Nissan Pathfinder Forum banner

1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I brought in the truck to get the TCM update and at the same time asked the service department to look at the rear heat module because it wasn't pumping out any heat. In matter of fact it felt like it was grabbing the cold fresh air straight into the cabin. I had also noticed that the rear vents by the third row barely pump out any air flow.

The TCM update was no problem but it took the master technician a whole day to figure out the rear heat module ... he even opened up another pathfinder to compare and still ended up calling the Nissan tech-line (he claims to only call them max 6 times a year!). He spent 40 minutes with me explaining to me the system for the rear heat because he didn't want me to come back knowing that I wasn't going to be happy.

My rear unit did have a problem in that one of the pins for the heating element was not properly attached which is why the heating element wasn't going on at all. But that won't make a diference because here's what I learned: the rear module is independent of the main heating system and draws air straight from the intake plenum, rather than from the plenum of already heated air from the main heating unit, and then tries to heat it up with toaster-like heating element. Therein lies the problem, the heating element doesn't produce enough heat to sufficiently warm up the cold air. There's hardly any current going through that element because if they make the heating element too hot it could become a fire hazard. Not only that but the heating element will only turn on when the main air flow control is in either of the two modes with the center vents.

The master technician said that it took about 30 minutes for the rear unit to heat the air from 24oC to 28oC ... and that's when the pathfinder is parked inside the heated garage. So there's now way that it's going to warm up -20oC air to 24oC, its impossible. He was furious at the Nissan and asked their tech department why they designed the system this way. The rear heat should draw air from the main unit and heat that up if so desired by the 2nd row passengers. Oh and regarding those third row vents, the Nissan tech line said that they only provide "radiant heat" (i.e. don't expect those to push out much air).

So what we have is a functionless rear heat module ... not impressed because my only expectation was that the rear unit would help move the warm air from the main unit to the rest of the cabin. Instead they over complicated the system ... makes me wonder how the unit will work in the summer; is it going to draw the warm outside air or is it going to grab the cooled air from the main unit?

The technician brought me back and forth between my pathfinder and the other new pathfinder to prove to me that that's how Nissan designed the system and there was nothing that he could do about it. He recommended that I not use it and rely on the heat from the front. There's also some duct underneath the front seats that provide heat to the back.

I joked to wife that it's a good thing there's 120W outlet in the back ... we could always plug in a small bathroom heater! All kidding aside, I'm going to call Nissan on Monday and give them my two cents because this is not acceptable. It's another function of the heating and cooling system that's not working as intended/promised (PS I've gotten over the A/C going on automatically when in defrost mode but it's still annoying to have to hit the A/C button to turn it off when switching to other modes).

I'm surprised that no one else on this forum has brought this up?

It's too bad they make mistakes like this because the Pathfinder is awesome otherwise. I really like the styling, the smoothness and comfort of the drive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Thank you for your note. We have just ordered a new pathfinder and this raises some concerns for us as we will have grandchildren in the back seats. I do hope they can fixed this issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,206 Posts
Hats of to you and your technician for figuring it out. I am slightly disappointed finding this out and hope they fix it in the upcoming years. I don't see them doing anything for existing pathfinders though.. Maybe increasing the size of the heating element?
If enough people raise the issue and its brought up through reviews and automotive journalists it could bring Nissan to fix this for us.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Thanks for taking the time to post this as it will really help current and future pathfinder owners, and even catch the attention of people at Nissan.

I'll make sure to pass this onto people I know that plan on getting a new pathfinder.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
We plan to stop at our dealer and try the rear heater on one of their vehicals. I don't know if it too late to stop our order, if we did, we would probably lose the down payment. We really like this vehical, don't know if this is a deal breaker or not. Thanks again for posting this information.
Really enjoying the forum.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
We plan to stop at our dealer and try the rear heater on one of their vehicals. I don't know if it too late to stop our order, if we did, we would probably lose the down payment. We really like this vehical, don't know if this is a deal breaker or not. Thanks again for posting this information.
Really enjoying the forum.
If you haven't gotten the vehicle as yet I don't see a problem with you getting back your money if their is a problem. Hopefully this issue is just limited to a specific VIN range but seeing how unaware Nissan is of it, who knows if anything has been done.

Might as well call or visit your dealership in the morning, make them aware of the issue and stop the order.

Keep us posted :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Folks,

I didn't mean to cause all this alarm. I'm still very happy with the Pathfinder. The cabin does warm up and the 2nd row has heated seats (not a luxury that I had growing up as kid), so your kids/grandkids won't feel cold. Overall it's not a significant issue just a disappointment. Also if you live in warmer climate, this won't be an issue.

