Nissan Titan 1st Generation 2004-2015 (A60) Review

Everything You Need To Know Before Buying A Used Nissan Titan 1st Gen

Read in this article:

1st Generation Nissan Titan: What Owners Say

  • The Titan's powerful V8 engine was always its strong suit and it is mated to a durable, smooth-shifting five-speed automatic transmission.
  • Working in tandem with the drivetrain, the suspension is well set up but biased a little towards responsiveness over comfort.
  • Owners love the Titan's cool features that make it easier to use and give it an edge over the established trucks in the class.
  • Like the Toyota Tundra of the same era, the Titan never offered owners a heavy-duty option to compete with that of its dual-rear-wheel American rivals. Its body/bed configurations are limited too.
  • Durability is generally good, but the side is let down by unnecessary design omissions that cause too many avoidable problems.
  • The interior is smartly designed and looks good, but on the pre-facelifted model, the good impression is spoiled somewhat by a fast-wearing cabin that quickly shed the veneer. Seat materials also tend to wear out quickly.

2008 First Generation Nissan Titan Facelift

The 1st-gen Nissan Titan was treated to a light restyling for the 2008 model year, with no body panels changed and only some front-end tweaks to the grille, bumper, and headlights. After that, nothing of note changed again until it was replaced for the 2015 model year.

2008-2015 Titan 1st Gen Facelift Front Changes CarBuzz
2008-2015 Titan 1st Gen Facelift Front Changes

The 2008 facelift is given a new front bumper with a slightly larger air intake1. The fog-light slots are D-shaped2. The outer vertical grille bars adjacent to the headlights are much thicker and the inner "V" bars thinner3. The redesigned headlight lenses retain their overall shape, but the vertical side marker light and horizontal "eyebrow" turn signal above the headlights join each other to form a distinctive "L" shape4.

2008-2015 Titan 1st Gen Facelift Rear Changes CarBuzz
2008-2015 Titan 1st Gen Facelift Rear Changes

The 2008 facelift receives no rear-end changes whatsoever. In fact, the Titan looks the same from behind for its entire 12-year production run.

2008-2015 Titan 1st Gen Facelift Side Changes CarBuzz
2008-2015 Titan 1st Gen Facelift Side Changes

Despite the obligatory new wheel choices1, nothing different can be spotted on the side of the 2008 facelift except the distinctive orange side marker lights in the new headlight clusters2.

2008-2015 Titan 1st Gen Facelift Interior Changes CarBuzz
2008-2015 Titan 1st Gen Facelift Interior Changes

For 2008, the semi-circular gauges are replaced with a new gauge cluster featuring restyled, round gauges. The speedometer of the 2008 model no longer dominates the display and moves from the center to the left, while the identically sized rev-counter mirrors it on the right, with the auxiliary gauges no longer scattered around the cluster, but arranged in a circle between the two main gauges, above the new driver-information display1. Some colors and materials are different, but the interior retains the pre-facelift model's design and layout. The previously integrated audio systems make way for squared-off double-DIN-sized units2. Redesigned seats provide better comfort and support.

Engine, Transmission, and Drivetrain

The first-generation Nissan Titan was only ever offered with a single engine and transmission. The 5.6-liter VK56DE V8 gas engine develops 305 hp for the 2004-2007 Titan and is uprated to 317 hp for the 2008 facelift. The only transmission is the Jatco RE5R05A five-speed automatic. This durable combination is undermined a little by a fragile cooling system, with a radiator prone to cracking being the main culprit. Besides the obvious damage that can occur to an engine if the coolant system does not work properly or leaks, the transmission cooling lines also run through this radiator and when the radiator fails, the coolant can enter the transmission cooling lines and find its way into the transmission, quickly ruining it.

5.6-liter VK56DE Naturally Aspirated V8 Gas Engine
305/317 hp | 379/385 lb-ft
305/317 hp
379/385 lb-ft
Five-speed automatic

The VK V8 was derived from the VQ V6 engine and is a modern, DOHC 32-valve aluminum engine with a sound reputation for durability. It is rated for a conservative 305 hp and 379 lb-ft for the 2004 Titan, with the emphasis on low-rev torque delivery. For 2005, a flex-fuel version of the engine capable of running on E85 was made available. The 2008 Titan has a 317-hp/385-lb-ft version of this engine, which is the best capable from the first-gen Nissan Titan.

