Question about 2001 Nissan Xterra

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I have a 2001 xterra that overheats when going uphill with the air conditioner on. If I turn the ac off it will not overheat. I have spent +$2,000 at Break Masters in Tucson, Arizona, regenerating the AC unit, put in a new radiator, put in a new fan clutch twice. They said the first wasn't right. I changed all hoses and serpentine belts, put in a new water pump, put in a new timing belt, changed the thermostat 3 times. Everything imaginable has been made new. It still overheats when going uphill in 4 x 4 with the AC on. If I turn the AC off, it will overheat, but it is hard to travel in the Arizona Desert without an AC working. The xterra has plety of power, shows no leaks and runs real strong. What can I do? In my inquirey I have noticed a lot of the 2001 xterras having the same problem. Is this inert and the overheating not avoidable?

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  • jesgeo Jul 28, 2009

    Hi Jeef b vegas 1,



    I think that your write up is super.



    It seems to me that everything to be done is already done. However, my friends say that since I have been occassionaly driving across rivers that are above my tailpipe, that I should clean or replace my Catalytic Convertor. Can it be cleaned? Also, there is a oil cooler. Could this be the problem? Can I get larger fan blades, or a bigger fan clutch?



    I have had a couple of people say add "water wetter". They as you, think that this will help. I am in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico and have Autozone and Wallmart, but haven't seen it here. There is a Home Depot. Maybe they have it. I will probably have to get it in Tucson on my next trip north. What quanities does it come in? How much do I need. On gallon, two gallons, or more?



    Now, how do I add it? Drain the complete radiator? Then add how much Red Line?, and only add water to that, with no coolant? Should water added to the radiator be only distilled water, or just domestic water?



    One other question: Do I have struts or shocks or both, and what would you replace them with? I want something heavy duty and good quality. Can I do this myself, or do I need special tools?



    Jackie E. Stephens

    Geologist & Mineral Explorationist

    Hermosillo, Mexico





    Jeff, thanks for your help

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When u say runs hot what is the temp? 230-240 is ok for modern engines, they are designed to run this hot under severe conditions like where u live without any damage to the engine, I also live in a semi desert area and have learned that many people are bothered by the fact the guage seems to read high, there are a few thing to check, if the truck has an air dam under the front bumper to divert air is it intact? not damaged? also if you are really overheating then you can have another radiator built with more cooling capacity, also if you had the ac repaired or charged it may have been overcharged this can add 10 or 15 degrees to the operating temp, make sure the coolant is a 50/50 mix, I have seen all these types of things cause hot running with AC on in my dealer, with 40 years in the field have seen most all types of overheating problems, also want to mention that there are many posts about this truck running hot with ac on so the bigger radiator might be the ultimate fix...

Posted on Jul 28, 2009

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  • Master
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I certainly understand the EXTREME driving condition you are subjecated to. Some vehicles seem to take it better than others.I believe it mainly boils down to the ability of the vehicle to move air basically. Hopefully the foam seals which run around the perimeter of the condenser to the radiator are present and are in tact during the replacement procedure on the radiator.Even little things like that can make a difference and allow more air through the coils of the condenser and radiator.Im a bit concerned about the radiator and am hopefull it was a new OEM radiator from Nissan.I've had horrible luck with anything but.The rows for coolant travel inside the radiator are so minute and intricate,its not possible to re-man or opt for aftermarket on this unit.a couple of inactive rows in that aluminum radiator could be detrimental.I would not rule this out even though you have a "new radiator" unless it was an OEM part. One thought, there is a product from a company called Red-Line that makes a coolant additive called "water wetter" . This with water will run 30 degrees cooler than antifreeze.It does not have freeze protection but it has amazing heat transfer qualities.This product has actually been around quite a while and this their best selling product.I would also verify A/C pressures and insure the high pressure side is within specs.A slightly overcharged system will develop higher head pressures which equals super-heat across the condenser coils. Too much freon in the desert is not a good thing. I would also try to verify the actual operating temps you are running as the temp gauge might be inaccurate.I would check for discriminating values from the engine control temp sensor.You might have gauge reading higher than it is.The ECU will cut A/C compressor in an overheat situation.Im curious if the computer has ever interrupted A/C while driving? This is a true sign of overheating when the computer cuts A/C operation.Lastly,I have installed aftermarket cooling fans on the outside of condensers before and have them come on with the compressor. Installed them to push air into the condenser and have some success with that.Installing an aftermarket electric fan may be helpfull in your situation. Intrested in your thoughts and findings...good luck

Posted on Jul 28, 2009

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