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Wow, really?! That's sure not what I've read on this forum. So anyway
you don't have any ideas on the question I put out there?
 

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Just went through my 2nd SMOD on my '05 4x4 S. The first was in 2011 at 78,000 miles . It was still under warranty so the dealer replaced rad and trans. Now at just 200 miles shy of 200,000 I got hit again. Seemed to start as a shudder but quickly killed the trans. No warranty to cover this one, so $5000 later I had my trans rebuilt, a new rad and the bypass put in. I just got it back and everything seems to be shifting smoothly, but I'm still experiencing the slight rumble strip shudder at 60mh. Any thoughts?
It could be a lot of things - from the trans not being properly rebuilt to maybe the U joints are bad or who knows what. Presumably its under some version of warranty - you should probably take it back and at least get it documented.
 

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Great write-up! Could very well have saved my system, will be checking tomorrow! Anyone have a link for recommended RAD replacement? Just for info, I will be towing, is there a benefit to purchasing one that has more than 1 row?
 

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No, you doesn't need a special radiator but you need to make sure you connect all the trans cooler hoses to the new RAD, do not do the bypass mod.
Probably the most recommended replacement radiator is the Koyo A2807.
 

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Apologies if this or something similar is posted elsewhere. I tried searching for a poll, but I did read through some of the extensive threads and captured usernames, years, mileage and outcome. If you are finding this from other sites, this is an issue that, in addition to Xterras, affects Pathfinders and Frontiers. Where the radiator fails and coolant mixes with automatic transmission fluid. THIS DOES NOT AFFECT MANUAL TRANSMISSION MODELS.

What is SMOD?
SMOD
= Strawberry Milkshake Of Death (basically what your transmission fluid looks like after mixing with coolant.) The coolant and transmission fluid mix due to an internal failure in older model Nissan radiators.

Here's a Good Description on SMOD Causes, by Forum Member Robert Bills:



How can I tell if I have SMOD?
Symptoms include: Strawberry Milkshake like sludge on underside of radiator cap. (Check when engine is cool.)
  • Rumbling / shaking around 50+ from the transmission (feels like you are driving over rumble strips)
  • General transmission issues (slipping, poor shifting, hard shifting, etc)

What can I do to prevent SMOD? / What is ByPassing?
You could upgrade to the new Nissan radiator (part # needed) or put in an aftermarket radiator.

Alternatively, you could potentially 'ByPass'. ByPass = Re-routing cooling lines so the transmission does not utilize the radiator for additional cooling. Members have mixed views on this. Some say its fine, others feel that it reduces cooling capacity, especially in Xterras that are off-roaded or tow. "ByPassing" is a preventative measure. Once damage has been done its either new parts or possibly a flush.

Nissan also has an extended warranty in place (see below).

Additional information on by-passing:

What can I do if I have SMOD?
First, if you do or suspect you have SMOD - stop driving the Xterra as soon as possible to limit further transmission damage.

Next, most people end up with a New / rebuild of Transmission and new radiator system + updated fluid and removal of all contaminated fluid. Typically Nissan does cover this.

Alternatively you could try flushing the system and just changing the radiator. Some members have reported they have "saved" the transmission that way. Depends on how long you have been driving with this issue and the level of damage done to the transmission.

Other general information:
  • Nissan has issued an extended Warranty that covers transmission failures related to the flawed radiator design. Covers 2005-2010, 100% till 80,000 - over 80k deductibles are required.
  • Link to extended warranty: http://www.nissanassist.com/web/Radiator/faqs.php?menu=22
  • So far there have been no failures from 2009 on wards (and the 1 2008 listed is likely a false positive).

Disclaimer, (in other words, before you freak out): The data reflected in this post, and on this board is of a small subset of total Xterras on the road and sold. Overall, the Xterra is a reliable truck. Most users who find this post are here because they have SMOD, few people sign on to say "everything has been great". You'll also note that the data so far reflects early year Xterra's (2005, 06 & 07). These are also the years with the most Xterra's sold and those that have the most miles on them. However, these are also the years with the old coolant type and radiator design.

Outcomes:
Saved = Typically new radiator, hoses, and multiple flushes with Matic-S
New Transmission: Exactly that. Some covered, some weren't.

I plan to make this list eventually more sort-able and capture counts. But for now here it is.