2004-2015 Nissan Titan Real MPG

Even though it couldn't rival home-grown competitors in terms of sales, the 1st-gen Titan competed in the high-volume truck segment. Therefore, the EPA has received many reports of drivers' real-life fuel consumption, which it publish esalongside its estimates for comparison's sake. Either way, the Titan is not a frugal vehicle:

2004-2006 5.6 V8 2WD automatic (305 hp)12/17/14 mpg15.1-15.5-16-15.7-16.5-18.7 combined
2004-2006 5.6 V8 4WD automatic (305 hp)12/17/14 mpg12.8-12.9-13.2-13.6-14.6-14.8-15 combined
2007-2015 5.6 V8 2WD automatic (317 hp)13/18/15 mpg13.9-16.1 combined
2007-2015 5.6 V8 4WD automatic (317 hp)12/17/14 mpg12.4-14.8-14.9 combined

* Real-world mpg and MPGe figures are provided by the EPA. Once a car has been on sale for a significant period of time, the EPA gets real-world figures directly from the customer base. These figures are then provided on the EPA website. Real-world figures are not available for certain models due to a lack of sales, or not enough people partaking in this after-sales survey.


The 2005 first-gen Titan was the first one tested by the NHTSA and only front crashes for the driver and passenger were performed, for which the Titan was awarded five and four stars, respectively. For 2006, rollover tests were added, for which the 2WD Titan scored four stars and the 4WD model three stars. The NHTSA never crash-tested the Titan against its stricter 2011+ criteria and its rollover scores remained the same throughout its life. Over at the IIHS, the original 2004 Titan's moderate overlap frontal crash was rated "Good", but its original side impact only "Marginal" with the optional side airbags fitted - and "Poor" without them. Roof strength was rated "Adequate".

Not many safety features were fitted at launch and the only standard ones on all trims are dual front airbags, ABS brakes, and a tire-pressure monitoring system, while side airbags and stability control were optionally available on upper trims. The 2005 Titan receives active front headrests and for 2006, auto-dimming side mirrors become standard on top trims and optional on others. For 2010, safety is substantially shored up with stability control, side airbags, and curtain airbags becoming standard on all trims. A backup camera is made standard on select trims for 2013.

US NHTSA Crash Test Result (pre-2011 rating)

Frontal Barrier Crash Rating (driver):
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating (passenger):
Rollover Rating (2WD):
Rollover Rating (4WD):

1st Generation Nissan Titan Trims

The three main trims at launch were the XE, SE, and LE. For the 2008 facelift, an off-road-orientated Pro-4X trim was added. For the 2010 model year, the trim levels stayed essentially the same but were renamed, with the XE becoming the S, the SE becoming the SV, and the LE becoming the SL.

5.6-liter naturally aspirated gas V8
Five-speed automatic

The 2004 XE is available in either a King Cab (extended cab) or Crew Cab body with a six-foot-five bed on the former and a five-foot-five bed on the latter. It has standard 17-inch steel wheels, halogen headlights, a lockable tailgate, cruise control, air conditioning, vinyl flooring (carpeting on the Crew Cab), cloth upholstery, a manually tilting steering wheel, manually operated door locks and windows (powered on the Crew Cab), manually operated mirrors, a bed light, ABS brakes, two airbags, tire-pressure monitoring, and an AM/FM radio with a CD player. The 2005 Crew Cab models all have a standard power rear window with a defroster. All trims and body styles have a tailgate with dampened assist, while the XE gains access to an optional spray-in bed liner as a standalone extra. All 2006 trims' audio systems are MP3 compatible and the optional stability control works in conjunction with the locking rear differential on the 2006 model. All 2007 Titans have the slightly more powerful 317-hp/385-lb-ft V8 and the base XE has power door locks and windows.

The 2008 Titan is available with a new long-wheelbase body, with either a six-foot-six or eight-foot bed, while the base XE gets larger 18-inch steel wheels. Some XEs might have the XE Popular Equipment package, which adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a front overhead console, cruise control, a sliding rear window (King Cab only), and a chrome grille. For 2010, the XE has standard side and curtain airbags, as well as stability control.

For 2011, the XE is renamed S but continues basically unchanged from the previous year. For the final 2015 model year, there is no long-wheelbase Titan anymore. It does benefit from upgraded interior door trim, though.

