Nissan Pick-ups and Pathfinder 1989-1995



This Total Car Care Guide for Nissan trucks is intended to teach you about the inner workings of your vehicle and save you money on its upkeep. The first two sections will be used most, since they contain maintenance and tune-up information. Studies have shown that a properly tuned and maintained truck can get better gas mileage (which translates into lower operating costs) and periodic maintenance can catch minor problems before they turn into major repair bills. The other sections deal with the more complex systems of your truck. Operating systems from engine through brakes are covered. It will give you the detailed instructions to help you change your own brake pads and shoes, tune-up the engine, replace spark plugs and filters, and do many more jobs that will save you money, give you satisfaction and help avoid expensive problems.

This information can also serve as a reference guide to help truck owners better understand their vehicle and/or mechanic. In this case, no tools at all are required. But. knowing just what a repair job requires in parts and labor will help you evaluate whether or not you're getting a fair price and help decipher bills from a repair shop.

Before attempting any service on your truck, read through the entire procedure outlined in the appropriate section. This will give you the overall view of what tools and supplies will be required. There is nothing more frustrating than having to walk to the bus stop on Monday morning because you were short one gasket on Sunday afternoon. So read ahead and plan ahead. Each operation should be approached logically and all procedures thoroughly understood before attempting any work. Some special tools can often be rented from local automotive jobbers or stores specializing in renting tools and equipment. Check your phone book.

All sections contain adjustments, maintenance, removal and installation procedures. When overhaul is not considered practical, we tell you how to remove the failed part and then how to install the new or rebuilt replacement. In this way, you still save the labor costs. Backyard overhaul of some components (such as the alternator or water pump) is just not practical, but the removal and installation procedure is often simple and well within the capabilities of the average owner.

Two basic mechanic's rules should be mentioned here. First, whenever the LEFT side of the truck or engine is referred to, it is meant to specify the DRIVER'S side of the truck. Conversely, the RIGHT side of the truck means the PASSENGER'S side. Second, unless indicated otherwise, screws and bolts are removed by turning counterclockwise, and tightened by turning clockwise.

Safety is always the most important rule. Constantly be aware of the dangers involved in working on a vehicle and take proper precautions to avoid the risk of personal injury or damage. See Servicing Your Vehicle Safely (later in this section), and the SAFETY NOTICE on the acknowledgment page before attempting any service procedures, and pay attention to the instructions provided. There are 3 common mistakes in mechanical work:

  1. Incorrect order of assembly, disassembly or adjustment. When taking something apart or putting it together, doing things in the wrong order usually just costs you extra time; however it CAN break something. Read the entire procedure before beginning disassembly. Do everything in the order in which the instructions say you should do it, even if you can't immediately see a reason. When taking apart something that is very intricate (for example a throttle body), you might want to draw a picture of how it looks when assembled at one point in order to make sure you get everything back in its proper position. We will supply exploded views whenever possible, but sometimes the job requires more attention to detail than an illustration provides. When making adjustments (especially in a tune-up), do them in order. One adjustment often affects another and you cannot expect satisfactory results unless each adjustment is made only when it cannot be changed by another.
  3. Overtorquing (or undertorquing) nuts and bolts. While it is more common for overtorquing to cause damage, undertorquing can cause a fastener to vibrate loose causing damage, especially when dealing with aluminum parts. Pay attention to torque specifications and utilize a torque wrench during assembly. If a torque figure is not available, remember that if you are using the right tool for the job, you will probably not have to strain to get a fastener tight. The pitch of most threads is so slight that the tension you put on the wrench will be multiplied many times in actual force on what you are tightening. A good example of how critical torque is can be seen in the case of spark plug installation, especially where you are putting the plug into an aluminum cylinder head. Too little torque can fail to crush the gasket, causing leakage of combustion gases and consequent overheating of the plug/engine parts. Too much torque can damage the threads or distort the plug, which changes the gap at the electrode. Since mnay manufacturers are using aluminum in their engine and chassis parts to save weight, a torque wrench should be in any serious do-it-yourselfer's tool box.

There are many commercial chemical products available for ensuring that fasteners won't come loose, even if they are not torqued just right (a common brand is Loctite®reg;). If you're worried about assembling something tight enough to hold, but loose enough to avoid mechanical damage, one of these products might offer substantial insurance. Read the label on the package and make sure the product is compatible with the materials, fluids, etc. involved before choosing one.

  1. Crossthreading. This occurs when a part such as a bolt is forced into a nut or casting at the wrong angle, causing the threads to become damaged. It is more likely to occur if access is difficult. It helps to clean and lubricate fasteners, and to start threading using your fingers with the part going in straight. If you feel resistance, unscrew the part and start over again at a different angle until it can be inserted and turned several times without much effort. Keep in mind that many parts, especially spark plugs, use tapered threads so that gentle turning will automatically bring the part to the proper angle if you don't force or resist an angle change. Don't put a wrench on the part until it's been turned a couple of times by hand. If you suddenly feel resistance and the part has not fully seated, don't force it. Pull it back out to make sure it's clean and threading properly.

Always take your time; once you have some experience, working on your truck may become an enjoyable hobby.