I bought this truck used and it already had 100,000+ miles on it. I wasn't too worried about the mileage though because it was almost all highway miles from the previous owners commute and Nissan's have a reputation for being high mileage vehicles. I've had this truck for over two years now and that reputation is well earned. The only thing I've had to do to this truck is change the belts, change the oil and finally put a new battery in it to replace the 8 year old factory battery, it never died, but summer was coming up and I didn't want to risk it. The truck still has the original factor hoses (which I should replace) after spending its whole life in the desert where it commonly gets up over 110 degrees on the drive home.
Speaking of heat the AC on this truck works great. I have never had to charge it and I can climb hills at 65 mph while it's 110 degrees outside and the AC will be frigidly cold and the truck doesn't even get hot. The only time I've ever seen it get a little warm was on a drive to Vegas where I was climbing a pass at 70mph and it was 120 degrees outside. This is pretty impressive for a 2.4 liter 4 cylinder engine. This truck does fairly well off road, it is only 4x2 so it isn't meant to do heavy off roading. The gearing is a little too high which makes it easy to stall out if you are trying to climb a hill, especially with a manual transmission. Just be careful of rocks since the only protection under this truck is a plastic rock guard under the oil pan.
If you work on your own vehicles the upkeep on this vehicle is very simple. The v-belts, 3 of them, only take a few minutes to change. The engine in this truck is a well-made 2.4 liter 12 valve 4 cylinder. The only downside of this engine is the noisy valve train, but there is not much that can be done. I would really like it if it had a V-6, but the Nissan V-6 isn’t nearly as reliable as the 4 cylinder, so it’s a good trade off. The engine develops 127 hp if I remember correctly, which is plenty for this light truck. I do not remember how much weight the truck will haul itself, but this truck will tow 1000lbs without electric trailer brakes, and 2000lbs with. Not bad for a truck this size.
The interior of this truck isn’t the most impressive I’ve ever seen, but it’s a truck. The bench seat is fairly comfortable for short trips. For long trips it does get a bit tiring. The gauges are well laid out and easy to read both during the day and at night. The instrument cluster has a tachometer, water temp, trip odometer and then warning lights for all the other engine vitals. The glove box is lockable for any valuables you may want to lock up. There is also a standard drivers side air bag, but no passenger air bag. I purchased a shell for my truck, they are easily found since these trucks were made for so long. This was the last year of the hard-body style truck before they went to the plastic-covered frontier. They are well made (I do not believe they have any recalls) and will run and run forever. As far as gas mileage I get about 15-20 mpg, which is mostly my 5-mile drive to work, on the freeway this truck gets about 25-30. It’s not the greatest mileage for a 4 cylinder engine, but they sacrificed gas mileage for reliability and simplicity, and my opinion it’s a good compromise. I also have a vehicle that gets 50-mpg, but it’s broken down and parked in the garage.
Well after some problems with the battery I finally realized I would have to change the alternator (It went slowly and didn't leave me stranded at least). It was kind of pricey, but a fairly easy job. It was the first thing (other than belts) that needed replaced on this truck. And while I was at it I replaced the 9 year old hoses, which were still in great condition. I like to keep my engine clean and probably got some solvent in the alternator since I saw some corrosion in it, so I don't even blame this one on the truck. After the alternator change it's back to being the same old reliable truck again.
This truck has now close to 150,000 and is still going strong. The interior is starting to show its age, but it is parked outside in 110+ heat during the summer. The power steering low-pressure hoses starting leaking, which caused the A/C belt to glaze, but after fixing the hose then replacing the A/C belt the A/C is working great as usual. At 150,000 miles, the only things that have been replaced on this truck are hoses, belts, alternator, and the washer fluid pump ($15). I thought the carrier bearing was going out, but I changed the transmission and differential oil, which was low, and the noise went away. I have outgrown this truck and plan to buy an F-250 or F-350 later this year, but you can bet I will keep driving it as a daily driver back and forth to work for at least a few more years.
Amount Paid (US$):
1997Model and Options:
LX, 2WD, Manual Transmission, Bedliner