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RacerZX
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Joined: 14 Jun 2006
Posts: 868
Location: Silicon Valley, CA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:08 pm    Post subject: Welcome to NissanTransmissionFAIL Reply with quote

[This Greeting/FAQ/Info page is a work in progress, please post suggestions to improve it in this thread http://www.thenissanpath.com/viewtopic.php?p=43279]

Welcome to everyone looking for more information on the automatic transmission failures in late model Nissan Pathfinders, Frontiers, and XTerras.

The Problem
These vehicles have a serious flaw with their radiators as delivered from the factory by Nissan. A portion of the radiator is sealed off from the rest and used to warm/cool transmission fluid, however over time the seal between the engine coolant and transmission fluid portions of the radiator fails, contaminating the transmission fluid with coolant water. Water and Oil don't mix, and coolant in your transmission will do irreparable harm immediately and totally destroy it very rapidly.

How often does this happen?
As best we can tell here at TheNissanPath.com, the largest Pathfinder owners forum on the net, it will happen eventually to EVERYONE. Period. Bar None. Your radiator will fail, and it will destroy your very expensive transmission at some point between roughly 40K and 100K miles.

How can I tell if my radiator has already failed?
While it's easy to check, unfortunately we've seen a lot of new forum members buying used trucks and get ambushed by this disaster. Take out the transmission fluid dipstick and look at the fluid. If it's at all opaque, often looking like a "strawberry shake", you have radiator failure and it's time to panic. A transmission with strawberry shake fluid will shift very roughly and fail completely very quickly.

What is Nissan doing about this?
So far, Nissan has only extended warranties for their radiators to 8 years and 80K miles (from the factory 6/60K warranty). We do not believe this is acceptable. If this were an occasional problem that only effected some vehicles we could understand that approach, but this will affect ALL vehicles, they are DESIGNED to FAIL. Also, Nissan hasn't even started using a new fixed part number radiator, so for all we know even the newest trucks AND THOSE THAT WERE FIXED will die eventually too. The ONLY proper solution is for Nissan to fix the radiator, release it as a new part, issue a recall, and replace owner's radiators and inspect their transmissions.

I'm outside the 8/80K warranty, what can I do to protect myself?
It is actually very simple to bypass the radiator, routing transmission fluid around it to the secondary cooler in front of the radiator and back again, you don't need any additional parts and just a few tools. We're pretty sure the secondary transmission fluid cooler will be good enough unless you do serious towing, however the transmission fluid will no longer be warmed up by the coolant, so we DO NOT RECOMMEND doing this procedure for those people who have not exceeded their extended warranty coverage yet. Read more on this procedure here:
http://www.thenissanpath.com/viewtopic.php?t=2139&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=114

What can I do to help spread the word about this design flaw and pressure Nissan to recall the faulty transmissions?

If your transmission failure caused drivability problems, that is a SAFETY ISSUE, so go to the NHTSA complaint website and file information on your transmission failure. No matter how many years back it happened, get the data in, this will help tremendously in forcing Nissan to take this seriously:
https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/index.xhtml

Next, help us collect data:
If your transmission failed due to this problem, please post below your expiration dealing with the failure and your Nissan dealer.

Also please participate in these polls so we can collect more detailed failure information:
Has your transmission failed or not yet, and have you done the bypass?
http://www.thenissanpath.com/viewtopic.php?t=6935

At what mileage did your transmission fail?
http://www.thenissanpath.com/viewtopic.php?t=6936

If your transmission failed, what model year is your vehicle?
http://www.thenissanpath.com/viewtopic.php?t=6937

If your transmission failed, what model of vehicle do you have?
http://www.thenissanpath.com/viewtopic.php?t=6938

And lastly please check the other threads in this sub-forum for information on how to print your own informational business cards from our template and start tagging every late model Pathfinder, Frontier and XTerra you can find.

