Small overheating problem

General information about the first-generation Nissan Maxima in the US. What was the Datsun 810 became the luxury leader Maxima in the US in 1981.

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kassim503
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Small overheating problem

#1

Post by kassim503 » 14 years ago

I noticed the car is overheating, not alot but the water temp is higher than usual. On the gauge it goes up to about 3/4 at worst and usually hangs around 5/8 when its gettin hot. When this happens it is only with the a/c on and its hot or warm outside 85F+ and only when im sitting at a light or in traffic. The factory fan clutch is locking up and I did install a extra pusher fan. This didnt happen to me last year and im puzzled as to why its giving me the symptoms of a bad fan clutch.

Anybody know if a simple radiator backwash would fix my problem? Im going to flush the cooling system as soon as I can, for good measure. Also if I ran a mix with a coolant to water ratio of 75/25 would that be the culprit? The fluid in there is kinda thick from all the time I added straight coolant when I was low.

Also, how accurate are the factory gauges, right now I would pull over and shut the car down if it hit the line under the H on the gauge, but would that be too hot? I want to shut down the car if my water temp hit 210F and im not too sure exactly where 210 would be on the factory gauge.

I may also consider changing out the radiator cap, its sorta spaztic and dumps coolant when it feels like it regardless of pressure.
'83 maxima sedan, l24e, a/t, black

227K SOLD 6/7/2012

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philip
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Re: Small overheating problem

#2

Post by philip » 14 years ago

kassim503 wrote:I noticed the car is overheating, not alot but the water temp is higher than usual. On the gauge it goes up to about 3/4 at worst and usually hangs around 5/8 when its gettin hot. When this happens it is only with the a/c on and its hot or warm outside 85F+ and only when im sitting at a light or in traffic. The factory fan clutch is locking up and I did install a extra pusher fan. This didnt happen to me last year and im puzzled as to why its giving me the symptoms of a bad fan clutch.
The symptoms of a restricted coolant flow or restricted heat loss are what I hear.
kassim503 wrote:Anybody know if a simple radiator backwash would fix my problem? Im going to flush the cooling system as soon as I can, for good measure.
If coolant flow is being restricted by mineral deposits or the thermostat is no longer opening fully by 200 degrees then the engine coolant temperature must rise. Back flushes will do nothing when either of these two conditions are present.
kassim503 wrote:Also if I ran a mix with a coolant to water ratio of 75/25 would that be the culprit? The fluid in there is kinda thick from all the time I added straight coolant when I was low.
Water alone has the greatest ability to quickly absorb and quickly release heat. The more ethlyene glycol you add to water, the more time it takes for this water/glcycol mixture to absorb and release an equal amount of heat. This is why excessively 'rich' coolant mixes are only recommended in very very cold climates.
kassim503 wrote:Also, how accurate are the factory gauges, right now I would pull over and shut the car down if it hit the line under the H on the gauge, but would that be too hot? I want to shut down the car if my water temp hit 210F and im not too sure exactly where 210 would be on the factory gauge.
I can't speak to that question with authority.
kassim503 wrote:I may also consider changing out the radiator cap, its sorta spaztic and dumps coolant when it feels like it regardless of pressure.
Replace cap and thermostat. Be SURE you get the correct thermostat. There is a thread on thermostats over on the SD forum that you might look at (Thermostat design) Also, if you can get a visual on any of the radiator core tubes through the filler neck or the upper radiator hose fitting, do look carefully for whitish mineral deposits around each tube opening. No flush will remove this stuff.

Do check the front side of the radiator core for trash accumulations (leaves, pine needles, weeds, etc).
-Philip
Passed 08May2008
My friend, you are missed . . .

1982 Datsun 720KC SD-22

"Im slow and I'm ahead of you"

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kassim503
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#3

Post by kassim503 » 14 years ago

Thermostats new, for the most part, its about 3 months old and it was replaced with the correct part. So thermostat might not be my problem, I really think I have a really bad coolant to water ratio, I might just dump some coolant and fill it with water real quick before I head out tommorow and see if my problem gets fixed.

