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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
After watching this video... Video

and coming across a few images of Toyotas with this feature


I'm wondering why Nissan wasn't smart enough to make an access panel for the fuel pump.
 

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1. It would cost them more to make the truck.
2. They wouldn't be able to charge as much to change a fuel pump.
 

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Taking into consideration both previously mentioned points: how often the part needs replaced and the additional cost per vehicle it would take to put it in, I say Nissan is smart for NOT doing it. It would have been a foolish use of time and money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
...Nissan is smart for NOT doing it. It would have been a foolish use of time and money.
Sounds to me like someone has forgotten the days long since past, when quality vehicles rolled off the assembly lines. My 95 Pathfinder, which I hold Nissan to as the example, absolutely destroys the Frontier in both design and build quality. Despite having had the desire to own a Frontier crew cab since the first time I saw one, I could never justify the purchase due to the fact that my Pathfinders (94 XE and 95 SE) would never breakdown. Finally I saw a nice 2001 Frontier SE in excellent condition (appearance wise), and snagged it up. I figured because it was only 6 years older than the Pathy the build quality wouldn't be too much worse, but I was wrong. Now for the past four months I've basically needed to repair every mechanical inch of this thing. Which would be fine, if everything from changing the water pump to testing fuel pressure wasn't an absolute pain in the a--.

Again, this isn't me griping about getting my hands dirty turning wrenches, it's about understanding that the quality of Nissan's products are declining, and consumers need to stop making excuses for them. The fuel pump isn't the only thing Nissan shoved into an inaccessible fuel tank-on the Frontier- I'm also getting multiple codes on the Fuel Level Sensor Circuit. A relatively cheap and easy part to replace, but... guess where it's located? Time and money were just as important in 90s as they are today, and you know what... both of my Pathfinders have fuel pump access ports under the rear seat.


Apologies for the rant. My Engineering side tends to get a little steamed whenever someone tries to justify poor design with higher profit margins. I'm drafting a colorful letter to Nissan with a few design comparisons. I seriously doubt they'll respond back. At least, not with anything remotely addressing the faults I outline. But who knows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Also, if it does end up that I need to access the fuel pump or level sensor I'll post a nice How-To Guide on creating an access hatch. As many of you have accurately stated, messing with the pump is typically only a one time thing, if at all, but may still be useful to someone :)
 

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I'm sure the folks at Nissan customer service will sure appreciate you letting them know what they should have done 25 years ago. Please post it here as well, I get a kick out of nonsense like this.

Your posts sure are something else. Blessed is the automotive company that can boast having you on their design team.
 

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Nissan is in the business of selling new trucks and maximizing their profits. They're not in the business of designing vehicles for people who buy ten plus year old used trucks that may or may not have been beaten to death by negligent prior owners. It's that simple. They don't make any more profit by spending more money to make part replacement easier way down the road.

Vic
 

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I do see an access panel being nifty in situations where folks don't have a garage or a space to wrench, BUT, dropping the tank in these trucks and swapping out pumps is not hard at all. Maybe that's the reason why there isn't an access panel to begin with, because it's relatively easy to drop the tank. My other car has an access panel under the seat, but dropping the tank on it is such a mission. Quite honestly I prefer just dropping the whole thing. It gives me space to work and move around.
 

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You do realize almost every car ever built has had the sender/pump up on the top side and inaccessible, right? Adding in an access door adds in a potential engineering issue if the door is in the passenger compartment.

Two bolts on the straps and the tank comes down, maybe having to loosen a few hoses and wires to fully drop. I fail to see how taking time to cut in an access door is a time saver.

Always remember a vehicle isn't built so the guy 10 years down the road can work on it, it's built so the guy at the dealership working on it before the 3/36 warranty can work on it. Parts the manufacturer doesn't think need to be replaced within that time frame will not need to be built for easy access.
 

