engine NISSAN FRONTIER 2008 D22 / 1.G Towing Guide
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2008 Nissan Towing Guide 1
SAFETY IS PRIORITY ONE
Obviously, your first concern should be safety. Your vehicle was designed to be used primarily
to carry passengers and cargo. Always remember that towing a trailer places additional loads
on your vehicle’s engine, drivetrain, steering, braking, and other systems. Therefore, be certain
that your vehicle can meet the demands of the towing application you have in mind.
Rent or purchase only the highest-quality towing and safety equipment you can find.
Reinforced tow hitches designed especially for certain Nissan vehicles are available from your
Nissan dealer.* Hitches for the other Nissan models should be bought from and installed by a
professional supplier of towing equipment.
Finally, it is important to follow the towing capacity limit set for your specific vehicle, and to
ensure that your vehicle is in top mechanical condition, especially the tires, brakes,
suspension, and engine cooling system. See your vehicle owner’s manual for details.
NEVER EXCEED THE ESTABLISHED TOWING CAPACITY
Towing capacities vary from vehicle to vehicle. See the SPECIFICATIONS section of this
guide for the towing capacities of 2008 Nissan vehicles produced at the time of Towing
Guide publication. Use this data to help select the proper Nissan vehicle to meet your
anticipated towing needs, and refer to it when renting a trailer or other piece of towing
EQUIP YOUR NISSAN FOR TOWING
The frequency and type of towing should influence the manner in which you equip your vehicle.
If you plan to tow often, either for recreation or work, select the engine size, transmission type,
suspension, and towing capacity that are best suited to your requirements. This guide can
help you select that equipment.
If, on the other hand, your towing will be infrequent, choose the Nissan vehicle and
equipment that best meets your day-to-day needs. Be careful not to exceed the towing
capacity on those few occasions when you do tow.
READ THIS GUIDE BEFORE YOU TOW
This guide was designed to provide an overview of safe towing practices. Here, you’ll find
information on towing equipment, safety, proper loading and driving techniques, towing tips,
and much more.
It is also a good idea to discuss your towing requirements with either your Nissan dealer or
a professional supplier of towing equipment before you equip your Nissan vehicle for towing.
Quest tow hitch is factory installed only.
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2008 Nissan Towing Guide 10 SWAY CONTROL DEVICE
Sudden maneuvers, wind gusts, and buffeting caused by other vehicles can affect trailer
handling. Sway control devices may be used to help control these affects. If you choose to
use one, contact a reputable trailer hitch supplier to make sure the sway control device will
work with the vehicle, hitch, trailer and the trailer’s brake system. Follow the instructions
provided by the manufacturer for installing and using the sway control device.
GENUINE NISSAN PARTS AND ACCESSORIES
Whether you’ll be towing occasionally or on a regular basis, Nissan offers a full range of
Genuine Nissan Parts and Accessories to help you tow with confidence.
Every accessory is thoroughly tested and inspected for fit and workmanship. Therefore, you
can be certain that every item is designed to be compatible with the standard features of your
vehicle and designed to assist you with your towing needs.
Contact your Nissan dealer for more information on accessories or towing-related parts for
your Nissan vehicle.
BREAK-IN AND MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE
Nissan recommends that you allow a sufficient “break-in” (500 miles) of both the engine and
drivetrain before towing with your new Nissan vehicle. In addition, for the first 500 miles that
you tow a trailer, do not drive over 50 mph and do not make starts at full throttle.
Keep in mind, too, that towing places higher demands and added loads on vehicle
components, so more frequent maintenance is called for. Your Nissan Service & Maintenance
Guide provides the accelerated maintenance schedule for towing purposes. Engine oil, filter,
transmission oil, and possibly other fluids should be changed more frequently when towing.
MEASURING VEHICLE WEIGHT
The key to safe, efficient towing has to do with weight. Your vehicle — SUV, truck, minivan, or
passenger car — is capable of carrying and towing only a certain amount of weight. You must
compare your vehicle’s tow weight ratings with the combined weight of the vehicle, trailer, and
their contents. This will help ensure that the total weight does not exceed any of your vehicle’s
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2008 Nissan Towing Guide 12 On all Nissan vehicles, the GVWR is shown on the
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (F.M.V.S.S.)
certification label located in the driver’s-side door area.
To avoid overloading the vehicle, be sure
to include the trailer tongue/king pin load as a
part of the cargo when determining how much weight
can be safely carried inside the vehicle. The weight of
the roof rack cargo should also be included.
