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Automatic transmission

(2005 Nissan Pathfinder)
in Randolph Center, VT on July 19, 2009
Ever heard of a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder automatic transmission failing. Have been advised by Nissan mechanic that there are pieces of metal and copper in it. We have owned this car since new and have regular scheduled services
Displaying 6 answers & 12 comments
Popular Answer
on April 27, 2010
I have an 06 pathfinder and the transmission started shaking at 45mph and under acceleration. Started doing some research and there are a lot of 05's and some 06's that have a well know issue: engine coolant gets mixed with the transmission fluid inside the radiator. This causes your transmission to fail. My dealer has replaced the radiator and is now changing the seals in the transmission. They did not find any metal pieces in it. I am lucky that I am still under warranty, but some other cases I've read were not so fortunate and are now stuck with $ 7,000 for a transmission and $ 2,000 for the radiator.
Check your coolant and transmission fluid. If they look milky, then you have the same problem.
on May 30, 2010
I own a 2005 Pathfinder 2W drive, 4L engine, automatic transmission with 108K miles and towed a 4Klbs boat regularly over 90 miles round trip. I am not a transmission expert but I am not the village idiot either…
At about 80K miles I began to experience the same symptoms as most of you. I paid over $300 for the dealership to "flush" the transmission with Nissan "exclusive" transmission fluid. After about six months the symptoms (hard shifts, shuttering between shifts) returned, even worse than before. I ran the vehicle with overdrive disabled and it helped (for a short while). I added Lucas Transmission Fix and it helped for about a week. I then took the vehicle to a local transmission shop and received a quote for about $3,500 to rebuild the transmission (of course it could be more once they got into the guts...).
I read all sorts of stories on the internet about the Pathfinder and the one common theme is a potential contamination issue. Through personal discovery I found this was my problem and fixed it myself for a little more than $100. Here's the deal, Nissan is well aware of a design flaw and refuses to do the right thing to recall and replace.
There is a transmission fluid heat exchanger located at the bottom of the engine radiator. Transmission fluid flows through this exchanger then flows through the transmission radiator. The transmission fluid heat exchange coupled with the engine radiator has a known issue of failing. Contamination can occur because the engine’s radiator fluid operates under higher pressure than the transmission fluid heat exchanger. If a pinhole leak develops in the transmission heat exchanger the radiator forces fluid into the transmission fluid thus contaminating and causing all sorts of symptoms that have been discussed in this thread.
This problem is easily diagnosed by simply inspecting the radiator fluid overflow well and transmission fluid (unscrew transmission pan plug and release a small amount for best inspection). In both scenarios the color of the fluid was a light tan. In the case of the radiator fluid it should have been green or blue. In the case of the transmission fluid it should have been red or dark red.
Step 1: To fix this problem requires bypass of the transmission heat exchange unit (coupled to the radiator) and direct flow through the transmission radiator. All you need is (2) hose clamps and (1) 4” 5/16 butt connector and about 2’ of 5/16 hose (total cost about $15).
Step 2: Flush the radiator and replace with new fluid (2.5 gallons 50/50 fluid cost about $18).
Step 3: Drain transmission fluid, remove pan and empty, refill transmission with Castrol Import Vehicle Automatic Transmission Fluid (it is Nissan matic-J compatible) and cost about $5 a quart (nine qts when pan emptied, six qts if pan not emptied to refill). Don’t forget to replace the transmission pan gasket which cost about $25.
I’m not discounting there could have been other factors causing a problem, however, my final assessment is the dealer and transmission shop were less than honest with me and word of mouth can cause more harm than $1M of advertising good will can buy. Times are hard, people are struggling and no one likes to be ripped off. I hope this truly helps someone. ~ God Bless!
on June 01, 2010
If a new radiator and transmission were installed in a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder (I'm interested in buying this vehicle) could the same problem happen again?

Please advise as soon as possible.

