Transmission (5 spd): repair or replace?

I have 1995 Pathfinder SE. Great car, about 200k, works fine. Transmission (3rd and 5th mostly) getting pretty noisy. Presumably shaft bearing(s).

What is best route and how to pursue: repair existing trans, buy used (how to know if really better). What cost to expect? I realize whatever I do will likely cost more than car value, but why buy a replacement vehicle when this one otherwise is fine?

Related: before making this investment, should I get engine compression checked to make sure I have good remaining mileage on engine? What should I look for?

Getting a “physical” on the entire remainder of the car before investing major $$ would be a good idea. Before that, check out for a used tranny with half the miles. Consider replacing the clutch while the tranny is out as most of the labor will be done.


How handy are you? Japanese 5-speeds can usually be dismantled with common tools. If you are correct about the cause of the noise, that would be the best/cheapest solution. However, unless you have unusually high mechanical aptitude, the chances of getting it all back together exactly right are low.

If you need to pay someone to rebuild it for you, the junk yard transmission starts to look like a better deal.

I put all new bearings in a 5 speed Toyota at 150k miles for minimal cost, and drove it another 150k miles.

When my Volvo 5 speed failed at 150k, I could not even get it apart without special tools. Parts and labor to get someone else to fix it were prohibitive, so I put in a junkyard transmission. Still works great after another 120k miles.

have you checked or ever changed the gear oil in your tranny? If it is low and already making noise, plan on at least rebuilding it (which is alot cheaper than buying a new one). noisy gears usually mean worn bearings and or synchronizers.i believe 3rd and 5th are on the same shaft in that trans so bearings are probably the issue.

personally, unless you absolutely have to, i would stay away from buying used transmissions. you may inherit the same problem again before you know it.