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New radiator or Radiator bypass and add aftermarket cooler? #5345214 02/09/20 10:18 AM
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Dogred08 Offline OP
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I've got a 2006 Nissan Pathfinder SE 4WD with the potential problem of coolant and transmission fluid mixing in the cooler in the bottom of the radiator. I was wondering if I can get away with just bypassing the radiator cooler and adding a Hayden 679 external cooler. I feel like it would keep it cold enough I was just wondering if it would over cool it. I live in NC and sometimes it gets below freezing in the winter and I don't want to over cool it if it's possible. If I got a derale Transmission thermostat then it would end up costing as much as a new radiator. What would be the best option and do I really need the derale thermostat? Btw there is already a factory external cooler as well but it seems too small and I plan to tow occasionally.

Last edited by Dogred08; 02/09/20 10:19 AM. Reason: Left something out
Re: New radiator or Radiator bypass and add aftermarket cooler? [Re: Dogred08] #5345222 02/09/20 10:26 AM
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JC1 Offline
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Are you planning on changing the radiator? I would change the radiator to get the leak issue resolved. If there is a factory cooler already you are probably ok with towing using that existing setup.


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Re: New radiator or Radiator bypass and add aftermarket cooler? [Re: JC1] #5345227 02/09/20 10:31 AM
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Dogred08 Offline OP
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I wasn't planning on changing the radiator because it's not leaking I was just wondering about preventing it from possibly happening by bypassing the stock radiator cooler and adding an extra external cooler. I just didn't want to over cool the transmission if it's possible.

Re: New radiator or Radiator bypass and add aftermarket cooler? [Re: Dogred08] #5345235 02/09/20 10:37 AM
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Astro14 Offline
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If you don't want to cool it too much, then add the thermostat. Is total cost a big concern? You can do a thermostat, remote filter, and new plate-type cooler for about $150 in parts. Bypass the factory system, make changing the filter much simpler, and increase cooling.

Here's a write-up on how I modified my Volvo - note that I've done all three of them the same way, just have pictures from the first one. Now, in my case, I wasn't worried about contamination, so I left the factory radiator cooling loop in place. You could easily delete that loop to allay your concerns.

https://www.volvoxc.com/forums/showthread.php?27334-02-XC70-Transmission-Flush-From-Bottom/page2

I should add that this transmission is known for failing in Volvos of this year. I've got over 258,000 on the XC-70 on the original transmission. I contend that longevity is due to better cooling and reasonable fluid changes.


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Re: New radiator or Radiator bypass and add aftermarket cooler? [Re: Dogred08] #5345239 02/09/20 10:40 AM
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Spktyr Offline
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Replace the radiator first. The reason for the Strawberry Milkshake Of Death is the original in-radiator coolers were a bit defective and would leak. Even if you bypass the stock trans cooler, you have the problem of it then just leaking coolant onto the ground when the cooler goes instead. Replacing the radiator has to be done first.

Re: New radiator or Radiator bypass and add aftermarket cooler? [Re: Dogred08] #5345242 02/09/20 10:41 AM
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tcp71 Offline
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if a new radiator has been updated and doesn’t have the same potential issue, I would go that route. You won’t overcool the fluid in SC if you choose to bypass and add a bigger oil to air cooler either, but the potential for the coolant in the original radiator to pass into the defective oil cooler is still a possibility, even when it has been bypassed, possibly leaking or getting contaminated, which is why I would replace the original radiator completely if possible with an updated version that won’t leak.


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Re: New radiator or Radiator bypass and add aftermarket cooler? [Re: Astro14] #5345243 02/09/20 10:42 AM
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Dogred08 Offline OP
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Is the derale thermostat the best thermostat option? I already have the Hayden 679 I got a discount on it for about 38 bucks and the derale thermostat is around 50. And a new radiator of decent quality seems to be around 160. And there is already a filter in the pan so I'm not sure if an in line filter is totally necessary.

