DIY - Change your CVT Fluid - Nissan Murano Forum
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#1 Old 04-30-2006, 09:24 PM
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DIY - Change your CVT Fluid

Ok first off I apologize for not having pictures for this. I was pretty busy this weekend and working on the car is a messy task - aka I didn't want to get my digital camera dirty.

I changed my CVT fluid this past weekend, and since I don't see a DIY writeup for this (like oil changes, brakes, or cabin filters) on the forum, here it goes. My procedure differs from the FSM, which requires more fluid. I chose a 30,000 mile interval mainly because I am still not 100% convinced of the CVT's durability and its not that expensive since I do the work myself. Some will say its overkill, but again its not like I am leasing the vehicle, nor did I pay $1500 for an extended warranty. Those who prefer to stick with extended intervals probably have their maintenance performed by the dealership and wouldn't find a DIY writeup useful anyways.

Tools:

6-7 quarts Nissan NS-2 CVT fluid ($18/qt from Courtesy Nissan) - I actually used 5.5qts, but get 6 or 7 to be safe.
19mm socket wrench
Small flathead screwdriver
Needlenose pliers
Copper gasket - same as the one used for the oil pan drain plug (69 cents from Courtesy Nissan)
A very narrow spout funnel (for some reason they seem to always come in orange - anyways, its $2 from Walmart)


Directions:

1) Drive the car for about 15 minutes to warm up the transmission fluid - warm fluid flows faster
2) Park on a level surface, apply the parking brake (!)
3) Optional - jack up the car and place on jackstands, all four corners (remember the car needs to be level for a proper drain)
4) The CVT oil pan is located on the drivers side - easy to find because the big metal/plastic scoop we love for drawing pictures in the snow is right in front of it
5) The CVT drain plug is located on the back half of the oil pan
6) Place a large container (8 qts recommended) beneath the drain plug
7) Remove drain plug with a 19mm socket
8) Be careful! Oil will be quite warm and gushes out very quickly. You might want to wear a pair of latex gloves for this.
9) Allow 10-15 minutes for CVT fluid to drain out.
10) Important - pour used CVT fluid into separate containers - I used old 1 gallon water jugs - to calculate approximately how much fluid you should add back in - in my case, it filled a little less than 1-1/2 gallon jugs, so I estimated 5-1/2 quarts.
11) Remove the old copper gasket - I used a flathead screwdriver to pry it up, then unscrewed it from the threads
12) Replace with new copper gasket
13) Reinstall the drain plug - hand tighten with socket wrench - similar to how you hand tighten the oil drain plug (i.e. a few strong tugs after the gasket has been flattened)
14) The CVT dipstick is also the charging pipe to add new CVT fluid. It is locked into place with a plastic tab. Use one tip on the nose of pliers (opened) to push in the plastic tab facing the front of the car, then pull up to release the dipstick. I used the pliers because the first time I removed the dipstick, I used the small flathead screwdriver, and ended up breaking the plastic tab! The dealer replaced the dipstick for me for free though.
15) Using the narrow neck funnel, which should fit neatly into the CVT tube, refill with NS-2 fluid the same amount you drained out.
16) Reinsert the CVT dipstick with the plastic tab rotated 180 degrees (i.e. so it does not lock) - this makes it easier later on to check the CVT fluid level.
17) Take your MO for a test drive, and with the engine at operating temperature (again 10-15 minutes drive), shift through all the gears and then back to park (this is what the FSM says, but its a CVT, so I dunno why you need to do it).
18) With the engine idling and gear in Park, pull the CVT dipstick and check the level - it should be within the normal range. If low, add CVT fluid as required, 1/4 quart at a time (then recheck).
19) When level is correct, reinsert the CVT dipstick so that the plastic tab locks in place again.
20) Finished. Your CVT thanks you for taking care of it.

Curiously, I noticed when I checked the old fluid using the dipstick it looked clear. When I drained it, it was an amber color, slightly darker than new motor oil. The new NS-2 fluid I added was a greenish clear color.

