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Nissan Xterra Manual Transmission Problems



  • d3363d3363 Posts: 4
    I too am having same issue and would like to know if you have received any positive feedback/answers in regards to this problem with the clutch from Nissan.
    A regional manager is supposed to call me back after he researches with his engineering department before he can answer me if the repair will be covered under Nissan.
  • gfggfg Posts: 5
    I have not seen anything from Nissan (web searches of recalls, service bulletins, etc) indicating they will take any ownership for repair and correction of this defective clutch design. I don't know how to go about reaching someone with responsibility within the Nissan organization. I don't think the dealers have any clout in forcing this to a head; their hands are tied by Nissan warrantee policy.
    If anyone has an idea on how to reach a decision maker in Nissan this would be a start. Or if there is someone out their willing to lead a class action lawsuit I would certainly join. This website is likely just a small percent of owners with this problem who happened to find it, and 6-speed Xterras are a small percent of sales. Does the pickup also have the same Z-based 6-speed/clutch, or the stronger 5-speed clutch? I still feel the Z-based clutch is not designed for the much heavier Xterra and this is the root of the problem.
    I've appreciated the inputs from others on beefier aftermarket clutches, and wonder why Nissan's premature clutch failure repair includes installing the same weak factory parts.
  • rico52rico52 Posts: 3
    My 2006 Xterra Off Road just received a new clutch, flywheel, and transmission from a local dealer under warranty at 40K miles. . I've had a rattle & vibe since around 15K. Dealer finally heard it after multiple visits, and told me it was the transmission. When I asked "are you sure" they said they were, even though when I would barely tough the clutch pedal the vibe would stop. I though it was the throw out bearing. Upon teardown they told me it was the clutch so they ended up replacing everything including the transmission. I guess when mother Nissan is footing the bill they don't care. I've never heard of a flywheel needing replacement with the clutch. Is this unique to the Xterra? After reading this forum, I'm proably going to sell it while it has some value.
  • d3363d3363 Posts: 4
    So your repairs were covered under the warranty?!!! I have a 2007, 32,000 miles Xterra and was told absolutely not!
  • d3363d3363 Posts: 4
    Well, I don't have good news. Finally did hear from my regional manager and of course he kept saying it was a wear item and would not be covered under the warranty, etc...even though I told him of all of these postings here and it was not a driver fault situation, but a inadequate clutch. The Nissan dealership told me it would be $800 to just take it apart to look at it, and then of course the parts would be extra...and to be prepared to pay up to $2000. Which implied to me, they knew what to expect and have seen this before.
    I brought it to a respected mechanic in town and after looking at it agreed that the clutch is not built for a 6 speed, high HP vehicle. The flywheel was also damaged and needs to be replaced. I am supposed to be able to pick it up this afternoon.

    But here is my suggestion to everyone;

    Go to the Nissan website, click on the Warranty tab, and send an email explaining your problem. A regional manager should be assigned to you and contact you directly. You have to have a "file number" before anyone will return your calls. You should receive the file number in your email confirmation. Hopefully if they receive enough of our complaints they have to document it and rectify this problem.
    My plan is to sell it, trade it in and get a totally different vehicle. It is very unfortunate because this is my third Nissan and did like the Xterra very much. But since they will not even consider stepping up to the plate to help a loyal customer, I am ready to contact the local news station also and have the Consumer Guru go after them! Good luck to everyone and if anyone ever hears good news, please let us all know!
  • rico52rico52 Posts: 3
    The repair was indeed covered under warranty. I'm surprised yours was not if you are the original owner. The Xterra is supposed to have a 5 year or 60,000 mile warranty on the drive train. There's no way you should burn up a clutch in less than 75K even if can't drive a vehicle with a clutch very well. Like I said, I'd been hearing the noise & felt vibration since 15K, but my vehicle had ~ 40K when they finally diagnosed the problem and repaired it. I agree with the rest of you folks, that it is a design flaw, but I doubt Nissan will ever own up to it. Too bad, I like the Xterra, but I'm selling it and will not buy another Nissan.
  • Well, the clutch on my 06 xterra started slipping slightly a week ago and now is almost completely shot. Tomorrow I will see how things go with the dealership, I've bough two xterra's from them so we shall see........
  • We'll I began to get the run around at the dealership today, until I mentioned to them I had printouts from this and several other forums describing the exact same problem, then I mentioned the fact that I have a second xterra (loyal customer) and that I just replaced the clutch on my Galant Vr4 turbo at 114k compared to the 29k that is on my xterra X, you guess which one get's driven harder.

