New radiator, oh my.

Discussion of Infiniti's amazing (and underrated) sport-luxury crossovers, the EX35 and EX37. For 2014, the EX series will be renamed QX50, in line with Ininfiit's new naming conventions.
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XIS
Posts: 865
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 11:00 am
Car: 08 EX35 RWD
17 QX30 Sport
Location: The Desert

New radiator, oh my.

Postby XIS » Tue Oct 14, 2014 1:00 pm

I have been doing so many repairs to so many cars lately... My wife, both sons, one son's girlfriend, etc... Starters, radiators, Ignition control unit, 2 high pressure power steering lines, a starter, motor mounts, brakes...it was piling up on me.
Through it all, my Infiniti continued on with its uber-reliability. Then I bragged about it.... the kiss of death. A few days later, there it was. A green puddle under my EX. Could it be just a hose? Could I finally catch a break?
I took off the plastic tray under the engine (tons of bolts!), couldn't find the source of the leak.
Took off the plastic cover in front of the radiator (clips and bolts, wire clips and hood cable clips)- nothing cracked or leaking from the front of the radiator. Finally saw it spitting where the plastic tank is crimped on the aluminum core, at the engine side. Must be a bad seal.

I researched several different stop leaks. The general consensus there was if you care about your car and plan on keeping it, don't use stop leak... So I thought to myself, I think I will let the dealer do this one....till I called and got the price. $1175.00 WTF? Seriously? :wtf2:

So I called some aftermarket radiator places and got a new one for $212.00 and took her home.
Got the bucket out and opened the drain hole. Removed the two hoses and two transmission fluid lines.... removed the horn and the hood brace. The condenser is actually attached to the radiator. OK - just unclip the wire and move it out with the radiator right? WRONG. There is NO ROOM...
Go to our EX35 forum and download some manuals.
WTF x2! I need to have the a/c professionally evacuated so I can remove the lines from the condenser???.. But I already removed the hoses ! My car is not able to drive..... so let me think about this... I removed some clips and bolts that hold both the tubes that are connected to the condenser but I am still about 1/2 inch too tight... SO again I think to myself, what if I just loosen this bolt here that connects the tubes to the condenser so I can wiggle it a little more.

BOOM - that sucker is under some high frickin pressure. Less than 1/4 turn and the pressure tube popped off the port in the condenser and my Freon stuff filled and billowed out of my garage like smoke from a fire for about 5-10 minutes and hissed even longer. Not sure how much of that crap I inhaled!
:picard:

Oh well - now I could remove the condenser and the radiator, got the puppy all put back together and drove it to an AC shop for a full evac / refill. Got the nice guy price of $75 and it included a free wash!

No more leaking. Ice cold air. All is good.

Back to reliability, please!
:dblthumb:


CDNicecube
Posts: 233
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 6:58 pm
Car: 2010 EX35 Journey+Tech+Navi
Location: Kanata Ontario

Re: New radiator, oh my.

Postby CDNicecube » Tue Oct 14, 2014 6:45 pm

Wow!

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NJGuy
Posts: 556
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:05 am
Car: 2008 Infiniti EX35 Journey AWD

Re: New radiator, oh my.

Postby NJGuy » Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:04 am

Ouch! :iconeek

I guess it's already to late to say this, but you do need to be careful when working around the A/C lines and ports. When the system is off, I think that the refrigerant pressures tend to settle around 90 psi or so.

Radiator replacement is one of those things I'd pay a professional for. The radiator in my other car sprung a leak during the polar vortex here in the northeast earlier this year, so I wasn't planning on getting dirty and spending a large part of the day figuring out how to dismantle and reassemble my car in my cold garage. I also don't think I'd have a full day open for myself to do all that work. And for jobs like this I don't go the dealer route. I have an independent shop near my workplace where I can go to for stuff that I'm not willing to take on. Their prices are more in line of what I'm willing to pay.

Why do some carmakers make it so difficult to replace parts like this? :tisk: Sure, it may reduce the car's assembly cost by a few cents, but I think that they could put in some servicability into the design as well without adversely affecting assembly costs.

How many miles are on your EX now? Does your hot climate tend to take out radiators more frequently than in moderate/cool climates? I do worry about the reliability of my EX and sometimes get a little paranoid when I hear of component failures like this.

I'm sure the EPA wasn't happy about what you did with your method of evacuating your A/C system :chuckle: . Kudos to you for getting it all done though. :bigthumb:

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XIS
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Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 11:00 am
Car: 08 EX35 RWD
17 QX30 Sport
Location: The Desert

Re: New radiator, oh my.

Postby XIS » Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:53 am

:) yes - super high pressure. It was probably more dangerous than I realize. Maybe I have the blonde gene somewhere!

My issue (one of several!) is that I had changed 3 radiators in my past and none had the a/c condenser attached. They were all relatively simple jobs... It didn't even cross my mind that it might be connected, and with all the plastic covers on top and underneath our engines, I never even noticed they were attached till I got most of it apart. :(

My EX has 65k and I wonder about the hot climate? Since the radiator and hoses all get much hotter than our hottest day, I have to think that cold weather (freezing temps) would probably do more harm than a 118 degree Phx summer day!
(Our weather kills batteries!)

