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Questions and Answers

Nissan Altima No First Or Reverse Gears

Q. Hi, We have 1997 Nissan Altima with 56,000 miles. Until now, it is pretty reliable without any simple problem. This weekend, when my wife drive it and get out off the highway, she found it does not work in REVERSE and FIRST position at friend house driveway. After I take a check, I have found the following:

Nissan Altima No First Or Reverse Gears
  1. The shift switch can shift smooth and quietly as normal.
  2. It can start engine at PARK and NEUTRAL position as normal.
  3. When shift to REVERSE position, I do NOT feel the engage feeling and the car DOES not move backward. But the back light is on.
  4. When shift to FIRST position, the car DOES NOT move forward. I am not sure whether the engaging feeling is normal because I can not remember the engaging feeling at FIRST position.
  5. When shift to DRIVE with overdrive ON or OFF, the car can drive smooth as normal, and it accelerate as normal.
  6. When shift to SECOND position, the car can move forward. I am not sure whether it drives as normal because I can not remember the feeling of driving at SECOND position.
  7. At PARK, NEUTRAL, some time at REVERSE position, I hear some low whistling sound, But I am not sure it is normal or not.

I have checked the transmission fluid and engine oil, both of them have normal smell and level. Transmission fluid was changed at 30,000 miles three years ago. The service engine light is OFF. All other gauges are normal too.

While I feel the automatic transmission is fine, my first doubt is the neutral start switch has broken, and the second doubt is the shift cable is out of alignment. Before I send the car to a garage, does anyone have similar experiment or any advice to take additional self-check? Or know which cause the problem?



If the vehicle operates in the DRIVE position, then it would seem, mechanically, the transmission is fine. This would make me think there is a problem in the electrical portion of the system.

Most likely a problem with the line pressure, valve body or line pressure solenoid valve. If these components check out okay, then we are looking at a problem with the Reverse, High, Forward, Overrun Clutch or the Low and Reverse brake inside the transmission.

A Nissan Dealer can check the line pressure and shift valves with their CONSULT tester to confirm or eliminate them as a possibility.

The Neutral Safety Switch would not have anything to do with the shifting of the transmission.

Additional Information provided courtesy of AllDATA

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