DIY -2nd Gen Front Bumper removal + AC Condenser Coil Guard - Infiniti FX Forum : FX35, FX45 and FX50 Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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DIY -2nd Gen Front Bumper removal + AC Condenser Coil Guard

DIY -2nd Gen Front Bumper Removal + AC Condenser Coil Guard Install

Skill: Medium
Time: 2 - 4 Hours


Half way through the return leg of a long road trip early last December, my AC began to blow warm air. I pulled over at a rest stop and looked under the car and discovered that my AC Condenser was leaking refrigerant all over the lower inner bumper. I drove the car to the dealer the very next morning and they confirmed that road debris had punctured my condenser coils. Unfortunately this was not covered under warranty and they wanted $950 + tax to complete the repair.

After much research I found that this was a common occurrence across all car manufacturers. I found a few threads on pending class action lawsuits against Honda and Toyota for inadequate protection of the fragile AC condenser given the close proximity to the road. I also came across complaints about previous generations of Infiniti's having similar issues as well. It seems the exposed coils are a design oversight.

After some "creative bargaining" and a "friendly" discussion with the Infiniti Master Mechanic and SA about lower grill designs, they decided to do a Goodwill service and I agreed to pay for half the labor totaling $130.

I do a ton of road trips in my FX and did not want to go through this headache again, so I decided to be a little proactive and build my own condenser guard. I came across a number of posts where people have devised their own AC coolant guards, and in one case Toyota addresses the problem with a TSB (see reference links section). Infiniti has also wised up as the more recent models have a Honeycomb grills in the lower bumper. Hopefully they will apply this to future FX's.

As an alternative, you could replace the condenser coil yourself if it ruptures and take your car to an AC specialist to have them recharge the system for a nominal fee, but I would rather just have it protected in the first place. It sucks not having AC on a long road trip...especially when driving through Florida.

Initial Concerns:

1) Reduced airflow leading to overheating - ( I've confirmed that this is a none issue. It has been two months since installation, and the temp is at the same level it was before the mod)
2) Rattle/Noise - so far so good no noise from that area. Install is solid and holding.
3) Aesthetically pleasing - Judge for yourself, I like how it turned out.

Items needed:
- Review and print attached service manual pages -EXT 12 - 15, 31 - 33 (attached below)
- Moving Blanket ( to lay the bumper down on.)
- An extra set of hands ( to help hold the bumper when removing/installing. (I managed to do it alone because I am strong like that )
- GROMMET - 76881-JG00A -$2.99 ( I broke one of these holding the trim because the plastic clip had pretty much crystallized and fell apart when I removed it)
- Commercial Electric Mounting Ties - Military rated for outdoor/high temperature use and UV Resistant. (Home Depot)
- Commercial Electric Mounting Base - Military rated for outdoor/high temperature use and UV Resistant with Adhesive-backing. (Home Depot)
- Metal Grill - Description "2.5 REG METAL LATH - B 722-000", should be enough to do two cars. (Homedepot $6.9
- Black Plastic dip or paint spray - (to blend with the car and give it a factory appearance.) (Lowes, HomeDepot - $4)
- Mechanics Gloves ( because you WILL cut your fingers on the grill without these, trust me).

Tools:
-Automotive Trim Pry Bars (Harbor Freight - $6)
-Sheet Metal Cutters
-Pliers
-Wire cutters
-Screwdrivers - (you will need a Shorty Phillips and regular Phillips)
-10mm Socket wrench
-Flashlight

Lots of patience and a beverage.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg EXT-13.jpg (123.5 KB, 764 views)
File Type: jpg EXT-14.jpg (123.0 KB, 750 views)
File Type: jpg EXT-15.jpg (123.7 KB, 740 views)

06' FX35 RWD, Black Obsidian, Graphite Leather / Aluminum - turned in
09' FX35 RWD, Black Obsidian, Graphite Leather / Black Lacquer, Premium,Navi,Tech,Rear Entertainment.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: DIY -2nd Gen Front Bumper removal + AC Condenser Coil Gu

EXT-33 Bumper Removal - pt.4
Attached Images
File Type: jpg EXT-33.jpg (124.2 KB, 719 views)

06' FX35 RWD, Black Obsidian, Graphite Leather / Aluminum - turned in
09' FX35 RWD, Black Obsidian, Graphite Leather / Black Lacquer, Premium,Navi,Tech,Rear Entertainment.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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Re: DIY -2nd Gen Front Bumper removal + AC Condenser Coil Gu

Steps: 1 of 8

1.) Paint the Grill with Plastic Dip.

- In a well ventilated area put down a drop cloth/plastic/newspaper.
- Lay the grill on something raised so the plastic dip won't dry and stick to drop paper below.
- Measure out the area you want to protect and add a few inch's then tape or mark off this area on the grill.
- Spray each area with two or more coats following the directions for drying time between each coat.
- I left mine to dry overnight.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg PlastiDiptools.jpg (117.7 KB, 684 views)
File Type: jpg Painted Grill.jpg (123.6 KB, 684 views)
File Type: jpg Removebumper19.jpg (121.6 KB, 687 views)

06' FX35 RWD, Black Obsidian, Graphite Leather / Aluminum - turned in
09' FX35 RWD, Black Obsidian, Graphite Leather / Black Lacquer, Premium,Navi,Tech,Rear Entertainment.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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Re: DIY -2nd Gen Front Bumper removal + AC Condenser Coil Gu

Step 2 of 8

2.) Remove Bumper: Review and print attached service manual pages -EXT 12 - 15, 31 - 33

a) Using tape on the bumper mark the area where the Adaptive Cruise sensor is located (If so equipped).
-see attached Pictures for clarification.

