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Discussion Starter #1
I've posted over the years about different items on our '04 Murano. We purchased it new and it now has around 160k miles on the clock.

I changed the CVT filter and use Nissan CVT fluid a couple years ago trying to get rid of what I think is a CVT issue. When in the 90 degrees and above and in stop/go traffic in the St Louis MO area, my MO would hesitate upon takeoff and would not get going for maybe 5 seconds or so. Once up and running at speed, it would appear to hunt for speed, not steady at any given throttle setting. If the traffic was really bad, I could turn it off and restart it an it would run normally again until the next extended stop in traffic.

I thought the change of fluid helped, but then again last summer the same thing occurred, but not quite as bad.

So I've been driving it this fall and winter without any issues. The CVT pulls nice and smoothly without any hesitation or any type of stutter etc. Until today... :(

On our way to meet friends for lunch, about 25 miles from home, the motor started to race and I started to hear a whining noise. I drove another mile or so until I could safely pull over and see what's going on. At idle the trans was making the whining noise and it went up with rpms. When I put it into gear, it would start to move and then the motor went into I'm guessing limp mode. Foot to the floor and no rpms. I could shut it off and then restart and it would try to move and then went right back into no rpms again. I pulled the codes and 1273 and 1778 were saved. Both say Manufacturer Control. I cleared the codes and there was no change.

We left it and went to lunch and an hour later came back to call a flat bed to haul it home. I repeated the same whining noise an no go symptoms.

When we got home and rolled it up into the driveway, we just left it. I got in it about an hour later and the whine was gone and it appeared to move normally. But I didn't drive it because I didn't want to tow it back home again.

In the "old days" if an automatic trans was bad, it was bad and stayed bad... period! I cannot understand how these darn cars can have a problem and it goes away with the restart of the car. When my CVT works, it works normally without any slippage or noises.

So does this sound like I have a no go and need a new CVT?

Since I retired at the end of last year, we were going to sell the Murano and just keep our RAM 3500 dually diesel and our '16 GMC Terrain as our two vehicles. No need for the Murano at this point. Should have sold it two months ago and moved on.

Any suggestions?

Thanks and have a great weekend... :)
 

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My guesses...

Transmissions these days are computer controlled. If the TCM detects certain error conditions, it will put things into limp mode to protect the CVT. Turning the car off/on resets the error condition...until it is triggered again. Heat seems to raise the probability of this occurring.

I wonder if maybe the CVT cooler isn't functioning efficiently due to sludge or some other obstruction? Maybe a somewhat clogged CVT filter? How did the CVT filter look like last time you changed it?

Is your air scoop still installed and not too dented? They tend to get dented due to hanging down relatively low. I had to hammer mine back into shape on my '03 a few times...
 

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Also check your radiator to be sure it's clean and not obstructed with debris. I believe the CVT cooler is in the bottom portion, and it is more susceptible to clogging with road/leave debris I would suspect...
 

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I believe that starting with the '04, the CVT is serviceable. You might be able to just have the stepper motor replaced, lots cheaper then a replacement CVT.

Have a good day.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks all for the great advice and suggestions.

I did some research on YouTube, I know that's not really research, but there were quite a few with stepper motor issues on Nissan vehicles. When I went to eBay for a look see, I also found remanufactured valve bodies that come with new stepper motors and all checked out etc. They run anywhere from $100 to $250 depending on the source.

Is it true that "IF" I were to replace my original valve body that I will need to reflash my computer?

Thanks again and have a great weekend!
 

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Good question!

I think you might be thinking about resetting the CVT fluid deterioration # that should be reset when changing the CVT fluid. Since the CVT needs to be opened up for service, you'll be replacing 100% of the drained fluid.

Word of warning when first filling the CVT with fluid after assembly. Be sure to measure all fluid that is drained from the CVT. I believe the CVT holds 11 quarts, so if 7 quarts drained out, that's what you'll replace. Add only 4 quarts of new CVT fluid to start. Turn the motor over for 30 seconds, without letting it start. Keep adding one quart at a time the same way until you've replaced what was removed. I believe that removing a cam sensor connector will prevent the engine from starting.

Letting the engine run when filling will result in air being pulled into the CVT, with only the 4 quarts and adding more then 4 quarts at first can result in CVT fluid running out the CVT overflow tube. CVT is very unforgiving if air is allowed to be drawn up instead of the CVT fluid it's expecting.

Be sure to check CVT fluid level after idling for 15 minutes to heat up the CVT fluid and shifting slowly thru the entire shift range 3 times to remove any air trapped in the control valve body. DO NOT DRIVE until you've completed the above steps and CVT fluid level is correct.

Good luck.

Have a good day.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Paul, thanks!