Additionally I'd love to get data points for those that have by-passed how long they have been running it, whether or not they have an aux cooler, and if they have had any issues (overheats or still SMOD).

Lastly, I'm trying to find out what year the switch from Matic-J to S occurred (updated: 2009 = fluid switch) and when (if at all) a new radiator part was issued. <-- General concensus is that a new radiator has been implemented. Exact date unclear (either in MY 2009, 2010, or 2011).

PLEASE ADD YOUR NAME IF I DON'T HAVE YOU ALREADY.

SMOD List (updated 10/30/2015)

2005
• 56,000 – mac_man2507 (new transmission)
• 120,000 – 6pack (saved)
• Texterra (saved)
• 65,000 – synjohn
• 115,000 – GhostX (saved )
• 103,000 – TRON (saved)
• 79,000 Riehle (unknown)
• Draines (unknown – frontier)
• 100,500 – tsiturbomightym (new transmission)
• 92,000 – zambonikane (new transmission)
• 56,000 – alexterra (new transmission)
• 80,000 – rockdog (new transmission)
• 84,000 – micheljm (new transmission)
• 90,000 – Hinsx (new transmission)
• 103,000 – guedesigns (unknown)
• 82,000 – jaysonics (upgraded to 2011 Xterra)
• 72,000 – KpnObvious (new transmission)
• 110,000 – Blucas (new transmission)
• Machine>Matter (new transmission)
• 39,000 nporecords (new transmission)
• Nexus_7
• Peasy207
• First class X (new transmission)
• 40,000km vandman
• 130,000k - mango (saved)
• 78,000 - pkiddddd (new transmission)
• 77,000 - Dirtbag (new transmission)
• 137,000 - Salsa E 2005 Pathfinder (saved)
• 80,000 - Texterra (saved - 2 flushes and new radiator) - Now at over 316,000+ miles w/out issues!
• 105,000 - skipper172
• 175,000 - gorillamel (Saved: by-passed, but had overheat issues and by-pass removed. Got SMOD sometime after.)
• 115,000 - mtbx (new transmission)
• 117,000 - EsotericSYN (saved)
• 114,000 - chicago111 (saved)
• 120,000 - mmkco (saved?)
• 123,391 - Strat1tude (saved)
• 59,778 - jeffnjm3 (new transmission)
• 127,000 - drink
• 330(km) - Scoop
• 120,000 - nixorz
• 69,000 - alex_godmar (saved)
• 93,000 - DucXterra (new rad and trans)
• 69,000 - Shagaroo (new rad and trans)
• 168,000 - raleighx (new rad and trans)


2006
• My3rdx (saved)
• 98,000 p.staff
• 160,000 – paffcon (saved)
• 85,000 – klrkknt81 (new transmission)
• 06_xterra_s (saved)
• 50,000 - Xterra3100 (new transmission)
• 63,000 - az_jerry (new transmission)
• 69,000 - dutch169 (new transmission)
• 86,000 - Mnemonic (new transmission)
• 80,000 - Metal-X-Militia (new transmission)
• DaveGH
• 105,000 - oskon187
• 207,000 - Notread - (possibly saved?)
• 176,000 - DriverX
• 74,500 - dignow (new transmission)
• 81,000 - G&L (new transmission & new radiator)
• neflihim (saved)
• nolesfan (saved, then bought a 2013)
• 117,000 - socaloverlander (flushed / saved)

2007
• 111,000 – White07x (new transmission)
• 63,000 xguy4life (saved)
• 84,000 camaro194 (new transmission)
• 65,000 miketerra07 (new transmission)
• Frasersxterra (saved)
• 75,500 - Chug
• 106,000 - Weber58 (new transmission)
• 79,300 - Evan77 (new transmission)
• 105,000 - JohnCB (new radiator + flush)
• 124,000 - Un4Seen (new radiator + flush)
• 137,000 - ThorX (New rad + flush, lasted for 1 year, needs rebuild or new trans)


2008
• 158,000 - sullivan (new radiator, flushes, saved)
• 61,000 - Ramsker (new transmission & radiator - dealer covered)

2009
• 100,013 - jimmpotter
• 75,000 - painroller (new radiator + trans)


