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We r having the same issue with our 2003 morano sl.
We got in the car n smelt transmission fluid. My husband thought it had spilled in the back. So we kept on going drove less than a mile to get some burger king. Went to drive thru n stopped to wait to give our order. When it was our turn my husband went to pull forward n nothing happened. Went to back up n nothing. We had to push it thru the drive thru. When we got out of drive thru I noticed a trail of some kind fluid. So I backtracked the fluid n found a huge puddle of transmission fluid at the menu of the drive thru.
When we got it bk home my husband pulled driverside tire off n up by the radiator there was a box shaped part that looked like that's where the transmission fluid was leaking from. On top of the box there was a valve or whatever that looked like it was bent almost all the way to the side n that's where the transmission fluid was leaking out of.
So my question is, is this box thing hard to replace by yourself n is it a very expensive part?
Gas Auto part Rim Automotive tire Metal
Gas Auto part Rim Automotive tire Metal
 

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If it's an AWD, then I'd day that photo may show the area of the transfer case connection. If the transfer case needs to be replaced, I would guess it could be a couple of thousand dollars, a lot of it labor... Unfortunately, it's probably not an economical repair for a 2003...

It it's the CVT, then that is even more expensive, about 4-5k dollars.

How many miles are on it?
 

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That's the CVT oil cooler. It's more likely than not that one of the hoses is leaking rather than the assembly itself. Nevertheless, given that so much transmission fluid leaked out that the car would no longer move, you should refill the system with fresh NS-2 CVT fluid and make sure that no permanent damage was done. If a new transmission is needed then likely time to scrap the car.
 

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So if I just replaced the cvt transmission oil cooler do you think it would solve my problem? It’s obvious that this is where the leak is coming from.
The point I was trying to make in my previous post is that if the transmission has been damaged because the car was driven with the fluid level so low then what's the point of replacing the oil cooler...you still have a broken transmission. If the transmission still works and hasn't suffered any serious damage then fixing the leak should set you straight, but I have to tell you that an 18-year old Murano is probably not long for this earth regardless.

Also, make sure the leak is coming from the oil cooler assembly and not one of the attached hoses before replacing it. Otherwise, you may replace a part that didn't need replacing in the first place when you could have just bought a cheap section of rubber hose (...which you would still end up having to buy).
 
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Perhaps the easiest and cheapest thing to try would be to bypass that CVT cooler completely by joining the lines together. Refill the CVT with appropriate fluid and the cooling will only happen as those lines pass through the main radiator behind the grille. The only trick is making sure you splice/couple the correct hoses to one another so that the fluid travels in the correct direction. If the car still drives after doing this, then you know the problem is likely with the CVT cooling unit and perhaps nothing is wrong with the actual CVT or transfer case. In that event, you can either try to repair whatever's wrong with your stock CVT cooler or maybe buy an aftermarket one and install it (probably would be easier and create fewer headaches installing a new one).

If the CVT or transfer case is toast, it might be cheaper to buy another car. Running out of tranny fluid in a parking lot is unlikely to ruin the CVT. The lack of fluid probably just caused lack of pressure which prevented the CVT from working correctly. If it were me, I'd splice those cooling lines and go from there.

EDIT: alternatively, you could also clamp-crimp those cooling lines to stop all flow of tranny fluid (and thus stop any leaking from that area), which will merely (I believe) prevent the fluid from being cooled in that extra way. The only risk then would be the CVT overheating if you drive too fast, for too long when it's hot outside. Again, what my advice is pointing to is to see if the CVT or TC is still fine. Stopping the flow of fluid through that cooling cycle shouldn't prevent the car from being driven normally for a few miles to test it out. Any senior/more experienced members, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. Bypassing/stopping the flow of tranny fluid through that cooler shouldn't affect line pressure, correct? I'm not sure how that flow control valve factors into the cooling cycle (if at all) that might affect line pressure in the system.
 

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EDIT: alternatively, you could also clamp-crimp those cooling lines to stop all flow of tranny fluid (and thus stop any leaking from that area), which will merely (I believe) prevent the fluid from being cooled in that extra way. The only risk then would be the CVT overheating if you drive too fast, for too long when it's hot outside. Again, what my advice is pointing to is to see if the CVT or TC is still fine. Stopping the flow of fluid through that cooling cycle shouldn't prevent the car from being driven normally for a few miles to test it out. Any senior/more experienced members, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. Bypassing/stopping the flow of tranny fluid through that cooler shouldn't affect line pressure, correct? I'm not sure how that flow control valve factors into the cooling cycle (if at all) that might affect line pressure in the system.
Bypassing the cooler should do the trick, but I wouldn't block the lines. The cooler lines are used to do system flushes so that suggests to me that the cooler is in series with the hydraulic circuit and it's not clear whether or not the fluid would have any kind of bypass path internally if oil is getting pumped but has no place to go because the lines are blocked--I couldn't find any kind of hydraulic diagram in the service manual to confirm this though. Nevertheless, bypassing should be safe for a short test since fluid is still flowing although not being cooled.
 

