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Discussion Starter #1
I have developed a leak, sort of noticed it this week, and now see that the bottom of the rubber splash guard on the left side under the radiator is wet. I dropped it at the mechanic this afternoon.

2003 Xterra XE auto with 107K on the clock. Here is what I am thinking.....if the radiator is shot and I need a new one, while they are in there, do the timing belt job too. So I looked on line for parts to get an idea of what I am up against dollar wise. Checked Courtesy Nissan first, great googly moogly they are expensive. Checked Rock Auto second, about 200% cheaper and I am not exaggerating. Going to check Advance third.

Courtesy, $412 for a radiator, $324 timing belt kit. Rock was about $100 for a radiator and about $100 for the TBK with a water pump. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, what am I missing or not seeing that there is that large of a price discrepancy?
 

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I would do the Rockauto radiator but get s/c model twice as thick drops right in . Sorry but i am a big fan of oem motor parts. You also need at least 4 hoses to replace while you are in there.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well the car is a daily driver in NE US. Don't do any off roading with it, just drive it to work about 50 miles each way about twice a week. I'll mention that to the mechanic before we begin ordering parts.

Would you agree that perhaps I should get the timing belt job done while they are up there fixing things on the radiator?
 

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I'm assuming the timing belt has never been done? If so its reaching the end of its recommended service life, so might as well. Another cheap thing to do while you're in there is to replace the thermostat.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Correct, has not been done. The plan is, if i need a radiator, then I'm going in full bore doing the radiator and the timing belt all at the same time. and with that will also be a thermostat, new hoses, seals etc. What was holding me back is seeing the $324 price tag on the timing belt kit that includes water pump and tensioner seals etc. Now that I'm seeing the large price discrepancy between Rock and Courtesy, and Rock parts are good to go, it frees up money to get more replaced. The car is not getting any younger and I need it to get me another 20K miles.
 

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Do the S/C radiator.
 

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as stated by other yes get the sc radiator. There are timing belt kits for 100 bucks. But thats not something i want to cheap out on.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm not going to classify it as "cheap out". The kit that I was looking at on Rock Auto is the Gates kit, Premium OE with plenty of extras in seals and bearings I believe. Gates has been in the belt business a long time. Like I pointed out earlier in this thread, and still have not seen an answer as to why Courtesy is 200% more expensive than say Rock or Advance. Stealership prices? Anyway, my mechanic will make the call on the parts kit for the TB swap. I'm just glad someone on here previously pointed me in the direction of Rock Auto on a rear brake kit and saved a bunch of money on parts already.
 

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I wouldn't hesitate to use a gates kit on your x. I've always used gates belts and tb kits on my wrx and I'm very picky about what parts I use on that car.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Good news and bad news. The good news is my radiator and water pump are not shot, a hose clamp had rusted off and failed so when the system pressured up, the hose expanded and I had a leak.

The bad news is, my radiator support is completely rusted out and the radiator is in danger of dropping thru to the road while driving. Is this a fairly common occurrance with 2003 X's? I saw while looking at Rock auto that they sell the supports. Easy fix or am I looking at cutting and welding? My mechanic said take it to a body shop for the work, they do not cut and weld. I got one lined up, appointment in the AM.

My thinking at this point is, 107K/12 years is alot of miles on the radiator, it can't have much life left in it. Do a swap out with a new SC version along with the hoses while the support is getting fixed. Deal with the TBK at a later date, but soon.
 

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Well do the radiator the sc one. And just to put out there sometimes you gotta be creative when things break and you cant get replacement parts. Like me zip tieing electric fans in. 2 years and its still in there fairly tight. I mean it wasnt the right way but it worked. And it working was all that mattered unless its inside cosmetically i wouldnt rig something like that. But for something like that pssh who cares not like you look at it every day...
 

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To replace the support you are going to have to pull not only the radiator and Condenser but the bumper grille lights maybe set the fenders back.its a big job if you don't know anything about body work.
It's not uncommon for these trucks to have their rad supports rust away. The xterra I looked at before finding my current one had its core support rotten away, so naturally I walked.
But since you're in there, I'd go ahead and replace the rad with a new one.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
My mechanic pointed me in the direction of an individual that does the kind of work i need at a price I am ready to accept. I found a radiator support on line, met with the guy, he showed me what needed to be done, looked up in his book the time it takes do the job and came up with a plan. My understanding is that the rad support extends all the way across the front end from fender to fender. So yes the bumper cover, headlights, grill, all that stuff probably needs to come off. But from his looking at it, the bottom part of the rad support is what is bad, so the whole thing does not need removed, just the bad parts. Once he gets it apart and determines anything w/o rust stays intact on the car and we then have a new donor piece, he will drill out the old welds, cut out the rusted part, cut the donor to size, replace, prep and paint. And then I'll put in a new radiator and hoses on the re assembly. He mentioned a figure of $500, book said 8hrs of time required, maybe less as he may not need to pull fenders back and such since we are only doing the lower rad support.
 

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Awesome, sounds like you have a pretty good plan of action laid out for this repair. Hopefully all you'll have to replace is the lower tie bar of the rad support.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So, back to the radiator, in the SC category. They have about 4 options to choose, which one? Is one far superior to another, price is no big deal, looks like a difference of about $30 total.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I know to pick one that matches up with my transmission, one option gave a detailed description of how their radiator is manufactured with the tubes being B shaped. Is one auto tranny SC radiator better than another in the Rock Auto selection?
 
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