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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone, new member here from the mountains of Park City Utah.



Many years ago I purchased a 1994 Toyota T100, I had that truck for 20 years and drove it 300,000 miles. Repairs? A water pump, new timing belt that was about it. One of the best things with wheels I have owned. I gave it to a friend and it’s still on the road. I then moved to a Cummins RAM 3/4 ton mostly because of the engine and manual trans. It’s been okay but I no longer need such a powerful truck and feel diesel is never going back down in price. So I am thinking about replacing it with a Frontier or Tacoma.



What is my expectation of a truck? Well I’ll start with what I don’t care about.

1) I don’t care what it looks like

2) I don’t want excess electronic junk

3) I don’t care about power 200 HP would be more than enough

4) I really hate automatic transmission but looks like that's all there is today

5) Transmission fluid change on my Toy Highlander is a 400 dollar job, don’t need that

6) A Highlander plug change is 350 dollars, don’t need that



He is what is important to me.

1) will it last 300,000 miles like my T100

2) is it easy to service, spark plugs etc,

3) does it have a dip stick to check the oil

4) will it get me to remote places and get me home every time

5) all I care about is reliability and total cost per mile over 300,000 miles



I have never had a Nissan, are there any known problems/weak spots with the V6 or transmission?
 

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I personally think any new vehicle out there is a crap shoot in regards to reliability. I don't think any new Toyo, Nissan, or Honda is going to to get those 300K miles, at least without any major repairs. Of the three, the Frontier seems to be the closest to an old school truck with a NA engine and a decent 9 speed AT. Most stuff is still serviceable by a DIY, but like most manufacturers, they are making it harder to do some things without special tools or knowledge. Almost all need a scan tool at this point to help pinpoint error codes etc.

As far as servicing the Frontier: oil, spark plugs, differentials, brakes, power steering, battery, and air cleaner are all relatively easy to DIY. The transmission is a sealed system that requires the dropping of the pan to change the fluid and filter, but could be done by yourself. I do believe the Toyo and Hondas are similar. All three also have added safety tech that are standard and optional depending on model. I get your drift with not wanting the tech, but some tech can be shut off as well.

As they say...they don't make em like they use to :(
 
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1) will it last 300,000 miles like my T100
There are documented cases on here of Frontiers crossing that threshold.

2) is it easy to service, spark plugs etc,
Relatively, for a modern-ish vehicle. On the 4.0L V6, I believe the intake manifold has to be removed to get to the spark plugs on the passenger side.

3) does it have a dip stick to check the oil
Yes, and the transmission has one too! (if you get the 5-speed automatic)

4) will it get me to remote places and get me home every time
I'd count on it, at least if you get the 4.0L V6. The vehicle has been largely unchanged since it came out in 2005. Basically any problem is well-documented, and the most significant ones were fixed by the manufacturer by 2012.

5) all I care about is reliability and total cost per mile over 300,000 miles
I'd definitely consider the vehicle reliable. In fact, if you get a 2019 or older, it's the "newest of the old" that you could probably get. As in, the vehicle has no advanced driver assistance aids such as forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, pedestrian detection, or advanced telematics (no app to control the vehicle remotely, no 4G/5G cellular modem etc). It still has computers to control basic things like the headlights and such.

However, the 4.0L V6 gets the fuel economy of a truck from 2005. But other than that, I consider it the "thinking man's Tacoma". Because unlike the Tacoma, the Frontier has:
  • fully-boxed e-coated frame
  • metal bed tub
  • metal bedsides
  • rear disc brakes
  • seats that are higher off the floor
  • design that is largely unchanged since 2005
If 200-ish hp is enough and you're okay with an extended cab, I'd consider getting a Frontier SV 4x4 with the 2.5L I4 and 5-speed manual. They aren't common but they pop up occasionally. I would've gone with the extended cab if it had at least 30" of rear leg room like the Ranger 5G. But 25" of rear leg room is basically a baggage compartment, and even the crew cab is a bit tight at just over 32" of leg room.
 

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2019 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X
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Based on your cons, I would stick with the 2019 and older Frontiers. They have less tech than the 3rd gen, are easier to do maintenance on, and the 4.0L has proven to be quite reliable. There are several members here who have crossed the 300k mile marker.
 

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2016 Nissan Frontier SV CCSB 4x4
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Agreed on all the hints toward Gen 2. If you can land something close to 2019 or at least with relatively low miles, you should be golden. Pretty much bulletproof.

As mentioned, only issue is poor fuel economy really.
 