GROSS AXLE WEIGHT (GAW)
The Gross Axle Weight (GAW) is the maximum weight each axle (front and rear) is designed
to safely carry.
To determine the GAW, load the vehicle as you would for towing and attach the loaded
trailer. At a public scale, with the loaded trailer attached, place only the tow vehicle front
wheels on the scale to determine the actual front axle GAW. To obtain the rear axle GAW,
place all four tow vehicle wheels on the scale. From that figure, subtract the front GAW and
you’ve got the rear GAW amount.
The GAW you come up with must not exceed the Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)
for your vehicle. On Nissan vehicles, the GAWR for both axles is listed on the F.M.V.S.S.
MFD BY NISSAN MOTOR CO., LTD
THIS VEHICLE CONFORMS TO
ALL APPLICABLE FEDERAL
MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY
STANDARDS IN EFFECT ON
THE DATE OF MANUFACTURE
SEE OWNERS MANUAL FOR
COLOR TRIM TRANS
RIMS AT PSI
COLD SINGLERIMS AT PSI
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2008 Nissan Towing Guide 14 example, to determine the proper trailer tongue load for a 1,500-lb. trailer, multiply the weight
of 1,500 lbs. by 10% to arrive at a figure of 150 lbs.
5th wheel and gooseneck trailer king pin load must be kept between 15-25% of the actual
trailer weight, within the limits of the king pin load allowable.
See the SPECIFICATIONS section of this guide or refer to your vehicle owner’s manual to
view the maximum conventional trailer tongue load listed for your vehicle.
NOTE – The vehicle weight ratings (GVWR, GAWR, GCWR, etc.) must not be
exceeded, regardless of trailer or hitch type.
HITCH & TRAILER HEIGHT
It is important that your trailer floor
and tongue ride as level as possible.
This will help prevent over-angling,
bottoming-out, and improper load
transfer. Therefore, the hitch or trailer
tongue must be adjusted during the
initial vehicle/trailer fit-up to ensure a
level ride. Ball mounts are available in
different configurations to
adjust the hitch ball height.
When towing a trailer, increase tow vehicle tire pressures to the recommended cold
specifications. You will find these figures in the vehicle owner’s manual and on the tire
pressure chart located in the vehicle. Trailer tire condition, size, load rating, and inflation
pressure must be in accordance with the trailer and tire manufacturer’s specifications.
Towing can dramatically alter the handling and performance characteristics of your vehicle.
Plus, it puts increased strain on the engine and drivetrain. Therefore, it is always a good idea
to approach towing from the standpoint of safety — whether you’re purchasing equipment or
actually pulling the trailer.
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2008 Nissan Towing Guide 16 the handling of your vehicle and cause a very unsafe situation.
Finally, do not carry flammable materials, such as gasoline, in your trailer. In the event of an
accident, an explosion or fire could occur.
ENSURING VEHICLE/TRAILER STABILITY
Improper loading, excessive or insufficient trailer tongue/king pin load, overloading, excessive
trailer weight, poorly designed trailer suspensions, crosswinds, and poor maintenance are all
things that can affect the stability of your vehicle and trailer combination.
If swaying does occur, check the cargo load for proper balance and distribution to ensure
proper trailer tongue/king pin load. In addition, check the condition of the suspension and
shocks, as well as the tires, tire pressures, and wheel bearings on both the tow vehicle and
the trailer. If swaying occurs because of high winds or poor weather conditions, wait until
these conditions improve before resuming your trip.
If the swaying continues and you feel your trailer is suitably balanced and within the towing
capacity limits of your vehicle, discontinue towing and consult your Nissan dealer or trailer
manufacturer to determine the problem. Most important, do not tow until the problem is
Some states have specific regulations and speed limits for vehicles that are towing trailers.
Always obey these ordinances.
Remember to reduce your speed in unsafe or less-than-ideal road conditions or weather.
When towing a trailer, braking distances increase while handling agility decreases. Always
leave yourself an extra margin of distance to respond to emergency situations.
Never allow passengers to ride inside a trailer while it is being towed. Not only is this
unlawful in most areas, passengers could be seriously injured during sudden trailer movement
or in an accident. In addition, trailers may allow fumes from the tow vehicle to leak inside. This
could result in carbon monoxide poisoning from the engine exhaust.
