R51 Pathfinder Service

Posted by Kevin Svoboda on

How To Service Your R51 Pathfinder

Today I completed and finalised (all but gearbox ill update this how to once I do it) a major service I started the other week (Already done oil ill also update this next time I change the oil).

Skill Level:

Basic Mechanical Skills

Tools Required: 

Philips Screw Driver 

10mm Allen Key or Hex Head 

10mm Spanner (easier if it has a ratchet end on it)

Either 8mm Socket Long or Spanner

Small Flat Screw Driver 

Hand Oil Pump

Oil Pan (Atleast 5L)


Bar or Breaker Bar

Parts Needed

The parts needed really are determined by how far into the service you want to go but ill list everything I used and hopefully it help someone.

1. Service Kit (K&S Auto Parts does supply all the parts required) I used genuine oil filters and then everything else is Ryco

2. Oil - I personally use Penrite and always have and never had an issue. 

For the Update Model The Bellow is Required - Check the Penrite app to make sure the oil your using is correct for you vehicle. 

Engine Oil - Enviro+ 5w-40 Can be used on both non DPF and DPF Models *Fill Capacity 6.9L*

Rear Diff - Pro Gear Full Synthetic 75w-90 *Fill Capacity 1.75L*

Front Diff- Gear Oil Premium Mineral 80W-90 *Fill Capacity 0.85L*

Transfer Case - Multi Vehicle ATF FS *Fill Capacity 3L*


Changing Your Fuel Filter:

Step 1: Remove all lines going into the top of the unit, also remove clip holding the fuel lines together. 

Step 2: Remove clip off fuel filter water sensor on the bottom of the fuel filter. Be careful doing this is very easy to damage the clip if you do it wrong. I found it easier to do by removing the cable line as pictured. 

Step 3: Remove the 10mm bolt from the filter housing and remove filter. This is were it is easier to have a ratchet Spanner as the bolt is in a tight spot and takes abit to undo with a normal Spanner. 

Step 4: Remove the fuel water sensors in the bottom of your filter by turning it anti clock wise. Be careful when doing so and pull the sensor carefully out of the unit. There is a O-ring on the sensor that needs replacing. Care fully remove this with a small flat bladed screw driver, your new fuel filter will come with the new O-ring.  ReInstall sensor by hand. 


Step 5: Reinstall new filter into housing and connect all house and clips in the same order you removed them.

Step 6: Reconnect clip onto fuel filter sensor.

Step 7: Prime fuel filter, there is a prime bulb under the filter, prime by hand until the bulb is hard. Then turn the key on for 30 seconds and turn off. I then re prime the bulb under the fuel filter and repeat the process about 4 times. This may not be the correct procedure but it worked for me. 

And we are done, your car should start normally now, if it wont start, don’t panic, re prime the filter as per step 7 and it will start. 

Changing your Front Diff Oil:


 For starters you need a drop pan and a oil pump. Other then this it is very easy to do. 

Step 1: If your not tiny you wont be able to get under the car like i cant (this is dependent if your lifted or have bigger tyres, at the moment I’m stock). I jacked the car up and put car stands under the car control arm points. I only jacked it up to the point the suspension is flex out and the wheels were still on the ground. Also if you have bash plates you will have to remove them, I don’t have any at the moment. 

Step 2: Use your 10mm Hex or 10mm to remove the lower drain point, the is located on the passenger side of the car at the lower point of your front diff. To remove this you may need a bar or similar as they can be very tight. If your using a hex bit you can use a breaker bar. Only crack the bolt at the moment. 

Step 3: Once you have cracked the bolt for the drain put your drain pan under the diff. Undo the bolt till you can use your hand and remove the final couple of turns. Leave it drain until no more oil comes out. Your drain bolt has a magnetic end to it, there shouldn’t be any large metal pieces on it, however is normal if like mine i believe it hasn’t been changed since new and has some fine material on it (this is from wearing in and is more then normal) other then that the oil was perfect and clean. Reinstall drain plug after all oil is drained. 

Step 4: Remove top fill plug, this is on the front of the diff towards the front of the car, again it can be very tight, breaker bar or bar might be needed. Use your oil pump to fill up, I measure this but generally speaking once it starts to overflow out of the hole it is full (In all circumstances it was to the correct amounts this started to happen). Re install fill point bolt. 


Step 5: Clean up any oil spill up and we are done. 

Note: Some people will use a hi heat thread sealant on the bolts when reinstalling, I’m not a huge fan of this but it up to you if you want to do so. If its done up tight enough it shouldn’t leak ( I’ve never had a problem with any other cars).


Changing Your Transfer Case Oil:

Same process is used as per servicing the front diff, only differences is the location of the drain and fill points. Also towards the end of the draining of the oil I dropped the car off the car stands to allow all the oil to empty out.

Drain point located at the front of Transfer Case towards the passenger side of the car: 


Fill Point located at the back of the transfer located towards the back end of the car: 


Changing Rear Diff Oil:

Again this is just a repeat process of the front diff, I didn’t get a photo of the rear fill and drain points but they are both located on the back side of the diff. You will need a 10mm Allen key for the upper fill point as it is very close to the mounting behind it. I also would suggest to remove the tyre to obtain easier access to the diff. 


Changing Cabin Filter:

The cabin filter is something that even most mechanics forget to change and is often overlooked, I personally like to change them every 10,000km as they keep the dust and pollens out of your vehicle and give your aircon a much cleaner smell. 

Step 1: Remove carpet cover above feet under dash - I honestly can tell you if there is clips as mine was held in with zip ties (car had a heater core done at a dealer and i assume they broke the clips) but just take your time and it shouldn’t be to hard to sort.

Step 2: The 2 side trims need to be removed to be able to remove the glove box, gentle pull the lower one from the side closest to the door and it does come loose quite easily (it doesn’t have to be fully removed just ajar). The upper trim removes in the same process from gently pulling it from the bottom.

Step 3: There are 4 Screws that hold your glove box in place, unscrew these and your glove box will be ready to remove. To remove top screw the bottom part will need to be opened.

Step 4: Glove box can now be removed, pull gently down and out towards you.

Step 5: Remove the fuse block, this simply pull off it mounting bracket

Step 6: Find and remove cover to the cabin filter, it has a 8mm bolt holding it onto its housing. I used a small long socket and was very easy to remove. This is located in the very back left side of your dash under area. 

Step 7: Remove old cabin filters. Mine didn’t have any so its a good thing to do and check to make sure. 

Step 8: Install new cabin filters by pushing the first one in and sliding it towards the left side of its housing, this is done as there are 2 units that sit side by side.

Step 9: Reinstall cover and complete the process of removal in reverse. 

We are done ! Enjoy fresh clean Air-conditioning 

Hope this how to helped - these how to do instructional step by steps are for guidance only, i will not be held responsible if for any reason by following these steps you brake or damage any part or parts of or in your vehicle. If you have any questions feel free to comment or send me a pm on my facebook page. 


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