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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi,

I own a 2007 Frontier LE 4x4 (4.0L). I recently started noticing some shuddering issues at some points and I inspected the driveline among other things. It was at this forum and a few other sites that I noticed the common issue of the radiator fluid leaking into the transmission system and yesterday was the first time I ever had the gears slip on me where there was no drive *pull* on the road until I pressed on the gas and got it up to around 5000 RPM when it kicked into gear.

I haven't driven it since but I checked under the radiator and the transmission fluid caps this morning to notice that whitish/gray milkshake look that most people are talking about.

I'm here to ask for suggestions/opinions on this problem. Is it worth fixing? If I get a new transmission and radiator from a dealer is the problem going to occur again or have they fixed their parts to prevent this issue for replacements? What has worked for people? Average costs?

At this point I don't know if my transmission is completely done for or not, but the slipping was not a good indicator for me.

I contacted customer support today and they have verified for me that I'm eligible for the 10yr/160,000km warranty. My truck currently is around 145,000km.

Customer support was unable to tell me whether this warranty covers both the radiator and a new transmission replacement if they were both needed (for some reason), and I haven't heard back from the dealership yet for any of that information. I'm phoning in again tomorrow.

They had better not make me drive it there for an inspection unless they are willing to cover the cost of a new transmission.

I bought this truck used 2 1/2 years ago at around 80,000km for $12,500. Already replaced all 4 breaks (new rotors, pads -- $500), all 4 tires ($250 each - BF Goodrich Long Trail T/A's), and both leaf springs ($1000) because they had broke (and I don't even take this thing offroading -- I've never gone over any significant bumps either).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
As long as that $4k would allow the truck to last around 4 or more years, then I would say it would be worth it. Hopefully the *fix* whether it has to come out of my pocket or warranty covers it, will be a lasting one. I was literally looking at a used Chevy for $15,000 earlier today. If Nissan doesn't cover it, I may never end up buying another Nissan again and I won't have anything good to say about them (understandably, I hope) to anyone that asks me. I'll support good fair customer service though, so we'll see what they are willing to do for a loyal customer here pretty soon!

As far as I read, those were warning signs though. You're saying that my Transmission is done then if I'm experiencing those symptoms? Sounds pretty bad... I still can't believe that a design like this allows their radiators to leak into one of the main parts of the vehicle. Terrible design.
 

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Not necessarily terrible design as similar set-ups have been run since the 70's - just a bad run of radiators. In this day and age, a simple Google search should always be performed for any used vehicle to discover any possible issues one may experience, and the leaky rad is quite common amongst the Frontier, Xterra, and Pathfinder; had you looked, you couldn't have missed it. I had my radiator bypassed until I just replaced it - to be honest, I forgot about the extended warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
A little too late to do that check now unfortunately, even though I'll accept that good advice. Although, I did get a good deal on it initially from an owner that I knew personally, and I doubt he knew of this major issue at that point in time as well. It was my first vehicle so it is a lesson learned nonetheless. If it wasn't for the deal that I got, I probably would have owned a different make to be honest, but that's just extra information; not really relevant here. :)

You appear to have the exact year as me and model -- LE 4x4 (4.0L) Crew Cab 139 in. WB. (The spread out wheel base was odd to get used to though for turning radius at first.) Do you know if the extended warranty will cover the cost of a replacement transmission or only the radiator?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I found this:
With the additional extension, the vehicles are covered up to ten years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first, with up to $3000 deductible. Damage to the transmission as a result of the defective cooler is covered, yet consumers are still reporting to us that Nissan is still outright denying warranty claims on transmissions affected by this condition.
Nice.. So the average cost of the repairs seems to be around $3800-$4000 and they'll only cover roughly $800 of that?
 

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Not necessarily terrible design as similar set-ups have been run since the 70's - just a bad run of radiators.
Yep - For many years now, the vast majority of all vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission have used the same arrangement.

It works great - If the radiator is built right.
 

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Yes, Nissan f*cked up BIG time on this. They only extended warranties to 8 years and 80k miles when they should've recalled the trucks. Ever heard of "an ounce of prevention...." Quote before? That applies to this. Replace the radiator before it breaks would cost a few hundred, but yet they allow the consumer to drive past the 8year/80k Mike warranty into a $4k repair (in Hawaii the cost to do the complete job is $5k).

