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Flanker7

R51 Transmission Curse ...Arrrrrrggggggghhhhhhh!

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Hi!
I have a question...maybe a bit stupid, as I think I know the answer, but I figured I'd try. A few years ago, my wife and I bought a 2006 SE Off-Road with 75k mi. on it. We bought it through a private used car dealer. It was originally a lease turned in at the end and this dealer got it at auction. The car fax was clean. I got home and started going on the forums, where I quickly learned of the Trans cooler issue. I gotta say, had I known, I'd have probably not purchased it...my bad for not knowing. Anyway, I called every Nissan place I could find including corporate and was told my model was not subject to the TSB. Looking at my ride, it had the external cooler...all seemed well. Fast forward to about a week ago....I had a leak. It was the oil cooler seal. My buddy who has mechanic experience helped me with it and we found that we had another problem...shuddering as you accelerate after almost coming to a stop. I also had oil on the cooler reservoir, what looked like trans fluid in the radiator etc. We got a new radiator, and also drained the Trans fluid. We noted no metallic chunks-just a little sludge, but it appears as though what happened to all the Pathys that ruined their trains also happened here....coolant in the Trans. We did a flush and fill hoping that we caught it in time. Funny thing is although this had the external cooler, the Trans line was still routed through the external, to the radiator to the transmission...no bypass. Anyway, we got everything back together and fluids filled. This past Saturday, I'm within 2 miles of my home and the transmission crapped the bed (only 90 miles after we did the work). It stopped shifting, wouldn't go above 20 mph, etc. I was able to stop and cool it down and limp it home, but it took several attempts. So here is my question (sorry for the long backstory).
Since I'm not the original owner, etc do I have a snowballs chance in hell of getting this covered, or am I S.O.L.? Is there anyone at Nissan I can plead to? From what I've seen, anyone that might have OEM transmissions want $5500 and rebuilds/salvaged are around $2100 & up. Based on what i could tell however, the setup was no different than the one that caused the original major TSB.
A new car for me is not an feasible option at this time, and I don't have the 2k plus immediately available to rebuild. So basically, I'm trying to explore every option possible that might work. I appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.

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I wouldn't count on Nissan to stand behind it, sadly. They're not good at that. If you managed to get any of their "not in the TSB" replies in writing, you might be able to rub their noses in it, but I'd still be surprised if it got you anywhere.

 

When my dad had an '07 Frontier, they (not sure if it was the individual dealer or Nissan corp) actually advised him about the issue and suggested he bypass the stock cooler and run an aftermarket one. They refused to pay for the job, however. It was still in warranty then and they were still on the hook if it crapped out, but they were willing to gamble that either he'd pay out of pocket to fix it before it broke or the trans cooler would hold on long enough for the warranty to run out. I guess if they fixed one defective product, they could be forced to fix them all.

Hopefully you can find a good used trans in your price range. The only other budget option I can think of is to try and rebuild the trans yourself, but that's probably not realistic unless you have a whole lot of time to devote to this and/or mad skills you haven't mentioned. Also, from your description, it sounds like there might be something of a horror show waiting inside.

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I would find a good used one and swap it in. Probably the cheapest and quickest option. Otherwise a rebuild at a local trans shop would work. At least there you'd get a warranty. They don't tend to fail or otherwise have issues if the cooler is bypassed.

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Sorry to hear about that Flanker7. I myself just recently replaced two of my daily drivers with a slightly newer 4Runner, but the leadup search that finally brought me to that one consisted heavily of Xterras, Pathfinders and ofcourse the Toys, there just across the aisle. Luckily I had stumbled across this website: http://www.carcomplaints.com/Nissan/Pathfinder/ and saw that problem with all the 2005 and up Nissans, so after that, I told everyone that would listen to me, mainly other car sales people that were trying to sell us a newer car than 2004 - 2001, the newer the better, right? I had to tell all of them 'Nuh Uh man...you're not getting ME into that lease or the really pretty 2007 Xterra over there...nope, nooo way. They gremlins in the transmission' I wish I could have been there for you man. We got a 02 4Runner SR5 now, 2 wheel drive only, it's my wife's daily driver and we're both head over heals completely inlove with that truck.

 

I think I agree with Adamzan there above, probably the most direct route, and your vehicle is still plenty young enough to validate the repair. Good luck.

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Thanks very much to each and every one of you that replied. It's a crappy situation that I wouldn't wish upon anyone. I think I'll figure out a way to get my funds together and have a rebuild done. I'm amazed that Nissan didn't get buried by this problem. I realize they stand to lose a lot of money, but the right thing for them would have been to fix the problem no matter what.....but that's in my world, obviously not the real world.

Oh well, adapt and overcome, right?

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Thanks very much to each and every one of you that replied. It's a crappy situation that I wouldn't wish upon anyone. I think I'll figure out a way to get my funds together and have a rebuild done. I'm amazed that Nissan didn't get buried by this problem. I realize they stand to lose a lot of money, but the right thing for them would have been to fix the problem no matter what.....but that's in my world, obviously not the real world.

Oh well, adapt and overcome, right?

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https://imgur.com/a/cG4vlZm

I know it is a little too late for this, but if you do go with a new trans, this may help. The 4.0 are known for contamination of ATF & coolant within the radiator as you may know. It is common for people to simply bypass the radiator and run the trans directly in and out of the trans cooler. I'd suggest adding another cooler in series, because by bypassing the Rad, you are loosing 'cooling power'. Attached is what I did to my 4.0 frontier. Replaced the Rad, thermostat, trans filter, added another trans cooler (I can get you the part number if you'd like),  and flushed 40q of ATF through the trans in efforts to eliminate any coolant (if any managed to get in). I also flushed the radiator's bottom line where the trans used to connect with coolant. 

 

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