5.6-liter naturally aspirated gas V8
Five-speed automatic

The 2004 SE has everything the XE does but adds 18-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior trim and bumpers, deep-tinted glass, remote keyless entry, power door locks, powered and heated side mirrors, a sliding rear window, two front captain's chairs with a center console, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob. The 2005 SE has a different style of alloy wheel. 2006 Crew Cab SEs can be fitted with an optional sunroof. The 2007 model has a standard in-dash CD changer. The 2009 SE has a trip computer and an auxiliary audio jack and might have the SE Popular Equipment package fitted, which adds power-adjustable pedals, an eight-way electrically adjustable driver's seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a compass, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, and rear parking sensors. The SE Driver's Convenience package may also be present, adding front captain's chairs, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and a Rockford Fosgate audio system, as well as a sunroof on Crew Cab models.

A 2010 SE with the Value Truck package will have fog lights, a hitch receiver, bucket seats with a center console, and a flat-folding front passenger seat. Additionally, the optional SE Heavy Metal package might be present, with its chromed wheels, door handles, mirrors, billet grille, and side steps.

For 2011, the SE becomes the SV but otherwise carries over essentially unchanged, fitted as standard with the 2011 S Popular Equipment package, as well as chrome bumpers, full power accessories, an in-dash six-CD changer and MP3 player, and an auxiliary jack. A 2011 SV might be fitted with the SV Value Truck package, meaning rear parking sensors, fog lights, a Class IV hitch, front bucket seats with eight-way electrical adjustment for the driver, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with built-in compass, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, and Bluetooth. The Premium Utility package adds power-folding and heated side mirrors, electrically adjustable pedals, front tow hooks, satellite radio, and the Rockford Fosgate audio system.

The 2013 SV has standard step rails while the 2015 SV does not have the long-wheelbase option anymore, but has upgraded door trims and, in the case of the front captain's chairs, electrically adjustable lumbar support.

5.6-liter naturally aspirated gas V8
Five-speed automatic

The off-road-focused Pro-4X was launched as a 2008 model and is, therefore, only available as a facelifted Titan. It is based on the 2008 SE trim and shares most of its standard appointments and equipment, excep it is 4WD only and has heavy-duty skid plates, Rancho shock absorbers, all-terrain tires, a lower final driver, and a locking rear differential. The 2009 Pro-4X has the SE Popular Equipment and Driver Convenience packages and might additionally have been fitted with the optional Pro-4X Driver Convenience package that also adds heated mirrors, Bluetooth, leather upholstery, driver's memory functions, and the Rockford Fosgate audio system. Furthermore, a 2009 Pro-4X might also be fitted with the optional Technology package, which adds navigation (with a 5.8-inch touchscreen) and, on the Crew Cab, a sunroof, or the Entertainment package, which adds a rear-seat LCD screen and DVD player.

The 2011 Pro-4X is essentially a 2010 SV with all the off-road goodies, as well as the Value Truck and Utility packages fitted. However, a 2011 Pro-4X might also have had the Pro-4X Premium Utility package fitted, which is identical to the similarly named package for the SV, or Leather package, which adds not only leather upholstery, but also memory functions for the driver and four-way power adjustment for the front passenger. The 2013 Pro-4X has a standard backup camera and access to additional standalone options - such as navigation, a rear-seat entertainment system, and a sunroof - or the Pro-4X Luxury package with its heated front seats, leather upholstery, electrically adjustable driver's seat with memory, and navigation. The 2014 Pro-4X can be distinguished by the embroidered "Pro-4X" logos on its seats and the 2015 model by its upgraded interior door trims and the presence of electric lumbar support on the front captain's chairs.

5.6-liter naturally aspirated gas V8
Five-speed automatic

The 2004 LE gets everything the SE does and adds automatic headlights, power outlets and a lockbox storage compartment in the bed, running boards, power-adjustable pedals with a memory setting, a HomeLink universal transceiver, leather upholstery, an eight-way electrically adjustable driver's seat (six-way for the passenger), an auto-dimming interior rearview mirror with a compass, and a Rockford Fosgate audio system with a six-CD changer. On the inside, the 2005 LE has aluminum interior trim and the option of replacing the two front captain's chairs with a bench seat - still upholstered in leather. For 2006, the LE has power-folding, heated, and auto-dimming side mirrors, as well as dual-zone climate control. Options that might be fitted to a used one include a DVD-based navigation system, a rear-seat entertainment system, or a tow package with an uprated radiator, springs, and extending side mirrors, as well as a spray-in bed liner and an off-road package with skid plates, Rancho shock absorbers, and a locking rear diff.

