Nissan Patrol GQ Y60 1987 -1997
This series of articles offers buying tips and advice on some of our all-time favourite used four wheel drives. Vehicles that have proven themselves and stood the test of time. These vehicles, if serviced and looked after properly, can represent good value for anyone searching for a used 4x4. In this article we deal with the GQ Nissan Patrol.
Ticking the Right Boxes
Nissan and Toyota have always competed for Top-Dog Four-Wheel-Drive honours and the GQ Patrol was a direct response to Toyota's mighty 75 Series Landcruisers.
Sharing a fundamental design brief with their Japanese rival, Nissan produced a competitive 4WD that got it pretty well right.
With a big square body shape, that included distinctive flared wheel arches, the GQ Y60 Patrol came in a variety of body styles and engine configurations.
Doors and Engines.
Body styles included a short wheel base 3 door hardtop, 5 door wagon and 2 and 4 door utes. Engine choice were all six cylinder and could be 3.0 litre petrol, 4.2 litre petrol, 4.2 litre diesel and 2.8 litre turbocharged diesel. In 1992 the 4.2 litre petrol engine adopted a fuel injection system and a four speed automatic gearbox was optional.
The 4.2 litre diesel power plant was primarily responsible for earning the Nissan GQ a reputation as a rugged go-anywhere 4WD.
Very truck like in it's mannerisms the TD42 developed 85kw of power and matched to a five speed manual gearbox could lug around the bush with the best of them.
The GQ Patrol is a part-time 4WD, meaning the driver needed to manually engage the front free wheeling hubs and select either high or low range four wheel drive with a secondary gear lever.
Refinements and Options
The GQ Y60 series underwent numerous upgrades and had an plenty of factory options for the discerning buyer. Some of these included a vacuum operated rear differential lock, PTO front mounted recovery winch and the line-topping TI model with leather seats, woodgrain trim and seven-speaker sound system. ST models had power windows, power mirrors, central locking and air conditioning. The four door sedan could be optioned to seat seven people and long range fuel tanks and wider wheels could be added.
Up until 1994 Ford rebadged the GQ and sold it as a Ford Maverick. These often command a lower used price and parts are interchangeable between the two.
The GQ Patrol in Service
The Patrol could be considered a little uncivilised for general running around town (although many still do). They are big heavy vehicles and the manual gearbox could never be described as providing 'snappy' gear changes. The 4.2 diesel engine did exactly what it was supposed too, provides mountains of torque and not much in the way of rapid acceleration while the petrol engine delivered a freer revving and quicker alternative that positively drinks petrol.
The robust construction meant the cab bolted atop the chassis creating a very strong platform that also made for a decent step up into the cab. The cabin and seats were reasonably comfortable although interior space was deceptively smaller than the outside dimensions of the vehicle suggested.
Despite it's less than ideal city aspirations, the GQ shone when headed for the highway and the bush.
The revolutionary (for Japanese 4WD) coil spring suspension delivered a plush ride while providing decent articulation and travel over hurdles. The factory coils may have been a little soft for hard-core rock climbing but a used four wheel drive of this vintage will probably need some suspension attention anyway.
The low ratio transfer box offered superb control when negotiating boulders and steep descents while the torquey diesel power plant allowed great feel under throttle.
What Breaks and What Lasts
The GQ is a proven performer and stories abound of models with over 500,000km on the odometer. It's a big heavy vehicle with better than average off-road capabilities for it's age. It tows well and there's nothing in the design of the big Nissan that consistently proves to be terminal.
Petrol engines were often converted to LPG and low coolant levels and high running temperatures may reveal a cracked or warped head.
Early model Patrols suffered from front end 'shimmy' (shaking) especially around 80kph but warranty repairs saw most models remedied. If it hasn't been done it is a relatively easy fix.
Unlike 75 Series Toyota's where nearly every vehicle has seen fairly active 4WD service, many Nissan GQ's were spared a life on farms and mine sites. They were popular with fisherfolk (who like reversing boats into the ocean and fishing from the beach) so thankfully the body is reasonably resilient to rust although the rear side windows were susceptible.
Generally the GQ is a tough and ready off road machine, capable of doing big kilometres in a reasonably stylish fashion. It's proven itself over time and second hand units, in good condition, represent good value for money.
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