[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.
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. ... &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/VehicleCo ... ndex.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?
At what mileage did your transmission fail?
If your transmission failed, what model year is your vehicle?
If your transmission failed, what model of vehicle do you have?
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.