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Nissan Pathfinder Transmission Problems



  • jbarzekejbarzeke Posts: 1
    edited November 2012
    My 2007 Pathfinder developed a high pitched 'whine' within the past 3 months so I decided, as many people do, to come online and see if anyone else is experiencing the problem and ran in to this mess! As a coincidence, I received my Nissan NA notice of the radiator/transmission issue - warranty extension a couple of days ago. It took all three to hit me in the head that I may be experiencing early symptoms but read only one post that complained of 'engine/transmission whine.' I just turned 65k on it and love the vehicle in all other first 'foreign made' car as it would be. I went right out and inspected the transmission fluid which appears fine (no coolant infiltration). I have no other symptoms and have had not one single issue with this vehicle to this point and I am the original owner. So questions: Is this an early symptom of impending doom? Will Nissan make necessary fixes prior to catostrophic failure? Should I pay out of pocket at an independent for a new radiator NOW? All input would be greatly appreciated and I accept that everyone's situation is unique to them...I'm just fishing at this point. Thanks to all and Happy Holidays!
  • Went thru the whole mess with my 2005 Pathfinder--Radiator,Trans. Finally got them to pay for repair/replacement after a year of bickering. They do not stand behind their vehicles. To date they have not officially issued a recall notice. They did supplementary things--ext warranties etc., but not good enough. I got rid of the looser and Nissan and bought a Hyundai Santa Fee in 2011. Best move i ever made. Nice vehicle (6Cyl engine) plenty of room inside. Great acceleration. Only gripe I have is that the Sticker Gas mileage range is a lot higher than I'm getting (14-17MPG vs. 22-28 MPG);but it takes regular gas.
  • sandkon1sandkon1 Posts: 11
    edited November 2012
    First thing you need to do is take it to the dealer and start the paperwork on the transmission issue. Don't pay for anything out of pocket unless you absolutely have to. I had my trans and radiator replaced before they actually extended the warranty. They covered everything including the rental car. The issue I have been having is still the rumbling in the trans at 45mph . Feels like the torque converter but the dealer claims there is nothing wrong after taking it back multiple times. I am pursuing other options on this. As for your whine in the trans. get the car into the dealer and get it noted. As for your car being foreign.. It is made right here in the USA. If it was made in Japan.. we probably wouldn't be dealing with this issue. I have had many Nissans through the years. Love the truck.. am disappointed with the trans issues and how the company handles it. Most likely my last Nissan. They don't care about customer loyalty or satisfying the customer.
  • hello does anyone have a clue why my pathfinder does not start anymore? it has the radiator/transmission fluid problem and now refuses to start. i was told to replace the ecm is this the right way to go?
  • If you have checked the obvious problems. battery, starter, battery cables and grounds on the car and you still can't get it to crank. You need to have a diagnostic scan on your car. Whether you take it to Nissan or another shop. Have it towed. Have them run a diagnostic scan on it. It is probably storing codes. They use the codes to decider the problem. Have a qualified mechanic diagnose the problem. Nissan had a tech bulletin or recall ( not sure which it was) for some of the ecm's also they have problem with the various grounds for the engine. There is also a fuel relay recall. I have been through all of the above with mine. The ground problem started with turning the key and nothing would happen . Then the next time it would start. No all of this was covered butchered are a few things to look into.
    If you just replace the ECM without the proper diagnosis. You may be chasing the problem and could be costly. Take it to the nissan dealer and see what they can find.they know your car better than anyone. Every dealership has one person who handles the difficult diagnosis pronlems. Skid you cn have that person look at your car.
  • check inline fuses..
  • I had it diagnosed by a nissan dealership. They were not able to move further with obtaining codes because of the car not starting. They "recommended to replace ecm ($1400+) and have the keys reprogrammed ($150+)" I bought it to an independent mechanic today and then they could not do anything about it. So i brought it back to nissan dealership and have no other choice but to pay up that 1500+ dollars for an new ecm. Unless you have any other suggestions...
  • The ECM has an in-line fuse. Replace the fuse...if the fuse blows, high probability the transmission has been comprimised. The radiator fluid can short out the ECM. Best of luck.....
  • I recieved a warranty extension notice in today's mail. Nissan is extending the warranty for the radiator/ transmission problem with co pays.
    They extended the original warranty to 8 years/ 80,000 miles with no co pay
    9 years /90,000 miles with a customer co pay of $2,500.
    10 years / 100,000 miles with a customer co pay of $3,000.
    They will have more info at
    If you have already paid for this repair . Call 1-877-208-9275 for reimbursement eligibility.

