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Old 10-26-2011, 03:41 AM
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Default air in cooling system

I have a 2002 altima 4cyl How do I bleed the air from the cooling system ? At idle it just blows cold air. at crusing speed it blows hot.
I can't see a valve to let the air out? thanks in advance
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Old 10-26-2011, 03:43 AM
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Old 10-27-2011, 06:17 AM
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I wrote up a procedure on how to do this as it is a common problem with Altimas but I can't find it.

However, you can do a Youtube search and actually see how someone does do it.

From memory,

Park car with front end raised as much as possible. I have raised it using drive on ramps, 2 feet is good, more would be better, less isn't as good.

With a cool radiator, remove the radiator cap and use a piece of wire (like a clothes hanger), shaped like a U and insert it in the valve of the radiator cap; this will keep the radiator from pressurizing and force liquid and air out to the reservoir. Replace cap (make sure that wire is secure in the valve and will not fall out.

Now, remove reservoir from its location and make sure it is at least full of coolant to the HOT mark. Hang the reservoir from the hood, leaving the overflow hose connected to it.

Now, crank car and let engine warm to normal operating temperature. Turn on heat and set thermostat to highest setting. Open windows so heat can escape.

Occasionally rev engine to 2000-3000 rpm and notice as you do this, the fluid in the overflow reservoir will bubble; this is air exiting from the system. Continue to rev and then let idle several times until the air becomes less and less. At idle, you should now begin to feel heat.

After several minutes (may take as much as 10 minutes), shut car off If you are getting heat out of the vents at idle, you have probably removed all air from system. Remove radiator cap and remove wire holding the valve open. Replace radiator cap. Now, re-install the reservoir into its normal place. Make sure reservoir still has correct amount of coolant, if not, fill to HOT line. Always keep it to this point, never let it drop, if it does, air will be reintroduced into system.

Crank it and check heat, should be good at idle and when driving. If you still do not have heat at idle, you may repeat this process and see if this corrects the problem.

Other possibilities include a stuck thermostat but if you get heat at drive and not at idle, it most likely is still air in the system.
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1997 Maxima (193,000 miles - bought from daughter when she traded for a Hyundai Elantra Coupe)
2002 Altima (daughter - totaled 12/2011 with 210,000 miles)
2012 Altima (daughter - replaced 2002 with 8 miles, now with almost 30,000 miles)
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