2010


2011


ByPassed Trucks
- List members and mileage / time they have been bypassed

  • 2007 X - KillSwitch, bypassed for 30k miles, no SMOD or issues
  • 2005 X - Surf and Snow - bypassed for 3 years, no issues
  • 2007 X - rthinchey - Bypassed at 78k. now at 94k and no problems
  • 2005 X - Tib - Bypassed for over 3 years, over 40K miles since bypass, no aux cooler, no smod, no issues.
  • 2008 X - El'Zilcho - Bypassed for 5,000 miles, no issues
  • 2005 X - shralp313 - Bypassed @ 110k
  • 2010 X - g6620 - Bypassed @ 36k, plus external cooler
  • 2006 X - unamused - Bypassed @ 35k, now at 100k, no issues
 

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The bypass works fine. No need for a new radiator. I had a 2006 Xterra that had 2 SMOD events before 100,000 miles-both covered thankfully. Then went another 150,000 miles after doing the bypass at 100,000k
 

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The bypass works fine. No need for a new radiator. I had a 2006 Xterra that had 2 SMOD events before 100,000 miles-both covered thankfully. Then went another 150,000 miles after doing the bypass at 100,000k
Other members with overheated transmissions would disagree with you.
The in-radiator heat exchanger removes much more heat than the air to fluid cooler can alone and even with a second air to fluid cooler. This is especially true at low speeds like offroading when there is little to no airflow over the air to fluid cooler. If it was just a daily driver and in a cooler climate it would probably be ok I guess.
The cooling system on the Xterra was designed for a reason and bypassing an essential part of the transmission cooling system is a temporary fix. Do it correct and replace the radiator and never worry about it again.
 

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If you are doing heavy off roading in a hot climate or towing something heavy like a boat or RV especially in hot weather a bypass might not work. But I don't do off roading and live in New England where I do have to deal with heavy snow in the winter and 90 degee plus humid weather in the summer. I have had zero problems because of the bypasses. The first one was done by a friend who owns a transmission shop, and felt it should be adequate for me, and the second one(I have a second 2010 Xterra) now, where I have gone over 100,000 miles with a bypass and no problems- that was done by a Nissan dealer where I bought it from.

Its funny you mention the cooling system on the Xterra was designed for a reason . I have to wonder why they put such a crappy radiator in the Xterra then? Or why they put such a horrendous rear breather on these vehicles? Obviously to save money, which has caused owners to have to either many times pay a lot of money to fix, or find alternate methods to deal with these stupid designs and products.

Don't get me wrong. I love the Xterra and that is why I am on my second one in 14 years.
 

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If you are doing heavy off roading in a hot climate or towing something heavy like a boat or RV especially in hot weather a bypass might not work. But I don't do off roading and live in New England where I do have to deal with heavy snow in the winter and 90 degee plus humid weather in the summer. I have had zero problems because of the bypasses. The first one was done by a friend who owns a transmission shop, and felt it should be adequate for me, and the second one(I have a second 2010 Xterra) now, where I have gone over 100,000 miles with a bypass and no problems- that was done by a Nissan dealer where I bought it from.

Its funny you mention the cooling system on the Xterra was designed for a reason . I have to wonder why they put such a crappy radiator in the Xterra then? Or why they put such a horrendous rear breather on these vehicles? Obviously to save money, which has caused owners to have to either many times pay a lot of money to fix, or find alternate methods to deal with these stupid designs and products.

Don't get me wrong. I love the Xterra and that is why I am on my second one in 14 years.
There was nothing wrong with the radiator design - it was a quality control issue.

The rear diff breather on the other hand your spot on regarding design there.

As for the bypass - the problem with running without a air to fluid cooler is your transmission is running hot - but not hot enough to cause an immediate issue - but it is wearing out faster. For many people it may not matter and the trans will still last the life of the truck, but if you want to do further research here is the definitive thread: ATF Temperatures and Cooling System Performance
 

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There was nothing wrong with the radiator design - it was a quality control issue.

The rear diff breather on the other hand your spot on regarding design there.

