The Nissan Frontier was equipped with the RE5R05A and early models have RE4R01A transmission. The RE5R05A was known for early failure due to the factory radiator allowing engine coolant to enter the transmission through the cooling system, which sometimes can be fixed with a RE5R05A valve body replacement. But they aren’t without their problems though, so let’s look at some of the most common Nissan Frontier transmission problems, look at cost estimates and figure out what you can do about them.
Nissan Frontier Transmission Models
Nissan Frontier Transmission Replacement Cost Estimate
Pricing varies by model. To be 100% sure on pricing, have your VIN# handy and use our Get An Estimate feature to look up your transmission by VIN#.
Replacement Nissan Frontier Transmission Prices:
|Transmission||Street Smart Transmission||Autozone||Advance Auto Parts||Dealer Retail|
Remanufactured Nissan Frontier RE5R05A Valve Body Prices:
$590 shipped at Street Smart Transmission
RE5R05A Valve Body Specific OBDII Codes
These codes may require just a RE5R05A valve body replacement
|U1000||Cannot Communicate with TCM / Class 2 Communications Failure|
|U0402||Invalid Data Received From Transmission Control Module|
|P0700||Transmission Control System (MIL Request)|
|P0705||Transmission Range Sensor Circuit Malfunction (PRNDL Input)|
|P0710||Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit|
|P0717||Input/Turbine Speed Sensor Circuit No Signal|
|P0720||Output Speed Sensor Circuit|
|P0725||Engine Speed Input Circuit|
|P0731||Gear 1 Incorrect Ratio|
|P0732||Gear 2 Incorrect Ratio|
|P0733||Gear 3 Incorrect Ratio|
|P0734||Gear 4 Incorrect Ratio|
|P0740||Torque Converter Clutch Circuit Malfunction|
|P0744||Torque Converter Clutch Circuit Intermittent|
|P0745||Pressure Control Solenoid 'A'|
|P0750||Shift Solenoid 'A'|
|P0755||Shift Solenoid 'B'|
|P1702||Nissan DTC: Transmission Control Module Unable to Access RAM|
|P1703||Nissan DTC: Transmission Control Module Unable to Access ROM|
|P1705||Nissan DTC: Throttle Position Sensor Circuit Malfunction|
|P1706||Nissan DTC: Park Neutral Position Switch Circuit Malfunction|
|P1710||Nissan DTC: Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit|
|P1716||Nissan DTC: Turbine Revolution Speed Sensor Circuit|
|P1721||Nissan DTC: Vehicle Speed Sensor MTR|
|P1730||Nissan DTC: A/T Interlock|
|P1731||Nissan DTC: A/T 1st Engine Braking / 1-2 Shift Malfunction|
|P1752||Nissan DTC: Input Clutch Solenoid Valve|
|P1754||Nissan DTC: Input Clutch Solenoid Valve Function|
|P1757||Nissan DTC: Front Brake Solenoid Valve|
|P1759||Nissan DTC: Front Brake Solenoid Valve Function|
|P1762||Nissan DTC: Direct Clutch Solenoid Valve|
|P1764||Nissan DTC: Direct Clutch Solenoid Valve Function|
|P1767||Nissan DTC: High and Low Reverse Clutch Solenoid Valve|
|P1769||Nissan DTC: High and Low Reverse Clutch Solenoid Valve Function|
|P1772||Nissan DTC: Low Coast Brake Solenoid Valve|
|P1774||Nissan DTC: Low Coast Brake Solenoid Valve Function|
|P1843||1-2 Shift Solenoid High Voltage|
|P1845||2-3 Shift Solenoid Low Voltage|
Nissan Frontier Transmission Recalls
Nissan Frontier Technical Service Bulletins (TSB)
Common Nissan Frontier Transmission Problems
RE5R05A valve body problems
Although Nissan tends to make very reliable vehicles, the RE5R05A valve body can fail prematurely if the transmission is not maintained properly, and the cooling system design flaw is not addressed in time. Simply rebuilding the valve body typically will not solve problems caused by warping, cracking and damaged bores. The best way around this is to install a remanufactured RE5R05A valve body from a reputable company that has modified it to address the factory design flaws and metal fatigue. To learn more about one of these reman valve bodies, click here. You can also click here to read more about RE5R05A valve body problems.