Was looking around jegs.com and looked under coolants, just to see what people that race do to keep their engine cool, I found some kind of "racing coolant" is this a smart way to go? Does it have any real advantages over the standard napa brand coolant? Also I think I might want to try diluting the mix in my radiator first, I know the ratio is way off past 50/50

Also I think the gasser l24e has a different design than the SDxx engines, they dont have the bypass stopper like the one explained in the post.
'83 maxima sedan, l24e, a/t, black

227K SOLD 6/7/2012

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#4

Post by asavage » 14 years ago

Racing coolant isn't going to make enough difference to pay for itself. And you will flirt with reduced corrosion protection.

A "rich" coolant mix will not transfer heat as well as a "lean" one, but a "lean" mix will not protect against corrosion and electrolysis. Try to stay in the 40-60% mix range. There are cheap "floating ball"-type specific-gravity meters that are fairly inaccurate but better than nothing, for well under $10, and some for under $6. Even NAPA's is $8, IIRC. For ethylene glycol, 50/50 = -38°F on the scale.

However, I'd be looking at a plugged radiator (if you haven't been changing the coolant every two years, on schedule, and using distilled water), plugged with mineral deposits that pretty much can't be removed by flushing, and only a little bit via chemicals.

Cheapest thing to look at is the thermal fan clutch. I know you said you did already . . . but aside from low fluid level, bad thermostat, and collapsing lower radiator hose (only exhibits a symptom when revved up, not at idle), I can't think of a better thing to look at.
Regards,
Al S.

1982 Maxima diesel wagon, 2nd & 4th owner, 165k miles, rusty & burgundy/grey. Purchased 1996, SOLD 16Feb10
1983 Maxima diesel wagon, 199k miles, rusty, light yellow/light brown. SOLD 14Jul07
1981 720 SD22 (scrapped 04Sep07)
1983 Sentra CD17, 255k, bought 06Jul08, gave it away 22Jun10.

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philip
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#5

Post by philip » 14 years ago

kassim503 wrote:SNIP I was looking around jegs.com and looked under coolants, just to see what people that race do to keep their engine cool, I found some kind of "racing coolant" is this a smart way to go? Does it have any real advantages over the standard napa brand coolant?


One of my pets is a 1990 Honda CB1-400f motorcycle. Of relevance is its aluminum engine, liquid cooling, and undersized radiator. It also turns ungodly rpm which in turn generates alot of heat. To counter the engine's determination to run hot in ambient temperatures in excess 80 degrees, I tried a number of things. Redline's Water Wetter product with distilled water and no antifreeze has been notably effective in improving heat loss. After 5 yrs of running this stuff, there still is no corrosion in the thermostat housing. But ... Water Wetter offers no freeze protection and about 10-15 degrees lower coolant "boil" point. Freeze protection is not a worry where I live or where the bike is stored and with the improved heat transfer, the engine operates well within the lower boil point.
kassim503 wrote:Also I think I might want to try diluting the mix in my radiator first, I know the ratio is way off past 50/50
Since November last, the Datsun (SD) has been run around with no engine fan at all. At the time, I did remix the coolant using one of those floating ball testers to 20 degrees (above zero) to improve the coolant's ability to pick up and release heat (there's a technical name for that quality :wink: ).
kassim503 wrote:Also I think the gasser l24e has a different design than the SDxx engines, they dont have the bypass stopper like the one explained in the post.
Be sure. When you remove the thermostat, look for that coolant bypass port at the bottom of coolant outlet housing that a thermostat "stopper" would close off.
Last edited by philip 14 years ago, edited 1 time in total.
-Philip
Passed 08May2008
My friend, you are missed . . .

1982 Datsun 720KC SD-22

"Im slow and I'm ahead of you"

redmondjp
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#6

Post by redmondjp » 14 years ago

I don't know--all this talk about a work-around to the most probable solution: new radiator (since we seem to be covering all of the bases, how about the 'turn heater on' option :idea: :lol: ).

BUT, I just checked a couple of my favorite internet foreign parts websites (that both use Worldpac wholesale warehouse), and a radiator isn't showing up as available for either the gas or diesel Maxima '81-83. I didn't spend any additional time looking elsewhere.

Are new Maxima radiators hard to come by? The other option is to get yours rodded out, or recored--usually $100-150 at a good radiator shop (which is usually what you can buy a new radiator for, so I lean towards this option).

