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Tranny Fail / Timing Chain Job - Dealer quotes, Sound right?
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jiggster1974



Joined: 13 Oct 2014
Posts: 16
Location: Lafayette, LA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 11:15 am    Post subject: Tranny Fail / Timing Chain Job - Dealer quotes, Sound right? Reply with quote

Hey there. I have an 07 Pathfinder that I purchased from a dealer @ 93k miles. (now at just a little over 107k) I knew of the rad/tranny issues at purchase time, so I paid for the aftermarket/extended warranty they were offering (an extra 1300 bucks).

Within a week after purchasing it, I brought it into my local Nissan dealer (not the same one i purchased it from) and did the 90k mile maintenance. I had them replace the radiator as a precaution. Included in that job was also rear diff leak fix, front brake job, tranny flush, electric rad fan. That ended up costing around 1400 dollars.

That was September of 2014. Since the flush, i noticed the tranny delayed shifting from 1st to 2nd gear. Wouldn't shift until 3 or 3.5k rpms. Otherwise it never really gave me any problems. I've checked the tranny fluid every 3 or 4k miles and it's always looks fine.

So recently, maybe 3 months ago, i started noticing the delay with 3rd gear as well, sometimes outright slipping. I drive mainly city and it was really starting to drive me nuts. I decided to return to the dealer as my extended warranty was going out in September. Gave them the warranty info and within 4 hours, was told the tranny was toast (not cross contamination related according the them) and the timing chain was bad. The good news is that an adjustor came out and ok'd a new tranny and the timing chain work.

The dealer then called me back, once they had the parts and were tearing it down and said the secondary chain guides were worn and needed to be replaced, but it's not covered. She sent over an estimate for all non warranty repairs. Does this look right? Specifically the timing chain items.

Here is the estimate for that:
Code:

REPAIR(S)                           PARTS   LABOR
REAR BRAKES                         $89.90   $200.00
6 SPARK PLUGS                       $77.88   $50.00
PCV VALVE                           $19.95 
POWER STEERING RETURN HOSE          $15.33   $100.00
POWER STEERING FLUID                $41.00 
DEDUCTIBLE                          $100.00
WATER PUMP                          $147.28
LOWER TENSIONER                     $88.03 
PRIMARY CHAIN                       $120.67     
SLACK GUIDE                         $54.63 
UPPER GUIDE                         $10.08 
LEFT HAND GUIDE                     $7.13

Total: $1121.88

My question (and sorry for rambling) is, does it look i'm getting a Service advisor who sees a payday? They are not charging me for labor on the secondary stuff since they are already in there.

Also, has anyone else seen a RE5R05A tranny fail, without the rad failing? Or could this be a vehicle that had the failure and was potentially flushed/band aid'd and sold? This will be an extra 3800 dollars total added to the cost of the Pathfinder, when it's all said and done. (with the previous maintenance done) The dealer quoted the warranty work in the range of 7k.

Love the vehicle otherwise. Maybe it's time to sell it. Other than the cats going bad, i'm not sure if i should hang on to it. I can't see putting any more money into, after this.

Thanks for reading and for any suggestions!
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smj999smj
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, as far as the price of those parts, they are pretty much spot-on, MSRP. It's rare to see wear on the chain guides, but it's possible; you could always have them show the parts to you before you okay the job. I would replace the primary chain and tensioner, as well as the water pump, while in there. Since you don't tell us what the shop's labor rate is, it's hard to make a judgement on that, plus you don't tell us what exactly is being done with the rear brakes. Are they just replacing pads? If so, the labor is way too high. Are they removing the rotors and resurfacing them? In that case, labor price is pretty typical. The P/S hose is a pretty simple job and something you can pretty much do yourself, if you are a little handy. The labor for the spark plugs is a bargain by dealer standards; usually you are looking at around 2.5-3.0 hrs.

I've heard of a couple of RE5's failing not due to cross-contamination, but they are pretty rare. Overall, it's a pretty reliable transmission unless engine coolant is pumped into it, for which you can't blame the transmission. As far as what happened in your transmission's past, I can't tell you.
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jiggster1974



Joined: 13 Oct 2014
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Location: Lafayette, LA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the response SMJ.