Every launch of a new model has it issues that are usually resolved immediately. For example, just consider that the new 2013 Ford Escape has already had major issues (32 complaints) and four recalls ( search http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchVehicles). Heck some issues show up a few years later, like my Toyota Sienna that I traded in because, like many others, both power sliding doors broke after 6 years. I wasn't willing to pay $2000 to fix that.

I haven't called Nissan yet so I don't know if they are working on a solution ... I think fixing the rear heat console is one of those that has a simple resolution.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,066 Posts
So, I went to test this out, just to see if I could replicate these issues with the rear HVAC. My problem is, I can't figure out how to get the rear HVAC to allow me to change the operating mode. It seems that I can choose between "AUTO" and "OFF" and that's about it.

By default, when heat is needed, the system directs the air to the floor vents. I have not managed to find a way to actually use the console vents - where I think the problem is evident.

So, what am I missing here? I've been through the manual, and it seems like manual mode adjustment isn't even an option. It's either in AUTO or OFF - and when in AUTO, it doesn't use the console (upper) vents.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
I know it doesn't get as cold here as in other places, near freezing for some of this week, but I have found the rear heat to work quite well. I can't speak for the 3rd row seating, haven't needed to use it yet.

As far as selection, I noticed that too, I guess I have less of an issue with the auto selection of floor vents, that is what I have it selected for in the front.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,066 Posts
I know it doesn't get as cold here as in other places, near freezing for some of this week, but I have found the rear heat to work quite well. I can't speak for the 3rd row seating, haven't needed to use it yet.

As far as selection, I noticed that too, I guess I have less of an issue with the auto selection of floor vents, that is what I have it selected for in the front.
Yeah, I haven't noticed a problem either - though it rarely get in the teens (Farenheit) outside, let alone below zero here. What I was intrigued about is the heating element that is discussed in this thread, that is supposed to be comparatively weak. But again, I can't get the system to use the upper vents. Perhaps this is by-design, as the OP noted that the floor vents seem to operate off the main system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
When I first read this post a week ago I started paying attention to it. I have 2 kids (4 & 2) and I wanted to make sure they're staying warm. From my informal testing, mainly asking them if they're warm and putting my hand back there, I have decided that it does an adequate job.

So I guess I'm not real concerned. In fact today on the way home from church, my son told me he was hot and its low 30's here today.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
So, I went to test this out, just to see if I could replicate these issues with the rear HVAC. My problem is, I can't figure out how to get the rear HVAC to allow me to change the operating mode. It seems that I can choose between "AUTO" and "OFF" and that's about it.

By default, when heat is needed, the system directs the air to the floor vents. I have not managed to find a way to actually use the console vents - where I think the problem is evident.

So, what am I missing here? I've been through the manual, and it seems like manual mode adjustment isn't even an option. It's either in AUTO or OFF - and when in AUTO, it doesn't use the console (upper) vents.
The rear unit is always in "AUTO" operating mode. There is no heat/cooling modes per se, however you're able to select temperature and fan speed. Although its called "AUTO" mode I find that deceiving because it has its limitations; it doesn't act like the independent climate zone found at the front (e.g. in the summer, I doubt that it will cool the air more than the air coming out of the driver/passenger front vents).

Yeah, I haven't noticed a problem either - though it rarely get in the teens (Farenheit) outside, let alone below zero here. What I was intrigued about is the heating element that is discussed in this thread, that is supposed to be comparatively weak. But again, I can't get the system to use the upper vents. Perhaps this is by-design, as the OP noted that the floor vents seem to operate off the main system.
What do you mean by "upper vents"? Are these the vents on the rear heat unit or the upper center/side vents up front for the driver/passenger? If the latter, that seems odd to me because I'm able to select any of the mode for upfront independent of the rear unit. As noted in the original post, the technician pointed out that heating element in the rear heat unit is only turned on when the main front vents are selected.

The floor vents (under driver/passenger seat) go on when you select the modes with the foot vents.

here are some short videos from Nissan explaining the climate controls - Video
and for the rear climate controls - Video
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,066 Posts
What do you mean by "upper vents"? Are these the vents on the rear heat unit or the upper center/side vents up front for the driver/passenger? If the latter, that seems odd to me because I'm able to select any of the mode for upfront independent of the rear unit. As noted in the original post, the technician pointed out that heating element in the rear heat unit is only turned on when the main front vents are selected.

The floor vents (under driver/passenger seat) go on when you select the modes with the foot vents.

here are some short videos from Nissan explaining the climate controls - Video
and for the rear climate controls - Video
When I refer to the "upper vents", I'm referring to the ones at the rear of the center console (knee level for the second row, center).

