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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So...

the transmission went out in my 03 Xterra SE/SC. I shopped around, and found a transmission out of a wrecked 4x4 2002 frontier that I thought was the same, but it's not. The one I bought to install doesn't have the turbine speed sensor.

Can I just swap to a 00, 01, 02 TCM and that will solve the problem??

Thanks!
 

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Well….yes sort of. Your flywheel holes for the torque converter are in different locations so you’ll either need the other flywheel or to swap torque converters. I use a supercharged engine with a non supercharged flywheel and automatic transmission. Just get the right TCM
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well….yes sort of. Your flywheel holes for the torque converter are in different locations so you’ll either need the other flywheel or to swap torque converters. I use a supercharged engine with a non supercharged flywheel and automatic transmission. Just get the right TCM
Thanks a lot!

I am going to swap the flex plate too. The trans going in has 42k miles on it. The one coming out has 235k miles on it. Be my luck I'd swap the converter and it would go out 100 miles after reinstalling the transmission.

Thanks for your help.

Edited to add: Do I need an SC TCM pre 2003? Or will any AT 4x4 TCM pre 2003 do the trick?
 

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I’d look for a non SC TCM from a non VDC car. Anything before 03 will not have VDC. If you have a SC TCM, you’ll code for a turbine sensor that doesn’t exist

Edit: this maybe wrong because your truck is an 03. You’d need with or without VDC however your truck is equipped
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OK...

So I got a pre 2003 TCM, and the correct flywheel, and got everything put back together, and now I have a P1605 code:
Automatic Transmission Communication. I can clear it but it returns at next start and drive.

Everything works, the transmission shifts through all the gears and into overdrive just like it should.

Is the ECU looking for input from the turbine sensor that is missing on the transmission I installed (the reason I switched the TCM)? Do I need a pre 2003 SC ECU as well?
 

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Edit: this maybe wrong because your truck is an 03. You’d need with or without VDC however your truck is equipped
we could talk about this for hours but you need to know what kind of control unit you’re looking for. The ECM doesn’t look at turbine speed, thats only an input for the TCM. There’s more than one communication protocol for 2003/2004 xterras and frontiers depending on how it’s equipped.

I have a 2003 NA with VDC but I’m running a 2003 SC no VDC ECM with a 2003 NA no VDC TCM. I get no codes in the ECM, just ABS/VDC because it doesn’t get the engine load signal. I did have to add three wires to the harness for AT communication.

The year of the control unit you’re using shouldn’t matter as long as the ECM and TCM match. If you give me at least the last 8 of the VIN I can see how it was originally equipped and give you a better idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I don't believe this vehicle has VDC. There's no button anywhere that I can see.

I bought a used one of this part number:

31036-9Z800


I will send you a PM with the VIn.

Thanks man!
 

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I didn’t get your vin number. This control unit doesn’t appear to be correct. According to the parts catalog, this fits a 02 SC truck. I think if you wanted a 03 non VDC you’d want a 31036-9s200 but I’m surprised you set this code anyway. Very curious.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I didn’t get your vin number. This control unit doesn’t appear to be correct. According to the parts catalog, this fits a 02 SC truck. I think if you wanted a 03 non VDC you’d want a 31036-9s200 but I’m surprised you set this code anyway. Very curious.
But I don't want an 03 right?

The 03 and 04 trans added the turbine sensor which none of the transmissions prior to that had, which is why I had to swap the TCM, I think?

The TCM that came out of it is 31036-9s300 if that tells you anything.

Sending the VIN now. Been cooking and eating all day.
 

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You’re incorrect about the turbine sensor. This version of the transmission was used in the “high output” versions, ie supercharged frontier or xterra or also VQ powered pathfinders. I’m not sure there’s a big difference in ANY of the years but vehicles with the VDC option take different computers and harnesses. That option was only available in 03/04 model years for these vehicles. There has to be something else different though because based on this assumption you shouldnt code for 1605. I use a supercharged engine/computer with a non supercharged transmission in mine. I had to add a few wires but I thought that was because of the VDC. I’d also like to note that mine was coding for AT communication, don’t remember the number, but the wires that I was missing were not in the service manual anywhere. I only found them from comparing harnesses. Lucky I had everything from the donor car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You’re incorrect about the turbine sensor. This version of the transmission was used in the “high output” versions, ie supercharged frontier or xterra or also VQ powered pathfinders. I’m not sure there’s a big difference in ANY of the years but vehicles with the VDC option take different computers and harnesses. That option was only available in 03/04 model years for these vehicles. There has to be something else different though because based on this assumption you shouldnt code for 1605. I use a supercharged engine/computer with a non supercharged transmission in mine. I had to add a few wires but I thought that was because of the VDC. I’d also like to note that mine was coding for AT communication, don’t remember the number, but the wires that I was missing were not in the service manual anywhere. I only found them from comparing harnesses. Lucky I had everything from the donor car.
ughh...

sounds too damn complicated.

