Potential faults on the Nissan Navara 2.5
Take note of these Navara 2.5 issues
When discussing the Nissan Navara and the possible issues it may have in stall for you, it is important to present them on a platform suitable for that purpose. We at our SAC Service Centres hope to create such a platform, but before we do so, we want to make it clear that the issues presented here are real issues, as experienced by owners of Nissan Navara 2.5 vehicles. To add to this, we at no means intend to instill fear in you when sharing these experiences. This article is purely informative; it is our wish that it may enable you to identify possible issues beforehand. Prevention, at the end of the day, is far better than cure. This article furthermore do not imply that you WILL experience any or all of these issues, but there is a possibility that you MAY. It is also important to keep in mind that owner behaviour (maintenance or the lack thereof, and your style of driving) and the roads on which you daily drive, may differently affect the behaviour of two similar vehicles, as will become evident during the discussions that will follow.
Nissan Navara Generations
Let us model that platform by sharing a little bit of Navara background. The Navara derived its name from the Navarre region of northern Spain where it was built at the Nissan factory in Barcelona. Since 2012, the bulk of Navara manufacturing moved to Thailand. Navara is the name for three generations of Nissan bakkies, the D22, the D40 and the D23. The 2.5 Navara will be our focus for the purpose of this discussion, and you may note, as shown below, that Navara bakkies with these engines was manufactured in all three of these generations.
D22 (1997 – 2004)
- Navara 2.5 liter – TD25 i4 [diesel]
- Navara 2.5 liter – YD25DDTi i4 [turbo diesel]
- Navara 2.5 liter – QR25DE i4 [petrol]
- Navara 2.5 liter – YD25DDTi i4 [turbo diesel]
- Navara 2.5 liter – QR25DE i4 [petrol]
- Navara 2.5 liter – YD25DDTi i4 [turbo diesel]
Even though the Nissan Navara is mostly considered to be a tried and tested vehicle, it seems as if owners of Navara bakkies fitted with the YD25DDTi diesel engines (especially the ones in the D22 and D40 generations) experience the bulk of issues. In fact, the GDL Auto blog names the Nissan Navara in the D40 generation as one of ten vehicles you should never buy. It is easy to say that something is so and so, it is easy to badmouth something or someone, so let us not take that allegation on face value, but let us rather verify or dispel it by directing our attention to what others say about this vehicle and in particular, this engine type.
Our journey will start with the Australian Car Review, who presented the numerous recalls of Nissan Navara D40 bakkies between the periods 2006 and 2014. These recalls happens whenever the potential of injury caused by a manufacturing fault or defect, is detected. Every recall affected vehicles between a certain sequence of vehicle identification numbers (VIN); the numbers affected for each recall will not be mentioned here; feel free to visit the Australian Car Review site mentioned in the list of sources for this purpose. We will now look at these recalls, but before we do that, please do keep in mind that some of these recalls are more than a decade old, so the point of this exercise is purely to substantiate the premise made that the D40 generation Navara is a vehicle with many issues. After having gone through the recalls, we will divert our attention to common issues as experienced by owners themselves.
Nissan Navara Recalls
Here then are the list of recalls made since 2006, so get comfortable because this may be a lengthy exercise.
Steering Shaft – Recalled February 2006
There were problems with the fitment of the lower steering shaft. The shaft can become detached and this will result in a loss of steering control.
Rear Wheel Bearings – Recalled May-Aug 2006
The rear wheel bearings may experience excessive wear and this may lead to noise from the rear axle. If this is ignored, the bearings could fail and cause the shaft assembly to become detached from the axle. This may cause serious damage and injury.
Braking Performance: Non-ABS Bakkies – Recalled October 2006
The relay box bracket, intended for vehicles with ABS specification, was also assembled in vehicles without ABS; interference between this bracket and the rear brake pipe in the engine compartment may affect braking performance.
Bonnet May Open While Driving – Recalled May 2010
Vibrations may cause the hood striker loop to separate from the hood and damage the hood latch assembly. If the hood is not securely latched, it could unexpectedly open while driving. Imagine the havoc it may create.
Engine May Stall and Not Restart – Recalled October 2010
Nissan Navara vehicles sold prior to June 2006, had ignition relay problems. The relay contacts within the power distribution module shown the tendency to become contaminated with a build-up of silicon dioxide; this could cause poor conduction at the relay contacts and result in the engine stalling and failing to restart.
Towbar: Chassis Frame Rail May Crack – Recalled April 2013
It was found that the attachment points on the towbar – over time – could exert excessive stress upon the chassis frame rails. This may cause cracks at the end of the rails, or in extreme cases, bend sections of the chassis rails around the towbar attachment points.
