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Nissan Xterra Manual Transmission Problems



  • 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?
  • gfggfg Posts: 5
    A post in April suggested trying a Tribco ( Kevlar composite clutch. I am still amazed that Nissan won't acknowledge this obvious defective design and take ownership for a better design upgrade at their expense. Mine was replaced by a dealer with the weak OEM design. Many who post their failures say their dealer won't replace under warrantee (clutch and brakes are excluded from the warantee), and a typical replacement charge is $3k or more. My '08 X is my first and last Nissan product, and will be sold soon. I feel I have been royally screwed by this company, and will be out many $k by having no choice but sell it and take the depreciation hit. I also feel guilty in selling it to an unsuspecting buyer, but hope that someone has the means to start a class-action lawsuit in the near future.
  • I have a 2008 nissan frontier 4x4 6 cyl. quad cab. It has the factory tow package and a 6 speed manual tranny. In the process of towing my 21 foot sea swirl to go fishing ..........twice, the clutch burned out. At 22,000 miles! I have been driving a stick most of the time since I was 16 years old. I am 53. this is unheard of. Of course the dealer stiffed me. said it wasn't covered under the warranty. then they held there hand out and said I owe them 109 dollars to do the diagnostic. To make a long story short, I found a guy in San Diego Ca that makes a SOLID FLYWHEEL AND ORGANIC CLUTCH PLATE. It looks to be an inch bigger in diameter then the factory dual mass pos. and apparently weighs less. I am having Tustin transmission do the work. Screw Nissan.
    The outfit in S. D. ca. is called Jim Wolf Technology. They specialize in Nissan. They are the only one I could find that was up to speed on the late model nissan frontier. After shipping and taxes they charged me 1,043 bucks for the flywheel, clutch and pressure plate, throwout and pilot bearing. one day shipping. tustin transmission will install it for a little over 550. That is under 1600 bucks as opposed to Nissan putting their pos in there for 2250 plus tax and it going out in another 15 thousand miles. Nissan is cutting their own throat, slowly.
  • gfggfg Posts: 5
    Welcome to the club, unfortunately. I assume your Frontier has the same 6-speed and under-designed clutch as the Xterra. None of the posters here who have experienced premature clutch failure (averages 20k miles) on this site have stated they do anything but average driving, yet most have been stiffed by Nissan. Nissan fails to take ownership for a clearly defective design, and doesn't offer an improved clutch design even at the owner's expense. Since they are suffering financially as a company, it will likely take a successful class-action lawsuit to force them to have a silent recall or repair campaign, which would take years. Other than selling our Nissans and taking a big hit on the first years depreciated value, finding our own solution is the only other option.
    This is why I truly appreciate you taking the time to provide the info you found on an improved clutch/flywheel set. I expect my wife's Xterra factory replacement clutch to fail again in another 10k miles, and plan to contact Jim Wolfe Tech to possibly secure a replacement set to have on hand. Thanks.
  • Tustin transmission should be just about done installing the solid flywheel and organic clutch I bought from jim wolf technology. However, I think I will wait till tomorrow to pick it up. Veteran of socal rush hour driving! I will post my impressions of its drivability when I do.
    If there are any negative impressions of the saviour parts I will not hold back on my coments. Tustin transmission is going to box up the oem pos and give it to me after they have taken it out. I fired off an email to bar, bureau of automotive repair complaint department. I suggest anybody else with this problem do the same.

  • Well, I got the truck back. It is a little different to drive. Kept the dual mass flywheel. The mechanic said that they can be resurfaced if you know what you are doing. Any ways the feel is much more direct. The clutch grabs much quicker. There will have to be some muscle memory adjustments on my part but I don't foresee any big problem.
    I equivolate the dual mass flywheel with off set golf clubs to compensate for a duffer slice. Bought some of those clubs one time and immediately started hooking everything. Plus they were cast instead of forged and so I had about 2% feel of the golf ball at impact. But......, I guess the proper way to relate what this new set up feels like is to wait a spell and when my muscle memory has caught up, post a note for you all.
  • So after having my clutch go 3 weeks ago ('06 Xterra 4x4, 33.5K miles) I did some searching on the net to see this is a growing trend. This is my 2nd Xterra manual, first one was an '01 4x4 (90K+ miles with original clutch) which i traded in for the '06. Despite a 4x4, this vehicle has never been taken off-road or beat up in any way. Nissan service at the dealership could not believe it went this quickly and have never seen this before...although after taking the clutch apart they said it was considered "normal" wear and tear so the Warranty would not cover this.

    After spending $1500 to get it fixed (new clutch & resurfaced flywheel) while Nissan Consumer Affairs "researched" my complaint and to see if they would cover this under warranty, I finally received a call today to say after "careful" deliberation with their staff that they were not going to cover it.

    I still have my burnt out clutch and other parts from the incident and plan on holding onto it in case a mass forms to move towards a class-action suit.

