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Top 5 Problems Nissan Xterra SUV 2nd Generation 2005-15

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Created on: 2020-12-12

In this video, Len points out the most common problems and failures you might find on a 2005 to 2015 Nissan Xterra. He also gives you tips for how you can fix those problems yourself.

Hey, friends. It's Len here from one 1A Auto. Today we have a 2nd generation Nissan Xterra inside the studio. I wanna go over some of the top problems that we've come to find. Keep in mind that all vehicles have their problems. This is just some problems that we happened to find on this one. Let's get started.

Now, for our first problem, we're gonna talk about a fuel level sensor issue on this. Typically what it comes down to for symptoms is you would happen to notice, maybe you go and fill up at the fueling station and you notice that the fuel gauge doesn't necessarily go all the way up into full. Maybe it sits three-quarters, halfway, maybe it comes up a little bit, goes down, just does whatever it wants, really, especially while you're driving. Obviously this is gonna be a very big symptom. Something else that you might happen to notice might be a check engine light. That check engine light might come up saying something along the lines of a P0463. Essentially, if that comes up, it's basically gonna mean that you have an issue with your fuel level sensor.

The fuel pump in my hand, and no, it's not the one for this truck. It's probably completely different, but it does have a fuel level sensor in here that you can take a look at. Essentially, the way that the fuel level sensor is supposed to work is as you fill up your fuel tank, this little bobble right here, or float, is supposed to come up. And then, of course, it's gonna complete a circuit right along here. This is gonna be where electrical current's gonna go through, and it's gonna let the vehicle know exactly how much fuel you have. If that level sensor isn't functioning properly, and not sending the proper reading, your fuel tank might be full, but the gauge might be reading very low. If this is the issue, typically what you're gonna have to do is go ahead and get inside of that fuel tank, and you're gonna have to either replace just the fuel level sensor, which is gonna be very difficult, or of course, you can replace the whole sending unit as a whole assembly.

Now, for our second problem on this, we're gonna talk about faulty transmission coolers. On these particular trucks, they're gonna have a transmission cooler that's located inside of the radiator. Once again, this is not a part for this particular truck. It's just something I have in my hand so you can see. On the side of the radiator, you're gonna find that you have an area where the lines are supposed to go into, and on the inside, what you're gonna find is something that looks a lot like this. Like I said, this isn't the exact part, so don't hold me to it. Essentially, what's supposed to happen is transmission fluid's supposed to come inside in one of the ports, it's gonna travel through this area right here, and it's supposed to help the transmission fluid get up to the proper operating temperature.

Essentially, what could happen is, is as this goes faulty inside the radiator, where your coolant's all gonna be, inside this black area here, it's gonna create an area where coolant is gonna be able to force its way inside your transmission system. Essentially, as your coolant gets hot, the fluid's gonna expand. That's what always happens with any type of fluid when it gets hot. It's gonna force its way inside wherever the discrepancy might be inside this cooler. It's gonna make its way inside the tranny line, and then, of course, into the transmission. As it makes its way into the transmission, what could happen is you're gonna have coolant mixing with your transmission fluid, or ATF, and then, of course, it's gonna cause a couple different symptoms. Things that you might happen to notice for symptoms for this might be slipping when you're trying to drive down the road. Maybe you try to accelerate from stop, or even you're just driving down the road and it seems as though the transmission just kind of slips when it seems like it's supposed to be shifting gears. This can be very scary, and of course, very dangerous if you're trying to pull out into traffic.

Something else you might happen to notice would be located right underneath the hood over here. This is where your coolant overflow is gonna be. This is a completely pressurized system. If you were to carefully open this up, assuming it's not hot, and look inside, and you had this issue, you might see something milky and kind of pink inside there. It's kind of like a little strawberry milkshake. If you see something like that, that means that you have transmission fluid mixing with your coolant, or vice versa, and of course, this is very bad. Transmission fluid tends to swell rubber, and if you have O-rings or anything like that that's inside your system, that's gonna be an issue. Coolant is of course gonna cause issue with the belts that are located inside of your automatic transmission. This is gonna be another major issue, because if your belts get swollen, or they get damaged in any way, of course you're gonna have an issue. Essentially, what you could try to do to fix this issue would be, of course, to try to drain out as much of that transmission fluid as possible, and even flush the system. You wanna make sure that you have brand new, fresh ATF in there, or transmission fluid.

It's also gonna be, of course, a great idea to make sure that you replace the radiator. When you do this, though, I would also recommend replacing/installing an external transmission cooler. The reason why I recommend an external transmission cooler is to avoid this situation right here. You won't have anything like this, where transmission fluid's gonna be flowing through here. It's just gonna be flowing through something externally, and that means in case something does technically happen to go wrong, it's not actually gonna mix the transmission fluid with the coolant.

