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I purchased the truck used with 98k now at 106k the transmission has failed. I am having it rebuilt ($5k... ouch) and was wondering if I could get some advice on preventative maintenance while it is torn down. I don't know if the radiator is the original or not so I will surely be replacing that. Any suggestions on what radiator to go with? I want to make sure that there is absolutely no chance for the coolant trans. fluid mixture problem. Thanks.
 

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Here's a very informative posting from SMJ999SMJ about radiator problems on certain models:

The problem with the 2005-2010 Pathfinders/Xterras/Frontiers radiators is a design flaw in the factory radiator made by Calsonic-Kansei. The problem is limited to North American vehicles (Pathfinders made in Spain don't have this issue) and seem to be most prevelant on 05 through 07 models, although there have been a few 08 models reported. The North American vehicles come equipped with an auxilary trans cooler mounted in front of the AC condensor. Many have simply bypassed the integral cooler of the radiator by re-routing the cooler hoses so that the ATF passes though the auxilary cooler and not the radiator's integral cooler. Most have reported no problems, although, if you tow with your vehicle or live in an area that experiences very cold temperatures, I wouldn't recommend it. For one, a liquid-to-liquid cooler is far more efficient than a liquid-to-air cooler. Also, the radiator's cooler tube not only cools the ATF, but also warms it up to operating temperature quicker and maintains it in the proper range (ATF should operate in the 175 degree F range +/-).

If you want to replace the radiator, you have three choices. You can use the countermeasure genuine Nissan radiator which MSRP's around $550. For roughly the same money, you can get an all-aluminum radiator from Griffin radiators. The third choice is an aftermarket radiator for a lot less money. For my 2006 LE, I went with a brand new, $92/free shipping/lifetime warranty I found on Ebay (Parts Express...it is now listed for $120, but there is currently one for $77.90 from Radiator Classic). It may be made in China, but it appears to be quality built and the fit was perfect; I've had it installed for 7 months so far. I also replaced the 4 foam seals, which I got from Nissan (one on the upper tank of the radiator, one on the lower tank, and the other two on the side brackets). If you prefer to buy a part made in North America, you can get one made by Spectra Premium of Canada for around $150.
 

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I purchased the truck used with 98k now at 106k the transmission has failed. I am having it rebuilt ($5k... ouch)
Have you priced a New Transmission from Nissan? That sounds a little high for a rebuild to me.

And when you price a New Transmission Check several choice's includeing EBay as several Dealership's sell on Ebay at substantial reduced price's compared to walking in to the same dealership. Also check several different Dealership price's by phone as not all charge the same price. Also check at Nissan Parts online,, as Nissan has a Part's price online where you put in your zip code to get the price locally.

I have found SMJ's advice, to be good, and would advise to at least check out his advice, to save money and to get the best part available.

Hope this helps you.
 

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I'm following this with interest because a friend of mine has a 2005 Frontier and just commented a few days ago that the transmission had started to shudder when shifting into overdrive under certain conditions.

I told him about the radiator issue and needless to say he wasn't pleased. Original owner, had never heard anything about the problem from Nissan or elsewhere.

Hopefully it's just another issue and not the radiator cooler, but given the history of these it sure doesn't sound good. I'll post here when I find out what the problem was.........ed

p.s. I checked prices on the Spectra radiator, Rockauto.com and Summit Racing on eBay both have it for around the same shipped price, under $138.
 

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I have a 2004 with 310,000 miles, same engine and transmission. It had 7 miles when i drove it out the showroom. ( proving maintenance and quality parts pay off in the long long run). The 05 change was a defect, design or quality control issue Nissan has danced around. For a few the problem had shown itself immediately. For many others it comes after warranty and leaves the vehicles with huge repair bills and worse depreciation if anyone goes by reviews. Rogoman and BRHubble are right on the money with their comments. from my experience in the car business. The auction lines are rolling Nissan 05 + Trucks and Pathfinders with the same issue over and over again. The dealership took a run at two trucks and pathfinders and did repairs on beautiful vehicles with large repair bills that just proved they are not worth the effort for resale. The transmission cooler bypass works perfect in our environment but anything extreme I can see Rogoman's explaination being correct. ( actually never thought about it until he pointed it out, "Thanks for the insight)
Repair wise, yeah 5K is full blown new transmission retail. There is a few refurbished companies that are reputable that Nissan uses as well. If you are using an independent shop or dealer ask for a refurbished from Jasper. I was quoted $1800 for the transmission $1000 in misc partslabor. This was on my vehicle at 150,000 assuming it was going to break down, Its still running smooth. You see, the transmission is good and strong when the radiator isn't contaminating the transmission fluid with antifreeze. The antifreeze shorts out the inner parts of the transmissions electrical and can even fry the harness if not taken care of soon enough. I say, again from experience, it is a good transmission. It is simply amazing that a $180 radiator can be the culprit of a full transmission failure. I replaced my radiator ( from normal wear) with a high performance line. I don't have the issues of 05 and up, but because I do put mine through harsh driving conditions it made sense to spend more.
Hope this helps new and current owners to avoid the issues with a proactive approach with new radiators or transmission inter-cooler bypass systems which are not to expensive. $150-300 depending on parts and labor. My 2 cents is be proactive and do it before you have a AAA moment when you cant afford it. Always seems to happen that way. :)
 

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Well, heard from my friends and they just had the radiator replaced and transmission flushed. Turns out the heat xchgr had failed and was just starting to mix.