    Thought I would pass this info along. I received the notice from Nissan North America today.
  • So I have the same prob all of you have and I have fought with Nissan for the past 6mos with no help. I started tweeting about them with the hashtag #dontbuynissan Low and behold they suddenly seemed concerned about my problem LOL! I saw a few others they were tweeting to expressing concern. Maybe its time you all took this party to twitter. It seems to get their attention. When you tweet make sure to send it to @nissansupport so they hear us loud and clear.
    The class action is bogus by the way, why should we pay one freaking dime for their poor manufacturing.
  • Its crap that nissan thinks we should pay a single dime. Thats what I think. Their damn car stranded me on a busy highway I was lucky to get out of the way of oncoming traffic.
  • To all Pathfinder owners!!! Do not wait on this!!! Go to dealer IMMEDIATELY if you have an 06 Pathfinder and DEMAND they replace your radiator!! The problem is not with the transmission. Your radiator WILL FAIL!! Causing your engine coolant and transmission fluid to mix. At about 62,000 miles on my vehile I started getting a "growling" noise from the transmission when attempting to accelerate. The radiator failed causing the two fluids to mix. Hence engine coolant was traveling through the transmission and transmission fluid was traveling through the engine. It COMPLETELY destroyed the transmission. It caused all the seals in the trasmission to fail and it even cracked the tourque converter. Luckily I was under the miles on the vehicle warrarty and Nissan had to install a new transmission and radiator. CHECK YOUR FLUID LEVELS IN THE RADIATOR. If the levels are low but you have no drips or stains on the driveway the fluid is backfilling into the transmission and will cause MAJOR damage. They've installed new equipment but now I'm still getting drips in the driveway because I believe the new seals are not tight. Trust me, don't go through what I'm going through!! I'm very close to getting rid of the vehicle and NEVER going back to Nissan!!!!!
  • We did too but I cannont find any additional info on it, which makes us think there is nothing good about it. Some of us paid between 3500 and 4000 back when this started and now the average it between 6000 and 7500, in our case 6000 to fix the nightmare. We have no doubt that Nissan has come up with a low limit they will pay, on top of us paying the huge co-pay so as the person who just wrote that the class action settlement is crap, we think it probably is. I think the best end result will be a recall. There are tons of complaints going to NHTSA still. But more need to go in, instead of just complaining online. And they need to be related to the safety issues and near accidents, to hopefully force Nissan into taking care of this problem and taking responsibility before someone is seriously injured or worse. As I've been putting out there, there is an ongoing investigation already with NHTSA. Below is where to file a complaint.

    "Just a reminder as to how important it is to report the transmission/radiator problems to NHTSA. Concentrate on the safety issues if you were driving during this occurrence, or even fear of what could have happened if you were in traffic at the time.

    Safety is what creates recalls, which leads to getting the transmission, radiator and anything related taken care of at no cost. And hopefully reimbursement for those of us stuck with these unsafe lemons. The more complaints they get that are safety related the better.

    Also be careful in reporting it to use these components as this is what NHTSA is doing the investigation on. The top two seem to have the largest number of complaints but there are some connected with the engine and cooling system so NHTSA is not getting the full picture of the number of complaints.