Update: Make sure to take the used CVT oil to a local automotive fluid recycling facility (a store like Autozone or Kragen for example) for proper processing. DO NOT pour it down the drain.

2003 Midnight Blue SE AWD w/VDC
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#2 Old 04-30-2006, 10:51 PM
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Let me get you to speculate here.

1- Do you think, like most "auto" transmissions, there is a filter located in the pan area?
2- Do you think it is even possible to
a- remove the pan with the transmission in the car?
b- buy a new pan gasket?
3- Do you think the dealer, or some other shop, has the necessary equipment to totally flush the CVT?

What do you think?

Good job on the DIY instructions.

Homer

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#3 Old 05-01-2006, 12:32 AM
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1) The Murano might have one, but its not listed in the FSM.
2a) Yes, it looks like the transmission pan can be removed (looks like a normal 20 some odd bolt pan)
2b) If the filter exists, the gasket exists
3) The dealer will use the "manual" flush method from the FSM. Unless the independent shop buys OEM parts and fluids (usually the ones that specialize in a few makes, like European or Japanese cars exclusively, do) I'm not sure how you can service the CVT without Nissan NS-2 fluid.

Oh, I *tried* to service the transfer and rear diff too. In neither case could I remove the fill plug. The front transfer fill bolt is about 1-1/2" from one of the precats - not enough room to get even a ratcheting wrench into place to get any leverage - also tried every single angle socket and pivoting extension tool I had, no dice. The rear fill bolt is likewise 1-1/2" from the rear suspension member, and neither my allen wrench or allen socket will fit there. Stupid design. Now I'm not sure how the dealer will tackle it, but I might have them give it a try. *Nervous*




Quote:
Originally posted by hfelknor
Let me get you to speculate here.

1- Do you think, like most "auto" transmissions, there is a filter located in the pan area?
2- Do you think it is even possible to
a- remove the pan with the transmission in the car?
b- buy a new pan gasket?
3- Do you think the dealer, or some other shop, has the necessary equipment to totally flush the CVT?

What do you think?

Good job on the DIY instructions.

Homer

2003 Midnight Blue SE AWD w/VDC
Colgan Bra, Mobil One, JWT POP charger
PAC aux input adapter, hardwired Escort Passport x50, KUDA mount for MP3 player, Porterfield R4S brake pads (now Akebono ProACT), ATE Superblue
Yokohama Envigor (much improved over stock Goodyears)
Lots of squeaks and rattles.
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#4 Old 05-01-2006, 01:33 AM
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Great post.... sounds pretty easy. I thought that the SM stated to
"flush" it using the discharge tube from the cooler. No?

2003 SL AWD Black
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#5 Old 05-01-2006, 01:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gonzo
Great post.... sounds pretty easy. I thought that the SM stated to
"flush" it using the discharge tube from the cooler. No?
Yeah but like I said, I strayed from the FSM for this one. I figure having CVT fluid spray all over your garage wall while you pour it in from above isn't tops on "most DIY maintenance" lists.

2003 Midnight Blue SE AWD w/VDC
Colgan Bra, Mobil One, JWT POP charger
PAC aux input adapter, hardwired Escort Passport x50, KUDA mount for MP3 player, Porterfield R4S brake pads (now Akebono ProACT), ATE Superblue
Yokohama Envigor (much improved over stock Goodyears)
Lots of squeaks and rattles.
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#6 Old 05-01-2006, 02:22 AM
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If people find this useful, I can also make this sticky.

2003 Midnight Blue SE AWD w/VDC
Colgan Bra, Mobil One, JWT POP charger
PAC aux input adapter, hardwired Escort Passport x50, KUDA mount for MP3 player, Porterfield R4S brake pads (now Akebono ProACT), ATE Superblue
Yokohama Envigor (much improved over stock Goodyears)
Lots of squeaks and rattles.
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#7 Old 05-01-2006, 09:05 AM
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I have 54k now. At the end of May I will get to 60k. Reading your post I am tempted to do it myself. Seems pretty easy.

