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How to Replace the Coolant Recovery Tank in a Nissan Pathfinder

by Contributor

The cooling system is an integral part of the Nissan Pathfinder's overall operation. If this system fails, the engine can overheat and eventually fail. Parts, like the coolant tank, won't last the lifetime of the car and if it begins to malfunction, you need to replace it. This process is something most anyone can do, as it requires only some basic mechanical skills.

Step 1

Place a bucket, with a capacity of at least two gallons, under the radiator drain plug. On the Nissan Pathfinder, the drain plug is usually on the passenger side bottom of the radiator.

Step 2

Open the drain plug and allow the radiator coolant to flow into bucket. Once complete, pour the coolant into a sealable container.

Step 3

Use a socket wrench to remove the nuts from the bolts that secure the recovery tank, also called the expansion tank or overflow tank, in place. You may need a socket extension on some models of the Nissan Pathfinder, because one or more of the nuts are difficult to access.

Step 4

Take a pair of hose clamp pliers to loosen the hose clamps. After loosening the clamps, move them up the hose so they don't fall off the hose. Be sure to elevate the hoses as there could be coolant left in them, even though you drained the system.

Step 5

Pull the defective coolant recovery tank out and replace it with the new tank. The tank connectors should fit over the bolts and the tank itself should slide down over the bolts.

Step 6

Put the nuts on the bolts and tighten securely in place with the socket wrench. Apply some pressure to the tank to verify that it isn't loose. A loose tank can eventually cause a leak.

Step 7

Reconnect the hoses to the recovery tank and move the clamps up the hoses. Then use the hose clamp pliers to secure them in place. Pull on each of the hoses to make sure there's a proper connection.

Close the drain plug, refill the radiator with new coolant and turn on the engine of the Nissan Pathfinder for about 15 minutes. Switch off the engine and check for any leaks.


  • Never open a warm or hot radiator. The internal pressure can build up and cause an eruption, burning anyone in the area.
  • Always dispose of radiator coolant properly as it's very toxic to people and animals.

Items you will need

  • Bucket
  • Sealable container
  • Socket wrench
  • Socket extension
  • Hose clamp pliers
  • Coolant recovery tank
  • Coolant

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