2007 Nissan Frontier Hard to shift when cold.

Tiny
SROUTON
  • MEMBER
  • 2007 NISSAN FRONTIER
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • MANUAL
  • 52,000 MILES
My Frontier is difficult to shift when it has been parked overnight. Often, I can't get it in second gear and have to skip to third. After the truck has warmed up it shifts normally. The clutch doesn't slip and seems to work normally. I had the oil changed in the transmission, but it didn't make any difference. I had one mechanic look at it, he said the clutch pedal free play was out of spec. He adjusted it, but it didn't help. What do you think is causing the problem?
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Friday, March 12th, 2010 AT 12:42 PM

11 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
What type of fluid did they put in the trans? That is the only thing. As far as the clutch, the warmer it gets, the harder it will be to shift if the pressure plate is bad. Is it still under powertrain warranty?
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Friday, March 12th, 2010 AT 1:46 PM
Tiny
SROUTON
  • MEMBER
They used Valvoline 75/90 gear oil.

Yes, the truck is still under the powertrain warranty. The powertrain warranty doesn't cover the clutch. If it is a clutch problem, I'd rather take it to an independent repair shop instead of the dealer.

Does it sound like the problem is with the transmission? The problem only exists when the truck is cold. After it warms up, it shifts normally.
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Friday, March 12th, 2010 AT 3:09 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
If it is a 5 speed, the heavest is 75W85 (GL4). The 6 speeds can take up to 75W90 but they recommend 75W85. If you live in a cold area, the problem may be caused by the gear oil being too heavy which will make it hard to shift. If that is the case, use the 75W85. Also, if you are in a colder area, I would recommend a synthetic product. Conventional oils seem to get thicker in cold weather whereas synthetic won't.

That is my only recommendation. If you have the 5 speed, they used the wrong oil. Don't panic, it shouldn't hurt anything, but should be changed. If that doesn't help, then try this. With the engine off, does the trans shift easily into 2nd gear when cold? If it does, the trans is fine and the problem is in the clutch.

Let me know what you find and what trans you have.

Joe
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Friday, March 12th, 2010 AT 7:51 PM
Tiny
SROUTON
  • MEMBER
I have the 6 speed transmission. I'll try shifting into second in the morning when the truck is cold. I live in the Seattle area, so the truck normally doesn't see freezing temps. Our normal low temps this time of the year are in the 30s or 40s. Is this cold enough to make a difference? It had the hard shifting problem with the original factory oil in the transmission also.

Thanks!
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Friday, March 12th, 2010 AT 8:18 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
It can cause it. 30 degrees is cold enough, but if it did it with the original oil, chances are that isn't the cause.

Let me know how it shifts when it is cold with the engine off.
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Friday, March 12th, 2010 AT 8:31 PM
Tiny
SROUTON
  • MEMBER
I tried shifting into all the gears this morning before starting the truck. It shifted easily into every gear.

After I stated the engine, it still shifted easily while parked with clutch pedal depressed.

When I started driving it became very difficult to shift. It was hard to get out of first gear and difficult to get into second and third. After about 5 minutes of driving, it started shifting normally.

I assume from your earlier post that this indicates the problem is probably with the clutch. If so, how can I tell if the problem is with the clutch disk, slave cylinder, or master cylinder.
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Saturday, March 13th, 2010 AT 9:15 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Honestly, I feel the clutch is good. If it is hard to shift from first when cold, my first guess was the gear oil. However, we eliminated that as a problem. As far as the clutch, if the pressure plate or disc was bad, it would get worse as the engine gets hotter. Therefore, I really think you need to see the dealer. I feel that the problem may be in the transmission. The only other thing I can think of is if the dealer would recommend a lighter gear oil (other than what I see as recommended). If you have that much trouble with the shifting, call the dealer and let me know what they tell you. I checked for service bulletins regarding this problem but found nothing. THey may have somethings.

Joe
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Saturday, March 13th, 2010 AT 10:02 PM
Tiny
SROUTON
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the response. I'll try to get it into the dealer next week. I'll let you know what I find out.
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Saturday, March 13th, 2010 AT 11:14 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Let me know what they say. I have a feeling that they are going to tell you it's normal.

Take care of yourself.

Joe
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Sunday, March 14th, 2010 AT 11:26 PM
Tiny
SROUTON
  • MEMBER
I took the truck to my dealer. They were convinced that the problem was that I had the wrong type of gear oil (GL-5 instead of GL-4) in the transmission. I was skeptical, but I agreed to let them change it. The put in Nissan Manual Transmission oil.

It actually seems to have worked. This morning the truck shifted normally when it was cold.

I'm hopeful that the problem won't reoccur.

Thanks for you help!
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Thursday, March 18th, 2010 AT 5:30 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Believe it or not, that will do it. GL5 is a heavier oil. That was my concern that since they used the heaviest oil recommended, the cold weather may have an adverse affect on how it shifts when cold. Once it warms up a little, it would work fine.

Regardless, I'm glad you got it fixed and I wish you luck with it.

Let us know if you have questions in the future and thanks for using 2carpros. Com.

Joe
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Thursday, March 18th, 2010 AT 10:20 PM

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