Vehicle modifications — beyond those required for proper hitch installation, wiring hook-up,
and necessary cooling system upgrading — are not recommended for any Nissan vehicle
being used for towing purposes. Changes to the drivetrain, suspension, exhaust systems,
frame structure/unibody, or other vehicle components are not necessary for towing within the
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2008 Nissan Towing Guide 17 limits described in this guide. These changes may diminish the reliability and longevity of your
vehicle and possibly void warranty coverage.
It is always a good idea to travel with a special tool kit when towing. In addition to tools, it
should contain flares, a flashlight, emergency reflectors, jumper cables, extra fuses, extra
radiator coolant, oil, and easily replaced spare parts such as taillight bulbs. You should also
carry spare tires for your tow vehicle and trailer, as well as a jack suitable for use on the trailer.
Be aware that not all automotive jacks can be used safely on a trailer.
BEFORE STARTING OUT
Before starting out on a trip, make one last inspection of the tow vehicle and the trailer. Are
the tire pressures correct? Are the safety chains/cables securely in place? Is the cargo tied
down securely? Do all the lights work? Is the coupler properly attached over the hitch ball and
secured using a locking pin? Is the breakaway switch hooked up and functioning properly?
Are vehicle and electric trailer brakes working properly?
Make a checklist of key items to be inspected, and don’t forget the basics. When towing,
vehicle engine oil, transmission oil, and coolant should always be checked before starting out.
Finding a potential problem while in your driveway is better than discovering it miles from
If you’ve never towed a trailer before, be aware that it does take getting used to. To begin with,
towing noticeably affects your vehicle’s performance:
Š It will not accelerate as quickly — an important point to keep in mind when merging onto a
Š It will not stop as quickly. Leave more room than usual between you and the traffic ahead,
and brake sooner when coming to a stop.
Š Abrupt maneuvering can unbalance the load and reduce the handling stability of your tow
vehicle. Plan ahead and make lane changes and turns smoothly.
If possible, before you actually hit the open road, practice towing in a large uncrowded area
such as a stadium or shopping center parking lot. Become especially familiar with backing up
a trailer — the maneuver many people find most difficult.
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2008 Nissan Towing Guide 19 move the wheel to the right. All movements of the wheel should be done in small increments.
Of course, backing up should be done only at very slow speeds. For large trailers that
obstruct your rearward vision, have someone outside the vehicle act as a “spotter” to guide
A tow vehicle and trailer can be an unwieldy combination in a small area, so always try to park
where you will have a relatively easy time maneuvering. Once parked, always block the wheels
on both the tow vehicle and the trailer.
Parking on a slope is not recommended. If, however, you must park on a slope and your
vehicle is equipped with an automatic transmission, there are some precautions you should
Š Have someone block the wheels once the tow vehicle and trailer are in position and being
held by the vehicle’s brake.
Š Next, apply the parking brake and only then move the gear lever into PARK. If you move the
lever into PARK before blocking the wheels and applying the parking brake, transmission
damage may occur.
An engine will lose about 4% of its performance for every 1,000 feet above sea level that you
travel. If you will be towing in high altitudes, it is a good idea to allow more time than usual due
to the engine’s reduced performance.
TOW MODE (IF EQUIPPED)
Tow Mode should be used when the vehicle and trailer weight is at least 75% of the vehicle
GCWR. This mode is most useful when towing a heavy trailer or hauling a heavy load,
particularly when stop-and-go traffic, rolling terrain, or a busy parking lot is involved.
Driving the vehicle in Tow Mode with minimal trailer load will not cause any damage;
however, fuel economy may be reduced and transmission/engine driving characteristics may
HILLS – UPGRADES
As the incline increases, shift down to a lower gear to maintain speed and prevent the engine
from lugging. However, for long and steep grades, do not stay in first gear when driving above
35 mph or in second gear above 58 mph. The added weight of a trailer places an increased
load on the engine and cooling system, so monitor your coolant temperature gauge and
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2008 Nissan Towing Guide 20 automatic transmission fluid temperature gauge (if equipped) very carefully. At the first sign of
overheating, pull to the side of the road. See IF YOUR ENGINE OVERHEATS later in this
section for more information.
HILLS – DOWNGRADES
While going downhill, the weight of the trailer pushing on the tow vehicle may decrease
overall stability. Therefore, to maintain adequate control, reduce your speed and shift to a
Avoid long or repeated use of the brakes when descending a hill, as this reduces their
effectiveness and could cause overheating. Shifting to a lower gear instead provides “engine
braking” and reduces the need to brake as frequently.
