2012 Nissan Xterra

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GMJohnny
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Re: 2012 Nissan Xterra

Postby GMJohnny » Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:48 pm

7917.... There's some used up beer cans in the back, and a "Doors" cd in the
cd player.... ??????

GM

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Basement Paul
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Re: 2012 Nissan Xterra

Postby Basement Paul » Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:19 pm

Nothing like "Riders on the Storm" when you're touring the Jungle.

-BP

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MostMint
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Re: 2012 Nissan Xterra

Postby MostMint » Fri Apr 07, 2017 7:47 am

Faces come out of the rain, when you're strange
[quote="Basement Paul"]Is that a mint rocketship on the hood?? :shock:
-BP[/quote]

AKROVER
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Re: 2012 Nissan Xterra

Postby AKROVER » Thu May 04, 2017 12:20 pm

I returned from Australia and checked out my old vehicle. The years are starting to show, even though the miles are still low. GM Johnny is having it serviced and inspected for me while I am on vacation in South Dakota. The only things I accomplished in my week in Ohio were putting on the license plates, filling it up with gas, and buying some cleaning supplies (that I haven’t even used yet). On the drive to the gas station, the engine felt as smooth and powerful as ever. The idiot light was on, but it wasn’t affecting performance so I left that for the mechanic to read. The tires seem more worn than they should for such limited mileage so I expect I will replace them before winter. The vehicle felt a little squirrelly, but GM reminded me that we didn’t check tire pressure before hopping in and that I have spent the last two years driving small cars with relatively sharp handling.

I am contemplating my options for adding some electronics. The Nissan is pretty basic and I really got used to having a screen on my dashboard in Australia. My portable Garmin unit is pretty old, but it isn’t tiny and they did make an adaptor cable that plugs into the OBD port (obsolete, but I think I can find one). That adds an information screen/trip computer that is pretty cool. I think I could figure out a more permanent installation for that unit, although that would likely require drilling the dash. I don’t know if a backup camera is an option for that unit, though, and I have become somewhat dependent on those. In the US, it probably isn’t as important as we don’t have to parallel park very often, but I do like the additional confirmation that there is nothing behind the vehicle when backing up. There are full-blown aftermarket electronics available, but those systems get a little pricey for a five year old vehicle.

I renewed the plates. The new plates were only good until the end of June and I just don’t think I will be in a position to transfer the title and registration to New York by that point in time. It was a painful $130 expenditure since I suspect I will only need about a month of that 12 month registration.

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GMJohnny
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Re: 2012 Nissan Xterra

Postby GMJohnny » Wed May 10, 2017 9:04 am

I've contacted the mechanic and the Nissan should be going in for it's service work tonight.
I gave him a list of things to do and told him to treat it as if it were a little old lady's truck
and she was going on a trip to California. I told him it was basically a blank check, and spend
away!!!

GM

AKROVER
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Re: 2012 Nissan Xterra

Postby AKROVER » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:38 am

We are now in Buffalo and have already signed up to rent a townhouse that has a two-car garage so it will be nice to be able to occasionally crawl under a vehicle again. My shipping and receiving department (GM and wife) came through big time for me, delivering the Nissan to Paul Carson for some basic services. He did full synthetic oil and differential fluids (differentials showed no signs of water intrusion). He also did a brake inspection, turned the rotors, and cleaned things up. Whatever he did to lubricate the leaf springs seems to have eliminated the annoying squeak. The truck has been driving great and got better than 20 MPG on the drive up to Buffalo with a little bit of around town driving mixed in. That is about the best I can expect from this thing.

Before leaving Cleveland, I did finally wash and wax the exterior and cleaned up the interior. The underneath still needs to be cleaned up more as it has been caked with dirt and mud and there is some rust starting down there. Underneath the hood could also use a little more cleaning as the mud from the streets of Brazzaville got everywhere. The roof is still pretty grimy, particularly underneath the storage compartment on the roof rack, but no one is tall enough to see any of that. I bought one of those expensive little color-matched touch up pens and it works OK, but it is really hard to create a smooth finish on smaller marks. The scratches on top of the tailgate looked worse than they were as there was no oxidation really happening there, but an inexplicable tiny mark on the rear driver’s side door was oxidizing. Hopefully I got that cleaned up and sealed up adequately. The tires looked really chalky until I sprayed them with some Tire Wet. There is no cracking yet, but I am planning to replace them before winter. From a distance the old truck looks pretty good right now, but it is far from perfect.

