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I have a 1997 Nissan Pathfinder I am about to buy with engine problems? Answered

The guy I am about to buy the truck off of says one day he drove it somewhere and when he went to leave it would not start. He had it looked at and the guy said that the motor is not getting enough compression to start. Does anyone know what that might be? Also does anyone know around what I should pay for it?


I forgot to mention after a dry compression test do a wet one pour 1 OZ of 50 weight oil in the cilinders and do the compression test again. If the compression goes up to an acceptable level it is the rings, if there is little or no difference it is the valves.

If it is the rings you might as well rebuild or replace the engine.


You should pay $200.oo

That way if the truck is only worth scrap you get your money back.

As to not enough compression.

That can be valves rings or a number other different things, valves is the most common but you could be looking at a new or rebuilt engine.

Pull all the spark plugs.

Do a compression test you should be able to get the tester for $30 to $40.

All the cilinders should be 120 PSI + and each reading should be within 25 PSI.

Hot compression tests are best however if you are getting 115 PSI and all the cilinders are the same on a cold compression test it is not the compression the trubble is else where.



4 years ago

I think your first option should be to have someone who KNOWS what they are doing to check it out. In other words have a good mechanic look at it. It might cost you a few dollars but it could save you a lot more. A good mechanic can tell a lot just from the way it sounds when it cranks. To be fair don't tell him you are going to hire him to fix it. All you want is an evaluation and maybe a guess as to what fixing it might cost both is someone else does it or if you do it.

The point of me buying the truck would be to fix It up myself for the experience. I have a 99 pathfinder already I am just making this my toy truck lol so I was asking opinions about how much I should offer him.

So what you are talking about then is a "parts car" or salvage. Many insurance companies have a basic salvage rate that they pay for totaled cars. For an older car its often around $300. This is what they would pay to a salvage yard. Keep in mind that for the insurance company this includes things like disposal fees. In other words how much would it cost for this piece of junk to go away and I will pay you a little more so if somebody wants parts from it you can make some cash. Call a wrecking yard and ask them what a parts car would cost you. I am guessing around 500. Some places have much higher prices than others. An insurance company adjuster might also have an idea as to the worth.

Basically at this point though the best price is however little the current owner is willing to sell it for. Having the other numbers to throw around makes for good dickering points.


4 years ago

Check the Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds.com value of the vehicle as if the engine were in good condition. Then estimate the cost of repairs (parts and labor,) deduct that from the Blue Book value and use that total as your baseline. I wouldn't exceed that by any more than 10%.
Roughly, a 97 Pathfinder sells for $3000 + or - and a 3.3 L V-6 replacement engine will run from $500 to $1500 depending on whether you get a used or rebuilt engine (short block.)

Thanks!!! I want to fix the truck up and make it into a badass offroad machine lol

If your lucky it only needs a new head gasket. Which if it hasn't been replaced even once in the car's life then that is something that needs to be done. Pretty much every rubber and plastic gasket in that vehicle is falling apart at this point and may need to be replaced. At worst the engine is worn out and needs to be rebuilt.

I would venture to guess the new engine would cost around $3000 and the car isn't worth much more than that even if it was in good condition. Unless you have a pressing need for a pathfinder i wouldn't bother with it.

yeah I figured I would have to replace all that stuff that's why I am buying it. I want to learn how to fix up old trucks and I seen engine rebuild kits for the pathfinder for 400 and for a engine with 80k miles on it runs $800 for a new is about $1400. I am not planning to make money on it or anything I just want a truck that I can play around with and take it off road without worrying about breaking it.

Compression failure sometimes happens in poorly maintained engines when a piston ring seizes into the piston