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Nissan Patrol GQ Y60 used review: 1988-1997

So popular is the idea of going bush it has spawned a new breed of car capable of leaving the black top while retaining the attributes of a family sedan.  Most of these newcomers are sneeringly referred to by 4WD enthusiasts as soft-roaders for their limited offroad ability, but they offer acceptable around-town road manners and quite reasonable ability for the occasional dirt trip.

Along with the Toyota LandCruiser, Nissan's Patrol is definitely not soft. Around town it's big and bulky, but it really comes into its own in heavy going.

Model Watch

Nissan launched the GQ Patrol, also known as the Y60, in 1988. It was aimed fairly and squarely at Toyota's LandCruiser, which was the top-selling four-wheel-drive. The GQ was a traditional 4x4, designed for heavy-duty use in the bush or beyond.  It came in short wheelbase hardtop form or long wheelbase wagon and cab chassis.

Its foundation, and the source of its great strength, was its separate chassis. Unlike softroaders, which are of unitary construction, the Patrol's body was perched on top of the chassis. As a result, getting into the cabin was quite a climb.

There was a choice of three powerplants initially, a 100kW 3.0-litre petrol in-line six, a 125kW 4.2-litre petrol in-line six and an 85kW 4.2-litre diesel in-line six. They were all overhead-valve and carburettor fed.

An update in 1992 brought a fuel-injected 4.2-litre petrol engine, which generated 129kW, and an 85kW 2.8-litre turbo diesel.  The standard transmission was a five-speed manual, and there was an option of a four-speed auto.

Power was then delivered to the wheels through a two-speed transfer box. High-range two-wheel-drive was available for highway touring, with the choice of high and low-range four-wheel-drive once you left the blacktop behind. Coil springs were employed front and rear, with discs at both ends, and power steering.

Models included the DX and ST Hardtops, and the DX7, ST, TI and ST3.0.  The entry-level DX had tilt-adjust steering, two-speaker cassette sound, cloth trim and vinyl mats. The ST also had airconditioning, power windows, power mirrors, central locking and four-speaker sound.

Perched at the top of the model line-up was the TI, which had a leather sports steering wheel, woodgrain highlights, leather seats and seven-speaker sound. There were a number of upgrades before the arrival of the GU (Y61) in 1997.

In the Shop

The trade gives the GQ Patrol the thumbs-up. There is little that goes wrong with them. The petrol engines are prone to cracked heads when run on LPG, but it's usually because the coolant has been low or lost. Gearboxes, drive lines and diffs give little problem, though leaks from the rear diff seals are common. Properly serviced, however, the leaks can be eliminated.

Early Patrols were known to suffer from front-end shimmy, at 70 to 80km/h, but most were fixed under warranty. The fix was to remove the shims from the top and bottom of the steering knuckles, eliminating the free play. Generally, the body and body hardware stands up well.

Owners' Views

For more than a decade, John Thompson and his 1989 LWB GQ Patrol were as much a part of the Shell Australian Touring Car Championship as Peter Brock, Dick Johnson and the cars they raced.

Thompson drove his long-wheelbase 4.2-litre petrol Patrol from one side of the country to the other towing a trailer laden with more than two tonnes of Shell track signs, flags and banners to every round of the championship. The Nissan has just ticked over 500,000km, and Thompson says he's delighted with it.

It had bad wheel shimmy before the front end was realigned; has twice cracked cylinder heads; second-gear synchro went at 450,000km and it has blown a clutch.

The Bottom Line

Tough and reliable heavy-duty off-roader for the serious off-road enthusiast, but a little big and beefy for anyone contemplating buying a four-wheel-drive for city duty.

Look For

  • Tough and reliable off-roader
  • Big and bulky for regular around-town use
  • Signs of heavy off-road use
  • Big climb to get aboard
  • Can have head problems

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
1997 $3,700 $11,330
1996 $3,700 $11,330
1995 $3,700 $11,330
1994 $3,700 $11,330
1993 $3,700 $11,330
1992 $3,400 $11,330
1991 $2,900 $11,110
1990 $2,800 $11,110
1989 $2,800 $11,110
1988 $2,800 $11,110

View all Nissan Patrol pricing and specifications

Pricing guides

$6,955
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$2,800
Highest Price
$11,110

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
DX (4X4) 4.2L, ULP, 5 SP MAN 4X4 $3,800 – 6,160 1988 Nissan Patrol 1988 DX (4X4) Pricing and Specs
GLi (4x4) 4.2L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN 4X4 $4,300 – 6,930 1988 Nissan Patrol 1988 GLi (4x4) Pricing and Specs
ST (4X4) 4.2L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN 4X4 $7,200 – 11,110 1988 Nissan Patrol 1988 ST (4X4) Pricing and Specs
(4X4) 4.2L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN 4X4 $7,200 – 11,110 1988 Nissan Patrol 1988 (4X4) Pricing and Specs
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist

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