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1996-2004 Pathfinder/QX4 Strut Housing Corrosion Recall


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#1

JamesB

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 08:52 AM

  • Model Year(s):
  • INFINITI / QX4
    1997-2003
  • NISSAN / PATHFINDER
    1996-2004
  • NHTSA Campaign ID Number:
    11V244000
  • Summary:
    NISSAN IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 1996-2004 PATHFINDER AND MODEL YEAR 1997-2003 INFINITI QX4 VEHICLES ORIGINALLY SOLD, OR CURRENTLY REGISTERED IN, CONNECTICUT, DELAWARE, IOWA, ILLINOIS, INDIANA, MASSACHUSETTS, MAINE, MARYLAND, MICHIGAN, MINNESOTA, MISSOURI, NEW HAMPSHIRE, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, OHIO, PENNSYLVANIA, RHODE ISLAND, VERMONT, WASHINGTON D.C., WEST VIRGINIA AND WISCONSIN. IN AREAS OF THE COUNTRY IN WHICH HEAVY CONCENTRATIONS OF ROAD SALT ARE USED, A MIXTURE OF SNOW/WATER AND SALT MAY ENTER AN ASSEMBLY LOCATION HOLE IN THE UPPER STRUT HOUSING, CAUSING WATER TO COLLECT AT THE MATING SURFACE OF THE STRUT HOUSING PANEL AND THE INNER HOOD LEDGE ASSEMBLY. OVER TIME, THIS SNOW/WATER AND SALT INTRUSION MAY RESULT IN CORROSION OF THE STRUT TOWER HOUSING IN SOME SUBJECT VEHICLES.
  • Consequence:
    THE STRUT HOUSING MAY CRACK AND PULL AWAY FROM THE INNER HOOD LEDGE ASSEMBLY. THIS MAY LEAD TO GRINDING NOISES, INCREASED STEERING EFFORT, AND POSSIBLY THE STEERING COLUMN TO BREAK, RESULTING IN THE LOSS OF STEERING CONTROL, WHICH COULD RESULT IN A CRASH.
  • Remedy:
    NISSAN WILL INSPECT THE STRUT HOUSING AND REPAIR THE VEHICLES AS NECESSARY, FREE OF CHARGE. AN INTERIM NOTIFICATION LETTER WAS SENT OUT IN MAY 2011. THE SECOND NOTICE WAS MAILED ON JULY 25, 2011. OWNERS MAY CONTACT NISSAN AT 1-800-647-7261.
  • Notes:
    OWNERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV .

Transport Canada Recall # 2011165
Recall Date 2011/04/21
Notification Type Safety Mfr
System Structure
Manufacturer Recall Number R177 & R178
Units Affected Posted Image 74,983
Category SUV

Recall Details

On certain vehicles operated in areas of heavy road salt usage during winter months, a mixture of snow/water and salt may enter an assembly location hole in the upper strut housing, causing water to collect at the mating surface of the strut housing panel and the inner hood ledge assembly. Over time, this snow/water and salt intrusion may result in corrosion of the strut tower housing structure. If the vehicle continues to be driven in this condition, the strut housing may crack and pull away from the inner hood ledge assembly. Should the strut housing separate and contact the steering column upper shaft, the steering shaft could break. A loss of steering control could result in a crash causing property damage and/or personal injury. Correction: Dealers will inspect the strut housing and, if no corrosion or only minor surface corrosion is present, an anti-corrosion seal will be applied. If moderate corrosion is present, resin patches will be applied in addition to the sealant. If there is evidence of more significant corrosion, a metal reinforcement plate will be used to reinforce the strut housing assembly. In instances where it is impossible to repair the vehicle, Nissan will provide an appropriate remedy.

Year(s) Affected
INFINITI QX4 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
NISSAN PATHFINDER 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004


I'm going through this at the moment. The left side front strut tower on my 1998 Pathfinder let go around 2 years ago, and I parked the car in the yard at that point.

