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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live in the sub arctic. Recently the temperature has been pretty steady around -35 to -43 degrees (Celsius). The wind chill factor has been in the -50's some days.

I experienced a complete freeze up the other day at work because I couldn't plug in. After all else failed I had to use flares to get heat to thaw the lines and oil and after 5-10 minutes of that she fired up. (lighting fires under trucks is quite common in the far north when you are in a bind)

-The truck takes about 25 minutes to start blowing any warm air despite the temp gauge being at about 4 o'clock and having the block heater plugged in. I'm thinking I need to use better anti-freeze; I think the stock fluid is still in and it doesn't seem to be performing well.

I checked fluid levels and all look fine. I just had it serviced before the cold hit and they checked off everything for the warranty list.
(17,000 km now)

-The other big issue I am having is after I get moving or onto the highway the power steering becomes frozen and it feels worse than having no power steering at all. If I stop and idle for a while it warms up and the steering goes back to normal.

My doors are a huge pain because they won't close properly and have to wait until the truck warms up for quite a while before I can slam them shut and lock properly. I tried using -78 degree rated graphite lube spray for the door latches however no luck. Normal lube just freezes or gels hard. The hatch is the worst for this issue.

-The hatch struts also are not working in the cold and it will slowly fall back down, nearly closed.

I've been looking everywhere for a proper winter front for the 2012 Xterra however no luck so far. In the north it is very common to see these traditional yellowish blankets strapped to the front of all the vehicles however I think they look cheap and would rather something that is a custom fit.

I run full synthetic oil however I was wondering if any of you could recommend some better cold weather fluids / lubes to prevent the issues I am having.

I've been adding gas line anti-freeze every fill up and have not had any issues with starting since.

On a positive note, I bought a set of Wrangler Duratracs and they seem to be doing well in the deep snow / ice roads.

Thanks!
 

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Not sure about the other things but for the rear hatch contact these guys. The parts below are just normal structs but they also do a cold weather version so if you call and talk to Henk he'll sort you out, very helpful guy.


Henk Blok

Gemini Gas Springs Inc.
P.O. Box 1023
Vernon BC V1T 6N2
Tel: +1 778-475-5611
Toll free: +1 877-638-0762
Fax: +1 877-554-6024

Part number: 655.34.200.XXX/????


XXX = for longer than stock enter 498 and for stock length use 483 (but because of the extra strength feels higher than stock).

???? = force you want in Newtons (N)

150 lbs = 667 N
160 lbs = 711 N
175 lbs = 778 N

Part number includes the gas spring and 10 mm metal ball sockets so should be everything you need
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's great, thanks. Nice that he is in Canada.

Not sure about the other things but for the rear hatch contact these guys. The parts below are just normal structs but they also do a cold weather version so if you call and talk to Henk he'll sort you out, very helpful guy.


Henk Blok

Gemini Gas Springs Inc.
P.O. Box 1023
Vernon BC V1T 6N2
Tel: +1 778-475-5611
Toll free: +1 877-638-0762
Fax: +1 877-554-6024

Part number: 655.34.200.XXX/????


XXX = for longer than stock enter 498 and for stock length use 483 (but because of the extra strength feels higher than stock).

???? = force you want in Newtons (N)

150 lbs = 667 N
160 lbs = 711 N
175 lbs = 778 N

Part number includes the gas spring and 10 mm metal ball sockets so should be everything you need
 

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I've looked for the front covers but could never find any. Best bet Is to get something cut to fit and mount it yourself.

I add gas line antifreeze as well when it drops below 30 and never had a problem ever starting up in the 40s. The blowing cold air thing is beyond me, my 06 did it and my 2012 does it. It only blows warm when I press the throttle. At idle I get nothing. And that is only happening below -30. Its weird. I did have a cardboard cutout to block off the grill, I'd put it.over the grill at night and in the am when k start it seemed to warm up, then just take it off before I drive, looked very sily

Sent from AutoGuide.com App
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I tend to find the same thing. Even after 15 mins with the remote start it says it is warm but it won't blow warm air until I am on the throttle at these temps. Lots of the cardboard strapped to front of vehicles up here. I did see one guy with metal inserts to fill in all the gaps in the front, not sure where they came from.
 

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Its been a long time since I lived anywhere that cold, but you need to cover the front with something. A piece of cardboard works. Cut a couple small holes so you get some air. However if you don't cover the front it will never warm up, the underhood temp will never get high enough, and your other fluids will never warm up either.

If it stays that cold and you can't plug in it does really help to start and run for 10-15 minutes every 4 or 5 hours. Seems to keep the fluids from turning to complete sludge. I was way up North for a couple weeks many years ago and it got really cold for a while, I would start and run my car for 20 minutes before bed every night (no block heater at all) and start again as soon as I got up. It never froze up, but many others around who didn't do it did.

I never found gasline antifreeze necessary once it dropped below freezing and stayed their permanently. Theoretically any water in the gas station tanks should freeze and float to the top - and stay their till spring. The point in time where you get above freezing during the day and freeze at night was always our issue. However I suppose better safe than sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah I'm hoping a good cover will solve the main issues. It is always plugged in when I am at home. Block heater and battery blanket.
 

