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Nissan Pathfinder Transmission Problems



  • boonissan

    When you say there were no signs until it was too late what was too late? Did you stall out? I am experiencing the same studdering issues between 40 & 60 mph I also have the whining sound which started first. This has been going on for a few weeks now. I would like to get as much info on this as possible. If I have to bring my pathy in soon then hopefuly a fluid flush will fix the problem but as I read through all of the posts I can see that it may be much more than I can afford.
  • gunblupathy,

    When I stated there were no signs until it was to late. I meant that the truck started downshifting. I also experience the truck not moving without pushing hard on the gas when I stopped at a traffic light. This started about a week before I took it into the transmission shop. It wasn't happening very long. That's the first signs that anything was wrong with the transmission. The truck has been in the shop now for a week and half. So far they replaced the transmission, radiator, pump and now some electronic wiring. I would have thought there would have been some warning sign with the leak in the radiator. From what I understand the leak cause the antifreeze and the transmission fluid to mixed. So the truck did not overheat or did the antifreeze level ever read low. The only way they can tell if the fluids are mixing is by the color. This leak cause an extreme amount of rust throughout the transmission and beyond. The shop can't believe I drove it as long as I did.I would take your truck in asap to have it checked. Maybe you can save yourself from as much damage as I had.
  • xtierraxtierra Posts: 55
    i read a post on either under pathfinder or xterra.... one tech mentioned that a batch of the radiators on 2005s had a defect. thus causing the internal leak into tranny.

    i have been checking my tranny fluid every week just in case, since i cant afford to replace a tranny. i am at 107,000 miles.

    person that posted the tranny/radiator problem was a female driver with no off road time on her nissan
  • vehicle jerks left when i let off the gas and the right when i step on it. once i reach cruising speed the vehicle will jerk left and right violently.
  • I just want to know if anyone has had the same problem, I can't seem to figure out what it is. I had a four wheel alignment done and I'm thinking of replacing the shocks.
  • It has been my experience in automobiles, that radiators seem to start leaking right around 100,000 miles. (plastic radiators) Although the internal cooling coils for the transmission fluid may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, open your hood occasionally and smell for a sweet smell. EASY indication of a coolant leak. I don't know what the tranny cooler in those radiators are made of, mind you, but a radiator is sure alot cheaper than a transmission! Good luck!
  • How can your transmission 'jerk left'? Are you talking about steering? How many miles?
  • Well, $4,000 dollars and a week and a half later I have my newly "rebuilt" transmission. If you are having this radiator problem being described your transmission will be ruined and need to be replaced or rebuilt. I have had it done for about 3-4 weeks now and just yesterday I noticed the oil leak on my new garage floor. It is going in today for a 30 day inspection to keep warranty up on the rebuild so I imagine they will tighten it up to stop the leak. All in all it is working fine with a few whines and ticks, but it is much tighter than it was.

    Prior to the rebuild it started banging into every gear and on the way to Nissan the OD went out so it was just a matter of time before it would have crapped out. The mechanic told me that it when this happens it gets really hot. The fluid pressure dropped which made the clutches not work properly etc etc. Its a bad deal really.

    Anyone have any luck getting Nissan to fork over someting for pain and suffering here?
  • To add another statistic to your wife's case, I too had an identical problem. The only symptom was a subtle shuddering sound at 40 & at 60 MPH. My 05 Pathfinder had only 65000 miles my dealer confirmed that the radiator had leaked coolant into the transmission. My choices were $5400 to replace radiator and transmission, or $1000 to replace radiator and flush transmission, with no guarantee that the transmission would last very long. My dealer made promises to help out, but the help was weak, at best. After a painful, weeklong round of voice mail messages with a Nissan North America "Regional Specialist", whom I was never able to speak directly with, the verdict came back "NO" to any financial help. The best they would do is a extended warranty service plan if I purchased a new Nissan.
    Needless to say, after owning 4 Nissans, I have moved on. I traded the Pathfinder at a $6000 loss, and would find it difficult to ever buy another!
  • medusanmedusan Posts: 5

    we have just had this occur with our 2005 Pathfinder. I was wondering how you managed to get the transmission replaced under warranty. Ours has just hit 61000 miles, was yours under the 60000 mile warranty limit ?

