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EricCR last won the day on December 16 2020

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About EricCR

  • Rank
    NPORA Newbie

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  • Your Pathfinder Info
    In progress...
  • Place of Residence
    Costa Rica
  • Mechanical Skill Level
    Standalone Tool Chest Mechanic
  • Your Age
  • What do you consider yourself?
    Rarely Go Off-Road
  • Model
  • Year

Profile Information

  • Location
    Costa Rica
  • Country
    Costa Rica

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  1. Any DIY on taking the retractor apart and cleaning it/lubing it?
  2. lol, yeah. Disconnecting the blend door wire "for the season" is my back up plan. Where I live "the season" is basically the whole year, so there's that. It's hard to confirm from a distance but the actuators look like any other actuator I've seen in the past, they have plastic clips and do come apart (here is one for sale). As for how easy it is to unscrew it from where it's hanging, hard to say. The actuator is in plain sight behind and under the stereo but reaching for the screws may require other stuff to come out. When I set the AC to full hot an full cold while looking straight down at the actuator and it looks like it's moving all the way. You may be right in that the position it is reporting is wrong so I'm not ruling it out completely. As for the blend doors not fully closing, I think in order for me to see them I would need to remove the whole lower dash. Since 95% of the time I do get sufficiently cold air, I suppose they do close so I'm not going to tear the whole thing down. My next plan is to test the AC while unplugging things. Unplugging both temp sensors is easy enough, same as with the blend door actuator. The sun load sensor and the fresh air/recirc actuator are out of reach but I don't need to test those. This is going to be my troubleshooting guide (from cheap to expensive-ish): Disconnect cabin air temp sensor. Test AC. If there's still hot air coming out randomly, move on. Otherwise, replace that sensor. Disconnect intake air temp sensor. Test AC. If there's still hot air coming out randomly, move on. Otherwise, replace that sensor (this one seems impossible to find). Disconnect blend door actuator. Test AC. If the problem disappears it means either the actuator or HVAC panel are bad. Buy used HVAC panel and test again (~$60). If there's still hot air with a different HVAC panel (and everything else connected), replace the blend door actuator (~$80). I feel like #3 is the jackpot but we'll see.
  3. If you need instructions on how to remove each panel, glovebox, etc. just let me know and I can take some pictures. This is roughly where everything is located. Hope it makes some sense. Blue arrows indicate cool air, red = hot and yellow = warm or ambient. The green arrows are meant to indicate that each sensor communicates with the HVAC panel. The sensors themselves are located exactly where the text is. I forgot to label the white "T" in the center of the heater core. It's the vent where the vacuum hose from the "Tc" connects.
  4. The way it works in our R50s is simpler: A hose connects the cabin air sensor to the main duct behind the stereo. As you activate the HVAC and air moves through the duct, it creates low pressure on the hose and it draws air in. Funnily, for all this to work Nissan had to leave an open vent behind the stereo so you have some cooling there Anyway, long story short, the AC is still doing its random hot air shenanigans after cleaning the cabin air temp sensor. I took almost everything apart short of removing the evaporator and the heater core. I was still able to see the AC in action and what exactly happens when I get those seconds of warm air. In short, it's the blend door actuator which is letting some air pass through the heater core (it opens for a few seconds, then the sensors probably detect the temp increase and the actuator closes the door again). That happens even with the temp set to 60 and air directed just to the front vents, which in theory and according to the service manuals, should never cause the blend door to open. My hunch is that the HVAC control panel itself is bad since it should be taking the readings from the cabin air sensor, the intake sensor, the sun load sensor and the temperature you set to signal the actuators how to move. So I'm going to get a used one off eBay to try it out. I doubt any of the temp sensors are bad cause they are simply miniature MAFs which heat up and then measure air passing through, but that's still a possibility. My worst-case-scenario plan would be to disconnect the blend door actuator. I don't use the heater anyway. If you suffer from not-so-cold air, you might have a similar issue with the AC being fine but air warming up because it mixes with air from the heater core. I'm sorry I didn't take other pictures besides that one above, but let me try to make a diagram of everything back there.
  5. Ok, I removed the lower dash panel under the steering wheel and no wonder why my AC is acting up: Interestingly, in my E39 there is a little electric fan that pulls cabin air through the sensor. In this Pathy it's vacuum driven and there is a hose that goes all the way to the blower behind the stereo. The hose is as dirty as the sensor is. Next thing is finding the intake air temp sensor and also cleaning it up.
  6. 140k miles on mine (a 2003 auto) and it honestly feels like a new car. I also bought it recently but you can tell when a car has been properly maintained and when it still has a ton of life in it. Transmission shifts very smoothly, engine pulls hard, no strange noises or major leaks and minimal rust. I did put loctite on the power valve screws (they were all there) but other than that, I'm sure this thing could last another 150k or more. Parts scarcity may be a bigger issue in fact.
