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Interesting info on CVT fluid change. Can anyone confirm this?

Found this on FreshAlloy, posted by zagato27:

Bit of a long story so bear with me. My wife’s 03 Murano SL developed a problem. The “Service Engine Soon” light came on. Well, I was out on the road when it happened so the first thing I did when I got home was to check the gas cap. It was tight so I went to the owner’s manual. It stated that it could be the gas cap; emission system; or the CVT. Ok, I’m getting a bit worried here. I contacted the dealer and he was able to fit me in that afternoon. I took “Scoot” in and waited. Turns out that they couldn’t find any codes so they reset the light and also replaced the fuel cap…..all under warranty. WHEW! Since I was nearing the 30K mark I asked them how much it would be to change the CVT fluid. The tech indicated that he thought it wasn’t necessary but would look it up. He was on the phone for quite a while and finally came out with a couple of zerox pages of maintenance manual. The bottom line was that you only have to change the fluid if the computer tests the fluid and “spits” out a number greater than 210,000. Hmmmm, made me wonder. The mechanic was standing right there and said that they had just had a class on trannys. Anyway, the tech hooked up the computer and printed out the analysis of the CVT fluid. My reading was 2383, well below the change number. You know, I usually change the tran fluid at 30K but changed my mind when I was told that CVT took 11 qts of Nissan special fluid and it cost $25 per qt. So, my advice to all would be to ask them to run the check on your CVT and print it out for you.
 

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Mr. 3 K, 3/3/5. 5K,10/5/7
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ERIC

Glad you saved all that money. GRIP :D
 

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Good find Eric,

however, I 'd like to see the printouts.....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
As would I, but I'm too lazy to find my FA login info to reply to that post.
 

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$25 a quart is just a bit excessive for ANY fluid used in a automobile. I doubt its THAT much, but I would imagine its pricey.

Remember, Nissan doesn't make automotive fluids, they make autos.....so there is always a way to go around the dealership. Its just a matter of a little research and finding out who makes it.
 

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Just wanna help
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Wonder what...

The bottom line was that you only have to change the fluid if the computer tests the fluid and “spits” out a number greater than 210,000.
I wonder what that 210,000 number is ??
Number of contaminants (like ppm = parts per million)?
Or the viscousity of the cvt fluid?
Or the density of the fluid perhaps?
 

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Hard to believe they would put something as sexy as a fluid tester of some sort on board. The 210K number is probably just revolutions of the belt being taged and counted by a magnetic pick up or some such. It's probably a well tested and researched number, but no need for anything super-hi-tech.
 

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Well, here we go, from CVT-68 in the 2003 shop manual, talking about diag procedures with the Nissan Consult-2 computer test box:

Check "CVTF DETERIORATION DATE"
More than 210000
: IT is necessary to change CVT fluid.
Less than 210000
: It is not necessary to change CVT fluid.

CAUTION:
Touch "CLEAR" after changing CVT fluid, and then erase "CVTF DETERIORATION".

Doesn't really say anything though about what exactly is being counted, revolutions of something or power on hours or what, but it's clearly an age thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
My shop manual is from the CD, and CVT-68 is a different entry. Which section of the CVT chapter is this info in? On Page CVT-66, there is a consult-II menu which says "conform cvtf deterioratn*" with the *displayed but do not use

I am guessing my shop manual is old, and Nissan has an updated procedure for this. Anyone care to post the page? Grip?
 

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Under the primary section of "Trouble Diagnostics", the section is titled "Consult-II". In that section they show how to change the Engine Brake setting and check the CVT Fluid Age.

Also, just do a search for "CVTF" in the PDF file and that should find the section you are looking for.
 

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MightyMo said:
Under the primary section of "Trouble Diagnostics", the section is titled "Consult-II". In that section they show how to change the Engine Brake setting and check the CVT Fluid Age.

Also, just do a search for "CVTF" in the PDF file and that should find the section you are looking for.
My FSM is just old. I know the section but mine says to ignore the CVTF Date Deterioratn setting on Consult. Thanks for posting the info.
 

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Do you have to have a Nissan Specific Scan tool to get this data, or can it be read with any OBD-II compliant scanner? Has anyone found a Nissan Specific computer based (i.e run on your laptop) scanning software? I had VAG Tool when I had my VW Golf and it was great for reprogramming controls, clear CE lights, and get trouble codes. I was able to diagnose a bad MAF sensor and fix myself and it paid for itself just right then.
 

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To my knowledge, there is no equivalent Consult-II scan tool software available for the home mechanic. The Nissan scan tool is quite expensive and can only be purchased by dealers. Even acquiring a Consult-II would be kind of useless since the software needs to be updated frequently.

To get the CVT reading from the computer, I think only Consult-II can do it. A normal scan tool only pulls OBD-2 codes.
 

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ERIC, a belated thanks for this CVT info. I missed the original thread.
This is good stuff as we were having a conversation a few months back as to when we should all have this service done. I guess we need to get used to the fact we don't have gears mashing and creating debris and unidentified gunk. Not a whole lot going on in the CVT like a regular tranny. We need to adapt our thinking from gears to pulleys. I'm agreeing with SugarRush that the number 210000 must be parts per million.
Bob
 

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bob1 said:
ERIC, a belated thanks for this CVT info. I missed the original thread.
This is good stuff as we were having a conversation a few months back as to when we should all have this service done. I guess we need to get used to the fact we don't have gears mashing and creating debris and unidentified gunk. Not a whole lot going on in the CVT like a regular tranny. We need to adapt our thinking from gears to pulleys. I'm agreeing with SugarRush that the number 210000 must be parts per million.
Bob
Bob1,

210000 would be very high number for ppm. Also I just cannot see how parts detector could be built in the CVT. I am more inclained towards revolutions, hours or somethiing that ECU can easily count and record.

Anyway, it is very interesting information. I would really like to know what this numer means.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Kris said:


Bob1,

210000 would be very high number for ppm. Also I just cannot see how parts detector could be built in the CVT. I am more inclained towards revolutions, hours or somethiing that ECU can easily count and record.

Anyway, it is very interesting information. I would really like to know what this numer means.

Hours would be awfully high as well. 210,000 hours = ~ 25 years. :p

I wonder what the ECU can count to generate this number! What a mystery.
 

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Eric,

it could be just an arbitrary number. Still I do not believe it would be level of contamination. How could they measure it?
 

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I've seen nothing at all in input/output lists for the ECU and TCM about anything that would do fluid testing. OTOH, I've found nothing about what that fluid age counter is actually counting either...:confused:
 

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Kris said:
Eric,

it could be just an arbitrary number. Still I do not believe it would be level of contamination. How could they measure it?

It could be like an oil life monitor. Most oil life monitors do not actually measure the oil. They take into account the number of starts, speed driven, time spent in open loop cycle, warm start vs cold start, operating temperature, etc...

However, I find it hard to believe that after 30,000 miles, the number for this CVT life indicator is ~3000, and the replacement number is 210,000. Unless there is something that would cause this number to exponentially increase as the miles pile up, the CVT fluid would never need to be changed since 210,000 seems an unrealistically high number.

That said, I might still change mine at 30k.
 

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Well, Nissan does not actually recommend changing it at all, unless you run follow the higher grade maintainence schedule.
 
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