Question about Nissan Frontier

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I lhave a leak in the passenger floorboard of my 2001 nissan frontier. it drips when the ac is on and only then. I was told that the drip pan is cracked and has to be replace. This is costly and the dash has to come out. Are there any other options?

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Before going ahead and replacing your drip pan, double-check to see that the external drain hose isn't clogged, which would cause condensate to back up, overflow the drip pan, and leak into the passenger compartment. Often, these drains fill with "gunk" (mold, mud, sludge) that slows or completely stops water flow. You should be able to find the drain opening if you look under your Nissan--it probably looks like a little rubber tube that extends out 1/4 to 1/2" from the underside. Sometimes, in rear wheel drive cars, the drain hose is routed into the hump for the transmission / drive shaft--in those cases, it can be a little trickier to spot. You can also cheat and just run your A/C for a while, then look under the car for a spot that's dripping water.

You can use a variety of tools to check to see whether the drain is clogged--I used a wooden chop stick once because I was worried about tearing the hose--but a lot of these hoses have some twists and turns that make it impossible for a straight tool to probe all the way to the drip pan. I've had the best luck using bursts of high pressure water (garden hose pressure is just fine) up into the hose and letting it drain out. Often, a few bursts of that will blow out a surprising amount of gunk and increase drainage flow.

It's possible that whoever investigated your problem has already checked the drainage tubes (though I bet they only looked at the last few inches that were easily visible from the outside; clogs often form right at the drain inlet in the pan itself). If you really do have a cracked drip pan, I can't think of a way of patching the pan without taking off part of the dash to get at it it. At that point, there's little cost savings in repairing the existing pan over simply replacing it, since it's more the labor, not the cost of the part, that makes this an expensive job. Plus, if your repair doesn't hold, you'll need to remove the dash again to finally replace the pan.

Posted on May 29, 2011


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