This is a timely discussion, considering the national heat wave--95 degrees in the shade, in SEATTLE??? Now THAT'S hot!
1982 Datsun 720 King Cab, SD22, 86K miles (sold)
1981 Rabbit LS 4-door, 1.6D, 130K miles (sold)
1996 Passat TDI 4-door sedan, 197K miles

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#7

Post by philip » 14 years ago

redmondjp wrote:SNIP This is a timely discussion, considering the national heat wave--95 degrees in the shade, in SEATTLE??? Now THAT'S hot!
Oh? How about 95 degrees being the LOW for the night?

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-Philip
Passed 08May2008
My friend, you are missed . . .

1982 Datsun 720KC SD-22

"Im slow and I'm ahead of you"

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#8

Post by kassim503 » 14 years ago

Long island beat Seattle- I recorded 100 in the shade!

I think I found the cause, it was low on fluid, the reserve tank was stained darker by the coolant so it looked like it had fluid, but in reality it was empty. Also I was down some coolant in the radiator as well, something around 2 inches below the fill cap.

Now why would it be leaking? I checked all the hoses, some old but still holding up just fine. Also I checked the oil cap for any white residue, still nothing, checked the exhaust, no steam, checked the coolant, no white residue. Im not too sure where its leaking from, and its not making puddles anywhere either, it could possibly be a really sneaky leak on the lower hose, the fender wall has wet mud around there instead of dry, and I have witnessed this a few days ago as well. Puzzling thing is that when the car loses coolant the reserve tank dosent bottom out, but a air gap forms inside the radiator, does this sound like a busted head gasket? im not noticing water in oil or steam coming out the exhaust
'83 maxima sedan, l24e, a/t, black

227K SOLD 6/7/2012

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#9

Post by kassim503 » 14 years ago

WOW THATS HOT!!
'83 maxima sedan, l24e, a/t, black

227K SOLD 6/7/2012

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philip
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#10

Post by philip » 14 years ago

kassim503 wrote:I think I found the cause, it was low on fluid, the reserve tank was stained darker by the coolant so it looked like it had fluid, but in reality it was empty. Also I was down some coolant in the radiator as well, something around 2 inches below the fill cap.
I will be surprised if only 2" low coolant level brought on your heating situations.
kassim503 wrote:Now why would it be leaking? SNIP
The "sneaky leak" can often be traced to what is also called a "cold water leak." In the beginning, this is typically a relatively slow water pump seal leak that occurs only after the engine has cooled down almost completely. There will be a trail of dried coolant from the weep hole located on the underside of the water pump, between the two bearings. This condition worsens to a drip while the engine is running. I have seen numerous water pumps with no shaft play in evidence yet have almost a drip condition from the weep hole once the system pressurizes.
-Philip
Passed 08May2008
My friend, you are missed . . .

1982 Datsun 720KC SD-22

"Im slow and I'm ahead of you"

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#11

Post by kassim503 » 14 years ago

The car dosent make puddles of coolant when its pressurized or not, cold or hot, and the water pump is something like a year or 2 old, I hope the problem is a water pump or a bad hose, I dont want to pull the head now.

Also I did notice the after I top off the cooling system the symptoms go away, for the most part.

Only thing I did notice was that there is alot of water coming out of what looks liek a hose next to the cruise control equipment, but it is pure water and not coolant, also that might be related to the high humidity thats was lingering today.

Im going to look around in depth tommorow, find the cause and fix it before the week starts again. Also the coolant is in desperate need for a change, its dirty green and there are bits of rust or someting swimming in it. Well it has been 3 years since it really had a coolant change, I just kept adding coolant after I did work on it.
'83 maxima sedan, l24e, a/t, black

227K SOLD 6/7/2012

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#12

Post by 83_maxima » 14 years ago

Just a thought...

There is a small "valve" I'll call it, on the right side of the engine and it connects some of the coolant hoses that go to the heater core. Mine started leaking several years ago and it cannot be fixed. Never really dripped, but it was always wet. I got a new one from the dealer.

Might be something to check.

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#13

Post by asavage » 14 years ago

redmondjp wrote:BUT, I just checked a couple of my favorite internet foreign parts websites (that both use Worldpac wholesale warehouse), and a radiator isn't showing up as available for either the gas or diesel Maxima '81-83.
Salvy (thedieseliminator) got a new LD28 radiator for $103, shipped, back in February.
This is a timely discussion, considering the national heat wave--95 degrees in the shade, in SEATTLE??? Now THAT'S hot!
Yup. I helped birth a calf at 6:30p and it was still well over 80°F, and then I dragged 100 bales of hay around a hot, dusty barn for a couple of hours (hey, I'm old & fat & slow), and the local credit union's sign still read 84° at 8:30p.