The facelifted 2008 LE runs on 20-inch alloy wheels and has a spray-in bed liner, rear parking sensors, cargo tie-down tracks, and Bluetooth. The 2009 model gets the features of 2009 SE Driver's Convenience package (except for the sunroof), as well as wood trim and a total of ten speakers. The optional Technology and Entertainment packages available on the 2009 Pro-4X might also be fitted to a 2009 LE. A 2010 LE might have been fitted with the Texas Titan/Heavy Metal package as available on the 2010 SE, except that the wheels measure 20 inches and not 18. The 2011 LE is a renamed 2010 SL and continues on mostly unchanged; however, a 2011 SL Max Utility package adds everything the 2011 SV Premium Utility package does, plus side-step rails. The 2013 SL has a standard backup camera. Like the rest of the lineup, the 2015 SL gets upgraded door trims and electric lumbar support for the front captain's chairs.

First Generation Nissan Titan Features (last model year)

Back-Up CameraN/AN/ASS
Bluetooth ConnectionN/AN/ASN/A
Leather SeatsaN/AN/AN/AS
Apple CarPlayN/AN/AN/AN/A
Keyless EntryN/ASSS
Keyless StartN/AN/AN/AN/A
Alloy WheelsN/ASSS

Interior, Trim, And Practicality

Nissan Titan 1st Gen Interior Overview Nissan
Nissan Titan 1st Gen Interior Overview

The King Cab is not really meant for transporting adults in the back, with only 33 inches of legroom available. The Crew Cab, however, is truly spacious, with over 40 inches of headroom and legroom available in the second row. The Titan Crew Cab can seat up to six people with the front bench fitted, or five with the front captain's chairs, which replaces the center front passenger's space with a center console. The seats of most early models were trimmed in Graphite, Titanium, or Steel cloth, with Almond and Charcoal becoming the default cloth color choices from the 2008 model year, with velour inserts on SV and Pro-4X trims. Colors were further reduced to Charcoal only by 2015 on trims with cloth seats. The LE and SL trims sport plush leather upholstery. The predominantly black instrument panel is relieved by satin-silver accents on the steering wheel, around the gear shifter, and on the center stack.

Graphite/Titanium, Steel cloth seats (2004-2007)SN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Graphite/Titanium, Steel leather seats (2004-2007)N/AN/AN/AN/ASN/AN/A
Almond, Charcoal cloth seats (2008-2013)SSSSN/AN/AN/A
Almond, Charcoal cloth seats (2014-2015)SSSN/AN/AN/AN/A
Almond, Charcoal cloth/velour seats (2014-2015)N/AN/AN/ASN/AN/AN/A
Charcoal cloth seats (2008-2013)N/AN/AN/AN/ASN/AN/A
Charcoal cloth/velour seats (2014-2015)N/AN/AN/AN/ASN/AN/A
Almond, Charcoal leather seats (2008-2015)N/AN/AN/AN/AN/ASS

2004-2015 Nissan Titan Maintenance and Cost

The VK V8 engine is a tough beast and, considering that Nissan specifies oil changes every 7,500 miles, it should last almost forever if you stick to the service schedule. At the time of this basic lube service, a Nissan dealership would also rotate the tires. Besides the lube services every 7,500 miles, more comprehensive services are performed every 15,000 miles, which include replacing the cabin air filter and checking and inspecting all the other fluid levels, as well as the troublesome axle shaft oil seals. The engine's air filter is replaced every 30,000 miles but might require replacement sooner if you frequently traverse dusty roads. The coolant system should also be drained, flushed, and refilled at 30,000-mile intervals. Even though Nissan doesn't specify it, most experts agree that the transmission fluid should be changed every 30,000 miles. The spark plugs should be replaced every 105,000 miles.