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quite a few parts on these truck are intended to outlast the service life of the vehicle. fuel pump, starter, u-joints (sometimes), timing chain (2.4L)

I did replace the u-joints on my old truck at about 250,000 miles. but the VAST MAJORITY of trucks never see that kind of mileage. The fuel pump, starter, and timing chain were all original when retired at over 400,000 miles
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Nissan is in the business of selling new trucks and maximizing their profits. They're not in the business of designing vehicles for people who buy ten plus year old used trucks that may or may not have been beaten to death by negligent prior owners. It's that simple. They don't make any more profit by spending more money to make part replacement easier way down the road. Vic

Sorry to pick on you here, as you're not the only one to share this perspective, however quoting all who said something similar would be far too time consuming. While I can't say you're wrong about Nissan being in the business of making money, which is obvious, I will say that it's clear that you, and other, didn't really put much thought and or research into the rest of your answers. This is partially my fault though. I should have been a bit less ambiguous when creating this thread.

1. Nissan is about maximizing profits. True.
2. They're not in the business of designing vehicles for people... to make part replacement easier way down the road False

Which brings me to the very premise of my original argument, which was why Nissan decided to decline in the evolution of their once quality design in lieu of added complexity (and manufacturing costs). While there are easily dozens of examples available I'm only choosing these three for now, because they represent my most current headaches.

Fuel Pressure Test
1. Kevin was right about me unknowingly tapping into the return line with the pressure gauge. He was also correct about not being able to test fuel pressure anywhere other than the fuel filter without the need for special connectors. This surprised me for two reasons:
(a) Testing fuel pressure is supposed to be done close to the rail. Just because you get xx psi directly at the pump does not mean you're getting that same result after fuel is pushed through 10 feet of hose and (b) Why did Nissan go from having the fuel filter next to the fuel rail to underneath the truck.

Here you see the fuel filter (B) located near the fuel rail on my 95 Pathfinder. Which, BTW, is six years older than my Frontier, and also made by the "profit only" Nissan corp. Not only was (past tense) getting fuel pressure readings quick and simple (without special connectors), but the fuel filter was also swapped out within seconds with no mess. Also note the fully covered A/C line (A) just for GP.


Now let's look at the fuel filter for the 2001 Frontier, which took a step back in it's fuel filter design. Oh, and for those who said the Fuel pump access panel would be an added costs, please note the additional metal guard around the filter that wasn't needed in older models. And a side from that, please try to argue how much more convenient it is to crawl under the truck, unbolt the steel plate, and dump fuel everywhere wrestling the filter in/out of place.


And before anyone asks... yes there was plenty of room in the engine compartment (B) for the fuel filter to be mounted there. Also note the lack of covering on the A/C pipe.


Lastly, while I agree the fuel pump and whatnot are designed to last the life of the vehicle, in theory, how often is that actually the case? I doubt anyone would be selling aftermarket fuel pumps otherwise. And it just so happens that I'm in a situation where I need to access the fuel pump prior to my vehicles end of life, and I sure would love an access panel, so that I can do what I need to do in minutes not hours. Note that there is an access panel on my 95 Pathfinder. Which again, is made by Nissan.



The whole point of this thread was to get folks talking and possibly get some actual reasoning behind why Nissan decided to make things harder rather than smarter, as they once did. Perhaps there was a safety reason for burying the filter or forgoing the access panel? Maybe new regulations prohibited it? Could Nissan have done this purely as a profit driven decision to extend maintenance costs at the dealerships? Sure. There are many plausible answers that could have been given to these questions. Hell, I would have been fine with someone saying it's just Nissan's way of screwing people over these days, but simply saying they're a profit generating company and this is what they've always done is just pure ignorant. So don't try and make people feel like idiots for expecting the same quality they once had simply because you don't remember it.
 

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I'm going to agree with Josh, but also remember that dealerships typically make more money from the service department than on the sales of vehicles. I would suspect that dealership financing profits fall between those.

