2006 Nissan Quest: Blue Monster

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Lug nut torque: 83 ft-lb (112 N-m) (According to the owner's manual at courtesyparts.com page 8-42.)

Brake pad minimum thickness: 1/8"

Oil Filter

According to Fram's website, this thing takes a PH6607. However, I found this to be a hilariously tiny oil filter. In fact the guy at the auto parts store joked with me and said, "That'll be $724.31." Turns out the PH7317 also fits, and it is larger. I've been using them with no trouble. The original filter was a Nissan 15208 65F01. Oil change is much easier on this car than on the 1998 Villager/Quest. Clearance is quite a bit less under the car, however. My oil pan/tank barely fits underneath. I usually give the car a little lift with a hydraulic floor jack to make this easier.


The original pads held out pretty well to the 50,000 mile mark. Replaced the rears first at 50628 as they were down to 1/8". For both the front and rear pads, the shop manual says the minimum pad thickness is 2.0mm or .079" which is close to 3/32". The Haynes manual from 2001 says 1/8", which is certainly a safe target as you've got about 1/32" to go. It's surprising that the rears went first, but this has been experienced by others as well. The fronts were at 3/16" at 50628.

Rear Pads

The rear pads weren't too hard to replace. The most difficult bit was breaking the bolts that hold the calipers on. They clearly used some sort of thread-locking adhesive (you can see it once the bolt is completely off) so a lot of force is required. The bolts are 3/4". The last stubborn one I was able to free with a four pound sledge and a breaker bar. Another tricky bit was that the piston had to be compressed with a C-clamp twice. First to get the caliper off. Then a second time with the new inner (piston side) pad installed and a block of wood to protect it. Otherwise it was impossible to drive the piston in far enough with the worn out pad to get the caliper back on with the new pads. Fortunately the pads just slide on and off, so discovering this by trial and error wasn't too frustrating.

Some additional points from my second brake job:

Some additional points from my April 2014 rear brake job:

Front Pads

The front pad squealers started up at around 75,000 miles and 1/8". So, I replaced the pads. The inner pad squealers go on the top. Put them on first to make sure you've got the right pad. Had to remove the squealers from the outer pads to get them in. The caliper pins are different, top and bottom. The ones marked with a "G" go on the bottom (Ground?). The ones marked with an "L" and with a rubber seal (I originally thought this was metal, but on the rear pins, it's rubber) at the end go on the top ("L"? It appears to match up with the "L" on the caliper.). The dust covers on the pistons were a bit unweildy once I compressed the pistons completely into the calipers. Had to fiddle with them a bit to make sure they didn't get cut. Oh, and don't lose that little wishbone spring! I think that provides the tiny bit of force needed to push the pads apart just a little when you let off the brake. All in all, a fairly easy job.

Cabin Air Filters

This wasn't too hard, but the shop manual is a bit obtuse. Here's how I did it...

Remove the 7 screws holding in the glove box. 4 are on the top (2 of which are on either side of the hasp). 3 are on the bottom. Note that these screws are a royal pain to get back in. They just love to cross thread. Be prepared. The glove box will not fall out as there are two clips near the top. Be careful as there is a light bulb on a wire at the top left you'll need to detach. Pry the top down gently and they will come free. Prying the bottom might work too. Detach the light bulb by turning the light holder about a quarter turn CCW and pulling out. Now the glove box is free. Set aside.

Now the hardest part is probably finding the little door you need to remove to get the filters out and in. First, take the new filters out of the box so you can see how big they are. The door you are looking for is only slightly larger than the smallest side of one filter. It's pretty small. The door is on the left side of the glove box opening. It is near the rather large white connector. There's a silver pipe under it. It has the words "AIR FLOW" on it. It is held on by three screws. There was a little bit of yellow paint on mine.

To remove the door you'll need to disconnect the white connector. Then remove the three 7/32" hex head screws that are holding the door on (top, bottom, right side). Be careful not to lose the screws as you'll never find them if they fall. Pull the door off and you're now looking at the topmost of the two filters. Pull it out. Carefully note the "air flow" direction indicator on the filter. Then dig around below where it was to find and pull out the second filter.

