November 26, 2009
2006 Nissan Titan King Cab SE 4X4; photo by Greg Wilson. Click image to enlarge
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By Chris Chase
Many people aren’t aware that Nissan, formerly Datsun, has a decades-long history of producing pickup trucks for the North American market. The most familiar of them, perhaps, was the “Hardbody” line of the 1980s and ’90s.
But it wasn’t until 2004 that Nissan decided to try to break into the full-size pickup market, which the company accomplished with the Titan.
Nissan opted for the “go big, or go home” approach to building a full-size truck, offering a single engine – a 5.6-litre V8 – and in two cab sizes, both of which offered two rows of seating. This was in contrast to the basic, V6-powered, regular cab trucks found at the entry level of the GM, Dodge and Ford truck lineups.
The Titan King Cab had two rear-hinged rear doors for access to the rear seats, while the Crew Cab’s rear doors were front-hinged and opened up to a much larger rear seat. King Cab models could be had in two-wheel drive form, while Crew Cab trucks were all four-wheel drive.
2008 Nissan Titan Crew Cab SE 4×4 LWB; photo by Jil McIntosh. Click image to enlarge
In 2004, the big V8 made 305 horsepower and, more importantly to truck owners, 379 lb-ft of torque; in 2007, power increased to 317 hp and 385 lb-ft of torque. The 2008 Titan got revised styling inside and out, and a new, long-wheelbase option that could be paired with a seven-foot box on Crew Cab trucks and an eight-footer in King Cab models. The maximum towing capacity for a properly-equipped Titan, regardless of model year, was 9,300 lbs (about 4,225 kg). Note that the Titan continues into 2010 largely unchanged, though it does receive side front-seat torso airbags and front and rear head curtain airbags as standard.
The Titan’s fuel consumption ratings have remained fairly constant since the truck’s introduction; in 2009, two-wheel drive models were rated by Natural Resources Canada at 16.7/11.5 L/100 km (city/highway), and four-wheel drive trucks at 17.6/12.0 L/100 km.
Consumer Reports gives the Titan a worse-than-average used vehicle rating, citing a number of issues, most of which are well-documented on Titan Internet discussion forums.
2006 Nissan Titan King Cab SE 4X4 (top, by Greg Wilson); 2008 Nissan Titan (bottom, courtesy Nissan). Click image to enlarge
In 2004 and 2005 Titans, a pulsation or “judder” in the brake pedal was caused by front rotors that warped easily. Replacing the rotors and pads is the best solution, and might help address the issue of the Titan’s poor brake pedal feel. Many owners complained of excessive brake dust, too; this is usually a factor of the pads used on the truck.
Apparently, Nissan upgraded the Titan’s brakes for the 2006 model year to address the rotor warpage issue, but Consumer Reports lists the brakes as a consistent trouble spot across all model years.
Here’s a discussion at ClubTitan.org about the brake issue.
Differential troubles are common in the Titan; in four-wheel drive trucks, the front differential is prone to a problem where a c-clip that holds the drive axles in place pops off and allows the axles to slip out. In this case, no power will go to the front wheels, and the transmission will leak gear lubricant. The other problem is that of a complete differential failure, though this appears to be most closely linked with trucks used to pull stuff in reverse, which puts a lot of stress on the differential. Here’s a discussion about the front diff problems at TitanTalk.com.