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Hi everyone.

Recently bought a manual 2001 Pathfinder with 200k km (I'm Canadian). I probably paid too much for it as it seems none of the previous owners have done much in the way of maintenance, aside from oil changes and fluid changes 3 years ago. I had a mechanic look at it and his impression was "for a 20 year old car, it's in pretty good condition." There is a leak from somewhere in the engine, but so minor 1 hour on the freeway and then leaving it parked for 24 hours leaves no drips (previous owner never topped up between changes, however oil was exceedingly low). I've never driven a 20 year old car (I've never owned a car and when driving always just used my parents' vehicles) so I'm trying to get a lay of what I need to worry about and what is just something that happens after many years.

I'm hoping to get some guidance on what is something I should worry about immediately, or what I can deal with in the future. I have minimal mechanical experience and not a lot of space/tools at my disposal. I'm just trying to figure out what is worth worrying about and what is character

First, what the mechanic told me:
  • Front left wheel bearing is warn. This is pretty high on my priority list of things to get a mechanic to fix, but how quickly should I deal with it? Is it safe to do some light offroading before I get it done in the next week or two?
  • Exhaust flex pipe is weak. I haven't been able to find much online about this. How long does it take to replace a flex pipe? How much does a flex pipe cost? Is this a concern?
  • Front struts degraded and need to be replaced. I already ordered new front struts as well as rear shocks and springs. Gunna try and do the suspension replacement all myself as it seems easy enough from the videos and forums I have looked at.
  • Rear brakes (drums) have 5-6 mm of distance on them. My friend who is a mechanic said not to worry, and just to mostly focus on maintaining the front brakes.
  • Told me there is a power steering leak. Power steering levels are fine, oil is a purple brown. Again, my mechanic friend said don't worry about the power steering fluid until the steering becomes an issue. He says the effort of changing the fluid is not worth the reward. The mechanic who initially inspected gave it a "good" out of a "good" "Okay" or "Bad" rating. (I only ask because I know the fluids haven't been changed in 3 years. Which is what the previous owner told me, not sure what the PSF change interval is supposed to be).

Now, some things I have noticed since driving it more:
  • The shift stick vibrates quite a bit, and moves towards the centre about .5-1 cm when I press the accelerator. I've been told not to worry about this, as it's likely due to the rubber bushings/mounts on the transmission.
  • The brake pedal pulses when I break at high speed, but only slightly. I know this could be rotors, but the mechanic who inspected it didn't mention anything wrong with the breaks.
  • The accelerator pedal feels like it pulses a but as well on the freeway. Didn't notice until yesterday. Car drives smooth though, and accelerates fine. Haven't taken it for a drive since I changed the diff fluid, so maybe that will change. Will update. Also getting new tires tomorrow, and I'm running winters right now (car came with 2 sets of wheels and tires, AT's were 15 years old and complete garbage). Front are apparently more warn than the rear, so I'm wondering if it could be a wheel balancing issue? I've heard the wear on tires on pathfinders can be a little wonky sometimes.
  • When I'm at a red light and put the car in neutral, and lift my foot off the clutch (let the clutch out?) I hear a humming noise that sounds like a fan. My mechanic friend thought it was weird and had never heard of anything like that happening before. Crawling around under my car he didn't see any obvious signs of anything immediately wrong. The sound only happens when my foot is off the clutch in neutral (could also happen in gear and I just don't hear it over the various driving noises). When I press the clutch pedal back in, it goes away.

Sorry for all the questions, I just want to know what I'm looking at as far as repairs and budget it out over the long term. Thanks for your help. I'm already loving the R50 community. Looking forward to many years with my girl.

P.S. I can't seem to get my universal remote to duplicate my garage door opener. I live in a low rise apartment building in Canada, which has some rules for coding. Has anybody had success on programming these for apartment buildings?
 
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