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Nissan Quest 2004+: Problems & Solutions



  • plashenickplashenick Posts: 165
    I agree with you that you should not pay $30k and have trouble out of the box, so to speak. I was furious with the failing audio and a power-sliding door that would not close.

    The down-side is that they have the law, somewhat on their side. If the letter of the law says that they need three failures, then a final chance then stick to the letter of the law. It does not say they must repair it, but "attempt" to repair. I learned that if you bring it in - with an actual problem occurring, they never take your word, and they cannot do anything except say to bring it in next week then that is a failed attempt. Magnuson-Moss covers breach of warranty, which is a federal issue, not a state lemon law. Check out for links to repair complaints and lawyers in your area.

    If the lawyer does not charge (even a contingency) and only collects from the manuf. if you win then what does it cost you. The lawyer will not look at a hard-win case since it is not financially prudent for her / him to proceed.
  • I didn't even mention that I also have the failing audio, that happened the second day I drove the sound from the stero. It is such a rotten feeling when you have two problems that are random and do not duplicate...ugh! At the hearing they acknowledged that they now know about the audio and would fix it. Our other complaint has been the A/C...if it is over 85 degress outside the car takes a very long time to cool, it isn't broken but it isn't great.

    I took the van in last week, one for the audio to be replaced and also to report the awful gas mileage/transmission problem. I've been told by a lawyer that if they don't attempt to fix it since they can't duplicate it that is not a failed attempt. In fact the service rep did not get a reply from Nissan as to why we might be getting 11 mile/gallon. So...while I am attempting to get my "4" failed attempts I'm not sure if I have a strong case or not.

    The dealer has witnessed the problem the second time it happened, when I drove it straight in. In fact, at the hearing the Nissan rep tried to distance himself from that saying, "well we really don't know what was going on with the car, the service rep is not a technical person and so we don't really know what the car was or was not doing" You better believe I was all over that, not angry but I firmly stated, "Nissan offers me a service representative to communicate my problems, if Nissan has or had another route that I should have taken it was not obvious to me...I took my service rep on a test drive because that is your policy"...We then got the service rep on the phone and he backed me up.

    Thanks for the link, I will take a look. I will need an attorney, I'm just not optimistic they will take the case.
  • The didn't that the site name?
    thanks, Tara
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,328

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  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    Is there another Nissan dealership in the general vicinity? Perhaps another dealership would be customer focused enough to investigate your problem and stand by the Nissan product.

    It seems as though your present dealership doesn't understand the vehicle well enough and isn't interested enough to track the problem down and earn the kudos of the corporate tech team.

    This could be a growing problem with increases in complexity across makes, where dealerships must replace complete sub-systems at high cost to ferret out nasty problems.

    I'm glad my van doesn't have so much automation.

    Does Nissan have Regional Reps? How much research did you do?

    I'm an engineer, and it sounds to me like either your van has some badly designed software which hasn't been properly debugged prior to being fielded, or you have a faulty transmission control module or sensor or the like.

    If the former, you would expect many many people would be reporting the same problem. So maybe your issue is a faulty module or wiring or sensor. And unfortunately, they probably can't debug that because the problem is not frequent enough, and would only report a problem when there's a problem present (and if the SW was designed well enough (ha ha) to fink on itself...

    Did you search your problem at the NHTSA website? ch.cfm

    or otherwise have you posted the problem?

    I'm not sure I know what I'd do in your situation. But one would think the only scenaro which would work out well would be one in which the dealership worked with you to resolution.

    Good luck.
  • Thanks...there are similar problems reported on the NHTSA, exactly the same problem, about 8 reports total. I did call mine in but it hasn't been mailed to me for confirmation, I should check on it because it has been a couple months. In fact, there are similar problems reported here on this list.

    I don't know much about how they design these cars but is there really software? That is interesting because when the arbitrator asked the Nissan rep what he thought might be going on he said that since shutting the car down resolves the malfunction then it would be computer related...I loved the fact that they were just talking it out right there in the hearing. How about talking it out with the dealer.

