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Riderman

1998 Pathfinder transmission would not shift when cold FIXED

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My daughter's pathfinder would not shift into second gear until the engine was completely warmed up.  I had no OBD II codes.  I searched the Internet for an easy solution.  I read that It's "OK" when it's cold outside for a transmission to take up to 3 miles or 3 minutes to shift into second gear .  They give several BS reasons why, and then state it's "normal".   BS! If it takes 30 seconds to minute to shift into second, there is a problem!  I believed the crap about hardened seal's, etc.  I put in trans max, Lucas, etc, they didn't work.  As recommended by the internet pro's...I replaced the solenoid pack As recommended by internet pro's, even without a OBDII code  That was my issue, I had no codes...it didn't work.  I replaced the O'rings on the shift accumulator pistons, As recommended by SEVERAL internet pro's.  it didn't fix my problem.  Today, I took a entire valve body from a 04 Xterra 2WD transmission from Pick N Pull,  ($50.00) installed in the 1998 pathfinder transmission, and the Transmission shift's like new again.

SOO, if your RE4R01A Transmission has an issue, the gut's from my 98 to an 04 are "nearly" the same.  By that I mean the Valve Body with solenoid's.

 

A TRICK HERE:  When you drop the valve body, 3 springs will fall out that are located between the transmission case and the valve body on the driver's side of the transmission They are shift piston/accumulator springs. NO PROBLEM!   Look up on the internet for the drawing of which bolts need to be removed.  There are two different length's of bolts, make sure each bolt goes into it's proper hole..   When re-installing the valve body, just barely start a bolt on the passenger side of the valve body.  This will allow the drivers side of the valve body to hang down several inches.  This allows you to install the springs, then lift the valve body up to the transmission and install the rest of the fasteners.  I wish I could have found that information on the internet.!

 

I was quoted $2900.00 to repair this transmission from a independent transmission repair shop, NOT including a defective valve body!  I was told that would be extra.  Yep, "PRICES's" transmission shop in Virginia Beach, VA quoted me that last week.

Edited by Riderman
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My daughter's pathfinder would not shift into second gear until the engine was completely warmed up.  I had no OBD II codes.  I searched the Internet for an easy solution.  I read that It's "OK" when it's cold outside for a transmission to take up to 3 miles or 3 minutes to shift into second gear .  They give several BS reasons why, and then state it's "normal".   BS! If it takes 30 seconds to minute to shift into second, there is a problem!  I believed the crap about hardened seal's, etc.  I put in trans max, Lucas, etc, they didn't work.  As recommended by the internet pro's...I replaced the solenoid pack As recommended by internet pro's, even without a OBDII code  That was my issue, I had no codes...it didn't work.  I replaced the O'rings on the shift accumulator pistons, As recommended by SEVERAL internet pro's.  it didn't fix my problem.  Today, I took a entire valve body from a 04 Xterra 2WD transmission from Pick N Pull,  ($50.00) installed in the 1998 pathfinder transmission, and the Transmission shift's like new again.
SOO, if your RE4R01A Transmission has an issue, the gut's from my 98 to an 04 are "nearly" the same.  By that I mean the Valve Body with solenoid's.
 
A TRICK HERE:  When you drop the valve body, 3 springs will fall out that are located between the transmission case and the valve body on the driver's side of the transmission They are shift piston/accumulator springs. NO PROBLEM!   Look up on the internet for the drawing of which bolts need to be removed.  There are two different length's of bolts, make sure each bolt goes into it's proper hole..   When re-installing the valve body, just barely start a bolt on the passenger side of the valve body.  This will allow the drivers side of the valve body to hang down several inches.  This allows you to install the springs, then lift the valve body up to the transmission and install the rest of the fasteners.  I wish I could have found that information on the internet.!
 
I was quoted $2900.00 to repair this transmission from a independent transmission repair shop, NOT including a defective valve body!  I was told that would be extra.  Yep, "PRICES's" transmission shop in Virginia Beach, VA quoted me that last week.
That's great you figured out an obstinate problem, and it was an inexpensive fix. I always feel a lot better when I finally do.

I wouldn't be too down on" internet pros". They can't diagnose your problem in person. Also like a doctor, multiple problems can cause similar symptoms, so generally you start with the cheapest and easiest and most common fixes.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

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I really wasn't down on "internet Pro's."  I meant it as tongue in cheek.  You get what you pay for, so to speak when it comes to advice....  The $45.00  + $5.00 core charge valve body included the solenoids.  If I would have replaced the entire valve body with it's solenoids in the first round of troubleshooting, my transmission would have been fixed for less than a $100.00 including new fluid.   (The solenoids can be tested with voltage and/or resistance for proper operation before installing them)

 

As most experts that I read stated, if your transmission is slipping, it's probably a clogged filter or low on fluid.  If those issues are correct, and you have no OBDII codes, it's "probably" a major mechanical issue.  (Clutches, etc)  If it has a shifting issue with a code, follow the code to your problem.  Shorted/open electrical circuits on transmission solenoids and their associated wiring usually set a OBDII code.  I had a shifting issue with no OBDII code to help me TS.  It would not shift out of first gear until the engine was at normal operating temp.  Sometimes, just as the engine/tranny was warming up, just after shifting into second gear, it would not shift back into first gear, it would stay in second gear even after coming to a complete stop.  This would happen even on 90+ degree day's.  It was not a cold weather issue. I searched the internet for hours for a solution!  Many manufacturer's transmissions have the same issue.  Many people had the same questions I had.  Most solutions ended up being check/change the transmission fluid and filter, or replace the solenoid's, if that doesn't work, replace or rebuild the transmission.  My daughter's transmission shifted FINE after the engine warmed up.  (I know, the transmission warmed up as well).  I refused to pay about 3 grand for a temporary shift issue on a 20 year old SUV.