That said: had a 1994 Suburban with rail mounted fuel filter. 16mm and 20mm flare or open end wrenches were needed, and no decent SAE match, and my metric sets did not even have 16 mm and 20mm in them. GM might say that was engineered for safety so folks wouldn't attempt their own filter swap, but I figure real motive was profit by making it tougher to do. On our 1988 Suburban the entire dash pad had to come off to change speakers; at least on the 1994 there were simple screw panels for that.

I have 19, 22, 24, 27, 30, 32, and 36mm sockets, but damned if my 1988 Mazda truck doesn't use 23mm socket for some places. So now I have that too; couldn't Mazda have used a more-common size nut ??? So it's not just Nissan or GM.
 

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You guys sure love conspiracy theories. "Lets make more money for the dealership service department for 10 year old vehicles." "Let's screw the customers." Sorry, but automotive engineering design for mass production doesn't work that way. They are interested in saving pennies and thereby making more profit when they build thousands of vehicles. It's a highly competitive business, and every dime counts. They don't build dashboards for speaker replacement; they design dashboards for simple, cost-effective production line installation. Metric vs. SAE? If a foreign plant builds a part that works, no problem mixing and matching on the assembly line, since the components come pre-assembled from other factories. Yeah, let's just put a 36 mm nut on every fastener, that will save money and space. Sorry, but every fastener is designed to be the smallest and lightest that meets the design parameters (cost and weight). They don't design vehicles to minimize the size of your socket collection.

Which comes back to the original origin of the thread. Why don't they include an access panel? Because it costs money, and a fuel pump is not a standard maintenance replacement part. Period.

Vic
 

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Note that there is an access panel on my 95 Pathfinder. Which again, is made by Nissan.
Could this be an SUV vs. pickup issue more than anything else? Did the tank had to be dropped in D21 pickups too? I'm thinking that having an access panel hidden away underneath carpeting and insulation is one thing; having that same panel subject to drops and scraps and the elements on a pickup bed is another.
 

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Which comes back to the original origin of the thread. Why don't they include an access panel? Because it costs money, and a fuel pump is not a standard maintenance replacement part. Period. Vic
Vic - a fuel pump is not a standard maintenance replacement part DURING THE WARRANTY PERIOD. I'm sure the dealerships replace plenty on vehicles past warranty. My daughter's 1998 Pathfinder needed a fuel pump, that has an access panel under the rear seat; my 1998 Frontier has none, luckily hasn't needed that done yet.

Agree that vehicles are designed for fast, easy, cheap assembly. On our 2005 Yukon, to unscrew the AC actuator under the dash to replace, the #%^*%^$&($# hump is in the way !!! Of course, doesn't matter as that dash is all installed as a unit; I had to grind a 5.5mm socket shorter at both ends to be able to unscrew one screw, and it was still tough. Should've been a 2-minute R&R, and even with the hump could've been if a screw with a shoulder (to allow a box or open end wrench) had bee used. Even my mechanic said that job was a pain in the butt !!!


By the way: never buy an extended warranty. Radio show mechanic here - who has a bustling and well-respected shop - talks all the time about the hassles of those, and troubles he has dealing with them. stuff like them fighting to get out of a fuel pump replacement because the coolant wasn't changed two years ago, etc.
 

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By the way: never buy an extended warranty. Radio show mechanic here - who has a bustling and well-respected shop - talks all the time about the hassles of those, and troubles he has dealing with them. stuff like them fighting to get out of a fuel pump replacement because the coolant wasn't changed two years ago, etc.
Never say never. Depends on the car / truck, and the warranty company. I know several people with CarMax and Zurich warranties that have gotten back far more than the warranty cost. Example 1, $3,000 warranty cost, over $15,000 in repairs (turbos, etc.). Example 2, $1,200 warranty cost, $12,000 in repairs, including transmission.

Warranty companies count on you forgetting that you have one, or selling the car before you use it.

Vic
 
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