Late last year I discovered the recall, and I had my pathfinder towed to the local Nissan dealer 4 weeks ago. It's been in their workshop ever since, waiting on Nissan's Insurer to decide if my car qualifies for a buy-back or repair. The dealer considers the car to be a buy-back candidate.
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#2

daves87rs

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 09:05 PM

Yikes! If it does, what will you get?
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#3

JamesB

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 08:36 AM

Got news yesterday that Nissan's insurer has agreed that the vehicle is unrepairable and they will offer me a payout for the vehicle. I'm expecting a call in the next day or two with an offer, which the local Nissan Warranty Administrator has told me I will be quite pleased with.

Other US and Canadian people that have been offered the buy-back have said that they were offered the car's insurance or Kelly Blue Book private sale value + $1000 as a pay out. I'm hoping for $4,000 to $5,000. People with similar mileage/age Pathfinders have been getting that figure and some a bit more, but it does depend on the vehicle condition. Unfortunately, mine has sat unused for 2+ years since the strut tower let go and the steering bound up and it ran me off the road, and in those 2+ years of storage in the open, the car deteriorated badly.

Here are a few photographs I took back in December 2011 that show some of the problem.

Under hood shot showing the steering shaft (the corrugated thing) rubbing on the side of strut tower. The steering shaft and brake master cylinder were all that was preventing the strut tower from coming through the hood. Prettty much everything under the hood that was attached to the inner LH fender had had its mounting brackets ripped apart.
Posted Image

Front edge of LH strut tower from the front of the wheel well. The whole bottom edge of the strut tower had rusted through, and most of the spot welds between there and the outer fender had been ripped away. The bottom edge had pulled up close to 2 inches from where it should have been.
Posted Image

Rear edge of LH strut tower from the rear of the wheel well.
Posted Image

Without the steering shaft and brake master cylinder to restrict further movement of the strut tower, it would have peeled right back and popped out through the hood. This happened to a few other Pathfinders after it snapped the steering shaft and tore the master cylinder off the booster ... resulting in total simultaneous total loss of all brakes (except for park brake) and steering. In my case, the steering shaft was jammed by the strut tower and I couldn't negotiate a corner (on an icy road that prevented braking) and the car ran into a ditch.

Edited by JamesB, 31 May 2012 - 09:47 AM.

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#4

JamesB

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 01:53 PM

After much delay, and lost files, I eventually received a cheque from Nissan for CAD$4600.
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#5

ocnblu

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 05:10 AM

Glad to hear that in the glacial world of automotive corporations, you got your resolution. Have you already replaced your Pathfinder, or will you use the money you got to help in doing so?
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#6

Z-06

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 06:10 AM

I had soft spot for those Pathfinders, one of the perfect offroading beasts. James good to know you have been paid.
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#7

dfelt

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 07:34 AM

Way to go, glad to hear you got a fair price and no longer have it sitting in your yard. So are getting another auto or just save it as a backup since the world economy sucks.
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#8

JamesB

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 04:49 PM

Considering I paid $3100 for it 4 years ago, $4600 was a really good payout.

As for a replacement, so far I've used $2500 to buy a 1980 vintage 23' motor home (based on a GMC Vandura G35 cutaway chassis with 126" wheelbase, powered by a what I assume to be a 350 small block). Needs a new exhaust manifold gasket, a few light bulbs, and a bit of TLC, but it runs. I drove it almost the full length of Nova Scotia last Saturday to get it from the ferry terminal at North Sydney to our new home in the eastern corner of Nova Scotia.
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#9

GMTruckGuy74

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 09:23 PM

Cool, and:

:worthless:
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#10

JamesB

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 10:30 AM

Cool, and:

:worthless:


Posted Image

And for interest, you can fit a 126" wheelbase dually based motor home on a 7500 lb rated U-Haul car transporter (they'll take a max 133" wheelbase but the outside duals hang over the edge), but boy is it a frightening tow. The rig is way over the rated load capacity of the trailer, and the 9 feet of body work behind the rear axle makes the trailer very tail heavy, which is a bad combination for towing. Even using a U-Haul 26' GMC 6500 based truck for the tow vehicle, it was dragging the truck all over the highway. It certainly wouldn't have been legal, and it's not something I'd ever want to do again, but it got me out of a bind.

Edited by JamesB, 27 October 2012 - 03:15 PM.

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