Radiator Replacement - Good Idea? - Nissan Armada Forum: Armada & Infiniti QX56 Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-21-2017, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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Radiator Replacement - Good Idea?

Hey All,

So as of today, there was a post in this subforum regarding the heat transfer unit that Nissan engineered to exist within the radiator. This is something that I've just come across and am wondering what others here think or have done.

Recently there was a class-action lawsuit settled with Nissan wherein owners of 2005-2010 Nissan Pathfinder, Nissan Xterra and Nissan Frontier vehicles were compensated for repairs related to radiators and the heat transfer units in them as catastrophic failure of transmissions was found to occur due to failure in the radiator / heat transfer units.

I've seen some posts here where Armada transmissions have failed or issues have developed and often, advice was to investigate the radiator/heat transfer location.


I have a 2008 Armada with 128k miles on it an am considering replacing the radiator with an aftermarket one just to ensure I don't experience any transmission issues. I've been quoted $600. That seems a little high to me, but all in all, pretty cheap insurance compared to $5k for a new transmission.

Have you guys preemptively replaced your radiators or bypassed the internal heat transfer units?


B

08 Armada SE 4x4
Front: Bilstein 5100s, Rear: 2" PRG spacers, Bilstein 24-187077, Firestone Coil-Rite Air Springs (W237604150)
Volant (Gen 1) CAI, Nitto Terra Grapplers (275/70/R18), Bully Dog GT (10/2017), Hayden 678 Trans Cooler (12/2017)

Last edited by Bulkhead; 12-21-2017 at 05:11 PM. Reason: Typo
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulkhead View Post
Hey All,

So as of today, there was a post in this subforum regarding the heat transfer unit that Nissan engineered to exist within the radiator. This is something that I've just come across and am wondering what others here think or have done.

Recently there was a class-action lawsuit settled with Nissan wherein owners of 2005-2010 Nissan Pathfinder, Nissan Xterra and Nissan Frontier vehicles were compensated for repairs related to radiators and the heat transfer units in them as catastrophic failure of transmissions was found to occur due to failure in the radiator / heat transfer units.

I've seen some posts here where Armada transmissions have failed or issues have developed and often, advice was to investigate the radiator/heat transfer location.


I have a 2008 Armada with 128k miles on it an am considering replacing the radiator with an aftermarket one just to ensure I don't experience any transmission issues. I've been quoted $600. That seems a little high to me, but all in all, pretty cheap insurance compared to $5k for a new transmission.

Have you guys preemptively replaced your radiators or bypassed the internal heat transfer units?
B
My 2005 transmission failed from coolant mixing. At the time, the design flaw was not known to me and I never saw it coming. All Armadas/Titans have the same issue above, and Nissan has been pestered about it for years, but obviously they make millions off the repairs. You have to fix it or'll you'll be on the hook for $5000 or so, soon, with your truck's mileage.

Fortunately, your quote above is silly. It costs $45 and 30-45 mins of very easy DIY time. The transmission cooler you need is linked in my signature.

Just reroute the two lines, running from the transmission oil sump into the bottom rear corners of your radiator (one is in, and one is out) to the new transmission cooler mounted behind the front licence plate area below the front bumper with the included ties. Cap or join the radiator's in/out barbs, so you don't lose coolant when the inner bladder cracks. You'll need to buy 5 feet or so of extra hose due to the Armada's size.

This is the only 100% fix, and your transmission will run noticeably cooler under load. I've been running the fix for nearly 100K miles now. Replacing the radiator is not a solution, its just kicking the can to a later failure, or maybe sooner. Some of the most expensive all aluminum brands still leak. Just get the transmission oil out of the radiator. It's easy.

Good luck!

2005 Armada LE 207K miles,
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Last edited by SGreenlyn; 12-22-2017 at 08:06 AM.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Sgreenlyn - I've looked at your setup and it appeals to me a whole lot more than a $600 repair right now.

I was planning to replace the OEM radiator with an aftermarket unit. The shop I took it to for a quote has done these before, primarily on the Titans but has a brand they recommend over the OEM.

Regarding the external cooler, two questions: Is there any benefit or downside to using the larger cooler (Model 679) instead? (My 4x4 Armada does have the tow package)

Also, is there any risk of getting air in the transmission? What is the risk of getting air into the transmission via the cooling lines?

thx

So, I've been looking into this and trying to understand what I need to complete the install of the cooler - and how to do it.

What is the ID of the flexible lines that connect from the hard lines that originate at the transmission?
What is the capacity of the transmission cooler? Wondering how much oil will remain in the cooler so I know how much to add back to the transmission
I have two hard lines that come forward on the passenger side of the vehicle that connect via flexible lines. One goes to the bottom driver side of the radiator. The other goes to the top of the passenger side of the radiator on what looks like an external block. Then a hard line returns from the block to the bottom of the radiator.