    Component(s) :
  • My 2005 Pathfinder the door locks periodically wouldnt work. Then the lights on the dashboard starting coming on and off. I took it to my local mechanic. He suggested I take it to a Nissan dealership because he didn't know what it was. About 5 days later, my Pathfinder wouldn't crank at the mall. I had Mall Security jump it off and it cranked. While it was just idling I had the headlights off and it kept turning them off and on by itself. I went to my parents house and it wouldn't crank. We couldn't jump it off or nothing. I had it towed to a Nissan dealership, Jim Burke Nissan. It took them two days to "figure" out what was wrong with it. They said it was the CPM?. It was going to be 1300.00. They called back a few days later and said that needed to be changed but now they think it is the computer in Transmission!?? It was going to be 8500.00. So of course they told my husband if we would buy a new Maxima we could just not worry with fixing it. The guy told my husband they honestly wasn't sure what all was wrong with it!! So, I had it towed to a Chevrolet dealership. They were the worst people to EVER deal with at Nissan and I will NEVER deal with them again!!! They thought because they couldn't figure out what was wrong with my Pathfinder I would buy a car from them!! ALL I CAN SAY IS DO NOT BUY A NISSAN!!!!
  • To girlygirlm, I had similar problems. It was the ground straps in various places on the vehicle wire harness. The wiring is put into place after the vehicle chassis is painted. There are no burrs to cut through the paint when it is attached to the ground points. So in many places as the grounds vibrate loose they loose contact . They gave to go through and check each ground cable in the wire harness. That may fix some of your issues. I had to pay an hourly rate to get mine fixed. Took about 2 hours. Good luck.
  • I have that same problem. Nissan tried to convince me to spend 1500+ on top of my 2500 copay to fix this problem. They said the ecm needed replacement which I said was not the problem. I refused to pay for something they could not confirm 100%. I HIGHLY SUSPECT THAT IT IS THE TCM based on this video: . I am currently getting m radiator/transmission and valve body replaced hoping that this will fix the no crank problem. Let me know if you find anything different!
  • We received the lawsuit settlement letter in the mail but it's worded no differently than anything we can find online and nothing other than wait when checking on the info they give you. Have you or anyone here gotten any info as to how much Nissan will pay for the after the fact repairs? We aollre concerned that even with the huge copay they will still limit what they will pay back even though it's their Nissan techs charging. In our case we paid a couple dollars short of $6000.00. We are willing to get shorted at this point the $2500.00 but that is it. We are done getting screwed over by Nissan. We still want to see a recall, and concerned too that if we settle we might mess that up if it happens. Never again Nissan!!!
  • Check this out. The document, # 72, answers my question re: whether or not Nissan will be allowed to limit what they will pay on top of the copay. Number 72 in their own words they will not cap the amount when it comes to covering those who have already paid out of pocket, but as with the current suit if you already paid you have a deadline. For those going forward it's a matter of paying the copay and Nissan is capping what the techs charge (duh!). I still don't trust this, and the lawsuit is not settled so I trust the words in the legal docs, but if the suit is not approved by the "fairness" court, I imagine Nissan can cap or do anything they want with what they have sent us.

    Other than doc # 75 I don't think there is anything worth going to Pacer to download that is not on this page. I did go to Pacer and paid to download #75 just out of curiousity as to what Nissan is admitting and not admitting to. The last one is # 77, which is already on the lawsuit page. Second link.
  • Thanks Laura....There still seems to be a lot to happen....hopefully there will be a recall. It is sad to see NNA write so much about how they are going out of the way to do what is right. That is BS. We were denied...even after NNA questioned our customer which we produced not 1, not 2, but FIVE VIN #s of NISSAN products we purchased...all from NISSAN dealers except for 1.You know who I am now..... I will continue to fight.
  • Recently received the extended warranty information from Nissan for my 2006 Xterra with 81,000 miles. I had not had any problems and my coolant was the normal color, but I did not want to have the problem. I called my Nissan dealer to see how much they would charge me to replace the radiator and tranny oil cooler assembly. Their quote was $2,500...the same as my "co-pay" amount under the extended warranty had I experienced a failure. A little on-line research indicated that the actual parts costs totaled $300 - $400. Bottom line--I got a local automotive repair shop to replace my radiator for about $750. I would advise anyone who has one of the vehicles with the potentially defective equipment to be proactive and have the radiator replaced. This soured me on Nissan. As a former owner of two Pathfinders and now my Xterra, I will never again own a Nissan product.
  • 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.
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