5 Common 2005 Nissan Pathfinder Transmission Problems

Whether you’re looking to buy a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder, taking preventative measures for your trusty ol’ set of wheels, or trying to get to the bottom of the mysterious noise coming from under the hood, it’s a good idea to be aware of the five most common transmission issues found in this car.


05 Pathfinder

1. Coolant Leaking into the Transmission

The Pathfinder owners over at Car Complaints confirmed that this is the most widespread transmission problem found in 2005 Nissan Pathfinders, and it can cost at least $3,500 in repairs.

This problem, which usually happens around the 90,000-mile mark, is caused by a cracked radiator allowing coolant to leak into the transmission. The mixture of coolant and transmission fluid is toxic and can irreversibly wreck the transmission if not caught in time.

Some symptoms of the cross contamination include a shuddering and slipping transmission and a hard clunking, grinding, or vibrating sound over 40 mph. If you experience any of those symptoms, we strongly recommend having your Pathfinder checked out by a mechanic right away.

If your transmission or radiator can still be saved, we suggest having it flushed out completely and replacing the defective component(s) of the radiator. If either part is beyond repair, the only option left is replacing the whole part. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, though, as we offer genuine factory Nissan transmissions and radiators under warranty at reasonable prices.

How to prevent this problem: Routinely inspect the radiator and continually replace deteriorating parts, such as the radiator cap (Part No. 21430-1P107) and hoses (Parts No. 21742-EA000, 21744-EA000, 21501-EA200, or 21503-EA200).

2. Transmission Shaking the Car

Probably the most worrisome issue to experience on the freeway, the transmission shaking your Pathfinder like crazy could mean a few things: coolant leaking into the transmission, a low transmission fluid level, or a clogged transmission filter.

Usually, the shaking sensation is felt only through your steering wheel, but sometimes it’s felt throughout the entire car.

Some ’05 Pathfinder owners reported having experienced this issue around the 90,000-mile mark, and the culprit is usually the coolant leaking into the transmission. Since it’s the most serious and costly problem, you want to rule it out first by checking the transmission fluid. If the color is not red but more milky pink or rusty brown, then it’s likely that coolant is mixed in. If the transmission fluid looks okay, then the shaking could be attributed to one of the following issues:

  • Low transmission fluid level: Good news; it’s really easy to fix! Just grab some transmission fluid and fill it up.
  • Clogged transmission filter: If this ends up being the problem, all you need to do is to replace the transmission filter and you should be good to go. While the typical cost for a new transmission filter is $35, you can snag a genuine filter from Factory Nissan Parts for under $26.

Transmission Filter: Part No. 31728-7S11A

How to prevent this problem: Routinely inspect the radiator, replace deteriorating parts, and ensure the transmission fluid is fresh and at an adequate level. Replace your transmission filter every 30,000 miles.

3. Transmission Whining During Acceleration

Rated 8 out of 10 on the severity rating scale, this problem should not be taken lightly. The transmission whining during acceleration commonly around the 90,000-mile mark is another symptom of coolant leaking into the transmission fluid, but it could also mean that the timing chain needs to be replaced.

If the culprit is the timing chain, visit Factory Nissan Parts for the best price on a new one under warranty.

Timing Chain: Part No. 13028-ZS00A

How to prevent this problem: Routinely inspect the radiator, replace deteriorating parts, and replace the timing chain as recommended by the factory.

4. Ruptured Transmission Oil Cooler Hose

If your ’05 Pathfinder has over 100,000 miles on it and is leaking transmission fluid everywhere, then it’s likely that one of the transmission cooler hoses has either cracked due to wear and tear or ruptured due to external factors. Once a cooler hose gives out, stop driving immediately because driving a car with nearly no transmission fluid could severely damage or even kill your transmission.

Our suggestion? Slap on a new cooler hose as soon as you detect a leak. A $12 cooler hose is far cheaper than a hefty $3,500 transmission replacement bill.

How to prevent this problem: Keep a spare transmission cooler hose in your Pathfinder so you’re able to replace a ruptured hose as soon as you detect a leak. Also, keep an eye out for transmission fluid leaks. A 2005 Pathfinder owner reported having had to replace her transmission oil cooler hose twice in six months.

5. Transmission Valve Assembly Failure

Considered the “brain” of the transmission, the valve assembly controls the shifting of gears. When it goes haywire, the entire car will cease to function properly.

Symptoms of a faulty valve assembly include banging noises coming from the transmission, erratic shifting, or failure to downshift or go into reverse. Sometimes the car won’t even start at all, as reported by a 2005 Pathfinder owner who had to pay $2,500 to have his transmission valve assembly replaced at 68,000 miles.

When it’s time to replace your Pathfinder’s valve assembly, you don’t have to pay thousands of dollars to do so. You can just order a genuine Nissan factory-made one under warranty for under $900.

Valve Assembly: Part No. 31705-08X5D

How to prevent this problem: Check and maintain your transmission fluid every time your Pathfinder undergoes an oil change. In extremely cold weather, allow your Pathfinder to warm up completely before shifting it into gear.