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My Shiftless Nissan

Hi Guys,

My Wife and I are loyal listeners. She has faith that you can figure out what’s ailing our 2006 Pathfinder (96,000+ miles on it). In short, the transmission slips badly in “drive” when warm. The tranny operates normally when cold. My regular mechanic who has serviced our cars faithfully for 10 years drained and replaced the tranny fluid and checked for signs of metal shavings or transmission wear. Nothing! He went all the way up to Nissan of North America, who claims that no one else has ever reported this problem. On the other hand, a local tranny specialist claims that the codes indicate that there is a terminal problem with the transmission, and that it must be rebuilt (to the tune of $3000!). By the way, the vehicle operates and can be driven normally in 1st, second, and third gear (auto tranny), but not in drive (or over-drive) when warm. Do we bite the bullet for the expensive fix, or could there be a less costly explaination?

It is a little early to be having these kind of issues with the Nissan but you have a leaking seal and/or sealing ring inside the transmission. When cold the fluid is a little more thicker which makes this seal and/or sealing ring do its job a little better. When warm/hot the fluid thins out and the ATF tends to leak past the seals more causing the slip. You mentioned the tranny guy found codes. What codes did he pull??


That seems to be a logical response. My mechanic was concerned over all of the class action lawsuits regarding this car and its tranny. it seems they have a habit of leaking coolant into the transmission (design defect that Nissan is not owning up to despite over 350 plaintiffs!). Your analysis seems to work better for him as he did not find any evidence of coolant in the tranny when he drained it. I will put him onto the seal fix in the morning. I will let you know what happens. We are still trading this machine for a new Subaru in two weeks (Legacy or Forester with the four cylinder…peppy with great gas mileage, fit, finish, and dependability). What do you think?

You guys rock!!


If you are trading it to a dealership, let them worry about fixing it. They’re going to rip you off as far as giving you what the vehicle is worth anyway. If you spend the money to fix it, you’ll not recover a cent of it in the trade.