AUTOMATIC CRUISE CONTROL
Do not use cruise control while towing a trailer.
IF YOUR ENGINE OVERHEATS
A moderate increase in engine operating temperature is normal when towing a trailer. If,
however, the coolant temperature gauge reading is abnormally high, or if you are experiencing
a significant loss of power, or if you hear unusual engine noises,* the engine may be
overheating and you should immediately take the following steps:
1. Pull your vehicle safely over to the side of the road, out of traffic. Apply the parking brake
and move the gearshift lever to NEUTRAL (manual) or PARK (automatic). DO NOT STOP
2. Turn off the air conditioning and, after opening all the windows, turn the heater on to
maximum hot and the fan to its highest speed. The heater core in your vehicle is just like a
miniature engine radiator and will provide an extra cooling surface to help reduce engine
3. Run the engine at a fast idle (approximately 1,500 rpm) until the temperature gauge returns
to a normal reading. If the temperature does not drop or continues to increase, stop this
4. Being cautious of traffic, step out of the vehicle and, from a safe distance, look for steam
underneath the engine. If you see steam or leaking coolant, stand clear to avoid being
burned and shut off your engine immediately and allow it to cool. If there is no steam, open
the hood. Never remove the radiator cap when the radiator is hot. If the cap is removed
under these conditions, hot water under high pressure may spurt out, possibly causing
*See your vehicle owner’s manual for additional indications that your vehicle may be overheating.
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2008 Nissan Towing Guide 21 serious injury.
5. As soon as the engine has cooled to its normal operating temperature, visually inspect
the drive belts for damage or looseness. A loose belt reduces water pump efficiency. Be
careful to keep your hands, hair, jewelry, and clothing clear of the running drive belt and
other moving parts when inspecting the engine and radiator. Also check to see if the
cooling fan is running, and inspect the water pump, radiator, and radiator hoses for leaks.
Keep in mind, too, that if your vehicle is equipped with an electric fan motor, it may start
without warning any time the coolant temperature is high. If you find leaking coolant, a
loose or missing drive belt, or an inoperable fan, turn off the engine immediately.
6. If no leaks are apparent and all other components appear to be operating properly with
the engine cooled to its normal operating temperature, check the coolant level in the
reservoir tank with the engine running. Add coolant to the reservoir tank if needed. At this
point, if repairs are required, go to the nearest Nissan dealer. See the IN CASE OF
EMERGENCY section of your vehicle owner’s manual for additional information on
NOTE – Armada, Frontier, Pathfinder, and Titan vehicles have an engine protection mode,
which helps reduce the chance of engine damage if the engine coolant reaches a specified
temperature. See your vehicle owner’s manual for details.
HITCH Located just forward of the rear axle centerline, this hitch uses a
king pin to serve as the pivot point for the trailer.
BALL MOUNT A bar that holds the hitch ball and is inserted into the hitch receiver.
Also commonly called a drawbar or “stinger.”
BREAKAWAY SWITCH A safety device using a trailer battery that automatically applies the
trailer’s brakes if it should accidentally become separated from the
tow vehicle. A breakaway switch may be used with both electric or
surge trailer brake systems.
BUMPER HITCH A reinforced bumper designed to accommodate a hitch ball.
BRAKES When the brakes on a tow vehicle are applied, an electric current is
sent to an actuator which applies the trailer’s brakes.
BRAKE CONTROLLER A device that controls the electric trailer brakes.
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2008 Nissan Towing Guide 23
SUV’s, Trucks, and Minivan
2008 ARMADA TOWING DATA
Engine Type 5.6L V8
Model(s) 2WD 4WD
without optional tow package 6,500 6,500 Maximum
Trailer Weight1,4 (lbs.) with optional tow package6 9,100 9,000
without optional tow package 650 650 Maximum
Trailer Tongue Load (lbs.) with optional tow package6 910 900
without optional tow package 12,800 13,000 Gross Combined
Weight Rating (lbs.) with optional tow package6 15,100 15,100
2008 FRONTIER TOWING DATA
Engine Type 2.5L
4-Cylinder 4.0L V6
Transmission A/T & M/T
Trailer Weight1,3,4 (lbs.) 3,500 6,500 6,300 6,300 6,100
Trailer Tongue Load3 (lbs.) 350 650 630 630 610
Weight Rating (lbs.) 7,936 11,133 11,133 11,133 11,133
Trailer Frontal Area 60 sq. ft.