Nissan Murano Forum banner
1 - 20 of 120 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
833 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
In combing through the threads here, it seems strange that MO owners are overwhelmingly using the drain/fill plugs to change the tranny fluid, despite Nissan's manual providing what I believe to be a simplier option, where you don't have to jack up the car or crawl way underneath it. It appears to be a very straightforward way of doing it that seems less messy and much quicker. In one post, one member wanted to do it, but didn't know which side was the return line. Always amazes me how Nissan chooses to leave out basic yet crucial info like that in most of their service manuals.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,778 Posts
In combing through the threads here, it seems strange that MO owners are overwhelmingly using the drain/fill plugs to change the tranny fluid, despite Nissan's manual providing what I believe to be a simplier option, where you don't have to jack up the car or crawl way underneath it. It appears to be a very straightforward way of doing it that seems less messy and much quicker. In one post, one member wanted to do it, but didn't know which side was the return line. Always amazes me how Nissan chooses to leave out basic yet crucial info like that in most of their service manuals.

In any case, has anyone used this method, and did it work and was it actually easier? To me, disconnecting one or both of those cooler hoses under the radiator is better than crawling under the entire undercarriage. Is there something I'm missing? Unless some are dropping the pan in order to replace filters and inspecting for any metal shavings, etc.

BTW, this isn't a method I even had to consider until now because I've never had a CVT last long enough to have to change the fluid. All I've done is fill a replaced CVT, not change the fluid. And just for historic purposes, this current CVT I picked from a 2006 Murano that had 120,000 miles on it. I've since put an additional 167,000 miles on it, and upon installing it about five years ago, I used Castrol Transmax Dexron VI fluid, and I've since overfilled the CVT to the point where once the dipstick pressure cap popped off and spewed fluid, and then it found and kept its own level (I overfilled it because I was getting code P1778). A couple years after installing the used CVT, I really didn't plan to keep this car and fully planned to donate it to a Voctech school. As the months progressed and MO drove fine and smooth, I kept postponing getting rid of her, but in the back of my mind I always truly thought I'd go through with it soon, so I kept putting off changing the drivetrain fluids, including the rear differential, figuring I'd let the VocTech students do it. Long to short, the "wrong" CVT fluid now has about 187,000 miles on it, and the gear oil in the transfer case and rear differential has about 215,000 miles on it. It's not the way I've ever maintained my vehicles, and would not recommend anyone wait this long to change fluids. However, it does raise questions about the necessity to use a specific type of tranny fluid, a precise amount of that fluid, as well as the frequency of those fluid changes.

Since I only have about 13,000 more miles to go before I hit 300,000 miles and retire this car, I thought I'd change all of those fluids, just to see what everything looks like, and to see if the new fluid (specifically in the CVT) changes the way MO drives. Just FYI, instead of using Dex6 this time around, I'm going to use Castrol Transmax CVT fluid. I'm also going to unplug and then enlarge (purely for the sake of easy draining) the weep hole on the bottom of the transfer case to allow the tranny fluid from the internally leaking CVT seal to empty out. I sealed up that hole four years ago when I noticed tranny fluid dripping from it. I imagine that empty space within the TC is pretty full of fluid, at least up to the place where the seal is leaking. If I think of it, I'll measure how miuch drains out. I'll then seal up the hole again.
I'm curious what the transfer case and differential oils look like. Post pics.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
833 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm curious what the transfer case and differential oils look like. Post pics.
The gear oil may be so congealed that I'll have to pop off the diff cover in order to remove the mass of crud. I put it in AWD during a storm the other day, and it sounded normal and drove fine. I do plan to take some video and do some measuring of fluids removed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
833 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Actually, I see the problem with changing the CVT fluid per Nissan's manual...you end up using a lot more fluid. However, doing it their way seems better to me, since you're starting the car and purging all CVT-related components of old fluid, while at the same time preventing potential air pockets from forming in the system. If I just do the drain/fill plug method, I'm leaving a certain amount of old fluid in the system, which isn't ideal for a fluid change, particularly with this delicate CVT. So, I do see the logic behind this procedure.

