Automatic vs Manual trans?? - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-23-2012, 08:42 PM   #29
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For your consideration. Please check on the web Nissan Frontier auto transmission problems. Seems there may be a design issue wherein the auto tranny cooler setup allows water to get into the trans fluid and craters the transmission and Nissan seems to be unwilling to assist to any appreciable extent. The Nissan Frontier seems to me to be the ideal size pickup but the trans problems have me on the sidelines. I must stress that I have no actual experience with the Nissan Frontier. Lee
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Old 06-23-2012, 10:47 PM   #30
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I just read about that. It appears that there's a transmission cooler built into the radiator. Sometimes after 80,000 miles the cooler breaks down and allows water into the transmission. Seems to me the easy solution, once beyond warranty, would be to disconnect the internal cooler and install an external cooler. Just a thought.
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Old 06-23-2012, 11:58 PM   #31
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Byron I had thought of that as well. I guess you would want to be sure to flush the internal transmission lines in the radiator thoroughly and cap them off. That should resolve the issue but of equal or perhaps even greater concern to me is the fact that Nissan is obviously aware of the problem, has apparently done nothing to resolve it and from the tone of the threads have been totally unsupportive of their customers. Lee
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Old 06-24-2012, 05:41 AM   #32
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Byron I had thought of that as well. I guess you would want to be sure to flush the internal transmission lines in the radiator thoroughly and cap them off. That should resolve the issue but of equal or perhaps even greater concern to me is the fact that Nissan is obviously aware of the problem, has apparently done nothing to resolve it and from the tone of the threads have been totally unsupportive of their customers. Lee
Actually they did do something. They extended the warranty on the radiator to 8 yrs/ 80k miles . My understanding is that they also changed the radiator for 2011.

They sell about 70 k Frontiers/ Xterras with that drive train a year. Like the clutch issue, it's hard to tell how wide spread the problem is. While researching my next vehicle purchase I found Honda has had oil filter leaks causing fires, Subaru has had failing head gaskets, Hyundai had transmission issues, and then there's Toyota. Odds are you ask an owner of any of these vehicles, they will tell you they are happy with their puchase. I would. Raz
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Old 06-24-2012, 06:15 AM   #33
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Byron I had thought of that as well. I guess you would want to be sure to flush the internal transmission lines in the radiator thoroughly and cap them off. That should resolve the issue but of equal or perhaps even greater concern to me is the fact that Nissan is obviously aware of the problem, has apparently done nothing to resolve it and from the tone of the threads have been totally unsupportive of their customers. Lee
Hi: Lee Senn... This early generation Frontier fluid mixing/leakage has been dealt with by Nissan. There's a major discussion thread on http://www.clubfrontier.org about it. The design of the tranny cooler as explained to me by a Frontier/Casita owner/member here, is that the fluid comes out of the tranny, is piped through the bottom of the rad., then through the external cooler near the engine rad. then back into the transmission. I was asking about the need for an aux. cooler and was told I didn't need one...it's already got one.
I'm certainly confident of Nissans reputation so I bought one. Time will tell if I was right!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 06-24-2012, 07:49 AM   #34
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Actually they did do something. They extended the warranty on the radiator to 8 yrs./ 80k miles . My understanding is that they also changed the radiator for 2011.

They sell about 70 k Frontiers/ Xterras with that drive train a year. Like the clutch issue, it's hard to tell how wide spread the problem is. While researching my next vehicle purchase I found Honda has had oil filter leaks causing fires, Subaru has had failing head gaskets, Hyundai had transmission issues, and then there's Toyota. Odds are you ask an owner of any of these vehicles, they will tell you they are happy with their puchase. I would. Raz
I agree Raz there is something about anything that's out there. Before I got my Kia Sedona, I wanted a Honda Odyssey but found they had tranny issues, Toyota's Van had something else. Yet when I asked people who owned these vehicle's they were very happy with them.
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:46 AM   #35
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Odds are you ask an owner of any of these vehicles, they will tell you they are happy with their puchase. I would. Raz

I think that unless U R the one with the problem, you will be happy with your ride.