The brake job does not include rotor resurface. As far as the PS hose, I thought it was a bit much as well. I don't know the hourly rate, but will be sure to find that out.

I did ask them to change the water pump, because they did not recommend that, which is one of the reasons I'm seriously questioning the job. The Primary chain was part of the warranty work and I think that's where the line gets blurred. So many items warranty and so many items on me. It did not make sense that the technician advised to change all the secondary parts, but not the water pump. As far as being handy... Not so much. I'm ok with basic car repair (oil, radiator work, belts, brakes etc). I thought it was weird that the tech didn't advise changing the water pump, in a high mileage vehicle, while it was already being disassembled.

I'll find out the hourly rate and post it here with the the name of the shop, once the work is complete.

Back to the RE50R50A, I don't have the history, but the changes in shifting definitely developed after the trans flush. That's what threw up the red flag for me. Not sure if anyone had seen that happen to another trans, post 90k miles.

I ended up calling the original dealer yesterday and they said they did a flush as well, when they serviced it, before putting it for sale. So two flushes within a couple of weeks. Again... Not sure if a flush is the cause, just posting the experience.

Thanks!
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, it doesn't make sense not to do the water pump at this point, with the chains being removed and coolant drained and the fact that the pump is driven by the chain would make it a no-brainer for me. The secondary chains are the cause of the problem. The links are stamped out, of course. What happened was that after a number of stampings, the part that cut the links would start to wear and not get a clean stamp on the links, which caused sharp edges. These edges are what cut through the plastic tensioner faces. Because the wear on the tooling was gradual, how quickly the secondary chains would cut through the tensioner faces depended on how far down the line the links were stamped. That's why some people have no issues, some have issues at relatively low mileage and some may not have issues until the pass the 100,000 mile mark. This is why the secondary chains must be replaced, regardless of whether they are stretched or not, which most do not. They are often no issues with the primary chain, which is why the TSB does not include it in the repair, but, for my money, I'm going to go ahead and replace that, as well, on a high mileage engine while it's apart.
The flush would not cause any transmission issues IF the proper ATF was used and unless they installed some type of additive to the fluid.
For the rear brakes, have you considered doing it yourself? If the rotors don't need resurfacing, it's a very simple job due to the design of the rear brakes. There is no special tool required to turn in the piston into the caliper. All you need to do is remove the two caliper bolts (14MM wrench needed, IIRC), remove the caliper and use either a C-clamp or a pad compressor and one of the old pads to push the caliper piston back into the bore of the caliper. If you get a descent set of brakes, it'll come with new hardware and lube. Use a flat blade screwdriver to pop out the old hardware and press in the new with your fingers. Lube the contact points of the brake pad backing plate with a little of the supplied lubricant, especially the ends of the pads that contact the abutment clips, install the pads and put the caliper back on. Install the bolts. That's all there is to it. Rockauto.com has a pretty good selection of pads. Typically, I use Akebono Pro ACT Ceramics or Raybestos Professional Series Ceramics. I recently replaced front pads and used the new, Wagner OEx Ceramic pads and have been happy with them, so far.
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jiggster1974



Joined: 13 Oct 2014
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Location: Lafayette, LA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great advice on the brakes!

I called them and asked them to hold off on that job. I will attempt it myself. You've pretty much provided all the details on the job and I'm going to go pick up a manual. Can only be of help, going forward.

The Nissan Tech at the dealer who did the tranny flush (current dealer it's at) used Valvoline Max Life, which i'm assuming is comparable to Matic S. That was what was on the flush invoice. I have no idea what the previous dealer used.

I just pulled the trigger on some Raybestos Ceramics from Rockauto. Thanks a bunch, i appreciate the advice!

I'll post again, once i get the vehicle back. It's been at the dealer now a total of 4 weeks. Really missing my Pathfinder.