    Which leads to your point...I never thought I had to push the dealer to push Nissan. I just wish I didn't have to demand that they figure out what is going on. I'm in the process of determing if an attorney will take this on, I have thought about writing Nissan and formally asking them to get to the bottom of this problem.
  • plashenickplashenick Posts: 165
    But if the issue is that you have a $30k paper weight and are not getting satisfaction speak with an attorney that does not charge. No cost to you but paperwork, do not fool yourself Nissan has spoken with theirs and has setup procedures on how to deal with issues like yours. You don't think they come into a hearing without preparation? I do not mean to insult, but the only way that customers can truly be treated fairly is for us to demand respect
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    I definitley sympathize with you. it reminds me of the Mazda MPV transmission issue so many people on the MPV board were complaining about last winter. It took Mazda about 4-6 months to figure out what was going on and that was a more widespread issue then this. It is very well that Nissan does not know what is causing your transmisison to act this way and since it does not happen regularly (once every 6 months if I remember right) it's even harder to diagnose. I doubt you want them to start replacing parts or even playing around with the software if they have no clue what is going on.

    I re-read your post, what model Quest do you have? and how many miles have you driven? Also based on what you wrote about your husband's experience with this "problem" it could have been a case of not having the transmission in Drive. I know i had trouble with this if I look at the dashboard instead of the shifter. Just a possibility.

    I would suggest "trying" to make it fail again and note what happened exactly. Plus you need that third time to have any luck in an arbitration hearing. Also try another Nissan dealership as someone suggested.

    As far as gas mileage goes, my Quest S did suffere low gas mileage as well. not as bad as your but below sticker. I have 7400 miles on mine and Ihav enoticed over the past two tanks, gas mileage has gotten better. I'm now averaging 19-20 in mix driving.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    notcol: find out what the acceptable temperature range is for the AC in the Quest? 40-42 sounds right. 46-48 seems a bit warm and the 50 you registered seems too warm. We've had 2 or 3 days of 90 + (and humid) here in NE PA and my AC worked fine. I did have to put it on recirc mode for a bit to get the cabin cool.

    I would be concerned that the freon had to be re-charged in a brand new vehicle. I'm no mechanic but it sounds to me like you may have a leak somewhere and that could be causing your AC to not perform like it should. I would have them check the AC system for leaks.

    Good luck.
  • We have the SL, we bought in Nov of 2003, so the problem has occured two times in 4 months, and we have about 8000 miles right now. When the problem occured we did move it from Drvie to Park, Reverse, etc trying to determine if it was as you described, not in Drive. I agree with you I don't want them replacing parts and messing with the software.
    My theory is that the 2 times are the extreme version of this on-going problem, yet the problem is always present...supported by the poor gas mileage. The car is not shifting out of low gears, perhaps from first to second (?), and guzzling gas. The 2 times it has happened I had the gas peddle floored, believe me we were guzzling gas, and the car was barely moving. It is slipping.
    Thanks for the input...if anyone out there experiencing anything similar please let me know.
    I am talking to a few different attorneys to see which one will proceed. I appreciate all your input, Tara
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    Do you think this person might have a bad transmission, or the gear selector not really in drive? Both seem possible.

    How many speeds are in the SL? How many times should Tara sense a shift-up if all the gearing is working properly? If for some reason Tara isn't getting to overdrive/torque convertor lockup - then maybe the tranny has problems.

    So complicated. I wish they made vans with Manual Transmissions. My wife and I would have bought one.

    I would think if it were to happen again (and you had a cell phone), opportunistically, it would be advantageous to call the dealership immediately without resetting the car if you are not in danger. I would also imagine with them on the phone, one could try various things like taking it to Park, then Reverse, then back to Drive, etc, but with the Dealership on the phone recommending the next thing to try...

    However, if Tara has not spoken with a regional rep - maybe Tara should.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    If you have the SL, then you have the 4 speed transmission. The poor gas mileage and transmission may not be related. As far as the gas mileage goes, get a small notebook and keep track of your gas mileage based on each tankful. Very simple to do. And do this based on actual fuel usage and total driven miles, not by the dashboard computer. To be consistent when you re-fuel fill up to the first shut off then go to the next nickel. We have about the same gas mileage and I have seen an improvement in gas mileage. Mine never got as low as yours but still lower then I expected.

    So you are having additional shifting problems!!!!! That's a differnt story. Keep track of when these things happen including speed, is van cold or warm, what other electrical items are on at the time this happens, hard acceleration, etc. Then do as user7777 suggests. As soon as it happens, call the dealership and report the problem via cell phone. It sounds like it is a software problem only becuase it does seem to be fine once you turn off the vehicle and re-start it. Cars are so complicated. That was the problem with the Mazda MPV. And there were very similar stories and frustrations to what you are experiencing.

