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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 12-07-2010, 10:29 AM
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Default 2003 Altima - Heater Problem

I have a 2003 Altima, 3.5 V6 with 192,000. During the past couple of winters, the heating system has been blowing cold air into the cabin at idle during normal operating temperature. The system blows warm air during high-idle warm-up and if I rev the engine in neutral and while driving. At red light, cold air begins to enter the cabin. Heating/cooling system is the automatic climate control, set-it and forget-in type.

In an effort to resolve the issue, I removed the heater core hoses from the top right of the engine and forced water to clear any blockage from the heater core. Some gunk came out, but nothing that would suggest partial blockage. At the same time, I replaced the antifreeze by draining the radiator, cleaning out the overflow, and also replaced the upper and lower radiator hoses for the first time.

The thermostat was not replaced as I do not believe I would get any heat if it was defective. The radiator cap was not replaced either, it appeared to be OK. No leakage of antifreeze, no noise from the water pump. Lastly, I have selected the option of not recirculating the air from outside to see if there is any change - no such luck.

The car is in very good operating condition and other than basic maintenance, has not had any major repairs during its history. I am one of the lucky ones.

Any ideas? Thank you!

John
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Old 12-10-2010, 02:27 PM
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I was having the same problem. I replaced the thermostats and that did nothing. What worked was getting the air out of the system. Find the steepest hill or embankment you can find. You need to lift the front end up a couple of feet. Remove the radiator cap and the overflow cap and make sure the coolant is full to just below the overflow line. Rev the engine at 3500 to 4000 rpm's for about three to four minutes and then let it idle for the same amount of time. This might seem extreme but it does work. It will take at least half an hour to an hour to clear the air out to where you will get hot air at idle. They also recommend to sqeeze the coolant line to help get the air out but I am not sure this helps. Don't forget to check the radiator cap to see if it is good. If you can't see the metal ring around the outside of the rubber gasket, it is worn and it needs to be replaced. There is a Nissan bulletin that explains it all but I can't remember the number. Good luck.
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Old 12-10-2010, 04:54 PM
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I squeezed the upper hose quite a bit and seemed to help get a lot of the air out. NTB02-047c This is the service bulletin that explains everything.
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Old 12-12-2010, 06:28 AM
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Thank you very much. I followed your and another persons posting, utilizing the service bulletin. It did take about an hour or so...there was a fair amount of air being purged out of the system.


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Originally Posted by crudele View Post
I was having the same problem. I replaced the thermostats and that did nothing. What worked was getting the air out of the system. Find the steepest hill or embankment you can find. You need to lift the front end up a couple of feet. Remove the radiator cap and the overflow cap and make sure the coolant is full to just below the overflow line. Rev the engine at 3500 to 4000 rpm's for about three to four minutes and then let it idle for the same amount of time. This might seem extreme but it does work. It will take at least half an hour to an hour to clear the air out to where you will get hot air at idle. They also recommend to sqeeze the coolant line to help get the air out but I am not sure this helps. Don't forget to check the radiator cap to see if it is good. If you can't see the metal ring around the outside of the rubber gasket, it is worn and it needs to be replaced. There is a Nissan bulletin that explains it all but I can't remember the number. Good luck.
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Old 12-12-2010, 06:32 AM
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It worked!!!! Following your advise, I utilized the service bulletin step by step. There was lots of air in the system based on the bubbles in my bleeder bucket. Squeezing the upper radiator hose made a big difference. Took about an hour.
Thank you.
John
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Old 12-12-2010, 06:33 AM
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Thanks for your help....I followed your advise and all of the bubbles are out of the system and the heat is now hot at idle.
John
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Old 12-14-2010, 04:40 AM
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I had the same issue with my wife's 05 altima. I also noticed that the overflow hose was detached from the top of the radiator. I wonder if that's how so much air got into the radiator. After following the TSB, the trouble cleared up. I also try to make sure there's enough coolant in the overflow that air won't get in the system again.
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:40 AM
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Hi Brian,

Thanks for your input.......the heating system is now working fine.

John




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Originally Posted by brianx22 View Post
I had the same issue with my wife's 05 altima. I also noticed that the overflow hose was detached from the top of the radiator. I wonder if that's how so much air got into the radiator. After following the TSB, the trouble cleared up. I also try to make sure there's enough coolant in the overflow that air won't get in the system again.
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Old 12-20-2010, 03:39 PM
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Hi John, Glad I could help.
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