2001 3.3 Replaced Thermostat
Newly purchased 2001 X 3.3 4WD purchased for offspring to drive, 128K on the clock.
Have posted before about the issues I'm chasing to be sure vehicle is dependable before turning it over.
Throwing code 1126, and prior owner said her mechanic said this was nothing to worry about. My reading of the forums indicate this is (was) likely a bad thermostat that did not allow the vehicle to warm up properly before opening, and I'm anal, so I just had to change the thermostat. NAPA had the part, and a piece of the lower hose between the thermostat housing and a metal hose, so I acquired, along with a gallon of official Nissan coolant, and spent my Saturday morning (ok, it was most of the day) getting after this.
The radiator drain was right where it was supposed to be, hidden behind a
rubber shield held on my clips in the front and rear. came off easily enough,
and the drain screw actually came out, so I drained about 3 quarts of fluid out and then started disassembling.
Removed battery for more room, the upper hose and pondered taking the shroud off, until I determined that I'd have to remove the fan clutch too, so I just took it loose so I could move it about. Of the three bolts holding the housing on, two are accessible with the proper length extensions, and the third only with a universal joint. Taking if off was the least of the battle.
I was hoping to get this done without taking the belts bracket loose. Putting it all back together was an exercise in frustration, because my big hands couldn't reach the third bolt to get it started, and using the extension to try to thread it in there resulted in a cross threading, so then I had to scratch my head and think outside the box in how to correct. I thought about running a smaller bolt entirely through the housing, attaching a lock washer and nut on the backside of the housing and tighten it down, but I couldn't get my fat paws back there to hold the nut in place to get the bolt threaded on. After much whining and knuckle scraping I went back to the hardware store, purchased a stainless steel metric bolt the same size and hand threaded it into the back hole by standing on my head,holding my breath and praying at the same time. I used a box end wrench to slowly use the harder metal to correct the threads I had boogered earlier, half a turn in, quarter turn out, half turn in, and so on. After I had it going a little, switched from a box end to a 1/4" drive ratchet with a shallow socket and that went much faster.
I did end up taking the belt bracket loose to give me more room.
Topped off the radiator and overflow tank with fresh coolant ( couldn't find the air release bolt on top of the intake, but thread-review this morning showed me where it is....tonights project).
Drove around a while. On my way in to work this morning my scanguage indicates the vehicle runs at 186-188 on the highway, with ambient temps in the 40's. Since this is a new-to-me vehicle, I have no history. With a 180 thermostat in there, is that what others see as their operating temp?
I'm sort of suspecting I have an air bubble, but I'll find out tonight.
Last edited by Soccerfan; 11-12-2012 at 04:02 PM.