Is there anyway to use a regulated low pressure air to purge the trans cooler of its residual fluid? No since leaving anything to chance. I've changed the fluid once before by dropping the pan and replacing the filter etc. But in that case I just put in a few quarts to know I was not starving the CVT and then filled while on idle to the appropriate level on the dip stick.

Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Is Aisin CVT fluid the same as Nissan CVT fluid?

Also with the newer NS-3, should that be used in lieu of the original NS-2?
 

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You can disconnect the output hose going to the radiator cooler and gently blow compressed air into the hose. That will push the CVT fluid thru the cooler and the fluid will end up in the CVT. Do this first before draining the CVT.

If you're really serious about removing all the CVT fluid, you'll also need to drain the torque convertor. Usually the torque convertor has a square-headed drain plug, which should be accessible when torque convertor is rotated so the drain plug is at the bottom. Most are accessible by removing some kind of shield or cover.

You should stick with NS-2. NS-3 is not backward compatible with NS-2 and should not be mixed. They're even different colors.

Have a good day.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Paul, you're a great help, thanks again.

Just one last question though, is Aisin CVT fluid the same as Nissan CVT fluid? I've seen ads on eBay for Aisin CVT fluid at a better price point than the Nissan brand.

Thanks again!
 

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I have no idea what Aisin CVT fluid is. For guaranteed results, your best bet is sticking with the Nissan approved NS-2 CVT fluid.

I realize that not everyone has the money to dump $200 + on a fluid, but consider this:

If you needed a full blood transfusion, $200 +, but they could use something that kind of was like full blood, but half price? Which would you choose? Proper CVT fluid is the life blood of the CVT.

Have a good day.
 

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Aisin makes some CVTs for Toyota but I agree with others that you are safer with Nissan CVT fluid as different CVT designs may have different requirements thus different additives. CVTs are relatively new, and there is not yet industry standards similar to the traditional ATF's Dexron/MERCON.

Edit: I checked the Aisin CVT fluids on Ebay. It does seem to have a version of CVT fluid formulated for Nissan NS2 compatibility. Personally, I would still use Nissan one just to have a peace of mind though.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Okay, my newly remanufactured valve body came in the other day and I have a new filter and pan gasket. Also 8 quarts of OEM NS-2 fluid.

I drove the Murano up and down the street the other day and all seems just as it always has, solid without any whining or slipping.

The new valve body has a new temp sensor as part of the remanufacturing, so maybe that will take care of the 95+ degree traffic jam no go issues I've had for the past 8 to 10 years now.

Just thinking this through, when the CVT did its think a week ago, I'm thinking the whining could have been a stuck solenoid causing fluid through a partial opening rather than a wide open valve, or something like that. AND, if it's now working just fine before anything has been done correctively, my guess is that the CVT is okay mechanically other than some of the controls etc. So hopefully the fluid and valve body will correct any sticking solenoid/valve etc. I also had a stepper motor code and this I know will fix that. Not knowing how the stepper works, maybe it's the whole issue in the first place.

I'll let you all know how it goes early next week after I change it all out and do a flush.

Keep well and have a great day!
 

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#1 enemy to a transmission knowmatter what make/type is excessive heat. You say it runs fine cold bet issues when its "warm". I can guarantee it's a heat issue. Fluids will decay rapidly at over temp destroying bands and valve bodies following. Overheat is probable in stop n go traffic if the cooler is damaged or plugged. This is why at freeway speeds, airflow will cool the body of the transmission and will operate at normal conditions. Make sence?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Bookooroo, thanks.

I plan on purging my cooler this time when I drain the CVT. I'll take careful care to make sure the cooler is not obstructed in anyway. I seems doubtful that it is obstructed as we've never driven on gravel roads with this and we purchased it new. It's all been local side streets etc until I started to drive it about three years ago and then it was all freeway driving.

The ambient temp has to be around 90 to 95 and THEN I need to be in stop and go traffic for 15 minutes or so. Yes, I agree that heat is causing some of my issues in the summer, but when I failed a couple weeks ago, the ambient temp was in the high 40's and I was NOT in stop and go traffic. In fact I was cruising around 70 mph the whole 25 minutes until failure. I say failure, but that's not a true term as the CVT is in perfect performance at the moment.

I'm hoping new fluid and filter along with the new valve body that I can get some more life out of the Murano. I've been very lucky up till now that is. I've read here where CVT's went out at half my mileage. But at approx.159k miles, I know I'm pushing my limits.

With all of the electronics on the newer cars, I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Like I said before, in the old days and trans was done when it started to slip, no getting better on its own.

I'll let you all know how this turns out. I'll be doing it this week.

Thanks and keep healthy all of you!
 
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