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2007 Nissan Pathfinder
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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, so as the title says I have an 07 pathy that’s been giving me a little bit of trouble as of late. She has 160k on the clock. Came with some service records but no major maintenance that I know of, trying to find them for a review. So I knew it was bound to happen. EGR blanking plate is the only engine mod. Had a turbo vacuum leak end of last year which lead the DPF light to come on. Sorted the leak and got boost back, did a highway run and the DPF light went out. This lead to the smell of exhaust in the engine bay and a whistling sound. Had some randomly visible puffs of greyish smoke/steam coming from under the hood. Coolant levels were good and couldn’t find anything at first. Smell got worse and whistling stopped so i started pulling heat shields off and found the nuts on the back of the turbo/exhaust down pipe missing, sorted that and all good to go.

And now..... my current issue.

Two days later on the way to work my heater stopped blowing hot just cold, checked passenger floor for signs of a leak, nothing, check levels, all looked good so I popped rad cap and topped off coolant, took about 1/4 of a bottle so I drove her home. Well I attempted to drive her home (10 miles). That’s when she started to over heat. I pulled over and shut the engine off I saw steam from under the hood. Popped it and didn’t see anything right away. Gauge got right up almost to the red but then came back down. I milked it home and let to cool all the way down. Found the driver side of the engine was soaked so I knew I had a leak. So I filled it up with water, and it took gallons. As soon as I started it up (took quite a few cranks than normal) fluid came shooting out of what looked like the side of the engine. But luckily that was not the case I found one of the oil cooler hose had ruptured. So I built a new on, installed it, topped off the rad and overflow tank and started bleeding the coolant system, but I couldn’t get the air out.

I have bled it several times, elevated the front, and keep attempting to bleed it following the procedures from this site (thanks to whoever posted that btw), but every time I started it with therad/overflow cap off I can see smoke/gas/fumes/vapor coming from the rad and as soon as fluid starts rushing out of the rad & I put the cap on the “smoke” starts coming out of the over flow. When I cap that the upper rad line starts to build pressure before the engine is even hot and starts venting out of the vent tube on top of the overflow. Well after much reading and fears of a blown head gasket I continued to try to burp the system. Yes I cycled the aircon from cold to hot while bleeding the system. But no luck so I looped the EGR cooler lines to rule out a cooler failure (and learned this should have been done when I blanked the EGR, also learned I should have block it off on both sides which I will do later, all thanks to everyone from this forum) now I was down to “massaging” all the coolant lines while she was running on “high idle” and that’s when the top rad hose blew off the rad taking the connector lip with it. So now the rad is 100% bad.

So, now I’m at the point that unless the connector was brittle there is no way the water pump could build this kind of pressure even with an airlock or blocked rad. Or am I wrong? And even if it can I don’t see how either of those issues could cause the oil cooler line to blow as if the rad was blocked the pressure wouldn’t have made it to the oil cooler.

As of now I can’t take it to a shop to do a bleed down/pressure check, and don’t think I need to unless someone has any other insight to this issue.

Current thoughts and plans, new rad (since it broke), new thermostat (just because its cheap), and a head gasket.....

So my question is two part..... as I’m wanting to get to the root cause.

1. Could all of these issues be caused by a coolant system blockage? (Remembering she takes quite a few more cranks to start now but didn’t before it got hot, also the bleed port on passenger side heater matrix line vents coolant when open)
Or
2. Did my head gasket just fail? Which caused the pressure in the system and the oil cooler line to rupture in the first place.


If it is a head gasket please does anyone have any help to offer me if finding parts online. (I’m not from the UK, don’t know any mechanics I can trust as I’ve been told to stay away from any around my area ((I live in the countryside near Cambridge)) and am having serious trouble finding parts) Also is there a pdf version of the Haynes repair manual I’m assuming it’s the best one. Only asking because I would prefer a downloadable one and I’ve used Haynes multiple times being from the states. Thank you thank you thank you for anyone who can help. The Pathy is my only drivable vehicle atm and I’m currently paying for a rental just to keep working. Also sorry for the extremely long read.
 

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Plenty of good mechanics in your area and parts are easy to come by ,really not sure where you are coming from!
To be honest what you describe has happened points to the head gasket and they are not uncommon , however if I was you I would get somebody who knows what they are doing to look at it for you as the potential for a costly mistake is quite high once you start getting to fixing it unless you are confident in your abilities.
The difficulty you describe in starting since the overheating would suggest to me that a full check on the engine was money well spent before wasting money changing the head gasket if there is other damage been done by the overheating.
 