Thanks for all your help everyone, together we can save a lot of innocent people a lot of money, and maybe even get Nissan to wake up and realize some warranty bean-counter in their organization is screwing over their dedicated customers and it's past time for them to do the right thing.

Again, please post stories in this thread of your transmission failures. Other subjects please use the other threads, thanks.
_________________
-Carl M
2019 Volvo XC60 T8 PHEV Overlander
Ex-2008 V8 R51 Pathfinder
Ex-2006 V6 R51 Pathfinder (Supercharged)


Last edited by RacerZX on Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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valkama



Joined: 02 Jul 2012
Posts: 1
Location: Ramona

PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:00 am    Post subject: Transmission Fail Reply with quote

I was driving on the freeway when my transmission went out. I was headed on the 15 north up a small hill and was barely able to get it pulled over without causing an accident. When I had it taken to the shop to check what happened, the coolant had mixed with the transmission fluid and that killed it. This is a known problem from Nissan and the only thing they did was extend the warranty to only 80,000 miles. Mine had 84,000 when it happened and I am out of luck. Nissan gave me a quote of around $6000 to repair something that was a design flaw!!! They would not even work with me to give me a discount as im so close to their extended warranty. Sometimes a company should do whats right... Nissan is not one of those companies.
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2005 nissan Pathfinder 4x4
2006 Toyota Avalon
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smj999smj
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Joined: 22 Jan 2012
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Location: Prospect, VA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you get this fixed, be sure to save your repair and towing receipts. The NHTSA has recently started an investigation into this matter and there could be a recall forthcoming if they deem it a safety issue. Most recalls of this type would call for reimbursement for repairs and towing prior to the issue of the recall. Also, the NHTSA wants to hear from people of R51 Pathfinders (as well as 05-10 Xterra and Frontier owners) if they have experienced automatic trans failure or problems due to the radiator cooling tube failing. Refer this link:

http://thenissanpath.com/viewtopic.php?t=7403
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Jerseyparts



Joined: 30 May 2008
Posts: 45
Location: Cherry Hill NJ

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks so much for posting this Info!

This has been a real headache for all of the models!
I hope Nissan finally steps up and fixes this!

Brian
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smj999smj
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Joined: 22 Jan 2012
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Location: Prospect, VA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, it would be nice if they stepped up and took care of this AND the radiators on the Titans that are having issues with the bottom tanks leaking. It used to be that Nissan took care of their customers of their "higher end" vehicles (the 96/97 Pathfinder Quality Assurance Campaign and the 300ZX/Maxima/200SX-V6 Voluntary Fuel Injector Campaign being two examples).
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the kuningas



Joined: 26 Jan 2014
Posts: 3
Location: Kalajoki, Finland

PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is this problem only gas engines, or is it also diesel engine too?
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smj999smj
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Joined: 22 Jan 2012
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Location: Prospect, VA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's more of an issue on North American models then those made in other areas, like Spain for the European market. We don't have the diesel option in North America, unfortunately.
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2006 Pathfinder LE VQ40DE AWD, aftermarket radiator, Airlift 1000's, Bilstein HD rear shocks, Doug Thorley shortie headers and mid-pipes, Magnaflow 12580 muffler, aFe Momentum GT CAI w/ dry filter, XTP plenum spacer, Superchips Flashpaq tuner
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RacerZX
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Joined: 14 Jun 2006
Posts: 868
Location: Silicon Valley, CA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They also have manual transmission options we don't have in NA...
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-Carl M
2019 Volvo XC60 T8 PHEV Overlander
Ex-2008 V8 R51 Pathfinder
Ex-2006 V6 R51 Pathfinder (Supercharged)
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the kuningas



Joined: 26 Jan 2014
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Location: Kalajoki, Finland

PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your answer...
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engine: YD25DDTI
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Sandomarlon