What I've found is that if I adjust the temperature or the fan speed (in AUTO mode), the graphic on the screen shows air directed at the feet and only the floor vents are on. Pressing the MODE button on the front controls (with REAR selected) does not adjust the air direction.

Are you saying that if I adjust the front controls to direct air out of the upper vents, and then turn the system on in the rear, it will direct the air out of the console vents?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
When I refer to the "upper vents", I'm referring to the ones at the rear of the center console (knee level for the second row, center).

What I've found is that if I adjust the temperature or the fan speed (in AUTO mode), the graphic on the screen shows air directed at the feet and only the floor vents are on. Pressing the MODE button on the front controls (with REAR selected) does not adjust the air direction.

Are you saying that if I adjust the front controls to direct air out of the upper vents, and then turn the system on in the rear, it will direct the air out of the console vents?
Now you have me scratching my head! Check that you have those rear console vents are open, there's a dial between the vents that open and closes them.

You're right that pressing the MODE function with REAR selected won't change the air flow of the rear center console. When you press the rear button, you can only control the fan speed and the temperature of the rear center console by turning the fan and temperature dials respectively. The rear floor vents are dependent on the front/main controls (they work when you select the modes with foot vents) and not the REAR button.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,066 Posts
Now you have me scratching my head! Check that you have those rear console vents are open, there's a dial between the vents that open and closes them.

You're right that pressing the MODE function with REAR selected won't change the air flow of the rear center console. When you press the rear button, you can only control the fan speed and the temperature of the rear center console by turning the fan and temperature dials respectively. The rear floor vents are dependent on the front/main controls (they work when you select the modes with foot vents) and not the REAR button.
Yep, I think we're on the same page - but I'm wondering if I don't have a problem with the blower motor for the center console. I just can't seem to get air out of those vents (even with the damper open). I'll have to bring it up to the dealer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Let me know what you find out on this issue. I have a 2014 and same exact thing. The screen display makes it look like a floor vent with no way to change it, and the console vents have very little air coming out.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,066 Posts
Let me know what you find out on this issue. I have a 2014 and same exact thing. The screen display makes it look like a floor vent with no way to change it, and the console vents have very little air coming out.
Mine works the same way. When it's set to heat, it primarily comes out of the floor vents, display indicates floor, no way to change it and just a slight trickle from the upper vents.

I can change the fan speed, but that's about it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
207 Posts
Since my curiosity was peaked on the subject, I played with a few different settings this morning on my way to work. Using a standard old kitchen meat thermometer I took a readings in the vents. While a meat thermometer may not be the most accurate instrument to measure with, it still will show the temperature differentials.
Discharge air in the front upper vents made it to 130 deg. (temp setting set at 80). With the recirc. mode OFF, it made it up to 140. I let the thermometer drop to 40 by holding out the window and then read the back vent, 2nd row in the console vent. With the rear heater off, the discharge read at 70, turning on the heat from the front panel set at 80 the air went to 80. Raising the setting for the rear to the max set point of 90, the best I could get was 115. I have no problem with that temp at all. I also played with fan speed settings and I sure seems to me that when I increase the fan speed from the front controls the air did pick up a bit. Granted, it was not blowing hard, but was definitely more then a trickle. I did not check any floor vents in the back since I was trying to drive during the process.
Unfortunately the only way to shut off the rear heater vents was to turn the whole heating system off and then back on. And the rear controls must somehow be intertwined with the defrost circuit since as soon as you turn the rear on, the AC light comes on.
Interesting, but overall I think the system is adequate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Unfortunately the only way to shut off the rear heater vents was to turn the whole heating system off and then back on. And the rear controls must somehow be intertwined with the defrost circuit since as soon as you turn the rear on, the AC light comes on.
Interesting, but overall I think the system is adequate.
To turn off the rear heat you have to hit the "rear" button, when you see the rear account heat on the info screen then you can hit the on/off button to turn it off.

Yes the AC goes on in all the heat modes with front defrost. This is done by design. However, once you switch to another non-defrost mode you can turn the AC off.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Just wanted to give an update. After hearing from many of you in cold climates that the rear heat worked fine, and after getting into my neighbour's pathfinder to verify I finally brought it back to the dealer. They had my PF for two days and brought in the Nissan technician for one of those. The Nissan tech decided that they are going to replace the heater box because somehow cold air was getting into the system when they took it on the road. Unfortunately I have to wait 3 weeks and hope that this the solution. I am worried though because this is going to be big job that might cause other problems. One problem already happened and I won't get my PF back until early next week.
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top