The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has rejected a petition to demand a transmission recall for 2005-2010 Nissan Pathfinder, Frontier and Xterra vehicles.

The petition argued that the vehicles are prone to transmission failure due to a breach in the radiator assembly, allowing engine coolant to enter the transmission. Drivers report loss of motive power, hard shifts, vibration and slipping.
The NHTSA does not dispute the basic allegations regarding the transmission problems. The agency found that many vehicles exhibited engine coolant co-mingled with transmission fluid, eventually causing the clutch linings to delaminate from clutch plates and bands.

"If not remedied, ultimately the transmission will no longer transmit engine power to the driven wheels and the vehicle will perform as though its transmission is in neutral (i.e., no motive power)," the inquiry observed.

Despite receiving thousands of complaints likely related to the same issue, the NHTSA does not believe the issue rises to an "unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety" as defined in federal regulations. Specifically, investigators found the failures to be progressive with many telltale signs of trouble before the degradation reached a level that interfered with safe operation of the vehicle.

"The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) has opened many defect investigations into engine stalling and / or loss of motive power," the NHTSA concluded. "Factors that support recalls to remedy these conditions include a lack of warning or precursor symptoms to the driver; stalling during power-demand situations such as accelerating or to maintain highway speeds / uphill grades; and an inability to immediately 'restart' or restore mobility to a stranded vehicle."

Unfortunately for many owners, the agency found that repair costs commonly exceeded $6,000. The report also included a buyer-beware observation, noting that thehigh cost "motivates some owners to sell un-repaired vehicles [without] disclosing [the] co-mingling problem."


(This thread is being posted in the SUV Forum and here because it relates to more than one sub-forum.)