Did you notice any difference in CVT behavior? Sound?

PS. I have made the thread “sticky”.

had: 03 MO SL, Gold, 2WD, Premium, leather, sunroof, Mobil 1, B-Quiet, Garmin Nuvi 250W, Fumoto oil valve, HIR's in fogs
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#8 Old 05-01-2006, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Eric L.
If people find this useful, I can also make this sticky.
I vote for sticky. What did you do with the "used" fluid?

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#9 Old 05-01-2006, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by zebelkhan

I vote for sticky. What did you do with the "used" fluid?
Added a note about recycling the fluid. I take it to my local Autozone, where they recycle it for free.

2003 Midnight Blue SE AWD w/VDC
Colgan Bra, Mobil One, JWT POP charger
PAC aux input adapter, hardwired Escort Passport x50, KUDA mount for MP3 player, Porterfield R4S brake pads (now Akebono ProACT), ATE Superblue
Yokohama Envigor (much improved over stock Goodyears)
Lots of squeaks and rattles.
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#10 Old 05-02-2006, 07:29 PM
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Has anyone tried using a fluid exchanger/pump to change their transmission fluid? I have one and it has a skinny attachment that would allow me to suck the old oil out through the dipstick. I've used it to change oil on other cars before. It works really well.

http://tinyurl.com/j8xd2

Extremely unmessy, easy to use, and it has measurements labelled on the side of it so you know right away how much new fluid to add back in.

Larez2
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#11 Old 05-02-2006, 09:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by larez2
Has anyone tried using a fluid exchanger/pump to change their transmission fluid? I have one and it has a skinny attachment that would allow me to suck the old oil out through the dipstick. I've used it to change oil on other cars before. It works really well.

http://tinyurl.com/j8xd2

Extremely unmessy, easy to use, and it has measurements labelled on the side of it so you know right away how much new fluid to add back in.

Larez2
I was thinking the same thing.

Eric, was there any sludge at all in the drained fluid that would suggest a extractor would not be good to use?
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#12 Old 05-02-2006, 11:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by jbowermo


I was thinking the same thing.

Eric, was there any sludge at all in the drained fluid that would suggest a extractor would not be good to use?
After 30,000 miles, no sludge at all.

2003 Midnight Blue SE AWD w/VDC
Colgan Bra, Mobil One, JWT POP charger
PAC aux input adapter, hardwired Escort Passport x50, KUDA mount for MP3 player, Porterfield R4S brake pads (now Akebono ProACT), ATE Superblue
Yokohama Envigor (much improved over stock Goodyears)
Lots of squeaks and rattles.
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#13 Old 05-03-2006, 01:29 AM
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If I recall correctly, access to the rear diff plug actually uses a hole through the rear subframe. Take a closer look, I'm %99 sure that's the case.

The transfer case OTOH I just take to my corner Chevron Oil Stop guys, I have no freaking clue what tool they use to get to it, I should ask next time for fun

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#14 Old 08-09-2006, 12:20 PM
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The only cencern I have is just draining alone may not be sufficient. I mean it is better than nothing but would you change your oil and leave a the dirty oil filter in place? I think I will bring mine to the dealer and hope they perform a complete flush as per the SM.

2003 SL AWD Black
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#15 Old 08-10-2006, 10:40 AM
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Gonzo,

i do not believe CVT has a filter.....

had: 03 MO SL, Gold, 2WD, Premium, leather, sunroof, Mobil 1, B-Quiet, Garmin Nuvi 250W, Fumoto oil valve, HIR's in fogs
08 CTS 304 HP Direct Injection Engine. Fully loaded with every option except AWD
04 FX35, AWD, Touring loaded, Garmin Nuvi 3590LMT, Fumoto oil valve
Dream car: Ferrari Italia
------------------------------------------------

"It's not about how fast you go, it's about how you go fast" - Enzo Ferrari
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