    I would seriously consider having another Nissan dealership look at your vehicle. Also call your regional rep. and establish a working relationship with him/her and not an adversarial one. An attorney can't do anything until it happens one more time. Time is on your side. Lemon law is one year and you have the 5 yr/60k mile warranty. So either way Nissan is obligated to fix it.

    Good lick with the van and keep us up to date.
  • dkiwondkiwon Posts: 15

    could you tell me more about the symptoms that led to replacing the bad strut in the back? i have a rattle that comes from under the car towards the back whenever i go over a bump (there's no noise from inside the car with the windows rolled up - but if you roll down the windows and go over a bump, you can clearly the "tick-tick" when going over a bump). is that what you were hearing?

  • dkiwondkiwon Posts: 15
    I know some people have mentioned that the A/C seems pretty weak in the Quest...I have the Quest S with 11000 miles (1 transmission replaced, door rattles fixed, 3rd row seat clunking, rattling from under car by rear wheels, etc, etc).

    I have a question about normal A/C behavior - mine seems to be cooling well enough except that you know how you hear that "hissing" noise whenever the A/C cooling part kicks in (sorry for the non-technical description)...mine seems to be kicking in every 15-20 seconds or so. In other words, you'll hear it kick in, then slowly fade out (and it is distinctly cooler), then a few seconds later, you hear it kick in again...and the process continues.

    Does this seem normal? Are others experiencing the same thing?

  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    I was driving our Quest S yesterday from Easton to Philly then from Philly to York then from York back to Easton... long day. The A/C worked fine. The temperature varied from 82 to 90 with 96% humidity the entire time. I dd notice that the A/C definitely cools better when the vehicle is moving as oppose to sitting still in gear or idling.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,328
    That would make sense in a vehicle such as yours. Compressor pumping faster, etc. I presume you use the reciculating function most of the time and then periodically switch to outside air/AC to refresh the car's interior air quality?

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  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Surprisingly, I had it on fresh air the entire time except the first few miles. With the humidity that high I thought I would need the recirculation mode as well.

    This is why I think notcol problem could be a leak somewhere. To lose freon within the first 2 weeks of owning the car is strange.
  • notcoolnotcool Posts: 11
    dtownfb:The real problem for the AC in the Quest is Nissan's specifications range. I don't have the specs in front of me now but recalling from memory; If the outside ambient air temperature is 100 degrees then a vent temperature of 70 degrees or below is acceptable. With an upper limit that high, any A/C system can meet this. It's sad but true especially when my other two vehicles can push out 40 degree vent temperatures at 110. When I get home I can post specification sheet that Nissan gave me.

    My Quest has been in the shop 4 times and the best they can do is 45-50 degrees with an outside air temp of 95 degrees with humidity at 15%.

    1st time: Freon was undercharged. A/C system was evacuated and refilled with 1.98lbs of freon. They added UV dye to the system and check for leaks and none found. A/C was blowing a little cooler.

    2nd time: Vent temperature ranges from 50 to 60 degrees. Took back to Nissan and they check the pressure & for leaks. They said that they could not find anything wrong and the system was operating to their specs.

    3rd time: Driving around with my wife and 6 month old twins and said this is just not right especially when the kids cannot cool down in their car seats. My neighbor has a 2004 Honda Ody and her A/C system vent temperature is 40 degrees vs. my Quest at 55 degrees. Side by side comparison at the same time. A/C systems are not new and "out of the box" this should be performing better. Took back to the dealership and they verified the 55 degree vent temp. The service manager and I took two other Quest for a test drive to compare the vent temps. Guess what...each one was at 50 to 55 degrees. He suggested to call 1-800-Nissan1 to file a complaint. While I was in the service area, another Quest owner came in and had the same complaint.

    4th time: 1800Nissan suggested to take to another dealership for a second opinion. The second dealership verified the 55 to 60 degree vent temp and consulted with Nissan Assist techs. They mentioned that the Quest A/C system is very sensitive to freon pressure. The techs adjusted the freon pressure to 28 on the low side and 225 on the high side and got the A/C vent temp to 45 to 50 degrees. I told them I'm back where I started. They said this is the best they can do and besides the vent temperature is well witin spec.

