Nissan Frontier Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Is checking for the dreaded coolant contamination in the tranny issue something that can be done effectively by onesself, or is it necessary to take it in to a shop?

I'm looking at buying a used 2008 Frontier with 133k miles and want to make sure I'm not taking home a big problem. thanks!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,188 Posts
When water (or coolant) mix with transmission oil, it starts by creating white streaks in the transmission fluid, which you can see on the A/T dipstick. As it gets more contaminated, it'll start looking like a strawberry milkshake or custard. You might also be able to see oil inside the coolant reservoir, in the radiator coolant or around the bottom side of the radiator cap. Shuddering at highway speeds is a common symptom of a transmission that has been previously contaminated, but bad U-joints, another common issue, can also cause this. Looking at the top tank of the radiator can give some clues. If it's a Nissan radiator, it will have a Calsonic sticker on it with a part number and "NISSAN" will be molded into the tank on the passenger side. Original radiators prone to the problem usually have one of the following part numbers: 21460-EA215, -EA265 or -EA200. Remember, not every one of these radiators fails, but they are the originally installed radiators that many have had problems. If you find one of these numbers and do purchase the vehicle, it would be best to replace the radiator or do the "bypass method" as preventative maintenance to avoid the potential cross-contamination concern. P/N 21460-9CA2E is a later number and commonly found on Nissan replacement radiators if in an early model. I have heard of a couple of cooler failures on very early versions, but they are very rare. If there is no sticker, this often indicates an aftermarket replacement, which I've yet to hear of any cooler failures to date. Getting a CARFAX report before you purchase the vehicle is also a good idea and can tell a lot about a vehicle's past history. Also, listen carefully for any "whining" noise near the front engine cover, which is often an indication that timing chain replacement is in the near future.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Da_Vinci1701

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the tips and for the link - I don't know how I missed that thread in my searching, but it's very helpful. The dealer (2 hrs away) is texting me the radiator part # in the morning. If I then decide to go after it I'll review everything mentioned here and in the thread FFTR mentioned.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
My dealer send me a photo, and this one has the 21460-9CA2E radiator. I'll check the tranny fluid before buying, but I feel a lot better about it.
Thanks for the info.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,188 Posts
My dealer send me a photo, and this one has the 21460-9CA2E radiator. I'll check the tranny fluid before buying, but I feel a lot better about it.
Thanks for the info.
So that likely means the radiator was replaced by Nissan at some time...probably due to failure of the old one. That leads to the second question: did they flush the trans to remove the contamination or did the replace the transmission? I'd have some concerns about the former and would definitely want a CARFAX report to see if there is any information regarding it. Most reputable dealers can provide you with the CARFAX report for no charge.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
So was that radiator not normally original to a 2008 truck? I'll be checking the carfax before purchase regardless.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,188 Posts
So was that radiator not normally original to a 2008 truck? I'll be checking the carfax before purchase regardless.
The original would have been one of the "EA" numbers, like "21460-EA215."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
All I've found of interest on the Vehicle history report is that it was in an accident 2 years ago. The title is clean, but it's possible they had to replace the radiator. Don't know how I could establish that, though.

Any way to check the transmission? For what it's worth, it shifted smoothly on the test run.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,188 Posts
If the history lists where it was repaired after the accident, you could try contacting the shop to see if they can provide you with any info. As far as checking the transmission, all you can do is check the fluid condition and road test the vehicle to check its operation.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top