If that ever happened to us, I would never buy a Nissan again. Luckily I bypassed my wife's 06 Xterra many years ago.

So what happens when your mom or grandma owns one of these lemons and drives passed the warranty? The dealer never told her that she should have her radiator bypassed. Even Nissan failed to notify owners out of warranty on this needed repair work. At least let them know to replace the radiator or bypass it when near the end of warranty!!


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The problem is a seal that fails in the integral cooler that is causing the cross-contamination problems. There is a YouTube vid where a shop cut the tank off of a failed radiator and removed the internal cooler. They pressurized the cooler with air lines and put it under water where you can see the bubbles coming out past the cooler's seal. Calsonic makes the radiators for Nissan and they've made cooling system parts, exhaust systems and air conditioning parts for Nissan for years. What's interesting is that Nissan bought them out right around the same time as these faulty radiators were made, which not only refers to the leaking radiator coolers on the Frontiers/Xterras/Pathfinders, but also the radiators on the Titans and Armadas which have problems with the bottom radiator tank cracking and leaking.
 

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Hi,

I own a 2007 Frontier LE 4x4 (4.0L). I recently started noticing some shuddering issues at some points and I inspected the driveline among other things. It was at this forum and a few other sites that I noticed the common issue of the radiator fluid leaking into the transmission system and yesterday was the first time I ever had the gears slip on me where there was no drive *pull* on the road until I pressed on the gas and got it up to around 5000 RPM when it kicked into gear.

I haven't driven it since but I checked under the radiator and the transmission fluid caps this morning to notice that whitish/gray milkshake look that most people are talking about.

I'm here to ask for suggestions/opinions on this problem. Is it worth fixing? If I get a new transmission and radiator from a dealer is the problem going to occur again or have they fixed their parts to prevent this issue for replacements? What has worked for people? Average costs?

At this point I don't know if my transmission is completely done for or not, but the slipping was not a good indicator for me.

I contacted customer support today and they have verified for me that I'm eligible for the 10yr/160,000km warranty. My truck currently is around 145,000km.

Customer support was unable to tell me whether this warranty covers both the radiator and a new transmission replacement if they were both needed (for some reason), and I haven't heard back from the dealership yet for any of that information. I'm phoning in again tomorrow.

They had better not make me drive it there for an inspection unless they are willing to cover the cost of a new transmission.

I bought this truck used 2 1/2 years ago at around 80,000km for $12,500. Already replaced all 4 breaks (new rotors, pads -- $500), all 4 tires ($250 each - BF Goodrich Long Trail T/A's), and both leaf springs ($1000) because they had broke (and I don't even take this thing offroading -- I've never gone over any significant bumps either).
Just as a side note, I would take these totals off the "I've spent on this truck" off as those are normal costs for any vehicle at that age/mileage.

If the radiator and the transmission are bad and Nissan isn't covering it then there is no reason why you can't have an independent shop install a new radiator and a rebuilt trans for much less money. But, there is no harm in letting the dealer look at it and tell you what your costs will be so you can compare against a trusted independent shop.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
The problem is a seal that fails in the integral cooler that is causing the cross-contamination problems. There is a YouTube vid where a shop cut the tank off of a failed radiator and removed the internal cooler. They pressurized the cooler with air lines and put it under water where you can see the bubbles coming out past the cooler's seal. Calsonic makes the radiators for Nissan and they've made cooling system parts, exhaust systems and air conditioning parts for Nissan for years. What's interesting is that Nissan bought them out right around the same time as these faulty radiators were made, which not only refers to the leaking radiator coolers on the Frontiers/Xterras/Pathfinders, but also the radiators on the Titans and Armadas which have problems with the bottom radiator tank cracking and leaking.
This is great information, thanks :) The only way this could have changed is if they wanted to reduce costs and use cheaper parts in the manufacturing process in my opinion..

Just as a side note, I would take these totals off the "I've spent on this truck" off as those are normal costs for any vehicle at that age/mileage.