The problem with the first-generation Nissan Titan A60 is not the basic design and durability of the engine and transmission - which are very good - but other systems that may cause these components to fail. The biggest problem by far is the radiator, which is prone to cracking. Furthermore, sincethe transmission oil's cooling lines also run through the radiator, when the radiator fails, the coolant can get into the transmission and quickly ruin it. Unfortunately, the poor design of the rear axle's breather system also means that it clogs easily, causing excess pressure to overwhelm the axle seals, leading to oil loss and eventual axle failure. Aftermarket fixes are available for the breather system, which should ideally be done with fresh axle seals in place.

Nissan Titan A60 Basic Service

Engine Oil Change Including Filter

2004-2008 5.6-liter naturally aspirated VK56DE gas engine: 6.2L (6.55 quarts)

Recommended type and viscosity: 5W-30 fully synthetic oil, Amsoil OEM part code OEFQT-EA

Oil filter element OEM part number 15208-9E01A

Replacement: Every 7,500 miles.

Average cost: $7 for filter and $61 for oil.

2009-2014 5.6-liter naturally aspirated VK56DE gas engine: 6.5L (6.87 quarts)

Recommended type and viscosity: 5W-30 fully synthetic oil, Amsoil OEM part code OEFQT-EA

Oil filter element OEM part number 15208-9E01A

Replacement: Every 7,500 miles.

Average cost: $7 for filter and $64 for oil.


VK56DE V8 gas engine 2004-2006:

Part code: 22401-5M014

Replacement: Every 105,000 miles.

Average price: $94 for eight.

VK56DE V8 gas engine 2007-2014:

Part code: 22401-ZE01B

Replacement: Every 105,000 miles.

Average price: $144 for eight.

Air Filter

VK56DE V8 gas engine:

OEM part number: 16546-7S000

Replacement: Every 30,000 miles.

Average Price: $22.


VK56DE gas engine:

Type: Duralast Gold/Platinum 24F-EFB/24F-DLG battery, part code 24F-DLG/24F-EFB

Replacement: Every 3-5 years.

Average Price: $212/$232.

1st Generation Nissan Titan Tires

2004-2007 XE
Tire Size:
All-season tires:
$828-$948 per set
2004-2010 SE; 2004-2007 LE; 2008-2010 XE; 2011-2015 S; 2011-2015 SV
Tire Size:
All-season tires:
$815-$1,012 per set
2008-2015 Pro-4X
Tire Size:
All-terrain tires:
$1,032-$1,471 per set
2008-2010 LE; 2011-2015 SL
Tire Size:
All-season tires:
$817-$1,068 per set

Check Before You Buy

Technical Service Bulletins according to the NHTSA. Check service book for:

All models in the 2004-2015 Nissan Titan 1st gen have the same understressed V8 engine and traditional torque-converter five-speed automatic transmission, both of which are tough and durable and should last a long time if they get clean oil on schedule. However, the cooling system is not quite as tough and needs to be watched closely. A cracked radiator could not only cause overheating, but it can allow coolant into the transmission, which could ruin it. Therefore, it is recommended that you always keep a close eye on the cooling system and transmission to ensure that there is no coolant in the transmission and no transmission fluid in the cooling system. Failing axle seals are an issue, too, which can be avoided by retrofitting a proper aftermarket axle breather system.

A few 2006-2008 Nissan Titans suffered from broken clock springs, while pre-2008 models suffer from rapid rear and tear of the interior plastic trim. There are some 2008 Nissan Titan power window problems and some 2005 Titans' door mechanisms had to be replaced because the doors could no longer be opened.

Generally speaking, there are very few significant Nissan Titan starter, 4 wheel drive, CD player, or cruise control problems to report - these systems all being quite trouble-free. 2008-2015 Nissan Titan Pro-4X problems are no more numerous than other Titans despite having more specialized systems.

Here are a few common OBD2 error codes to be on the lookout for:

  • The 2004-2015 Nissan Titan 2WD and 4x4's OBD2 code P0740, P1769, P0745, P1774 and P1716 all refer to the automatic transmission.
  • The 2004-2015 Nissan Titan code P0300 refers to a general misfire condition, with the last digit usually replaced with the number of the cylinder in the firing order that is experiencing the misfire, so the Nissan Titan 5.6's code P0307 would mean that cylinder number seven is misfiring.
  • On the first gen 2004 Nissan Titan, codes P0057, P0037, or P0133 indicate problems with the oxygen sensors.
  • The first-gen 2004 Nissan Titan V8 service engine codes P0455, P0440, P0456, P1446, P0447, and P0403 indicate problems with the evaporative emissions-control (EVAP) system.
  • The 2004 Nissan Titan 5.6 4x2 or 4x4 code P1031 or P1148 indicates a faulty air-fuel ratio sensor on bank one.
  • Codes P1121 and P1705 on the 2004 Nissan Titan refer to problems with the electric throttle control, the former a problem with the throttle control actuator and the latter a problem with the throttle position sensor.
  • On a 2004 or 2005 Nissan Titan, engine code P0335 usually indicates a faulty crank-position sensor.
  • The Nissan Titan P0340 code usually signifies a faulty camshaft position sensor, but it can also be triggered by a dead battery or a faulty starter motor.
  • The first-gen 2004 Nissan Titan engine code P0507 shows that the idle speed is too high, which might be caused by the idle air control valve or a vacuum leak.
  • A Nissan Titan with the P1564 trouble code has a problem with its cruise control.
  • On the Nissan Titan, code P0118 means that there is something wrong with the coolant temperature sensor or its wiring.
  • The P0021 code for the Nissan Titan indicates a problem with the intake valve timing control on bank two.
  • The Nissan Titan P0725 code is an engine-speed signal and the code can be triggered by a faulty crank or cam position sensor, a problem with the ECM, or a miscommunication between the ECM and transmission control module.
  • The code P0113 on a Nissan Titan means that the intake air temperature sensor's circuit gives a high reading, which could be caused by a faulty intake air temperature sensor, a dirty air filter, or a wiring fault.
  • The Nissan Titan diagnostic code P0101 triggers in the of ase a faulty mass air flow (MAF) sensor, but could also be caused by a blocked air filter or a wiring fault.

1st Generation Titan Common Problems

Radiator Cracking

Affecting mostly 2004-2008 Nissan Titans, the radiator can crack. Replacing a radiator costs only a few hundred dollars, but the problem is that the transmission's oil lines also run through the radiator and, if the radiator fails, engine coolant can enter the transmission and transmission fluid the engine, which will eventually lead to the failure of both if ignored. Check both the transmission fluid and engine coolant frequently for contamination and replace the radiator as soon as possible if failure is suspected. If any of the fluids have mixed, both the transmission and engine will have to be flushed before the fluids can be replaced. This is the cause of the vast majority of 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 Nissan Titan transmission and overheating problems. There are noticeably fewer 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 Nissan Titan transmission problems and this also applies to the Titan's final years.

Mileage: From 72,000 to 158,000 miles on average.

Cost: Around $400 for a radiator replacement and anything between $3,500 and $4,500 for a transmission replacement.

How to spot: Coolant loss without an obvious leak, overheating, poor gear shifting. Transmission fluid in the coolant will produce deposits around the coolant cap that look like mud or dark pudding. Coolant in the transmission will produce sudsy transmission fluid.

Fuel Pump Failure

Quite a few 2004-2015 Nissan Titan fuel pump problems have been reported. The fuel pump does not fail outright, which is why there was no 2004-2015 Nissan Titan fuel pump recall for this problem. When the fuel pump starts to cause problems, it will no longer be able to supply a sufficient amount of fuel to the engine, leading to a lean air-fuel mixture that will increase the temperature of the catalytic converters and may cause them to fail. On the 2004 Nissan Titan 5.6, code P1051, P1168, P1273, P0174, P1283, P0171 and P2A03 all relate to problems with the air-fuel mixture, so they might show when a fuel pump is faulty. On any first-gen Nissan Titan, code P1220 indicates a faulty fuel pump control module and not necessarily a fault with the fuel pump itself.

Mileage: Any mileage.

Cost: Around $1,500 to have the fuel pump replaced at a dealership.

How to spot: Loss of power, Check Engine light.

Exhaust Manifolds Cracking

Mostly 2004-2008 Titans suffer from cracked exhaust manifolds. The stock items use fairly thin metal and some owners replace these manifolds with thicker aftermarket items that are cheaper than the stock parts. If these manifolds are not replaced in time, they can ruin the catalytic converters. In the worst-case scenario, debris from a failed cat can be sucked back into the engine, terminally damaging it. There was no 2004-2008 Nissan Titan exhaust manifold or catalytic converter recall for these problems, so all repairs will be for your own account.

Mileage: 78,000 to 129,000 miles on average.