    The service manager also told me that they probably didn't design this A/C system with AZ in mind. Summer is here in Arizona (100 to 110 degrees) and in other parts of the country, summer is right around the corner. I would imagine other Quest owners may experience the same issue with the sub-standard A/C system. Others may not since the their summers are not as hot as ours. Measure your vent temperatures and file a complaint with Nissan. I have three options: Move to a cooler state (ha ha), try to pursue the lemon law but spec is spec, or sell the quest. Hope this information helps others.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Thanks for the follow up notcol. I will check my vent temperature this weekend to see what number I get. We don't get 100+ temperature here in PA but we do see high humidity which is worst. So far my Quest has handled the heat fine.

    I'm assuming you have the A/c on recirculation mode?
  • samuelgsamuelg Posts: 36
    I wrote about this problem several months ago, and learned a lot since. I have an SL, purchased in Dec 2003.

    The problem is not with the AC. The AC works fine. The problem is the heat. It doesn't turn off! That's right. My van has been to the dealer several times & I have spoken with Nissan corp & had my van evaluated by a local AC shop because Nissan would not fix this problem. The dealer & Nissan readily admit the heat does not turn off completely. There are TSB’s 10006161 & 10006127 on the NTSA site on this problem ( However, this does not fix the problem at all. It is a worthless fix, where Nissan adds two small plastic tubes to attempt to redirect the hot air coming from the floor vents to go into the pedestal. But the heat keeps coming out of the front floor vents.

    This problem is much more noticeable on S & SL models, rather than SE because SE will simply turn on the AC automatically to cool down the hot air. On SL, you will always get hot air, regardless of the temperature dial setting, unless you manually turn on the AC.

    It took me several months to understand the problem because it is confusing & somewhat inconsistent. This forum has had many inconsistent claims by owners that the vans run cool, hot too hot, etc.

    Here are some helpful facts:
    1. There is a heat problem in this model, and Nissan recognizes it. ( 4-020.htm)

    2. A Nissan USA supervisor told me they plan NO other fix because people are not complaining enough about it. Hint: Start complaining to your dealer, Nissan & the NTSA. That is the only way to get Nissan to react. See your warranty manual for how to contact Nissan.

    3. There appear to be two separate problems:
    - The coolant mixing valve going to the heater core does not fully close when the heater knob is turned to fully cool setting.
    - The internal air damper that stops airflow from passing thru the heater core does not fully close.

    4. These two problems exist on all 2004 Quests, to some degree. I know because my dealer confirmed this hot air problem on my van & then checked other brand new 2004 Quest vans on the lot. They all did it.

    5. Of course, turning on the AC will compensate for this problem. But this takes away a lot of AC cooling capacity because you're fighting all this extra heat getting dumped into the passenger compartment. Plus, The AC compressor rarely cycles off because it is working full time due to the extra heat load.

    6. The Nissan supervisor claimed the heat is coming from the engine compartment, hence there is nothing they could do. Several months ago, I would have agreed with him 100%. However, recent testing on my van by a local shop seems to dispute this point. And even if Nissan is right, can't they design more insulation at the firewall to block this heat? Other vehicles don't have this problem...

    7. My local AC shop measured air temperatures coming from the floor vents to be 28 deg F hotter than ambient air, with AC off. That means on an 80 day, there is 108 deg F air blowing on your right foot! He then clamped off the coolant flow to the heater core & confirmed that this vent air temperature went down to 83 deg- perfectly normal.

    With AC on, and coolant flowing thru the heater core normally, the floor air vent temperature measured 63 deg F. When the coolant flow was clamped, the floor vent temperature went down to 48.

    8. In the winter, many people have noticed that the air vents takes a long time to blow hot air. On this specific point, I speculate that the heater core mixing valve is not operating properly, where now it’s not fully opened. This particular detail is an unconfirmed guess on my part.

    Needless to say, I am unhappy with my van because of this problem, and very disappointed in the way Nissan is handling this situation. I am pursuing arbitration with Nissan to get them to either fix this problem or buy back my van thru the Lemon Law. Unfortunately, it appears all 2004 Quests are lemons, unless you live in the Artic. I highly recommend others evaluate their vans per my outline above & notify Nissan as applicable.
  • eyeblindeyeblind Posts: 156

    Your comments are very interesting and helpful
    I have a couple of questions. I wonder if you
    might have the answer.

    1. Does this problem affect the cooling of the upper front and back vents if you only select to have the a/c blowing through the upper vents, not the floor vents?