Seatbelts May Be Swapped – Recalled December 2013
The seatbelts on the left and right sides may have been swapped, so in the event of a collision, this could affect restraint performance and present a serious risk of injury to the occupants.
Airbag Inflator Housing May Rupture – Recalled March 2016
The propellant tablets in the airbag inflators in Navara vehicles manufactured in Thailand between 2008 and 2014, may absorb moisture over time. This could create excessive internal pressure on deployment of the airbag and result in the rupture of the inflator, causing metal fragments to scatter. This could be harmful to the occupants of the vehicle.
Extended Ball Joints (Performance Suspension) – Recalled May 2016
In some cases, the ball joints may fail. If the ball joints separate while the vehicle is in motion, the suspension may fail, posing a serious safety hazard to the occupants of the vehicle and other road users.
This concludes the highlighting of the recalls, and we have to emphasize again that if your vehicle does not fall within the parameters mentioned at the beginning of this discussion, then there is no need for concern. If however it does, then the reasonable thing to do is to bring your vehicle to your nearest SAC Service Centre, and let us have it thoroughly checked.
Nissan Navara 2.5 Potential Faults
We will now move on to the section where we look at possible faults with the Nissan Navara 2.5. The potential Navara 2.5 issues, causes and fixes discussed here, are based on owner experiences and online sources, and as such, it should solely serve for reference purposes; if you suspect an issue, we recommend that a qualified mechanic and/or technician carry out repairs and/or modifications on your vehicle.
Timing Chain Stretch.
The timing chain of the YD25DDTi engine (especially in the D40 generation) has a tendency to stretch. The timing chain guides and the vacuum pump timing chain sprocket and shaft may also exhibit wear and/or damage. Timing chains in all engines undergo wear because they are moving parts; however, with this specific engine the factory chain configuration is inadequate for the work it must perform. Premature wear in the chains is a direct result of this. A faulty timing chain may cause the valves and pistons to collide, causing serious engine damage. The recommendation is to replace the simplex timing chain and tensioners before 100 000 kilometres and have it inspected every 40 000 kilometres thereafter. Double-row timing chain kits give greater longevity and may overcome premature wear and failure of the single-row timing chain. Visit us here if you want to read more about the timing chain.
Coolant Leak – Exhaust Gas Reticulation (EGR).
In the YD25DDTi engine of the Nissan Navara D40, the EGR cooler may corrode or split internally or around its flanged ends, causing a coolant leakage. Due to the heat of the exhaust system, the coolant may evaporate and you will not be able to see any pooling beneath the vehicle. Because of this, regularly check your vehicle’s coolant level and check for any stains around the EGR pipe and cooler. The loss of coolant may cause the engine to overheat and damage the cylinder head gasket.
Exhaust Gas Temperature Sensor – Limp Mode
In the Nissan Navara D40, 2.5-litre, the sensor for the exhaust gas temperature is prone to failure. This can cause the engine to enter limp mode in order to prevent possible overheating of the turbocharger. Nissan released revised exhaust gas temperature sensors that may be distinguished by their part number having a ‘B’ as a suffix. If you experience power loss and your vehicle go into limp mode, then you may consider having the sensor checked. It is also advisable to check your fuel pressure valves and pump because a lack in fuel pressure may also put your vehicle in limp mode.
The cause for a Nissan D40 Navara exhibiting noise and/or vibrations from the drive shaft, may be wheel related, it may also be the prop-shaft universal joints or, for automatic models, the torque converter. If you are uncertain about the specific cause, then you should do what the most owners do, start at the universal joints. Follow the safe route and have it inspected whenever you experience this kind of vibration.
Front Suspension Noise
A clunking, squeaking, popping sound from the front suspension in the Nissan Navara D40, especially when turning the steering wheel to either side, when driving over speed bumps, on rough roads, or during acceleration and deceleration, can be caused by wear of the front stabilizer bar bushings. Have these verified as the fault and have them replaced.
There are numerous complaints about oil pumps on the Navara that stripped the spline on the drive shaft, resulting in a lack of oil pressure. If the hydraulic lifters and oil light came on while driving, then you may wonder whether it is the oil sensor, or maybe the oil filter or oil pickup that is blocked, or maybe even a faulty pressure regulating valve or oil pump! What usually happens is the spindle shaft wears off on the edges of the flat surfaces and just freely spin around inside the pump gear, not pumping any oil. This is dangerous and may result in damaging the turbo because of a lack of oil pressure. Be alert when it comes to oil pump issues, and remember to change that oil pump after 100 000 km.