I think I should cap the lower driver side barb on the radiator and connect the hard line (return to the transmission I assume) to the "output" or one of the two barbs on the external cooler.

But,
Do I connect the external cooler to the hard line that comes from the transmission before the flexible line runs up to the block on the radiator, or after it comes down from the block and before it enters the barb on the bottom of the radiator at the passenger side?

Just not sure if I need or should bypass the block at the upper passenger side of the radiator.

thx

08 Armada SE 4x4
Front: Bilstein 5100s, Rear: 2" PRG spacers, Bilstein 24-187077, Firestone Coil-Rite Air Springs (W237604150)
Volant (Gen 1) CAI, Nitto Terra Grapplers (275/70/R18), Bully Dog GT (10/2017), Hayden 678 Trans Cooler (12/2017)

Last edited by marctronixx; 12-22-2017 at 05:45 PM.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-23-2017, 01:04 PM
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I think I have answers for you - but I am going partially by memory and that is not 100% trust-able. Someone correct me if I am wrong please. I just added the tranny cooler a few weeks ago.

I'm pretty sure you can use whatever cooler model you want as long as it fits and does the job. I'd make sure someone with an Armada or Titan has used the same model. If nobody ever used it you are either off track or breaking new experimental ground.

Because there is a breather hose on the tranny I don't think air in there is a problem. I didn't even consider it.

The ID of the tranny hose is 5/16. I used this -


Make sure you get TRANNY hose - not something made for something else.

I also used these hose clamps someone here recommended - they are nice.



The capacity of the cooler is pretty small. Almost none leaked out when I installed mine and after install the dipstick showed no need to add any more fluid. I checked again a few hundred miles later and it was still good. So I'd guess the volume is negligible or similar to the stock internal cooler we are bypassing.

Mount the new cooler first. That is what took me the longest to do - bending and adjusting the brackets, drilling holes etc.

Then take 5 min to just lay under there an ID all the hoses - figure out which goes where.

As for hose routing - (here is where my memory may be off) - the drivers side of the hard tranny line (the one with a slight angle and the end that points towards the drivers side tire) is the OUT from the tranny. Remove the hose from the end of the hard line from the tranny and where it connect to the drivers side of the radiator.

That makes the passenger side the RETURN line from the coolers. Leave this hose attached (or replace hose if you are replacing hoses) to the hard line that returns to the tranny. But disconnect the other end - where it comes from the stock radiator cooler (to then go back to the tranny in stock configuration).

Disconnect both ends of the hose that leaves the passenger side of the radiator. This should be a short piece. Cap both radiator stubs or connect them with a short hose and clamp both sides. I used the caps that were on the new cooler.

The routing I then used is - Drivers side tranny hard line (OUT of tranny) - new hose/clamp over towards the passenger side of the radiator - connects to the hard line that goes IN to the stock cooler (it runs up the pass side of the radiator). Where the pass side radiator out hose used to connect.

So now you are going out of the tranny, bypassing the stock radiator and going straight IN to the stock tranny cooler.

From there you need to find the line that comes OUT of the stock cooler (pass side of radiator) and USED to go back to the tranny. You want to connect that line to the (I used) drivers side of the new tranny cooler.

Then connect the pass side of the new tranny cooler to the hose you left attached to the return line back to the tranny.

And you're done. Some hoses were reusable but I don't remember which - but you don't need much new hose.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-09-2018, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
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Leaking Embedded Heat Exchanger

Hey all, finally back here to follow up with a question.

I did install an external, additional trans cooler in December 2017. I may post about my installation later and I have annotated pictures.

But, I have a question / issue that I am wondering if any of you have experienced.

I am getting a small, persistent amount of what I believe is transmission fluid from the two barbs on the bottom rear corners of the radiator where the transmission lines used to enter and exit the exchanger in the radiator.

I've capped them with barb caps I got from Summit Racing, and clamped them down tightly. I've even removed them, wiped everything off, and reinstalled them and clamped them again. They are still leaking enough to drip onto my driveway.

Why would there be fluid in the exchanger beyond any residual amount that just didn't drain when I swapped the connections from the exhanger to the new trans cooler?

Could there be pressure buildup in the exchanger from heat that is pushing the residual fluid out?



Have you guys experienced this?
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08 Armada SE 4x4
Front: Bilstein 5100s, Rear: 2" PRG spacers, Bilstein 24-187077, Firestone Coil-Rite Air Springs (W237604150)
Volant (Gen 1) CAI, Nitto Terra Grapplers (275/70/R18), Bully Dog GT (10/2017), Hayden 678 Trans Cooler (12/2017)
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