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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

My 2003 Frontier 5speed manual gets stuck when put into third gear. It seems to shift perfectly normal into third, then when I go to shift up or down, foot on the clutch and the shifter will not move at all.

Seems to be able to come out if I play with the clutch a little bit, as in I start to engage the clutch, find the grab point and sometimes I can get back into neutral (hopefully that makes sense.)

If the engine is off I can shift through all gears normally and nothing feels off or different than how it was before this started happening. I checked trans fluid level by taking out the fill plug (which was on really loose when I tried to remove it, I only had to use my fingers to take it out) Fluid started to drip out after removing fill plug (truck wasn't on perfect level ground) so I figure I am good there. Fluid looked good as well too and didn't smell extremely burnt or anything.

I am having zero issues with other gears and have just been skipping third for the past couple of days. Nothing else seems wrong with the truck. It has about 173k miles currently. I have an appointment at an AAMCO in a couple of days just in case, just wanted to see if anyone else has ever seen this. The 03's won't fall under the "coolant in the transmission issue" right?
 

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That is a odd behavior. I'd suspect a bad slave cylinder for the clutch, except that it is only happening in 3rd from what you're saying. Ever try to shift out of 3rd direct to neutral without the clutch, as you just lift off the throttle, just to see if that works?

The coolant/transmission issue is not relevant to the M/T only the automatic. Our transmissions don't have transmission coolers, as they don't pump hydraulic fluid while operating. The gear sets in the M/T reside in an isolated bath of what is essentially gear oil.

Good luck and keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I did try to shift out of third without clutch and it is still stuck, if the truck is at a stop it will sometimes come out of third gear. It definitely will come out of gear if engine is off. I can row through all gears normally when engine is off.

Slave cylinder was something I looked at as well, everything I could think of would affect all other gears as well like the clutch safety switch, throw out bearing and so on...

Will update after I take it to AAMCO tomorrow morning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Will update after I take it to AAMCO tomorrow morning.
AAMCO seems to think it's the syncro to third, which is kind of what I was guessing. Internal problem.

However, they are quoting me $3500 for trans rebuild and new clutch and flywheel (which I want to do, anyways).

Does that sound ridiculous to anyone?
 

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AAMCO seems to think it's the syncro to third, which is kind of what I was guessing. Internal problem.

However, they are quoting me $3500 for trans rebuild and new clutch and flywheel (which I want to do, anyways).

Does that sound ridiculous to anyone?
That sounds like too much. I would go find a junk yard unit and install yourself
 

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AAMCO seems to think it's the syncro to third, which is kind of what I was guessing. Internal problem.

However, they are quoting me $3500 for trans rebuild and new clutch and flywheel (which I want to do, anyways).

Does that sound ridiculous to anyone?
Does that include all parts and labor, that is pulling , rebuilding,installing the tranny? New clutch and flywheel?
Basically a new tranny, clutch and flywheel.Plus that is quite a bit of labor. I know.
Does'nt sound ridiculous to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Does that include all parts and labor, that is pulling , rebuilding,installing the tranny? New clutch and flywheel?
Basically a new tranny, clutch and flywheel.Plus that is quite a bit of labor. I know.
Does'nt sound ridiculous to me.
Ha! I appreciate the pics. And yes, $3500 for everything you listed, plus it's warrantied work.

I called around to some other shops and even my regular shop where I used to live and they were all around that range or told me that it wasn't far off.

It's just a tough pill to swallow but I have so much in this truck to make it the perfect truck for me, so I think I am going to go ahead and get it done.
 

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Ha! I appreciate the pics. And yes, $3500 for everything you listed, plus it's warrantied work.

I called around to some other shops and even my regular shop where I used to live and they were all around that range or told me that it wasn't far off.

