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Old 03-12-2016, 04:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy 95 Pathy VG30E diagnosing Oil Distribution

Was over at NPORA, but there seem to be some more folks willing to offer assistance about Pathy issues on this forum.

Got an odd issue on a
1995 Pathfinder LE VG30E 5-spd 4x4 w/ 180k.

The Pathy has been driving very well of late - picked it up in Indiana a few months ago, and after general maintenance, drove her across the country. Learned a lot about this thing, but this oneís a head-scratcher. I do have the Service Manual.

The other day noticed engine revving a bit higher than normal, and in urban, stop-and-go traffic the oil light came on and I had no acceleration. The engine was clattering loud. Checked oil dipstick (clean and full), opened oil filler cap - didnít seem like any oil splashing about.

Nothing out of tailpipe, have an OEM Nissan oil filter, and former owner did the timing belt and water pump.

Although I donít recall a CEL driving home, I checked it today and it returned a Code 34 - Knock Sensor. I guess itís possible this error may have been caused by the original problem. Which seems to point to lack of oil to the main oil gallery.

So, the first things I will check are:
- Check Oil pressure at Oil Pressure Gauge

- Test the Oil pressure switch [ DONíT SEE A CONNECTOR TO THIS - braids right into starter cable harness to POS terminal on battery]

- Inspect the Oil Pressure Relief Valve

- Try to determine if this has jumped timing (Checked rotors and cap - clean, locked down and still looking new.

- and do a quick diagnoses on the Knock Sensor Sub-Harness (to ensure that it is still good).

Any input from the experts?
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Old 03-12-2016, 10:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It's been suggested that maybe the pickup tube to the oil pump is clogged.

Is this a normal problem with wd21 pathfinders?

Concerned about any tests that involve starting the engine, based on its seemingly oil-starved condition.

Guess I'll have to drop the pan and see.
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Old 03-15-2016, 01:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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With 180k on the clock and not knowing if any previous owners ran 25-30k on a single oil change it's hard to say on the pickup, though it's probably one of the first things I'd check. It's not a common issue, but a lot can happen in 180k miles. Could be sludged up in there.
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Old 03-15-2016, 06:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Would love to drop the pan, but...Wow, getting in there is quite a procedure. Not sure I've got the tools for that job.

On top of a potential oil pump failure, I can't know what damage might have been done to the engine in the oil-starved condition.

I'm on it tomorrow.

Not a happy camper...
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Old 03-15-2016, 08:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I agree with the above, check the pickup, I know someone else that this happened to on a VG30E.

You really only need to drop the axle center section and the differential cross members to pull the pan. It's not that complicated, just a bit time consuming. I hope you didn't score the crank or bearings, that spells real trouble.
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Old 03-16-2016, 01:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I've verified that the pickup tube is clogged.

Could only get 3 quarts in before it was full.

Guess I'll start doing my homework on the pan drop procedure.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 03-17-2016, 05:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I've verified that the pickup tube is clogged.

Could only get 3 quarts in before it was full.

Guess I'll start doing my homework on the pan drop procedure.

Thanks for the input.
Unbolt the CV shafts from the diff flanges, and remove the front drive shaft.


You'll want to leave the diff bolted to the x-member. Just remove the two bolts from the x-member to the frame and then the one bolt on the front of the diff to the frame. (Put a jack under the diff before you do this. ) You might have to manipulate it a bit, but the whole thing will drop down and you'll have a clear shot to the pan.

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Old 03-17-2016, 10:26 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the tip & pic BG, but isn't the process of accessing the oil pan a bit more complicated than that?

I was just about to do the front suspension and cv axles before this crap, so I'll start tearing that down and get to the differential.

Hope it's as easy as you make it sound.
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Old 03-17-2016, 11:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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It's been a while since I've had my head under a d21, but I'm about 90% confident that's it. I don't think the exhaust gets in the way and there *might* be another x-member to remove, but you should be able to get to it fairly easily.
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Old 03-17-2016, 01:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yeah...I think that might actually work!

Have to take the starter out, maybe move the steering bar (Relay Rod).

I was ready to refresh the front suspension and cv axles before this happened (have the parts here), so following your procedure once things are torn down doesn't seem so daunting. Doing this without an engine lift it would be awesome.

I'll try to remember to take pics as I proceed.
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Old 03-18-2016, 08:07 PM   #11 (permalink)
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You will need to pull the center link on the steering to get the front of the oil pan down.