    Now they have to call nissan tech support and talk with them, which is sounding a little better than oh go buy a clutch and pay us to put it in, the saga continues. FYI, my lawyer friend mentioned that if they do refuse to warranty it to file a complaint with the state Attorney General, she said she has never had a warranty claim not be honored after the AG's office makes a phone call, hopefully it won't get to that point, we shall see.
  • Well, went in today and was assurred both the clutch and flywheel will be replaced under warranty after the dealer spoke with the Nissan Tech support line. :-D If anyone else experiences this problem drop me a line at I will be happy to try and help you get covered under warranty.
  • asaasa Posts: 359
    I wonder if the actual problem might be in the master cylinder or it's adjustment and slipping is occurring even when the pedal is not depressed. Just food for thought. It seems weird that some of us have had trouble and others not. I hope mine lasts. I'm like you and get long life from clutches -- 240,000 Miles on my Toyota and 180,000 on my Mitsu (blame my wife on the Mitsu). ;)
  • gfggfg Posts: 5
    Mine went out at 20k. First thing I checked was the slave cylinder, and it was all the way back when the pedal was out indicating the pressure plate had full force on the disc. When the pedal was fully depressed the throwout bearing arm had full travel. The symptom was that the clutch didn't grab until the pedal was within a inch of all the way out (the disc was totally worn and therefore thin). With the clutch not grabbing until the pedal was almost all the way out, it slipped more, frying the flywheel and pressure plate.
    You mention some do not have this premature clutch failure. Do you know of a 2006 or later Xterra (with the 6-speed Z-based trans) clutch lasting more miles than the 20-30k typical? All my other car and truck clutches typically last 150k plus, but none are Nissans. The X is also rated for 6k lb towing, and I can imagine the clutch would fail even earlier if used for towing per the factory rating.
    Bottom line is it appears to me that Nissan used a passenger car clutch design (because of the Z transmission they adapted to the X) in a much heavier truck, and didn't bother to do reliability testing in the X. Maybe this is the Renault ownership influence.
  • rico52rico52 Posts: 3
    Woohoo! Congratulations on the warranty replacement. By the way, somewhrere in this thread, someone mentioned their engine over-reving. Mine would do the same. I wonder if this is a common occurance. I finally surmised that the Xterra's must be "drive by wire" meaning that there is a throttle position sensor rather than a direct linkage to the fuel management system. Every other manual trans I've ever driven, the press of the clutch and the release of the gas peddle were simultaneous. when I drive the Xterra this way, the engine RPM does not back off immediately like a direck linkage to a carbureator or fuel injection, but remains high for a few seconds. Right after my clutch replacement, i noticed the same rattle and vibe, just not as bad. Now when I shift, I release the gas peddle, pause momentarily, the clutch and shift and the noise/vibe does not occur. Wouldn't releasing the clutch while the engine was still at a high rev, cause it to drag and therefore wear prematurely? Just a thought.
  • asaasa Posts: 359
    Great point on the engine revs hanging for a moment after the clutch is depressed and fooot is lifted from the gas pedal. Some people have said that it's because of the heavy rotational mass of the VQ-40's flywheel and others have said that it's to reduce emissions. I too have learned to hesitate a moment to let the RPM's die before upshifting. Regardless, it sure does appear that Nissan needs to engineer a solution to the clutch surface and flywheel. I find myself babying mine, which I shouldn't have to do.
  • asaasa Posts: 359
    That's excellent that you checked the clutch take up, slave and thowout action. Your theory on slippage seems spot on to me and some photos I've seen on another website show a great deal of heat discoloration on the flywheel.

    I'll have to get a sense of take up on my truck. I've never thought much about it until now.
  • How would I check the clutch uptake. I have to say that the clutch engagement is much much tighter now with the new clutch, could be because it is a fresh clutch. Before it seemed like you could ease into the clutch nice and smooth, now you seem to have about an inch of pedal travel between no engagement and the clutch grabbing.
  • It would appear that some clutches for the Xterras are getting warranty replacements, yet many of us are expected to pick up the cost. I am documenting these premature failures. I want to here your accounts if they paid out or not. my clutch went a 30,000 km mostly Canadian highway. I am English and have driven manual transmission for 30yrs since the age of 12. How bad is my driving suddenly?
  • kwheelzkwheelz Posts: 1
    Manual transmission Xterra Off Road
    <25,000 easy driving, no off road, but a few dirt roads
    Clutch went out over the weekend, progressing from subtle, slight clutch slipping to complete failure in two days, only highway driving, but weekend stop and go traffic sped up the process.

    Question for the experts: When the clutch completely failed, the car shutdown, no power brakes or power steering? Next day at local dealership, car started right up? Left me in a very dangerous highway situation.

    Service said they had not heard of this issue before, would need to check to see if there was an obvious reason for failure, and then take up with Nissan to fix under warranty.

    What can I expect with a new clutch, another 25K of use? No more Nissan for me.

    Thank you to all that posted before me so that I know this is not an isolated incident.
  • My dealer said this>>
    "Nissan Canada has no reason to believe there exists an inherent clutch problem with the Xterra. There has not been an unusual number of warranty claims attempted or otherwise and also, and more importantly, there has not been an unusual number of parts sales for repairs that customers are paying for."

    2010 will involve 2 new vehicles in my household. neither one will be a Nissan.
  • That is all BS, go in there armed to the teeth with printouts from this and other forums showing there is a problem, and see if they don't start stuttering when they speak. I did just that and they fixed my car that day under warranty.
  • I have a 2008 Xterra Off the Road with 6 spd. I purchased it in March of 2008. In August of 2008 with under 4,000 miles the clutch went completely. The dealer replaced the clutch, pressure plate and flywheel plus bearing. All was fine until last week. With less than 10,000 miles total (5,000 on recent clutch) it went again. I have been driving standard transmissions since the 1950's. I have had some very high performance cars and never a clutch problem. I am the only driver and drive the vehicle very easy. No dune driving. As others have said and I tend to agree I think the clutch is under designed. Clutches should last 100,000 miles +. I am worried that it will just go again in 4,000 miles. Does anyone know of a heavy duty replacement?
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