  7. Yup. I downloaded the factory repair/maintenance manual and it's the only place where that minuscule grille is referenced. Thanks for confirming it. I will take that lower dash panel off and see if the sensor is dirty. There is also an air intake temp sensor (for the AC, not the engine) behind the glovebox. I will see if that one is easy to reach and clean. I spent a few hours last night reading and the automatic HVAC takes the readings from the internal temp sensor, the intake temp sensor, the sun load sensor and the desired temperature to calculate how to adjust the internal blend door. It's a fairly complicated system. What the AC shop told me now makes some sense. According to the service manual, as soon as the system reaches the desired temp, an actuator moves the blend door to allow some air to pass through the heater core so the air warms gradually and temp doesn't drop further. Since I can get both cold and hot air I don't think my door actuators are bad, but probably the HVAC panel itself, which houses the logic board and is supposed to take all those readings and make adjustments, might be acting up and it's opening the blend door too much, exposing the heater core for a few seconds and then it quickly figures that the temp is increasing a lot and goes back to closing it.
  8. So I took the car to have the AC system checked and everything was OK. It's charged, there are no leaks and there should be no apparent reason why it randomly blows warm air. At the shop they mentioned that a faulty heater core might be the culprit but I can't see how that could be related. I have found two things in the past weeks too: I normally set recirculation mode and leave it like that. As with any car, air resistance causes fans to be louder in that mode, but for the few seconds that I feel warm air, I also hear as if the recirculation flaps open and let outside air in (maybe blend door actuator?). If I set the AC temperature to 60 F (lowest setting) then there's no more warm air. This is my workaround for now but I do want to get to the bottom of this. The above leads me to think that the HVAC has problems measuring cabin temp and adjusting itself. I cleaned the sensor under the windshield and I'm considering buying a used HVAC panel to test it out (they're relatively cheap anyway).
  9. Thanks. Coolant as in freon, aye? The weird thing is that other than that, it's ice cold 99% of the times. I'll still go and have it tested regardless. Just knowing that it's not normal in these cars is reason enough. I'm still learning a lot from this Pathy. I took the intake manifold apart and all 6 butterfly valves along with their respective screws were still there, so I'm way less concerned about the car now. I loctited all the screws anyway (they were not loose but didn't take much force to unscrew them either). I'm going to make a routine of checking them every 50k miles or so. I also have an oil leak which sounds like a PITA to repair so I'm still deciding if it's worth fixing. Other than that and a rattling rear hatch, the car is perfect so I'm very happy with it. With the lockdown I haven't been able to really use it other than for short trips and such. It's a shame.
  10. Hey folks, My 2003 sometimes does this weird thing of blowing warm air for a second or two when the AC is on (it's the digital HVAC). I don't know if it's a rudimentary way of keeping the right temperature but this is the only car I've seen in which is so noticeable. Since the car is relatively new to me, perhaps it's a non issue? Otherwise the AC blows cold and doesn't seem to be getting warmer over time. Is that something I should go and have it checked?
  11. Got it. Thanks a lot to all. I'll confirm the source of the leak with a picture tomorrow with good light, but it does look like it's not something for the amateur DIYer (me). I'm comfortable changing oil, brakes and such, but between the lack of proper tools and time, I leave major repairs to others. As for the rattle, mine is sitting at 130k miles so maybe it will last for a bit. It takes me a very long while to put 100k in any car so I think I should be fine. I use Royal Purple in all my cars and have had good experiences with K&N oil filters.
  12. This worries me. I haven't added any additives (although I admit I did buy a can but still hoping not to use it), but my Pathy rattles for like 1 second (at most) on cold startups and I've been blaming it on a slightly loose timing chain. Both my E39 and a 70's Corolla I own do rattle a bit when cold with no issues whatsoever and I've owned both for 15 and 20 years. Any way of identifying lifters from chain noise?
  13. Thanks guys! I do have an update. When I went to pick the car up, we put the car on the lift and my indie showed me the place from where the oil is coming from. Almost exactly above that oily screw (dead center on the pic above) there is a vent or a port and after cleaning everything up and driving it for a bit, that's the only place that leaks a drop or two. The rest of the engine/transmission is completely dry, including the valve covers and the oil cooler area that you guys mentioned. He reiterated that in order to get to the actual leak behind that port/vent thing, he would need to either take the whole motor out or the whole transmission. After what I saw I believe him, unless there is a simpler way we both ignore. Not sure if all that makes sense. I'll get under the car tomorrow to take a better pic. Stupid me didn't do it when the car was on the lift.
  14. Got it, I'll look around that area. Ugh, if it happen to be the VCs then it's the exact same ****** situation I've had with my E39. I've replaced that gasket countless times and after a few months the same leak appears, near the firewall. I'm sure that valve cover (plastic) is cracked or chipped but I'm still in denial.
  15. You are correct, that's a 2003 VQ with an auto and AWD. Sorry I didn't mention it up there. You mean if I have plastic VCs they could need replacing, so they warp or develop cracks? Or were you referring just to the gaskets? I'll check the other stuff meanwhile. Thanks.

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