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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Confession, this is my first vehicle and I know next to nothing about cars in general, so keep in mind you might have to dumb down your answers a bit.

Here goes. I had my beat up yellow Xterra (lovingly named Wall-E) repaired around August, and they replaced seals to fix an oil leak, steering fluid leak, and bypassed my heater core after it started smoking, because I didn't have $600 to drop on getting it replaced. That cost a cool $800ish. So.. no heat at all, but I live in the South Georgia. We don't get snow. It was pretty much 60's and 70's weather all winter.

It's a Sunday night, we're trying to move some furniture. In the past few days, my previously repaired steering fluid leak has cropped up again and I've been listening to make sure it doesn't start making that whining noise when it gets low. I also check all the other fluids to make sure the other repaired leak hasn't failed as well. We had the fluids completely filled last weekend, but nothing had gotten low except the steering fluid.

Wall-E sounded a little rough on starting the engine, heavy gas smell, but it settled out after a while and we get to the destination without a hitch. Leaving the engine running and idling for a bit, which I usually don't do, we start loading. Not even two minutes go by and I hear something hissing and liquid hitting pavement. I go up front, and it's smoking and gushing coolant out of the bottom. I immediately cut the engine off and pop the hood, but waited for a bit before I risked lifting it up. The temperature hasn't even nudged... still reading cold. There's no scent to the coolant, just the smell of it burning. The underside of the hood is dripping with it, it's all over the driver's side of the engine and even splattered as far as the battery on the far side. It's already getting dark. I had a flashlight, but could not seem to pinpoint any leaking hoses. We turn the engine back on... no sound, no change to the temperature reading at all, no more coolant leaking out. The coolant is low, for obvious reasons, but the gauge hasn't even fluttered.

We managed to drive it from one side of the building to the other before the temp started to go up to half. I didn't want to risk moving it further than to get it out of the storage facility and to the parking lot outside it. That's where it currently is. Tomorrow, I have to move it from there and I have no idea what I should be checking to make sure it can even survive the trip. If I refill the coolant, could I get it the three miles home without causing more damage? How can I tell if it's a head gasket? What possible leaking spots should I check? Regardless, I don't have the money to have it repaired, so it's going to be enjoying a hiatus unless this is something even a total ignorant could manage. Help? Damsel in distress?
 

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Sounds like you could have had an air bubble creating a vapor lock situation, which could have been caused when they messed with your cooling system, if they didn't bleed it properly, but I would fill the coolant, start it up, and check every hose, check the intake manifold (the big silver thing on top of the engine in the center)just look around where it bolts up to the engine and make sure there is no leak, and check your water pump to make sure it isn't leaking also...I would guess you blew a hose by the sound of how it was pouring, but if you say it didn't do it after starting it back up, maybe not, but without being there to look at it, I can't say for sure.

Darin
01 Xterra SE 4x4
PML, EFan, stock intake mod, shocks, a bunch of maintenance, and a tune up coming soon
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sounds like you could have had an air bubble creating a vapor lock situation, which could have been caused when they messed with your cooling system, if they didn't bleed it properly, but I would fill the coolant, start it up, and check every hose, check the intake manifold (the big silver thing on top of the engine in the center)just look around where it bolts up to the engine and make sure there is no leak, and check your water pump to make sure it isn't leaking also...I would guess you blew a hose by the sound of how it was pouring, but if you say it didn't do it after starting it back up, maybe not, but without being there to look at it, I can't say for sure.

Darin
01 Xterra SE 4x4
PML, EFan, stock intake mod, shocks, a bunch of maintenance, and a tune up coming soon
It probably wasn't leaking because there was barely any left to leak. I didn't refill it when he tested it. I'm going to go look at it now that it's daylight, but hose makes the most sense from where it was leaking. Would it wreck the engine too much to put water in there? Someone suggested it instead of wasting coolant.
 

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Not at all, you just have to use coolant when it will freeze...hence it being called antifreeze...just use water and when you do get it fixed, make sure to get as much out as possible, then fill with 50/50 antifreeze to water

Darin
01 Xterra SE 4x4
PML, EFan, stock intake mod, shocks, a bunch of maintenance, and a tune up coming soon
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
OKEE DOKEE. I went to the store, picked up a few gallons of distilled water and poured about two cups worth directly into the radiator (engine not running). It started leaking out immediately from the 3-4 inch hose connected to what I think is the thermostat (This is not a pic of my own, but it looks the same. SO, whatever this thing is: http://prntscr.com/afb6la). I can't be certain that is the only place leaking, but it's the most obvious.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
sounds like you have a cracked house, if its leaking from the house then you would just have to change it out and check for other leaks
The leak wasn't coming from the housing, but from the hose attached to it. Unless you mean it's probably leaking from the hose because the housing is cracked... is that likely?
 

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I would start with the hose, cheapest bet, and then see if it still leaks, if it does, then the housing is bad, but while you're at it I would replace all the hoses, upper, lower from radiator to pipe, and pipe to thermostat...those are all of these I would start with, because if one hose goes bad, then the others aren't far behind...you could also have a stuck thermostat and it is building up too much pressure, so if it were me, I would do all the hoses and an thermostat to be safe, but to start just that one hose to get it home/the shop

Darin
01 Xterra SE 4x4
PML, EFan, stock intake mod, shocks, a bunch of maintenance, and a tune up coming soon
 

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forgive as I misspelled, I meant "hose" no house no house! if its just from the hose itself, then replace, should not be too much if its that small, even from Nissan directly and swap it out, put some of your magic store bought water OR coolant and check for leaks again. Sounds like that is the only issue though which would cause you to lose pressure and all your coolant.
 

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Another possibility is the hose clamp was loose. Either way, change the hose and make sure about the hose clamp. Another possibility, but unlikely... the thermostat gasket.
See those 3 bolts in the picture? Tighten those bolts just just hand tight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I would start with the hose, cheapest bet, and then see if it still leaks, if it does, then the housing is bad, but while you're at it I would replace all the hoses, upper, lower from radiator to pipe, and pipe to thermostat...those are all of these I would start with, because if one hose goes bad, then the others aren't far behind...you could also have a stuck thermostat and it is building up too much pressure, so if it were me, I would do all the hoses and an thermostat to be safe, but to start just that one hose to get it home/the shop

Darin
01 Xterra SE 4x4
PML, EFan, stock intake mod, shocks, a bunch of maintenance, and a tune up coming soon

Yep, took your advice and went ahead and got all three hoses (a cool $50). I couldn't get the thermostat now, because it looks like to even access it, I'd have to pull the radiator and maybe also whatever timing belt is blocking it. It's too narrow to get to the clamps holding the leaking one off and back on with it in. I guess I know what I'll be doing all weekend...
 

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If you remove the lower hose, the mid-pipe has a bolt holding it in place, you take that loose, the small hose loose, and you're in business...you might want to remove the fan shroud for easier access, and possibly the fan too...but the radiator doesn't need to come out

Darin
01 Xterra SE 4x4
PML, EFan, stock intake mod, shocks, a bunch of maintenance, and a tune up coming soon
 
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