The original wipers are still working, although they sound a little rough, particularly when there isn’t much water on the windshield. The spare set I took to Africa was still in the rear storage compartment (things often get stolen in shipment so that was good). I probably should just put the new ones on and be done with it.

I still need to replace the cabin filter, but I am not experiencing any air flow issues or odors so that isn’t a priority.

I checked my clutch pedal safety switch repair and realized that my temporary fix wasn’t as bad as I remembered. It originally had a hard plastic snap-in piece that made contact with the switch at the bottom of the pedal stroke and I replaced that with a steel bolt that I merely padded over with a little duct tape (I knew there was duct tape involved, but I forgot there was a bolt, too). It actually feels fine and works fine so I am not sure I really want to buy an OEM plastic piece to replace a steel bolt. I suspect pedal travel is reduced by a few mm since the bolt head is probably thicker than the plastic had been, but I am pretty sure the clutch is still completely disengaged when the pedal bottoms out.

Yesterday I changed insurance over to New York. As expected, our insurance cost went up over 50%, but it still isn’t too bad.

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GMJohnny
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Re: 2012 Nissan Xterra

Postby GMJohnny » Sat Jun 10, 2017 5:50 am

It seems like the warehouse time and Africa dirt didn't do much to harm the Nissan.
It was a good call to keep it!!

GM

AKROVER
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Re: 2012 Nissan Xterra

Postby AKROVER » Sat Jul 15, 2017 2:39 pm

I have a home. I have a garage. I have a work area. For the first time in seven years, I can actually work with tools in a comfortable environment again.

Yesterday I completed two minor Nissan projects. I mounted a bar in the cargo area with two bicycle mounts on it. The Nissan is big enough to put bicycles inside, provided I take off the front wheels. Since Kris has been talking about riding her bicycles again, something we really haven’t done in the last five years, I thought I better be reasonably prepared to transport them somewhere. The Nissan has a pretty slick track system for securing cargo so I was able to just strap the bar down to the hooks that come with that.

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I also permanently mounted my GPS. That required removing a panel from the top of the dash and drilling a couple holes in it. It is nice not having wires running down the front of the dash anymore or having a suction cup that sometimes just lets go of the windshield. It felt good drilling holes in a dashboard again. I am still plugging the power cord into the cigarette lighter for now as I didn’t want to cut the wires and the plug on the cord actually houses a power convertor so it wouldn’t be that simple anyway.

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Over the weekend, I got my windshield wipers put on. I still hadn’t bothered putting my spare set on because the original wipers were still working. On Sunday, I was told the Nissan would fail the New York State inspection if it didn’t have new wipers so I told the inspector I already had a new set in the back of the vehicle and the inspector actually then installed them for me.

That also means I put on New York license plates. I am officially a New Yorker. What have I done?

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I also put on an EZPass transmitter since we live just a couple miles from 90 and it is a toll road through most of New York. I tested it out for the first time on Wednesday. They are hideous plastic boxes stuck to the windshield, but I can’t actually see it from the driver’s seat because it is behind the rear view mirror and it is really nice not to have to completely stop at the toll booths.

A few weeks ago, I bought a set of valve stem covers. I was boring and opted for the plain black plastic, a missed opportunity for some serious customization. I suspect the storage facility took them all off to check the tire pressures and failed to put them back on as there were none on the vehicle when it arrived. Or maybe GM stole them.

I lined some of the storage bins, one on the dash and two in the center console, with drawer liner. The Nissan interior is entirely cheap hard plastic so even loose change rattles and slides. The woven drawer liner stuff usually is pretty sticky. We had it in the cupboards of the trailer and it really kept things from sliding all over the place. I also had to forcefully peel it up when I was cleaning up the trailer to sell it so I was expecting this stuff to stick pretty well to the hard plastic, but it is sliding around a little. It actually looks pretty nice, the dark woven soft material providing a little contrast in the sea of hard plain grey plastic, and it does stop stuff from sliding around and rattling, but if it doesn’t stick better, I might have to find a better solution as it annoys me when it is bunched up.

The truck is running great. I am enjoying driving it, but it is a difficult transition switching back and forth between it and the Mazda. I forgot the challenges of owning two different manual transmission vehicles. I also always thought the Nissan handled decently, but with a direct comparison available, I now know it really isn’t good. The Mazda doesn’t care how hard you turn the wheel while the Nissan fights me if I try to take a corner even a little aggressively. I also hit a bump on a cloverleaf the other day and was reminded that the rear suspension is still very much old school. It is almost like driving an old Mustang.

