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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, I am new to this forum and I have searched and I have found a few that are kinda close but not exactly the same issue I have had, so if anyone has had this issue or something close to it, any suggestions would be great...

So I have a 2003 SE Nissan Pathfinder automatic, with ~56,000 miles on it…

The problem that I have had has happened I think about 3 times over about a 6~8 month period.

So here it is….

I was driving around sightseeing with some friends and at the end of the day I was driving home and from a stop I was accelerating and all of a sudden I lost power/ felt like I had molasses in my transmission. So I was speeding up and when it hit about let’s say 40~45mph, it didn’t matter how far I put my foot to the floor, I couldn’t go any faster, the engine seemed to bog down and stay at about 2000~3000 RPMs with my foot to the floor. I took it off and put it in neutral and was able to rev the 4000+ RPM’s, as soon as I put it back in gear, same thing, no go… It seemed like I had molasses in the transmission. I then pulled over and tried again, still no go, so I shut it off and waited a few minutes and then no issue.
Again all three times this has happened, shutting off the engine for a few minutes it seems to take care of the problem… the other 2 times were also short trips around my home. It’s like I got a vapor lock somewhere or something…

I had also taken it to the dealer and had them have a look at it and no issues, bring it in if it happens again when it is happening…

OK so now some of the things I checked are all my fluids and they are good. I change them when they are due.
Oh yeah, no check engine light or anything on the dash…
I have thought about the transmission fluid, I also read somewhere about a “lower swirl valve” or a “vacuum cut bypass valve”???
 

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Could be a couple things. If you've already done a trans service that shouldn't be the problem but i'd make sure the right spec fluid is in there. Most trans slipping problems are caused by bad/wrong fluid. if that is ok then the only thing i would think to do is to take it to a tranny shop. might actually get a better idea of what's going on than the dealer. and they know more about transmissions than the dealer does usually too.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Update...

Well here's an update... So I took it to AAMCO and they had a look at it. He said it ran great! I told him that's how is normally is. He told me also that the problem that I was describing was call a "Limp mode" or "Safe mode"; basically the transmission senses something wrong and goes into this mode of 2nd gear only.
Next part is he took off the transmission pan and found a lot of brass metal shavings... more than normal. NOT good...
So I had him flush it, changed the filters and then I took it over to the dealer to see if I was still covered under warranty... and by 30 days and 1200 miles, it's covered... So my Pathfinder is going into the shop on Tuesday and the dealer is going to have another look at it and we shall see... I'll update when I know more...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
New Transmission on the way...

Hey All, Here is the latest... The Dealer said that they are going to put a new transmission in, no issues... Since I have had these problems with it. No hassles or arguments, no rebuild, just a nice shinny new transmission...

Now unfortunately I may not know what caused the problem or started to fail in the transmission...

So I have to write that Royal Moore Nissan in Hillsboro, OR is great!
 

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is the transmission new or a rebuild?

was this covered under an extended warranty plan since yours is an '03?

I wonder if it is possible to plug into the trans ECU (if the Pathfinder has one) to see if it was giving any indication of an issue. Also, there might be codes stored in the main ECU but weren't serious enough to throw a CEL (MIL)

I thought it might have been the trans TPS that tells the trans how far down the go pedal is pressed...but since you gave us the play by play and excess shavings, the i guess the fault was in the trans itself.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Original warrantee

Hey, Nope the repairs are covered under the original 5 year, 60,000 miles power train warrantee. It looks like a rebuild from Nissan.

Yeah I was wondering if the transmission was saying something, but not enough to trip the engine light myself, but when I brought it in, there was nothing in the computer. The only indication of a problem was the metal shavings and me telling them what happened. But this occurred so randomly and far apart I doubt they would catch it, till it was much worse off.

I was thinking of buying this ScanGaugeII - Trip Computers + Digital Gauges + Scan Tool and this way I could see what was happening real time.

As far as what was wrong with the transmission, I will probably never know. I asked the dealer if they had the time to take it apart and let me know what was failing, but they said they will ship the unit back out and it will get rebuilt. Oh well...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Limp mode, is back again...