Cost: Around $1,000 for two aftermarket Dorman exhaust manifolds with bolts, washers, gaskets, and catalytic converters - or double the price at a Nissan dealership.

How to spot: Clicking sound of leaking exhaust manifold when the engine is running, Check Engine light due to cat failure.

Axle Seals and Differentials

Apparently, the standard breather system for the 1st-generation Titan's rear axle is just a breather nipple and not a proper hose. This can become clogged and when the pressure in the rear differential and axle increases, it can no longer escape and is squeezed out through the weakest link in the chain - the axle seals. These seals fail and start to leak oil. The low oil can ruin both the axle and the differential if not replenished. Just replacing the axle seals is not a permanent cure if the cause of the problem is not addressed. The 2004 Titan was by far the worst and the axle problems were only really under control by the 2007 model year. Besides the rear differential and axle, a few front differentials have also failed, so check both. Before fitting an aftermarket breather kit, replace the axle seals first to ensure that there are no leaks. Take note that these are expensive problems to fix and, since there was no 2004, 2005, 2006, or 2007 Nissan Titan rear axle seal or differential recall, you'll be paying out of pocket.

Mileage: 64,000 to 135,000 miles on average.

Cost: Can vary wildly depending on what has failed and the work to be done. An aftermarket breather kit costs little over $30 and can be installed by a competent DIY mechanic. Just replacing axle seals typically cost between $1,200 and $1,700. Replacing a failed rear axle and differential will be over $3,000 and a failed front differential around $3,400.

How to spot: Visible oil leaks on the axle, a failed axle, or a whining differential.

Rust and Corrosion

The 2004-2015 Nissan Titan suffered from rust and paint problems regularly. Chassis rust afflicts the early 2004-2006 Titans the most and can get particularly bad in rust-belt states, to the point where the rear leaf springs' shackles fail and the wayward springs punch a hole in the load bed. Peeling, bubbling, flaking, and fading paintwork, as well as premature rust and corrosion,happen mostly on 2004-2006 Titans, but problems have been noted on anything up to 2012 models in rust-belt states.

Mileage: Chassis rust from 18,000 to 63,000 miles on average.

Cost: A leaf-spring shackle costs only around $180 to replace, but other parts that require replacement and damage that must be repaired due to rust can reach $3,000.

How to spot: Visible rust and/or corrosion on the chassis and paintwork.

Brake Problems

There seems to be a rash of 2004 and 2005 Nissan Titan brake problems and they can start at a low mileage. Premature wear, a loss of braking power, and shuddering from warped rotors are quite commonplace among early Titans. On the first-gen 2004 Nissan Titan, a P1730, P1757, or P1759 code is sometimes seen in conjunction with braking problems.

Mileage: As early as 4,000 miles, but typically around 25,000-77,000 miles on average.

Cost: Depends on what's wrong, but it usually costs around $1,200 to replace the brake rotors and pads.

How to spot: Shudders and vibrations on braking, premature wear, and a soft pedal.

Suspension Problems

Notwithstanding rear leaf-spring issues due to rust, the Titan's suspension system is generally trouble-free and only two years stand out. Some 2008 Titans experienced failure of the ball joints in the upper control arms and worn swing-arm bushes. A faulty camber bolt on some 2011 Titans causes shock-absorber failure and uneven tire wear.

Mileage: 130,000 miles on average for upper control arms; swing arms can fail early. Shock absorber problems prevalent from new.

Cost: Suspension repairs for the control arms and bushes typically cost around $450 each and new shock absorbers are around $500.

How to spot: Clunks and play in the suspension, tracking problems, uneven tire wear.

Electrical Problems

Most of the stalling problems reported on 2004-2006 Titans can be linked to the failing electronic control module (ECM) relay, for which there was a recall. However, there are also some other electrical problems that are hard to separate from each other and may or may not be related. If a Titan throws any error codes, all the dashboard lights come on, the ABS light illuminates, the cruise control fails, or 4x4 refuses to engage, rather walk away.

Mileage: Wiring and harness problems typically from around 100,000-130,000 miles on average.

Cost: Ip to $1,000 to fix wiring harness problems and up to $3,000 if the body control module (BCM) is at fault.

How to spot: Electrical problems, fault codes, warning lights, systems such as ABS/4x4 unavailable.