If the radiator and the transmission are bad and Nissan isn't covering it then there is no reason why you can't have an independent shop install a new radiator and a rebuilt trans for much less money. But, there is no harm in letting the dealer look at it and tell you what your costs will be so you can compare against a trusted independent shop.
Sure, the tires and maybe the breaks. The leaf springs however I don't think should have been an issue. My dad has an older GMC Jimmy that he's had for 27 years with the stock leaf springs and he's taken it down logging roads and over much more harsh terrain without them breaking. I haven't done any offroading in this vehicle, and I've never heard of leaf springs breaking like this, especially in the summer time. I know steel can freeze, and maybe if you hit a decent sized bump at a decent speed in cold weather it would be expected to break.

I think he has another leaf, but if under regular wear and tear (not hauling big loads or anything) causes these springs to break then they haven't spec'd out proper leaf springs in my opinion. When I got them replaced I was told that this vehicle pretty much requires a specific type, and that I couldn't upgrade them to more heavy duty leafs. I got them to replace the back shocks as well at that time.
 

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This is great information, thanks :) The only way this could have changed is if they wanted to reduce costs and use cheaper parts in the manufacturing process in my opinion..



Sure, the tires and maybe the breaks. The leaf springs however I don't think should have been an issue. My dad has an older GMC Jimmy that he's had for 27 years with the stock leaf springs and he's taken it down logging roads and over much more harsh terrain without them breaking. I haven't done any offroading in this vehicle, and I've never heard of leaf springs breaking like this, especially in the summer time. I know steel can freeze, and maybe if you hit a decent sized bump at a decent speed in cold weather it would be expected to break.

I think he has another leaf, but if under regular wear and tear (not hauling big loads or anything) causes these springs to break then they haven't spec'd out proper leaf springs in my opinion. When I got them replaced I was told that this vehicle pretty much requires a specific type, and that I couldn't upgrade them to more heavy duty leafs. I got them to replace the back shocks as well at that time.
There are lots of options for heavier duty leaf springs for the Frontier.

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i did stop reading after i saw shizzy post, but i would absolutely go that route.
if you are paying for it yourself. take it to an independent local shop. get a junk yard trans and buy a new rad and just let them eat you for labor. you will save some money for sure.

or you can replace the radiator yourself and have someone do the trans. you only need a 10mm and a 12mm and a flat head for the intake. only takes about an hour.
 

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I flushed my trans myself over a year ago bypassed the rad and then just recently put a new rad in. That was about 25,000 KMs or so and its been ok so far, its the cheapest solution by far to try just costs some fluids (and I used Castrol import ATF at 1/3 of the cost of the nissan special sauce).

Nissan quoted me ~$11,000 CAD.....

That said, I just had the "rumblestrip" symptom when I had the coolant in the trans. The no pull until 5K rpms I did have happen when I did not put enough fluid back in the transmission though.
 

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i have saved one trans from the grave so far and its got 4000 miles on it since the 300$ in fluid i put through it and it runs great. you may be able to save it.

the trans i saved had no tell tale signs though. no rumble strips, no over heating or slipping. so i think i caught mine super early.

i would ponder though, is it worth the money to try to save it. because if it fails that another 300$ or so on top of the whole new trans and radiator.
 

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Yeah it is for sure a gamble. I only went that way because I used Castrol import ATF. I think it was ~50 bucks for 3 Gallons at Costco.

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Yeah I shopped around after my buddy told me he could get a deal on matic-j at 17$/L....it's probably the same thing with a different label anyways...meets all the j-specs

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This is great information, thanks :) The only way this could have changed is if they wanted to reduce costs and use cheaper parts in the manufacturing process in my opinion..



Sure, the tires and maybe the breaks. The leaf springs however I don't think should have been an issue. My dad has an older GMC Jimmy that he's had for 27 years with the stock leaf springs and he's taken it down logging roads and over much more harsh terrain without them breaking. I haven't done any offroading in this vehicle, and I've never heard of leaf springs breaking like this, especially in the summer time. I know steel can freeze, and maybe if you hit a decent sized bump at a decent speed in cold weather it would be expected to break.

I think he has another leaf, but if under regular wear and tear (not hauling big loads or anything) causes these springs to break then they haven't spec'd out proper leaf springs in my opinion. When I got them replaced I was told that this vehicle pretty much requires a specific type, and that I couldn't upgrade them to more heavy duty leafs. I got them to replace the back shocks as well at that time.
I had both leafs break one at a time and had the single plate replaced. It turns out my rear shocks were shot which it turns beats up the leafs even more until they failed.

Clint
 
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