E51 Elgrand E51 Frequently Asked Questions


Here for life
Premium Member
E51 Expert
Any members on here and especially on the facebook page will know how often the same questions about E51's get asked all the time. The purpose of this page is to highlight and answer some of these questions. If you have a suggestion about what faq should be on here, then please post the question, the answer if possible and a link to any relevant information. I will then copy your post into this first post and delete your post making this thread as tidy as possible.

I am looking to buy an E51, what engines are there?
The E51 is available in petrol only. There is no diesel version. The most common engine is the VQ35DE 3.5L V6 engine but a 2.5L is also available from 2004 onwards.

What MPG will I get?
If MPG is a priority then you are looking at the wrong vehicle. If you want a vehicle that excels at carrying lots of people long distances in comfort and style then you've come to the right place. On a long motorway cruise, 25mpg is achievable. City/town driving expect an average of 16-20mpg.

What's the deal with the cats on the E51?
The E51 has a quad catalytic converter system. There is a pre-cat and a secondary cat coming from both banks of cylinders in the engine. The problem therein is that when the front cats start to fall apart (due to age/use), the internals cannot flow out the back of the exhaust, they get stuck in the secondary cats. This causes a blockage and prevents exhaust gasses being emitted.

The pressure builds up, and the exhausts gases go to the only place they can, back into the engine, taking with them debris from the pre-cat that is now in pieced. The debris causes cylinder damage and will kill your engine.

De-core (remove the internals) from the SECONDARY cats... or remove them completley. If you go for the former option, the cats are cut open at the top and the internals knocked out. This means that when the pre-cats start to fall apart, there is nothing to stop the pieces blowing out the back of the exhaust. This also leaves the cat housing in place for the visual MOT inspection. If you remove them altogether, obviously you get the same end result in that there is nothing to cause a blockage, but you will not leave the visual cat housing in place which could cause a problem when it comes to the visual inspection on the MOT (if the MOT tester knows there should be 4 cats, but can only see 2, he will fail it).

This will not affect emissions until the pre-cats have completely fallen out. At this point you will get an EML light as there is no change in emissions between the first and second O2 (lambda) sensor. At this point you will need to replace your front cats either with an OE replacement or aftermarket (which will probably be cheaper and better).

The other alternative is to remove ALL the cats from the system and get two new high performance cats from an aftermarket exhaust manufacturer. Not only will this cure the problem, but the car will perform better and sound better.

Are there any known issues with the E51?Can I change the menu language from Japanese to English?
Simple answer - NO. There is information starting to appear that a series 3 Elgrand (2008 onwards) can be changed but this information is very vague. Series 1 & 2 E51's are firmly stuck with Japanese menus. Don't worry, you soon get used to it and the Google translate app can be used to translate text within photos so use this to help.

How do I change the time on the clock in the E51?
If you have a version with the clock up in the overhead console, then this clock is set by gps to Japanese time and it cannot be changed. The only option is to replace the clock itself.

How do I replace the original headunit?
There is a basic guide available which will point you in the right direction. However there are so many different audio options that it is not intended as a difinitive guide.

But do I need to change the headunit?
No but it depends on what your car comes with. Some Elgrands have a basic setup with a single din unit with tray underneath. Remove this and you have a double din hole ready for an upgrade. But if you have one that is more integrated into the dash, you will need a replacement stereo surround if you want a new unit. If you want to retain the existing unit, then you will need a bandwidth expander for the radio as Japanese radio frequencies are different to that in the uk.

My sliding side door has stopped working
Likely that the master switch under the steering column has been accidentally pressed.

What replacement battery under the bonnet should I fit?
There are lots of choices, but beware of reversed polarity on the E51 which narrows the choices down a bit.

How do I get the tv tuner to work?
The Japanese tv tuner will not work in the uk as we have digital over here. You will need to buy a separate car freeview box and plug it in via the aux inputs (see link above about changing headunit.)

How do I get the built in sat nav to work?
Again, something that is specific to Japan only. There are no uk maps and nothing compatible for use in the uk. If you still have the original sound system there is a possibility that the sat nav dvd drive can be used to play dvd movies, either the correct region for Japan or region free.

Can I plug my phone in to the connector in the drivers seat and use phone controls on the steering wheel?
No. The connector is an obscure version from Japan and not compatible with any modern phones.

Can I switch off the lower lights in the sliding door steps?
Yes. In the front overhead console, in front of the lleft map light is a button with a picture of a light on it. If you press it, it turns the main rear interior light on and off. If you hold it down it turns off the step lights until you close and open the doors again at which point they will come back on.

How can I find out if my Elgrand has had recall work done before it left Japan?
Go to the link below using Google Chrome which should translate the page to english. Input your chassic number (case specific) and it will bring back what recalls were due for your car and if they were completed or not.

How do I know which model I definitely have?
It is not unknown for some dealers to try and pass off lower spec cars as 'Rider' models by adding the bumpers and grill and then charging an additional premium for them. Input the chassis number here and it will give you some of the build information like trim level, engine size, 2wd/4wd, colour code and optional extras fitted. http://nissan.epc-data.com
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Active Member
Straight to the point. My techie friend thinks the Jap phone connector has much in common with USB . . . maybe, just maybe :)


Matt, that's a brilliant information write up. Not see it before.

Hat off to you mate. Just what the forum is all about. Sharing info. :yahoo:



Karaoke King
E51 Owner
Cheers for doing that, think I'll keep a copy of the link in my notes app and paste it into every Facebook post about those question but I've been guilty myself of asking one or two of them! :)


Nice one Matt. :) Well done.

I've got 2 friends of mine who are currently looking to buy Elgrands, and this will be very useful.
Great information, concisely put together.

Like me, they don't use Facebook either. Better to have it all on the one forum.


Part of the furniture (please de-cat your e51/2)
Premium Member
E51 Expert
E51 Owner
I'd add common issues to expect :-
1) eating / warping break disks
2) Caliper Slide pins snapping (particularly rear if rubbers perish because of incorrect grease)
3) Front to rear AC pipe (6' pipe within pipe) failure (budget £1600 to ship & fix).


Well-Known Member
Premium Member
E51 Owner
How do you turn that japanese woman's voice off,its annoying as hell to the point i want to take a hammer to every speaker.


Part of the furniture (please de-cat your e51/2)
Premium Member
E51 Expert
E51 Owner
Reversed polarity? Are you sure about that.. I'm no auto electrician but mine appears to be perfectly normal.
I think some more common batteries that would fit have poles the other way round.


Part of the furniture (please de-cat your e51/2)
Premium Member
E51 Expert
E51 Owner
I'd also add that the bit about checking Riders out is slightly confusing as they will all show as v/vg grade on the build spec database as that is what is sent to Autech (a wholly owned subsidiary company) to add their styling bits to.


Premium Member
E51 Owner
great info thanks. I would like to ask Can the built in mobile connector be changed maybe re wired to a Usb connector i saw a video on your tube and the guy had music playing via this connector and it was usb.


anyone have any recomendation for a FM Extendor to use looking on eBay and there is a lot on there so be great if someone has a treid and tested one to look at purchasing.

Great if any one knows or has done this. Thanks


Part of the furniture (please de-cat your e51/2)
Premium Member
E51 Expert
E51 Owner
great info thanks. I would like to ask Can the built in mobile connector be changed maybe re wired to a Usb connector i saw a video on your tube and the guy had music playing via this connector and it was usb.
No. (voltage and power too low)
Add Bluetooth/ Mirrorcast/ CarPlay etc