-Pay special attention to the left connectors for the fog lamps and front camera (if so equipped) and disconnect these.
-Remove right side fog light bulb or connector.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Removebumper1A.jpg (124.2 KB, 712 views)
File Type: jpg Removebumper2.jpg (123.6 KB, 705 views)
File Type: jpg Removebumper3A.jpg (121.0 KB, 707 views)

06' FX35 RWD, Black Obsidian, Graphite Leather / Aluminum - turned in
09' FX35 RWD, Black Obsidian, Graphite Leather / Black Lacquer, Premium,Navi,Tech,Rear Entertainment.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: DIY -2nd Gen Front Bumper removal + AC Condenser Coil Gu

Step 2 of 8 - continued..
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Removebumper5A.jpg (123.3 KB, 695 views)
File Type: jpg Removebumper7A.jpg (121.7 KB, 698 views)
File Type: jpg Removebumper8A.jpg (123.8 KB, 700 views)

06' FX35 RWD, Black Obsidian, Graphite Leather / Aluminum - turned in
09' FX35 RWD, Black Obsidian, Graphite Leather / Black Lacquer, Premium,Navi,Tech,Rear Entertainment.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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Re: DIY -2nd Gen Front Bumper removal + AC Condenser Coil Gu

Step 2 of 8 - continued..
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Removebumper9A.jpg (123.3 KB, 700 views)
File Type: jpg Removebumper11A.jpg (123.0 KB, 698 views)
File Type: jpg Removebumper12A.jpg (123.3 KB, 698 views)

06' FX35 RWD, Black Obsidian, Graphite Leather / Aluminum - turned in
09' FX35 RWD, Black Obsidian, Graphite Leather / Black Lacquer, Premium,Navi,Tech,Rear Entertainment.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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Re: DIY -2nd Gen Front Bumper removal + AC Condenser Coil Gu

Step 2 of 8 - continued..
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Removebumper13A.jpg (123.0 KB, 697 views)
File Type: jpg Removebumper14A.jpg (124.0 KB, 700 views)
File Type: jpg Removebumper15A.jpg (124.7 KB, 712 views)

06' FX35 RWD, Black Obsidian, Graphite Leather / Aluminum - turned in
09' FX35 RWD, Black Obsidian, Graphite Leather / Black Lacquer, Premium,Navi,Tech,Rear Entertainment.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Re: DIY -2nd Gen Front Bumper removal + AC Condenser Coil Gu

Step 2 of 8 continued
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Removebumper16.jpg (121.6 KB, 714 views)
File Type: jpg Removebumper17.jpg (123.8 KB, 691 views)

06' FX35 RWD, Black Obsidian, Graphite Leather / Aluminum - turned in
09' FX35 RWD, Black Obsidian, Graphite Leather / Black Lacquer, Premium,Navi,Tech,Rear Entertainment.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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Re: DIY -2nd Gen Front Bumper removal + AC Condenser Coil Gu

Step 3 - 6

Fabricating grill:

3.) Cut and mold metal grill to shape around the lower and upper bumper openings.
- Upper opening - trim all excess metal (outlined in red on the photos) as the clearance is small when putting the bumper back on.
- Lower opening - the corners need to be trimmed tightly (outlined in red on the photos) as there is limited clearance between the fog lamp and water barriers.

4.) Clean area around the lower bumper opening with denatured alcohol or some kind of degreaser to remove all the road grime/oil e.t.c. and make certain the area is dry when complete.

5.) Lower opening only (Place Zip tie mounts about 3 - 4 inches apart all around the opening and zip tie the grill in place as snug as possible but not overly tight to distort the metal)

6.) Upper opening only (the grill is held in place by the bolts holding the chrome wave grill in place.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Removebumper21A.jpg (123.3 KB, 686 views)
File Type: jpg Removebumper23A2.jpg (123.0 KB, 680 views)
File Type: jpg Removebumper18A.jpg (124.5 KB, 693 views)

06' FX35 RWD, Black Obsidian, Graphite Leather / Aluminum - turned in
09' FX35 RWD, Black Obsidian, Graphite Leather / Black Lacquer, Premium,Navi,Tech,Rear Entertainment.
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Re: DIY -2nd Gen Front Bumper removal + AC Condenser Coil Gu

Step 3 - 6 continued...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Removebumper20C.jpg (125.0 KB, 692 views)

06' FX35 RWD, Black Obsidian, Graphite Leather / Aluminum - turned in
09' FX35 RWD, Black Obsidian, Graphite Leather / Black Lacquer, Premium,Navi,Tech,Rear Entertainment.
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