Problem shifting info reverse - '03 350Z AT - Any advice? - Nissan 350Z Forum, Nissan 370Z Tech Forums
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 11-27-2016, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Problem shifting into reverse - '03 350Z AT - Any advice?

Hi guys

I have an 03 Z with only 53k KMs on the clock.

Basically stock.

(Back story - not sure if applicable)
I sprung a leak in the radiator recently, and took it in for replacement (not at Nissan).
New 3rd party radiator (Fenix) works great, and running temp is actually lower than before!


When I took the car home from the shop, after it warmed up, I couldn't get it back into reverse! (This is an automatic).
After a while I figured out you have to rev it up pretty good and then it'll jolt into reverse...
I've also noticed the power transitions while on the motorway doesn't feel as powerful as before.

Usually, you can just shift into reverse, take your foot off the accelerator, and it will already be moving backwards. Now - you have to rev it...


I took it back to the shop today, and AT fluid was a bit low... topped it up, but still no luck.


I've looked after my Z like a baby and have had the AT flushed at regular intervals, and refilled with correct transmission fluid, etc...
I've never put it on the track, and I'm not particularly hard on it - I don't think the clutch could be worn out in 53Ks...


The shop has suggested a series of steps to look into this - first replace the AT fluid, then if that doesn't work, remove the oil pan from the transmission - and apparently there is a filter in there or something...

In the meantime I've been warned to only drive it gingerly...


If anyone can give me ANY advice to point me in right direction of what the problem could be - it would really be appreciated!

Thank you.

Last edited by runamok; 11-30-2016 at 04:14 PM.
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 12-07-2016, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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I don't want to create a DenverCoder9 scenario, so here is an update:

Mechanic replaced the AT fluid and also the filter inside the transmission, and cleaned the magnets.
Metal shavings in the filter was worrying...
The oil was black and smelled bad...

That solved the seeming lack of power going forward, but did nothing for reverse.

After a transmission specialist looked at it, he said the reverse clutching mechanism had been damaged - probably because it sits higher in the transmission, and would have felt the strain of low fluid levels earlier...

I was recommended to talk to Nissan directly. The service manager just referred me to a transmission rebuilding shop...
They said it'll likely be ~NZ$3500 for a rebuild!

I feel I've been looking after this car (its a Japanese Fairlady Z import)... although I didn't service it at Nissan, I've been following the service schedules for 350Z you can find online... My last transmission flush was only a year and a half ago, and I didn't do too many KMs in this past year...
I checked the AT fluid level once or twice. It wasn't at max, but also not below min (last time I checked).
Its hard to judge the fluid colour from the dipstick... but the old oil the mechanic showed me was really bad.

The Nissan service manager told me there is no recommended service interval for transmission oil. They use the ECU readings... which keeps track of date, and temperatures (and driving habits?) to tell them when to service the transmission...
The mechanic (who is from Japan) told me some cars for the Japanese domestic market has a smaller oil sumps, so they take less oil - thus have more frequent servicing requirements... I wonder is this is true for the Fairlady Z?


Well - tl;dr: check your frigging transmission fluid!
Keep it at MAX. Have a bottle of the correct fluid at home so you can top it up if needed.

If you don't service your car at Nissan where they have the computer tell them when to service, then be weary of online tribal-knowledge for transmission services... Consider your driving habits, and rather opt for more frequent transmission oil changes.
Considering the price of a transmission flush vs a rebuild...
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