The Nissan Titan is a full size truck that offers great value for money and a very comfortable cabin.
It can also do everything that a large truck can do like go off roading and haul around heavy loads.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the more common problems Nissan Titan owners have had over the years.
Table of Contents
1. Engine Knock or Tick Noise
The V8 gas engine in the second generation Nissan Titan has a fairly widespread problem with scoring or scuffing on cylinder number 7 which causes a ticking or knocking noise.
This problem usually only affects early model years of the second gen Titan from 2016 to 2019.
There have been a few reports of engine knocking on the 2020 and newer models, but these are quite rare.
Early second gen Nissan Armadas can also suffer from the same engine knock issues.
It can start occurring even at very low mileages with some owners reporting it in trucks with around 20,000 miles.
At first, the knocking sound can only be heard on cold starts and eventually goes away after a few minutes.
As the problem gets worse, it will become louder and won’t go away after the engine has warmed up — making it sound more like a diesel engine.
It tends to get louder in colder weather or when the engine is subjected to heavier loads.
Injectors also make a rattling sound so it can be easily mistaken for engine knock.
On the TitanTalk.com forum there’s an engine knock thread that’s over 140 pages long and around 3,000 posts.
Here are a few excerpts from that thread:
“I just purchased a 2017 Titan Pro 4x earlier this week. Today was the first real cold morning and it sounded similar to a diesel.”
“Purchased a 2018 SV Titan in October of 2021 with 13,000 miles. At about 20,000 miles, spring of 2022, I started noticing the knock. Started very faintly on cold start up and would go away when warm. This progressed to knocking all the time and got much louder.”
Another user on TitanXDForum.com had this to say:
“My son just had his 2018 Titan SV with gas engine replaced. Number 7 cylinder. He has 25k on it. He did get the 2020 version which has a few more horsepower.”
An engine can also have cylinder scoring even if it isn’t making any strange noises.
Here’s how one user on TitanTalk.com described their experience:
“The 2017 I am interested in was scoped. And boom. It needs an engine. It’s whisper quiet.”
Nissan released a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) for the engine knock issue which recommends inspecting the cylinder with a borescope camera. If there is scuffing or scoring, dealers will replace the engine block. If the 5 year/100,000 mile warranty hasn’t expired yet, the new block will be covered.
If the truck is past its warranty, a new block and getting the engine rebuilt will cost several thousand dollars at the dealer.
But just because the engine is knocking doesn’t mean you’re going to end up with catastrophic engine damage in the near future.
The scoring might eventually get bad enough to cause other issues like low compression and oil consumption, but there haven’t been any reports of catastrophic engine damage so far.
You can choose to ignore the knocking and just keep up with the maintenance to make sure the problem doesn’t get worse or cause other major issues if you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a new engine block.
2. Exhaust Manifold Crack
The most common issue with the first generation Nissan Titan is the weak exhaust manifolds that eventually crack over time.
Exhaust manifold leaks affect all first generation Nissan Titans from 2004 to 2015 and usually start occurring once the truck nears 100,000 miles.
It’s also a common problem on the first generation Nissan Armada and Infiniti QX56, both of which use the same engine as the Titan.
Symptoms of a cracked exhaust manifold in the Titan include:
- Ticking sound on cold starts
- Unburnt fuel smell
- Reduced performance
- Poor fuel economy
- Check engine light
- Trouble codes incorrect air fuel ratio
Over time, the rich air fuel ratio can eventually damage the valves and catalytic converters which leads to severe engine damage if left for too long.
However, many owners just live with the noise and poor gas mileage for months or years and don’t encounter any other problems.
Here is how a few owners on TitanTalk.com described their experience:
“I have a 2008 Titan. It runs great but I’ve noticed a slight tick that I suspect is an exhaust manifold leak. It runs great and has not triggered any codes yet, just an annoying tick for about the first minute or two of driving then it goes away.”
“I have a 2007 king cab 4×4 and love the truck. Right now it’s got 100,XXX miles. In late 2015 round 75,000 miles the dealer service writer told me the exhaust manifolds were cracked.”
“My personal experience with my 2005 4×4 Titan was a steady decrease in gas mileage as the factory manifold crack got larger over time. Before the issue I would get 15 – 16 mpg on mixed driving. Once the crack got so bad the dash light came on and I had codes – It was down to 9 mpg and ran really bad.”
“On my 2011, the passenger side cat went out at 69,000 KM. The right side cracked at 128,000 KM and was replaced under warranty, just before the 130,000 KM expiration.”
Although Nissan eventually added reinforcements to the exhaust manifold some time in 2007 to reduce the cracking and leaking issues, it never really completely eliminated the problem.
