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Discussion Starter #1
Ok guys... if you could please point me in the direction of someone that has undergone a radiator replacement if you will.

I've looked into doing it myself, but according to reading and watching what little youtube help I could find indicated that you have to disconnect the lines to the condenser. :1pat:

Which means even if I do the swap myself I'll have to end up at a shop to do an evac and recharge.

So much to take apart... Even the hood latch! WOW! I just love how they built the car around the radiator! lol

Any help you have seen or could find would be much appreciated! Thank you! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
After driving the car for around 2 weeks I noticed the fan would kick on almost as soon as I would come to a stop. This was very much out of the norm!

All I can equate this to is it's an 09 with 149k on it. Turning 9 years old this year and almost 150k on the vehicle. Average life span is about 8-10 years according to Google. lol

So I can't exactly pinpoint what caused it to go. I did have a coolant flush done at 100k. I know that definitely extends the lifetime of a radiator!

I had to add water to the radiator and the remaining amount in the half gallon of distilled water to the reservoir. I guess that's not too much... Not sure where the leak is exactly on the radiator, but I'm guessing it might be high since it didn't leak out too much, or the leak is a pin hole currently.

Regardless I plan on doing the job myself VS paying the dealer $800+.

A new radiator with coupon through Advance Auto Parts costs $216 out the door. I'll still have to have the A/C system done following the change. I've never been good at pics and write-ups but since there isn't much out there on the subject I'll do my best. :)
 

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I’m admittedly reading this on my phone and may have missed something, but are you sure there’s not just a pinhole leak in a hose or a loose clamp from the hose compressing and rotting?
 

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It seems that you do have to remove the condenser according to the FSM. There may not be enough slack to just disconnect it from its mount to slide out the radiator. That sucks. My 2004 does not require this procedure. That's 100 bucks to evac the ac system and recharge after just for a radiator replacement. I wonder, if you can take it out from the fan side. I would check that possibility. See if you can remove everything that may be blocking it from coming out. If you want to save some $.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Robotaz I'm pretty sure... The only reason I'm going down the replacement road is I did bring it in to Nissan to get it confirmed that it needs a new radiator. That's why I said I'll be doing it myself rather than pay them $800+ that they wanted. That's what I know!

I'm in hopes that I don't have to disconnect the condenser, but I watched one guy on youtube that pulled an engine on one of these and to pull the radiator it won't come out unless you disconnect the condenser and pull it forward. Nissan actually says you have to unhook the horn, and take out the condenser. He said this isn't true. At this point I can't get around disconnecting the a/c lines.
 

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You can go to an AC shop, have them vacuum out the system. You then do the repair, and when finished go back and have the AC shop refill. That ought to save you a few hundred bucks, and it will assure that you get both the refrigerant and the lubricant correct in that system.
 

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I would definitely get a second opinion on the radiator being bad. The dealer starts with the most expensive items and just starts throwing your money at it. A mechanic can pressure test it fairly easily and confirm it's bad.

The only radiators I've had go bad went bad in a manner that was obvious. All other leaks were hoses.
 

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I just went back and checked the thread - most radiator leaks (not all) leave visual evidence of some kind. Usually a greenish deposit from dried antifreeze where the leak is. Doesn't dound like you have found such a mark.

Since you have an 09, pardon me for mentioning this, as I do not want to spread gloom and doom.....

But the second series did have more than its share of head gasket leaks, including some that are exterior and only resulted in antifreeze/coolant loss on the outside of the engine. (Not a loss of compression or cylinder problems.) I suggest a really good visual exam of the engine's exterior around the head gasket areas, looking for any greenish deposits which might indicate an exterior head gasket leak.
 

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Yep. Get your radiator tested and ask a mechanic to look everywhere, including the heads, for coolant discoloration. I agree 100%.
 

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With 2009, the head gaskets were a problem! Leaks were external. Like advised above, look for green crusted gunk at the seams. I had both replaced under warranty around 40K. Then about a month before I traded it in at 107K, another one reared it's ugly head!. Took a chance with some Bars Leak'sLiquid Copper Block Sealer and it sealed up nicely. Quick scrub to remove green crust and was good to trade-in. Do you park in a garage? That distinctive sweet odor of antifreeze is what alerted me to the leaks both times.
If the leak is slow, radiator can run low over time and eventually results in symptoms as you described. Keep us updated on what you find out. Take care!

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I appreciate all your comments and feedback. I did notice leaking but I couldn't exactly locate where it was coming from. I took the advice of the dealer. For the 6 years they've been servicing our Nissan they've never steered me wrong. Normally they point out an issue. Sometimes I let them tend to it, the rest of the time I take care of it.

I know one thing now that I've undergone replacement of the radiator is that the fan hasn't kicked on in the last 24 hours of using it. The needle has stayed at below half. The coolant level hasn't moved since filling the reservoir and radiator. So far... it's looking like the radiator.

I was very aware of the possibility of it might being the head gasket... could still be. I've also been keeping an eye on the oil and so far that hasn't been contaminated with coolant. So with those two observations I'm continuing to keep a close eye on everything. Below I've included some pictures of the job.

Purchased a radiator at Advance Auto for $216 out the door. Not too much to part with in the event it's the radiator. That and a couple of gallons of a Zerex which is for makes like Toyota/Lexus, Nissan/Infiniti, Honda/Acura. It's like a pink/red in color.

If I had it do over again, I would have completed a little better research on the disassembly. If it wasn't for a guy I found on facebook, mobile mechanic, coming over I don't think I would've ever gotten it apart. He walked up to the car and said "Here's your path right here" I never thought to remove the battery and tray and it exposed the very difficult hose clamps for the lower transmission cooler line and lower radiator hose. All it all it probably took me about 5 hours to complete. If I had to do it again I could do it faster. The guy actually didn't charge me anything since he didn't do anything.

