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sprinkles08
sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Nissan
Satisfied Customers: 21581
Experience:  ASE Master and Advanced level certified. Factory trained with 15 years dealership experience
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I have an overheating issue with an 02 exterra 3.3L. The

Customer Question

Hello I have an overheating issue with an 02 exterra 3.3L. The timing belt and water pump were replaced with an aftermarket kit. Approximately 20,000 miles later the water pump starting leaking coolant steadily. The water pump was replaced with a Bosch aftermarket pump. About 400 miles later the cutomer noticed the truck getting hot while driving at about 40 miles per hour and seems to overheat faster with the A/C on. a pressure test revealed that a heater hose was leaking. I replaced it and repressure tested the system after vacuum filling the system with 50/50 ethylene glycol coolant. The system is holding pressure at 1 bar and there are no other external leaks. I have done a block test and a cylinder leakage test and both passed ok. I checked and adjusted the ignition timing to 9 degrees btdc. The truck has a torque convertor clutch circuit intermittent code and the short term fuel trim for bank 1 and bank 2 are in the negative values ( around -10 each ). all of the spark plugs insu
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Nissan
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
All of the spark plug insulators are white and the ground electrodes have light tan combustion deposits. The piston heads are dry and have mild carbon deposits on them. The short term bank 1 and 2 fuel trims are around -10 at idle and at 2000 rpm.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to Justanswer!

Incorrect cam timing can cause fuel adaptives to go high positive or negative. Has cam timing been rechecked since the issue started?

Does it have any driveability issues?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No drivability issues. When I replaced the water pump I verified cam and crank alignment.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
THE ENGINE GRADUALLY starts to overheat after about 20 minutes of driving.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.

Does temperature come back down if you stop?

Does the cooling fan work?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No it dosent come back down. The fan clutch was replaced about a year ago the radiator was replaced about 3 years ago and the thermostat was replaced about 20,000 miles ago.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.

How hot does it get? If you continue to to drive will it bury the gauge and boil, or does it just run hotter than it should?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
With the radiator cap off and the engine running during bleeding it boiled over but I haven't allowed it otherwise to get real hot because of the possibility of warping a head.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.

When it came back initially was the coolant still at the level you left it?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I checked it after it cooled down some what and the radiator was full.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.

If it overheated quickly then I'd suspect the water pump or a stuck closed thermostat but your symptoms point to a restricted radiator. When the cores become restricted it effectively reduces the capacity of the radiator which will cause the engine to run hotter under load. If there are no internal or external leaks, it takes that amount of time for it to get hot and it's worse with the a/c on that points to the radiator.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
You think it might be restricted with corrosion deposits?
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.

Yes, it could be corrosion, something left in the radiator during manufacturing that has accumulated, I've even seen casting sand break free out of an engine block and end up in the radiator.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok I'm going to replace the radiator. I'll get back to you afterwards. Thanks.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.

You're welcome!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I changed the radiator and took my time bleeding the cooling system. All is well now . No more overheating. Thank you very much.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 1 year ago.

Great, I'm glad to hear it!