A new exhaust manifold can cost around $1,000 and another $1,000 to have it installed. The repair can easily cost double if both manifolds are leaking.
New OEM and after exhaust manifolds will still eventually crack and the only permanent solution is to fit a set of headers from companies like Cajun B-Pipes or JBA. This will often require an aftermarket tune for the ECU, but is typically less expensive than getting new OEM manifolds fitted.
If you live in California, your choices for headers will be more limited to CARB legal products.
3. Rear Axle Seal Leak
Another common problem for the first generation Nissan Titan is rear axle seal failures.
This issue affects all first gen Nissan Titans, but is more common on the 2004 to 2007 model years.
The Nissan Xterra and Frontier also suffer from the same problems.
When the axle seals start failing, differential fluid will end up all over the wheel assembly. Eventually, wheel bearings will also get damaged.
Common symptoms include:
- Grinding noises
- Fluids on the wheel well and tire
- Faulty parking brake
- Constant loss of differential fluid
Here’s how owners on TitanTalk.com described their issues:
“I purchased my XE Crew Cab 2WD Titan new in January of 2005. My truck has less than 54,000 original miles. My rear left axle seals went out at about 53,000 miles.”
“My buddy had bought a new Titan in 2004 (now mine) and had seals leaking at 25K, replaced the seals & vent and the seals leaked again at 35K.”
“I have a 07 Titan two wheel drive. I just hit 80k. When I changed my oil I saw that my rear end was leaking on the driver side around the tire and brakes. I took it to the dealer and was told i had a leak in the seal and that when they opened up the diff they found metal shavings.”
Leaking axle seals are caused by a clogged up vent/breather valve which causes excess pressure to build up and blow out the seals.
Starting with the 2008 model year, the axle shaft assembly was upgraded with larger shafts, wheel bearing and different wheel seals. But there have been many reports of axle leaks with the newer model years as well.
Aside from replacing the axle seals and the wheel bearings, many owners recommend the “rear axle vent mod.” This involves removing the stock vent and replacing it with a fitting and attaching a long hose with a filter at the end to prevent the axle from getting contaminated with water, corrosion and debris.
4. Differential Failures
Front and rear differential failures are quite common on the first generation Nissan Titan.
The early model years from 2004 to 2006 had the most number of differential failures. The 2007 and up models had slightly stronger diffs, but were not completely immune to problems.
Trucks equipped with a locking differential are more prone to failure and the rear differential breaks more often than the front.
Common symptoms of a failing differential in the Titan include:
- Loud whining or grinding sound
- Ticking or clunking noises
- Noises or vibration when making tight turns
- Truck won’t move because wheels won’t turn
Here is how a few owners on TitanTalk.com described their issues:
“I have had two rear ends replaced on my 06 2wd titan due to rear end whine at speed 50 to 60 mph. the third is doing the same thing all with only 7000 miles on the truck. Whine starts around 500 miles after replacement.”
“2007 Nissan Titan rear differential failed. I noticed a thunk when coming to a stop or starting up from a stop. Upon deceleration there would be a thunk thunk thunk. Tempo would increase or decrease in relation to speed. I turned a corner, felt and heard a very significant clunk/bang, felt like I rolled over a boulder. Mileage was 42,828.”
“I have a 2007 with 64000 miles. The truck has rarely been taken off road or towed anything large. The rear end started to make strange noises, so I took it in to be checked out. Nissan came back to me with a $3900 estimate for a new rear end.”
“My 2004 4×2 XE rear end died at 172k miles. No lockers or anything. Found a direct replacement installed for about 1000.”
“Just bought a 2015 Pro 4X. It wasn’t until I got home and crawled under it that I noticed the pinion was leaking. It’s still under warranty (32k miles) so I better get it in before rack up too many more.”
“I have a 2010 pro 4x and just noticed a low whine at 40+ mph. Only when I apply my foot on the gas pedal. When I let off no noise. As soon as I apply the slightest pressure it comes back and will stay as long as my foot is on the pedal. Seals and everything look good.”
Aside from the differentials being generally weaker than they should, especially in the early model years, the axle vent that causes the axle seals to leak plays a part in many differential failures.
Due to the vent’s design, water, corrosion and debris can easily contaminate the differential fluid and damage the differential gears. But even with the axle vent mod, the differential can still fail.
A new front or rear differential typically costs around $3,000. You can also get the rear end rebuilt, but it’s harder to find a shop that will do the front.
Some owners just completely swap out the rear differential for a beefier TrueTrac or ARB unit to avoid any future issues.
