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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all and happy new year!

I bought an xtrail a month ago and am having problems diagnosing an overheating condition, any help would be great appreciated!

It’s a T30, 2007, with 215,000kms, ST version, last log book service says at 120,000kms.



First I noticed the car overheating and the coolant reservoir bubbling over. I found the wrong coolant is in the car, as well as millions of what looks like glitter in the coolant (non-magnetic). I flushed the system twice with a hose, including the heater core and block. I found I could only backflush the block and not forward flush, however there was brown gunk in the block. Replaced with Penrite Blue and thought my problems were over.

Then a rough idle presented itself which I solved with a new air filter and a good dose of carby cleaner in the intake manifold. I flushed the oil and replaced with spec, as well as replaced about 2L transmission fluid.

On the way to the mountains the car overheated, to the first line near to the H symbol, I got the car towed to a mechanic who block tested the radiator, apparently the head gasket is OK. He found one thermostat was missing, installed 2 new thermostats and performed a coolant flush, replaced with Meyle Blue coolant, I can’t find specs on this fluid.

However it’s still overheating and I noticed the coolant overflowing from the reservoir again, so I’m asking for help on this forum.

A different mechanic has performed a coolant pressure test and replaced a hose clamp.

There is a fair volume of white smoke coming from the tailpipe when warm, no white foam under oil cap. The radiator and cap appears to be new. I have attempted to bleed air from the coolant system 3 times but bubbles don’t stop, there appears to be good flow, but there are remains of a stop leak additive I put in as a precaution after overheating to get the last 5kms to the mechanics.

Also when idling, the heater blows cool air, when I start moving a bit, hot air. Overheating happens about 30mins after driving on the highway, then I have to switch the A/C over to heat, and the temp gauge returns to normal until I go up a hill.

Any assistance would be extremely appreciated!
 

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The metal flakes and brown gunk are very suspicious, it sounds like someone tried several kinds of sealer on the system before you got the car, at least Silver Seal (metal flakes) and Barrs Leaks (brown gunk). If the bubbles don't stop when you bleed it, they must be coming from somewhere, and the only source that can pump air into the system under pressure is a bad head gasket, cracked head or cracked block. A leak into anyplace else will send coolant outbound, not air inbound. The white smoke also probably indicates coolant going the other way.

The quickest (and maybe most reliable) test for coolant in a cylinder is a flashlight. Pull the plugs and look at the piston crowns, if any are shiny instead of black then the carbon has been blown away by coolant leaking in on the intake stroke.
 

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Hello all and happy new year!

I bought an xtrail a month ago and am having problems diagnosing an overheating condition, any help would be great appreciated!

It’s a T30, 2007, with 215,000kms, ST version, last log book service says at 120,000kms.



First I noticed the car overheating and the coolant reservoir bubbling over. I found the wrong coolant is in the car, as well as millions of what looks like glitter in the coolant (non-magnetic). I flushed the system twice with a hose, including the heater core and block. I found I could only backflush the block and not forward flush, however there was brown gunk in the block. Replaced with Penrite Blue and thought my problems were over.

Then a rough idle presented itself which I solved with a new air filter and a good dose of carby cleaner in the intake manifold. I flushed the oil and replaced with spec, as well as replaced about 2L transmission fluid.

On the way to the mountains the car overheated, to the first line near to the H symbol, I got the car towed to a mechanic who block tested the radiator, apparently the head gasket is OK. He found one thermostat was missing, installed 2 new thermostats and performed a coolant flush, replaced with Meyle Blue coolant, I can’t find specs on this fluid.

However it’s still overheating and I noticed the coolant overflowing from the reservoir again, so I’m asking for help on this forum.

A different mechanic has performed a coolant pressure test and replaced a hose clamp.

There is a fair volume of white smoke coming from the tailpipe when warm, no white foam under oil cap. The radiator and cap appears to be new. I have attempted to bleed air from the coolant system 3 times but bubbles don’t stop, there appears to be good flow, but there are remains of a stop leak additive I put in as a precaution after overheating to get the last 5kms to the mechanics.

Also when idling, the heater blows cool air, when I start moving a bit, hot air. Overheating happens about 30mins after driving on the highway, then I have to switch the A/C over to heat, and the temp gauge returns to normal until I go up a hill.

