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Author Topic: A/C Repair Hints and Tips - 2004 Nissan Xterra  (Read 675 times)

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Offline pinchel (Rob)

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A/C Repair Hints and Tips - 2004 Nissan Xterra
« on: September 30, 2016, 07:43:28 AM »
I meant to post this sooner, seems like many of us have had issues with their air conditioning performance. I finally got mine working up to par, it hasn't been the greatest for a few years, and most of the shops just say add refrigerant. Which I did. Or they say you need a new system, give us $2000.

Well. For my rig, a 2004 Xterra, with 200k miles that wasn't an option. I researched the parts and found I could buy almost every component brand new for under $300. What I ended up doing was only buying tools and parts for about that cost. I didn't buy any major components.

I put in a new high pressure hose, which was leaking, bought from NAPA (I could have paid less had I ordered it from RockAuto or Amazon, but I was doing another unrelated repair and it was in the work area, and I wanted it same day.)

I replaced the Drier Canister, and the expansion valve, both purchased for relatively cheap on Amazon.

Another club member gave me some used parts for which I will end up using later, so I also have a backup condensor, and compressor, should the a/c start to fail again. I know these will require replacing some time in the future, but I chose a quicker route. Time will tell if I should have done it.

I guess I should mention that a few years back, I did replace the little sensor inside the box, behind the glove compartment. I'm not certain it made a difference but it didn't hurt things. I can't tell you if the a/c would be working just as good now, or not, if I had not already replaced it. This part is usually the first thing that 1st gen owners say they replaced. Mine didn't help the a/c get colder.

I'd suggest you get a copy of the FSM, it helps, but it is lacking some information. Here are some helpful hints:

You'll have to unbolt the metal lines at the firewall, these are the low and high pressure lines attached to the heater core. You can't remove the insides without doing this. It's best if you loosen these first. Prepare for some oil to come out.

The thinner tube pulled out rather easily, the larger fat (low pressure) required some finesse. I'll have to add a picture later, but there is a mid connection point to the right, it's closer to the brake booster, you'll want to disconnect that and any brackets. This way you can swivel the tube back and forth to release it from the connection. Also, putting it back on was tricky, you'll have to swivel it back in place with some more finesse, or it won't lineup and you could strip the nut/thread. Make sure it's all the way in before you replace the nut.

You should replace the o-rings when you put it back together. It may or may might go on easier for you with new o-rings. You should replace them if you have them, if you don't have new ones, it should be okay to put it back so long as they aren't falling apart, or nicked. (I didn't replace mine at the time.)

Once you get those undone, you can begin to get this thing out. There are some nuts and screws to come out, and you'll have to remove the glove box first. You may need to bend a few brackets out of the way, for me, I had to bend a bracket holding the center console out of the way to get this box out. My box broke in one corner near the filters because it was flimsy and got caught on the dash, no biggie. I taped it. The box isn't exactly air tight anyways.

Then I replaced the valve, here. In the picture it's already removed. Sorry. This was really easy, but you will need either two adjustable wrenches or two open wrenches, different sizes. You'll have to hold part of the flange on the valve in place while loosening/tightening the nuts. The copper thing, not sure what to call it, has a clip that holds it on, you'll have to remember how it was on to get it back on, or the thing will keep popping off, telling you that you're doing it wrong. Stupid clip. You may need to open and then close it a little. Just a little though.

All this, really wasn't that bad. This did take me most of the day, but I took my time. Plus venting, took awhile, mine was full of refrigerant. If yours is leaking, it won't take as long.

Put it back together.

Then the last thing I did was unbolt and unscrew the drier, which was a pain at first because the screw for the strap holding it was in the wrong direction. Once, I was able to loosen it enough I twisted it forward to get a better handle on it, then easy. The bottom bolt took some time, you'll likely need a couple of long extensions, unless you remove the bottom of the bumper. Up to you.

Pulled out the drier, and replaced the new one. Tightened it up.

I then made sure everything was back in place and snug. Then I began the vacuum process, you can rent this from a parts place. I bought the hoses and vacuum, that was in my $300 cost. I let the vacuum run an hour and 15 minutes. Then let it sit for about another 15 minutes to make sure the vacuum stayed put.

Then I detached the vacuum and began adding about 24 oz of refrigerant. I bought it on sale at home depot and at AutoZone, this was also part of my $300 cost. I think there is about 24 oz  in there now, it took some wiggling, and I had a little postal scale I used to measure the canisters before, during, and after.

After, turned the a/c on and took it for a spin. It's been almost 2 months and the a/c is running colder than it has for years. On long trips it gets too cold. Haha.

If you have questions, let me know.
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Offline Conundrum

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Re: A/C Repair Hints and Tips - 2004 Nissan Xterra
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2016, 03:33:22 PM »
Here's what I added to my 2003 Xterra XE condenser coil to make my A/C colder when sitting still, like at a light, or for someone to take a selfie with their Xterra. lol

I used a DPDT Relay that is engaged from the 12 V wire on the Compressor Clutch to send power from the battery to the Fans. I guess you could wire them directly with a switch, but a relay is better and they cycle with the compressor so they aren't on constantly and only on when the A/C is being used and the Xterra is running. I used a Double Pole, Double Throw Relay so if one dies (I had one grenade 3 blades before) it blows its fuse and the other continues to work as normal. I bought the Relay from McMaster Carr, but that was many years ago and I don't know what the info was off hand.

Thanks for Posting this writeup, I had to replace my High Pressure hose as well one year after Fat Tire. One thing I would suggest, is that if you have access to a vacuum pump, suck all the air and moisture from the system before charging it with new 134a, don't forget to add PAG oil if you replaced the compressor as well. Silicon Oil on the o-rings makes assembly easier.

I'll probably have to pull my airbox because I keep getting moisture on the floorboard of the passenger side and it doesn't appear to be coolant I hope! lol


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