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GMJohnny
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Re: 2012 Nissan Xterra

Postby GMJohnny » Sat Jul 15, 2017 11:07 pm

The valve stem covers look sweet on my Kubota. I figured you'd blame it on the storage
facility, so I helped myself to them. It's good to see you working on vehicles again. Perhaps this
stint in the states will make you want to get an old Triumph or Mustang again.

GM

AKROVER
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Laser guided Nissan

Postby AKROVER » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:02 pm

Even BP’s truck isn’t laser guided, so this has got to be cool - well, maybe not.

Our garage is a nice deep garage at 24 feet, but I like having room to work and we need to store a lot of gear out there so precise parking of the vehicles is a goal. The Mazda was easy since it is a low vehicle that is driven in forward. I simply drilled a hole in a chunk of 2X4, inserted a thin piece of flexible dowel rod, and stapled a flag on top. Even my wife is getting the hang of pulling in just until the flag moves. The parts cost me 72 cents, including tax, a reasonable investment toward the goal. A couple of permanent marker lines on the floor allow me to periodically verify that the stop flag hasn’t moved, but the dowel rod would probably break before it would move the 2X4.

The Nissan presented a bigger challenge because I back in and if I go too far, I can’t open the rear hatch because it hits the bicycles. If I don’t back up far enough, I can’t get around the front of the vehicle with the garage door closed. I began with the idea of building a set of staging lights, thinking it would be a cool thing to have and I could ‘deep stage’ when I wanted more access to the engine compartment, but the parts were getting too expensive and I really need to keep the center aisle between the vehicles clear so the design was getting too complicated.
The typical tennis ball on a string doesn’t work too well when you back in and then need to open the tailgate. I really liked the idea of using a beam of light to precisely locate my vehicle and there are some attachments to garage door openers available that do that, but those are really expensive, like $30. I started thinking about how to use one of the two old laser pointers that we long ago bought to torture the cat, but the batteries were dead and I just couldn’t see spending more for replacement batteries than I originally paid for the laser pointer WITH a set of batteries (I think that is the reason we have two of them). The dollar store came through for me. I found a pack of four batteries for the everything’s-a-dollar price (the laser only needs three). I bought two packs, just in case some were bad (and for a buck, maybe I will try torturing the old cat again with the other laser).

The mounting took a lot of creative energy – well more of a digging-through-my-junk-bins energy, the source of most of my real creativity. I ended up with an oversized binder clip from my office supplies bin and clipped it to the visor. When I flip the visor down to a roughly 90 degree position, the laser points squarely out the driver’s window. A license plate hung decoratively on the wall indicates barely in (the leading edge of the plate), my ideal placement (the center of the plate), and provides the ability to measure out a little more room up front for minor maintenance tasks. I originally mounted the laser to the binder clip with velcro, but when Kris got in the truck and I told her “check this out”, I reached up to push the button and the laser wasn’t there, just a sticky piece of velcro (doh!). Since my 20 year old adhesive velcro wasn’t going to stick to the round laser well enough, I abandoned that plan and drilled four holes in the binder clip. Electrical ties now securely hold the laser which provided a bonus improvement in precision over the velcro. Since the binder clip, laser, and ties are all black, it actually looks…well, it looks OK.
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Now I simply flip the visor down as I back into the garage, press the laser button, and watch until the dot of light lands on the Alaska flag in the middle of the plate on the wall, precision parking, easily within an inch. I am literally laser guided and it cost me $2.18 (NY sales tax is outrageous, but I have spare batteries). And laser guided just sounds cool.
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Sorry the laser dot didn't photograph well. It looks brighter in real life.

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GMJohnny
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Re: 2012 Nissan Xterra

Postby GMJohnny » Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:10 am

This is a great invention. The actual precision of your parking is based on getting the visor at exactly
the correct angle. Is there a way to mount a protractor on the window pillar to get the exact precision
that the rest of the world would demand? Or perhaps a "visor travel limiter" that acts as a stop so it
always is in the correct position when you are up against it? Precision is important you know.

GM

AKROVER
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Re: 2012 Nissan Xterra

Postby AKROVER » Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:26 am

I was worried about that contribution to error when I first flipped down the visor. I devised a method to solve the problem. I simply open the mirror on the visor and adjust the visor until my eyes sit just about in the middle of the mirror. That is actually a pretty repeatable position, as long as I don't slouch, but it turns out that moving the visor doesn't actually move the dot that far until the visor is very visibly out of vertical so in practice, I don't even open the mirror to adjust the visor. Visibly vertical is good enough, within less than an inch of variation with my judgment. But I do agree that such obvious potential for error reduces the marketability of my invention. I guess this won't be my road to riches.