So after 8 months of no problems... my limp mode returned... I was driving all day long, no issues, just on my way home, the pathfinder went into limp mode. I couldn't go over 40 miles per hour and the pathfinder ran like S*%T. So I called the dealer and they cound't fit me in, I called another that was closer and they said bring it in. I brought it in and they did a scan and found a code, and then turned it off... Then after looking up the code it was an old one and then he started the pathfinder back up without issue and the patherfinder was back to normal... So now I have to wait till it dose it again... any suggestions of where to look??? I'm thinking that since it is a new transmission it's not the transmission, but something else telling the transmission to go into limp mode... Thanks, Erhard :wtf:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Cont...

Also, no engine light or anything on the dash showing up and the lights do work... Also if you did or did not know, if when you start your pathfinder and the OD light blinks 3 times it means that the transmission has a code in it, according to the Tech at Nissan.
 

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Weird. I had the SAME EXACT issue with my '03 SE (Automatic) about two months ago; I actually thought that my flip-flop was pushing both the gas and brake pedals, but having read this, I am sure it was the same problem.

I was driving to a friends house (car operating normally), I stopped to get food at a drive-thru so the car was still running, once I left the drive-thru the issue started happening.

My pathfinder has approximately 69,000 miles on it and it had a full transmission flush/fill at about 40,000 miles. This issue has only happened this one time, but I am worried it may happen again or perhaps cause a different issue.

I have no lights on the dash and have never had any other issues with my transmission. The factory service manual says nothing of this issue, therefore offers no fix. I would be interested in finding out if anyone else has had this issue.
 

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I just found something interesting in the Pathfinder Owners Manual (Page 5-15):

Fail-Safe

When the Fail-safe operation occurs, the next
time the key is turned to the ON position, the
O/D OFF light will blink for approximately 8
seconds after coming on for 2 seconds. While
the vehicle can be driven under these circum-
stances please note that the gears in the auto-
matic transmission may be locked in third gear.

If the vehicle is driven under extreme con-
ditions, such as excessive wheel spinning
and subsequent hard braking, the Fail-safe
system may be activated. This will occur
even if all electrical circuits are functioning
properly. In this case, turn the ignition key
OFF and wait for 3 seconds. Then turn the
key back to the ON position. The vehicle
should return to its normal operating con-
dition. If it does not return to its normal
operating condition have your NISSAN
dealer check the transmission and repair if
necessary.


I believe this may be the cause of my issue. I was in a hurry the day this happened to me.
 

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Same thing with mine

My story is the same as below. Same year, model.etc. Seems to happen after making hard left turns. Did it from day one, 85K on it now. Was told it could have been from low oil level, accuator was replaced, engine light only came on once out of several occurances, and the code code not be pin pointed. Turn motor off, start it back up.....ZOOOOOM! No rhyme or reason. To me, it appears to be fuel starvation, and I swear that one of these days I'm going to pull out the tank, and find some piece of junk floating around the tank that kept getting sucked up to the inlet tube,and when turned off, the suction stops, and whatever it could be, goes floating around until the next time. Think so? It's a piss off, and I had to figure most of the solutions out on my own. Any updates? Email [email protected] Thanks. JT / San Clemente, CA :wtf

So I have a 2003 SE Nissan Pathfinder automatic, with ~56,000 miles on it…

The problem that I have had has happened I think about 3 times over about a 6~8 month period.

So here it is….

