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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, new member, long-time searcher here.

I was hoping to get some feedback on this truck I'll be checking out this weekend:

Cars for Sale: 2004 Nissan Frontier 4x4 King Cab V6 in Barnesville, OH 43713: Truck Details - 285299297 - AutoTrader.com

It's got a clean Carfax and is a one-owner vehicle from Colorado. From everything I've read here and on this ad it looks like a good deal, but I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything that might stand out to you more experienced guys. I'm out of state and will only be in town Saturday so I need all the help I can get.

Thanks for any assistance!
A Hopeful Future Frontier Owner :mrgreen:
 

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Open up that hood as soon as you get there. Check the air filter. If it's horrific, you know the guy didn't put much time and maintenance into it. Air filters are super cheap and super easy to change. Look in the radiator too. Make sure there's no crap floating around in the coolant.

That's a real good price for the miles. Maybe you can get him to come down a few hundred. You never know!
 

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get the vin number from the add, run it by your local Nissan dealer, see what maintenance has or hasn't been done. specifically look for timing belt replacement. You are at the milage 120k were they need to be replaced. If you can't find anything from Nissan ask the seller what they did and did they look at the timing belt.

Welcome to the club
 

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I just ran that VIN through AutoCheck.com and it came up squeaky clean. Looks good to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The carfax doesn't show any dealer maintenance (otherwise it's super clean). I don't think the local dealer VIN lookup is going to work for maintenance records since the seller is a dealer who just purchased it at auction. They don't have any information about the timing belt unfortunately. I think the best I'll be able to do is take a look at the belt and see if it's significantly cracked/worn.

When I look at the truck I'll be checking for evidence of good maintenance. Checking the air filter and coolant are good tips. I found a couple of used car inspection checklists online which seem very useful too. If it hasn't been maintained well, I'll just walk. If the timing belt needs to be done I'll see about a price reduction.

Thanks for the support and autocheck (nice).
 

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More miles than I would buy for an 04, but the price isnt that high either...
*Never hurts anything to pay a couple bucks to have a nissan mechanic or mechanic alone to look things over*
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Agreed it's on the high end of miles for an 04 (about 21K per year). That being said, I'm only going to be driving 5K per year tops so it should last me a long time. At least that's the plan. I'll definitely try to take the truck to a local mechanic if I can find one open on Saturday. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
tl;dr I bought the truck.
________________________

This is a long story but what the hell, it’s new member introductions so here goes.

I’ve been looking for a small pickup for almost a year as a winter / work vehicle. Focused on Tacomas and Frontiers from the start. Originally I was just looking for a beater but the more I looked the more I realized that I wanted something nice. I ended up settling on a 2001-2004 Taco/Fronty with 4wd and a 5 speed. I really liked the styling of these models compared to earlier/later models. Finding one proved difficult with my $10K budget (and I really wanted to spend less) though I had seen it wasn’t impossible. I learned quickly that the trucks go fast having previously lost out on a couple because I hesitated.

Fast forward to Wednesday 8/25 and that’s when I saw this 2004 Frontier pop up on autotrader. Contacted the dealer the next day 8/26 and without thinking too much said I could be there Saturday 8/28. I’m in Minneapolis. The truck is in Ohio. I spent the rest of the day figuring out how the hell I was going to get there. I figured I’d just fly in to the nearest airport and rent a car.

I found out the town (Barnesville) was pretty much equidistant from three major airports so I picked one (Akron) and bought a ticket. Then it was on to renting a car. Big problem. Barnesville is so small there aren’t any rental car locations in town and the ones nearby didn’t allow for Saturday dropoff. Crap. A shuttle was ridiculously expensive and the nearest bus station was still 30 miles away and I couldn’t get there until after the dealer closed anyway. Double Crap. At this point I thought I was out the cost of a plane ticket. … After a few hours it dawned on me: rental trucks. U-Haul is everywhere. Sure enough there was a U-Haul in Barnesville and the cost of a small truck was pretty much the same as the cost of a rental car anyway. Problem solved.

So on Saturday I caught a 6 AM flight from Minneapolis to Akron (stopping in Milwaukee). Took a cab to the local U-Haul place and around 1030 I got my 10-foot truck and headed down to Barnesville. I was trying not to think about what I’d have to do if I didn’t like this Frontier. It was this truck or bust.

Got there around 1 PM I guess. Parked the truck and walked to the dealer. This being a small town and all I was able to check out the unlocked truck on the lot with no interruptions for 20 minutes. I was hard-pressed to find anything wrong with this Frontier. The interior was immaculate save for a rip in the shift boot. The engine bay was pristine. All the fluids were clean as a whistle. The tires were practically new. The only things I could really find wrong were cosmetic: the body had a lot of little scratches and scrapes, there’s a crack in the front bumper, and one of the wheel hubs was missing. There is no rust on the truck and the frame / suspension looked excellent. Mechanically I saw that the alternator belt needed to be replaced soon but I had no insight into the timing belt. The dealer, having purchased the truck at auction, had no information for me. I test drove the thing for 90 minutes at least, driving all over the place. The truck ran perfectly. No noises, no hesitation, no sputtering, no smoke, no leaks, good clutch, good suspension, nothing wrong at all.

Oh, and I had never driven a Frontier prior to this test drive.

Headed back to the dealer and after pointing to the belt and cosmetic damage (“more than I anticipated”) I ended up getting $200 knocked off and bought it for $6700. Later I learned that someone from Michigan had called about the truck while I was out so my lack of hesitation got me this truck. The couple running the dealership were extremely nice which helped a lot.

I left Barnesville around 4 PM and started the drive back home. A lot of caffeine and loud music did wonders. She drove absolutely perfectly the entire way home. I cannot emphasize that enough. I was thankful for the extras during the drive (cruise control and power windows especially). I ended up driving 16 hours (over 900 miles) straight back home to Minneapolis. I arrived home at 7 AM, almost exactly 27 hours after I left.

All told it probably cost me $500 to get the truck here. Am I crazy? Probably yes. But if the truck were in town for $7200 I still would have bought it. The only reason I felt confident enough to do this was the reputation of these trucks I discovered from my research, especially the time spent in these forums. I gotta say it’s a real sharp-looking machine and so far I’m very happy. Not much else to say really. I think I’ll go back to sleep.

Thanks again everyone!
 

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congratulations! it looked like quite the steal. And agreed on the helpful options compared to most trucks in that age group. i drive a 2006 se, and am in alabama, so when the ac still isnt cool enough, its nice to be lazy and roll those windows down.
 

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congrats and best of luck with your new frontier.

post some pictures for those of us who weren't able to see the link you provided in time before they removed it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This is the only picture I managed to save from the dealer's ad. I haven't had a chance to take other pictures yet but I'll try this weekend.

 

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That is a very nice looking truck. Nice find and like the color. Pretty much what I was looking for but got frustrated and decided to spend a little more to get my 07.
 

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Thanks for the story of your epic journey to purchase your truck! Congratulations and I hope it lasts you a long time!
 

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Gorgeous truck and a long bed to boot! Way to go man. I know what you mean about a crazy story just to get a Frontier. Mine, though not as difficult as yours, was just as nutty. I found my truck on a Friday morning, made a verbal agreement to buy on Friday evening, worked out details on Saturday over the phone, wired the full amount to the dealer on Monday, flew to Apex, NC on the following Saturday and drove back to St. Louis over Saturday and Sunday. And, like you, I had never driven a Frontier before in my life. I had a 94 or 95 Hardbody a long, long time ago, but never a Frontier.

I am very glad it worked out for you so well. Have fun with it and hope to see you around a lot on these forums!
 
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