Install the two new filters, being careful to note the proper "air flow" direction (front of car to back on mine, refer to the "AIR FLOW" direction indicator on the door to be sure). Then follow the above directions backwards. Note that it bears repeating: the glove box screws are a royal pain to get back on. Be ready to be frustrated with them.

The shop manual indicates that these filters should be replaced every 15k miles. The first time, I let mine go for 75k and it was really bad! Problem is that these filters are very expensive from the dealer and there are no aftermarket manufacturers. (Actually, the price has dropped at Nissan since my first change. They're now about $40. Still too much, but better than before.) The second time, a 30k change interval appeared to be fine.

(Engine) Air Filter

This one is a bit difficult to get back together. Opening the air filter box is pretty easy. FIRST! Vacuum and/or brush out the dirt on top of the air filter cover. This dirt is guaranteed to get into the filter and eventually the engine if you don't. Pop the clips on the left (driver) side, then lift and pull. You'll notice there are three loops on the right (passenger) side opposite the clips. The loops are part of the bottom half of the box. The top half of the box has fingers that go into those loops. It is impossible (and I do mean impossible) to reassemble this without separating the air filter cover from the intake hose. Loosen the band clamp and separate them, but not too far as there is a wire connected to the cover that will be stressed. Remove the old filter, vacuum out the bottom of the box, install the new filter. Now the fun begins.

To install the cover, you will need to tilt the cover so that the fingers are pointed down into the three loops. (This is when the dirt falls into the top of the filter, so hopefully you vacuumed that up.) You'll need to have the intake hose on the end of the cover so that it will slip together when you start pushing the air filter box back together. Now push the fingers back into the loops and make sure the intake hose is seating properly. Once everything is where it should be, clip the clips and tighten the band clamp.

Spark Plugs

Note: I never did follow through on this. I made an attempt, but the part where you need to blindly loosen some bolts/nuts behind the intake was a little iffy to my mind. So, we had the dealer do it. They didn't replace the intake gasket. What a load!

At around 50,000 miles, I decided it was time for one of my two scheduled spark plug changes for the life of the car (I keep them for 150,000 miles). I wasn't quite prepared for this. I took off the top plastic engine cover only to discover that there are no spark plug wires. Well, you can't see them anyway. The fuel injectors are easy to spot (or maybe those are the coils?), but the spark plugs are nowhere to be seen. Searching the Internet yielded this gem on replacing the spark plugs on a 2004 Quest. (A backup is here.) What a pain! And it's a two-person job. What were they thinking? So now the moment of truth. Do I tackle this? Probably. Should I get the shop manual first? Probably. I'll have to ponder this for a bit. The plugs should be ok up until 60,000, so there's no rush.

Ok, upon consulting the 2006 Quest shop manual, it appears that this is indeed quite a challenge on the 2006. The reason I had trouble finding the plugs on the Quest is because they use Coil On Plug ignition, something I've never seen before. This means there are no spark plug wires, which explains why I couldn't buy plug wires at the local auto stores. Instead of a mechanical distributor, or a coil pack (MSD), this car has a small coil on each plug to convert the low voltage directly to high voltage to drive the plug. Cool. So, you've got to know what this looks like and search for the tell-tale signs. Then you've found the plugs and you can start replacing them. More details as I continue my research...

From the shop manual:

Ok, the intake manifold collector is a lot of work to remove. But it has to be removed in order to get to the three plugs that are on the "back" (actually left?) side of the engine (toward the back of the car).

5/1/2011: Just replaced the front three plugs at about 95000 miles. They definitely needed it. The front three are REAL easy to replace. It's those back three that are tough. More as it happens...

P2135 DTC, Throttle Position Sensor

5/6/2010 started getting this code. The car had hesitated once or twice in the past and during this trip, then it went bonkers and this code was in there. Will reset and see if it comes back. Based on the description, there may have been a general power problem of some sort.

Power Steering Fluid

Since the dealer sold the thing to me almost out of steering fluid, I checked the owner's manual and discovered that Nissan recommends their own power steering fluid instead of the usual Mercon/Dexron that's so popular these days. There's a discussion over on the Xterra Owner's Club message board where a Nissan technician says that Dexron III is fine. Given that a tiny bottle of Nissan "PSF" costs $8 versus a few bucks for a big bottle of Dexron, I'd say Nissan's out to make some money. It's up to you what you choose to do. I'm crazy and use the Nissan stuff.