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This thread is very interesting! I will keep my eye on this one because I live where I live :) Although, it has never been colder than around -30 C here yet (since I moved in here), but could use some of these tips you mentioned. Thanks
 

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There have been many threads about the blowing cold air issue, most of which center on on low coolant level/trapped air problems. While I'm sure this will create a problem, it wasn't untill after I got my Bully Dog Tuner installed and was able to continuously monitor coolant temp during routine driving that I'm fairly sure I understand what is going on with our Xterras.

Once ambient temp seems to get below +10 F or so, these engines really don't heat up very fast at all. Even if I plug in my block heater and let the engine idle for a while in the morning, the coolant temp never really gets above 140-150 F after I leave the house as long as I'm driving on surface streets - at which point the heater is only blowing luke warm air at best (and of course, the colder the air enters the heater, the less warm it is when it leaves. So at sub 0 temps it's sometimes hard to tell it's even working).

It isn't until I finally get on the highway at sustained high speed for a few minutes (>60mph) that coolant temp finally gets up above 190F, where the heater actually starts blowing hot air. And of course, once off the highway, coolant temp will drop back into the 180F range and the heater output will noticeably cool a bit again.

I'm fairly certain that the main reason for this is simply that modern vehicles these days now use light-weight, aluminum engine blocks with high efficiency cooling systems, designed for the mass markets that mostly live in warmer climates. It would be nice if there were more factory designed cold weather options available for these vehicles, but apparently we are just left to our own devices.
 

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As for the power steering issue, you are lucky. I have a plow truck that does that as warm as -15F. I'm assuming that there must be some kind of low temp power steering fluid available, since all of the trucks we use up on the North Slope routinely operate at those temps, and we can't afford those types of issues. I've just never really looked into it.
 

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Which gas line antifreeze do you use? Some are ethanol, which your retailer has likely already in the pump gas they sell.. adding more is likely not helping. Some are methanol, which is primarily an octane boost (real chemists step in now) and most likely to counteract the effect of the pump gas ethanol.. thought not sure if it is added in sufficient volume.

You can get a custom winter front made at an auto upholstery shop.. but I would go with the cardboard solution myself. A couple of zip ties will hold it to the grille.

Battery blankets are good.. if you can plug in.

I think you're going to be our cold-weather expert. Let us know what works out. Good Luck.
 

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Im going to keep an eye on this thread. The wife and I are currently looking into moving north and we both have Xterras. I know when I lived in North Dakota we saw some serious below zero temps and we used to have trouble with some of the equipment. Some of the guys that worked with me would completely bypass their radiators for the cold months. Maybe running a cover on part of your radiator would help. Surely with those temps you would have to work really hard to have an overheating problem.
 

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Subscribed. We've been having the longest sustained cold period I can remember here in northern MN, and we're expecting a blast of your extra cold air over the next few days. I'm interested to see how the X holds up to -20/-30 and wind chills up to -50/-60 F.
 

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Subscribed. We've been having the longest sustained cold period I can remember here in northern MN, and we're expecting a blast of your extra cold air over the next few days. I'm interested to see how the X holds up to -20/-30 and wind chills up to -50/-60 F.
Should be just fine, we had that for a week before Christmas and other than letting it idle for an extra minute or two at start-up didn't notice anything.
 

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Well since it has warmed up to around -25 to -30 for a couple days and things have not been too bad however I'm bringing to x to the shop on Wednesday (back to -47 w/c now). They told me that on the last check up the coolant was rated to -45 however we have been having wind chill colder much than that. I'll be getting a few things checked out and I'll see about the power steering problem. I went for a good long highway ride out to the ice roads yesterday and it began freezing up again.

I found a company that will make custom winter fronts --> Alaska Tent and Tarp http://www.alaskatent.com/ . They will fabricate a custom cover for the X for about $62.00. They don't have a trace for the 2nd Gen x so I'll be giving them one soon to work from.

I use Motomaster type gas line anti freeze - it is ethanol base. I also bought some more expensive fuel system treatment, water eater, and octane booster I will be trying over the next few weeks. I have only been using premium fuel (91 octane) (~ $1.53 a liter here)..

I have my battery blanket and block heater both plugged to a power cable with a single cord out the lower grill.

I've decided I'm giving up on the extreme low temp rated graphite spray for the door latches, I'm going to leave the x in a bay at work to warm it up and clean all that spray out the best I can and try something else.

Couple shots from yesterday on Pensive Lake on the ice road (winter road for transport trucks over many lakes). (See the map--> http://goo.gl/maps/4IAyz )

We caught a few lakers.

Tibbitt to Contwoyto Ice Road -
https://www.google.ca/search?q=tibbitt+to+contwoyto&safe=off&espv=210&es_sm=93&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=xdrIUtj1B8j6oATw1ICIBA&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1777&bih=812&dpr=0.9#es_sm=93&espv=210&q=tibbitt+to+contwoyto+ice+road&safe=off&tbm=isch

Taken at about 2 pm.



 

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YouTube clip

Short clip on my way back home from this lake. Crappy audio, I don't YouTube well. Battery on the camera froze not long after leaving. Try it in HD.


Kind of unrelated but I get a kick out of how thick the ice is on the big lake, vid I took from last winter-->
 
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