on July 28, 2010
Thanks for those tips - they are hopefully going to save me a lot of $. One question though. I read on some car forum that in colder climate the radiator coolant warms the trans fluid after you start the car and "softens" it up but if bypassed the transmission "shifts harder" just after you start driving and the ATF is cold. Can you please comment on this based on your experience? All points are welcome as Im planning to bypass mine but I live in a cold climate (Iceland) and I'm a little worried that this change might have some bad side effects.
Thanks ,
on June 17, 2013
I also have a 2005 Pathfinder. I've always flushed the radiator and put new fluid in the fall. Not until recently have I ever had a transmission problem. Unfortunately I have to run with the OD off. When it's on it jumps in and out of OD from speeds of 45 to 75. The Radiator coloration is good, however a mechanic told me that only Nissan could check the transmission fluid or flush it due to some sort of cap put on during production. Now, the local Nissan dealership has handled all the maintenance and repairs so far but has NEVER mentioned anything that may need to be preventive on the transmission. When I called them, I received NO return call. Given that I was out of town, I drove back w/o overdrive. Now they want me to bring it to the Nissan dealership for them to check it. Seriously, what should I do?..... A FEMALE IN NEED OF ADVICE! My 2005 Nissan Pathfinder has 189,000 miles.
on September 06, 2009
Just a word of caution. If your mechanic has said that there's pieces of metal in your tranmission and that means it cannot be repaired. If he has suggested that you need a totally new or rebuilt transmission. Be wary and go to another mechanic for a second opinion. Over my 58 years on this planet, I've been told the same thing by every mechanic, when I had a tranmission problem. I was later advised that there's no way a tranmission can have pieces of metal floating around in it, and that's a lie told by those who want to stick you with the cost of a completely new transmission.
on November 27, 2014
I would strongly recommend a second opinion, yes there are dishonest people everywhere and in every trade but to say that pieces of metal couldn't be found in an I'll performing transmission is incorrect there are many metal parts which wear and tear inside the trans. So the real argument here is if your being lied to and the actual failure.
on August 07, 2012
Hello all, I'm having the same promble my transmission and radiator . 2005 pathfinder
on June 17, 2013
Sorry to hear you have the same problem. We ended up paying for a new automatic transmission. I contacted the law firm in the States (see above link) but they never bothered to contact me. The case in the States has now been settled. Perhaps you could print out a few of the reported problems from the internet and show then to your local Nissan repairer. They may or maynot pay some of the repair bill. Good luck.
I personally haven't, older generation (early pathfinder had automatic transmission problems), perhaps call several transmission specialty shops or check the Nissan/Nissan Pathfinder forums to see if other people are reporting premature failures,
on August 06, 2010
Nissan changed their radiator vendor in 2005. This is a known issue. Faulty part, flawed design. There are thousands of posts out there of people with the same issue. Radiator fails and coolant leaks into transmission. There's a pending class action lawsuit. DO NOT get your transmission replaced. Replace your radiator and have your transmission flushed. That might do the trick before you invest at least $5K in a 5 year old vehicle.
on September 09, 2010
if you catch it early, that will work but their are no warning signs. I haad all the same problems tried replacing the radiator and flushed tranny twice. It seemed to help for a couple of weeks then it shut down completly.....tranny fried
on September 17, 2010
Can you tell us more about the class action lawsuit? I would like to become part of that.
on September 18, 2010
I haven't heard of a class action - has anyone as would be very interested?

We fought and fought Nissan to pay for the automatic transmission replacment as we believed it was poor/faulty Nissan service or a design fault that caused the problem in the first place. They gave us $2739.50 towards the $8911 replacement cost; interesting don't you think?
on September 20, 2010
Considering the $8911 quote is about $3k more than what most folks reported paying for the repair, I'd say its a good gesture gone bad.
Kinda like the furnace guy that offers a $200 coupon only to jack his estimate up by $250.
Snakes, they're all snakes.
on October 05, 2010
My 2006 Nissan Frontier is another example of the same radiator/transmission failure. Can anyone give me more info on the class action lawsuit? Lawyer contact info? This is definitely the last Nissan I will ever own.......
on October 06, 2010
Our 2005 Pathfinder had the same issue with fluid leaking into transmission and transmission is fried. Yes there is a class action suit pending; forum has a large group of people who have had the same problem. Below is the latest email with link regarding law firm.

A current class action suit has been filed against Nissan for this issue. You can join or find out more about the lawsuit by following this link:

or click on class action and when the cases come up in the lefthand column click the Nissan 2005 Pathfinder Transmission defect link.
on February 21, 2016
Add one more failed radiator heat exchanger to this thread. I have a 2008 V6 Nissan Pathfinder 4x2 that started shifting hard from P to R. I normally change transmission fluid at 30K intervals but decide to do it early. The first quart of fluid out of the transmission pan was like a pink milkshake. No red fluid showed up in my radiator overflow tank! My vehicle also has a factory installed transmission cooler and 172K miles so I don't expect Nissan to help with $$ if my transmission is cooked. I have changed the radiator (aftermarket brand Spectra Premium) as I couldn't trust another Nissan part with a history of failure. I have also completely flushed the transmission and installed a Wix in-line filter to assist with any contamination that may be dislodged and traversing the loop. Wish me luck!
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