Check with Consumers Reports to find out the problem areas with each vehicle. Their research covers many years right up to the current year. If you do not subscribe to their mag, you can get the vehicle one at a book store.
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Old 06-24-2012, 03:20 PM   #36
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Odds are you ask an owner of any of these vehicles, they will tell you they are happy with their puchase. I would. Raz
That's why, in addition to predicted reliability, owner cost and the road tests, I look closely at the "owner satisfaction" rating that Consumer Reports gives. You will run into people who, for one reason or another, will highly recommend vehicles that have terrible reviews, sub-par reliability, high cost, and even low owner satisfaction ratings. Research independent sources like Edmonds, US News, and Consumer Reports and take personal recommendations with a grain of salt.
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Old 06-24-2012, 04:41 PM   #37
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For your consideration. Please check on the web Nissan Frontier auto transmission problems. Seems there may be a design issue wherein the auto tranny cooler setup allows water to get into the trans fluid and craters the transmission and Nissan seems to be unwilling to assist to any appreciable extent. The Nissan Frontier seems to me to be the ideal size pickup but the trans problems have me on the sidelines. I must stress that I have no actual experience with the Nissan Frontier. Lee
My 3rd generation 4Runner has been known to have this exact same problem, at about the same miles that Byron mentioned. I installed a tranny cooler and capped off the ends of the tubes on the radiator. Figured why chance it. Now if it ever leaks, then its no biggie.

Just a heads up for others who might own one.
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Old 06-25-2012, 02:41 PM   #38
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Subaru has had failing head gaskets, H
In case it helps, the head gasket problems were mainly in the late 90s and early to mid 2000s four cylinder engines. Now they use the same material for head gaskets in the H4 as they do in the H6, and the problems are gone.
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Old 06-25-2012, 03:06 PM   #39
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That's why, in addition to predicted reliability, owner cost and the road tests, I look closely at the "owner satisfaction" rating that Consumer Reports gives. You will run into people who, for one reason or another, will highly recommend vehicles that have terrible reviews, sub-par reliability, high cost, and even low owner satisfaction ratings. Research independent sources like Edmonds, US News, and Consumer Reports and take personal recommendations with a grain of salt.
I trust Consumer Reports, less than I trust a used car saleman. Anybody seen the movie "Used Cars" with Kurt Russel?...
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:54 PM   #40
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Regarding the failure of the auto trans due to engine coolant contamination, that really is a darn shame. The transmission is actually a good one (re5r05a) and is used in the Titan as well. The Titan makes about 35 hp and almost 100 ft-lbs more than the Frontier, so that bodes well for the life of the trans in the less powerful truck. If I were buying a used Frontier with an auto, I believe I would install a new radiator and do a trans cooler mod to eliminate the possible problem.

Back to the Frontier 6 speed manual, this trans (fs6r31a) is the same as used in the 350Z sports car (although with different gear ratios), and again, the sports car engine makes more hp (306 vs 284) so once again, buying a Frontier means you are buying a vehicle with transmission that is effectively overbuilt. Edit, the Infiniti G39 also uses this trans, and it makes 328hp, just as a point of reference.

It was mentioned earlier about the gear ratio of reverse gear. In my 6 speed manual, reverse is 3.96. First is 4.36. The differential is 3.69.

Just as a point of ref, I am currently in Wyoming with the 3800 pound camper in tow. I've spent the last 10 days in Colorado and Wyoming. I can typically pull at highway speeds in fifth ( 1:1 ), although now in the mountains, I am mostly in 4th. Running 55 mph in 4th is spinning around 2850 rpm. This is a good place in the powerband of this 4.0 engine, as it is still on climbing part of the torque curve.

I ran down a 7% grade yesterday, and was able to hold between 40 and 45 mph in third, without touching the brakes. All in all I am very happy with this setup.
I have once again had some very windy days this trip, and with the BlueOx swaypro hitch, it pulls and tracks well.

PS: Edit, one mod I am going to do is install an aluminum oversized cover on the differential. It's due for an oil change in the rear anyway, and the aluminum cover dissipates heat better, and adds oil capacity also. Nissan (Dana) specs 75w-140 synthetic for these diffs, and it's important to use only synthetic, especially for heavy duty apps, like towing.
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:55 PM   #41
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Regarding the failure of .......snip......

If I were buying a used Frontier with an auto, I believe I would install a new radiator and...........
.....well, here is some irony ! I wrote the above on tuesday I think it was. I am back home now....made it back in one piece ( ha ! defied death again ! ) ....and when I went out in the garage this morning, I smelled coolant. Checked the radiator and the overflow bottle....all looked good. But.....crawled under the truck, and a faint bit of green residue along the bottom tank of the radiator !
It's at the shop now getting a new radiator, and while he's in there I asked him to change all the hoses too. All for the bargain ( ? ! ) price of 'just' $710 !!

Oh well.....it's cheaper to keep 'er......

If you're gonna keep them, sometimes you have to throw some parts at them......

I'm just glad it did not let go crossing Nebraska in over 100 degree heat yesterday. Any day that it rolls into the shop under it's own power has to be considered counting your blessings !
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Old 06-28-2012, 02:58 PM   #42
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Personally, I think an automatic transmission takes the fun factor out of driving. Granted, while much more expensive to fix than a clutch replacement, they are efficient and deliver better performance than a poorly driven manual. But a blow up doll can be efficient and sometimes deliver better performance, but where is the fun?
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