Nissan Heater Core Installation

Written by lee newberry
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Nissan Heater Core Installation
With the right know-how, you can change the heater core in your Pathfinder, Xterra, or other Nissan. (4 x 4 TOUT TERRAIN ref 1222 image by Marie-Thérèse GUIHAL from

The first Datsun automobile was built in 1914; the Nissan Motor Company launched in Japan in 1933, nearly two decades later. Exports to Australia followed in 1935; it would be 1958 before the automaker sold its first sedan in the United States and 1959 before the automaker released its compact pickup in the U.S.--it was Nissan's first American hit. More successes would follow as Americans sought a more fuel efficient vehicle than those Detroit was producing in the 1970s and turned to imported Japanese automobiles. Nissans, like other conventional passenger vehicles, have come a long way since the early days, but they still use a heater core to provide cabin heat in cold weather. Like most vehicle components, the heater core can fail. You can replace your Nissan's heater core yourself, but you will need moderate automotive repair knowledge.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pliers
  • Bucket
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Antifreeze

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  1. 1

    Disconnect the negative battery cable from the vehicle's battery.

  2. 2

    Drain the coolant from the radiator into a bucket by turning the radiator petcock, located on the bottom side of the radiator, counterclockwise, using pliers. Secure the petcock closed after all of the coolant has been drained.

  3. 3

    Locate the heater core inside the vehicle, under the dashboard, in the centre of the console.

  4. 4

    Disconnect the defroster duct from the heater core by pulling the duct away from the heater core by hand.

  5. 5

    Locate the two water hoses coming out of the heater core. Loosen the clamps on the water hoses using a Phillips screwdriver. Pull both hoses off the heater core. Leave the clamps on each hose.

  6. 6

    Remove the four clips retaining the front cover of the heating system's control panel, using pliers. The front cover is generally located in the centre of the vehicle's dashboard. Pull the heater cover off by hand. Set the cover aside.

  7. 7

    Pull the heater core out of the heater housing.

  1. 1

    Push the new heater core completely into the heater housing.

  2. 2

    Install the front heater cover onto the dash assembly and press in the four retaining clips.

  3. 3

    Connect the two water hoses onto the heater core and tighten the two water hose clamps using a Phillips screwdriver.

  4. 4

    Connect the defroster duct by pushing the duct onto the heater core by hand.

  5. 5

    Connect the negative battery cable to the Nissan's battery.

  6. 6

    Fill the radiator with the Nissan model's recommended mixture of water and coolant by removing the radiator fill cap on the top of the radiator and pouring the mixture into the radiator. Pour until the fluid reaches the top of the radiator filler neck. Do not put the radiator cap on the radiator yet.

  7. 7

    Start the Nissan's engine and turn the heat and blower motor to "high." Let the vehicle run until it reaches normal operating temperature, at which point the heating system's thermostat will open up to cycle cool radiator fluid into the engine.This will bleed the air out of the coolant in the radiator and heating system, causing the coolant level in the radiator to drop.

  8. 8

    Pour more coolant mixture into the radiator filler neck as the coolant level drops. Wait a minute or so and pour more coolant into the radiator until the radiator is completely full and the coolant level no longer drops. Install the radiator cap.

Tips and warnings

  • Always disconnect the negative battery cable from the vehicle's battery before performing any automotive repairs. Ethylene Glycol, a component in antifreeze, is harmful or fatal if swallowed. Dispose of any used fluids at a fluid recycling centre. The coolant in the radiator and heating system is under pressure. Remove the cap from the radiator slowly.

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