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Service, Recalls, Warranty & Maintenance Valuable service and maintenance information. Also discussion which engine and transmission fluids you use.

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Old 08-10-2013, 02:33 AM   Thread Starter #1
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Default 2004 5 Speed Auto Transmission Problems

Hi how's it going, my names Jack this is my first post.

I have a 2004 Nissan Maxima Ti-l, and the gearbox has been acting up. I've read on the internet that this transmission in particular has problems and that there may have been a recall in the United States. If that were the case that wouldn't apply to me anyway as I am Australian.

I took a look at the transmission fluid today, and it was in very poor condition.
Click the image to open in full size.

Flushed and Replaced Oil, car is running a lot better.

Question is, how much longer can this thing realistically go on before it needs to be rebuilt or replaced? Are there advantages between rebuilding an old one or perhaps installing a different brand of transmission?

edit: oil image url http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/809/7boh.jpg/
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Old 08-25-2013, 04:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2004 5 Speed Auto Transmission Problems

Originally Posted by jakka351 View Post
Hi how's it going, my names Jack this is my first post.

I have a 2004 Nissan Maxima Ti-l, and the gearbox has been acting up. I've read on the internet that this transmission in particular has problems and that there may have been a recall in the United States. If that were the case that wouldn't apply to me anyway as I am Australian.

I took a look at the transmission fluid today, and it was in very poor condition.
Click the image to open in full size.

Flushed and Replaced Oil, car is running a lot better.

Question is, how much longer can this thing realistically go on before it needs to be rebuilt or replaced? Are there advantages between rebuilding an old one or perhaps installing a different brand of transmission?

edit: oil image url http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/809/7boh.jpg/
that oil looks really bad...it's suppose to be red

if changing the oil helped that's a GOOD sign because if you have actual hardware issues changing the oil isn't going to do a whole lot

as far as predicting when it will die is like trying to predict when a person is going to die haha you should at least post your current mileage though
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Old 09-08-2013, 09:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2004 5 Speed Auto Transmission Problems

So as far as I know there is no recall. I'm in the US and haven't received any intel on this. There is some sort of class action going on about it.

My tranny started having hard shifts between 1 and 2 and Reverse and Drive. At first these were minor annoyances, and I didn't really notice it since it was the wife's car but then the clanking became hard and metallic and I noticed it when I finally got off my Harley and in the Max.

It lasted for months and months apparently. We made a 1000 mile road trip with it. I've heard others say that their tranny went into limp mode so I guess it has a faster decline for some.

As far as repair vs. replace...First check your mounts to make sure that the shift is not a result of broken mounts. some people say to try replacing the camshaft position sensors (OEM). I did this as well and noticed some improvement, the hard metallic stopped.
Then I replaced the valve body which eliminated almost all of the problem. Re-emerged when a front mount broke. This wasn't visibly damaged earlier so it may have been a later addition to the problem. With these three things done 99% of my problems are gone. I'm guessing any left over problem may be damage that I caused by delaying the fix.

The problem with replacing the whole tranny is that your new tranny could still have the defective OEM valve body which may give out on you. You also won't know if the Camshaft sensors played a role or any mount.

I would let it ride till it gives you problems then check mounts, do sensors, and then look at swapping the valve body with one of the improved ones. Some people use levelten. I used a vendor in Florida and liked the vendor although I still have 1 out of 1000 minor hard shift. There may be some Australian one that would be more economical.

There is a great sticky on this issue in the How to section
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Old 09-19-2013, 03:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2004 5 Speed Auto Transmission Problems

Hey Jack , do you any scanning codes from Nissan or a garage !
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Old 09-27-2013, 10:14 AM   #5
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Default Re: 2004 5 Speed Auto Transmission Problems

Hi Jakka351,

Don't hold your breath on a recall. Our Aisin Warner transmission were used in a ton of cars made by Volvo, Saturn, GM, Renault, Saab, etc, and to my knowledge, none have been recalled. Our Maxima's are on the very high end of how much the AW50-50/51SN can handle in terms of HP/TQ (max recommended wheel power is ~245 HP/TQ ), so we're more prone to problems.

The most common problem is from limited-lifetime valve body solenoids, see the link below for the reasons why they're crap:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYn13aqlsl0

Our transmissions are prone to many problems, but the SLS, SLU and SLT solenoids seem to cause most symptoms.

If you want more information on how to replace them, see my post:
Lessons From A AW55-50SN Solenoid Replacement

Assuming you have a decent set of tools, it will cost you $210 for the Rostra Solenoids, $40 for a calibration, $8 for RTV Black, $8-15/qt for 4qt of K-matic or Amsoil Multivehicle Synthetic ATF plus shippings costs to the Land of OZ. So for about $300+shipping, you have a good chance of fixing your problems.

BTW, my oil was the same color after 15K of driving.

Let me know if you have any more questions.
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