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2007 Nissan Pathfinder
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Discussion Starter #3
My hesitation only comes from it being a turbo diesel. I’ve rebuilt several 70’s big block motors in the past and My job for the past 17 yrs has been as an aircraft mechanic on various flying machines. I’m confident with tools but completely taken aback with a turbo diesel that I haven’t studied.
I assumed the hard to start issue (7 second vs the normal 2-3) was just the fact the pressurized coolant was bleeding back into the combustion chamber after shutdown. Similar to what navmantr4a/Gavin* posted in his thread “to cylinder head or not to cylinder head that is the question”

My opinion on mechanics comes from being here 7 years. And being lied to by every shop I’ve taken any of my cars to around Cambridgeshire so I asked because I need to know of reputable shops. Have issues from getting mud tires mounted and being told my brakes are wafer thin (had just did my brakes and rotors a few months before) , having my alignment checked and being told my wheel bearing are shot (solid as a rock) to taking my wife’s car for an MOT and failing because it miraculously sprang a petrol leak, and he wanted £80-£140 to “investigate” it, when I said no he got ******. I popped the hood and saw fuel spraying from the only visible b-nut grabbed a all/16 from my tool bag in the trunk and tightened it, walk back in to have him retest. He said it would be another full test since the car left his possession. All of these are just A few examples, the only times I’ve been given fair honest work was far from the bases. I.E. Had some tranny issues took it to 7 local shops got told needs a rebuild/replacement or they said junk it not worth the cost but they would buy it from me.... took it to Suffolk transmission about an hour away and they tested it changed the filter and gtg after. It’s a problem being American near the 3 American military bases.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Also just got finished checking for any coolant blockages. Disconnected upper and lower rad hoses, and both sides of heater matrix. Ran water through heater matrix both ways including through engine. And through the rad. All free flowing and saw nothing out of the ordinary in the drip pan no gelling, no contaminates. Nothing. When I blew air through to make sure there wasn’t water left inside anything incase we get a cold snap I got more of those “vapers/fumes” out of the piping.
 

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Reading your post again I am certain it is a headgasket issue.

A water pump is not actually a pump, it is an impellor, subtle difference, but an impellor doesn't produce much pressure but does produce a good flow. So you are right that a blockage wouldn't cause the pump to blow connections off.

I wouldn't worry about diesels vs petrol (or gas), pretty similar just no spark plugs in the oil burner! Turbos aren't particularly complicated either, they have been around since the 20s. (1920s)

I tend to buy parts from Milner Off Road. As for manuals, have sent you a pm.
 

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Also just got finished checking for any coolant blockages. Disconnected upper and lower rad hoses, and both sides of heater matrix. Ran water through heater matrix both ways including through engine. And through the rad. All free flowing and saw nothing out of the ordinary in the drip pan no gelling, no contaminates. Nothing. When I blew air through to make sure there wasn’t water left inside anything incase we get a cold snap I got more of those “vapers/fumes” out of the piping.
As I said its pretty sure its the head gasket . You just need to be aware the over heating may have caused more issues that are manifested by poor starting .
I have some sympathy with you with mechanics in this area . We farm around Alconbury and Molesworth however to some degree its a two way street with lack of trust on both sides! I could tell you a few stories from genuine local mechanics who have been shafted . One of the best was a guy who has a unit here who was approached about a Jeep that had an engine issue and could he have a look at it . It was towed in one monday morning , the v8 in the back completely stripped in boxes. He fixed it after a lot of aggro as he hadnt stripped it ! anyhow when fixed the owner picked it up one night with the spare keys unfortunately for the mechanic , matey had deployed to Germany having sold on vehicle to another serviceman the mechanic never saw his money . So now will not touch any vehicles from the base.
 

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2007 Nissan Pathfinder
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Discussion Starter #8
Reading your post again I am certain it is a headgasket issue.

A water pump is not actually a pump, it is an impellor, subtle difference, but an impellor doesn't produce much pressure but does produce a good flow. So you are right that a blockage wouldn't cause the pump to blow connections off.

I wouldn't worry about diesels vs petrol (or gas), pretty similar just no spark plugs in the oil burner! Turbos aren't particularly complicated either, they have been around since the 20s. (1920s)

I tend to buy parts from Milner Off Road. As for manuals, have sent you a pm.
Thank you so much for the advise and help. That what i was thinking. I was starting to doubt myself since it has been a few years since I’ve had to diagnose a vehicle problem and thus lacking confidence in myself for the job while hoping it wasn’t the head.
Welp off to ordering parts and cleaning up/turning my woodworking shed into an engine parts storage.
 