Transmission won’t upshift from 1-2 or 2-3 – RE5R05A transmission
Problem – The transmission may hesitate or refuse to shift from 1st to 2nd gear, or 3rd to 4th gear. It may also refuse to shift manually.
Solution – These common RE5R05A transmission problems can be caused by a number of things that include dirty transmission fluid, a clogged transmission fluid filter, a failed vehicle speed sensor, direct clutch solenoid valve or inadequate line pressure. The valve body, TCM or direct clutch may have also failed, and/or there may be wiring/communication issues within the CAN bus system.
RE5R05A transmission won’t downshift
Problem – Here are the possible reasons for a no-downshift condition:
5th-4th gear: Transmission fluid level/condition, failed vehicle speed sensor, front band solenoid valve, direct clutch solenoid valve, front brake band, input clutch, inadequate line pressure, failed TCM, failed valve body wiring/communication issues within the CAN bus system.
4th-3rd gear: Transmission fluid level/condition, failed vehicle speed sensor, input clutch solenoid valve, front brake solenoid valve, TCM, valve body, wiring/communication issues within the CAN bus system, inadequate line pressure, failed input clutch.
3rd-2nd gear: Transmission fluid level and condition, failed vehicle speed sensor, high and low reverse clutch solenoid valve, inadequate line pressure, failed TCM or valve body, failed high and low reverse clutch, wiring/communication issues within the CAN bus system.
2nd-1st gear: Transmission fluid level and condition, failed vehicle speed sensor, direct clutch solenoid valve, inadequate line pressure, wiring/communication issues within the CAN bus system, failed TCM, failed valve body, failed direct clutch.
RE5R05A transmission slips or will not engage the following gears:
1st gear: 3rd one-way clutch, 1st one-way clutch, reverse brake, forward brake, direct clutch solenoid valve, valve body, gear damage.
2nd gear: Low coast brake solenoid valve, 3rd one-way clutch, direct clutch, forward brake, valve body failure, gear damage.
3rd gear: 3rd one-way clutch, high and low reverse clutch, forward one-way clutch, forward brake, failed valve body, gear damage.
4th gear: Input clutch solenoid valve, direct clutch solenoid valve, high and low reverse clutch solenoid valve, low coast brake solenoid valve, front brake solenoid valve, input clutch, direct clutch, high and low reverse clutch, valve body failure, gear damage.
5th gear: Front brake solenoid valve, front brake band, input clutch, high and low reverse clutch, gear damage, valve body failure.
Vehicle will not move when in first gear – RE5R05A transmission
Problem – After shifting into Drive, the vehicle may seem to engage first gear but it won’t move.
Solution – This problem may be caused by several things, including a failed torque converter, accelerator pedal position sensor, transmission pump, 3rd one-way clutch, 1st one-way clutch, reverse brake, forward one-way clutch or forward brake.
Poor acceleration when in Drive – RE5R05A transmission
Problem – After placing the gear selector in Drive, the acceleration may be noticeably poor given the throttle position.
Solution – This problem may be caused by several things including; a failed accelerator pedal position sensor, PNP switch, A/T position switch, torque converter failure, transmission pump failure, a failed 1st one-way clutch, reverse brake, forward brake, and/or forward one-way clutch.
Engine cannot be started when the shifter is in Park or Neutral – RE4R01A transmission
Problem – Drivers may not be able to start the engine when the shifter is in the P or N position. However, the engine may be started when the shifter is in the D, 2, 1 or R position.
Solution – The wiring related to the PNP switch, and the switch itself will need to be tested and possibly repaired/replaced.
Vehicle no longer creeps backwards within the shifter is placed in reverse – RE4R01A transmission
Problem – When the shifter is placed in the R position, the vehicle should move slowly backwards when the brake pedal is released. If this problem arises, it won’t.
Solution – A number of things could be causing this issue, including the level and condition of the transmission fluid, inadequate line pressure, a failed valve body, transmission pump, torque converter, reverse clutch assembly, high clutch assembly, low and reverse brake assembly, or the low one-way clutch.
RE4R01A Problem – Delayed 1-2 shift and quick over speed during 2-3 shift
Cause – Although this issue is often assumed to be a high clutch failure, closer examination may reveal that nothing is wrong with the high clutch circuit. A design change for the 2000 model year can cause the RE4R01A Wide Open Throttle switch / WOT switch to become stuck in the closed position. This not only causes the delayed upshifts, but it also briefly activates the RE4R01A solenoid A right before the 2-3 shift, giving the overspeed sensation. RE4R01A transmissions built prior to the 2000 model year will experience delayed upshifts in all gears, without the 2-3 overrun.
