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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Guys! Just joined (here's my Introduction Post, so I'm not repeating myself too much). I have a few questions which I'd like to pose so I can hopefully diagnose quirks vs problems. Let's get started!

First off, it's an 08 Xterra S, Auto, 4wd, AC. (Let me know if there's more information I can provide; I come from Jeep world where I say TJ and everyone already knows exactly what I have lol). Small list of things I've completed/scheduled so far:
  1. New Battery
  2. Alignment
  3. New tires on Sat (11-21)
This brings me to my first question(s). With the alignment today, the shop told me that all 4 shocks were done and that there was rust on the front struts so I might as well do the complete assembly. One thing he said though is bothering me: he said that those worn out suspension components could be affecting the feel of the steering (make it floaty/loose). I'm no car noob, but I'm not as knowledgeable as I used to be. Does this sound right to anyone else? I'm going to jack it up and look myself, but I just wanted to see what thoughts everyone here had.

Both before and after the alignment, the steering wheel felt jerky (like going over a mildly-washboarded road). I know that could potentially be off-balance wheels or brakes, but could that be issues in the steering system as well? The shop said they looked at it and it all looked ok, but I don't trust them.

Beyond that, I'm going to do a tune-up ASAP: change oil, filters, plugs. Any recommendations on plugs? I seem to remember from my part-selling days that NGKs were fine for Nissans; yay or nay? It should take 10w30, I think? Do X's have a serviceable fuel filter? Is there anything else I should be on the lookout for? Anything I need to know generally about Xterras that I didn't ask here?

Thanks a bunch guys! Excited to get this guy back in top shape soon.
 

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Welcome. From your description of the alignment person, it sounds to me like he is trying to take advantage of you with suggestions of more work. Curious enough that he was able to complete the alignment procedure with questionable worn out suspension parts. I would be moving on from the likes of him. NGK is a good choice. I have never found a serviceable fuel filter on either of our two 2nd gen xterra's but someone else may know of some magic there. Since you are about to put on a new set of sneakers come the 21st and have those balanced....wait and see how she drives after you have some balanced rubber on all fours.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
...From your description of the alignment person, it sounds to me like he is trying to take advantage of you with suggestions of more work. Curious enough that he was able to complete the alignment procedure with questionable worn out suspension parts...
That was what my gut and memory were telling me, but it's been a long time since I've really been elbows-deep in or even thinking about undertaking car repair so I wanted to touch base with people who know these vehicles very well. It was a nat'l tire chain that did it, and I don't trust that they always hire the most knowledgeable people.

Thanks for the input on plugs and fuel filter.
 

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Note of interest. It is noted that Xterra's built between 2005 and 2008 with automatic transmissions are subject to cooling tube failures internal to the vehicles radiator. The automatic transmissions have a single cooling line that runs through the bottom of the radiator and has a history of "failing" inside the radiator such that the transmission fluid and engine coolant mix and contaminate the transmission life blood or fluid. This can be the kiss of death for the transmission. Don't know if you have owned this vehicle since 2008 when it was new or have access to the service records to know if the radiator has ever been changed out on your 2008. If not it would be helpful to check the radiator part number that is on a sticker at the top of the radiator if it is still a Nissan part. There is plenty of people and information available on this forum that can provide additional detail on this potential seriously expensive problem. Just a note of caution. Don't mean to alarm you but it's best to be aware.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Note of interest. It is noted that Xterra's built between 2005 and 2008 with automatic transmissions are subject to cooling tube failures internal to the vehicles radiator. The automatic transmissions have a single cooling line that runs through the bottom of the radiator and has a history of "failing" inside the radiator such that the transmission fluid and engine coolant mix and contaminate the transmission life blood or fluid. This can be the kiss of death for the transmission. Don't know if you have owned this vehicle since 2008 when it was new or have access to the service records to know if the radiator has ever been changed out on your 2008. If not it would be helpful to check the radiator part number that is on a sticker at the top of the radiator if it is still a Nissan part. There is plenty of people and information available on this forum that can provide additional detail on this potential seriously expensive problem. Just a note of caution. Don't mean to alarm you but it's best to be aware.
No, not alarmed at all and am appreciative of the head's up. I'll have to check the radiator soon. Is that something that I should just change out preemptively or just when it starts to be an issue?
 

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No, not alarmed at all and am appreciative of the head's up. I'll have to check the radiator soon. Is that something that I should just change out preemptively or just when it starts to be an issue?
If you check on the radiator part # on the radiator we will be able to understand your level of risk. If it's a known failure prone radiator you absolutely won't want to wait on it becoming an issue because if it fails it will likely have already destroyed the transmission by the time you know something is wrong. Sooner is better on recording what the current radiator part number is and passing it along here.
My 2015 radiator has a white bar code scan sticker on the very top of the radiator to the left of the fill cap. There is a part number on that sticker if it's a Nissan factory part unless they did things differently in 2008.
OBTW....your oil spec for the 2008 V6 motor should be 5w-30.
 

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I'll just add that if you're not sure whether is has been replaced or not, replace it or bypass the cooler for an external one, and plug the lines so the coolant doesn't leak out in the event that it finally starts to leak.

Waiting could cost you a transmission and maybe even an engine. Google SMOD for Strawberry Milkshake Of Death.
 

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If you check on the radiator part # on the radiator we will be able to understand your level of risk. If it's a known failure prone radiator you absolutely won't want to wait on it becoming an issue because if it fails it will likely have already destroyed the transmission by the time you know something is wrong. Sooner is better on recording what the current radiator part number is and passing it along here.
My 2015 radiator has a white bar code scan sticker on the very top of the radiator to the left of the fill cap. There is a part number on that sticker if it's a Nissan factory part unless they did things differently in 2008.
OBTW....your oil spec for the 2008 V6 motor should be 5w-30.
Supporting Info:
Check the Nissan part number on top of your radiator to confirm if its known to be affected with SMOD.

