Recently, Nissan's Facebook page wished everyone a happy New Year and I posted the comment that if Nissan wanted to make the owner's of 2005-2010 Pathfinders/Xterras/Frontiers happy, they should initiate a campaign to replace the faulty radiators. They asked me to send them a private message so they can forward it to someone who can address my concerns. This is what I sent them:
"Hi Stephen - thanks for reaching out to us. I'd like to connect you with someone who can address your concerns. Can you please private message us your contact information and VIN so we can follow up with customer support? Thank you - Sarah R, Nissan Social"
STEPHEN M. JONES
PROSPECT, VA 23960
I left Nissan in October of 2003 as a certified Nissan Master Technician. I no longer work for Nissan but have been a long time customer. I currently have a 2006 Pathfinder LE, a 1997 Nissan Hardbody SE which I purchased new when I worked for Freehold Nissan in NJ, and a 1986 Sentra 2 dr. My family has also owned a number of Nissans during the time I worked for them. I started in 1985 at Washington's Auto Sales in Keyport, NJ, which was one of the oldest Nissan dealers in NJ at the time (1962), later to be bought out by Pine Belt Nissan, for whom I also worked, as well as Rt. 130 Nissan in Hightstown, NJ (which was also later bought out). I'm also a forum moderator at NissanForums.com (handle "smj999smj").
One thing that impressed me about Nissan when I worked for them is the way they took care of their customers. When vehicles had problems, they always addressed them. For example, the Voluntary Fuel Injector Campaign for the Z31 300ZX and U11 Maxima and the Customer Satisfaction Program for the 96-97 Pathfinders.
A lot of Pathfinder fans and owners were happy to see that Nissan went back to the full-framed Pathfinder in 2005. It looked good, performed well and appeared to be a much better progression of the Pathfinder model than the R50 was to the first generation "WD21" Pathfinders. The R51 design was good, but Nissan's execution of it, as well as the handling of its owners, has been poor. Poor electrical ground issues, bad serpentine belt tensioners, faulty fuel gauge sensors, squeeky hoods, unsettled handling (largely due to weak rear springs and not employing monotube shock absorbers for the rear suspension), failing driveshaft U-joints, weak rear hatch struts, secondary timing chain problems (my secondary timing chains and tensioner "feet" have been replaced twice) are just a few of the problems that are common on the R51 Pathfinder. That all aside, the worst of the problems and the biggest concern for the majority of the R51 (2005-2010) Pathfinder owners is the radiator's integral transmission cooler tube which has failed for hundreds (maybe thousands...because who knows how many have failed and not been reported to the NHTSA yet?) and have damaged their automatic transmission, a repair which seems to run in the $6500 to $7500 range if genuine Nissan parts are used. Sure, Nissan extended the warranty to 8 years/80000 miles for the radiator and subsequent damage, but a large number of those failures are after the 80,000 mile mark. So, Nissan adjusts the extended warranty (conveniently after losing a class action lawsuit in NY state) and puts a $2500 expense cap for 80000-90000 miles and $3000 for 90000-100000 miles. Really, Nissan? Sure, it may be cheaper than spending $7500 to replace the radiator and automatic transmission, but during these times, that's still a lot of money for people to have to spend all because Nissan won't do the right thing and voluntarily recall and replace the faulty Calsonic radiators. So, Pathfinder/Xterra/Frontier owners of 2005-2010 models are left with these options: 1) do nothing a pray that their radiator won't fail, 2) replace the radiator (why Nissan radiators cost $550 while good aftermarket radiators can be had for $90-$150 is still beyond me!) or 3) perform what is being referred to as "the bypass," where owners are re-routing their transmission cooler lines so that it runs through the auxilary cooler only, instead of through the auxilary cooler and the radiator integral cooler. This, of course, can hold future performance issues as they are modifying the transmission's cooling system as designed by Nissan engineers. The question these owners (including myself) of one of Nissan's most expensive models ask is, "Where is our customer satisfaction campaign?" The way it feels is that Nissan no longer cares like it used to for it's customers. To me, it makes no sense that Nissan would rather have people bad-mounting their product on forums, writing petitions to the NHTSA and joining class action lawsuits (not to mention the loss of future customers) rather than simply replace the radiators in those affected vehicles. It's bad business! I see all the time people talking about their next purchase will not be another Nissan. Instead, they are looking into the Toyota Forerunner and Jeep Grand Cherokee and even the Dodge Durango. If for some reason Nissan is unaware of what's being said on the web (I can't see how Nissan could not know), I'll provide a few links below to show what I'm talking about.
As for me, I addressed the issue by purchasing an aftermarket radiator and new foam seals and replaced the radiator, myself. If Nissan wants to do something for me, they can reimburse me for the $150 in parts I spent to prevent the radiator cooler failure from happening to my vehicle and potentially ruining my automatic transmission. For me, it was cheap insurance and peace of mind. If Nissan wants to do the right thing for it's Pathfinder/Xterra/Frontier owners, then they should develope a campaign and replace those radiators that have not been replaced with the updated Calsonic radiator, yet. Maybe in the process, they can maintain a few loyal customers of Nissan vehicles. It would be nice if Nissan addressed the secondary timing chain issues with a campaign, as well.
Stephen M. Jones
Links to site's:
The Nissan Path :: View Forum - Nissan Transmission FAIL
Recall for Nissan Transmission Failures? NCCC Petitions for Investigation.
The Nissan Path :: View topic - Anyone look at the new Grand Cherokee?
The Nissan Path :: View topic - I by-passed my in radiator tranny cooler
The above are just a few examples. There plenty of more threads on the forums of Xterra and Frontier owners. A simple Google-search of Nissan radiator problems will get you plenty more!
View Forum - Nissan Transmission FAIL
The Nissan Path : View Forum - Nissan Transmission FAIL : Discussion topics related to the radiator and transmission failures in all Nissan trucks, education of the public on this issue, and attempts to force Nissan to start a recall.