Solution – Repair or replace the WOT/Idle switch, which is incorporated with the throttle position sensor / TPS sensor.
RE4R01A Planetary gear failure
Problem – The fin type transmission cooler that is commonly found in the Nissan Pathfinder, Nissan 200SX and Nissan 300ZX can become cogged, which will then restrict flow to the planetary gear, causing it to fail due to overheating.
Solution – Instead of replacing the entire radiator, Nissan has released a spiral type cooler replacement kit – Nissan part number 21606-15V25
Shift cycling from 4th-to-3rd-4th
Problem – The RE4R01A transmission may seem to shift in a 4-3-4 cycle.
Solution – Repair or replace the ‘D’ range signal wire to the inhibitor switch. The problem may also be caused by a corroded or broken pin inside the harness connector, or the inhibitor switch itself may have failed.
Lack of Response
Grinding or Shaking
Whining, Clunking or Humming
Refuses to Go Into Gear
Torque Converter Issues
Valve Body Issues
Transmission Noisy in Neutral
No 3rd or 4th Gear
No 1st or 2nd Gear
Trouble Codes / Check Engine Light
Can I drive with a transmission problem?
If your Nissan Frontier can still make it up and down the road, you might say “It’s fine, I’ll just drive it until I can get it fixed”. But that is not always a good idea, depending on the symptoms. You see, there are a lot of (very expensive) moving parts inside of a transmission, and if something isn’t right, continuing to drive with a transmission problem could damage something else.
How often does a Nissan Frontier transmission need to be replaced?
The overall lifespan of a Nissan Frontier transmission largely depends on how well it was maintained. Factory design flaws also factor into this equation (including the radiator issue that plagued the Nissan RE5R05A in the Pathfinder, Armada, Titan, Frontier and Xterra), along with how/how hard you drive. But on average, we’ve seen the Nissan Frontier transmissions last for between 130,000-180,000 miles. A high quality replacement transmission however, can last considerably longer if all of the factory design flaws have been addressed and the vehicle has been maintained.
How are Nissan Frontier transmission issues diagnosed?
It is fairly easy to guesstimate what the root cause of your Nissan Frontier transmission problems might be, but you won’t truly know unless you have the right tools and experience. A good mechanic or transmission repair center will be able to connect your truck to a computer and find out which diagnostic trouble codes (DTC’s) have been stored. Once they know what to look for, they can perform a visual inspection to verify the problem.
How is a Nissan Frontier transmission replaced?
In order to replace your Nissan Frontier transmission, the truck has to be lifted from the ground in order to gain access to all of the parts that will need to be unbolted. Then the transmission can be lowered to the ground (typically with a transmission jack), so the new transmission can be installed.
Recommendations for Nissan Frontier transmission issues?
To save time and get back on the road faster, have your 17-digit truck VIN# handy and you can get an online quote for a reman Nissan Frontier transmission here, then find a local shop using our Find a Shop guide to install it for you.
How to Solve Nissan Frontier Transmission Problems
Solution A: Buy a Used Nissan Frontier Transmission
The quickest way to fix your transmission problems is to simply buy a used transmission or used transmission. These can be found at most junk yards, and they often come with a 30-90 day warranty. However, there’s no way to determine the actual condition of the internal components, so you could be spending a bunch of money to have the exact same problems. Plus, that warranty only covers the transmission if it’s defective, not the labor costs that you’ll have to pay.
Solution B: Buy a Rebuilt Nissan Frontier Transmission
Another option would be a rebuilt transmission or rebuilt transmission. A local repair shop will remove your transmission, then install a bunch of new parts during the rebuild. The problem here is, the skills and experience of each transmission rebuilder will vary widely from shop to shop, so you could have problems from something that wasn’t adjusted properly. And the 1-2 year warranty might only cover you at certain transmission repair shops, in a specific geographical area.
Solution C: Buy a Remanufactured Nissan Frontier Transmission
Many owners depend on their vehicle to commute and get things done. Their gasoline engines are designed to go 100’s of thousands of miles, so it makes sense to invest in a remanufactured transmission.