I'll be using this thread as a service record for my truck.
I got a 2001 Frontier XE 4 cyl, 5sp MT with 143,930 miles for $1,900. It has a lot of leaks and a pretty major dent on the passenger side along with faded paint. If the truck were babied, I'm guessing I'd be able to sell it for at least $3,500 based on what I found on cartrader.
The goal is to fix the car up with my son, who's a senior in high school, and either give it to him or sell it and use any profit to go towards something a little nicer for him. I'll let him decide. In the mean time, this project will be a good learning experience for him. If he decides to keep it, I'll upgrade some things like tires and audio.
Fortunately, the truck has a timing chain, from what I saw online, so I don't have to worry about that. Former owner said she replaced the water pump and power steering pump.
Last weekend I got some used tires, as 3 of them were completely bald and were showing threads. They're not pretty, but at least it's safe to drive now. I also replaced the valve cover gasket as it was leaking heavily. That ran me another $40. I could have gotten it cheaper online, but I really needed to replace it soon because it was leaking so much oil. Also replaced the windshield wipers.
This morning, I replaced the interior driver door handle, because the locking lever was broken on the old one. I got this for $9 on eBay.
Currently, the truck needs:
- Possibly a new radiator. This one seems to be leaking along the top. I checked the cap and it seems to be fine. Will require more testing, but a new rad is only about $55.
- Power steering gear box is leaking. A new kit is around $40 or less. A reman one is $255. Not sure about used, but I'd like to learn how to rebuild this one. Also will require a flush with new AT fluid.
- the radio doesn't work. I found a JVC with bluetooth at Walmart for $60. I'll probably go for that.
- I can smell exhaust when I run the a/c or heater. Not sure where an exhaust leak would be coming from.
- Service Engine Soon light is on. Not sure if this is an oil change reminder or a check engine light. Could be related to the exhaust leak I smell in the cabin.
- Clean the engine with degreaser, top and bottom. It's coated with oil due to all the leaks. This will allow me to see if there are any other leaks.
- Belts look ok for now. I'll decide if it needs new ones when we remove the rad, but they aren't making any noise.
- I found an oily wet spot where the transmission and motor meet at the bottom. Not sure if this came from the valve cover gasket leak or if it's the main rear seal. If so, I'll have to remove the transmission. Fun. It might be smart to replace the clutch, but it could very well have another 25k miles on it, and if my son decides to sell it, I'd rather save myself the money in parts. Will also have to grease the clutch fork; it squeaks. We'll save this job for dead last.
- Coolant flush. The truck isn't overheating, but if he decides to keep it, we'll also change the thermostat and hoses.
- Transmission fluid change
- Change differential fluid
- Brake fluid flush
- New front brake disks and pads.
- Check the rear brake drums
- Pull and Bondo the dents and repaint the truck and wheels. I'm not a pro at painting and body work, but I have the equipment and can make the truck look more presentable.
- Air filter
- check cabin filter
- Change the oil and filter
- Clutch start switch isn't being pushed in by the pedal. Needs some kind of padding where the rubber pusher used to be.
- All wheel alignment, if he decides to keep it.
- Spark plug cables look new. Have to inspect spark plugs.
I think that's it. Once these things are fixed up, this truck will run smoothly and look much better. It'll be a great experience with my boy. Hopefully I can make a little profit off it, too.