Could it be that many owners have used the other method, and the old fluid left in the CVT eventually results in failures?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,778 Posts
Actually, I see the problem with changing the CVT fluid per Nissan's manual...you end up using a lot more fluid. However, doing it their way seems better to me, since you're starting the car and purging all CVT-related components of old fluid, while at the same time preventing potential air pockets from forming in the system. If I just do the drain/fill plug method, I'm leaving a certain amount of old fluid in the system, which isn't ideal for a fluid change, particularly with this delicate CVT. So, I do see the logic behind this procedure.

Could it be that many owners have used the other method, and the old fluid left in the CVT eventually results in failures?
Nissan changed the procedure to a simple oil pan drain/refill beginning with the 2nd generation so I doubt they would do this if it would end up causing problems. In fact, it may be the flush method (or complete fluid replacement as some may call it) that could lead to problems if a CVT has a lot of mileage and was never previously serviced--there's different schools of thought on this regardless of transmission type. Incidentally, if the fluid is "contaminated" Nissan now directs to do repeated drain/refills until the fluid is presumably clear.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
833 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I wonder just how widespread the CVT problem is across all generations of MOs. I've read complaints from owners as recent as 2018 about CVT issues. Did Nissan ever redesign the CVT or some of its components to side-step some of the early-Gen problems? But, if we're talking maybe 500,000 bad CVT cars out of tens of millions made/sold/driven, then maybe it's just not a big enough problem for Nissan to bother with. They'd rather spend money redesigning their logo, which soon will still be just as ugly as before. I'd like to see maybe lightning bolt Nissan lettering within an electrically charged sphere or something that has movement to it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,778 Posts
I believe the last major redesign was back in 2013, but there have been several successful class action lawsuits involving later models (not the Murano). Nissan settled a lawsuit involving the Sentra and Versa just last year involving model years as late as 2017 (admitting no defect in the CVTs, of course ;)).

I guess you don't care much for reliability if you're looking at a Jaguar for your next car. :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
833 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I recently changed the differential fluid and finally got around to doing a little editing to create a video. If only interested in seeing the 215,000-mile gear oil, just look at the attached pics. I ended up using an allen wrench with a pipe wrench to remove the two plugs.

All of the 10mm allen wrenches I had were too long/wide at the curved end to fit in that space between the fill plug and subframe. I looked at all the auto parts stores and hardware stores, and none had wrenches that were any smaller. Harbor Freight was, of course, the last place I looked, and they had a $1.99 10-piece keychain set, and the 10mm was nearly 3/16" shorter at the curved end. Worked perfectly. Pittsburgh is the brand, and the receipt shows 94597 as the item number. Metric Hex Key Set, 10 Pc.

If doing this job again, I'd use a 12" steel pipe on the allen wrench instead of the pipe wrench. All the pipes I had were over 2-feet long and I didn't want to cut one down. I knew the pipe wrench would work, but I would've had more leverage with a pipe, and wouldn't be pressed against the differential cover and risk damaging that electrical connector near the subframe.

EDIT: And when I was comparing fluids and saying I wouldn't have bothered changing it, I meant because I'm planning to donate the car to a Voctech school once I hit 300,000 miles, so had I known the fluid was in this condition with no metal shavings, I would've left it for the students to check out. Being so close to the 300,000 mark, I wanted to make sure the rearend wasn't going to seize due to poor lubrication.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,851 Posts
Its been a while, but an extension connected to a hex socket going all the way through the access hole and attaching a breaker bar on the other end will be simpler and easier?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
833 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Its been a while, but an extension connected to a hex socket going all the way through the access hole and attaching a breaker bar on the other end will be simpler and easier?
The vapor canister is right in the way of that access hole, and there's only about an inch of distance between that canister and the subframe, so it's not possible to get an extension w/socket into that access hole. I'm guessing it would've taken about 15 minutes to remove the canister, and the threaded studs and nuts that held it in place looked rusty. Plus, it seems I would've had to remove one or two hoses to get the canister out of the way. Just didn't seem worth it.

