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Discussion Starter #1
Have a 2006 SE CC 4x4 Auto with 145k miles. Truck is very clean, paint still shines, and very little corrosion on body or frame. However, transmission started slipping in reverse recently, and fluid is burned, despite being changed at the dealer according to Nissan's recommended intervals (so last change was 25k miles ago). No towing or heavy hauling.

Dealer is saying that I need a new transmission as this one has failed. Claim that there are no signs of cross-contamination, and in fact they cooperated with me to proactively replace the radiator at 75k miles in 2012, so unless the new parts have had problems I suspect that they are correct. They are quoting $4k OTD to replace the transmission, and I haven't received better quotes from local independent shops.

I've had normal maintenance items and some other unscheduled maintenance items here and there, but nothing major. Obviously, having this major issue repaired is significantly less expensive than trading the truck and purchasing a new vehicle. However, what other major issues am I likely to encounter over the next 30-50k miles? Is there any reason why I should reconsider my analysis in favor of having the transmission replaced?


Thanks,
JKG
 

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if you do decide to sell i may be interested in buying.

at 145k anything can really happen at this point, it all depends on how much you maintain it. i change my oil more often than i should, check my brakes and wear on them, ball joints, bushings, fluids, ect. i check all this stuff constantly. my truck is sitting at 160 and i can pull on brand new frontiers all day long.


these trucks last a very long time, hands down you really dont even need to do much. but the more you prepare for and do the less that can happen and surprise you.

good luck, and i am serious if you decide to sell it, shoot me a pm.
 

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145k miles seems a bit early for a transmission to fail, especially on a truck that hasn't had to work very hard (no towing/hauling), and with regular fluid changes.

Dealer claims the fluid is burned? I guess I'm curious how something like that could happen when you don't tow or do any heavy hauling. Also, how do they determine the transmission is bad? Consider getting a second opinion?

I know nothing about auto transmissions, so I did a google search for slipping transmission... this site claims you can fix a slipping trans by replacing the burnt fluid.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I thought that the transmission trouble was premature also, especially given its maintenance history, but it was clearly slipping in reverse at the time that I brought it to the dealer. I did check the transmission fluid, which was at the appropriate level, and did seem a bit burnt for only 25k miles with no towing. Unless the dealer failed to change and flush the fluid 25k miles ago--a possibility but impossible to prove--I'm not sure why it would fail. I did ask that question and the dealership didn't have an answer, but I'm fairly certain that the dealer isn't going to rip apart the transmission to diagnose. Whether or not they pulled the transmission pan, I don't know, but will attempt to find out before any work on the replacement commences.

I know that there are mechanical anomalies which cause these types of things to happen, but I also wonder how much sooner it may have happened if I actually did tow.

I do try to keep on top of maintenance, though I did have a front wheel bearing go out (and fast) while on a road trip hours from home. On a Saturday night. In the middle of winter. Luckily, I was able to secure a good quality replacement at a local NAPA store, some tools, and a local driveway to make this repair myself. However, it would otherwise have been a MAJOR inconvenience. Hopefully I won't have too many more of those at least before 200k miles, as I need a vehicle which is fairly reliable.


JKG
 

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I did a google search for slipping transmission... this site claims you can fix a slipping trans by replacing the burnt fluid.
I also think that it's worth a try to replace the burnt fluid first.
 

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A couple of things... I would agree that servicing the fluid wouldn't hurt, other than the cost of the fluid. I would go with Valvoline Maxlife ATF as it is much cheaper than NissanMatic "S" ATF and works just as well. As far as being "burnt," does it "look" burnt only or does it smell "burnt?" The reason I ask is that NissanMatic "J" and "S" ATF typically "look" burnt when it's drained; it's usually a dark brown color for whatever reason. On the dipstick, it is almost clear in color or "pink-ish." NissanMatic "J" and "S" are synthetic ATFs and it would take a great deal of heat to break them down. Since the failure is in reverse, I would suspect a faulty reverse solenoid on the valve body or a bad reverse clutch. The reverse solenoid is hard to find by itself; one usually has to purchase an entire valve body. A bad reverse clutch would mean the transmission would have to be removed and disassemble, so it would make sense to overhaul the trans or replace it with a reman unit, at this point. Nissan uses reman units on almost all of their vehicles as replacements as the cost of rebuilding is generally not practical. If the fluid is actually burnt, then something failed and caused it to be that way and typically an overhaul or replacement will be needed in the not so far off future. It's also almost impossible to get all of the burnt fluid out of the trans, even if it is flushed. Last, sometimes things just break for no apparent reason and not necessarily due to a lack of maintenance. Anything mechanical can fail before it should; it's just the way it is sometimes, unfortunately. Most people have gotten pretty good service out of the RE5 transmissions (so long as the fluid didn't become contaminated).
 
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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
To me, the fluid looks dark but not brown. It perhaps does smell a little burnt versus new ATF. The dealer classified it as burnt, but they did no real diagnosis beyond that. Dealer claimed that they possibly sensed some slipping in drive as well, though I did not detect that before I dropped it off.

I'm debating about taking it to a transmission shop to see what they think. I assume that if it is a solenoid then it is potentially correctible for less than the $3,800 the dealer is quoting to replace with a reman transmission. The transmission shop did say that for them to rebuild would be significantly more, so if the odds are that's what it needs, I may be better off just letting the dealer do it (or trading the truck the way it is).


JKG
 

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These are just ideas from my experience with other transmissions and may/may not apply to Nissan automatics...I have NO experience with Nissan automatics!

Perhaps you should drop the pan and send a sample off to Blackstone for analysis. At the same time look at the valve body and tighten all bolts to torque spec. Refill what was lost when you dropped the pan and emptied it. Then flush transmission...to do that on some transmissions (like Ford 4R100):

On larger transmissions many just take hose off at the cooler, attach clear hose and place in a container. Start engine and have assistant watch for the first sign of bubbles while you shift through the gears, When the first bubbles are seen, turn off engine. Replace the same amount of fluid that went into the container. Repeat this process a few times...This is a way to flush the valve body and solenoid packs without using a machine and when you are done the fluid will be nearly 100% clean fluid.

Good luck ::wink::!
 
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