    2. Can your local A/C shop fix the problem?

  • samuelgsamuelg Posts: 36

    1. Yes, this problem also affects the front vents. However the floor vents were appreciably worse. Specifically, the temperature increases at 80 deg ambient were:
    center: 98
    right side: 97
    floor: 108

    I did not get measurements from the rear vents.

    These represent steady-state after the vehicle was fully warmed up at the AC shop on an 80 deg day. All air vent temperatures went to 83-84 after the coolant hose was clamped going to the heater core.

    2. The AC shop said they could gerry-rig another valve into the system, and run an adjusting wire/knob into the passenger compartment. But were very reluctant to do so on a brand new vehicle, commenting that this situation is "in dire need of correction." Nissan has not published repair specs on this system, so they had no way to determine the root of the problem diagnostically. Their concern is that doing this type of after market repair might void the warranty. They felt Nissan owned this problem and Nissan should address it. Hence my game plan...and recommendation to others.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Samuelg: Great Post!!! This should help out a lot of people.

    How would this affect the AC on recirculaiton mode? Is the hot air cut off by choosing this mode? My air condidtioning seems to work fine but when I have the controls on just Outside air/vents (no AC), the air is warmer then the outside air. I'll check it.
  • ldstaudtldstaudt Posts: 2
    Hi - This past Saturday I was parked in a driveway with a slight incline. I left my Quest running with my two children inside and ran up to the front porch to pick up a package. As I reached the porch my son yelled to me. When I turned around, my van as rolling down the driveway into the street. It rolled across the street and hit a fence and some landscaping. Luckily, another vehicle wasn't coming. When I reached the van, it was in reverse. I know it coudn't have been either of the kids fault. They were both buckled in their car seats. We bought our 04 Quest in March, and have not had any problems before this. Has anyone had a similar situation?

    Today, I took it into the service department at the dealership where we bought the Quest. They could not get it to reproduce this problem . They thought there was the chance that it didn't get fully into park and slipped back into reverse. But I find this strange because it sat for aproximate 15 to 20 seconds before it started rolling backwards. The other possilibly was that the forks in the gears did not get into a locked position , and under the pressure of the slight incline they slipped out. Either way, they didn't find anything they needed to repair.

    I concerned about it happening again. Just wondering if anyone has any suggestions on where to go next with this problem?

    Thanks - Lisa
  • samuelgsamuelg Posts: 36
    Dtown: I don't think the recirculation setting will make a difference-the hot "coolant" is still flowing thru the heater core, and THAT is what's making the hot air....

    Let us know your findings. You hit the nail on the head- I wrote my story to help others better understand the real problem.
  • golden_sgolden_s Posts: 19
    As a safety precaution, you should ALWAYS engage your parking brake when you park your car, it is there for a reason.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,328
    You can NEVER trust the park lever to hold a car in place. If you actually saw the size of this pin that is holding your entire car from disaster, you would never rely on it.

    That being said, it should engage fully, as puny as it is. So there may be some adjustment that could be made just in case the pin is not traveling its full distance to "home".

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  • notcoolnotcool Posts: 11
    Samuelg: Thanks for your post. This information will help in my "Quest" for the lemon law. At this point I have nothing to lose but time. I mentioned the Tech bulletins to my dealership on my second visit and they said that they will not help. Well just one more thing to document to the arbitrator. I like the Quest but this AC problem tarnishes the whole vehicle. I'm with you, either fix the problem or buy the vehicle back. I already filed a complaint with 1800Nissan1 and getting my lemon law paperwork together. Let me know how your situation works out.

    Dtown: My A/C is always on recirculation mode. This is the only way not to sweat as much.
  • plashenickplashenick Posts: 165
    I have had the gambit of issues with my Quest SL; Sliding door won't close, rattles and radio, but the A/C seems fine. I live in Central Jersey and have taken long trips (3+ hours) in 90+ deg. My daughter has complained it gets too cold. My quest was built in Sept. 03 and has about 5500 miles on it.

    Maybe I finally caught a break
  • eyeblindeyeblind Posts: 156
    This could be a long, up hill
    battle to get Nissan to fix it.
    It seems that there aren't many
    Quest owners complaining about
    this problem. On NTSA web site
    I can only find one complaint,
    my own. On MYCARSTATS.COM, same
    thing. Three haven't been many
    in this forum. Do you think people are
    just not recognizing the problem?
This discussion has been closed.