Engine Cover - Low (Nissan Part #: 75890-7Y000)

Just under the engine in the very front is a plastic cover that fastens to the bottom lip of the front "bumper" with 5 removeable plastic trim retainers (aka push rivets, drive rivets, push retainers...) (10mm hole dia., stem is 9.5mm dia.), and attaches to the metal frame with six more 8mm hole dia. retainers. This engine cover has come off twice for us so far. Once because the car was driven into a grass hill. The second time because of uneven pavement (the front end brushed against the higher pavement which pushed the front "bumper" such that the rear plastic push rivets were forced off). The second time, the engine cover was still attached, but only by its front rivets. This cover is a real nuisance. Fortunately, The Fastener Warehouse carries similar push rivets if yours pops off. I've used the TR 185 (rear/smaller) and the TR 273 (front/larger) successfully. (Web searches using various terms like "push trim retainer" yield more places to try as well.)

Front Air Mix Motor

8/10/2013 the front air mix motor has been on the fritz for a week or two now. Sometimes it just sticks on hot. The diagnostics give me a "22" code which indicates something wrong with the air mix circuit. Not very helpful. Went through the troubleshooting, which was fun. Learned how to hook into the connectors while everything is connected and running. T.S. stands for "Terminal Side" while H.S. stands for "Harness Side". The connectors are designed for testing. You can shove wires into the groove in the side to hook in while everything is connected. Great fun. I was surprised to find out the "PBR" (position balanced resistor) position sensor is built into the motor. During the testing, I must admit that the values coming from the PBR seemed strange. But maybe they were normal. I've not tested a working one. Once this is replaced, I will definitely analyze how this motor and PBR work.

The shop manual indicates this motor is on the driver (left) side. Turns out it is actually on the right side. Hilarious. This means there's no procedure. Not that it would matter. The procedures in shop manuals these days are useless. It was a pain to get out. I needed a 7/32" midget combo wrench and I had to remove numerous bolts from the frame to get enough wiggle to push the frame out of the way enough to get the motor off the spindle. Will be getting a new motor on monday when parts opens. (In the meantime, we are going to try to extract the last of the screwed up CDs from the CD changer. The library put labels on the centers of the CDs that were completely off center which jammed the changer. I managed to get several, but not all of them out the last time. There's one left.)

FM Modulators

Monster Performance Car RadioPlay Wireless (Model: MPC FM XMTR). Identified in its owner's manual as a Monster RadioPlay 200. Makes a strange squealing noise with the engine off and the CD player plugged into the car's 12v supply. Sounds fine when the CD player is running on batteries. I'm guessing the car is to blame here with dirty power, and the adapter I'm using with my Sony players (I tried two models) is also to blame for not cleaning up the power. Need to test it with headphones. Then, need to try another 12v adapter. I believe I have several laying around here. If you put the player on the passenger seat, the cord is stretched and makes a better antenna. Frequencies: 88.1 - 89.5. Verdict: Ok.

First Impressions

These are first impressions when we bought the car. Now at over 130,000 miles, I would say that the car itself has been fine. The only thing that prevents me from recommending the car is the spark plug replacement procedure. It's brutal. I cannot wait to replace the car with one that has easier-to-replace plugs. Anyway, read on for my feelings when we first bought it...

So far, I'm not very impressed with this car or the dealer from which we purchased it for a number of reasons.


Owner's Manual

Nissan Publications - Well, here's something Nissan did right. You can order shop manuals on CD for the past 6 years online. Also, it looks like you might be able to get access to the full shop manuals for a small "per day" charge. Just start browsing them, then (if you can't save the PDF files) grab them out of your "Temporary Internet Files" folder and you just saved $200! Haven't tried this yet, but I've heard that it works. (Looks like someone else did. Google on "2006_Quest.rar" and be surprised!) Of course, the Haynes and Chilton manuals tend to have info that is missing from the shop manual, so you should really have all of them.

Chilton DIY - Chilton is now online only. Very up-to-date when compared with the printed Haynes manuals. Looks like all this repair info is going online.

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