    Shame our Nissan Main Dealer did not know about this - they just spent $1400 on changing the rad and fluid, then found out the reverse did not work - they contacted the Nissan Central Tech Specialist who told them it needed a new transmission - another $4000 - interestingly we also had the fuel gauge sender unit replaced which i noticed is another common problem on 05's !

    Would really like to see if we can get the transmission done under warranty - anything you can provide to help us out will be greatly appreciated.

    Should something like this not be covered under a recall ? :sick:
  • medusan,

    Sorry to hear about your Pathfinder. I was Not covered under warranty because I was at 92,000 miles. I believe that this problem is just starting to occur to most Pathfinder owners. It seems the radiators are breaking down at or near 80,000. I would fight with Nissan about having yours covered. The problems probably started before your warranty was up and since there was no way of knowing that there was a problem until it was to late you might be able to get it covered. Tell them that this is a problems that is starting to occur to a lot of 2005 Pathfinder owners. Good luck. The transmission shop has been working on my pathfinder now fo 5 weeks. There was so much damage. It went into the electronic too so we're dealing with that now. I am hoping to get it back soon. I am going to start writing and calling Nissan once I have all my paperwork together. Who knows maybe they'll eventually do a recall.
  • danscdansc Posts: 4
    Now you guys have me worried!

    Just today my 2005 Pathfinder started not shifting into reverse unless I rev the engine up, then it will suddenly grab and lurch backwards... so I started googling "2005 pathfinder reverse" and found this thread.

    I found the dipstick and checked the level this evening and it is full up. What color is the ATF fluid normally? Mine is a brown/golden brown color, there isn't any smell or rust or burning coming from it. In other words, is there any way for an average user to figure out if there is coolant leaking into the transmission fluid?

    The only thing going in my favor is that I only have 57,100 miles on the rig, so I "should" be covered under warranty - any thoughts or suggestions on how I should approach the dealership on Monday to get this properly covered and not denied if they determine that I have the dreaded "radiator failure that killed the transmission" issue?

    The reluctance to shift into reverser is my only symptom to date.

    Many thanks, I'll keep the forum up-to-date as I go through this process.
  • almattialmatti Posts: 164
    This is a follow up report to my post in March. After pinpointing the source of the vibration/shuddering at 40MPH + to a bad U joint in the front drive shaft, the mechanic also said: I think I hear something in the transfer case itself, not completerly sure"...When the drive shaft was taken out (no more 4 WD only 2WD ) the virbration was gone. I saw the 1 bad U Joint. I decided to replace both U joints on both drive shafts. When they re-installed the front drive shaft, WOW the virbration was WORSE. Why: The clutch in the Transfer Case is bad. So after spending $650.00 now I find the mechanic (who really knows Jeep systems -which fail quite a bit), actually wasted my money. He did offer to try to obtain a Used X-Fer Case and install it at a reduced price to make up some of the mis-diagnosis. That would be another $800-$1000 using a Junked PF's X-FER Case. That'll teach me to deal with a 4WD "truck based" vehicle - 8years old, 114K miles, Japanese or not, there is still Planned Obsolescence in place. The Manufacturers don't want you to keep a vehicle for 5+ years without major repairs or costs. get a new One is the Mantra. Now my PF will be a money pit. Bye Bye Pathfinder.....
  • medusanmedusan Posts: 5
    So the first signs we had was exactly the same issue - put the lever into reverse and then nothing happened - then it would grab and lurch - next it started doing this in the forward gears.