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2023 Pro-4X Deep Blue Pearl
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Howzit from Hawaii!
Hopefully you guys in Utah don’t suffer from what some of us in Hawaii consider “Taco Tax” lol. Basically, the Tacoma (or pretty much any Toyota) is really sought after here, so usually people are asking for some ridiculous prices for used vehicles. I’ve personally seen a few tacos being put up and the starting prices were upwards of MSRP, and that’s for some 2nd or 3rd gen with a lift, rims, exhaust, some aftermarket lights, and a few other goodies, but paint faded, mileage is high (over 50k), and some even have salvage or unclean titles. Even new from the dealer, the markup can be insane depending on the trim. Hopefully that’s not the case with your area, so fingers crossed you find a good deal, whatever you looking for!
 

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I'd recommend a frontier! (gen 2 as that's all I have experience with)

1) I think it could last 300k with regular maintenance. mine has been problem free since I bought it with 100k miles (now has 150k) except I am getting a weird code (p0011) that I think I have it fixed. other than that its been great, maybe 5k miles have been off roading.

2) its ight. compared to my old police car (crown vic) its much harder to service, buts it not too bad nor too great. Good thing is it does not break often enough for your need to service it.

3) already answered but yes and yes

4) it did for me with 150k miles!

5) Overall I would call the frontier reliable, maybe not as good as a Tacoma, but for sure 200k would be no problem, 300k would depend on how well you maintained the truck and how you drive it IMO. best bang for your buck for an older truck nowadays since you don't have any Toyota dick riders overpaying for the car brand.
 
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2022 SV CC 4WD
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Hello everyone, new member here from the mountains of Park City Utah.



Many years ago I purchased a 1994 Toyota T100, I had that truck for 20 years and drove it 300,000 miles. Repairs? A water pump, new timing belt that was about it. One of the best things with wheels I have owned. I gave it to a friend and it’s still on the road. I then moved to a Cummins RAM 3/4 ton mostly because of the engine and manual trans. It’s been okay but I no longer need such a powerful truck and feel diesel is never going back down in price. So I am thinking about replacing it with a Frontier or Tacoma.



What is my expectation of a truck? Well I’ll start with what I don’t care about.

1) I don’t care what it looks like

2) I don’t want excess electronic junk

3) I don’t care about power 200 HP would be more than enough

4) I really hate automatic transmission but looks like that's all there is today

5) Transmission fluid change on my Toy Highlander is a 400 dollar job, don’t need that

6) A Highlander plug change is 350 dollars, don’t need that



He is what is important to me.

1) will it last 300,000 miles like my T100

2) is it easy to service, spark plugs etc,

3) does it have a dip stick to check the oil

4) will it get me to remote places and get me home every time

5) all I care about is reliability and total cost per mile over 300,000 miles



I have never had a Nissan, are there any known problems/weak spots with the V6 or transmission?
Trying to predict 300,000 mile reliability is not rational. Buy the truck you like best, any will give you the service life you've paid for, maybe even some extra.(y)
 

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2019, Nissan Frontier SV 4x4, Arctic Blue.
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I don't think you could go wrong with a Frontier, Gen 3 is still in it's infancy, there have been some compaints, and bugs and it may have a couple more difficult/more costly repairs for a DIY type (dropping transmission pan for fluid change,ect). But even with that said It's not too far along in adanced tech "yet". And I expect them to make it to 300K without too many expensive issues, though time will tell.

I personally have a Gen 2 2019 and it is a true mix of modernity and old school. Some features feel a bit too modern(for me), but there are easy bypasses and it doesn't force you to use them. If you encounter any problems there are usually easy workarounds, and cheap repairs for most issues. Kind of a DIYer's good friend really.
If you want to save money get a gen 2 from 2015-19 and customize it as you like, and while your at it download a free personal use copy of a Factory Service Manual from the NICO club forums.
 

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2020 SV, Silver
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572 Posts
Based on your cons, I would stick with the 2019 and older Frontiers. They have less tech than the 3rd gen, are easier to do maintenance on, and the 4.0L has proven to be quite reliable. There are several members here who have crossed the 300k mile marker.
The 20 and 21 model years where the last of the "old tech" models, only had a new engine and tranny, none of the '22's electronic gizmos. So maybe a bit of a crapshoot with the 3.8 and 9 spd. tranny, but pretty much the same as a '15. Might have had a backup camera and sensor added, not sure when they added that.
 

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Welcome. Sounds like you want a 2019 or older Frontier with a manual transmission.

Good luck on the hunt. I’d love to have a 6-speed manual Pro-4X of that vintage but came across an auto I couldn’t pass up.
 