HVAC Problems

Some 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 Nissan Titan air conditioner - or AC - and heater problems were reported. Though not hugely problematic, there were some issues with the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system of, predictably, those earlier Titans, although there were a few 2009, 2010, and 2011 Nissan Titan air conditioner problems again. Sometimes, an HVAC actuator fails or either the heater or air conditioning won't switch on or off; the blower motor's relay may also fail, causing fluctuating blower speeds or blower failure. Some of these problems remained unresolved on a few 2009-2011 models.

Mileage: At any mileage, from as early as 15,000 miles on affected vehicles.

Cost: An HVAC actuator repair costs around $430 and a blower motor relay replacement costs $40.

How to spot: Clicking sounds from the HVAC system, failure of the air-conditioning or heater to either switch on or off, blower blowing inconsistently.


Some of the biggest recalls on the Titan were for a failed ECM, problems with airbags and restraint systems, and for a faulty fuel gauge. Here is the full 2004-2015 Nissan Titan recall list:

In the 2004, 2005, and 2006 Nissan Titan IPDM recall, Titans were recalled for a faulty electronic control module (ECM) in the intelligent power distribution module (IPDM) that may cause a stall. Be wary of codes P1065, P0430, P0420, or P0421 on the 2004 Nissan Titan gas or flex fuel 5.6L as they may still be suffering from the problem. More than 30,000 Nissan and Infiniti models were recalled for faulty labels and the Titan was also affected. Some 2004-2010 Titans may have lower improperly welded control link assemblies in their suspension systems. Some 2004-2006 Titans that were fitted with a Hopkins trailer brake controller may have an incorrectly placed wire in the controller's harness that leads to the improper routing of the wires to the vehicle's control system. A number of 2004 Titan Crew Cab models were recalled to replace a center rear seatbelt, of which the retractor spool may lock in the retracted position. Many 2004 Titans were recalled for rear pillar seatbelt anchorages that do not comply with energy-absorption requirements. There was a recall for faulty wiring that may affect pretentioners and airbags as well, plus the Takata airbag recall that affected 2013-2015 Titans.

There were a few 2004 and 2013 Nissan Titan shifter problems that resulted in recalls. In two separate but similar gearshift lever recalls for 2004 and 2013 Titans, damage that may have occurred to the gearshift lever during assembly may cause the lever to slip out of Park or allow it to be shited out of Park without having to apply the footbrake. Some 2005-2009 Titans were affected by a recall for a faulty fuel gauge. Take note that, for the first-gen 2004 Nissan Titan V8, engine error code P0463 may be present in such a case. In the 2005 and 2006 Nissan Titan AC recall, a Visteon air-conditioning condenser fan may have been improperly sealed, thereby letting in moisture, leading to overheating and increasing the risk of a fire. There were recalls for 2006 door latch failures, 2008-2010 brake pedal problems, and 2008 seat problems too. The 2013 Nissan Titan brake recall was for a brake master cylinder that may intermittently reduce the braking assistance applied to the front wheels.

Which One To Avoid

The pre-facelift 2004-2007 Titans were by far the most problematic and subject to the most recalls. They also have less equipment and worse safety. In terms of wallet-breaking mechanical problems - mostly related to the cooling system and axles - they are the biggest risk, on top of being the oldest, too. Unless you specifically want a no-frills work truck, we would avoid the drab XE/S too, with its steel wheels and workaday spec.

Which One To Buy

The Titan was substantially upgraded with stability control and side and curtain airbags as standard for the 2010 model year, so it really can double as safe, modern transport, even today. There were still a few niggles up to around the 2011 model and the 2012 model seems to be a particular sweet spot, with all the latest upgrades and safety features, yet with the excellent reliability and very few issues. The mid-range SV was always the most well-balanced in the range, with the sensible 18-inch tires of the base S, but with alloy wheels and a lot more equipment, making it proper modern, safe, family transport.

Nissan Titan A60 Verdict

The first-generation Titan was a solid effort from Nissan as a full-size truck and it avoided the mistakes Toyota made with the first Tundra, namely making it too small. It was also less rust-prone than its contemporary Tundra rival. That said, Nissan took a while to sort out the Titan's problems and a $400 radiator can cost you dearly in the end, potentially ruining both the transmission and engine. Therefore, stick to a later 2012+ model, give it a thorough once-over, and make sure it has a full service history.

To Top