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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi Everyone, I just purchased an '06 Off-Road with a 6-speed manual in Midnight Blue. It's got 103k on it, seems to be completely stock and I don't hear anything that sounds like the potential timing chain issue. While it's in pretty great shape, the PO didn't keep any maintenance records, so I'm starting from scratch. I've really enjoyed all the stickies on the various forums, they especially the lift options post. Here's a few questions I'd appreciate help with.
• The heater isn't very warm, which seems to indicate low coolant. The PO said he did nothing to the thing, so I imagine it's been slowly losing coolant for a while. I added some coolant this morning, but I'll add more after it cycles later today.
• If I wanted to do a coolant system refresh (it's probably all original looking at it) where's a good source for parts? I generally try to aim for higher quality parts than O'reilly/Autozone, but a OEM Radiator is $500. Also, will an Auto radiator fit, even though mine is manual? Rockauto has radiators that specify Auto, but none that specify manual.
• What other items would want to refresh at this mileage? It's been used for commuting, and the suspension seems to feel solid: Shocks doing a good job, no clunks in the suspension etc. There's a little vibration at speed, but the tires are 65k and in dire need of replacement (I'm thinking 33's) so until those are done, it'd be hard to point at anything else.
•Any suggestions on a replacement radio? I've swapped multiple engines, but I've never replaced a car stereo before. There's so many options!
 

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On the car stereo I went through Crutchfield and purchased a "prewired" Kenwood ( a tech solders up the adapter for you) stereo head with a Axxess steering wheel control module. You'll need the Axxess ASWC-1 to program your steering wheel audio controls. Wanted to keep the stock stereo but it has shit reception(seems to be a nissan/infiniti standard). Hope that Helps
123484
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Mine didn't come with steering wheel controls anyways, so I guess that's one less thing to worry about. I agree the radio reception sounds a bit muddy. I figure if I replace the head unit and it still doesn't sound great, I can always do speakers later. How did you like the sound quality improvement?
 

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I replaced my radio with a Sony XAV-AX100 media player. It has Android Auto and Apple car play and I am pretty happy with it. The speakers weren't that great either so I replaced those as well. There is a no end to what mods you can do, it just depends on how you use it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Alright thanks, I probably will go with something a bit cheaper like Barrelbean's Kenwood, as this will be street parked and I don't want anything too nice to tempt thieves.

Any good ideas for parts, or should i figure that the nicer brands (Denso/AcDelco) on Rockauto is good enough?

Thanks for the tips!
 

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Koyorad is a popular rad replacement here on the forum. I've had one myself for several years with no complaints.
There is a possibility also that the not-very-warm heater is something with the blend door actuator. But by all means check the coolant levels first.
 

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IntellectualRedneck is right about the Blend Door Actuator. I just had to replace mine. It was fun. That being said, It is located on top of the HVAC Unit, right next to the heater core, between the radio and the glove box. Get in the passengers side, down low. Turn your key to the run position and put the heater fan on its lowest setting (Not off, thought. The fan has to be running for the blend door actuator to work.) Slowly turn the temp control knob and listen for the actuator to work. If it's worn, you get to a point where it sounds jammed. It's not loud, but you can hear it. Mine hit that point about mid-way from hot to cold. I had either hot air or cold air, but not much in between. I had to put it on either full hot or full cold to get it to stop trying to cycle.

If that needs to be replaced, you have to remove the whole dash. It's not hard, but it is time consuming, so while you're in there you might want to swap out that heater core anyways. Just follow the FSM and you'll be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Eesh, I hope it's not that. I tested AC, but didn't think to test max heat on the test drive. It seems to be fine adjusting between cold and medium heat, it just never gets very warm. Especially as I want to take it to the snow, it definitely won't keep up currently. The other day when it was parked pointing downhill (not a good time to add coolant) it still took at least a quart into the radiator, the "expansion" tank was at the max mark. I parked it facing uphill, so I'll see how much it takes tomorrow.

If I still get no heat, I'll listen for the blend door to move, but I am not looking forward to a full dash removal. I'm kicking myself for not testing full heat, but I probably would've still bought it anyways....
 

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Make sure your clutch is strong. My OEM clutch was replaced at around 106000 miles. The only sign of wear was the RPM would fluctuate up and down when I accelerate the truck.
You can look up the maintenance schedule on the forums to see when and what needs to be replaced.
To be on the safe side, I would replaced all the fluids (Engine, Transmission, Rear Diff, Front Diff, Transfer case, flush engine coolant, replaced brake fluid and clutch fluid, spark plugs).
Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Alright, looks like Fishcannon may be right. I topped up a little more coolant today, but it didn't make a difference driving to work. It's still only sorta warm air coming out the vents. If you think of the heat knob as a volume knob, it seems like 6-10 is all the same. When I listen for the actuator (which seemed to still actuate with the fan off) it was a different pitch than 0-6 on the knob, kind of like it was stuck. It seems from some research that maybe if I pull the glovebox I can see the actuator freezing? Either way I'll start preparing for a dash pull while I try out a few more things.

Mega99999 thankfully the clutch seems strong. I've had to deal with a slipping clutch before, so I made sure to test that out. I'll search for a maintenance schedule and check all the fluids though, that's a good idea.
 
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