Nissan Frontier Transmission Problems & Cost | RE5R05A | RE4R01A

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.

Need a replacement transmission? Get an estimate for replacement transmissions and local installation. Look up your transmission model by vehicle make and model.

What Transmission Do I Have?

Nissan Frontier Transmission Models

Nissan Frontier: RE5R05A Transmission
Nissan Frontier: RE4R01A Transmission (Early 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:

TransmissionStreet Smart TransmissionAutozoneAdvance Auto PartsDealer Retail
Nissan RE5R05A2544339933993130

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

Trouble CodeDescription
U1000Cannot Communicate with TCM / Class 2 Communications Failure
U0402Invalid Data Received From Transmission Control Module
P0700Transmission Control System (MIL Request)
P0705Transmission Range Sensor Circuit Malfunction (PRNDL Input)
P0710Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit
P0717Input/Turbine Speed Sensor Circuit No Signal
P0720Output Speed Sensor Circuit
P0725Engine Speed Input Circuit
P0731Gear 1 Incorrect Ratio
P0732Gear 2 Incorrect Ratio
P0733Gear 3 Incorrect Ratio
P0734Gear 4 Incorrect Ratio
P0740Torque Converter Clutch Circuit Malfunction
P0744Torque Converter Clutch Circuit Intermittent
P0745Pressure Control Solenoid 'A'
P0750Shift Solenoid 'A'
P0755Shift Solenoid 'B'
P1702Nissan DTC: Transmission Control Module Unable to Access RAM
P1703Nissan DTC: Transmission Control Module Unable to Access ROM
P1705Nissan DTC: Throttle Position Sensor Circuit Malfunction
P1706Nissan DTC: Park Neutral Position Switch Circuit Malfunction
P1710Nissan DTC: Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit
P1716Nissan DTC: Turbine Revolution Speed Sensor Circuit
P1721Nissan DTC: Vehicle Speed Sensor MTR
P1730Nissan DTC: A/T Interlock
P1731Nissan DTC: A/T 1st Engine Braking / 1-2 Shift Malfunction
P1752Nissan DTC: Input Clutch Solenoid Valve
P1754Nissan DTC: Input Clutch Solenoid Valve Function
P1757Nissan DTC: Front Brake Solenoid Valve
P1759Nissan DTC: Front Brake Solenoid Valve Function
P1762Nissan DTC: Direct Clutch Solenoid Valve
P1764Nissan DTC: Direct Clutch Solenoid Valve Function
P1767Nissan DTC: High and Low Reverse Clutch Solenoid Valve
P1769Nissan DTC: High and Low Reverse Clutch Solenoid Valve Function
P1772Nissan DTC: Low Coast Brake Solenoid Valve
P1774Nissan DTC: Low Coast Brake Solenoid Valve Function
P18431-2 Shift Solenoid High Voltage
P18452-3 Shift Solenoid Low Voltage

Nissan Frontier Transmission Recalls

None Found

Nissan Frontier Technical Service Bulletins (TSB)

None Found

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
Leaking Fluid
Low Fluid
Burning Smell
Grinding or Shaking
Whining, Clunking or Humming
Refuses to Go Into Gear
Torque Converter Issues
Valve Body Issues
Transmission Noisy in Neutral
Gears Slipping
No 3rd or 4th Gear
No 1st or 2nd Gear
No Reverse
Dragging Clutch
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

Need a replacement transmission? Get an estimate for replacement transmissions and local installation. Look up your transmission model by vehicle make and model.

What Transmission Do I Have?

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.

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Matthew Francis Perna
21 days ago

My 06 Nissan Frontier automatic transmission was replaced soon after I purchased the truck the problem of coolant in the transmission was the problem I am not sure what transmission they installed so I have the info off the tag on the bell housing model 97x9C 7355680. This second # is hard to read but I believe those to be the markings on the trans. Can you tell me about this transmission I would like to change fluid and filter

Archie Barham
24 days ago

Problem going into reverse most of the time. I can turn truck off and on multiple times and finally work are I can take off forward and it want shift out of lower gear until I turn ignition off while in gear at 40 mph and let coast down switch key back on while it starts its self and everything works fine reverse as well until I turn truck off. Restart truck problem starts over. 2005 frontier 2wd 4.0 I replaced rev. Low high solenoids made no difference. Transmission rebuilt about a year ago complete valve body was replaced at that time.

Jeff owens
6 months ago

I got after market Cooler and ran my transmission lines through it instead of the radiator problem fixed

Thomas Scott
6 months ago

I have a 98 frontier manual transmission and the first three gears do not work neither does reverse. I can shift it into the gears but the vehicle goes nowhere and I don’t even have to push the clutch but it does not make a grinding noise

Frank
1 year ago

I have a 07 Frontier and I’m having the same thing, every now and again when I would put it in gear I’d hear a loud clunk as though I was trying to get it in gear while parked down hill and one day it was like I was stuck in gear and the RPM was high when I reached 40 mph and I took it to a shop that told me it was in fail safe mode ( 3rd gear) and quoted me 3600 to rebuild it, I have been told that if you contact Nissan they will replace it and charge you labor only, but I think that’s not true, I can’t complain I got almost 250k before mines went bad

Brian Hill
2 years ago

Nissan Dealer sold me a used Nissan Frontier that had a transmission problem that was very common in that year model. They knowingly sold me a lemon and now I need a new transmission. I am done with Nissan’s, as my wife’s 2016 Rogue just went out of warranty and now has an issue where it takes 5 or 6 tries when starting to get it started. Nissan’s quality is terrible. Don’t buy or you’ll pay dearly.

Paul R
2 years ago
Reply to  Brian Hill

I agree with you Brian, Nissan’s quality is terrible. I am having the rad leak\tranny problem right now in my 06 Frontier (needs a new rad and tranny $6000) and I have my 2017 Titan in the dealership after having the engine rebuilt at 50000 kms. Nissan is not taking ownership of any of their terrible quality and defective parts. They should be run out of North America!

Archie Barham
24 days ago
Reply to  Paul R

I agree. 2005 frontier is nothing but junk. The 2019 sentra is as well with redesigned transmission I believe they call it cvt which is nothing more than a variable speed belt pulley system to propel the car which they swear by. Those kinda of parts moving will never be long lived. They used to make a good truck I put 500000 miles on a 1985 model it was super reliable how ever after owning numerous nissans including the Quest they truly suck now!

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