Nissans are known for a failure in the engine radiator causing the water or coolant to get into the automatic transmission. A quick google search on this topic will reveal that this is an issue that seems to plague a variety of the Nissan range of vehicles. Our research shows that this fault seems to be more recurrent in the Nissan Pathfinders.
The fault has been touched on briefly before by us at GDL Automotive Services, in a blog post which looked at some of the common faults to hit the Nissan Navara. That blog post can be found at Nissan Navara Vehicle Review.
The fault in question, that seems to be very common across many Nissan vehicles, is an expensive automatic transmission failure caused by the internal failure of the engine coolant radiator. The transmission fluid is passed through a cooler that is also part of the radiator and when the radiator ruptures internally the engine coolant finds its way into the automatic transmission. This causes massive damage, particularly to the component known as a megatronic, which is basically a computer for the operation of the transmission. As you can imagine, coolant and computers don’t mix.
The repair for this is nearly always a complete transmission overhaul or a replacement transmission. If you have been quoted for a transmission repair, be sure to get your radiator checked too.
It has been found that you can reduce the risk of this happening by adding an aftermarket oil cooler to the car, but the chances are only mildly reduced as the culprit is the factory fitted radiator.
For those with interest in this fault and the legal ramifications that came with it, here are some interesting links.
A Class action against Nissan in Carolina was successful.
There is a Facebook page “Nissan Recall Transmission Failure” which is calling for Nissan to make an official reel for this fault. It is believed to be unlikely to happen as the dollars involved would be astronomical.
Unfortunately to date, saving for a few exceptional circumstances, it is the consumer who has had to foot the bill.