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I would be hesitant to block the flow for the length time needed to adequately road-check the CVT operation... Not knowing any better, just gut sense that something that is pumping fluid through the system may not operate correctly when not fluid is not moving...
 
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We r having the same issue with our 2003 morano sl.
We got in the car n smelt transmission fluid. My husband thought it had spilled in the back. So we kept on going drove less than a mile to get some burger king. Went to drive thru n stopped to wait to give our order. When it was our turn my husband went to pull forward n nothing happened. Went to back up n nothing. We had to push it thru the drive thru. When we got out of drive thru I noticed a trail of some kind fluid. So I backtracked the fluid n found a huge puddle of transmission fluid at the menu of the drive thru.
When we got it bk home my husband pulled driverside tire off n up by the radiator there was a box shaped part that looked like that's where the transmission fluid was leaking from. On top of the box there was a valve or whatever that looked like it was bent almost all the way to the side n that's where the transmission fluid was leaking out of.
So my question is, is this box thing hard to replace by yourself n is it a very expensive part? View attachment 54245 View attachment 54245
Hi. I am having a somewhat similar issue. Thst box is the transmission oil cooler and can be purchased on line for cheap money. That whole little box thing with grooves horizontally can be taken off and replaced. my issue is the lower part of the cooler Where there are two lines connected by banjo fittings and my mechanic told me the dealership sells the whole unit top and bottom for $490 which I am not gonna pay for just because two banjo fittings are leaking. Everytime I look this up whether it’s on eBay or Amazon it shows me banjo fittings with gaskets and bolt but they say they are for a GM. I finally decided to order them and now I find that the end of the fitting has grooves for a nut to screw onto it rather than a hose type connection which is what it calls for. Goes anyone happen to know anything about this and where Zi can get these fittings?
 

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Hi. I am having a somewhat similar issue. Thst box is the transmission oil cooler and can be purchased on line for cheap money. That whole little box thing with grooves horizontally can be taken off and replaced. my issue is the lower part of the cooler Where there are two lines connected by banjo fittings and my mechanic told me the dealership sells the whole unit top and bottom for $490 which I am not gonna pay for just because two banjo fittings are leaking. Everytime I look this up whether it’s on eBay or Amazon it shows me banjo fittings with gaskets and bolt but they say they are for a GM. I finally decided to order them and now I find that the end of the fitting has grooves for a nut to screw onto it rather than a hose type connection which is what it calls for. Goes anyone happen to know anything about this and where Zi can get these fittings?
There should be a male or female threaded end X hose barb fitting -- same size for the oil cooler hose.(maybe 3/8"). Connect the fitting to the threaded end. Connect the oil cooler hose to the barb and then clamp it. Something like this.....https://www.amazon.com/Derale-98105-Female-Straight-Fitting/dp/B004XOR8AO. Home Depot should have it. Don't forget to use teflon tape for the treaded end.
 

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The cooler lines are used to do system flushes so that suggests to me that the cooler is in series with the hydraulic circuit and it's not clear whether or not the fluid would have any kind of bypass path internally if oil is getting pumped but has no place to go because the lines are blocked--I couldn't find any kind of hydraulic diagram in the service manual to confirm this though.
Yeah, I'm not sure how that would work. I was viewing it as a closed system once the cooling lines are pinched, where the CVT's filled with fluid which is "standing" within the housing and being moved around by the valves and torque converter in an endless loop. Without those fluid paths, would the CVT parts simply churn within the fluid and not be able to adjust pressure correctly without that draw and return cycle? Once the fluid is hot, would it implode on itself or build up pressue then pop the dipstick pressure cap or blow a gasket or seal?

Practically speaking, I would expect the CVT to still work in the event that internal filter in the cooler unit became sludged up and blocked and unable to allow flow of fluid. That may not be the case, though. I don't know at what rate the fluid is coming and going from the CVT. If it's merely a slow draw and return to provide just a little extra cooling, then perhaps it doesn't play a crucial role in regards to the CVT simply working, heat-related problems aside.
 

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I think the fluid has a certain direction to flow for things to work. Hence the pump. It would be better to just connect the in and out hose ends together with another hose (bypassing the oil cooler under the radiator) for testing the cvt viability.
 
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