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Nissan Pathfinder Transmission Problems



  • Hello all,
    As stated in my previous inquiries I been a victim of the transmission/radiator problem. My car eventually died out and was never able to recover from it. I have experienced the no crank/no start problem and had NISSAN TECHNICIANS claim that it was a ECM issue and wanted me to pay $1500+ to have this service done. THEY ARE WRONG. For those experiencing this problem it is a TCM problem because of a flooded valve body. I payed the copay of $2500 and had the radiator/transmisson and the valve body replaced (part of transmission) and sure enough the car started normally again. THIS IS NOT A ECM ISSUE. Best of luck with you all!
  • I recently posted a question about my moms 05 Pathfinder's transmission going out, finding antifreeze in the transmission fluid etc. Thanks for the replies to my post I appreciate them. I now have a couple questions in reguard to the extended warranty. Was this something that she got when she purchased the vehicle or was it issued later? Should she have paperwork on it or? Once again I know I am sounding like a compleat idiot and again, pretty much am in this instance. She can't find the paperwork from when she bought the the car and I don't really know how much/what paperwork I'M now looking for or if I even need to be looking for something on it. As before, any info on this will be greatly appreciated.
  • can anyone tell me if they redesigned transmission and radiator so the more recent 2011-12 Pathfinders will not have this problem? Have they installed a secondary transmission cooler now?
  • Has anyone experienced issues after having the radiator replaced, the transmission repaired/replaced, and an external transmission cooler added? Here is my experience and I certainly wish someone with transmission experience would weigh in…..

    I had an external transmission cooler added that was designed and classed for the size of the Pathfinder transmission. All was fine after the addition until we had to hook up our horse trailer and deliver two horses. We had done this several times before, even with more horses involved and had never had a problem. The total weight being pulled was well within the limits of the Pathfinder.

    It was warm spring day, not unusually warm, but a tad above average for Texas. About 30 miles down the road, at freeway speeds, there was a loud popping sound, a lunge forward, then in seconds the forward momentum began to rapidly slow. Before we could move to the right shoulder the vehicle shut off. Once to a complete stop, we tried to restart. The engine would not even turn over. We were absolutely dead in the water.

    We were able to contact a tow truck which arrived within the hour or so. The vehicle was pulled onto the tow bed and taken to the transmission shop that had repaired the transmission. We got a ride home and awaited the verdict. Our thoughts were that the transmission had failed.
    We were surprised when the transmission repair facility called and advised they did not find any issue and the Pathfinder had started just fine and there were no issues with the vehicle. They did run a scan of the computer system and had identified a strange but generalized code that identified that communication had been lost with the transmission control unit.

    We quizzed what it meant by lost communication and was advised that there are several causes, but no definitive indication of the problem.

    We picked up the vehicle and did not have the problem….until; we hooked up the trailer and carried a load of materials to the other side of Dallas. Guess what? The exact same issue occurred stranding my wife and two friends. I called the repair facility, and to my amazement was advised to let the transmission cool off. I called my wife and asked her to take an early lunch if there was a restaurant close by. They did, and one and a half hours later, the vehicle cranked and they were back on the road home.

    We drove the Pathfinder back to the shop. The solution? A much larger cooler was added, one that was nearly 2X the one recommended and sized for the Pathfinder transmission class. We have not had the problem since.

    Has anyone ever wondered why so many more Pathfinders fail while the Exterra and Frontier models, with the same design fail but in combined numbers, don’t even come close to the number Pathfinder failures. Even with the exact part in the design that is responsible for the cross contamination, the Pathfinders fail in a much greater number.

    Here is my question…. Could it be that the part that is failing is just the weakest link (or point) in the design, and in reality the problem is maybe excessive pressure in the transmission that is causing the failure of the part? Excessive pressures within the transmission can cause excessive heat, which is still inherent to the transmission if the transmission is repaired versus being replaced.

    Could the Pathfinder transmission be a bad design? Would the part that is failing simply be a product of the excessive pressure and heat? Can anyone explain why Exterras and Frontiers don’t fail as much as Pathfinders? Can anyone explain why such a larger (oversized) cooler is required to keep the transmission cool?

    We retained the valve body for an autopsy….?? Is the expert from Pennsylvania on this site?

    Oh by the way, what we determined and Nissan service confirmed, when the transmission overheats, it shuts down (fail safe was how it was explained). The reason why the Pathfinder would not start is because the ECM attached to the transmission was telling the ignition system the vehicle was not in park; thus the vehicle would not start. It had to cool off first…..

    Kinda like me…I am way better after I cool off. Nissan seems to have the knack of keeping me from cooling off…. In fact…I find myself many times ‘UNRELENTING’.

    I would love to see comments….??
  • mtnmattmtnmatt Posts: 1
    edited December 2012
    I am experiencing a lot of the same symptoms reported on this issue - improper shifting, etc. and my dealer said the transmission needs to be replaced for about $5,500. Went to another mechanic who educated me a little and said he sees this problem a lot. Unfortunately, I have all the symptoms EXCEPT the milky look of the contaminated antifreeze. The only other visible symptom of my problem is the "molded rubber piston" in the transmission that was reported by the mechanic - not Nissan.

    Has anyone had luck getting radiator and/or transmission replaced for deductible without the milky antifreeze? From the service department at the dealer, this seems to be the only way they will move forward with the warranty extension offered by Nissan.

    Also forgot to mention that I had a problem with the heat in the car in October 2011. Nissan dealer serviced the radiator (flushed, etc.) but did not really fix the problem. Didn't see too many other reports on the forum that mentinoed heat, but wondering if it could have predicted the eventual transmission problem.

