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Fluids and Lubricants Motor oil, transmission oil, radiator fluid, power steering fluid, blinker fluid... wait, there is no blinker fluid. Technical discussion and analysis of the different lubricants we use in our cars.

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Old 02-05-2004, 03:07 PM   #1
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Coolant / AntiFreeze for my Maxima ?

My car (2003 Maxima) has 32k miles on and according to the maintenance schedule/dealer it is time for new coolant.
I saw that i have some greenish coolant in my car. I am wondering, if there is a special antifreeze i must buy for my car or i can put any regular, like green Prestone in the cooling system???
I'm not trying to safe money or anything, i just want to put the right stuff in my radiator and not pay the dealer $150 to do it.

What do you guys use in your 5th Gen Maximas cooling systems? Don't they use some type of a "long life" antifreeze just like most of the new cars out there?

To drain the cooling system, are there any tricks/tips or it is a simple process?

Thank you in advance!
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Old 02-05-2004, 03:17 PM   #2
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I believe the schedule calls for replacing the coolant at 60k miles. Probably should go with the Nissan AF if you don't mind the price.
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Old 02-05-2004, 11:51 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dansmax2003
My car (2003 Maxima) has 32k miles on and according to the maintenance schedule/dealer it is time for new coolant.
I saw that i have some greenish coolant in my car. I am wondering, if there is a special antifreeze i must buy for my car or i can put any regular, like green Prestone in the cooling system???
I'm not trying to safe money or anything, i just want to put the right stuff in my radiator and not pay the dealer $150 to do it.

What do you guys use in your 5th Gen Maximas cooling systems? Don't they use some type of a "long life" antifreeze just like most of the new cars out there?

To drain the cooling system, are there any tricks/tips or it is a simple process?

Thank you in advance!
I'd buy the Nissan coolant, about $20 for 1 gal undilluted, so 2 gals which is enough for an entire flush. The only special tool you will need is a 12 point socket to get to the freeze plugs on the block. Or if you are just flushing the radiator it's some 10mm nuts and then a phillips to get the radiator drain **** open.
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Old 02-06-2004, 03:50 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobymoby
I'd buy the Nissan coolant, about $20 for 1 gal undilluted, so 2 gals which is enough for an entire flush. The only special tool you will need is a 12 point socket to get to the freeze plugs on the block. Or if you are just flushing the radiator it's some 10mm nuts and then a phillips to get the radiator drain **** open.
A 12 point socket is not a special tool. It would be better to use a 6 point anyway. A 12 point has a chance of rounding off the plug if it's really tight.
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Old 02-06-2004, 06:18 AM   #5
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Ok

First you might want to read through this sticky thats up at the top of this page going through this process. Coolant Change Stickey

You are not going to want to take it to Nissan as I called 4 shops in my area and NONE of them actually FLUSHED the block. They were calling it a flush but upon further questioning it was revealed that they are just draining and filling the radiator.

You DONT want to undo the bleed screws if you are doing it yourself as it will be VERY difficult to remove all the air from your cooling system. Follow that sticky above and I think you will be pleased at the cost. Just need to set some time aside as its not hard...but takes a while for the rad to drain during the drain steps.

And to find a place around you to dispose of the coolant check Earth Tree Hugger Link :-)
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Old 02-06-2004, 10:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charliekilo3
A 12 point socket is not a special tool. It would be better to use a 6 point anyway. A 12 point has a chance of rounding off the plug if it's really tight.
You're talking about a different socket, this is what I'm talking about. It's not SPECIAL, but I bet most of the people here don't have these as they aren't used that often.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 02-06-2004, 10:39 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Colonel
First you might want to read through this sticky thats up at the top of this page going through this process. Coolant Change Stickey

You are not going to want to take it to Nissan as I called 4 shops in my area and NONE of them actually FLUSHED the block. They were calling it a flush but upon further questioning it was revealed that they are just draining and filling the radiator.

You DONT want to undo the bleed screws if you are doing it yourself as it will be VERY difficult to remove all the air from your cooling system. Follow that sticky above and I think you will be pleased at the cost. Just need to set some time aside as its not hard...but takes a while for the rad to drain during the drain steps.

And to find a place around you to dispose of the coolant check Earth Tree Hugger Link :-)

If you're draining the block I don't see it as any more difficult to bleed the air than just doing the radiator. There is only one bleed valve and either way you do it, you have to bleed it.

I thought the Maxima was difficult until I had to flush the coolant from my MR2 turbo, now that's pain.
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Old 02-06-2004, 11:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobymoby
If you're draining the block I don't see it as any more difficult to bleed the air than just doing the radiator. There is only one bleed valve and either way you do it, you have to bleed it.

I thought the Maxima was difficult until I had to flush the coolant from my MR2 turbo, now that's pain.
I think its more along the line of making sure no air is introduced into the system. Plus dinking around bleed screws on the VQ is a pain. It was easy on my motorcycle...but on the VQ...the small added benefit does not outweigh the time and patience necessary.

Plus by flushing like 11 gallons of distilled water system to make it perfectly clear was just about the same anyway.
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Old 02-06-2004, 03:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobymoby
You're talking about a different socket, this is what I'm talking about. It's not SPECIAL, but I bet most of the people here don't have these as they aren't used that often.