Thanks!

I definitely would suggest a pro for this job, like you mention. The stealership is NOT recommended!

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AWGD8
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Car: 2008 EX35 AWD JOURNEY

Re: New radiator, oh my.

Postby AWGD8 » Thu Oct 16, 2014 2:24 pm

I am sorry to hear all the crap you'd been through...

If you have an extended warranty, do you think that could have been covered?

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XIS
Posts: 865
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 11:00 am
Car: 08 EX35 RWD
17 QX30 Sport
Location: The Desert

Re: New radiator, oh my.

Postby XIS » Fri Oct 17, 2014 2:11 pm

Yes - if this was under extended wty, the dealer would have covered it all (other than the deductible, whatever that amont is)
As much crap as this was for me, I still got her done for $300 including radiator, A/C purge and re-fill and anti-freeze/coolant. (I am ignoring the 5-6 hrs of labor I spent!)
:)

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Teknical
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Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 6:56 pm
Car: 2014 QX50 AWD
Location: NC

Re: New radiator, oh my.

Postby Teknical » Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:23 pm

My radiator just split at the same place yours did (at the seam, they said). A bit less than $1300 to fix it including a new thermostat. I was driving along and started noticing it over heating. I pulled over and saw steam coming out and low coolant water in the reservoir.

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NJGuy
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Car: 2008 Infiniti EX35 Journey AWD

Re: New radiator, oh my.

Postby NJGuy » Mon Nov 24, 2014 6:44 am

Teknical,

If you don't mind me asking, how many miles do you have on your EX?

The sample size may be small, but I'm starting to think that the warmer climates may be a bit harder on the plastic in that spot for some reason. However, I don't think our radiators up north are any safer. Here they would probably fail due to corrosion, which wouldn't be as much of an issue where you guys live.

sev
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:36 pm
Car: 2010 EX35

Re: New radiator, oh my.

Postby sev » Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:04 am

my radiator just went, came back from a short drive, later in the day i noticed, coolant SHOT OUT of the grill and sprayed the front of the car. I never noticed it overheating. I dont think it did. Not sure if it is the seam on the raditor or what.

Really not looking forward to paying to get this replaced. I usually do this work but I dont want to mess with the AC lines.

Is there absolutely no way to do this without removing the AC lines?

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XIS
Posts: 865
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 11:00 am
Car: 08 EX35 RWD
17 QX30 Sport
Location: The Desert

Re: New radiator, oh my.

Postby XIS » Tue Dec 08, 2015 6:42 am

unfortunately, no... those lines need to come off.

If you want to DIY, just take it to an AC shop and have them evacuate the lines. Then you can replace the radiator, put it all back together and drive it back to the AC shop so they can re-fill at the correct pressures and make sure there are no leaks. Shouldn't cost too much since they will capture your good freon instead of you just emptying it in your garage like I did.

:werd:

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NJGuy
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Car: 2008 Infiniti EX35 Journey AWD

Re: New radiator, oh my.

Postby NJGuy » Sat Aug 27, 2016 9:17 am

My EX had just fallen victim to a failed radiator. I took it into the dealership for an oil change, and they informed me that it was leaking. They offered to fix it for $1150 (Ok, thanks, but no thanks :rolleyes: ).

So I went on my not-so merry way to my independent mechanic. His estimate: including new hoses, it was $500 less than what the dealership quoted. Like I’ve read in this forum before for this item, it was the part cost that made a significant difference. He told me that the OEM radiator was around $740, and instead offered me one for $280 manufactured by the OEM supplier. There were others I could get for around $160, but he did not recommend them. How can Infiniti justify such a high markup? :rolleyes: I’m willing to bet that the quality and lifespan of the OEM radiator isn’t more than twice that of the aftermarket equivalent.

I didn’t have the chance to get a close look at the old radiator, but I was told that it was leaking from the plastic areas near the hoses on both sides. So for the few days that I had until I could bring in the car for service, I had to top off the coolant first thing in the morning. My sense of smell doesn’t seem to be as sharp as it used to be, so I actually couldn’t really smell any coolant coming from the car until I knew about the leak.

I’m starting to think that heat has been the primary cause of radiator failure in this model. It’s seems to me that it’s the plastic portion that sees its demise first. I think the heat does more to extract the plasticizers from the material, accelerating both its aging and point of failure. While our sample size here is small, it looks like those who had earlier failures live in the southern portion of the US. I can’t claim to drive in those same conditions, but the past year has been warmer than average and we did have a few hot spells this summer; both of which I think helped the radiator plastic to deteriorate.

BTW, the dealership also claimed that my battery was bad. Of course, I was initially skeptical. It’s a 640 CCA group 35 Kirkland battery that I bought two years ago. So I asked the service advisor what the battery’s CCA output was as measured by the tester. He told me it was 547.

I understand that it’s lost a bit of juice since I bought it, but I don’t usually start to worry about my battery until it tests in the 300’s. Curious, I looked into it a bit later. The service manual says that the CCA of the OEM battery is 582. I guess my instincts were right. Hmm, so according to the dealership if I had an OEM battery that’s lost less than 10% of it’s output, it needs to be replaced? Come on, really? :tisk:


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