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I noticed a puddle under my xterra last weekend, threw a pan under it and have been unable to do much with it since (gone all week for work), but the pan has filled and overflowed with bright green coolant and its still dripping.

I've read a number of threads, it sounds like if it was the water pump, there would have a dramatic change when I run the engine... no such luck. Also found all the threads about radiator failure, but couldn't discern if those only apply to auto trans.

I took a photo directly above the front skid plate, it looks like it is dripping from there... What is located above this plastic casing? Any help would be appreciated; I've done a handful of minor work on my car previously, trying to assess if I can handle this myself.



Looking above skid plate



Coolant dripping from plate

Thanks!

//Not sure if this info is related, but figure I should include it: I've had to do lots of miles for my job in the past few months (400+/week) and have noticed just recently an odd behavior of the transmission... When I take it out of gear, it sometimes sounds like the engine is still engaged, but RPMs drop like you would expect. This continues until I come to a complete stop, when my engine will do a slight shudder and then return to normal. Feels like the transmission isn't completely disengaging.
 

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Cracked Radiator? The plastic part pictured is just the bottom of the radiator. If you had an auto that's where the fluid runs through to heat up the tranny fluid. In the '06 the radiators are a piece of crap and partially made of plastic. A lot of the guys swap them out as a preventative measure.

As you second problem, is it the original clutch? How many miles?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Cracked Radiator? The plastic part pictured is just the bottom of the radiator. If you had an auto that's where the fluid runs through to heat up the tranny fluid. In the '06 the radiators are a piece of crap and partially made of plastic. A lot of the guys swap them out as a preventative measure.



As you second problem, is it the original clutch? How many miles?
A new radiator wouldn't be too expensive, how difficult is it?

Original clutch, only pushing 70K
 

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It's not very difficult and they are fairly inexpensive... But IDK without being there if that's 100% what it is. Take the front bumper/grill/skid off; hose it down, top it off and have someone run it while you look for the leak. Those 3 items are very easy to remove.

70K isn't much, but your rig is going on 8+ years old; if you let it sit for a period of time without constant driving and then come back to drive it the clutch could have worn out faster as they are known to do so when they sit and are driven intermittently b/c of jobs, deployment, etc...
 

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If you had an auto that's where the fluid runs through to heat up the tranny fluid.
Just to clarify/correct ... it's not to heat, but rather to cool the transmission fluid. jeff_redx has a great description of the functionality of this set-up & and has logged a bunch of temperature data to assist in his understanding. Sorry for the off-topic diversion, further discussion should probably happen in Jeff's thread: here.

As to the radiator replacement, there are several threads where folks go through it, but this one is pretty detailed. Unfortunately it's for an AT, not for the MT ... and I don't know what the differences are, aside from generally ... but I can't imagine it would be any more difficult.
 

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Just to clarify/correct ... it's not to heat, but rather to cool the transmission fluid.
I was speaking in reference to Cold Starts in CO. If it is 0 degrees out and you start your vehicle that tranny fluid is thick and the radiator fluid heats up faster and helps in heating the tranny fluid so you don't hear a "THUD" as you pull out of the driveway.
 

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I was speaking in reference to Cold Starts in CO. If it is 0 degrees out and you start your vehicle that tranny fluid is thick and the radiator fluid heats up faster and helps in heating the tranny fluid so you don't hear a "THUD" as you pull out of the driveway.
That is not what happens, even when it is below zero. The heat exchanger for the ATF in the lower rad header does not heat the ATF. Cliff's Notes, the coolant in the lower rad header is at the same starting temperature as the ATF and doesn't warm up as fast at the auto trans. For a more complete explanation read the thread Jonathon referenced.

Cheers,
Jeff
 

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NYX - you'll probably want to go ahead and elaborate on what "thud" means :icon_smile: You'll want to include as much detail as possible with the engineers.

To the OP, I'd check the easy stuff first - the hoses - this could be very minor.
 

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As mentioned above, it could be the lower hose has a crack, or the clamp has broken, but I would suspect that the lower tank has separated from the core. I had this happen to me a couple years back. The core has tabs that hold the plastic tanks in place. If a couple of them have opened up, the rad will leak.

You can get a replacement for around $100-$150. AT & MT replacement rads are the same (IIRC) only difference being that you can remove the rubber caps & attach the lines from the trans on an AT, or leave them on for a MT. The replacement rad will be the same as OEM: aluminum core with plastic upper & lower tanks

Replacing it is not hard, just a bit time consuming so be sure to have a Service manual to review before starting the process. I replaced mine in the winter, outside (-2*C, 30*F) and it took me about 2 hours start to finish. It really helps to have a person with very long arms & very small hands...lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
As mentioned above, it could be the lower hose has a crack, or the clamp has broken, but I would suspect that the lower tank has separated from the core. I had this happen to me a couple years back. The core has tabs that hold the plastic tanks in place. If a couple of them have opened up, the rad will leak.

You can get a replacement for around $100-$150. AT & MT replacement rads are the same (IIRC) only difference being that you can remove the rubber caps & attach the lines from the trans on an AT, or leave them on for a MT. The replacement rad will be the same as OEM: aluminum core with plastic upper & lower tanks

Replacing it is not hard, just a bit time consuming so be sure to have a Service manual to review before starting the process. I replaced mine in the winter, outside (-2*C, 30*F) and it took me about 2 hours start to finish. It really helps to have a person with very long arms & very small hands...lol.
Thanks for the input, specifically on AT vs MT... that was my primary concern.

I'll look into a replacement and post an update next weekend.

Thanks guys.
 

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i had taken my 05 se auto in to the dealership a few weeks ago fearing another head gasket leak. Turned out to be a leak in the lower radiator. was a busy crazy time so I never got full details, other then that they had to replace the radiator. It was covered under my extended warranty, so I was happy about that. i'm also at 69,000 miles..give or take.
 

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i had taken my 05 se auto in to the dealership a few weeks ago fearing another head gasket leak. Turned out to be a leak in the lower radiator. was a busy crazy time so I never got full details, other then that they had to replace the radiator. It was covered under my extended warranty, so I was happy about that. i'm also at 69,000 miles..give or take.
I'm about 10k more miles on you with my 06 Auto-Trans; you know my issue from my other thread...Extended Warranty kicking in, knock on wood...not out of the woods till i'm in my truck and driving it myself!

I can't nor do I have much input for this particular thread, my bad.

-Jason
 

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I just had the same issue. Mine was leaking from the rad. Where the plastic plate at the bottom of the rad meets the aluminum clip for the rest of the rad. I had to replace entire rad. It took 2 hours tops and it was about 258 dollars for the rad

Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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Discussion Starter #15
StopLeak?

As a temporary patch/fix prior to replacing the radiator, what are opinions on use of StopLeak?

I know that most every expert says stay away from the stuff, use black pepper instead...But I was wondering if I'm less exposed to risk because I have a manual?
 

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Do you positively know where the leak is?

I would not add a stop leak for the Xterra except under emergency conditions. If you do use it, when you do fix the problem you should flush the cooling system to get rid of the material.

Jeff
 

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You may be making this worse than it is, take a good look to determine where it is leaking first. I would avoid using stop leak products, or sodium silicate, if I could get away with it - makes a mess and commonly blamed for blocking heater cores.
 
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