Click the image to open in full size.
Okay. Those look like Torx bit sockets on steroids. I have never seen any 12 point bit sockets. I would say that it is a "SPECIAL" tool. I have not seen the drain plugs on the block but I thought they would be hex plugs like the 92 Max I had. Where did you buy them and how much dinero?
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Old 02-06-2004, 05:40 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by charliekilo3
Okay. Those look like Torx bit sockets on steroids. I have never seen any 12 point bit sockets. I would say that it is a "SPECIAL" tool. I have not seen the drain plugs on the block but I thought they would be hex plugs like the 92 Max I had. Where did you buy them and how much dinero?
You can buy them at any Sears or auto parts stores. About 20-40 bucks for a set. I wasted a lot of time looking for a bolt until I finally realized that these were the freeze plugs, look in the service manual for the locations, there are two of these on the engine.
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Old 02-06-2004, 06:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobymoby
You can buy them at any Sears or auto parts stores. About 20-40 bucks for a set. I wasted a lot of time looking for a bolt until I finally realized that these were the freeze plugs, look in the service manual for the locations, there are two of these on the engine.
Thanks. The Nissan manual calls them block drain plugs. What people call "freeze plugs" are actually not designed for freeze protection. They are plugging holes that were made into the block to aid in removing casting materials like sand, before the engine is assembled. They are usually tight fitting (unthreaded) plugs that have some type of sealant around them to prevent leakage of engine coolant.
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Old 02-12-2004, 10:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charliekilo3
Thanks. The Nissan manual calls them block drain plugs. What people call "freeze plugs" are actually not designed for freeze protection. They are plugging holes that were made into the block to aid in removing casting materials like sand, before the engine is assembled. They are usually tight fitting (unthreaded) plugs that have some type of sealant around them to prevent leakage of engine coolant.
This is true, but I thought they were freeze plugs in the sense that, if the coolant in the block were to freeze (and obviously expand) these plugs would pop out from the coolant expanding and protect the block from cracking.

The other plugs people are talking about are just as you said, they're threaded drain plugs to drain the block. Very different from a freeze plug (sometimes also called a frost plug by the way).
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Old 02-12-2004, 01:51 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by rcy
This is true, but I thought they were freeze plugs in the sense that, if the coolant in the block were to freeze (and obviously expand) these plugs would pop out from the coolant expanding and protect the block from cracking.

The other plugs people are talking about are just as you said, they're threaded drain plugs to drain the block. Very different from a freeze plug (sometimes also called a frost plug by the way).
That's a common name that peole give them (freeze plugs). They were not intended for freeze protection in the casting process. It just happens to be a side benefit.
"The last item to discuss here about blocks is the core plugs. Core plugs are commonly referred to as 'freeze plugs', this being a misnomer. They were designed into the block to allow the foundry to shake out the core sand used to mold the block, they do not allow an expansion release in case of freezing.

Core plugs are problematic, in most cases the one that leaks is usually behind an engine mount, steering, or suspension parts, making it difficult to service. These plugs should be replaced if at all possible as a set. The reason being all the plugs are the same age, they have seen the same rust, bad coolant, and exposed to the same weather conditions as the leaking one. Ideally, the best time to replace core plugs is when the engine is out of the car."




http://www.geocities.com/johnsautos/.../eng/eng4a.htm
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Old 02-12-2004, 05:34 PM   #14
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The manual specifies Nissan coolant, and it really is required. There are now so many different vehicle specific coolants that it is hard to keep track of the players. Each seems to have different chemistry and none seem compatible. The Japanese car makers each have their own, Europe has another set, and now the US has at least three kinds of coolants. Your safest bet by far is to pay the $16 a gallon and get Nissan fluid. It might be compatible with one or more of the other Japanese coolants, but they are expensive too. If you can completely drain the old stuff, and this is nearly impossible, you can probably use something else as long as it doesn't eat aluminium. What that might be I don't know. The new GO-5 maybe?

I am facing the same problem and hate to pay the dealer for a flush. I have decided to buy two gallons of $16 coolant, five gallons of distilled water from the grocery store, and flush myself. I plan on draining the radiator using the petcock on the bottom, refill with one gallon of water, run engine to mix, and do this twice more. After the last drain, I will add one gallon of coolant, and "burp" the system until it is full. Between small additions and the overflow tank this will use most of the second gallon. From what I have read, this is about the best bet as the block drain petcocks are hard to reach and don't do a drain anyway.

This leaves one with the problem of disposing of several gallons of dilute coolant-water solution. I haven't yet investigated disposal but the stuff does get digested in municipal sewage treatment plants without adding toxics to the effluent as a last desperate resort.

There are probable lots of other suggestions as I have spent weeks reading about this subject and opinions abound.
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Old 02-12-2004, 05:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gfcrane
The manual specifies Nissan coolant, and it really is required. There are now so many different vehicle specific coolants that it is hard to keep track of the players. Each seems to have different chemistry and none seem compatible. The Japanese car makers each have their own, Europe has another set, and now the US has at least three kinds of coolants. Your safest bet by far is to pay the $16 a gallon and get Nissan fluid. It might be compatible with one or more of the other Japanese coolants, but they are expensive too. If you can completely drain the old stuff, and this is nearly impossible, you can probably use something else as long as it doesn't eat aluminium. What that might be I don't know. The new GO-5 maybe?
The newer Japanese engines call for OEM coolant but my 95 KingCab calls for ethylene glycol based AF. It has 135k+ miles on it and the cooling system is still like new. In fact, it still has the original water pump.

Nice color on your Max.
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Old 02-12-2004, 05:53 PM
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