I bought this transmission for $350.00 bucks out of a wrecked 42k miles 4x4 frontier that the guy thought was an 01. Every other transmission I looked at that was under 100k miles was 1k to 1500 bucks. The only difference in the harness in wires or plugs, (and I put the 03 harness on the donor transmission because the one on it was too short,) was the turbine sensor.
 

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Yes not only a slightly different length but the connector at the end is different also. You would need to put your harness on whatever transmission you bought unless it was a direct fit. I don’t have a great answer here and I’ve done a little bit of “Mr potato head” on these things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Could be you fixed a communication issue with the TCM by exercising the connections.
I thought about that..

I had unplugged it, unhooked the battery, plugged it back in, and restarted only to have to code return. When I swapped to the original one, went and drove it, rechecked for any pending codes, nada.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
could be the different years communicate differently

could be the TCM you bought was junk

I imagine you will get a code for a turbine speed sensor seeing as you don’t have one. This may or may not set an engine light
I am a bit baffled actually...

the TCM in this truck is listed to work with non SC trucks as well, and the some of the non SC TCMs show they will work in SC trucks. ALL of the different part numbers of TCM are shown to work on differing models of both.

I don't get how that works. If one truck has the TSS, and another doesn't, how does the TCM determine which transmission is in there, and whether or not it should throw a code for the TSS?
 

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I am a bit baffled actually...

the TCM in this truck is listed to work with non SC trucks as well, and the some of the non SC TCMs show they will work in SC trucks. ALL of the different part numbers of TCM are shown to work on differing models of both.

I don't get how that works. If one truck has the TSS, and another doesn't, how does the TCM determine which transmission is in there, and whether or not it should throw a code for the TSS?
Blackberry will correct me if I'm wrong but I believe the TCM transmits and receives data to and from the ECM relative to the transmission and it's the ECM that processes that data to determine if codes are to be set. The ECM is the "master".
 

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Yes this is a pretty basic system but there’s a lot of different configurations. Usually an ECM comes with/without supercharged option, with/without automatic transmission, and with/without VDC depending on model year.

The TCMs should just have with/without turbine sensor and with/without VDC.

I’ve reconfigured these trucks for manual transmissions, put turbine sensor transmission in regular truck, and done a few other ECM/TCM shenanigans including but not limited to my own. Only one that gave me grief was mine and I had assumed that was a VDC thing.

if everything works, I’d say job well done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Yes this is a pretty basic system but there’s a lot of different configurations. Usually an ECM comes with/without supercharged option, with/without automatic transmission, and with/without VDC depending on model year.

The TCMs should just have with/without turbine sensor and with/without VDC.

I’ve reconfigured these trucks for manual transmissions, put turbine sensor transmission in regular truck, and done a few other ECM/TCM shenanigans including but not limited to my own. Only one that gave me grief was mine and I had assumed that was a VDC thing.

if everything works, I’d say job well done.
Ehhh...

not to challenge you cause it's obvious that you know a lot more about these trucks than I do. However, when you look at the list below, there must be some other way that the TCM works. I would assume that if the Turbine sensor is there, it uses that information as an additional parameter to control the transmission. If it's not, it doesn't. I drove it twice since the swap back for a total of about 15 miles and no codes.

This is the factory application/compatibility list for the TCM that came in this truck, the 31036-9s300. I just realized that the 2003 SC Xterra is not on this list! (#WUT?) But, MT, AT, 4 cylinder, 6 cylinder, and 6 cylinder with SC all shown to work with this TCM. Why?? No idea.

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Nissan Frontier 2.4L MT 2WD King Cab XE2003, 2004
Nissan Frontier 3.3L V6 AT 2WD King Cab XE2003, 2004
Nissan Frontier 3.3L V6 AT 2WD XE LWB2003, 2004
Nissan Frontier 3.3L V6 AT 4WD King Cab XE2003, 2004
Nissan Frontier 3.3L V6 AT 4WD SC LWB2003, 2004
Nissan Frontier 3.3L V6 AT 4WD SE LWB2003
Nissan Frontier 3.3L V6 AT 4WD XE LWB2003, 2004
Nissan Frontier 3.3L V6 MT 2WD Crew Cab XE2002, 2003, 2004
Nissan Frontier 3.3L V6 MT 2WD King Cab SC2002, 2003
Nissan Frontier 3.3L V6 MT 2WD King Cab XE2002, 2003, 2004
Nissan Frontier 3.3L V6 MT 2WD XE LWB2002, 2003, 2004
Nissan Frontier 3.3L V6 MT 4WD Crew Cab XE2002, 2003, 2004
Nissan Frontier 3.3L V6 MT 4WD King Cab SC2002, 2003, 2004
Nissan Frontier 3.3L V6 MT 4WD King Cab XE2002, 2003, 2004
Nissan Frontier 3.3L V6 MT 4WD XE LWB2002, 2003, 2004
Nissan Xterra 3.3L V6 AT 2WD SE2003, 2004
Nissan Xterra 3.3L V6 AT 2WD XE2003
Nissan Xterra 3.3L V6 AT 4WD SE2003, 2004
Nissan Xterra 3.3L V6 AT 4WD XE2003
 
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