This wasn't hard to do and didn't take long at all. The hardest, longest part of this job was setting up the camera, which was always in the way and getting knocked over. A 12" piece of 1" steel pipe would've worked better on that allen wrench than the pipe wrench. The only strong pipes I had were too long to use in that position. If the car had been on a lift, no problem.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
833 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I have the new year 2003 AWD model, so mine might be slightly different than other models from later 2003-2007 ones. I've seen some videos where owners are using that acess hole and made no mention of having to remove the vapor canister, so it's possible it was redesigned to be out of the way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
833 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Today I replaced some of the Dex6 fluid in the CVT. The fluid has about 169,000 miles on it. Upon a gentle test drive after placing in more correct CVT fluid, I noticed some minor improvements. Later, while driving up a hill, the engine kept over-taching when it never used to. I'm anxious to see how MO drives on a cold start in the morning. This fluid change may be the death blow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,851 Posts
I will Never put any CVT fluid except Nissan NS-2 CVT fluid. If the issue never occurred before, I’d just drain that fluid out and put ns-2. I’d first drain the pan, may 5-6 quarts. Fill it up with ns-2. Disconnect the oil cooler return line from the radiator end. Drain what ever comes out. Put a hose that fits directed to a bucket. Then quart by quart have someone start the car for a few secs.then turn off. Fill 1 quart. Until you do 4-5 quarts. This way you remove most of the fluid except the one in the torque converter. That is how I did CVT oil change at 80k. Used up a case of ns-2.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
1,478 Posts
I will Never put any CVT fluid except Nissan NS-2 CVT fluid. If the issue never occurred before, I’d just drain that fluid out and put ns-2. I’d first drain the pan, may 5-6 quarts. Fill it up with ns-2. Disconnect the oil cooler return line from the radiator end. Drain what ever comes out. Put a hose that fits directed to a bucket. Then quart by quart have someone start the car for a few secs.then turn off. Fill 1 quart. Until you do 4-5 quarts. This way you remove most of the fluid except the one in the torque converter. That is how I did CVT oil change at 80k. Used up a case of ns-2.
The method you're using to pump old CVT fluid is actually using the torque converter (The pump of the CVT.) to move the old fluid out. Once new fluid starts to come out, the only fluid not replaced is what's in the shift box assembly, less the a cup of fluid total. After running the car and rechecking the CVT fluid, you'll never see a color difference from that cup of CVT fluid that was left in.

Have a good day.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,778 Posts
Yeah, fluid is most definitely moving through the torque converter.

Cryogenix1, when the CVT was last replaced was the entire unit filled with Dexron VI (i.e. no NS-2 fluid)? The reddish colored fluid looks like it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,851 Posts
The method you're using to pump old CVT fluid is actually using the torque converter (The pump of the CVT.) to move the old fluid out. Once new fluid starts to come out, the only fluid not replaced is what's in the shift box assembly, less the a cup of fluid total. After running the car and rechecking the CVT fluid, you'll never see a color difference from that cup of CVT fluid that was left in.