 

One could say I wasted my time and money.  I did this repair in increments for a reason.  I wanted to learn and find out what the REAL problem was in her Pathfinder.  I had nothing to lose.  As I stated, I replaced the solenoid's, no joy (($22.50 +fluid)  I replaced the shift accumulator piston's/orings with their respective springs, no joy ( $15.00 + fluid, both the solenoid pack and accumulator pistons removed from an 02 Pathfinder).  I then replaced the valve body ($50.00+ fluid and new filter screen and gasket) removed from an 04 Xterra 2wd.  My daughter's 1998 Pathfinder shift's like a new one now!  We have drove it over 500 miles since last weekend's repair's. 

 

I hope someone does a search on this issue in the future, finds this post and at least tries this repair before they pull their transmission.   These beast's are not getting any younger. 

ABOUT THE 04 Xterra:  It looked great for a Pick-N-Pull find!  I don't know the mileage (digital Odometer), but the 3.3L engine and interior looked awesome.  When I dropped the Tran's pan, the fluid looked dark purple.  When I dropped the valve body, the second/third accumulator piston spring was broken in half.  If I had to guess, the Xterra owner had a 2-3rd shifting issue, They then got their approximately 3 thousand dollar transmission repair estimate like I did, they traded it in.  WOW, I wrote a book!  :) 

Edited by Riderman

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So the RE4R01A from an Xterra isn't the same as that of an R50? Hmm I also own a '98 R50 and I was hoping I could do a "core" swap, maybe just changing out the bellhousing and transfer case onto the donor RE4R01A core. There are a few other vehicles which also carry this transmission and was hoping I could just go to a salvage yard and get a low mileage one. In my country a Pathfinder or Terrano is very hard to find at salvage yards, I think mainly cuz there still on the road (read: "bulletproof" haha).

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On ‎11‎/‎19‎/‎2018 at 5:17 AM, dogla said:

So the RE4R01A from an Xterra isn't the same as that of an R50? Hmm I also own a '98 R50 and I was hoping I could do a "core" swap, maybe just changing out the bellhousing and transfer case onto the donor RE4R01A core. There are a few other vehicles which also carry this transmission and was hoping I could just go to a salvage yard and get a low mileage one. In my country a Pathfinder or Terrano is very hard to find at salvage yards, I think mainly cuz there still on the road (read: "bulletproof" haha).

My understanding is yes, it will work, just change the rear bell housing if it's from a 3.3L, the front bell housing is the same, I was going to do this  swap, but the valve body fixed my issue.

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My understanding is yes, it will work, just change the rear bell housing if it's from a 3.3L, the front bell housing is the same, I was going to do this  swap, but the valve body fixed my issue.
So it's the bell housing is different on these trannies. My thought too, already saw one but just wanted to be sure.
Thanxx

Sent from my SM-G960U1 using Tapatalk

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Just did this repair again tonight to another 98 Pathfinder SE.  It had the stuck in first and would not shift to second while cold issue.  It took about 10-15 minutes of idle time plus driving slow for about 5-10 minutes before it would shift properly.  Even when warm it had a slight flare shifting from second to third.  Went to Pick N Pull today, (40% off sale) I got a valve body and all 4 accumulator pistons and springs for $37.00 out of a 2004 front end wrecked Xterra.  I know it was running when it was wrecked  :)  The pathfinder shifts like a new one, and the 2-3 shift flare is gone!  This pathfinder had about 250 K miles on it. I didn't check the Xterra miles.  So, a valve body, two gallons of fluid, a filter/gasket kit, and two hours of my time and this pathy is running like a champ.  

 

My question is...What the heck is in these valve bodies to cause this "morning Sickness" problem?  I took the old valve body apart and did not see any issues or any O rings even.  I re-used the solenoid pack from the pathfinder as it was less than a year old and they were like new clean.  That eliminates them.  No TCM codes either, and the trans fluid was like new clean. (only a year old with 4K miles on it.)

 

Just to let you know, A transmission shop ( Insert name here) AGAIN quoted about 3 thousand dollars to rebuild this Transmission..."IF"  the valve body was good.  That was my hint!   ( I told him it shifted normally when warm, no slippage) The man probably knew this cold shift issue with the RE4R01A transmissions and after my transmission was removed/torn apart, he would have soaked me for another $800.00 for a new valve body on top the $3K rebuild charge!!!!

Edited by Riderman
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Looking at the same problem myself, no shifting from 2nd to 3rd, and that was my plan. I just bought the solenoids, I guess now I need to buy the valve body and save myself some money on atf. Mine has a lot of burnt crap on the drum above the valve body, so my clutches my be cooked? I would say fluid was a light brown or burgundy. No aftermarket cooler and crusty leaky cooler hoses. I sure hope I don't have to try to find a torch to take this thing apart.

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Without looking at the data, I would suspect the temperature sensor being the source of the problem. If the ECU sees the trans temp too cold, it does strange things with the shifting to bring it up to operating temperature as quickly as possible. 

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Well it looks like the local pull a part has a few choices, so I got a junk yard run in my future.

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Well it looks like the local pull a part has a few choices, so I got a junk yard run in my future.

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