    This is absolute BS in my mind and I know Nissan has definitely lost my business permanently (was actually about ready to purchase a Nissan or Infiniti vehicle for our second car).
  • I have 16,000 miles on my 2008 exterra and the middletown NY nissan dealer said that the clutch is burnt. The flywheel is burnt. I been driving 30 years all my clutches have lasted 80,000 miles to 120,000 miles. There is a problem with the clutch. They want over 2,ooo to fix it. I called the 800# the (girl) says they will look into it. She calls me back with the same information that the dealer stated. NO Help. I did not pick up the car yet. I am calling the attorney General and all news programs in reguards to this inferior product.
  • Dam; I thought I was the olny~1
    with 2008froner 10k.000 miles

    clutch~flywheel;Aside from warranty issues!
    besides wanting to extort $1,600
    I happen to go thru the same regional denial!

    It must be pre~determine and they are in
    koo~hootz b/the tech.!

    As my little pakistan women friend would say..
    "what to do? , what to do?"
  • I feel happy to know I'm not alone but PISSED knowing this is ongoing with Nissan not doing anything...

    I have a 2005 Frontier V6 Nismo which I baby... it only has 30,000 miles in these 4 years. I've been driving 13 years now, all of which were on Manual Transmissions. I have NEVER had clutch problems before...

    The clutch in the Nissan is absolutley horrible. No holding power what-so-ever. I roasted it once off road, once in San Francisco, and just recently it failed on me last week driving up a driveway with (gasp) 400 Lbs in the bed... stinky burned clutch and horrible noise...

    I'm gonna do the job myself and get the flywheel resurfaced... Has anyone switched to a Daikin/Exedy clutch with good results?

    Now If they would just fix my leaky rear axle seal.....
  • grubzgrubz Posts: 2
    Daikin/Exedy is the OEM supplier so you'd be getting teh same bad part. went doen that road too as mine burnt up last year and there were no aftermarket clutches available at teh time. JWT makes a clutch now, as does Centerforce so at least you have options. MY mechanic just went over teh flywheel with emery cloth and said it was fine. As long as you really baby teh clutch once it starts slipping you shouldn't warp teh flywheel. Also it's not an aluminum flywheel as some have said. it's steel as i had him check that.
  • mysportmysport Posts: 19
    Just waiting for the clutch to go again on the '06 4X4....hopefully can unload the pos before then.....
  • Ask the AG if he/she is aware of any class action suit. I would join one for sure. I have been damaged to the tune of $3,000 with the exact same issue.
  • I have a 2002 Xterra 2wd & I've never had a problem with the clutch & I just passed 128k miles. I was reading all the previous posts. Was this just a problem on newer models or have I just been lucky? I was searching the net for info on how much it would cost to replace the clutch since it's starting to "pop" at me & I don't want to break down with my babies in the car. (mom of 2 kids under 2 years old here).

    I'm in the DFW area. How much have you guys been paying for the dealership vs off-site shops to replace a clutch, parts & labor?
  • The concern ONLY effects the mark II xterra APPARENTLY!! thats why a lot of us are so irritated. We are being told it's wear and tear yet coincidentally we are all linked by the same model.I asume you have a manual? I am continuing to document cases, yours is a good one because it isn't a problem on a mark I xterra.
  • I've actually had this exact same problem with my '08 Frontier. I began having problems with my first clutch at around 13000 miles but was lucky enough to have the dealer replace it. Now i'm sitting at almost 27000 miles and my clutch completely burned out on me again. My cousin manages the shop i took it to this time and said it looks like the clutch is shredded in there. Totally destroyed. Nothing left of it. On top of that, the flywheel has to be replaced too for a total of about $2000 for the repair job. Only this time the dealer doesn't want to do anything about it. 2 clutches in 27000 miles is just ridiculous. I've been driving a stick for 8 years now so I know it's not something I'm doing. Obviously I am less than happy about this...
  • If you check the blogs 13k is a significant number i was 20k (miles) but heavy long distance. I am not letting this go. post to my e-mail Check this hydraulic adjustment rod - let me know. I used to drive stick across the desert when i was 12 now I am 42. so spare me the wear and tear Mr Nissan.
  • I have put several thousand miles on the new clutch and flywheel from Jim Wolf Technology. It definetley took some getting used to. I think I would have preferred a 5 speed manual to tell you the truth. Any ways I like it now. I only hope it last at least 75,000 miles. If anybody finds out about a class action suit, I am in 100%. I can't wait to take a chunk out of Nissan. Probably inbetween lattes and plane flights their CEO makes decisions based on bean counter numbers and hence Japanese quality and philosophy is taking a back seat. That is just my suspicion. Don't get me wrong, I like my truck but my gut does not trust Nissan at all.
  • asaasa Posts: 359
    In what way does the Jim Wolfe Technology clutch feel different than the Nissan factory unit? I think the components are lighter.
  • With the new jtw clutch installed in my nissan frontier it is a much more abrupt and sensitive stick shift experience. It grabs quicker. It is not as easy to drive as before with the dual mass fly wheel.
  • asaasa Posts: 359
    That's a shame. Maybe when it wears a bit, it'll be a bit less grabby? Well, at least you ought to gain some durability as a tradeoff. Good luck with the new set up.
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