I was driving around sightseeing with some friends and at the end of the day I was driving home and from a stop I was accelerating and all of a sudden I lost power/ felt like I had molasses in my transmission. So I was speeding up and when it hit about let’s say 40~45mph, it didn’t matter how far I put my foot to the floor, I couldn’t go any faster, the engine seemed to bog down and stay at about 2000~3000 RPMs with my foot to the floor. I took it off and put it in neutral and was able to rev the 4000+ RPM’s, as soon as I put it back in gear, same thing, no go… It seemed like I had molasses in the transmission. I then pulled over and tried again, still no go, so I shut it off and waited a few minutes and then no issue.
Again all three times this has happened, shutting off the engine for a few minutes it seems to take care of the problem… the other 2 times were also short trips around my home. It’s like I got a vapor lock somewhere or something…

I had also taken it to the dealer and had them have a look at it and no issues, bring it in if it happens again when it is happening…

OK so now some of the things I checked are all my fluids and they are good. I change them when they are due.
Oh yeah, no check engine light or anything on the dash…
I have thought about the transmission fluid, I also read somewhere about a “lower swirl valve” or a “vacuum cut bypass valve”???[/QUOTE]
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well after I got the transmission replaced and the 1 time it happened after the transmission was replaced it hasn't happen. The time that it did happen after the transmission was replaced they believe they may have over filled it and that caused it. I am now at about 89,000 miles on the truck, so so far so good!!!


So jt4thetop, it definitely sounds like what happen to mine and it sounds like your transmission is going into limp mode for what every reason. If it happens again, and you can do this, drive it to the nearest dealer slowly... They have a box where they can talk to the transmission, and what ever you do, do not let them turn the truck off till they have the codes and you see them yourself, and that they have looked up the codes and they make sense, because once the truck is turn off, that's it you will have to wait till next time...


Good luck and let me know if you find anything in your gas tank...
 

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Well after I got the transmission replaced and the 1 time it happened after the transmission was replaced it hasn't happen. The time that it did happen after the transmission was replaced they believe they may have over filled it and that caused it. I am now at about 89,000 miles on the truck, so so far so good!!!


So jt4thetop, it definitely sounds like what happen to mine and it sounds like your transmission is going into limp mode for what every reason. If it happens again, and you can do this, drive it to the nearest dealer slowly... They have a box where they can talk to the transmission, and what ever you do, do not let them turn the truck off till they have the codes and you see them yourself, and that they have looked up the codes and they make sense, because once the truck is turn off, that's it you will have to wait till next time...


Good luck and let me know if you find anything in your gas tank...

Thanks for the info. Does the transmission have its own port to plug into, or just under the dash? The time it happened when the light came on, was able to drive it to the shop where they plugged it in under the dash, but the code showing determined that it "may" have been one of the accuaters, which was then replaced. As it would be, it ran fine till it happened again, and then again when the oil was at an all time low 1.5 quarts (my bad) for it wasn't till then I discovered that the truck burns a quart every 1000 miles, and in spite of keeping a tight eye now on oil levels, did it again. I think what we have here is one of those WTF mysteries that Nissan themselves will never be able to come right out and discover, therefore being a hit and miss process of eliination until every single part on the truck has been replaced. It will be at that moment I proceed to the fuel tank, doing what I should have done some 50,000 miles ago, and that is to open the tank, and find the gremlin that has silently been laughing at me for the past 5 years muttering..."what took you so long"...lol! Time will tell.I think the day I truly fix it, will be the day I sell it.
Until the, key off...key on...Zooooom! Thanks again.

JT
 

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'03 Pathy bogs down at highway speeds

My story is the same as below. Same year, model.etc. Seems to happen after making hard left turns. Did it from day one, 85K on it now. Was told it could have been from low oil level, accuator was replaced, engine light only came on once out of several occurances, and the code code not be pin pointed. Turn motor off, start it back up.....ZOOOOOM! No rhyme or reason. To me, it appears to be fuel starvation, and I swear that one of these days I'm going to pull out the tank, and find some piece of junk floating around the tank that kept getting sucked up to the inlet tube,and when turned off, the suction stops, and whatever it could be, goes floating around until the next time. Think so? It's a piss off, and I had to figure most of the solutions out on my own. Any updates? Email [email protected] Thanks. JT / San Clemente, CA :wtf

So I have a 2003 SE Nissan Pathfinder automatic, with ~56,000 miles on it…

The problem that I have had has happened I think about 3 times over about a 6~8 month period.

So here it is….

