1995 Pathfinder Transmission in Fail Safe Mode - Nissan Forum

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post #1 of 5 Old Jan 19th, 2010, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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1995 Pathfinder Transmission in Fail Safe Mode

I have a 95 with a transmission that seems to be in fail safe mode. My wife said it does not want to shift into high gear. Also, it starts out slow and sluggish. We think it may have gone into fail safe mode on Christmas Day when we slid off the road (partially) and got stuck in a snow drift. Couldn't get out-even in 4wd. The rear wheels were on the road, but it was just ice and and the wheels would only spin. Had to be pulled out. Right before getting stuck, I braked and slid a long distance, geared down quickly, which did not help. Ended up going off to the right and getting stuck.

I have read up on it a bit. I went through a sequence of shifting and flipping the OD switch, etc. This put the "auto light" into test mode, (blinking). It does not seem to indicate that there are any issues in the 10 tests performed. There are 10 blinks, with only one pause in the sequence, indicating the very start of the testing. From what I read, this means all is okay. If I shut the key off, upon restart, the light blinks 8 seconds, indicating a fail-safe reset.

I am guessing that it resets and them immediately goes back into fail safe mode. Got to thinking, the tach has not worked, or has worked off and on for some time now. I am wondering if this could be related if the engine speed is an input and the signal/sensor is inaccurate.

Another thing I have noticed is that the engine temp has barely been registering above cold. There is heat in the cab, but it has been, until very recently, fairly cold here for some time (down to 0 and 10 below for a few days). During this period of time, is when we went off the road and the whole transmission issue emerged (I believe this is when it emerged). Before all the recent snow, the vehicle had not been used much for quite some time. Also, the 4wd did not seem to be working very well as we couldn't get out of our driveway. That may be a different issue, related to the hubs.

Does anyone know if the tranny will go into fail safe if the engine speed sensor is faulty? How about running on the cold side? Thanks.

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post #2 of 5 Old Jan 23rd, 2010, 11:44 AM
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1995 Pathfinder AT Trouble

According to the '95 FSM ( free download somewhere on this site ) the AT does not have a "Fail Safe" mode.
Later models do, that are reset by turning off the vehicle for 10 seconds.
Suggest you take a look at the FSM under AT.
It gives a troubleshooting flow chart and complete wiring diagrams.
The O/D switch could be a good place to check first.
Here's a snaphot from the FSM.
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post #3 of 5 Old Jan 24th, 2010, 04:58 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks. I will take a look at the troubleshooting chart. I may look at testing some of the input sensors, such as the speed sensor and TPS. It was much warmer day yesterday, so I drove it up and down the highway and got it warmed up. It is shifting fine. It will downshift okay and will smoothly shift to higher gears. I punched it once, and it shot right up to 75 mph.

The only issue remaining is that it slips in low gear. If I put it in manual low, it will really slip--it barely wants to move. It will eventually get rolling though and will go down the road fine with no slippage in higher gears. If in drive, it will start out much better with less slippage, but still seems to slip some (just seems sluggish). It will take off though and the higher gears are fine.

Reverse gear works fine (no slipping). First gear seems like it is binding, or is tight. On a slope, in first, it is really tight and does not roll back a bit (either). Almost feels like the emergency brake is on and it is struggling to out pull it.

Here is another odd thing about it. When I shift from drive to reverse, it makes a little (soft) scraping noise when it goes into reverse.

I disconnected the transmission fluid lines from the bottom of the radiator and blew it out with compressed air. It was not blocked at all-no restriction whatsoever.

Just seems to be that first gear issue remaining. I am uncertain if any input sensors, or a solenoid would have anything to do with it. Maybe the clutches are worn for first. Seems to me if reverse works, first should too, but maybe that is not the way this transmission works.
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post #4 of 5 Old Jan 30th, 2010, 10:51 AM
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Location: Newmarket, Ontario
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My '95 SE-V6 automatic always revs high and loud but has no "go"!!! My good mechanic told me last year to get rid of it becaue "the tranny is skipping". Bah! I said to him and I'm still driving it just fine - thank you very much! The RPM is all over the map and the shifting is just soooooo sensitive, so you have to baby the transmission with gentle touches to the gas pedal. It takes forever in cold weather to reach Over-Drive.
I live north of Toronto and we had lots of snow last winter. Getting stuck (with my brand new Dunlops!), or skidding into corners, or going sideways in gentlest of bends has become common-place for me in this truck. I read these forums and consulted many tire dealers before I bought these tires but I am still skating all over the place!!!
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post #5 of 5 Old Sep 29th, 2011, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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Update: All of a sudden, 21 months later, the transmission acceleration returned spontaneously on its own in the Pathfinder. Wife said it made a loud boom and she thought someone had run into her. Now it has plenty of acceleration from a stop, but to get it to shift up into 2nd, you have to let up completely off the gas pedal. If you stomp on it, it tries to downshift and then seems like it goes into neutral. You have to let off the gas. Overall though, it is better than it was before with no power. It runs good down the highway. Not sure what is going on with it.
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