Yeah, for the Puget Sound, it was a hot one.
philip wrote:Oh? How about 95 degrees being the LOW for the night?
Sure, quote Death Valley again, sure . . .

I don't live there -- I live HERE, and it's damned HOT.
kassim503 wrote:Now why would it be leaking? I checked all the hoses, some old but still holding up just fine.
Use an inspection mirror and follow Philip's advice: look at the WP's weep hole. A small leak there (less than a quart in 1000 miles ) and the coolant will never make it to the ground, it'll evap before it reaches the plastic pan.
Puzzling thing is that when the car loses coolant the reserve tank dosent bottom out, but a air gap forms inside the radiator, does this sound like a busted head gasket?
The reservoir will only replenish the radiator if the cooling system has integrity. If there's a leak, a vacuum won't form when the engine cools down, and the 2 PSI valve in the radiator cap won't open and allow coolant to be drawn into the radiator.

Also, if there is even a pinhole leak on the hose from the radiator to the coolant reservoir, it'll draw air in on cooldown.

And, of course, if the radiator neck is deformed, the outer gasket on the radiator cap won't seal, and again coolant won't be drawn from the reservoir. I've seen a couple of damaged seal surfaces on radiator necks in the past.
kassim503 wrote:Only thing I did notice was that there is alot of water coming out of what looks liek a hose next to the cruise control equipment, but it is pure water and not coolant, also that might be related to the high humidity thats was lingering today.
That's condensate from the A/C's evaporator. After running the A/C system, it's normal to find a largish puddle in that area when parked, as long as it's clear.
Also the coolant is in desperate need for a change, its dirty green and there are bits of rust or someting swimming in it. Well it has been 3 years since it really had a coolant change, I just kept adding coolant after I did work on it.
Do at least a drain-n-fill with tap water and run it to hot each time, repeat three times or so. If you want to be esp. thorough, pull the block drain plug (see poor pic in this post) and squirt some water up there too. Try to get out as much of the solids/precipitates as you can. When refilling, use distilled water as your mixer -- not "drinking water": make certain that the jug says Distilled.
83_maxima wrote:There is a small "valve" I'll call it, on the right side of the engine and it connects some of the coolant hoses that go to the heater core.
Ben, I can't find a good pic of this in my stuff. Can you take a pic?
Regards,
Al S.

1982 Maxima diesel wagon, 2nd & 4th owner, 165k miles, rusty & burgundy/grey. Purchased 1996, SOLD 16Feb10
1983 Maxima diesel wagon, 199k miles, rusty, light yellow/light brown. SOLD 14Jul07
1981 720 SD22 (scrapped 04Sep07)
1983 Sentra CD17, 255k, bought 06Jul08, gave it away 22Jun10.

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#14

Post by kassim503 » 14 years ago

I think im going to replace all the hoses and check the water pump, mabye I got a cheap one or something. Also while im at it im going to change out all the heater hoses and bypass hoses, some are still the originals.
83_maxima wrote:Just a thought...

There is a small "valve" I'll call it, on the right side of the engine and it connects some of the coolant hoses that go to the heater core. Mine started leaking several years ago and it cannot be fixed. Never really dripped, but it was always wet. I got a new one from the dealer.

Might be something to check.
Is this the right angle T fitting that screws into the side of the cyl head?

Also I noticed when air is being introduced into the cooling system, its while the sytem is building pressure. Like if the engine was going from cold to hot, then you check the rad fluid level, there would be about a inch of air after the filler neck. Im pretty sure air is also getting in as its cooling down, I guess ill find out as soon as the car cools down
'83 maxima sedan, l24e, a/t, black

227K SOLD 6/7/2012

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philip
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#15

Post by philip » 14 years ago

asavage wrote: Sure, quote Death Valley again, sure . . .

I don't live there -- I live HERE, and it's damned HOT.
Ok then, THIS is much closer to me. Would you care for this temperature shortly after midnight? :oops: :x

The upside is you don't need glow plugs to start your diesel!

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-Philip
Passed 08May2008
My friend, you are missed . . .

1982 Datsun 720KC SD-22

"Im slow and I'm ahead of you"

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