I kept making the joke if they had to pick one part and build the vehicle around it, it would have to be the radiator.

My arms are scratched up and my fingers are still stained with grease that won't come off even with Fast Orange. But I saved myself a lot of money that's for sure. I walked away with a little pinch... #winning lol

I still have to pay a shop to vacuum and recharge the coolant but that will run me around $100 from a local guy.

Please feel free to give any feedback on what you think about my replacement of the radiator. Thank you guys for all your help and thoughts so far!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I do have a curiosity that I hope somebody can asnwer...

Upon pulling the radiator, after I drained the coolant, I got to thinking. The radiator also cools the tranny. I wonder how much trans fluid is in the radiator that’s not replaced into the tranny as the fluid flows into the new radiator?

Could it be a quart? A half a quart?

I’ve checked the transmission level after going for a drive for about 10 minssand lokz to be a hair below the full mark. I’m thinking it’s not enough to worry about. I’m also thinking I’ve never done a drainband refill. Now would be as good a time as any. It would fill it back up after draining and would be new fluid.

What do you think? Am I ok at the moment?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Update...

After driving it for several days the coolant level in the reservoir has dropped a little. It's gone from above the Max line to just below the max line. I continue to check the oil and it all looks good. I'm not sure what to do to speed up the process to verify it's not a head gasket.

Could it be that all of the air is bleeding out of the system and continuing to reduce the amount in the reservoir?

Could it be that I still have a leak somewhere other than the radiator. I can't seem to visually find anything...

What will a pressure test do?

I appreciate anyone's 2 cents! :)
 

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Update...

After driving it for several days the coolant level in the reservoir has dropped a little. It's gone from above the Max line to just below the max line. I continue to check the oil and it all looks good. I'm not sure what to do to speed up the process to verify it's not a head gasket.

Could it be that all of the air is bleeding out of the system and continuing to reduce the amount in the reservoir?

I appreciate anyone's 2 cents! :)
If temperature is staying within range, then it is probably air being bled from the system every time it cools down. It should stabilize after 1/2 a dozen cycles or so.

Have a good day.
 

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CVT Fluid replacement

I do have a curiosity that I hope somebody can asnwer...

Upon pulling the radiator, after I drained the coolant, I got to thinking. The radiator also cools the tranny. I wonder how much trans fluid is in the radiator that’s not replaced into the tranny as the fluid flows into the new radiator?

Could it be a quart? A half a quart?

I’ve checked the transmission level after going for a drive for about 10 minssand lokz to be a hair below the full mark. I’m thinking it’s not enough to worry about. I’m also thinking I’ve never done a drainband refill. Now would be as good a time as any. It would fill it back up after draining and would be new fluid.

What do you think? Am I ok at the moment?
If you are concerned about the CVT fluid a little low this may be a good time to go ahead and do a drain and fill. It is easier to do than an oil change. All you need is 5 quarts of Nissan CVT fluid, rhino ramps, a drain pan and a 10mm allen wrench. Put the vehicle on the ramps and drain the fluid into the pan and put in just a tad under 5 quarts of Fluid. There are excellent step by step instructions with photos on the web, esp. on the Maxima forums. Start to finish under 15 minutes.

https://maxima.org/forums/7th-generation-maxima-2009-2015/658082-cvt-fluid-drain-fill.html
 

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Discussion Starter #17
If you are concerned about the CVT fluid a little low this may be a good time to go ahead and do a drain and fill. It is easier to do than an oil change. All you need is 5 quarts of Nissan CVT fluid, rhino ramps, a drain pan and a 10mm allen wrench. Put the vehicle on the ramps and drain the fluid into the pan and put in just a tad under 5 quarts of Fluid. There are excellent step by step instructions with photos on the web, esp. on the Maxima forums. Start to finish under 15 minutes.

https://maxima.org/forums/7th-generation-maxima-2009-2015/658082-cvt-fluid-drain-fill.html
Perfect timing! I see no reason why I shouldn't do this if it's that easy! Only thing I'm lacking is the ramps. I just didn't want to be under or over. I know that's true with oil, but even more so with trans fluid I believe!

Thanks for the idea and feedback!

I'll let you know how it turns out!
 

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Ok guys... if you could please point me in the direction of someone that has undergone a radiator replacement if you will.

I've looked into doing it myself, but according to reading and watching what little youtube help I could find indicated that you have to disconnect the lines to the condenser. :1pat:

Which means even if I do the swap myself I'll have to end up at a shop to do an evac and recharge.

So much to take apart... Even the hood latch! WOW! I just love how they built the car around the radiator! lol

Any help you have seen or could find would be much appreciated! Thank you! :)
Did you really have to disconnect the lines to the condenser, evacuate and recharge? My radiator is leaking and want to do it myself but the more I look into it the more the labor of a shop seems preferable. I saw a youtube video that describes removing the battery and battery basket to allow the room to get it out without disconnecting the condenser lines. Do you not believe it was possible in your circumstance?
 

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I was able to successfully replace the radiator on my 2013 Murano - without having to remove the A/C condenser. The vehicle was driven half way up vehicle ramps to give it some clearance underneath and the angle actually kept any CVT fluid from leaking out. I removed the battery and employed pretty much all the tricks indicated, but I also loosened up the bracket that the horns mount to, pulled all hardware in sight in order to get play on the front end, and, using tin snips and a cutting tool, made some judicious cuts to the plastic cowling surrounding the corners of the condenser in order to buy the extra inch needed to angle out the radiator, and I needed a second set of hands to wiggle the new one in. All told, it was a full day of work but I spread it out over two days in order to maintain my sanity. Everything on that vehicle was explicitly designed to prevent you from working on it yourself.
 
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