I don't know if they caught it in time or it's just too late no matter how little was in the tranny, but after flushing it seems to be normal. The mechanic recommended coming back after a month for a re-flush. Probably a good idea.

Hopefully it's not a ticking time bomb but the track record on these isn't that great. Guess we'll see what happens down the road!
 

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I have a 2007 Frontier. When I’m travelling at speeds of below 80kmph the shift out of O/D to a lower gear creates a vibration and noise similar to driving over a rumble strip. Have been manually turning of the O/D for lower speed driving situations. That does alleviate the shifting problem but looking for a cure. Problem seems to be worsened after driving a longer distance which leads me to believe its temperature related. Your comments to this post would be appreciated.
 

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Sounds like torque converter "shudder" and I see others have had the same issue. Be sure to rule out the transmission oil cooler problem, check your trans fluid for coolant contamination.

Here are a whole bunch of anecdotals about this problem:

Nissan Pathfinder Transmission Shudder -- Free Lemon Law Help

Coincidentally, years ago I had an '87 Maxima wagon with the torque converter lockup shudder problem. The Nissan dealership screwed around with it so many times without success that I was going to turn the rig back in using the Lemon Law. Right after I sent letters to the dealer and the regional center, I got a call to come in and have a new transmission installed. Well, that fixed the problem and the trans was trouble-free after that!

So, they've been having this type of trouble for many many years. Some things never change.

BTW if you do find coolant-contaminated fluid, be sure to install a replacement radiator and flush the system immediately. My friends' Nissan has been running great since last year, I guess they dodged the bullet on that one. Most are not that lucky and catch the problem far too late.

Maybe someone with more experience with the problem will chime in.

G'luck with the trans issues..............ed
 

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NF Mod/Nissan Master Tech
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I have a 2007 Frontier. When I’m travelling at speeds of below 80kmph the shift out of O/D to a lower gear creates a vibration and noise similar to driving over a rumble strip. Have been manually turning of the O/D for lower speed driving situations. That does alleviate the shifting problem but looking for a cure. Problem seems to be worsened after driving a longer distance which leads me to believe its temperature related. Your comments to this post would be appreciated.
This is a common symptom on 2005-2010 Pathfinders and V6 Frontiers and Xterras that experience engine coolant/automatic transmission fluid cross-contamination. The trans cooler located inside the lower tank of the factory-installed, Calsonic radiators would sometimes develop at a seal, allowing engine coolant to contaminate the transmission fluid and cause vibration at high speed issues and/or slipping and/or triggered transmission codes. Common part #'s located on the top tank of the radiator (on the Calsonic sticker) of the trouble prone radiators include 21460-EA215, 21460-EA265, 21460-EA200 and some of the early versions of the 21460-9CA2E. Nissan extended the warranty on the radiators to 10 years/80,000 miles (which covered the radiator failure and subsequent damage), originally, later extended with cost limitations (after losing a class action lawsuit in NY State); the extension provided for a repair cost limitation of $2500 up to 90,000 miles and $3500 limit from 90,001 to 100,000 miles. 2005 and 2006 models are the most affected by the problem. A sign that this may be what is causing your problem would be white streaks or a pink custard on the dipstick when checking the automatic transmission fluid.

Another, less common, issue is that the pin circuits that run between the trans valve body and the TCM that's mounted to it can crack and break, causing intermittent or open circuit issues which result in triggered codes and transmission performance issues.

Bad driveshaft U-joints will also cause vibration and is a common problem, but that wouldn't trigger the transmission code.
 

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Checked the Calsonic radiator number. It is the first one listed in your reply 21460-EA215. Haven’t gotten any codes but when I took off the radiator cap the coolant was thick and creamy, the colour of a Tim Hortons double double. So I think I’ve identified the problem. How would I contact Nissan in this regard? It fits the criteria for the $2500 repair.
 

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Better get it flushed right away!

Rockauto has good deals on radiators and if you want to shop around, just go to www.rockauto.com and find parts for your rig, then plug the radiator part numbers into Amazon, eBay, etc.

G'luck.........ed
 

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Checked the Calsonic radiator number. It is the first one listed in your reply 21460-EA215. Haven’t gotten any codes but when I took off the radiator cap the coolant was thick and creamy, the colour of a Tim Hortons double double. So I think I’ve identified the problem. How would I contact Nissan in this regard? It fits the criteria for the $2500 repair.
If you have a 2007, it must have been a leftover as it would have to been have sold late in 2008 to still qualify under the 10 year limit. If you are still in the limits, make an appointment with your Nissan dealer to have the problem inspected immediately before the warranty limit runs out! They will need to confirm the problem and handle the repair under the provisions of the warranty. FYI, the part numbers I mentioned were never provided by Nissan; these have been the numbers as stated by vehicle owners who have experienced the problem over the years (I moderate on TheNissanPath.com forums and we have a lot of R51 Pathfinder owners which have had the radiator coolers fail). Nissan will not acknowledge any specific part numbers, but the number you have is consistent with the original part number from the factory for your vehicle. If you have any more questions or issues, you can contact Nissan's consumer hotline, 1-800-NISSAN-1.
 
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