XTERRA QUESTIONS

Help. I recently took my 2004 Xterra in for the 45000 mile service at a local Nissan dealer. My truck had not been serviced at 30000 so i
figured at 48000 I should do something before I really need serious maintenance. Everything up to that point were merely oil changes every 3000 to 4000 miles and the occasional topping off of fluids. There was one occasion where the AC compressor gave out. I could not turn the clutch mechanism by hand so I figured the bearings failed. It was a daunting task but with the help of my mechanic friend and an after market part purchased at Ebay I managed to spend less than $300 for everything not to mention the sweat I put into it.
So going back to the original story, I take it into the Nissan dealer just to get a free inspection and therefore a listing of all the maintenance needed. The final write-up quoted me a price of $1029 which of course I did not agree to. All I had them do was change the front brakes and give me a 4-wheel alignment for around $300. The rest of the work I would do myself.
Here are some of the questions I have:
1. Assuming that they checked all four brakes and deemed the back brakes to be alright in terms of pad wear, why am I suddenly hearing a squeal every now and then? This happens after a cold start when i drive after several yards. Once it's warmed up then the squealing stops.
2. A tune-up was suggested in the write-up. What size socket do I use for the spark plugs and how do you get the sixth spark plug out. It's positioned towards the rear and such that access to it is next to impossible. Besides changing the spark plugs what else is involved in the tune-up for a 45000+ mile service?
3. I tried changing the automatic transmission fluid but I couldn't drop the pan down because the front end of it is attached to an aluminum pipe that seems to branch all the way to the cooling system. Therefore I only managed to change the fluid and not the filter. How do you disengage the pan from this aluminum pipe after removing almost all the bolts around the pan?
4. The write-up suggested cleaning of the fuel-injectors for around $140. So far all I've done was pour a whole bottle of Prestone fuel injection cleaner into the tank. I've noticed some improvement in performance compared to the previous. Is this all I need to do or is there more involved?
5. How do I access the draincock for the radiator so that I can change my coolant? There does not appear to be easy access to it short of reaching up and turning counter-clockwise over a drain pail.
6. Lastly, the write-up also suggested changing the in-cabin micro air filter for some ridiculous amount. How do I access this part for replacement?
All other suggestions would be sincerely appreciated.
Thank you!
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On 11/21/06 1:01 AM, in article snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com,

If all they did was replace the front brakes and it wasn't squealing before, it likely the new front pads are not bedded in yet. Try a couple of hard stops from highway speed (really hard, just short of engaging the ABS), and if the noise goes away, that was it.

What does your owner's manual say? I'll almost bet money that the spark plugs aren't even due.

Can't help here. On my Pathfinder, there is a drain bolt and you don't take the pan off. While its good practice to change the filter, draining and replacing the fluid is going to be good enough at 45,000 miles. I'll bet the dealer was going to use a fluid exchange machine and not touch the filter (ask them).
You need to do it 3 times to actually change all the fluid. The procedure is: drain & fill, run it, check the fluid - if discolored, drain & fill again; repeat until it looks and smells good.

Unless you are having drivability issues, this is a prophylactic service rather than a necessary service. I wouldn't do anything else here.

In my Nissans, it has to be opened from underneath. If that's what you mean by reaching up and turning counter-clockwise, then you've got it.

Behind the glove box. Usually the box has to be removed to get access. If you get Nissan replacement filters, the directions are supplied with the filters. The average DIY'er can do this easily. The filters cost around $30 at the dealer.

The dealers like to pad routine services with a lot of nice-to-have, but not really necessary extras. As a rule, if the maintenance schedule in your owner's manual doesn't call for a particular service, you don't need to do it. The old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" applies.

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