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#4633011 - 01/12/18 09:10 PM 02 Frontier transmission question
milehigh Offline
formally milehighhyundai


Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 139
Loc: CO
Hi all. I acquired a fixer upper 2002 Nissan Frontier this past week. It is a crew cab, 4wd and supercharged 3.3L that has 180k miles. Aside from the cosmetic issues that I purchased as a fixer upper, I have a question/concern about the AT.

First off, I have checked the fluid level and it is fine, and the color looks good with no nasty odor.

What I have noticed is a couple of things. The transmission takes about 3 or 4 seconds to engage into Drive. It is worse when the transmission is cold. Additionally, the shifting is very rough from 1st to 2nd, it feels much like a shift kit was installed. This too is much worse when cold, still occurs when warm but more muted. Also, when cold the shift from 2nd to 3rd will occasionally flare.

I plan to do a pan drop and filter change in the coming week. It is a Jatco 4speed, and requires Nissan J-matic fluid.

From what I have read is these are pretty stout AT's. Do ya'll think that a fluid change will resolve these issues? What transmission fluid and/or additives should I try? This truck will only see about 5-6k per year.

Thank you!

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#4633033 - 01/12/18 09:27 PM Re: 02 Frontier transmission question [Re: milehigh]
bmwtechguy Offline


Registered: 06/15/04
Posts: 2673
Loc: South Carolina
Depending on whether it has a drain plug or easy access to ATF cooler lines (for an easy complete flush), I would do a fluid change/flush with Maxlife transmission fluid or other compatible fluid. See how it shifts after 20 miles or so. If still a bit harsh, you could add Lubegard Platinum. I also like Lubegard Red. I have added one of those to nearly every transmission service with great results for 25 years.

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#4633111 - 01/12/18 11:38 PM Re: 02 Frontier transmission question [Re: milehigh]
boom10ful Offline


Registered: 01/17/17
Posts: 128
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: milehigh
Hi all. I acquired a fixer upper 2002 Nissan Frontier this past week. It is a crew cab, 4wd and supercharged 3.3L that has 180k miles. Aside from the cosmetic issues that I purchased as a fixer upper, I have a question/concern about the AT.

First off, I have checked the fluid level and it is fine, and the color looks good with no nasty odor.

What I have noticed is a couple of things. The transmission takes about 3 or 4 seconds to engage into Drive. It is worse when the transmission is cold. Additionally, the shifting is very rough from 1st to 2nd, it feels much like a shift kit was installed. This too is much worse when cold, still occurs when warm but more muted. Also, when cold the shift from 2nd to 3rd will occasionally flare.

I plan to do a pan drop and filter change in the coming week. It is a Jatco 4speed, and requires Nissan J-matic fluid.

From what I have read is these are pretty stout AT's. Do ya'll think that a fluid change will resolve these issues? What transmission fluid and/or additives should I try? This truck will only see about 5-6k per year.

Thank you!


The harsh shift is normal for these transmissions. I have 2 of these right now a '98 and an '02 with 4 cylinder engines and they both kick when cold. I've used Valvoline Full Synthetic and had no problems.

Check and adjust your throttle cable if needed. Tighten until you see the butterfly move then go back until it's not open. Also check your throttle position sensor for the correct adjustment.

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#4633489 - 01/13/18 10:34 AM Re: 02 Frontier transmission question [Re: milehigh]
ZebRuaj Offline


Registered: 10/14/16
Posts: 153
Loc: MN
Sounds about normal for my my father's 03 3.3 non boost. Everything feels slower and more mechanical.

Be happy you have boost. The 3.3 non boost is a slow turd.
_________________________
~Shade tree mechanic for friends and family.

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#4634019 - 01/13/18 08:49 PM Re: 02 Frontier transmission question [Re: milehigh]
milehigh Offline
formally milehighhyundai


Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 139
Loc: CO
Thank you all. I'll be swapping with Maxlife and I picked up a bottle of Lubegard Platinum today. I'll report back next week with an update.

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