Coolant level in radiator? - Page 2 - Second Generation Nissan Xterra Forums (2005+)
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  #11  
Old 11-16-2010, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by forrer13 View Post
I respectfully disagree with your statement.
I always check the coolant level at the radiator (when cold) top off to completely full and put the cap back on, then make sure the overflow is at the full mark.
The reason I do this is because you could heve a case where coolant is going into the overflow bottle, but due to a leak in the overflow hose, sucks air back into the radiator. Thus the overflow bottle stays full, when in fact you have a large pocket of air in the radiator, which you will only see by taking off the radiator cap.
I look at the overflow bottle as a sight glass for giving you an idea of the coolant level, especially if the engine is hot and you cant take the radiator cap off. But there is no harm at all taking off the radiator cap say every oil change or so, just to be sure.
You need to check you system again. I is not an overflow bottle. It is an active part of the cooling curcuit. That cap on the radiator, it is NOT a pressure cap. The pressure cap is on the plastic bottle. Again, this isn't the same cooling system left over from the 70's. There is a steady streaam of coolant coming from the top of the radiator into the bottle and there is a flow out the bottom.

The only reason the bottle doesn't overflow is the pressure buildup from the pressure cap as you pour water into the radiator. Take both caps off and start filling, see what happens. Just make sure you get the right cap in the right place when you put them back on.
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  #12  
Old 11-16-2010, 09:54 PM
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I also have to sort of disagree... My BMW had a coolant leak from a head gasket... The coolant reservoir was FULL however, there was NO coolant in the radiator/block... I took the top hose off and there was NOTHING coming out about 3 weeks after filling it ALL to the top with the recommended amount of fluid... 2.5 gallons and I was only able to get out maybe 1.5... NOTHING was in the radiator and the res was FULL... It TOO was an "active" part of the cooling system...
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  #13  
Old 11-16-2010, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Neo1130 View Post
I also have to sort of disagree... My BMW had a coolant leak from a head gasket... The coolant reservoir was FULL however, there was NO coolant in the radiator/block... I took the top hose off and there was NOTHING coming out about 3 weeks after filling it ALL to the top with the recommended amount of fluid... 2.5 gallons and I was only able to get out maybe 1.5... NOTHING was in the radiator and the res was FULL... It TOO was an "active" part of the cooling system...
Was the engine running hot? If you had that large of a leak that you lost 1 gallon in 3 weeks that is a major problem. A pressure check should have indicated a leak somewhere.

The description of the Xterra cooling system is for one that is functioning properly. If you have to add coolant on a regular basis there is a problem that needs to be fixed.

Jeff
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  #14  
Old 11-17-2010, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by jeff_redx View Post
Was the engine running hot? If you had that large of a leak that you lost 1 gallon in 3 weeks that is a major problem. A pressure check should have indicated a leak somewhere.

The description of the Xterra cooling system is for one that is functioning properly. If you have to add coolant on a regular basis there is a problem that needs to be fixed.

Jeff
Yes, as I said it was a head gasket... I am glad it happened because I traded it in for the X and couldn't be more happy!
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Old 11-18-2010, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by early 2010 View Post
You need to check you system again. I is not an overflow bottle. It is an active part of the cooling curcuit. That cap on the radiator, it is NOT a pressure cap. The pressure cap is on the plastic bottle. Again, this isn't the same cooling system left over from the 70's. There is a steady streaam of coolant coming from the top of the radiator into the bottle and there is a flow out the bottom.

The only reason the bottle doesn't overflow is the pressure buildup from the pressure cap as you pour water into the radiator. Take both caps off and start filling, see what happens. Just make sure you get the right cap in the right place when you put them back on.

Dude. BS
I was looking at the system last night.
The overflow tank is not a pressure vessel, the radiator is. The radiator cap releases pressure into the overflow when hot, then as the engine cools the suction created draws the coolant from the overflow back into the radiator. Look at the cap on the plastic overflow bottle, its a plastic cap, look at the radiator cap on the metal radiator, its metal, now which one do you suppose in holding back pressure?
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  #16  
Old 11-18-2010, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forrer13 View Post
Dude. BS
I was looking at the system last night.
The overflow tank is not a pressure vessel, the radiator is. The radiator cap releases pressure into the overflow when hot, then as the engine cools the suction created draws the coolant from the overflow back into the radiator. Look at the cap on the plastic overflow bottle, its a plastic cap, look at the radiator cap on the metal radiator, its metal, now which one do you suppose in holding back pressure?
Wrong. The entire system is pressurized. The radiator has a non-pressure relief cap. The Reservoir has the pressure relief cap. Both caps are metal. If the cooling system is filled with coolant and working as designed then coolant flows through the reservoir continuosly while the engine is running.

Next to the reservoir is the windshield washer bottle and it has a plastic cap. You maty want to go look again.

Jeff
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  #17  
Old 11-18-2010, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by jeff_redx View Post
Wrong. The entire system is pressurized. The radiator has a non-pressure relief cap. The Reservoir has the pressure relief cap. Both caps are metal. If the cooling system is filled with coolant and working as designed then coolant flows through the reservoir continuosly while the engine is running.

Next to the reservoir is the windshield washer bottle and it has a plastic cap. You maty want to go look again.

Jeff

Well I can tell you my radiator cap is metal, and the expansion tank / overflow tank cap is plastic.
Coolant does not 'flow through' the expansion tank. It is there to let air out of the system and to allow expansion of the fluid while being able to suck coolant back in as it cools down.
So what your saying is if I pop the cap off the overflow tank with the engine hot or running, it will blow coolant out because its pressurized? No it wont.
And yea, I know the difference between the coolant tank and the washer fluid bottle thanks mate.
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  #18  
Old 11-18-2010, 11:45 AM
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agree with jeff the reservoir or whatever it is called has a hose under it that is where the engine sucks coolant

got this image from another thread
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  #19  
Old 11-18-2010, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forrer13 View Post
Well I can tell you my radiator cap is metal, and the expansion tank / overflow tank cap is plastic.
Coolant does not 'flow through' the expansion tank. It is there to let air out of the system and to allow expansion of the fluid while being able to suck coolant back in as it cools down.
So what your saying is if I pop the cap off the overflow tank with the engine hot or running, it will blow coolant out because its pressurized? No it wont.
And yea, I know the difference between the coolant tank and the washer fluid bottle thanks mate.
You must have the optional cooling system. The stock cooling system on most Xterras, apparrently not yours, is completely pressurized. There is a hose that connects the neck of the radiator to the reservoir tank. There is a second hose that runs from the bottom of the tank to the return side of the heater hose. The flow is from the radiator and out the bottom of the tank to the return hose at the heater.

Radiator neck and cap:


Reservoir and pressure relief cap, the nipple at the neck is the overflow location:


Reservoir and cap removed:


On my vehicle, if you remove either cap when the system is fully pressurized you will have dramatic release of pressure.

Jeff
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  #20  
Old 11-18-2010, 01:46 PM
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I stand corrected on the way the expansion tank works in this system, I apologize. However I believe it is still OK to fill the radiator, when the engine is cold, and monitor the level from the expansion tank.
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