 or newer LB 4x4 SL in Metallic Blue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So the fuel tank, fuel sending unit and fuel pump, basically anything related to fuel, those issues are gone with the 2003? We did decide to buy the truck. The exhaust/emissions issues are a concern, this one seems fine, but I know they will come with time.
 

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When I purchased my 2003 w/ 194,000 miles, I checked for open recalls and found it was still available for the fuel sender recall and the steering column shaft recall, both were done by my closest Nissan dealer at zero cost. Mine is an SVE, so it has the VG33ER engine. It has cracked exhaust manifolds, so that will be addressed eventually. The hydraulic lifters are tapping like a typewriter, which isn't uncommon on high-mileage VG engines, and lifters are ready to be installed. The real oil pan seals leaks oil and, like the rear main seal leaks, is a common failure on VG engines. I replaced the entire P/S line/hose assembly when I got mine because leaks were all over the place. I had a bad fuel injector, so I replaced the set with a set of reman. fuel injectors, which made doing the spark plugs and wires a lot easier!
There are two main concerns with purchasing a 1st gen Frontier. One is, obviously, how the vehicle was maintained by previous owner(s). The other concern I am finding with the 1st gens is that many of the parts are gradually becoming obsolete. I'm not talking about regular maintenance items, like filters and plugs and timing belts, but some of the other typical "dealer only" items like certain vacuum or AIV hoses, some of the weatherstrips and mouldings, trim items and interior parts, etc. It means you may have to get creative or work harder when it comes to maintaining the vehicle as it gets even older.
 

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I have a 2002 same package as you and I love mine! I do have a main seal leak since about 50,000. Did have some EVAP issues, mostly from rusted components. I also had the recall on the fuel sender, and got a new fuel tank, because the couldn't get the old sender out. The only other thing that I had was a rusted brake line that did fail (you can still stop pretty good the first time) I have since replaced all of the brake lines. In regards to the oil leak, they do make a product call an "engine diaper" lol, I'm not kidding.
 

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Not to say that the VG engine don't have a problem with rear main seal leaks, because they do, but a lot times they get misdiagnosed and the leak is from the oil pan rear lip seal. Since they both cause oil to run down to the bottom of the trans bellhousing, it can be hard to determine which one is leaking.
 

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Not to say that the VG engine don't have a problem with rear main seal leaks, because they do, but a lot times they get misdiagnosed and the leak is from the oil pan rear lip seal. Since they both cause oil to run down to the bottom of the trans bellhousing, it can be hard to determine which one is leaking.
Could be. I'm just going off what the dealership told me, at the time. The rear main seal is expensive, the oil pan is outrageous! On the 4x4 as you know, you have to remove the front dif. and loosen all of the trans bolts, ect. just to get to the oil pan. I'm dripping a quart every 4,000 (about 5 months), so it's getting annoying. I have no startup lifter noise, it runs like a top, it just marks its spot, wherever it goes. I have a decent garage/shop (chain hoist, 24"scissor lift, air) not sure I would do these. Maybe the "oil diaper" is for me, lol.
 

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To some extent it makes more sense to R&R the engine and do both the rear main and re-seal the oil pan, especially if it has an automatic trans (which doesn't require having to lower the front axle). Nothing's ever easy! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
"They fixed the cracked exhaust manifold, updated the brakes, fixed the gas tank rust, and did minor engine layout updates."

So are you saying these issues were all addressed at production time on the 2003 or through open recalls? I checked the if there were any open recalls on the truck and there are not. I wonder if that means they expired or they were all satisfied?
 

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"They fixed the cracked exhaust manifold, updated the brakes, fixed the gas tank rust, and did minor engine layout updates."



So are you saying these issues were all addressed at production time on the 2003 or through open recalls? I checked the if there were any open recalls on the truck and there are not. I wonder if that means they expired or they were all satisfied?

Not recalls. 2003-2004s had the updates from the factory.
 

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Some of the recalls on my 2002 were region sensitive. Mine were fuel sending unit (got a new tank for free) and steering universal joint. I've had the truck since new, and just got these fixed last year, no cost, no problems.
 

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"They fixed the cracked exhaust manifold, updated the brakes, fixed the gas tank rust, and did minor engine layout updates."

So are you saying these issues were all addressed at production time on the 2003 or through open recalls? I checked the if there were any open recalls on the truck and there are not. I wonder if that means they expired or they were all satisfied?
NHTSA recalls are mandatory and are always open until they are performed or resolved through a buy-back offer, like was done with the 87-90 Nissan Vans after 5 recalls for the same issue. Voluntary recalls are created by a manufacturer and it's expiration date is totally up to the manufacturer. If you get a CARFAX report for your vehicle, it should lists, among other things, any recalls or campaigns that were performed. The fuel sender and steering column recalls were safety issues, therefore mandated by the NHTSA. If the vehicle was included in the recall and never had them done, they would still be listed as "open." If it's not listed, it was either already done or not included in that particular recall.
 

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Welcome, stay away from the 1985 Nissan Pulsar...lol


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