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2019, Nissan Frontier SV 4x4, Arctic Blue.
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The 20 and 21 model years where the last of the "old tech" models, only had a new engine and tranny, none of the '22's electronic gizmos. So maybe a bit of a crapshoot with the 3.8 and 9 spd. tranny, but pretty much the same as a '15. Might have had a backup camera and sensor added, not sure when they added that.
My 2019 has the backup camera and rear parking sensors. I "believe" it was added for MY 2018 but I could be wrong. Rear parking sensors get annoying in winter becuase if it ices at all you will get a rude awakening in the morning if you happen to back out, in all other situations it's ok. The backup camera is nice (kinda has a low light mode) for when it's dark out. But that can be added aftermarket.
 

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I’d love to have a 6-speed manual Pro-4X of that vintage but came across an auto I couldn’t pass up.
The issue for me was I felt reverse was too tall and I'd have issues backing trailers up my steep driveway. Would probably need to ride the clutch all the way up, or use 4low and have issues steering the trailer.

So if I had to get auto, I figure I'd look for a FFV. Missed out the first time with the SV VTP 4x4 that I couldn't pass up. Then when a Pro-4X Lux FFV popped up nearby, I jumped on it.

I don't know if it's the different rear axle ratio of the Pro-4X or a different transmission firmware, but the Pro-4X definitely isn't afraid to rev. The SV isn't either (especially compared to a 3.5L Tacoma), but compared to it, the Pro-4X is like driving a more modern truck with the "tow/haul" mode enabled. The Pro-4X downshifts two gears without having to floor it, revs until I let off (makes it feel like it has way more power than it does), and it holds low gears up mountain passes. I definitely prefer the Pro-4X's shift logic over the SV.
 

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2019, Nissan Frontier SV 4x4, Arctic Blue.
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The issue for me was I felt reverse was too tall and I'd have issues backing trailers up my steep driveway. Would probably need to ride the clutch all the way up, or use 4low and have issues steering the trailer.

So if I had to get auto, I figure I'd look for a FFV. Missed out the first time with the SV VTP 4x4 that I couldn't pass up. Then when a Pro-4X Lux FFV popped up nearby, I jumped on it.

I don't know if it's the different rear axle ratio of the Pro-4X or a different transmission firmware, but the Pro-4X definitely isn't afraid to rev. The SV isn't either (especially compared to a 3.5L Tacoma), but compared to it, the Pro-4X is like driving a more modern truck with the "tow/haul" mode enabled. The Pro-4X downshifts two gears without having to floor it, revs until I let off (makes it feel like it has way more power than it does), and it holds low gears up mountain passes. I definitely prefer the Pro-4X's shift logic over the SV.
My guess is the difference in the rear axle ratio is what is doing that for you. The standard SV has a lower lower ratio (exception is LWB) compared to your Pro-4x. I think it's 3.13 for SV and 3.36 for Pro 4x but the Long wheel base SV has the 3.36.
Could someone confirm that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Thanks for all the great replies. I have been looking for a while here in Utah and have never seen a used model with a manual trans. After all that most of the used models I have seen already have a lot of miles. Seems people are running them 20,000 mile a year. Might be the case that after transport to work they also travel down to southern Utah a lot as well as trips to the mountains to ski and hike so the miles add up. I only go about 8000, from March - Oct I spend most of my time on motorcycles. Some mentoned that a plug change requires removing and exhaust manifold, who designs these things? I'll have to look into that one.
 

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2019, Nissan Frontier SV 4x4, Arctic Blue.
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Thanks for all the great replies. I have been looking for a while he in Utah and have never seen a used model with a manual trans. After all that most of the used models I have seen already have a lot of miles. Seems people are running them 20,000 mile a year. Might be the case that after transport to work they also travel down to southern Utah a lot as well as trips to the mountains to ski and hike so the mile add up. I only go about 8000, from March - Oct I spend most of my time on motorcycles. Some mentoned that a plug change requires removing and exhaust manifold, who designs these thing? I'll have to look into that one.
It's actually the intake manifold for the passenger side spark plugs on the 4.0l V6, there are some people on here that were able to work around it using extensions but if your already at that mileage you might as well replace the gaskets on that anyway to prevent a vacuum leak. As long as preventative maintance has been done on schedule and the previous owner has proof of this I'd think you'd be fine, just make sure to do your homework when buying anything used.
 

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The 2nd Gen Frontier has proven to be reliable, but as mentioned above, not the best in fuel economy. A big factor in finding a reliable vehicle has to be purpose and use, when I bought my 2nd Gen Frontier, I bought it because it serves my needs, I did not need a full-sized truck for work or any heavy use, I daily drive mine and from time to time I have used it to haul stuff I can't fit on my other family vehicle or in my coupe. Maintenance-wise I have done its services, so I have spent money on parts only, I like how simple it is with no fancy technology besides the usual convenience of power windows, locks, a/c and aftermarket remote start that I installed.
 
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