    I checked the fluids and could spot no wrong - i had the transmission fluid changed just before christmas and they saw nothing wrong with it then.

    good luck - make sure you dealer puts a call in with Nissan USA and try and get it covered under warranty.
  • medusanmedusan Posts: 5
    What was the mileage on your pathfinder when Nissan replaced the transmission under warranty ?
  • Well add me to your list we have just been told by a Nissan dealer in TN. that we have a crack in the radiator and it went into the transmission. To make a long story short we need a new radiator and transmission to cost us 5000.00. Nissan needs to do a recall and suck up the costs! This is crazy.
  • xtierraxtierra Posts: 55
    your tranny fluid should not be brown/golden brown..... i believe you have the coolant leaking into your tranny.... purchase some fishtank plastic hose (4 feet) and stick it through your dip stick to suck out a small amount of the fluid... there has to be a lab that you can send it to have analyzed. for future battle with nissan.

    your tranny fluid should be red. i would say drive it to dealership asap to see if its covered under warranty... take a flat head screw driver and make a mark on your tranny to make sure they replace it if your covered under warranty.

    if your not covered, you might have caught the problem in time.... if nissan does not cover the problem you have 2 choices. having the dealer fix it or taking it to a mechanic that will charge you less.

    i would replace radiator and replace the tranny fluid 2 times over a 2 week period. dont do the tranny flush... but get the shop to do a pump and dump...... 1st have them drain the tranny fluid and fill with amount that was taken out, 2nd have them disconect the hose that enters the radiator on the bottom in front of engine oil filter and turning engine on for 4 to 8 seconds taking 1 quart of tranny fluid out and putting 1 quart new tranny fluid. it should take about 10 quarts.

    once the new red fluid begins to come out of the hose its been drained..... drive it for 2 weeks and check the fluid color to see if you have any faint signs of coolant/ like you see a puddle of water and some gas that has dripped the puddle.... if you see that, then do the pump and dump again to get all the tiny particles of the contaminated.

    i hate to say it but i guess all of us nissan owners need to check the color of our tranny fluid every 2 weeks untill nissan can tell us what batch of radiators where faulty from their suppliers.
  • smokey75smokey75 Posts: 434
    I recommend Blackstone Labs if you want to send a sample of transmission fluid for testing. They'll tell you if there is any coolant in it and a million other things.
  • If they tell you your having any kind of transmission issues, I would insist that you have them install a new radiator. The problem I had did NOT lower the levels of the transmission fluid or the antifreeze. They read normal. The only way to tell if they are mixing is to drain them both and check the color. I was told if it is pink then they are mixing but please check with your mechanic on the color.
  • danscdansc Posts: 4
    Ok, I dropped my Pathfinder off at the local dealership service department yesterday and the results are back in today. I was very straightforward and asked about the potential issue of the failing radiators causing transmission failure and that I was concerned that my rig might have that issue.

    Here is the technicians diagnosis:
    "Check transmission fluid level/condition Found fluid to be contaminated/burnt"

    "The technician did determine the transmission has failed & needs to be replaced. The failure was a result of the fluid itself & not a contamination from the transmission cooler lines in the radiator. This is good news as it is a slam dunk to order up a replacement unit."

    So, I did not have the failed radiator issue and since my rig only has 57,200 miles on it Nissan is replacing the transmission for me at their expense under the original factory warrantee. I should note that I am the second owner on this rig, I’m glad that Nissan’s warrantees follow the vehicle and not ownership.

    I now have a new car maintenance rule: Check the color of the automatic transmission fluid at every oil change. I drive this rig a lot (1,500-2,000 miles per month) so if the transmission hadn’t started exhibiting problems for just a few more weeks I would have been on the hook for a $4-5,000 transmission replacement, ouch.

    Now I need to try and find out if they have identified the batch number(s) on the failed radiators and double-check to make sure I don’t have one so that it doesn’t become an issue down the road!

    Many thanks for all of the comments and information shared on this forum, it really helped me prepare before going to the dealership to have them address my vehicle problems.
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