I was driving around sightseeing with some friends and at the end of the day I was driving home and from a stop I was accelerating and all of a sudden I lost power/ felt like I had molasses in my transmission. So I was speeding up and when it hit about let’s say 40~45mph, it didn’t matter how far I put my foot to the floor, I couldn’t go any faster, the engine seemed to bog down and stay at about 2000~3000 RPMs with my foot to the floor. I took it off and put it in neutral and was able to rev the 4000+ RPM’s, as soon as I put it back in gear, same thing, no go… It seemed like I had molasses in the transmission. I then pulled over and tried again, still no go, so I shut it off and waited a few minutes and then no issue.
Again all three times this has happened, shutting off the engine for a few minutes it seems to take care of the problem… the other 2 times were also short trips around my home. It’s like I got a vapor lock somewhere or something…

I had also taken it to the dealer and had them have a look at it and no issues, bring it in if it happens again when it is happening…

OK so now some of the things I checked are all my fluids and they are good. I change them when they are due.
Oh yeah, no check engine light or anything on the dash…
I have thought about the transmission fluid, I also read somewhere about a “lower swirl valve” or a “vacuum cut bypass valve”???
[/QUOTE]

Hey folks,

It looks like there is an issue with this year, this model? My '03 4by has done this very thing you all describe, tho it has only appeared twice in a year, and only when I was towing my boat thru some hilly sections of Mo. When I manually dis-engaged the OD on a particularly steep hill and then re-engaged it several times in a row, it would suddenly drop into "molasses" mode until I stopped and shut it off like the others. No lights, no nothing. Fluids fine, temps fine. WTH? I continued down to Table Rock without the OD engaged at all, and had no issues the rest of the way. So here I am with my boat at a hotel just slightly concerned about the 4 hour trip home in a few days...Just decided to search this issue and found this forum.
Has anyone gotten a definitive answer on this problem? The vehicle has enough power to pull this small ski boat, it shouldn't be having this problem??
Thanks for any help!! J.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well Sorry no news here, I am at 94k miles now without issue. I do notice that I burn about a quart of oil now every 3000 miles.

As far as going into "Limp Mode" the transmission is getting a signal telling it to protect itself from something real or not.

I would make sure that your fluids are good, oil, trans, and antifreeze before you head home and make sure you have some on hand also just in case, but that is about the best advice I have unless you can get it to a dealer while the transmission is in limp mode, because at that point they should be able to get the code from the transmission. As soon as you turn off the car off it basically clears the codes from the tranmission.

Good luck and let us know if you find anything out and how the ride home goes. Otherwise enjoy boating!
 

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Wow cant believe I found this thread.
2003 SE same problem,
First occurred under warranty, took it in while not running correctly, bozos turned it off, then said no codes and no problems.
does this about 1 - 2 times a summer, after a 30 - 60 minute stop, turned off.
Mine does change gear, and runs at higher rpm than 3000 so I conclude its not in Fail safe.
Another forum member had a similar issue, he had a leaking fuel pressure regulator diaphragm, suggested a fuel pressure gauge to monitor fuel pressure, this is not the problem for me.
I have suggested its the swirl valves getting stuck, and since you cant see the actuator its hard to check. Will visually inspect when change plugs and check throttle plate screws.
 

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My 2004 Pathfinder w/ 155K miles just started doing the same exact thing today, the funny thing is my GF's mother's car, also a 2004 path, had the SAME exact problem just a few days before.. Her car is still being worked on, I'm not sure what her issue is yet.. My car I just found out from the shop that they couldn't reproduce the problem and there are no codes, and all readings are in spec.. so if it happens again I was told to drive straight there and NOT to turn the engine off so they can drive it in the limp state and check the readings. Like the other posts said, turning the engine off loses all the codes and resets the car back to normal function...

It bothers me that this seems to be a common thing with 2003/2004 paths. It makes me wonder if I should even bother putting another cent into it.. I want to avoid car payments as long as possible, but I don't want to keep putting $$ into a car which might die soon.. I'm curious, does anyone even know how long the engines typically last for in these cars? Technically my engine only has 100K miles on it since it was replaced at 50K miles..
-Keith
 
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