It's just a tough pill to swallow but I have so much in this truck to make it the perfect truck for me, so I think I am going to go ahead and get it done.
I'd be careful with AAMCO. how's their (individual shop) reputation with imports? I had an 87 Acura Legend v6 auto. They attempted to rebuild it about 7 times... it never ran right. eventually took it to an independant Acura master mech and got it done right. I understand you have a manual and manuals are less complicated, but that does not change the fact that if the shop is not used to dealing with imports they may be flying blind and just following the manual hoping they get it all right. I'd check with some import shops as well...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'd be careful with AAMCO. how's their (individual shop) reputation with imports? I had an 87 Acura Legend v6 auto. They attempted to rebuild it about 7 times... it never ran right. eventually took it to an independant Acura master mech and got it done right. I understand you have a manual and manuals are less complicated, but that does not change the fact that if the shop is not used to dealing with imports they may be flying blind and just following the manual hoping they get it all right. I'd check with some import shops as well...
You bring up a really good point.

They had a couple of Tacomas in there getting worked on, actually. The shop I went to had good reviews and no stories like yours (yeesh, btw) and that's the type of story you expect to see with reviews.

The manager owned one of the Tacomas and had an older Datsun 620 that he showed me some pics of (after which I offered to buy it from him ::laugh::).

I am still going to call a Nissan/Import specialty place and see what they say.
 

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AAMCO seems to think it's the syncro to third, which is kind of what I was guessing. Internal problem.

However, they are quoting me $3500 for trans rebuild and new clutch and flywheel (which I want to do, anyways).

Does that sound ridiculous to anyone?
That sounds way too much! I'd get a second opinion
 

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No worry about that that's for Nissan's stupid rad in autos 05 up to 12 I believe.
Have you been hauling crap around trailer or other heavy load ect.? it does sound more like your syncros I memory serves me it goes 1st/reverse 2nd/4th 3rd/5th
do you have any trouble in 5th?
That kinda $$$ does sound excessive back when I owned a Ford in there wisdom in the early 90's made the standards so weak talking about the MDS05 it was a Mazda tranny and I had to do mine because I had been over working the piece of garbage so when I rebuilt it in my F150 everything ran me under $400 that included the clutch pressure throw out the rebuild kit for gears with a new slave and $30 to do the flywheel I was done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That sounds way too much! I'd get a second opinion
No worry about that that's for Nissan's stupid rad in autos 05 up to 12 I believe.
Have you been hauling crap around trailer or other heavy load ect.? it does sound more like your syncros I memory serves me it goes 1st/reverse 2nd/4th 3rd/5th
do you have any trouble in 5th?
That kinda $$$ does sound excessive back when I owned a Ford in there wisdom in the early 90's made the standards so weak talking about the MDS05 it was a Mazda tranny and I had to do mine because I had been over working the piece of garbage so when I rebuilt it in my F150 everything ran me under $400 that included the clutch pressure throw out the rebuild kit for gears with a new slave and $30 to do the flywheel I was done.
Second opinion has me down to $2500 at a private shop that has glowing reviews from actual people I know and work with. So I think I am going to go that route.

The guy I just talked to is pretty much 100 percent certain that it isn't Syncros, as the other gears work just fine and it still shifts fine into gear. He has a suspicion that it is a broken gear link. Transmissions are black magic to me and I have no idea what that means but his price is right so whatever.::laugh::
 

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Second opinion has me down to $2500 at a private shop that has glowing reviews from actual people I know and work with. So I think I am going to go that route.

The guy I just talked to is pretty much 100 percent certain that it isn't Syncros, as the other gears work just fine and it still shifts fine into gear. He has a suspicion that it is a broken gear link. Transmissions are black magic to me and I have no idea what that means but his price is right so whatever.::laugh::
Cool look at this way there's a easy grand back in your pocket and honest reviews from unbiased people are better than online. I know when I had done the f150 it was a lot cheaper but I didn't have the cash to have it done and it took me on an off almost a 1 1/2m to do plus a load of cursing and beer.

Good luck with it did he say how much lead time either to diagnose or repair
 
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