There has been complaints that manifold cracks are common when it comes to the YD 2.5 diesel engines. The lack of exhaust gas reticulation (EGR) can elevate the cylinder temperatures and in extreme cases, it can raise the temperatures enough to warp the head and blow a hole in a piston. The cylinder head is made of alloy; the exhaust manifold is usually cast iron. Excessive vibration may cause the intake manifold to crack. The exhaust manifold could also easily crack if it were dunked in water, for example if you go through a deep river crossing – the turbocharger can also be affected by this. Make sure to inspect the manifold frequently to ensure there are no cracks present.
If the power on your 2.5 dCi (2013) all of a sudden cuts out, it may be that the boost controller is acting up or that you may have a faulty actuator. Inspect the actuator for a loose connection or a loose actuator arm. If any of these are present, rectify it.
On the topic of the turbo, there are many complaints that the Navara have extreme turbo lag when the engine is cold. The suggestion is that, with the pipes cold, there is not enough vacuum to operate the variable valve. There may also be something wrong with the control box that operates the variable valve timing. Whichever is the case, if you experience turbo lag then bring your vehicle to us, we specialise in vehicle maintenance, repairs and upgrades. Feel free to read more about the turbo here.
So many Navara owners complain about clutch slipping and clutch failure. Some had their clutches changed twice, others as much as three times, and then you get the owners who can boast of having driven more than 193 000 km without a single clutch issue. Apparently, there was a batch of bad clutches, but Nissan replaced them. It also seems as if the clutch problems are more prominent with the diesel Navara bakkies than with the petrol ones. What helped was a reprogramming of the ECU to limit the amount of power it pushes out in order to protect the clutch. This smoothed out the gradient while leaving peak powers untouched. We should also not exclude driver error whenever we discuss clutch issues. Whether the clutch gives you 80 000 km or 200 000 km, always ensure that you are aware of clutch related issues. Read our article on clutches for more information on its maintenance and care.
Cracked Firewall – Clutch Not Engaging.
The Nissan Navara D40 seems particularly susceptible to cracks in the firewall around the clutch master cylinder. This may be due to the forces exerted on the firewall when the body flexes. These cracks will prevent the clutch from engaging.
Dual Mass Flywheel
If you experience a light vibration that eventually turned into a shake, then it is possible that there is a loose ring on the dual mass flywheel. Some owners opted for a solid flywheel, but not everyone seemed to be equally happy with the result, so many eventually reverted back to the dual mass flywheel. Others opted for a dual mass flywheel clutch kit, and that seemed to iron out the issue.
If you experience excessive black smoke when accelerating, jerking and extremely rowdy injectors (as if a tappet is going to pop out or injectors are about to crack), then you may experience injector problems. Consider bleeding the injectors and/or have the computer reset. You may also consider recalibrating the diesel pump and injectors. Feel free to read more about the injectors here.
We do not underwrite the following advice, so in the event of you embracing this, then be sure to do so on your own volition. Many vehicle owners add 1 cup of 2-stroke oil (2SO) in every tank; they say it makes the engine more silent and it gives better economy. The adding of 2SO seems to be a popular option, and you may visit the link available under 4×4 Community (given in the list of resources) if you want to read more about owner experiences in this regard. Here, especially from post 08 onwards, it is argued that if you use a decent 2SO, it will help to grease the moving parts of the high-pressure pump and injectors, and make the injectors quieter. The diesel will also burn cleaner and delay clogging of the diesel particulate filter (DPF). As in most cases, there are usually two sides to a story. Before you consider adding 2SO to your diesel/fuel, do yourself a favour and visit this site for a substantive, peer-reviewed study done to date that does not rely on anecdotal evidence. Here the Fuel Expert address the question whether you should add 2SO to a diesel engine or not, and concludes that you should never do that. It is argued that 2SO is designed for 2-stroke engines, not 4-stroke engines, and that using 2SO in the latter may cause complications. If you have both sides of the story, you may then decide for yourself which path to take – the 2SO or the non-2SO one. We reiterate the point that if you decide to use 2SO, you do it on your own terms.
Fuelling Issues – Blocked CAT
If you experience a considerable drop in average fuel efficiency (as much as 3 km/l less than usual), then it may be that, among other things, your catalytic converter (CAT) is blocked. A blocked CAT will also impede your vehicle’s acceleration and ability to start. If these symptoms present themselves, or when the check engine light goes on, then be sure to have the CAT inspected.
