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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm making plans to replace my heater core next weekend and am currently reviewing steps in the Haynes manual. One of the steps is to lower the steering column, which refers to Chapter 10 Section 12. This section is for removal of the column. The general steps are remove steering wheel, remove knee boster and column covers, disconnect electrical harnesses, detach shift interlock cable, disconnect steering shaft from intermediate shaft, and then unbolting/ lowering/ removing the column.

My question is for the purpose of lowering the column for eventual heater core replacement, do I have to remove the steering wheel and disconnect the steering shaft from the intermediate shaft, or can I just disconnect the electrical harnesses, disconnect the shift interlock cable, and the unbolt and lower the column with steering wheel and shafts still connected?

ETA: Re-reading (actually looking at photos) it says you must remove the steering column (only in a photo caption and not in the instructional text). So, I guess my question is now can I remove the column and wheel as an assembly? It's strange the way they have the instructions - it says lower the column, then remove the entire instrument panel, then in the photos for removing the heating ducts the caption says remove the column. Why not remove the column in the previous step I wonder?

I have a 2008 Nissan Frontier LE.
 

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I'm replacing mine as well ,but I don't have the proper tools. I have a local shop that will replace it. Mine is also an 08 LE. Good Luck !
 

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Just curious - what's it going to cost (if you don't mind)?
Well I live in a small town in WV ,so it isn't as much as a dealer ,or other shops in big cities would charge. $400 labor ,and I bought the core.
 

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I haven't done one in a Gen2, but when removing the dash in the Gen1 and Hardbody trucks, I would remove the steering wheel and column covers, unbolt the upper column support and lower the column, supporting it on a small jack. I wouldn't disconnect the lower shaft. The steering wheel kinda gets in the way when removing it; you can leave it and maneuver the dash around it if you have help taking it out, but it's a bit harder if you are doing it by yourself.
 
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I did this in a 2007 Xterra, should be same.

Remove all connectors on the body side of the steering column.

You do not need to remove the airbag from the steering wheel. You can lower the steering assembly to the floor.




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I did the HVAC removal due to a leaking evaporator.

The entire HVAC housing/unit comes out in one piece. A major PITA. Whereas the Lexus I did, the evaporator/heater core came out by itself and the blower motor was separate. Much more manageable.

Hit me up if you have any questions.




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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I haven't done one in a Gen2, but when removing the dash in the Gen1 and Hardbody trucks, I would remove the steering wheel and column covers, unbolt the upper column support and lower the column, supporting it on a small jack. I wouldn't disconnect the lower shaft. The steering wheel kinda gets in the way when removing it; you can leave it and maneuver the dash around it if you have help taking it out, but it's a bit harder if you are doing it by yourself.
I didn't notice the procedure in the FSM (missed the ventilation section), so was initially looking at the Haynes manual. In the FSM they say to remove the column and include the lower shaft. I.e. the instructions are for the complete removal of column assembly, upper shaft, and lower shaft where it connects to the steering gear.

I agree that doesn't seem necessary to remove lower shaft, but when you say lower shaft, what do you mean? I'm wondering if you mean upper shaft (i.e. the shaft that connects to the column by the upper joint). So, did you leave the joint connected (steering columng to upper shaft) and just lower the column? It seems like if I wanted to remove the column assembly I could disconnect it from the upper joint and remove it. But maybe leaving it installed means I don't have to completely disconnect it (i.e. shift interlock and maybe other connections).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I did this in a 2007 Xterra, should be same.

Remove all connectors on the body side of the steering column.

You do not need to remove the airbag from the steering wheel. You can lower the steering assembly to the floor.
Did you actually lower to floor? Does it clear driver seat? Hard to tell from second photo if seats are still in, but I understand its not necessary to remove them.
 

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No need to remove any shaft(s)/joint(s).

I slid the driver seat all the way back, then lowered the steering wheel to the floor, to lay it to rest. It seemed kinda squirly on the seat itself.

The HVAC unit was huge to take out by one person, so I enlisted my wife's help to pull it out and to reinstall.

If you digging that deep, you ought to change the evaporator too. The other problem part that you may want to replace is the stepper motor that controls the fresh/recirculate. But what I had my customer do was purchase the entire HVAC unit new from the dealer. I think it was around $530. The unit came complete with everything ready to go. Just needed PAG oil in the evaporator.

It should take you about 4-6 hours to remove everything.



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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
No need to remove any shaft(s)/joint(s).

I slid the driver seat all the way back, then lowered the steering wheel to the floor, to lay it to rest. It seemed kinda squirly on the seat itself.

The HVAC unit was huge to take out by one person, so I enlisted my wife's help to pull it out and to reinstall.

If you digging that deep, you ought to change the evaporator too. The other problem part that you may want to replace is the stepper motor that controls the fresh/recirculate. But what I had my customer do was purchase the entire HVAC unit new from the dealer. I think it was around $530. The unit came complete with everything ready to go. Just needed PAG oil in the evaporator.

It should take you about 4-6 hours to remove everything.



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I may just replace the evaporator coil. Do you know if they come with the expansion valve? I know PAG oil is recommended for the o-rings that are to be replaced - is that what you're referring to? Otherwise I assume refrigerant comes with oil. I may just take it to a shop for the re-charging though.

ETA: further research suggests I should replace the receiver/ dryer and add 2 oz oil there (Haynes) or 2.5 oz for evaporator removal, 0.2 oz for dryer removal, and 1 oz for large leak (per FSM). I assume discharging A/C would be like a large leak. So if I understand the FSM you add 3.7 oz oil to the compressor after reassembly, vacuum, and while running engine. You don't lose more oil discharging the A/C and pulling a vacuum after reassembly?
 

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That sure is some project, hope it all goes smoothly, takes pics as you go along so you can refer to them upon reinstall. I’d be scared to know what the dealer gets for the complete job with parts.

Clint
 

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I may just replace the evaporator coil. Do you know if they come with the expansion valve? I know PAG oil is recommended for the o-rings that are to be replaced - is that what you're referring to? Otherwise I assume refrigerant comes with oil. I may just take it to a shop for the re-charging though.

ETA: further research suggests I should replace the receiver/ dryer and add 2 oz oil there (Haynes) or 2.5 oz for evaporator removal, 0.2 oz for dryer removal, and 1 oz for large leak (per FSM). I assume discharging A/C would be like a large leak. So if I understand the FSM you add 3.7 oz oil to the compressor after reassembly, vacuum, and while running engine. You don't lose more oil discharging the A/C and pulling a vacuum after reassembly?
Just pour 2.5 ounces of PAG oil into the evaporator core. If there was nothing wrong with the A/C system before, there is no reason to replace anything else or add any more oil.

That sure is some project, hope it all goes smoothly, takes pics as you go along so you can refer to them upon reinstall. I’d be scared to know what the dealer gets for the complete job with parts.

Clint
Labor rate will vary depending on the location, but a straight-up heater core replacement with coolant will run in the $1000 range at a dealer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just pour 2.5 ounces of PAG oil into the evaporator core. If there was nothing wrong with the A/C system before, there is no reason to replace anything else or add any more oil.



Labor rate will vary depending on the location, but a straight-up heater core replacement with coolant will run in the $1000 range at a dealer.
I'm debating whether to even mess with the evaporator core. The heater core is my problem and the A/C still blows as cold as day 1 after 253k miles and without ever having any type of service. I'd hate for the evaporator to crap out soon and have to do this all over again, but I'm also not big on changing things that aren't an obvious issue. I ask the questions though for a thorough understanding. Assuming I don't change any A/C comoponents, then I don't need to add any oil (other than oiling the replacement o-rings on the refrigerant tubes disconnected), correct?
 

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Yes, replace the evaporator core and thermal expansion valve while you're in there. It would suck to put everything back together then a year down the road, the evaporator starts leaking.

Never use leak seal on AC stuff. I would never hook up my gauges or vacuum pump to a system that has that crap in there.


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Yes, put a little PAG on the o rings. Be sure to get the right size o rings. Many AC jobs I see the wrong o rings that come with aftermarket AC parts.

No need to replace the receiver-drier. Only if the leak was there for a long time then you need to replace it.

I would highly recommend OEM parts when doing this job. I have seen many times the poor fitment of aftermarket AC parts like the evaporator core.

That Lexus AC job I did a few years ago, customer provided the NAPA parts. Poor fitment on the evaporator, had to use a dremel to make it fit (time lost). And the Napa thermal expansion valve failed after 1 year. Just shows the lack of quality in generic aftermarket parts.

Now if this was a 1st gen, I would recommend aftermarket because it's easy to get to the AC parts, just drop the glovebox and go from there.

But for a big job like this, best to have quality parts on hand to prevent removal again.


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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yes, put a little PAG on the o rings. Be sure to get the right size o rings. Many AC jobs I see the wrong o rings that come with aftermarket AC parts.

No need to replace the receiver-drier. Only if the leak was there for a long time then you need to replace it.

I would highly recommend OEM parts when doing this job. I have seen many times the poor fitment of aftermarket AC parts like the evaporator core.

That Lexus AC job I did a few years ago, customer provided the NAPA parts. Poor fitment on the evaporator, had to use a dremel to make it fit (time lost). And the Napa thermal expansion valve failed after 1 year. Just shows the lack of quality in generic aftermarket parts.

Now if this was a 1st gen, I would recommend aftermarket because it's easy to get to the AC parts, just drop the glovebox and go from there.

But for a big job like this, best to have quality parts on hand to prevent removal again.


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No intention of using leak seal. I bought an OEM heater core. Would do the same for A/C parts. Only reason I mentioned dryer is Haynes manual says replace anytime you replace A/C components.

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The drier is the filter of the system. The manual is assuming you are replacing a part that has failed as opposed to replacing something as "preventative maintenance."
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The drier is the filter of the system. The manual is assuming you are replacing a part that has failed as opposed to replacing something as "preventative maintenance."
Replacing a component or having the system exposed for a length of time. I will probably disconnect the refrigerant lines just before I'm ready to pull the HVAC unit and then reinstall them as soon as I get it back in. I'll also cover or plug the exposed tubes. But I'm curious - how much exposure of the system would warrant replacing the dryer? A few hours, couple days, etc...? I'm assuming that a system that has never had any leaks or repairs since it came from the factory would still have plenty of dessicant in the dryer as it shouldn't have had any moisture to take out during that time (maybe just a bit on initial running).

The price of OEM evaporator has persuaded me not to replace it (unless I see some obvious sign of deterioration), so I won't be doing anything to the A/C system other than disconnecting the refrigerant lines at the expansion valve. Considering this I shouldn't need to add any oil to the system when recharging, correct?
 

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If your system was exposed to moist air for weeks, then replace the drier. If less than that, don't bother.


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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks ef9. Any comment on the oil? The refrigerant cans appear to contain oil, so I assume that will replace any oil lost through the evacuation process.
 
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