2002 Nissan frontier vs 2004 dodge Dakota

Davisjj8

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I’m looking at getting a new to me truck right now. Nothing fancy just something that makes it so I quit destroying the skid plate on my sedan when I want to get somewhere. I’m lookin go at these 2 in my area

2002 Nissan frontier 190k miles. No issues, very clean. Always heard awesome things about the older frontier and it looks like they’ll get 18-22 mpg which would be great for some of my purposes. (I own an asphalt sealcoating company and it would be my run around and bidding vehicle)

2004 dodge Dakota body has 190k engine is new remanufactured with 7k on it. Clean body. It’s a 4.7 v8 so it won’t get as good of gas mileage, but it looks like the towing capacity of the older Dakota is really solid for a smaller truck.

They’re both right around the same price. I’d appreciate any input from those who know more then me or have personal experiences with vehicles similar to these.

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CorbLand

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I cant comment on either of those. I did have a "friend" that had the older frontier and really liked it. He replaced it a couple years ago with a new Frontier. It was a kid that came in regularly to work and I dont work there anymore.

I am going to throw a wrench in and say for that price, you might be able to find a 1st gen Tundra. I would look for one of those.
 

bwhntMT

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Between the two, I'd go with the Nissan. I've owned 4 Nissan pick-ups (93, hardbody, 2000 Frontier, 2001 Frontier, 2022 Frontier). Never had any significant mechanical issues with any of them. The older ones were underpowered, from my experience, so towing any significant weight might be a pain. But they are good vehicles. Almost everything I've had experience with from Chrysler/Dodge is an explosion waiting to happen after 100,000 miles, even with a new engine, the exception being some of their diesels.

I am sure others have much more perspective, but that's mine, for what it's worth.
 

Weldor

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I agree on the Nissan's, under powered. If your using it for a daily driver for your business, Nissan.
 
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The Nissan is likely more reliable. Those Dakota's run poorly for a long time. Hence the remaned engine
 

LCguy

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I use a frontier and really like it. Rides well on the highway and the forest service roads.
 

Weldor

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My first Datsun 1982 extended cab, 4 cyl. 5 sp lasted 340,000 without much maintainence. I was not nice to it either. Moved up to the 1986 Nissan brand new was $8900, 4 cly, 5 spd. only got 17 mpg. Wife drove it forever. Those were my last imports. I did have a front torsion bar fall out on some rough stuff, they covered it under warranty back then.
 

Duh

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I had the 03 Dakota and it was a badass little truck. I beat the piss out of that truck and banged it off of rocks a lot. Never had an issue with the motor and had roughly between 150-170k on it. The transmission did blow out on me.

It’s not a quiet ride and that V8 wasn’t great in gas but it was sweet. The paint always fades in the hood and roof if you care about the looks.
 
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I ran my '98 Dakota for a long time but it was a v6 5speed. My parents had the 4.7 and it was nothing but trouble.

BIL has a Frontier, one of the super charged models. He had tranny issues but not much else.
 

GSPHUNTER

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If you go with the Nissan, Change the timing belt/chain if it has not been done. If it's not been done and the truck has over 125 miles it can cause major engine problem. My friends is a Nissan mech. he knows of what he speaks. Other than that, go with the Nissan.
 
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The 4.7 is a neat but flawed engine. They have water pump and head/valve seat issues. The trucks they came in aren’t all that special, of the two I’d go Nissan, but we did love our ‘06 Dakota.
 
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Gbfan

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Feb 10, 2013
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Owned an '03 Dakota quad cab, 4.7, 5-speed from '06-11. 0 issues with that truck.
 

Wellsdw

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I’ve owned 4 Nissans frontiers/and pathfinder. Took that many to learn my lesson. I Would NEVER own Another. All had bs check engine light issues that could only be solved by throwing random parts at them…. If they were ever resolved. Often times replacing new parts with newer parts.
 

87TT

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I have a 2000 Frontier with 209,000 miles on it. Just replaced the whole front suspension after breaking a control arm/ ball joint on a pothole on a dirt road. The valve cover gaskets start to leak and are a pain to change. Have changed an alternator and distributor as well as the transmission. Had the timing belt changed when I bought it at 145,000 miles 10 years ago. It has the V6 4x4 with a manual transmission. Get around 15 mpg if I’m easy on it. Won’t tow much without complaining. That said, I like it enough to keep it. I tow it behind the RV and run errands in it.
 
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I’d never buy a dodge dakota haha couple friends have cycled through em and they all had quite a bit of trouble with em. Horrible gas mileage as well


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KBC

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I wouldn’t even look at a dodge hahaha…
On the Nissan…
I had an ‘01 XterraTiming belt is expensive if you can’t do it yourself. The knock sensors are notorious for going on the Frontier/Xterras. You have to pull the intake to replace it. Valve cover gaskets as mentioned above, you also need to pull the intake to do the left side.
 

thinhorn_AK

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I have a 2000 Frontier with 209,000 miles on it. Just replaced the whole front suspension after breaking a control arm/ ball joint on a pothole on a dirt road. The valve cover gaskets start to leak and are a pain to change. Have changed an alternator and distributor as well as the transmission. Had the timing belt changed when I bought it at 145,000 miles 10 years ago. It has the V6 4x4 with a manual transmission. Get around 15 mpg if I’m easy on it. Won’t tow much without complaining. That said, I like it enough to keep it. I tow it behind the RV and run errands in it.
All valve cover gaskets are a pain in the ass in pretty much any vehicle.

I get it though, some vehicles seem more prone to that issue, I’ve thought that it’s because the engine holds heat in a specific area. Ford rangers are notorious for that issue which makes them leak/burn oil. Pretty much any valve cover gasket job these days is going to be 5-6 hours of actual work weather you do it yourself or pay somebody to do it.

The other issues with those Nissans is that the heater cores suck so you can lose heat and they won’t defrost until you are pushing the pedal. Lots of people try to replace thermostats and water pumps to fix it when in reality you need to pull the dash and deal with the heater core.

I’ve completely torn apart a Nissan Xterra chasing gremlins and never really found them. Bottom line, buy a Toyota.
 
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