Dropping the diff is as easy as BG says, I have pulled and installed them. The passenger side exhaust pipe on a VG30E truck sweeps behind the sump and under the transmission, so that will be out of the way.
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Old 03-18-2016, 11:06 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Appreciate the input. I am in the process....

Got the front suspension stripped down with CV's off. Damn ball joints worse than I thought, all my bushings, sheeesh, a real mess when you look at it closely...

I'll get that center link down and then attack the diff. Man, if this works it will be a miracle. When I first reviewed the procedure for the oil pan removal my eyes almost fell out of my head!

Ordered the pickup tube o-ring and gasket (gotta stay positive!)
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Old 03-19-2016, 12:06 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Appreciate the input. I am in the process....

Got the front suspension stripped down with CV's off. Damn ball joints worse than I thought, all my bushings, sheeesh, a real mess when you look at it closely...

I'll get that center link down and then attack the diff. Man, if this works it will be a miracle. When I first reviewed the procedure for the oil pan removal my eyes almost fell out of my head!

Ordered the pickup tube o-ring and gasket (gotta stay positive!)

Since you've already done it, I guess I shouldn't tell you that you can just unbolt the CVs from the diff flanges and leave them where they are as you drop the diff. No need to pull them out completely and mess with ball joints.
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Old 03-20-2016, 03:04 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Yeah, I'm aware of that.

Really appreciate all the assistance.

Since I'm in there I might as well get this stuff maintained and tight.....
on the hope the engine is still good.

Raining hard here - got plenty of bench work.
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Old 03-21-2016, 03:24 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Since you've already done it, I guess I shouldn't tell you that you can just unbolt the CVs from the diff flanges and leave them where they are as you drop the diff. No need to pull them out completely and mess with ball joints.
He did say he was replacing CVs anyways.
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Old 03-22-2016, 05:23 AM   #16 (permalink)
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He did say he was replacing CVs anyways.

Still coulda done it without touching the ball joints since he dropped the diff.


But WTF do I know. IFS is fo suckas!!
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Old 03-22-2016, 12:17 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I agree with you on IFS.
Also agree with you on the pressing job at hand (getting to the pickup tube).

Just thought it would be criminal to leave these things on - and for the 10 minutes of effort, do it right.

The LBJ's looked ok on the car - but they were basically destroyed.

The weather has been terrible here, don't have a garage space to work. I'm hoping to get the oil pan pulled soon. Will provide updates.
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Old 03-23-2016, 04:43 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Messed with the differential all day today.

It just doesn't seem to clear the T-Bars. The round end portions of the crossmember just rest on the T-Bars.

I guess I really need two jacks. Maybe one to raise the front end and the other to angle it out of there.

Any suggestions?
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Old 03-23-2016, 06:01 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Can't remember exactly, but I think you need to tilt the long side shaft of the diff down first and it should clear.

You could also just unbolt the cross member from the diff.
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Old 03-23-2016, 06:32 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Bit of a PITA to separate the x-member now that it's loose.

Damn rain....Oregon, man.

I'll give it another crack tomorrow. I'm so close I can smell it.
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Old 03-24-2016, 06:02 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Ok, FINALLY got the Differential down!!

It wasn't easy by myself. I actually had to remove the hard line that runs along the frame - the diff bracket got hung up on that.

Not sure how I'll get it back up there, but on to the oil pan!
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Old 03-25-2016, 04:39 PM   #22 (permalink)
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UPDATE: Got to the Pickup Tube! Man, that was a frickin' job!
Everything looks clean inside. There is some evidence of silver metal shavings, but otherwise NO SLUDGE.

The strainer/filter was fine, but had a small hole on the end (half size of pinky fingernail), so I'm now assuming that a piece of crap might have made it through the Tube and botched up the oil pump.

I did find a small wing-nut bolt of some sort. I have no idea what that could be for. Anyone? know what that thing is?
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Old 03-25-2016, 08:33 PM   #23 (permalink)
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what are these?
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Old 03-25-2016, 10:27 PM   #24 (permalink)
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If you are trying to post pictures, we see nothing.
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Old 03-26-2016, 09:54 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I figured out what these were....



Found them in the oil pan...They seem to be some kind of drain plug repair pieces.

So......Looks like I'm on to the oil pump. Guess I will be buying a new pickup tube, OEM oil pump, and gasket.

QUESTION. Since the oil pan is already out, and I'm not changing the water pump, I don't believe I need to flush the radiator fluid. From my research I see:
crank pulley, all front covers, timing belt, crank gear, woodruff keys, and unbolt the oil pump

Does that sound right?

Thanks for any assistance.
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