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Nissan X-TRAIL 2003 Problems

Are you having problems with your 2003 Nissan X-TRAIL? Let our team of motoring experts keep you up to date with all of the latest 2003 Nissan X-TRAIL issues & faults. We have gathered all of the most frequently asked questions and problems relating to the 2003 Nissan X-TRAIL in one spot to help you decide if it's a smart buy.

What could be causing thick exhaust smoke from my 2003 Nissan X-Trail

You can tell a lot about exhaust smoke by its colour. If it's a blue-grey colour, the smoke is probably from burnt oil. If it's black, excess fuel is probably the cause. Make sure, too, that what you're seeing is not just water vapour that is a normal part of the combustion process and will disappear as the exhaust system heats up and turns that vapour into steam (which is invisible).

But if it really is blue smoke you're seeing, it could be a case of worn out piston rings, or worn valve guides or seals. If it's black smoke, you could have a problem with injectors, the fuel pump, intake system, spark plugs, any number of sensors that control the engine's fuel:air mixture, or about a thousand other things. That fact that the smoke disappears after a while suggests that the engine is happier when it has some heat in it, but really, it shouldn't blow any smoke of any colour at all.

How much would it cost to convert my 2003 Nissan X-trail to electric?

There’s no simple answer to this as the final cost will depend on how much performance and battery range you wish to engineer into the car. That said, the basic cost of a kit to convert a conventional car to run on electricity is somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000, but that includes only the very basics. Neither does that figure include the cost of the battery-packs that you’ll also need, so the cost will only go up from that figure. All engineering sign-offs would add dollars to the final tally, too.

Converting petrol cars to run as EVs is a real trend right now, but if you look at the types of cars being converted, there’s a common theme running through them: The majority of conversion candidates are older, simpler cars with none of the safety systems that a 2003 Nissan X-Trail has as standard. It’s much easier, for instance, to convert a car with no air-bags, no anti-lock brakes and no stability control. If the car in question lacks power-assisted brakes and power-steering, even better. 

This is not to say that the conversion can’t be done, but it’s much simpler – and cheaper – to convert something old-school (like an air-cooled Volkswagen) than converting your relatively modern Nissan. You’d need to ensure that the car’s anti-lock brakes and air-bags (and everything else) still worked and then be able to prove that to an engineer before the car could be legally registered and driven on public roads.

What you’d end up with would be a Nissan X-Trail that represented maybe $50,000 and still only had 150km of range between recharges. Those numbers simply don’t add up when you can buy a second-hand EV – a Nissan Leaf, for instance – for comfortably less than $20,000; a car that is already legal to register and drive. 

Why do I have to pump the clutch in my 2003 Nissan X-Trail?

On the surface, it sounds like you have a hydraulic issue, either with the clutch’s master or slave cylinder. Bleeding the hydraulics for the clutch and removing any air from the system would be the first step in diagnosing this problem and may fix it. Often, though, a problem like this is a constant one, not one that crops up 30 minutes into a drive. Is the clutch pedal returning to its proper position after you’ve taken your foot off it? Is there any evidence of a leak around the clutch’s hydraulic plumbing?

Perhaps it’s the clutch itself - X-Trails are known to be a bit flimsy in this department - and a worn clutch could conceivably work fine when it’s cold and not so well when it’s hot. Perhaps it’s the throw-out bearing that’s jamming and needs greasing. Does the pedal go hard and require more pressure when the problem starts?

By the way, many owners remove the standard dual-mass flywheel and fit a more durable and reliable single-mass flywheel when they replace the clutch. It seems to be a more robust set-up than the stock Nissan system.

Nissan X-Trail: What to look for in a used car

You’re looking at the T30 X-Trail, which was a sound model, but it’s now an old car and needs to be assessed as that. On average a 2002/2003 model will have done 200,000 to 300,000 km, so you should expect it to showing some wear and tear. The body should be free of bumps and scrapes, the interior should be clean with no tears in the trim, the engine should be clean and with no oil leaks, and there should be no indications of off-road use. It should have a record of regular service. Expect to pay $2000-$5000.

Used Nissan X-Trail review: 2001-2007
The X-Trail was a compact SUV designed to appeal to those looking for a vehicle that blended bush with the ’burbs.
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Nissan X-Trail 2003: Water in cabin

From your description the leak sounds quite a severe one, but that means it should be reasonably easy to find. A couple of things you could try would be to drive it through a car wash and watch for water coming in, or you could have a friend hose the car while you sit inside. If you can't see water entering, check the various problem areas after the car has been hosed down to see if the leak has occurred while it has been hosed. It could be a case of trial and error until you can locate the source of the leak. If you think it could be the sunroof start there. You could also check the various seals for damage.

Nissan X-Trail 2003: When should I replace its wheels?

So long as you are still driving the car regularly, and it looks as if you're covering more than 5000km a year, the tyres should be fine down to the tread-wear indicators. They are not sticky high-performance tyres or special soft-compound winter tyres that need special treatment.

Used Nissan X-Trail review: 2001-2013
Though often used only as an on-road station wagon, Nissan's X-Trail is pretty competent as an SUV. While not intended to be used in extreme 4WD conditions, it can handle most recreational off-road driving with little trouble. Providing enjoyment to adventurous families while doing so.  Nissan X-Trail uses a complex
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Nissan X-Trail 2003: Smoking exhaust

Since we last responded to your question we have found out that the X-Trail does have an issue with the breakdown of the catalytic converters in the exhaust system, and the abrasive powder formed can be sucked back into the engine because of the valve overlap Nissan employs to control NOx. Once in the engine it can cause rapid wear of the bores and rings, and the oil trial like yours shows.

Used Nissan X-Trail review: 2001-2003
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Disclaimer: You acknowledge and agree that all answers are provided as a general guide only and should not be relied upon as bespoke advice. Carsguide is not liable for the accuracy of any information provided in the answers.
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