Re: New radiator or Radiator bypass and add aftermarket cooler? [Re: tcp71] #5345245 02/09/20 10:44 AM
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Dogred08 Offline OP
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How could it still contaminate if it's completely bypassed? I was obviously gonna seal the Barb's on the end of the radiator to keep it from possibly leaking coolant on the ground.

Re: New radiator or Radiator bypass and add aftermarket cooler? [Re: Spktyr] #5345246 02/09/20 10:45 AM
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Dogred08 Offline OP
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What if I just seal the Barb's on the bottom of the radiator with vacuum caps?

Re: New radiator or Radiator bypass and add aftermarket cooler? [Re: Dogred08] #5345250 02/09/20 10:53 AM
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Spktyr Offline
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Originally Posted by Dogred08
How could it still contaminate if it's completely bypassed? I was obviously gonna seal the Barb's on the end of the radiator to keep it from possibly leaking coolant on the ground.


The coolant could become contaminated. Capping the barbs off with vacuum caps and hose clamps isn't a great idea - those usually fail in a few months.

If you buy a new Nissan radiator, it will have all the fixes - some of the aftermarket ones are copies of the original, defects and all. Also, the plastic end tanks on those radiators mean they do eventually need to be replaced anyway - the similar one on my 4Runner finally failed this January after being in service some 20 years (and it probably should have been replaced 3-4 years prior due to developing issues that could be seen in visual inspection). The 4Runners also have the SMOD issue, though to a lesser degree and it takes longer than the Nissans do.

I would replace the radiator if for no other reason than age alone and then hook up the trans cooler you bought in series with the one in the radiator.

Last edited by Spktyr; 02/09/20 11:03 AM.
Re: New radiator or Radiator bypass and add aftermarket cooler? [Re: Dogred08] #5345258 02/09/20 11:00 AM
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Any 15 year old plastic radiator is on borrowed time. If you're going to touch this at all, change out the radiator and be ready for another 15 years.

Re: New radiator or Radiator bypass and add aftermarket cooler? [Re: mk378] #5345261 02/09/20 11:05 AM
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Dogred08 Offline OP
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What radiators would you recommend? They all look about the same just prices seem to vary. There's a no name on eBay for about 60 and prime choice on Amazon for 64 a koyorad for 141. And quite a few others but they all look the exact same is there really a difference?

Re: New radiator or Radiator bypass and add aftermarket cooler? [Re: Dogred08] #5345263 02/09/20 11:12 AM
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Spktyr Offline
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Originally Posted by Dogred08
What radiators would you recommend? They all look about the same just prices seem to vary. There's a no name on eBay for about 60 and prime choice on Amazon for 64 a koyorad for 141. And quite a few others but they all look the exact same is there really a difference?


Yes, there is a big difference. The Koyorad should be okay, they're a Nissan supplier and will have updated their product. The no-name or random aftermarket one will generally not hold up in a Nissan or Toyota and will likely have the same defective cooler design.

Go with a Nissan or Nissan OE radiator, don't go cheap. Don't forget to replace the radiator cap with Nissan or Nissan OE while you're at it.

Re: New radiator or Radiator bypass and add aftermarket cooler? [Re: Dogred08] #5345264 02/09/20 11:15 AM
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Spktyr Offline
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Also, Nissan has the Value Advantage line, which is aftermarket parts that pass Nissan testing. You can get that for less than the original - Rock Auto carries the Nissan Value Advantage version of the radiator for $204.

Rock Auto also sells a Denso radiator (another Nissan supplier) for $115.79, which would be what I'd get. Check any radiator bought through the mail carefully for damage, they're often not packed well.

Last edited by Spktyr; 02/09/20 11:15 AM.
Re: New radiator or Radiator bypass and add aftermarket cooler? [Re: Spktyr] #5345279 02/09/20 11:48 AM
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Dogred08 Offline OP
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Is a OSC radiator a good option I'm trying to avoid using Rock Auto I've had bad experience with them on defective parts. it has the brass Barb's and looks identical to denso

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