5. Radiator Leaks
The radiators in the first generation Nissan Titan are quite prone to developing cracks and leaks.
Leaks usually appear on the bottom of the radiator where the plastic fittings are located.
Premature radiator failures can affect all model years of the first generation Nissan Titan from 2004 to 2015.
Here’s how a few owners described their experience:
“Mine cracked a few weeks ago at 64,000 and mine’s an 08.”
“Original cracked. Replaced it with same part… cracked. On my 3rd radiator, only got a Koyo this time. So far so good!”
Aside from premature radiator failures, you also have to worry about the transmission fluid mixing with the coolant since the transmission cooler is integrated into the radiator.
When the transmission fluid gets contaminated with coolant, your transmission can eventually get damaged.
To avoid more severe problems and frequent radiator replacements, you should replace the OEM radiator with an aftermarket aluminum unit, which aren’t very expensive at around $200 to $300. At the same time, you should also install an aftermarket transmission cooler.
6. AC Blend Door Actuator Issues
Another common issue with the first generation Nissan Titan is the HVAC blend doors stop working or constantly make a clicking sound.
The blend door actuator directs the airflow from either the heater or the AC system into the vents. When it starts failing, it will get stuck in one position and you’ll only get hot or cold air from one or more vents.
Here’s how a few owners described their experience:
“I have a 2011 Titan SV Crew cab. For several days I have noticed an annoying rattling sound in the cabin right behind the radio. I starts when I turn the heat on and turn the temperature knob clockwise to heat. It sounds like a few gears are rubbing against each other.”
“I had a 2004 Titan and at about 75000 miles on it and my heater would not blow heat I discovered the door that opens for heat inside the heater, electric or vacuum operated, can’t remember, did not work.”
“I have a 2007 Titan with 224k miles on it this week. Not a problem as of yet. Just the dang Blend Door Actuator which seems to be a common problem.”
The Nissan Titan has 3 to 4 blend doors in total and it’s possible for more than one to break at around the same time.
Each blend door actuator costs around $50, but removing the defective unit and installing a new one will usually require taking out the dash. This can take a few hours and cost you a lot in labor if you have it done at the dealer or by an experienced mechanic.
If you’re mechanically inclined, you can remove the dash and replace the actuator yourself and save a few hundred dollars in the process.
7. Broken Crankshaft
Early model years of the second generation Nissan Titan with the 5.0-liter Cummins diesel engine have had several reports of broken crankshafts.
This typically only affects the 2016 Nissan Titan, which was the first model year of the second generation, but some 2017s have also had crankshaft failures.
There are typically no symptoms that lead up to the crankshaft failure up until the truck just suddenly loses power, makes loud noises, shakes, and the dash lights up like a Christmas tree.
Here’s how a few owners described their experience on TitanXDForum.com:
“I have a 2016 that I bought in NJ in Feb 2016 and broke a crankshaft at 68k.”
“My truck is currently in the shop right now getting a new long block installed due to a broken crank. Its been in there for 22 days now and just got the call today that they are ” almost” done pulling the old motor out. My truck is a 2016 PRO4X Cummins with roughly 54,000 miles.”
“Just broke my crankshaft on 2017 XD Pro 4X at 98,000 miles. Truck is deleted/tuned. I’ve towed small enclosed trailer a handful of times but very rare. I was doing about 70 mph on interstate I went to pass someone and truck acted weird, made noise, I pulled over and noticed the fan blades wobbling. Got it towed to the mechanic, he confirmed crankshaft broken.”
“I bought a 2017 XD in Norcross,Ga June of 2023. I bought it with 53,946 miles. It is a dealer buy-back. Part of that turbo recall they had. 1800 miles after buying the truck the crank failed at 55,750.”
The crankshaft is a major component of the engine assembly and is responsible for moving the pistons up and down. When it goes, it will cause severe engine damage.
The only way to repair it would be to replace the entire engine which costs roughly $20,000. It’s also possible to rebuild the engine or get a used long block, but it will still cost thousands of dollars.
Nissan eventually updated the crankshaft to increase its reliability. But some of the 2017 models might still be using the older crankshaft design.
8. Turbo Failure
The Cummins diesel in the second gen Nissan Titan has a tendency to suffer from turbo and turbo actuator failures.
Turbo issues can affect all model years of the diesel Titan from 2016 to 2019.
The Titan’s Cummins diesel has two turbochargers: a low pressure and a high pressure turbo. The high pressure turbo is more prone to failure, but there are also many cases of low pressure turbo failures.
The Rotary Turbo Control Valve Actuator (RTCV), which is responsible for controlling the flow of exhaust gasses into both turbos, also has a tendency to get stuck.