21410-EA200 (early 2005’s.) Associated with SMOD

21410-EA205 (2005 – 2009). Associated with SMOD

21460-EA215 (2005 - 2009) Associated with SMOD

21460-EA265 Associated with SMOD

21460-ZL11A (2009-2010) isolated reports of SMOD found on the net

21460-ZL31A no cases of SMOD found by searching the net

21460-9CAOE (2011 – 2015 ) No known cases reported on SMOD.

If you have a 2005-2010 Xterra, check your vehicle for any signs of SMOD.
With a cold engine and no pressure on your hoses, check your overflow tank, radiator and transmission fluid for any signs of contamination.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Thank you both! Here's what I've learned since I've been on last. First, it was manufactured in July of 07. So I guess it's an 07. My bad.

@XT2015 The new tires have made it ride so much smoother. In conjunction with that, I just crawled under the car and looked at the struts/shocks. Here are the fronts (don't remember which is right/left):
20201122_121144.jpg
76008


Rear Left (Only one photo):
76009


I think I'll get to those rear ones sometime soon, but the fronts don't look that bad to me. Not $1,000 bad. Springs look fine too, but depending on cost it might be easiest to just do the whole shock/strut assembly. Thoughts?

More importantly: the radiator does fall under those part numbers. It has 24160 EA215. Car's out in NV now where rust isn't as big of an issue, but it's originally from the Chicago area. If that makes any difference. Brings me to 2 questions:
  1. How quickly do I need to replace it? I understand I shouldn't wait too long, but I'm assuming it probably won't fail tomorrow? Hopefully
  2. Any recommendations for replacement radiators? Are there known issues if I grab one from the local O'Reilly, or are there stock-replacements that you'd recommend? Not looking to upgrade much of anything right now, just want to get it changed out.
Thank you again!
 

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Thank you both! Here's what I've learned since I've been on last. First, it was manufactured in July of 07. So I guess it's an 07. My bad.

@XT2015 The new tires have made it ride so much smoother. In conjunction with that, I just crawled under the car and looked at the struts/shocks. Here are the fronts (don't remember which is right/left):
View attachment 76007 View attachment 76008

Rear Left (Only one photo):
View attachment 76009

I think I'll get to those rear ones sometime soon, but the fronts don't look that bad to me. Not $1,000 bad. Springs look fine too, but depending on cost it might be easiest to just do the whole shock/strut assembly. Thoughts?

More importantly: the radiator does fall under those part numbers. It has 24160 EA215. Car's out in NV now where rust isn't as big of an issue, but it's originally from the Chicago area. If that makes any difference. Brings me to 2 questions:
  1. How quickly do I need to replace it? I understand I shouldn't wait too long, but I'm assuming it probably won't fail tomorrow? Hopefully
  2. Any recommendations for replacement radiators? Are there known issues if I grab one from the local O'Reilly, or are there stock-replacements that you'd recommend? Not looking to upgrade much of anything right now, just want to get it changed out.
Thank you again!
First priority is to get that radiator out of there pronto! Delay the rear shocks expense and anything else not essential until you get that radiator out of there. From the talk I have heard on this forum it is NOT advised to get an over the counter radiator from the chain auto parts stores. Our trusted Nissan mechanic on this forum call sign "Blackberry" has advised in the past that a OEM replacement radiator from Nissan is your best bet. He says they have a high dollar option and a lower cost budget radiator that would fit the bill. In the case of the radiator it is probably best to have Nissan standing behind the one you buy considering the history of problems they have experienced in the past. Nissan does not wish to relive that experience.
In my opinion, fully assembled front struts are the way to go if you are having someone besides yourself pull the old ones and install new. They will charge you a bunch of labor to pull your existing struts apart and rebuild with new shocks. I like Old Man Emu strut and shock products. I am sure others have different opinions based on their preferences etc. My two cents is just that. Can't buy coffee with it.
Please keep us posted. Wish you the best.
 

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Get the thicker radiator since you are out West. You need to get rid of a lot more heat out there than they did in the Windy City. Even if you don't "need" it, it's better to be more capable than you need rather than just barely capable.
 

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First priority is to get that radiator out of there pronto! Delay the rear shocks expense and anything else not essential until you get that radiator out of there. From the talk I have heard on this forum it is NOT advised to get an over the counter radiator from the chain auto parts stores. Our trusted Nissan mechanic on this forum call sign "Blackberry" has advised in the past that a OEM replacement radiator from Nissan is your best bet. He says they have a high dollar option and a lower cost budget radiator that would fit the bill. In the case of the radiator it is probably best to have Nissan standing behind the one you buy considering the history of problems they have experienced in the past. Nissan does not wish to relive that experience.
In my opinion, fully assembled front struts are the way to go if you are having someone besides yourself pull the old ones and install new. They will charge you a bunch of labor to pull your existing struts apart and rebuild with new shocks. I like Old Man Emu strut and shock products. I am sure others have different opinions based on their preferences etc. My two cents is just that. Can't buy coffee with it.
Please keep us posted. Wish you the best.
Additional note: Nissan calls their cheaper radiator offering a "Value Advantage Item". $581 vs $222 for the Value Advantage offering.
RADIATOR,SHROUD & INVERTER COOLING. 2007 Nissan Xterra S 4.0L V6 AT 4WD | Nissan Parts & Accessories Online (nissanusa.com)
 

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So glad I have a mechanic that I have been going to for 20 years and know he is taking care of my '07 Xterra !!!
Do you know what model radiator you currently have in your 2007? If you scroll up in this posting you will see your year as having a potential problem radiator.
 
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