Have a good day.
I thought that anytime you have the car running fluid flows through the entire transmission. Some folks insist that In order to fully flush out fluid from the torque converter you need to get it to lock and then unlock ( like how it locks on the last gear on a regular transmission when driving on the freeway) . Since you are at park, this is not possible. So old fluid stays inside the torque converter. Either way, I like to remove as much old fluid that I can every time before refilling with new ones. Drain and fill does not do that in transmissions. Moreover, FSM method of CVT fluid change is even more wasteful. This is like a hybrid of that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
833 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
The "chirp" in the video isn't actually new...it started making that noise about three months ago. It doesn't make the noise upon a cold start, only after the car has been running for about five minutes, at which point it squeaks/chirps. Kind of sounds like some metal thing spinning and randomly grazing another metal surface. From the standpoint of the cabin, it sounds equally loud from both windows. Kind of reminds me of a worn out pilot bearing. It seems to have become more frequent since the CVT fluid change. But it's very possible it's the water pump, which I think was #3 on my list from a few months ago of things that would fail soon. Fuel pump was #1 and that's already failed. :)

EDIT: early in this video where I seem to contradict myself about the overtaching during the cold start... I meant to say the overtaching, while high at 3200RPMs before I backed off on the gas and then gave it gas again, was better than usual. Usually if the RPMs go to 3000 and I back off on the gas to deter it, then give gas again, the engine wants to overtach above 3000RPMs again so I have to feather the pedal a bit. This time, on the gas pedal repress, it didn't overtach the way it normally does (it "variated" around 2500RPMs), meaning the RPMs went down as the car accelerated; I didn't have to feather/play with the gas pedal. So, the overtaching apsect of the cold start drive has improved.

And when I said the CVT started failing after 1.5 years, I was referring to getting the first P1778 code, as well as another CVT-related code that pertained to some critical issue that never materialized...the CVT always worked great. It wasn't until Summer 2019 that the over-taching started to happen on a cold start, and it was very moderate. It's worsened over the past ten months to where I have to do a special warm-up process in the morning, then it drives 95% fine the rest of the time until parked overnight again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,851 Posts
I would say at 300k (or close to it), you already won against the 1st gen stat on CVT life. Any issues occurring now is just bound to happen at that mileage. Maybe getting a newer 100k Murano is in the near future.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
833 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
I would say at 300k (or close to it), you already won against the 1st gen stat on CVT life. Any issues occurring now is just bound to happen at that mileage. Maybe getting a newer 100k Murano is in the near future.
I may have won the battle from a financial standpoint, since I only had to pay $1150 for one used CVT (the current one that now has about 269,000 miles on it) but in the big CVT picture, I burned through seven CVTs during the first seven years of ownership, all replaced under warranty or through someone else's insurance. Looking back, the subsequent failures could have been due to the Nissan tech's lack of experience with installing the CVT. Or, since I was rear-ended once, and side-bumped once, and broad-sided once, all with different CVTs, some of the failures may be due to minor impacts that caused the seemingly fragile parts of the CVT to begin failing.

EDIT: And now that I think of it, my current CVT started acting funny in the Summer of 2019, around the same time a drunk driver clipped my driver's rear corner going 35MPH, which pushed my car off to the side a little. Until writing the above post, that reality never occurred to me. Maybe that slight impact started to make the CVT fail. Granted, I had already gotten the P1778 code a few years earlier, but the CVT was running normal and had no cold driving issues or overtaching issues until around the time of that last accident. I think because MO had already thrown a couple CVT codes prior to that hit and run accident, when the CVT finally did start to act diffrently, I just didn't make the connection. Crap...I could've gotten a new CVT out of that accident. :D

EDIT #2: I just remembered in 2005, while driving on the Pasadena freeway, a Miata made a quick pass and clipped my passenger-front tire which scuffed the tire. We stopped, he apologized, I looked at the damage/scuff and told him not to worry about it. Later on, I then had to have a new CVT. So, that's one minor rear-end bump, two minor side-to-side bumps, one serious broad-side, and one fairly decent rearend clip. Seven CVTs had to be replaced where there were five accidents. It might be that even the slightest jarring to the vehicle while in motion could make the CVT begin to fail. Maybe the metal drive belt gets tweaked to the side while spinning and that creates some kind of strange wearing effect that starts the downward spiral of everything.
 
1 - 20 of 120 Posts
Top