Joined: 14 Aug 2015
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I took my 2006 pathfinder in to dealers told them my coolant was brown looking the guy behind the counter walked to my truck and just cracked the coolant reservoir tank and was able to diagnose the problem right away as transmission fluid getting into radiator. So THis is something they are Totally Aware of! He said oh it's milkshake you need to get a new transmission and a radiator . I have 105000 on truck so needless to say they want me to pay $5000 to replace both . NFW".......... Embarassed
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smj999smj
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Joined: 22 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could try calling the customer hotline @ 1-800-NISSAN-1 and see if they'll do anything for you. Maybe they'll offer to do it for the $3500 cost limit since you are just outside of the range. It's still a lot, but cheaper than $5k. Maybe they will or maybe they won't, but the phone call is free and you have nothing to loose by calling them.
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2006 Pathfinder LE VQ40DE AWD, aftermarket radiator, Airlift 1000's, Bilstein HD rear shocks, Doug Thorley shortie headers and mid-pipes, Magnaflow 12580 muffler, aFe Momentum GT CAI w/ dry filter, XTP plenum spacer, Superchips Flashpaq tuner
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iwilson09



Joined: 24 Jan 2016
Posts: 5
Location: TX

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems like this topic has been pretty well beat to death, but after reading through a lot of these transmission threads I had one question I was hoping for help with.

I just bought a 2010 Pathfinder with only 42k miles. My understanding would be that my 2010 model would be covered under the extended service warranty (8yr, 80k miles etc.). I haven't had any issues yet, but for peace of mind I wanted to make sure I'm covered a bit longer before I consider the bypass or radiator swap. I called a couple of the Nissan warranty / service numbers and they didn't seem to have any idea what I was talking about when I asked. I even gave them my VIN and they said no extended coverage of any kind was showing up.

It didn't sound like people were having issues with Nissan honoring the extended warranty. Is there any reason my vehicle would have been excluded or am I just not talking to the right people or saying the right thing? It sounded like most of the problems were with models earlier than the 2010, but I thought I saw a couple of people mention this also happening in that model year.

Thanks for the help!
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smj999smj
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Joined: 22 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Warranty extension provided extended warranty from 3-years/36000 miles to 8-years/80,000 miles for 2005 through 2010 Pathfinders/Xterras/Frontiers with the V6. It covered radiator failure and subsequent damage. It was later modified after a class action law suit was lost in NY State. In addition to the original extension, they provided a cost limit of $2500 for repairs/damages caused by the radiator for 80001-90000 miles and a limit of $3500 for 90001-100000 miles.
On the original notice sent to vehicle owners, a dedicated phone number of 1-800-867-7669 was provided for those who had repairs made previously and sought reimbursement.
Me, personally, I would just bypass it or replace the radiator with an aftermarket unit and not have to worry about the potential for failure, anymore.
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2006 Pathfinder LE VQ40DE AWD, aftermarket radiator, Airlift 1000's, Bilstein HD rear shocks, Doug Thorley shortie headers and mid-pipes, Magnaflow 12580 muffler, aFe Momentum GT CAI w/ dry filter, XTP plenum spacer, Superchips Flashpaq tuner
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smj999smj
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Joined: 22 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a copy of the original owner notification (for a Frontier...but they're all the same):


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2006 Pathfinder LE VQ40DE AWD, aftermarket radiator, Airlift 1000's, Bilstein HD rear shocks, Doug Thorley shortie headers and mid-pipes, Magnaflow 12580 muffler, aFe Momentum GT CAI w/ dry filter, XTP plenum spacer, Superchips Flashpaq tuner
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iwilson09



Joined: 24 Jan 2016
Posts: 5
Location: TX

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks SMJ. That copy of the letter should be useful. I checked the radiator number and I have the 21460 ZL11A. Sounds like this is not the initial (most problematic) radiator, but also not the last updated version... so it seems less likely, but still possible that it fail. I will probably try calling the number in the letter and see if I can confirm the extended coverage then I'll replace or do the bypass as I near that deadline.
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