The most common cause of failure for the turbos is excessive carbon buildup. The turbo actuator usually fails due to cracked solder joints on its circuit board.
Common symptoms of turbo issues in the Titan include:
- Lack of power
- Hesitates to accelerate
- Excessive turbo lag
- Goes into limp mode with Reduced Engine Power error
- Lower gas mileage
- P00AF, P0299 or P226C trouble code
- Check engine light
Here is how several owners on TitanXDForum.com described their experience:
“My 2016 has been kicking a P226C code randomly for the past few months. Finally took it to the local dealership and tech discovered sticking RTCV. The repair is replacement of the low-pressure turbo since the rotary valve is built into the turbo housing.”
“Just got off the phone with the dealership, they pulled my turbo out and said it is completely filled with carbon buildup.”
“The turbos need to be replaced in my 2018 Titan XD with the Cummins diesel. Dealer has parts ordered because the truck only has 48+ thousand miles on it and is still under warranty.”
“I took my 2017 XD SL into the dealership yesterday for what I thought was a battery issue – slow start on these cold Ohio mornings – they are telling me the turbo actuator is the source of the code.”
“I have a 2016 Titan XD and the low pressure turbo went out. As all of you already know that the high pressure turbo is covered under warranty. It’s unfortunate that the low pressure turbo is not covered.”
“Low pressure turbo on the way out on my 17 at 119k miles. Bearing is going. Started making a low tone whistle and got louder.”
Nissan initially recalled many 2016 Titans to fix any premature turbo failures caused by low oil pressure, but not all 2016 diesels were included in the recall.
The turbochargers and actuator are considered part of the emissions system and were originally only covered for 60,000 miles.
Eventually, Nissan also extended the warranty for the high pressure turbo and the actuator to 10 years or 150,000 miles. It’s important to note that the low pressure turbocharger isn’t included in this warranty extension.
In a lot of cases, when the actuator linkage is sticking or binding, dealers will replace the low pressure turbo because the RTCV is a part of the low pressure turbo assembly, which can cost roughly $2,000 for parts and labor.
Some owners were able to fix the binding of the actuator by applying lubricant on the ends of the linkage. But you’ll still need to get the actuator recalibrated at the dealer or at a shop with a capable scan tool after replacing or fixing the actuator.
9. EGR Cooler Leak
Coolant leaks in the EGR cooler is a very common issue on the diesel Titans.
This issue can affect all model years of the Nissan Titan equipped with the Cummins diesel from 2016 to 2019, but is more common in the 2016 to 2017 models.
EGR stands for exhaust gas recirculation. It’s an emissions related system that recirculates exhaust gasses back into intake so that it can be burnt up further inside the combustion chamber. This helps reduce the amount of harmful gasses coming out of the exhaust.
Before the exhaust gasses get recirculated back into the engine, it goes through the EGR cooler to prevent the engine from getting too hot.
Common symptoms of a leaking EGR cooler include:
- Reduced engine power error message
- Dripping or traces of coolant on the engine
- Low coolant level in reservoir
- Coolant smell
If the coolant gets too low, the engine will overheat which can lead to severe engine damage.
Here is how a few owners on TitanXDForum.com described their situation:
“The EGR cooler on my 2018 Titan XD failed at 68k. I was alerted to the problem by the reduced engine power warning and coolant loss.”
“My ’19 is in the shop right now for a “complete” emissions system….. After the egr cooler went (replaced @ 42k) they didn’t bother to check the filters, so now @ 44k they are replacing all the sensors in the exhaust, the dpf, and the catalytic converter.”
“I just got confirmation from my dealer that EGR is leaking and needs replaced. I could smell antifreeze when we left on a road trip at our first stop. I then started smelling it inside on occasion. I figured it was the EGR and continued on. Mine’s a ’17 SV.”
“Went to dealer for a couple issues and found out my EGR is leaking coolant into the cooler. I have added 1 gallon of antifreeze over the last 10k.”
Nissan eventually updated the Titan’s EGR cooler some time in 2017, but there are still many instances of problems cropping up in the 2018 to 2019 models.
A new EGR cooler costs around $1,000 and getting it installed at a dealer can put the total repair price closer to $2,000.
If the coolant leak isn’t too bad, you can just routinely fill up the reservoir to keep the engine happy.
Some owners who don’t have to pass emissions simply delete the EGR system to eliminate the problem altogether, but this will also cost over $1,000 to get it properly done.
10. Fuel Lift Pump Failure
A number of diesel Titan owners have encountered problems with the fuel systems lift pump.