    Feedback and comments welcome please.
  • I had a problem with the heat in my 05 pathfinder early on. They gave me an excuse that the radiator cap was loose. Which I know was not true. Charged me over 100.00 to fix the problem. The stories the dealers come up with can be amusing and costly. Last year they replaced my radiator and transmission at no charge. The fluids were not milky but I was relentless with Nissan. This was before Nissan publically extended the warranty to 80,000. Now the warranty for this issue is up to 100,000 miles with copays. You have to keep after Nissan to get results. Call the nissan assist number , open a claim . Keep calling and stay on top of it. If the dealer recently serviced your car and you are not getting anywhere with them . Go higher in the dealership if not yo the top. Also . That stupid survey they send to you after your car is serviced.... Complete that and send it in. If they get a bad survey... They will contact you. Corporate gets on their case when they get a bad survey. Also when having the car serviced at the dealer. Read their interpretation of the problem you are describing. Make sure they understand what you are saying is wrong with the car.
    Don't give up , be relentless, follow through with everything.
    Good luck
  • I wish I read this before I bought my 2013 Nissan Pathfinder two months ago. My Pathfinder stalled and was towed back to the dealership where I bought it from after enduring three hours of waiting time for the wrecker to show up. The engine of my Pathfinder was revving but it was not moving. I was told by the service advisor that there was a crack from the radiator causing the coollant to leak into the transmission similar to what you have described. REALLY??? Nissan is aware of this issue and obviously never corrected it? And, how can this be not a safety related issue? Your vehicle can get stalled in the middle of the road and motorist may not be paying attention and hit your stalled vehicle with you inside it. Isn't that a saftey issue. NHTSA really need to do something about this.
  • dawnma1dawnma1 Posts: 11
    NHTSA are supposed to be still investigating Nissan for this issue, I would file a complaint with the ODI. I had not heard of any brand new Pathfinder doing this, interesting.
  • alisonlalisonl Posts: 30
    Here is the proof that calling into the National Highway Safety Commission is needed in order to gain attention on these transmissions.

    I just flipped my 2 Wheel Drive 2005 Pathfinder on December 30th in Pa. It was a 2 wheel drive, rear wheel and I was not aware of how awful it was in the snow. I am not sure if the VDC worked, I was in 3rd gear on pure snow (they werent plowing) and fishtailed, hit both walls and a car....saved the car, 4 days later, hit a snow drift going about 40,mph, fishtailed, went into snow bank, flipped it. It is now totaled. After this ordeal with the transmission, the bad fuel pump, the failed CD player, the faulty paint job, the bad O2 sensor....I am not surprised that it drove like hell in the snow and tipped so easily. The frame did save me, however, I crawled out alive and not one cut. Good luck with this vehicle. It was a journey with that pathfinder. Amazing learning lesson on cars and corporate companies, how they work!!!
  • I've been looking for another way to get the news out that is big. I found this page and not only is is growing but Nissan is paying attention to it. Not trying at all to stop using this great forum but just another way to push how bad this company is:
  • bmoon1bmoon1 Posts: 2
    I received the settlement letter also. Did I understand it right. That if it had over 100000 miles on it when it was fixed they won't reimburse you at all??? Mine had 131000. If so this is so unfair because its still Nissan's fault no matter how many miles were on it when it was fixed. Should I get my own lawyer? Any advise?? Thanks!!!
  • mona12mona12 Posts: 1
    YES!!! We got our claim forms in the mail today, finally it will be all over!! Eat that Nissan!!
  • katraykatray Posts: 7
    Long story short, this car literally ruined our lives. We received papers today about a class action suit to fill out. Can anyone tell us if this is legit and a way to recoup some of the money we spent on this disaster of a car? It's hard to know who to trust anymore. Thank you, Kathy
  • My wife and purchased a 2007 Nissan Pathfinder with 104,000 miles on it. The second day after purchasing it, the vehicle wouldn't start and we were 2-1/2 hours away from home. After having it towed to the nearest Nissan dealership, some 30-minutes away, the service technician informed us the transmission and engine coolant had mixed causing the vehicle not to start. After the initial cost to diagnose the problem, he estimated the repair cost at $8,000, which probably translates to around $3,000 to $4,000 without all new parts including using the same transmission housing. He also informed us Nissan has had several problems with the issue involving 2005-2010 Nissan Pathfinders as well as other Nissan products during this manufacturing time period. Many people pay tens of thousands of dollars on vehicles every year and expect to vehicle to last more than 48-hours, not to mention being fair in maintaining the vehicle. It is amazing to me how the agencies who are suppose to protect both the consumer and the manufacturers, allow such problems to occur and continue at the cost to the consumer especially when the manufacturers are at fault. And Nissan and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA or "nit-suh") has been aware for some time of this issue. Something as simple as repair and/or re-routing the transmission and coolant lines to insure this issue doesn't repeat. Is that so difficult for Nissan to compute? :mad:
  • Yes, the class action suit is for real and has been settled. It is just awaiting closure in the court in the next few months. I believe if you go the website you will find information on the suit. The paperwork was part of the settlement agreement with Nissan.
  • The papers are legit....
  • My god people~ This is a no brainer... just install a seperate transmission cooler (small radiator)... then there is NO WAY for the antifreeze and transmission fluid to mix. Case solved.
    Now.... if..... you can get Nissan to pay for it, so much the better. But the point is to fix it so it will not happen again. Case closed, just do it already.

    Reminds me of the "nails on the road" story: nails are all over the road... people can't drive...solution: pick them up... or... find the truck that had a box of nails break open and make him pick them up... problem: while you waste time tracking down the offender... your tires keep going flat... so... just pick them up... fix the problem once and for all... and go on with your day.
    Look: these are veryvery good vehicles. Don't let this simple to fix problem "ruin your day". Unless that is your idea of fun.
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