All 2005-2009 Nissan Pathfinders, Frontiers, and Xterras with automatic transmissions have poorly designed radiators that lead to transmission failure. The cause of this is a slow leak that develops resulting in engine coolant mixing with your transmission fluid. The engine and transmission both share the engine radiator to cool their respective fluids.
Overtime this engine coolant gets into your transmission and slowly causes it to fail.
Engine coolant eats away the clutches inside your transmission, and this happens rather quickly. To make matters worse Nissan put the computer that controls your transmission is inside the transmission oil pan. Typically, on these Nissan's the computer going bad is the first thing to go. The first things you may notice are some hard shifts, or the transmission shifting erratically. Sometimes there is no warning sign at all the vehicle simply stops moving.
Nissan actually had a class action law suit filed against them, and the plaintiffs won. The caveat being Nissan only extended the warranty to 100,000 miles. After 100,000 miles the owner is on their own for any repairs. We typically see these problems AFTER the 100,000 mile mark.
How can we help you?
Call us to schedule an appointment with one of our technicians to evaluate the situation.
We will take a transmission fluid sample and attempt to boil the fluid. Transmission fluid does not boil. If it does boil, water (engine coolant) is present in the transmission.
“Okay now what?”
If the fluid does not boil we can perform a minor repair that will make it impossible for coolant to ever get into the transmission, saving yourself thousands of dollars in future repair.
If the fluid does boil we would remove the transmission pan and do a thorough inspection of the inside of the transmission. At this point if we caught it early enough we might get lucky and be able to flush the transmission and perform the same repair mentioned above, and send you on your way.
If you have transmission shifting issues now, or there is simply too much coolant contamination in the transmission you are looking at having to rebuild the transmission. The Nissan dealer claims these are not rebuild-able; this is not the truth. We have successfully rebuilt multiple Nissan's that have come in with this issue at a cost savings over the dealer. Before you get your vehicle back we do perform the radiator by-pass fix so that this does not happen again.