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Questions and Answers

Nissan Pathfinder Transmission Woes

Q. Vincent, Hopefully you can shed some light on my situation. I have the following truck:

  • 1995 Nissan Pathfinder
  • 3.0 liter V-6
  • Automatic transmission
  • 240,000 kilometers
  • Fuel Injection
  • ABS
  • P/S, A/C and cruise control
Nissan Pathfinder Transmission Woes

Here's the problem with the Pathfinder. 1st gear no problem, 2nd gear no problem, 3rd gear no problem, 4th gear (overdrive) no problem, BUT when the torque converter locks in after 4th gear it keeps waffling back and forth between overdrive and lockup especially when going up a grade over 100 kph. I took it into Mr. Transmission and they said yep, we know what it is and it will be a 2 day job.

Half way through the job I went in and they said the job was hell. They had to drop the front differential to get the transmission out along with the transfer case and a bunch of other stuff. They replaced the torque converter, the overdrive band and some seals and gaskets. Anyway, 5 days later they called me to say it's done.

At first when I picked it up and not more than a ½ km down the road it starts waffling back and forth again. Now a day later it's not even locking in with the new torque converter. This morning I wake up and there is a pool of ENGINE oil on my driveway. What the Hell!!!! I took it back this morning and explained the problem, they are going to take a look today.

I'm starting to think it wasn't the torque converter in the first place but a solenoid or valve or something. The oil, I have no idea. What does you experience tell you?

Much appreciated

A. Whenever I encountered this problem on a Nissan pathfinder, replacing the torque converter is the last thing to do, not the first. There are several other things that can cause the symptoms you describe, none of which requires transmission removal.

The first thing, and this is something you check with ANY transmission problem, is to check the transmission fluid level and condition. If it's been a while since the transmission fluid and filter has been changed, it might be a good idea to do it before anything else. A partially clogged transmission filter will cause erratic shifting.

A mis-adjusted Throttle Position Sensor (TPS), Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS), Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor (FTS)and Torque Converter Clutch (TCC) Solenoid are some other common causes of this problem as well.

As for the puddle of engine oil, that is and extremely heavy transmission and there is a special jack used by Nissan to R&R it. If it is not lined up exactly as it is installed, it can cause, sometimes severe, damage.

Additional Information provided courtesy of AllDATA

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