Now, for our third problem on this, we're gonna talk about secondary timing chain tensioners. Essentially, what you might happen to notice for symptoms when you're having an issue with your secondary timing chain tensioners might be a whining noise coming from inside the front of your engine up here. Essentially, if you're having any of these issues, it's gonna come down to those timing chain tensioner shoes. There's gonna be multiple timing chains on this engine, and of course, all of it's gonna affect the runnability of your engine. If you find that you're having any of the symptoms that I just mentioned, you're gonna have to tear apart the front of your engine and get inside there and take a look at those timing shoes. Typically, when people try to fix this, they're gonna replace the timing shoes and then, of course, more than likely they're gonna try to replace those timing chains as well. And when you're doing all this, it really only makes sense to just go ahead and do an oil change with a brand new oil filter as well.

For our fourth problem on this, we're gonna talk about a mysterious coolant leak. The reason why I say it's mysterious is because, well, it's kind of hard to find. Maybe you come over and you check your coolant level and you happen to notice that it's low. Maybe something else that you happen to notice is that you have a sweet smell in the air as you pop the hood. That's kind of all telling me that there's probably a coolant leak with this. So what I would do next, of course, would be to try to look for a coolant leak. Maybe it's a little bit hard to see. Maybe you see some moisture coming along the front of the engine, but you can't really determine where it is. Next thing that you would do would be, of course, to add pressure to the system, or pressurize the system, and try to find said leak. The problem with this is it's not gonna be something that's out in the open, such as maybe a coolant hose or along the radiator or any of the typical places that you might generally find a coolant leak on a lot of these vehicles. On this particular engine, what you might happen to find would be a coolant leak that's located on the lower intake on one of the outlets for the coolant system.

This is gonna be something that's a little bit harder to find, because you of course have to do some digging to get in there and even be able to see what's going on. Now, I don't want you to think that this is the only place that you might have a coolant leak, because like I said before, there are a lot of other common areas that vehicles tend to have coolant leaks. But definitely don't rule out problem number two that I already talked to you about. If you happen to look at your automatic transmission fluid dipstick, and you happen to see that it looks like it's contaminated or even foamy or in any way, well then, of course, that could be another area where that coolant's going. But typically, there's multiple problems with coolant on this. One's internally, could get forced into the transmission fluid. Another one's external, and it could have to do with the lower intake.

All right. For our fifth problem, I'm gonna sit inside the truck because, well, I'm pretty much getting ready to go. Video is almost over. But real quick, before we go, these have an issue with the heat. Essentially, what I mean by that is you go ahead and you turn on your blower motor and yeah, it blows out air like it's supposed to, but for some reason, it's just not blowing out heat, even after the vehicle has been warmed up, or even after you've been driving it for a while. Typically, when this happens, it's gonna be when you're sitting still or idling. Once you start revving up the engine, though, you might happen to notice that some heat comes out. It might not be super hot, but it is a little bit of heat. As soon as you go back down to idle, maybe you stop at a stop sign or at a red light, all of a sudden you lose your heat, and it's back to cold air again. Typically, when any of these symptoms happen to happen, it's because there's gonna be air inside the cooling system.

Even if it's just a little tiny bit of air circulating through the cooling system, if it gets stuck inside your heater core, which is gonna be located behind your dash area, it's not something that's easily accessible and you especially can't see the inside of it, essentially, it looks kind of like a little radiator, but anyways, if an air bubble gets stuck inside there, that air bubble isn't gonna be able to get as hot or as temperate as the coolant that's supposed to be flowing through it. If it gets stuck inside there, of course, that's gonna cause an area where the blower motor is blowing air through, but the area that it's blowing through isn't necessarily as hot as what it's supposed to be, and that's why you're not getting any warm air. As you rev it up, it's gonna circulate that coolant a little bit more, the air is gonna get warm. You start idling it back down, the air is gonna get stuck inside there again, and you're gonna have the same issue.

Generally, when this happens, it could be because you have a coolant leak someplace. So you're gonna wanna make sure that you don't have a coolant leak, and if you do, you need to fix it. After that, you'd wanna flush out the system and make sure that there's no air inside there. You need to kind of bleed out the air. Any air bubble, like I said, is gonna cause an issue. An easy way to go ahead and bleed this out, in all honesty, is to go ahead and chock those rear wheels, use your emergency brake, and of course, be in park. You're gonna wanna jack up the front of the car, and as this is up, it's gonna make it so all the air bubbles, of course, rise to the top of the fluid, and that's gonna be up in the front, where the radiator is. Once this happens, of course, you can, of course, burp out any air that's inside the system, and you should be good to go.

Okay, friends. So, hopefully you learned a little something along the way in this video. Like I said, every vehicle has its own problems. These are just some that we've come to find along the way. If you like the video, smash on the Like button for me. Of course, subscribe, and ring the bell. That way there you can be kept up with all of our latest content. Thanks.

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