Thanks!
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smj999smj
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can get factory service manual chapters for free in the "knowledge base" section at NissanHelp.com. Autozone.com also has free repair guides available at their site; you only need to register an e-mail address. Nico Club's site has full service manual downloads.
Valvoline Maxlife ATF is good stuff and I use it in my own Pathfinders and a lot of other vehicles. Valvoline recommends it for Nissan-matic Types D, J, S and K applications. I'm surprised the dealer uses it instead of Nissan-matic, though.
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jiggster1974



Joined: 13 Oct 2014
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Location: Lafayette, LA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the great resources SMJ. Much appreciated.

I got the Pathfinder back last night and in total paid just under 1k, for the afore mentioned service, minus the brakes and it's running smooth.

I asked the Service Advisor about the transmission inspection and she verified that the warranty company adjustor requested them to pull the pan and inspect for contamination. They found none. I believe this was the only reason it was covered. She was also well aware of the issue. She also said that was the extent of the inspection. The tech didn't believe there was ever coolant in the trans as well. So it seems like the transmission just bit the dust on its own and was not coolant related.

Thanks for all of the great advice and resource info. Going to be doing the rear brakes this weekend.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

so they didn't charge labor to put in the chains and tensioner? How do I get that deal?!?
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Terry in Winnipeg

'05 Pathfinder SE Premium 4x4 - 343000kms (213000mi) - weekend warrior, Cortex Superchips on 87 Octane Tune, K&N filtercharger, Airlift 1000, Prodigy Brake controller, 7 pin trailer hookup, Prostart Remote Starter, Cooper Discoverer ATw P265/70/16
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jiggster1974



Joined: 13 Oct 2014
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Location: Lafayette, LA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL. No labor charge for that work, as they were doing some Warranty work and had to open the timing cover regardless. I do believe they did some goodwill here. The total job was 7300 dollars. 6500 of it was paid by a third party (Fidelity Warranty Service) I ended up paying the remaining 800 bucks for the power steering work and some of the parts and labor (plugs water pump etc). I had also had them change the radiator back when I purchased the vehicle. So maybe that was a factor as well. The didn't do the brakes, so I'm hoping to have saved a bit on that as well.

I'll be attempting that job tomorrow Smile
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jiggster1974



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@smj999smj , quick thought... i completely missed this in your original reply "
Quote:
with the chains being removed and coolant drained
". I didn't see a coolant charge on any of the paper work. Are you saying, to complete that job, more than likely the rad was removed, drained and new coolant added?

Running the GasTracker +/ Fuelly app and was entering the recent service. I didn't realize draining the cooling system was normal procedure, for the timing chain job. Does that mean i don't have to worry about my coolant for another two years?

Sorry for the dumb question.

Thanks!
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's possible they reused the old coolant. That being said, best practice would be to replace with new.

How much was the charge for 'shop supplies'?
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Terry in Winnipeg

'05 Pathfinder SE Premium 4x4 - 343000kms (213000mi) - weekend warrior, Cortex Superchips on 87 Octane Tune, K&N filtercharger, Airlift 1000, Prodigy Brake controller, 7 pin trailer hookup, Prostart Remote Starter, Cooper Discoverer ATw P265/70/16
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smj999smj
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The radiator doesn't have to be removed, but the radiator has to be drained. You can't get the fan shroud out without removing the upper radiator hose. As mentioned, they could have re-used the coolant they drained...or, they just forgot to add it to the bill. I can't answer that.
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jiggster1974



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shop charge was a little over 200 dollars. I'm going to give the dealer a call and see what they say. It's odd that they didn't itemize the job better, because they had done so in the past. It was a BIG job though.

As always, thanks for the responses!
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jiggster1974



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So as a follow up, i spoke with the Dealer and they confirmed that they drained the radiator and topped it off with new fluid. However, the service advisor said that they system was not flushed.

I've put 12000 miles, since the radiator was installed and the system flushed, but it will be two years in October.

Would you still suggest the flush @ 2 years? So as an FYI, i do a lot of city driving.

Thanks in advance!!!
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kinda depends on what coolant was used. If it's blue or orange, I'd say your good. If it's just yellow prestone, get it outta there!
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