This issue can affect all model years of the diesel-engined Nissan Titan from 2016 to 2019.
The lift pump is responsible for delivering fuel from the tank to the high pressure fuel pump.
When the lift pump fails, you’ll have symptoms such as:
- No start
- Low Fuel Pressure Warning
- Whining sound
Here is how a few owners described their experience:
“I have a 2018 XD diesel, it has 37k on it. The truck has had nothing but fuel pump problems. Its currently at the dealer getting the 4th lift pump installed.“
“Lift Pump left me stuck in the middle of the road. Got towed to the nearest Nissan, and they confirmed that was the issue. 2017 Diesel with 60,000 miles that I’ve kept up with the maintenance on. The dealers telling me that that particular part only has a warranty for 50,000 miles.”
“I had to replace my lift pump at 54,000 miles. Mine was still working but it was leaking and you could hear air intrusion.”
“My 2017 Titan XD Diesel had a lift pump fail in November 2020. 14 months later on another cross country trip, new pump is making a screeching chirp noise while truck idles.”
A new lift pump typically costs around $500 so it’s not too expensive to replace. But due to the frequency of failures, some owners have chosen to replace the OEM pump with an aftermarket unit from FASS which costs $800.
To prevent premature lift pump failures, it’s important to change your fuel filters regularly and avoid fueling up at stations that could possibly have dirty diesel.
Regularly replacing the fuel filter will also minimize the occurrence of high pressure fuel pump failures. When the Titan’s Bosch CP4 high pressure fuel pump fails, it can send metal bits all throughout the fuel system which is very expensive to clean out and fix.
11. Throttle Lag
Lots of owners of the Cummins-powered Nissan Titan have also complained about excessive throttle lag or delayed acceleration when they take their foot off the accelerator and then step on it again.
This issue is also commonly known as “dead pedal” on different forums and is most apparent in the 2016 to 2017 model years.
Aside from the delayed acceleration, when the truck does respond, it can be quite abrupt and catch you by surprise if you’re not expecting it.
Here’s how a few owners described their experience:
“The only thing that I do not like about my Titan diesel is the slow throttle response.”
“The biggest problems I had with dead pedal was in two scenarios: 1 – from a dead stop where you could feel TQ Management limiting power below 1800 rpm then bam came the power. 2- When making a right or left hand turn, having to slow down (not stop) to make the turn then getting back onto the gas hard there would be nothing there.”
Nissan released a TSB for the 2016 to 2017 model years which addresses the dead pedal/throttle lag issue by updating the ECU software.
While the engine and transmission software updates did noticeably improve the throttle lag, especially in the older model years, it isn’t completely eliminated.
To remove the throttle lag, or make it almost imperceptible, you’ll have to get an aftermarket tune or install a Pedal Commander or a similar device.
Nissan Titan Pros & Cons
- Quiet and comfortable cabin
- Good value for money
- Adequate amounts of power
- Capable off-roader
- Good towing capacity
- Class leading warranty
- Decent reliability
- Fuel economy
- Poor resale value
- Diesel engine issues and parts
What Do The Reviews Say?
You get a standard V8 engine in the Titan. That’s fine if you like V8s but other trucks give you a lot more choice. The Titan we tested accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, which is unremarkable for a light-duty pickup with a V8. But the V8, paired with the nine-speed automatic, puts the power to the ground smoothly.
The Titan rides smoothly over even pavement and handles cracks and bumps in the road without upsetting the cabin. It’s a comfortable ride made better by the front seats that are cushy and supportive.
This is a familiar truck interior, with a traditional column-mounted shift lever and clearly labeled large buttons well within reach. Inside there’s a lot of hard plastic, but Nissan does a good job of dressing up higher trims with soft materials and wood accents. Passenger space is good in the front and acceptable in the rear, though many rivals in the class are more impressive.
Nissan deserves kudos for making Safety Shield 360, its suite of advanced assist features, standard equipment. The adaptive cruise control is especially effective, managing changes in speed smoothly even when other vehicles drift in and out of your lane. We also like the NissanConnect app services that include a live on-call concierge who can troubleshoot tech problems or send directions straight into your vehicle.
The Titan’s maximum towing capacity when properly equipped is 9,310 pounds. That’s enough for a typical trailer but it’s far from the best in the light-duty pickup class. Maximum payload capacity of 1,650 pounds is also a bit lightweight. But the bed is spacious, and it’s easier to reach over the side than it is in other full-size pickups.
What’s the Resale Value of a Nissan Titan?
Here’s a quick look at the Nissan Titan Crew Cab’s used pricing on Edmunds at the time of writing.