I have never killed anyone… yet…

On the way from Karratha to Port Hedland Big Red’s air con stopped working. I was ready to kill someone…

It happened as we were leaving Karratha so we quickly ducked around to the auto elec and asked him what we should do. He talked about different head pressures in the NW rather than the city and said he could degas and regas… We switched it back on while there and it came back.

I wasn’t up for spending $270.00 for something I wasn’t convinced needed doing so I said we’d shoot off and take a chance on it. It was about 36 degrees and we were headed for Port Hedland.

I prayed.

A lot of use that was…

The air con dropped out every two minutes or so for the next hour. I got a stress headache from being so angry.

After an hour it came good and we drove into Hedland slightly less annoyed. The next day was a Saturday so we didn’t bother trying to book it in to get looked at (thankfully).

We drove to Barn Hill, with no problems until we got to the final 5kms of the trip and it spat it again. Hmmm… This is not looking good….

Fortunately we didn’t feel it too bad on that occasion.

I called the air con expert who fixed it previously who spoke of dodgy wiring connections etc etc… I wasn’t convinced.

So today, working off a bit of a hunch, I got online and did some research as to whether engine temperature can affect air con performance and guess what?…

It turns out the GQ Nissan Patrol has a cut-out switch at the base of the radiator that comes into play if the engine temperature gets too hot. I read thru several forums where guys have driven themselves insane trying to sort this stuff out, only to discover this switch…

It seems the combination of a fully loaded car, a very hot day, a camper trailer and driving at 100km/hr tipped this baby over the edge.


What’s the deal with Nissan designing a 4WD with an air con that works unless things get too hot?!

I trawled thru the forums and read of people trying to resolve this problem with mammoth radiators and new fans and all sorts of gizmos, but usually without success. I also read of blokes with other Patrols who never encountered the problem.

However the general consenus was that extreme weather conditions, heavy loads and fast driving can combine to cause the problem we are experiencing. So on the one hand I am relieved to have solved the issue, but on the other I am still livid at the fact that no one knew this in the first place.

It seems it is not worth disconnecting the switch as it will inevitably lead to a fried motor – although one forum writer took that action and suffered no consequences at all.

The original reason I dropped the car in was because on several very hot days the air con cut out… That was it… There was nothing else wrong with it…All the other nonsense has come subsequently.

So it seems that we have a car with mind of its own when it comes to air con. If it gets a bit hot then it will switch itself off. Apparently Nissan do not see this as a design flaw…

What the?…

To be fair the air con has done very well on this trip with the exceptions of those extreme days, but I wonder what it would mean if you lived in the NW permanently?

I think the solution may be simple.

Back to Landcruisers…

So we will see how we go for the rest of the trip, but given we are in the hottest part of the world, with heavy loads and doing high speeds there could be moments when we offer a few well chosen expletives into the bush.

I realize some of you don’t give a toss about my car issues, but I write this because some other poor bloke will one day do a search for ‘does GQ Patrol air con cut out when hot?” and they may just save themselves a truckload of pain and $$ in the process.

More info or or

Surely a lay-person shouldn’t be expected to know this?…/

7 thoughts on “I have never killed anyone… yet…

  1. Mate, did you rod the radiator out before leaving for the NW? If the air con is telling you that the engine temperature is too high it might be a blessing in disguise. Tell me, have you had the top and bottom tank off? Did you clean it out? Just driving around the city will block it up to 40%.

  2. That is what happened with my Vitara…Mechanic is a genius…rodded it out…even though it was only 10% blocked, that is what was causing the problem.

  3. I’m sorry Hamo but I laughed my head off when I read this. As the lady of the house would say: only a man would design a car with aircon that goes off when it gets too hot.

    Moral of the story: avoid mechanics without internet access. Glad to read you are otherwise enjoying some spectacular country out there.

  4. The solution is obvious Hamo join the blue rinse set, travel at no faster than 60kmh sitting squarely over the while line ( so you can aggravate everyone)and pray that wolf creek is nowhere on the horizon.

  5. Maybe Nissan just don’t want people to drive their vehicles too hard?

    My ’86 Nissan Pulsar’s engine would often die suddenly after running at high speed for 2 hours … then revive after half hour of rest. It happened regularly on country trips, at inconvenient moments, and some rude words may have leaked out of my mouth. Mechanics changed various parts including fuel filters and ignition coil, and scratched their heads a lot, to no avail.

    Then I found a mechanic who’d come across the same problem in that make, model and year. Apparently the fuel pump, when too hot, would block the fuel and make the engine stop (and stay stopped, until the whole lot cooled). He changed the fuel pump, and it’s been fine for the 20 years since then. Even did an Albany to Perth trip non-stop on a 42 degree day with no probs.

    It was so frustrating that nobody else knew of the fault, but at least back then, with no internet, it was more understandable.

    By the way Hamo, i’m enjoying your trip (vicariously) and appreciating the updates. Hope you can find some decent coffee somewhere!

  6. Never seemed to have problems with my aircon in the Kombi hey. Just wind up em up and down. For extra punch a $2 water spray bottle does wonders.

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