Daily Driving a Supercharged Xterra: Its First Major Fault

So about four months ago I bought an ‘02 Nissan Xterra SE SC because of some things that happened with another Nissan I owned. But that’s in the past now. So far my little Xterra has been an absolute dream despite having 270,000kms and averaging fuel economy figures comparable to a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. The only real issue I had was an EVAP system issue, which was a result of some idiot wiring in trailer lights, then cutting them, and leaving the live wires to short out and burn through the EVAP system harness. Other than that, everything was peachy; until today that is.


You see, I commute approximately 180km round trip every day, from just outside the GTA to Pearon Airport (YYZ). That’s plenty of time for things to go catastrophically wrong with a 13 year old Nissan that’s logged 270,000kms. Especially one with a whirly box bolted to the top of its ancient 3.3L V6. Over the last few days the truck had developed an odd, and random misfire. Today, that random misfire turned into a pronounced, and continuous misfire. To the point that it would buck, cough, sputter and die at red lights. My first thought? Every VG33-powered Nissan ever has the distributor fail. It’s like a right of passage. Simple fix, just swap out the distributor. But it wasn’t that, it was what greeted me when I opened up the old distributor. The entire thing was FILLED with metal shavings, packed full. But once I got to the bearing, that’s what surprised me; half of the ball bearings were MIA. turned into tiny metal filings, the whole bearing was bone dry. I could barely turn the distributor by hand.

Illustration for article titled Daily Driving a Supercharged Xterra: Its First Major Fault

She runs like a champ now, I’m just shocked it was able to cough and chug along with the distributor as mangled as it was. But hey, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about the Nissan VG V6, it’s this: It’ll run like an absolute bag of shit, but it won’t die. unless you snap the timing belt like everyone eventually does.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter