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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I recently had a family member bring their 2007 Frontier 4cyl manual trans to me because it was overheating, I said let's start by doing a cooling system flush and putting in a new thermostat.

Well when I disconnected the radiator hose to drain the system a bunch of white goop fell out. My first immediate thought was it must be oil possible headgasket failure, So I pulled the head off to check things out and I could find no evidence of gasket failure.

Then I found this website.. and after a few hours of looking around I realized I pulled the head for no reason.

I'm sure the radiator failed and transmission fluid got into the cooling system, hopefully the transmission is not in jeopardy as the owner said it was NOT giving him any issues, we plan to flush the transmission anyways just to be safe.

I bought an upper seal kit, I plan to clean everything up real nice, flush the cooling system, new radiator, new plugs, new thermostat.

Everything seems to be in great condition, Is there anything else you would recommend replacing? trying to keep this as cheap as possible.

I'll update with my progress as I go, Sorry for the long post ::grin::

Some pics of the white goo in the head
http://imgur.com/a/1IEaK
 

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Manual trans is not connected to cooling system, that's only occurring if there is an automatic trans.

Clint
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Manual trans is not connected to cooling system, that's only occurring if there is an automatic trans.

Clint
Good to know.

Has to be oil then, I'm thinking the radiator must have failed in the same way, has to be the same crappy design flaws.
 

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Has to be oil then, I'm thinking the radiator must have failed in the same way, has to be the same crappy design flaws.
The cooler for the engine oil isn't located in the radiator.

 

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Fill it back up with coolant, change the Tstat, burp it, see what's going on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
The cooler for the engine oil isn't located in the radiator.

Thanks for that.

Any idea where this problem is happening?

Fill it back up with coolant, change the Tstat, burp it, see what's going on.
I don't want to just fill it back up without finding the cause of the problem, I really don't think it was the head gasket at this point..

If the radiator on the automatic has a problem failing internally, what makes the manual immune to this problem? Is it not basically the same radiator? Just trying to better understand this, I can't seem to find an answer to what is the direct cause for the radiator problem.
 

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I don't want to just fill it back up without finding the cause of the problem, I really don't think it was the head gasket at this point...
You fill it up and see if the issue re-occurs. It's not your truck so you really don't know for sure whatever happened. Like my dad once added coolant to the oil fill....


If the radiator on the automatic has a problem failing internally, what makes the manual immune to this problem? Is it not basically the same radiator? Just trying to better understand this, I can't seem to find an answer to what is the direct cause for the radiator problem.
The radiator for manual transmission vehicles dos NOT have a section which has ATF circulating through it. Besides, it was only 2005-2010 V6 engines with automatic transmissions that had this problem happen. So 4-cylinder and manual transmission means that you're DOUBLE-SAFE.
 

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Are you able to check and see what the consistency of the "white goop" is? If it is hard and kind of gritty I would think it could possibly be due to corroded metal from the engine.
 

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^He has a point. If the coolant is original/ very old it may have turned acidic and started eating at the aluminum water jackets. Although its doubtful that you would see goop, more likely just some white crustys.

Is it possible that they used a radiator stop leak? or some other kind of miracle in bottle junk?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
You fill it up and see if the issue re-occurs. It's not your truck so you really don't know for sure whatever happened. Like my dad once added coolant to the oil fill....


The radiator for manual transmission vehicles dos NOT have a section which has ATF circulating through it. Besides, it was only 2005-2010 V6 engines with automatic transmissions that had this problem happen. So 4-cylinder and manual transmission means that you're DOUBLE-SAFE.
There are transmission fluid lines on the radiator.. Just pointing that out.

I don't think it's entirely impossible for the two fluids to mix under the right circumstances. Can you explain what causes the milkshake on the v6's? Do the internal radiator lines rupture or?

I really don't see the logic in refilling the cooling system since I haven't determined the cause of the problem, seems like a waste of time and coolant, I doubt the problem has fixed itself.

^He has a point. If the coolant is original/ very old it may have turned acidic and started eating at the aluminum water jackets. Although its doubtful that you would see goop, more likely just some white crustys.

Is it possible that they used a radiator stop leak? or some other kind of miracle in bottle junk?
Cooling system had some crustys around the fittings, the goo is very smooth no grit, almost perfectly white. Reminds me of the tub of permatex hand cleaner the white goop kind.

Also nothing has been done to this vehicle other than general maintenance, it had no leaks or issues prior to the overheating out of nowhere.
 

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The manual transmissions do not have a cooler. Period. They're also not filled with ATF. You have a higher percentage of winning the Power Ball then the transmission fluid mixing with the coolant.

Did he have the cooling system looked at before you touched it? How old is was the coolant in it? If it were me I would fill with water, run, drain, repeat. Then fill with coolant, run it for a while, then check it out again.

What's goop can be caused by old coolant, it can be caused by an additive a shop or he may have put in, or oil mixing. The only real logical source of oil mixing is the head, which you've looked at. I repeat, manual transmissions are NOT cooled. So it isn't coming from that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The manual transmissions do not have a cooler. Period. They're also not filled with ATF. You have a higher percentage of winning the Power Ball then the transmission fluid mixing with the coolant.

Did he have the cooling system looked at before you touched it? How old is was the coolant in it? If it were me I would fill with water, run, drain, repeat. Then fill with coolant, run it for a while, then check it out again.

What's goop can be caused by old coolant, it can be caused by an additive a shop or he may have put in, or oil mixing. The only real logical source of oil mixing is the head, which you've looked at. I repeat, manual transmissions are NOT cooled. So it isn't coming from that.
the owner does all his own general maintenance, I'm pretty sure he hasn't added anything to the coolant, knowing him the coolant may be 4-5+ years old, Can old coolant really do this? There is a LOT of goo, it practically blocks cooling passages and hoses.
 

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Flush it.
 

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There are transmission fluid lines on the radiator.. Just pointing that out.
Have you followed those lines to see where they go? Your manual transmission should not have lines running to the radiator.

I don't think it's entirely impossible for the two fluids to mix under the right circumstances.
Actually, I am pretty sure it is impossible.

Can you explain what causes the milkshake on the v6's?
Yes, the bottom of the radiator used on the automatic trans models contains a heat exchanger (smaller radiator). The connection points on that smaller internal radiator would fail and mix the trans fluid and the coolant. The manual trans model OEM radiator does not have the internal radiator for the trans fluid. No trans fluid runs through the radiator and no coolant runs through the trans on a manual unless it's been modified.

Nobody is trying to BS you or give you grief but transmission fluid contamination of your coolant should not be occurring with a manual transmission.
 

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The engine oil cooler could have failed and caused the contamination, part #7 on the diagram. It's very rare and I've only heard of it happening twice. That would be the only place other than a head gasket failure or cracked head or engine block where engine oil/engine coolant cross-contamination can occur...outside of somebody pouring the wrong fluid into the system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Have you followed those lines to see where they go? Your manual transmission should not have lines running to the radiator.



Actually, I am pretty sure it is impossible.



Yes, the bottom of the radiator used on the automatic trans models contains a heat exchanger (smaller radiator). The connection points on that smaller internal radiator would fail and mix the trans fluid and the coolant. The manual trans model OEM radiator does not have the internal radiator for the trans fluid. No trans fluid runs through the radiator and no coolant runs through the trans on a manual unless it's been modified.

Nobody is trying to BS you or give you grief but transmission fluid contamination of your coolant should not be occurring with a manual transmission.
Thanks for the detailed explanation, Now I understand that its impossible to happen on this radiator.

I'm just always skeptical and a detailed explanation sure helps.

The engine oil cooler could have failed and caused the contamination, part #7 on the diagram. It's very rare and I've only heard of it happening twice. That would be the only place other than a head gasket failure or cracked head or engine block where engine oil/engine coolant cross-contamination can occur...outside of somebody pouring the wrong fluid into the system.
Ah thank you, I was waiting to hear something like this. It has to be head gasket or oil cooler related at this point, I'm going to replace all the seals and gaskets for both.
 

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I'm not sure what type of coolant Nissan uses, but I bet he topped off with coolant that isn't compatible with what was in there to begin with. Kind of like adding regular ethylene glycol to Dexcool...
 

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Thanks for the detailed explanation, Now I understand that its impossible to happen on this radiator.

I'm just always skeptical and a detailed explanation sure helps.



Ah thank you, I was waiting to hear something like this. It has to be head gasket or oil cooler related at this point, I'm going to replace all the seals and gaskets for both.
If it's the engine oil cooler that's bad, you have to replace the entire cooler assembly. They do have problems with the O-seals leaking on them occasionally, but that will only cause an external oil leak and not cross-contamination.

I'm not sure what type of coolant Nissan uses, but I bet he topped off with coolant that isn't compatible with what was in there to begin with. Kind of like adding regular ethylene glycol to Dexcool...

Nissan used Pentosin Pentafrost A2 green anti-freeze until they starting switching over to Pentosin Pentafrost A3 blue anti-freeze in 2010. The blue is compatible with the green and the green is compatible with most green or "universal color" anti-freezes.
 
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