06HHR (Forum Supporter)
06HHR (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
5/23/23 3:12 p.m.

My son loves manual transmissions.  He daily drives a 1999 Isuzu Rodeo with the 2.2l four-cylinder and 5-speed manual transmission.  It's been his daily since high school, and we've managed to keep the thing rolling along (slowly) with various wrenching when things require replacement.  He's starting a new job next month and he's been looking for a possible replacement for the old Isuzu, but his requirement for a manual transmission in whatever he gets has thrown a wrench in things.  He wants a 2 door Jeep, but doesn't want to pay the Jeep tax.  Bronco is pretty much out, he's not much impressed by them.  He saw an internet ad at the local Nissan dealer for a 2008 Xterra with the Off-Road package and 6-speed manual and actually liked it, but by the time he could go look at it the car was gone.   I was on a gas run to the Costco today and since the Nissan dealer is on the way I decided to drive through the used care section of their lot to take a look and the thing is still there.  Jumped out and, well it's in pretty rough shape cosmetically with dents and some rust spots on the hood.  Dealer wants $6990 which to me is crack pipe pricing for a 15 year old SUV but a quick autotrader search indicates that price is not out of line with what's out there.  (Admittedly not a lot of manual transmission Xterras) 240+ thousand miles, but it's got the VQ 4.0 V6 which appears to be robust and the manual transmission.  If I can get a service history on this thing, i'm wondering if it makes sense to make the dealrship an offer.  Not like it's going anywhere because it's a manual and it's not hunting season (it looks like it may have been someone's hunting rig at one time).  What say the hive?  Take a deeper dive or forget I saw anything?

Hotlink of the truck in question.

bmw88rider UberDork
5/23/23 3:32 p.m.

They are good basic trucks. Not really a ton to go wrong with them especially with the manual. Not as big of an aftermarket for them as the taco but also no frame rust issues. 

Very understressed VQ engine which has been proven to be a solid platform overall. I sold mine to Docwyte a few years back and it was a solid truck for me in my ownership. 

Datsun310Guy MegaDork
5/23/23 4:10 p.m.

I know frames and rust - check that otherwise it should be a decent SUV.

Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos)
Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos) MegaDork
5/23/23 4:24 p.m.

Dive deep. The main issue with these was turning the ATF into a milkshake, because it shared cooling the the radiator versus a dedicated transmission cooler.

The trucks are a bit small, but it used to be among the top 10 overlanding rigs back in the day.

bludroptop UltraDork
5/23/23 4:45 p.m.

Comparison shopping... Fly and drive?  

3 pedals, 90k fewer miles, $2000 fewer dollars too   

(not mine, no affiliation)


06HHR (Forum Supporter)
06HHR (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
5/23/23 5:23 p.m.

In reply to Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos) :

Manual transmission so no ATF issue to worry about.  Really the only reason i'm considering this one.  

parker HalfDork
5/23/23 6:25 p.m.

Does he navigate dirt trails on the way to work?  Try something that's fun to drive on pavement.  Plenty of older manual transmission cars.  

I have a Land Cruiser, 4Runner and Sequoia and it's always a revelation when the road is in good enough shape for me to drive my FR-S.  So much more fun.  But I live 12 miles up a forest service road and 4wd is actually needed 6-8 months of the year.

thatsnowinnebago UberDork
5/23/23 8:15 p.m.

The off-road (called PRO-4X after the refresh) has a locking rear diff, extra skid plates, 16" wheels, and hill descent control. It also includes Bilsteins, but they are trash by now so who cares? They command higher prices than the other trims. So if your kid doesn't want/need a locker you should be able to save some money.

The only huge flaw I'm aware of is the transmission cooler issue that gor fixed in 2011, or by having a manual. Which you're already aware of. The aftermarket is tiny compared to Toyota or jeep, but it covers good quality suspension and skid plates.

I did find the rear suspension on my 2011 PRO-4X to be way too soft stock (common complaint). That was solved with an Ironman 4x4 lift and nice progressive bumpstops. Stock upper control arms will contact the coil bucket after a lift, as will most aftermarket ones. The fix is a grinder or to buy the UCAs from All Dogs Offroad.

The 2005+ are better in every single way than the first gen Xterras. Not to say that the first gens are bad, Nissan just built a better second gen. 

06HHR (Forum Supporter)
06HHR (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
5/24/23 9:44 a.m.

In reply to thatsnowinnebago :

Thanks for the info, he's moving to middle/north Georgia for work and really want's something that can handle the fire roads and dirt trails and some light off roading.  Would really rather he not have a huge car payment right now so while a Jeep would be right up his alley it would be a much more expensive proposition right now.  His current whip is a 1999 Isuzu Rodeo so he's used to driving old crap.  Has anyone heard about any timing chain issues with the VQ40?  This one has a lot of miles, while that doesn't worry me, I do like to know what i'm getting into since i'll probably be the one he calls to help him with any issues that may arise.   A plus for this one is that parts availability will be much better than with the Isuzu.  That stuff is getting really thin on the ground, even though they sold TONS of them back in the day. 

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