Any assistance would be extremely appreciated!
Dear Sam T. The problem may be coming from the head gasket or a tiny crack in the engine block. First of all, there may be a small break in the gasket to one of the cylinders. It is very tiny so it only opens up when the engine is fully heated up and the pressure build up is at it's peak. This is giving the rough or erratic idling, because the coolant is leaking into one of the cylinders. The bubbling coming from the radiator confirm that. Or there is a tiny break in the block to one of the cylinders. Due to rust. In Nissan, especially T30 (2.5) liter engines, the cylinders are fully surrounded by coolant. Please let the mechanic check this by pressuring one cylinders, one after other to zero in the leak. It is a leak problem. The white smoke makes that a culprit.
Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks heaps, I’ll get the mechanic to do a cylinder pressure test tomorrow.
 

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Ok the mechanic did a cylinder compression test - they said it’s ok. There’s more milk under the cap now, and we are all very confused
 

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Basic compression may not tell you anything if the leak is small and isn't cross-cylinder. Did they eyeball the piston crowns while they were in there? The cylinder(s) involved should stick out like a shiny sore-thumb under a flashlight.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
they don’t even have a leak down tester and suggested I get a mew radiator, I think it’s one of those mechanics who just throw parts at it until it’s fixed, so I’ll take a look myself tomorrow and have booked a leak down test for Friday with a different mechanics. Thanks for your help so far!
 

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You're most welcome, but if you can pull plugs yourself, get out a flashlight and maybe you'll pay less for the leakdown because you'll know which cylinders to test. Like I said, there are really only 3 possibilities, head, head gasket and block. The leakdown will help isolate which one according to where the air emerges, but it will still take a lot less effort and labor time if you already know where to test..
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Could it be possible the radiator is blocked or the water pump impeller blades corroded/ broken so the coolant is bubbling so bad it sprayed coolant into the oil dip stick? I only ask because there’s a scraping noise on idle on startup lasts about 5 mins, not present when accelerating even slightly also white smoke not present and no milky cap now...
 

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Ok, got a leak down test booked for Friday with my local mechanic for $65, need a new bearing anyway
 

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Ok so a leak down test has been done and all ok. My local mechanic is a good guy, he’s a bit stumped as well. He said the oil cooler could be causing some white smoke but as far as overheating on the highway, not so much.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I just had a look through my dashcam footage and the mechanic didn’t do a leak down test, he just bleed the coolant system. TBC..
 

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Do you still think he's a good guy?
 

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Took it on the highway just now to see if the bleed did any good, no joy. Overheated pretty fast this time. Turned the heater on and noticed cool air coming through, I increased the revs and hot air started. Could be a blockage? The sound of water swishing is present on startup, very little white smoke now. Could’ve been coolant residue from the 3 coolant flushes. Anywho I’ll ask for an actual leak down test or refund tomorrow.
 

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Swishing noise and no heat would point to air in the system. I think you need a new mechanic. He's going to be pissed off that you busted him for lying. Your relationship will become unpleasant I fear.
When all is said and done I think a new head gasket is in your future.
 

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Took it on the highway just now to see if the bleed did any good, no joy. Overheated pretty fast this time. Turned the heater on and noticed cool air coming through, I increased the revs and hot air started. Could be a blockage? The sound of water swishing is present on startup, very little white smoke now. Could’ve been coolant residue from the 3 coolant flushes. Anywho I’ll ask for an actual leak down test or refund tomorrow.
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Go to Harbor Freight or Napa auto parts store and buy a block checker and the blue fluid. it's very simple and will tell you exactly what is happening. the blue fluid will turn yellow if it's a head gasket or crack in the head or block. The price is less than visiting another " tech". A real shop will either have one or use their exhaust gas analyzer $$ to identify the issue. The cylinder leakage test will not show a small leak as it only operates at around 30 ppsi.. I have only been doing this a since 1968 and was (until retired) a certified ASE master tech + L1 since 1977 when it was NIASE, so I figure I'm always wrong. if you use a cooling system pressure tester and aren't watching it closely you can blow hoses, heater core, or the radiator. Removing the spark plugs and comparing them as stated by another post will also indicate which cylinder is leaking as the leaking cylinder basically steam cleans the plug. "History lesson not safe" Years ago we used gloves to place a paper towel over the outlet of the smoking / steaming tail pipe until the rag became soaked and after the rag was taken away and cooled down we did a sniff test then took it out of the shop and tried to burn it. If it smelled sweet and was hard to burn it was coolant, if it smelled like oil and flared up and smoked it was oil. If you worked at a ripoff used car lot you would buy a can of K& W block seal and cooling system flush then follow the instructions to the letter including removing all the drain plugs during the flush, then pour in the K&W then a day later after it cooled down instal a low pressure cap and sell it quickly. My guess is that you will need to remove the head and add $$$. the swishing noise is created by the combustion gasses and remaining coolant circulating through the heater core and the heater will not work until reving the engine without enough coolant in the system. The gauge sensor and computer coolant temp sensor won't work correctly either. Hope this helps.
 
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