I've got an 03' 4x4, V6 automatic. A few months ago I noticed a shudder/vibration when the transmission is shifting from (I assume) 4th or 5th gear. The AT level is ok on the dipstick and I've noticed no leakage. Also, I replaced the U-joints which didn't fix the problem.
I found info in the forums that suggested it may be cross contamination of coolant and AT fluid. My coolant in the reservoir looks fine. I also found where some folks will just drain the fluid at the pan twice, instead of dropping the pan and replacing the filter and gasket.
Can I get some input or an update on this? For those who drained and replaced the fluid, did it stop the shifting issues?
A few corrections:
1st Gens have a 4 spd A/T.
The coolant/ATF mixing problem (SMOD) is more of a 2nd gen problem. I'm not saying it'll never happen with a 1st, but is very, very, VERY unlikely based on the number of vehicles on the road with the problem.
You haven't mentioned if the fluid has been changed or not. A 2003 will likely be approaching 150K, and that long on factory fluid is too long. Fluid changing would be very high on my list at this point. It's a 9 qt system, and approx half will come out with each drain, but be prepared the first time with plenty -- refill with new the same volume that comes out. Drain and fill about a week apart for 4 or 5 times to make certain all the old is out.
Changing the filter is optional as it's more of a screen mesh than a foam or paper filter. Dropping the pan is the only way to clean the magnet, however.
Last edited by muadeeb; 12-11-2012 at 09:11 PM.
Reason: notes about filter
The vibration is the torque converter locking up while surrounded by fluid that's lost its friction modifiers. It happens at 43-47mph under light load once the transmission fluid is warm. It feels like a 5th gear, but it's not really a gear. I had the same thing - change the fluid twice because you only get like half out each time, and you'll be good. I did it 3 times for good measure. It was still cheaper than having a shop do it.
2002 Xterra XE 3.3 4x4 auto | JL 500/1v2 + 10W7 | Viper 5901 remote starter | Rear sway bar delete | Bilsteins all around | IAB | 2" DIY BL | KC HiLiTES on homemade roof bar | AC Shackles/PML | 33x12.5/15 Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar on Cragar Soft 8s | Skid Row skids | Yakima Loadwarrior | Beginning of a build thread
I have a 2001 with around 120K on it and just noticed this exact same problem. She doesn't get driven much anymore, maybe 2-4K a year. I'll start with the fluid changes as it's the original fluid. Thanks for the advice from the posters and to the OP for a good description of the problem!!
The AutoGuide.com network consists of the largest network of enthusiast-owned enthusiast-operated automotive communities.
AutoGuide.com provides the latest car reviews, auto show coverage, new car prices, and automotive news. The AutoGuide network operates more than 100 automotive forums where our users consult peers for shopping information and advice, and share opinions as a community.