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2007 Nissan Pathfinder
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Discussion Starter #9
As I said its pretty sure its the head gasket . You just need to be aware the over heating may have caused more issues that are manifested by poor starting .
I have some sympathy with you with mechanics in this area . We farm around Alconbury and Molesworth however to some degree its a two way street with lack of trust on both sides! I could tell you a few stories from genuine local mechanics who have been shafted . One of the best was a guy who has a unit here who was approached about a Jeep that had an engine issue and could he have a look at it . It was towed in one monday morning , the v8 in the back completely stripped in boxes. He fixed it after a lot of aggro as he hadnt stripped it ! anyhow when fixed the owner picked it up one night with the spare keys unfortunately for the mechanic , matey had deployed to Germany having sold on vehicle to another serviceman the mechanic never saw his money . So now will not touch any vehicles from the base.
First, i am truly sorry for how that mechanic was treated and screwed over.
I don’t doubt it is 1000% like you said. Sadly good honest hard working people are getting harder and harder to come by these days, the world over. Like everyone on this planet has lost there dang minds but that’s a whole other rant lol. I’ve always taken how people treat me and my family local to the bases as not there fault. I’ve always assumed they have gotten used to being treated negatively by ****** Americans and are just conditioned to it now. Guess I didn’t really think about it spreading into auto shops.
So back to the hard starting, how far into the motor should I look? We talking bent rods? Cracked block kind of stuff or valves and cracked head? I’m 100% sending the head to be skimmed and pressure checked once I find a good machine shop to send it to. Anything else I need to be wary about? Last time she was running she was purring like a kitten steady idle no strange sounds that I could notice.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, got my wood shed cleared out and cleaned up. Got the bad rad out and have started working on the head removal. Taking it slow, bagging everything and taking pictures as often as I can remember to stop and take them. Got the EGR out and going to start on the turbo/exhaust man removal either tonight or tomorrow after work. Dang rain and wind is slowing me down. Thank you to all who have commented and the suggestion to use Milner off road. Just gotta wait for them to restock some of the parts I need.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well time for an update, I got the turbo, intake manifold, exhaust manifold, intake, rad, drive belts, fuel rail/filter, glow plugs, valve cover and timing cover all off. Only issues thus far, minus the rest of this post, is having a intake man mount bolt shearing off in the head and a rad mount bolt doing the same.
Anyway following the manual I’m at the step were I’m suppose to turn the crank to align the timing marks but I’m only able to move my crank timing mark from about the 3 o'clock to the 6 o’clock position then it binds up and I’m afraid to put more force on it with my breaker bar. Feels like something it mechanically limiting its movement.... anyone have an ideas? It was running just fine with a smooth idle last time it was running before blowing the radiator up and me starting the head gasket job. And yes I have the “dowel” pin from the timing cover, unless there are more than one?!
Also if coolant was being forced back into a cylinder by way of the suspected blown head gasket due to back pressure from exhaust in the coolant system could this cause a build up of corrosion in that cylinder and possibly cause the binding?!
And finally should I just skip setting the timing now and continue with the tear down? Since this might be a sign of possible bigger issues? Thanks for any help or advise anyone has to offer.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So, I got the timing issue sorted. Got the head off and the gasket looks good, head and block doesn’t have any visible signs of a blown gasket but...... 3 out of 4 glow plug holes are cracked. So now I need a new head but I’m still stuck with what caused the coolant issue? Anyone have any suggestions?
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No need to worry about the glowplug cracks. If you took the head off most modern diesels you would find the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
No need to worry about the glowplug cracks. If you took the head off most modern diesels you would find the same.
Ok. Guess I’ll just send it off for testing and skimming and hope it’s good to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Ended up getting a remaned built head as mine was warped. Got most of my parts. Started putting it all back together got the head on, cams, chain, injectors and realized the parts kit had the wrong sized banjo washers for the leak-off rail. I tried to find them with no luck so I have to wait for a parts store to open on Monday to order some. Figured screw it I’ll just press with other bits. Started with the exhaust manifold and got to the point of mounting the turbo and drum roll please. Kit has the wrong style gaskets for the turbo.... ordered the correct ones but they won’t be here till Monday at the earliest. Started looking through the manual on what I could do next and found two pages stuck together from my oily hands and on that page was a picture of a small sleeved oring that I didn’t put on the back of the head between the rear cover, so now that has to come off again. Kit has two of them and now I can’t figure out where the other one goes. Anyone remember needing two of them? It is a full engine seal kit so I’m hoping it goes somewhere else and not on the rear timing chain cover?! Help!!
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