If you’ve ever been “…standin’ on the corner in Winslow, Arizona…” then you know that across the street from the famous Eagles’ landmark—which includes a flatbed Ford by the way—is a souvenir shop called, appropriately enough, Standin’ on the Corner.
It was there that I was reminded of the importance of pickup allegiance. The conversation on trucks stemmed in part from Dad’s interesting obsession with road atlases and really all maps especially foldable, waterproof marine charts. He’s a retired electrical engineer whose uncanny knack for cartography usually leaves him as one of the few guys in the room who actually knows, at all times, where north is. Not a bad trait to have when you’re out on a boat or trucking around in the woods.
Anyway, Dad brought the Rand-McNally road atlas up to the counter. The nice lady at the register who had been dealing with an empty store up until our visit, indulged us in a little bit of that dying art of conversation. When she asked about our road trip, I explained that my dad and son were tagging along with me on a review I was doing for Ford’s latest F-250 equipped with their new 7.3-liter gas V8. I said that once we got it back home to Panama City, Fla. we would do some towing, hauling and off-roading with it.
That’s when she lit up. Strange how conversations can sometimes take a sharp turn. Turns out I hit on two big topics of interest: pickups and Florida. She and her husband had recently gotten back from a trip to south Florida where they had bought another Nissan Titan XD diesel. Once her husband had found out that Nissan and Cummins were dropping the 5.0-liter oil burner, he began hunting ads online until he found another Titan XD diesel to pair up with his first one.
He liked that truck so much that he was willing to travel across the country and buy another one, she said.
Suddenly those statues across the street of Glen Frey and Jackson Browne began to pale by comparison. It’s just hard to beat a good truck or car story and it got me thinking more about the fate of those remaining Titan XD diesel pickups and the fans who adore them.
Online research has revealed some tempting prices but is it a wise idea to buy a truck that despite having an impressive 100,000-mile warranty, has an engine that was phased out after only four years of production?
I reached out to our friends at Big Bear Engines, a leading supplier of Cummins 4BT Engines, Cummins 6BT Engines and CAT 3306 Engines in my old stomping grounds of Denver, Colo. for answers. Special thanks to Big Bear director of sales and business development Mike Asimakopoulos for taking the time to fill us in.
“I’m not particularly familiar with the ISV 5.0. That platform came out after I left Cummins but I would be cautious if you are looking for long term ownership,” Asimakopoulos said. “OE manufacturers will continue to offer parts and service support for a while after production has stopped, but that’s a pretty short run. I can easily see six to eight years down the road not being able to find parts for a comparatively low production run, at least by today’s standards.”
The Cummins 5.0 remains a big topic of interest on the Titan XD Forum. The oil burner that brought 555 lb.-ft. torque and 310 horses to Nissan’s 5/8-ton workhorse has thus far racked up 5.3 million views and 11.6 thousand replies. It ranks as one of the top subjects by far, particularly when it comes to its nixed status. When someone on the forum asked for advice about buying the XD diesel, responses were mixed:
Taosflyfishing writes: “I have the 2019 Pro4X, long time diesel driver and love this. You can push the 5.0 pretty far with a few mods, plus I love the size, interior and 4×4 capability. Get a very solid diesel truck and loaded interior for the price of a base level GM/dodge or ford. And a frickin’ 100k warranty. Actually believe the discontinuation will increase resale as people who love the Titan but want one with a diesel will be on the lookout. Parts won’t be a problem. Car manufacturers cancel certain models all the time but they still have to carry the parts. Also believe Nissan will bring the Titan diesel back but in full bore HD mode. 6+ liter diesel or greater. They discontinued due to sales. Expensive diesel as you can get a full bore 2500 for a little more.”
Mike was less enthusiastic: “My Nissan dealer says they are NOT offering Diesel mechanic classes anymore for the Titan XD diesel.”
Drew830 writes: “That was a big concern for me as the ‘diesel trained’ mechanics at two local Nissan dealerships barely knew anything about the diesel Titan.”
And then Horsebytes brought up a point that I’m sure is on the minds of many XD diesel owners:
“I’m concerned! I love my 2017 XD, but what’s this going to do to my resale value? I’m wondering if I should just trade it in now. I haven’t even hit 25,000 miles yet.”
Decisions, decisions. Of course, there are plenty of other forums for folks whose vehicles, or parts thereof, have fallen out of production. Not too long ago I came across a site for owners of the elusive Ford Ranger diesel produced for model years 1983-1986. One of the owners wrote about how he had to forge his own part for his little Perkins diesel. (The naturally aspirated 2.2-liter Perkins was available for model years 1983-1984 while the turbocharged Mitsubishi 2.3-liter diesel served under the hood for the remaining two model years.)
Asimakopoulos recalled that “Volkswagen made a great four-cylinder diesel and put it in their version of an El Camino.” The VW Rabbit Pickup, or Caddy, could be optioned with a 47-hp 1.5-liter diesel. That little truck had a shorter life span than the Titan XD diesel and was only sold in the U.S. for model years 1980-1983.
Asimakopoulos pointed out that while there have been several attempts through the years to market diesel engines in pickups that come in under ¾-ton status, “the biggest selling point is fuel economy which isn’t what draws the typical truck buyer. In my humble opinion, if you’re shopping for a diesel truck it’s because you need (or want) a truck that can tow and haul, or at least look like you do. With the premium price tag that diesel will carry if you’re buying it for better fuel economy you’re just paying for your fuel cost up front, which is not much different than buying a hybrid.”
Not bad advice at all. Plus, the lower GVWR of a 1/2-ton makes it less ideal for towing bigger loads. That’s where it gets interesting. Diesel engines in 1/2-tons certainly offer impressive horsepower and torque that invite record-setting towing and hauling numbers, but I can’t help but think of the tail wagging the dog when it comes to hauling big loads. The 5/8-ton Titan XD has a bigger frame and more GVWR than the 1/2-ton Titan. Pairing it up with a diesel seemed like a sensible thing, but still, it wasn’t enough to keep people reaching for their checkbooks. Tough crowd.