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Basement Paul
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Re: 2012 Nissan Xterra

Postby Basement Paul » Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:26 am

A tiny level is in your more accurate future:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Three-2-Axis-13 ... SwxH1T4mlY

-BP

AKROVER
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Re: 2012 Nissan Xterra

Postby AKROVER » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:06 am

The Nissan is approaching 11,000 miles. Our 2012 vehicle now has less miles than our 2017. Two weekends ago, the battery finally quit. It was an ugly mess with the positive terminal completely corroded off, but at least that was just a terminal that connected to a larger power distribution plate. The terminal might have been the entire problem, but I replaced the five year old battery, anyway.

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I have been using a Bluetooth OBDII device that communicates to my smart phone. I downloaded the Torque app and, other than my distaste for paying for apps that I know I could write myself, I am really happy with it. The app was only $5 and it would have taken me many months to program something evenly remotely similar so the value in dollars per hour saved is enormous. I do wish I had written that app a few years ago, though, as the number of $5 downloads represents a ton of money that could have been mine (well, maybe not, it is a pretty good app). The OBDII transmitter was only $12 on Amazon.

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The Torque app provides lots of diagnostic tools including code scanning and data logging, but the cooler thing for me is the real time data. There is a huge list of data values that can be displayed in a number of different ways on the screen. It does provide some really nice trip data, something I find useful in monitoring my progress when on a longer drive. I am still trying to organize the data I like to look at across the numerous screens that are available, but the app is remarkably flexible in setting it up to your own desires. Data can be shown as a gauge with a numerical readout, just a numerical readout, or even a 10 second graph. Some of the readout options will include resettable min and max numbers. Theoretically, you could put your entire dashboard on the screen, but a smart phone is a bit small so anything more than six pieces of data starts to get harder to see.

The app includes a couple of dangerous features. Since it is running on a smart phone, it also has access to GPS data. Combining the GPS data with the OBDII data provides a portable drag strip. It will record 0-30mph, 0-60mph, 1/8 mile, and ¼ miles times. It even estimates horsepower provided you have input your vehicle weight correctly. Of course I don’t have a place where I can run even full 0-60 so these features are merely encouragement to be foolish, something I haven’t totally succumbed to yet. The accuracy seems pretty good, but it won’t necessarily identify the actual start time in exactly the same way that the staging lights do. There is also probably a little delay in the data stream, but I doubt that amounts to even a tenth.

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The other dangerous feature is that it ties into the accelerometers in the phone. You can actually graph acceleration, including lateral. The signal is a little noisy as the bumps in the road show up, but you can really see on a graph if you made a good stop, turn, start, or shift. You can even see how high your peak was. I find it addicting to try to smooth out my driving. A simple turn or stop should just be a nice bell shaped curve, but a lot of drivers will put multiple humps on those, something that makes me insane as a passenger. It turns out that I put more second humps on than I would like to admit. This feature works even without the OBDII transmitter. The acceleration data can also be shown on a gauge with min and max numbers, if that is all you want to see.

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The accelerometers also mean that there is an option for pitch and roll displays, something that can be very useful while offroading. I had tried unsuccessfully to install a mechanical roll gauge while in Africa to help keep me out of trouble, although I really don’t know the limits of this particular vehicle. The pitch and roll displays look very accurate and are nicely damped so they don’t jitter with bumps and turns.

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The dollar store came through in mounting my smart phone. I bought a USB power unit, a long USB cable, and a selfie stick, each for a dollar. The head of the selfie stick, the spring loaded phone holder, simply unscrewed from the ¼-20 threads on the end of the stick. I then figured out a way to attach that to an adjustable wedge that slides into the tilt column. Since I don’t really move the column on a regular basis, it simply wedges in there and holds the phone right on top of the column. The wedge can be adjusted for different column positions if I ever decide to change. The phone does block some of the dash, about a third (camera angles look worse), but since it can show almost all the same readouts, that isn’t a major problem. I am still playing with the mounting location, but for now, I have data.

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We took the Nissan camping this past weekend and it really is a good utility vehicle. The cargo volume made it easy to stay organized on a rainy weekend. The dirt roads we explored didn’t really challenge the vehicle, but it is nice to be driving something with big soft tires and friendly shocks in those conditions again. Two years with low profile tires on a station wagon in often rugged road conditions followed by a month in South Dakota taking the Mazda often on unpaved made me forget that not all vehicles rattle your fillings loose on rough surfaces.

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