4×4 Not Engaging
If the 4wd indicator stays permanently illuminated and nothing happens when you engage the 4×4 setting, then you should consider checking (and if necessary, replacing) the sensors on the gearbox/transfer case. If you know how to do it, then you may remove the connector on the transfer case and spray it with a good electrical contact cleaner. This may rectify the issue. It may also be that the wiring loom and/or the actuator need replacement. Sometimes water may leak into the breather pipe and cause corrosion in the motor. Finally, always ensure that your vehicle is not in gear when you change the selector from 2wd to 4wd.
If you experience smoke bulging from the tailpipe, especially when accelerating, then it is likely that you need to inspect the air filter and/or clean the mass airflow sensor. A faulty exhaust gas reticulation (EGR) valve will also do that. A faulty turbo bearing seal will create grey smoke and you will smell the burnt oil. If there is an excess of black smoke – then it is mostly unburnt fuel; grey smoke – then it is mostly oil; white smoke – then it is mostly water or brake fluid.
Stalling – Battery
If your vehicle keeps cutting out, then the first thing running through your mind may be a faulty fuel injector, a faulty turbo, or an ECU failure. One owner had the following experience. While driving, the dashboard lights flickered on and off, and all power to the vehicle was suddenly lost. The vehicle refused to start, but eventually it did. Later, during an inspection of the engine and the battery, it was found that the battery tie down (hold down) had worked itself loose, causing the battery to shift. During an uphill drive, everything was fine, but as soon as the vehicle faced downhill, the battery shifted and that moved the positive clamp off the battery. It is always wise to check something we deem as insignificant, such as the battery, whenever you experience a stalling problem such as the one described here.
Now that we looked at the recalls and the many issues experienced by owners, it should be left up to you to agree or disagree with the statement that the Navara in the D40 generation is one of the ten vehicles you should never buy. The evidence thus far seems to weigh heavily in favour of the statement made, but we need to add a point easily overseen. The Nissan Navara 2.5 may last a long time if you treat it right. There are owners of Navara 2.5 bakkies who use their vehicles as workhorses, having more than 250 000 km on the clock, without ever experiencing a single engine problem. The secret… they service their vehicles frequently (at least every 15 000 km), some add an extra diesel filter that cleans up to 0.5 microns, and many let the vehicle idle before switching it off. The latter seems to be an important hint, doing a cool-down after driving. Warming your vehicle up before moving off and cooling it off thereafter, may help to extend the life of the turbo. The point is, even though there may be many issues, there are also vehicles without issues.
This brings us to the end of the discussion regarding possible issues on the side of the Nissan Navara 2.5. We hope that the information supplied here can be of use. At our SAC Service Centres, we specialize in vehicle repairs, maintenance and upgrades. We have branches countrywide, filled with qualified personnel and high-tech equipment to cater for your vehicle needs. Visit us for a professional and friendly experience.
Sources consulted during the writing of this article:
- 4×4 Community. 2009. Pump Diesel. Online available at: https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/showthread.php/40538-Pump-Diesel Accessed 28 Aug 2018.
- Andrews High Tech Automotive. 2016. Nissan Navara Engine Failure – Owners Beware. Online available at: https://andrewshightech.com.au/tips/nissan-navara-engine-failure-owners-beware/ Accessed 13 July 2018.
- Australian Car Review. (Undated). Recalls & Faults: Nissan D40 Navara utility (2005-14). Online available at: http://australiancar.reviews/reviews.php#!content=recalls&make=Nissan&model=Navara&gen=710 Accessed 13 July 2018.
- Burrow, Matthew. 2013. Nissan Navara engine problem. Online available at: https://www.whatcar.com/news/nissan-navara-engine-problem/ Accessed 13 July 2018.
- Fuel Expert. 2018. Adding 2 Stroke Oil to Diesel. Online available at:
- http://www.fuelexpert.co.za/2strokeoilindiesel.php Accessed 13 July 2018.
- GDL Auto Blog. (Undated). Nissan D40 Navara Review. Online available at: https://gdlauto.com.au/nissan-d40-navara-review/ Accessed 13 July 2018.
Within the above article, potential problems, causes and fixes have been identified as founded on the experience of vehicle owners and repairers, online sources such as discussion blogs, technical service bulletins and SAC experience. This information is provided solely for reference purposes. SAC strictly instruct readers that only properly qualified individuals should carry out repairs and/or modifications on your vehicles. It should also be made clear that the number of times an item is identified within this discussion should by no way be seen as an indicator of a model’s reliability or the frequency with which they may occur. Two of the exact same vehicles, owned by tow entirely different owners, driven in entirely different ways and on different terrains, and looked after in their own unique ways, will each behave differently. As mentioned, this information is provided solely for reference purposes but we hope – in the process of doing so – to empower you with relevant information which may enable you to make informative decisions whenever you experience any of the mentioned setbacks.