As for the bypass - the problem with running without a air to fluid cooler is your transmission is running hot - but not hot enough to cause an immediate issue - but it is wearing out faster. For many people it may not matter and the trans will still last the life of the truck, but if you want to do further research here is the definitive thread: ATF Temperatures and Cooling System Performance
Interesting. Are you sure it wasn't a design and quality control issue? What was the quality control issue other than using a crappy sub standard radiator from a radiator company that I believe Nissan actually owns? I may replace the radiator but I am kind of afraid because I actually have never changed the automatic transmission fluid. I am afraid it may cause more harm than good. I may do a few drain and fills of ATF first. Any thoughts?
 

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A crappy weld/braze in the radiator that resulted in engine coolant going into the trans.

Uh... how does a new radiator affect your current transmission fluid? Yeah, change your tranny fluid while you are at it.
 

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Interesting. Are you sure it wasn't a design and quality control issue? What was the quality control issue other than using a crappy sub standard radiator from a radiator company that I believe Nissan actually owns? I may replace the radiator but I am kind of afraid because I actually have never changed the automatic transmission fluid. I am afraid it may cause more harm than good. I may do a few drain and fills of ATF first. Any thoughts?
The tube that was in the bottom rad tank failed due to materials / weld or some other quality control. Every auto manufacturer has been using the same design for 40 years. So yes - it wasn't a design problem.

Whether you fix your rad or not - you should still change your fluid. And if your bypassed its more important even because your currently running your fluid hotter than the Nissan Spec. A recent thread - if your worried just do a drain and fill a few times. In need of Advice
 

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Bought my X with 115k miles. Thanks to this forum, immediately checked the radiator and transmission. The transmission lines had been modded to bypass the radiator already. Sludge under the radiator cap. Slammed into second if you revved high and backed off. Slip/VDC light would not clear after reset protocol. Replaced radiator with OSC claiming enlarged transmission cooling area over oem. Did coolant flush. Did poor man's flush on trans 3 times over about 1 month. Slip/VDC light went out, system returned to normal. Still slammed into second occasionally but not as bad or as often.

Drove about 10 thousand miles in 9 months. Drove way up north in Wisconsin for christmas with my dad. Trans started downshifting and over revving. Trans stopped working, especially on hills. Would turn off key, and it would drive again for a short. Trans became erratic, revvs all over the place. THEN.. the whining high pitched whirring concomitant with engine rev and loss of drive. Frantically searched this forum, I am poor and a long way from home. The sound was likely transmission fluid pump sucking dry.

Transmission filter aka THE SCREEN. Had the luxury of a heated garage, usually I work on the street. Figured the trans screen was clogged, exacerbated by the frigid temps in Northern Wisco. Drained. Dropped pan, cleaned magnets and inside. Made a cardboard map for the bolts holding pan/screen. Removed all bolts but 3 of them were nuts and just started spinning. The nuts would not come off, and the shafts now spun freely. I could not tighten them back. I panicked, figured I had just doomed my X to a $5k repair bill for going way over my head inside the transmission. Frantically searched this forum. Found the help I needed.

Since Nissan considers this screen non-serviceable, the three bolts were assembled backwards as the transmission was being assembled. But, since these bolts spend their lives in transmission fluid, there is not much friction. I simply used and electric torque wrench on high speed, cocked them very slightly to one side, and the bolts turned right off effortlessly. Then about 1+ quart of transmission fluid came pouring out from the newly opened gap, indicating that not much was dropping through the filter/screen.

I cleaned it as best I could with brake cleaner and air compressor. It was full of crystalline material, not metal. The metal grid above the screen was slightly bowed, I assume from an overheating event long ago. Or maybe that is normal wear. Got it looking shiny, but there was a lot of junk in between the screen and bottom of the pan I couldn't get at. Did the best I could. Re-assembled the bolts from my cardboard map in order. Then the 3 nuts. Spun them fast and 2 of them caught and torqued down. The third.... only snug. No amount of spinning led to torqueable conditions. But it was snug. Planned on replacing the screen later on so I didn't worry much.

Added at least 5 quarts of fluid. Checked level. added 1/4 quart. Did that 5 times, every time shifting through the gears seemed to drop the level. Test drove. No more problems. No more downshifting for hills, which it had done since I bought it. No more slamming into 2nd after high rev. Left the next day and drove to the nearest city, Antigo, about 30 miles. Checked the level. Added about 1/2 to 1 quart again. Drove 3 hours home without incident. Seems to be driving better than ever, shifting smoother at lower rpm. Or that is my perception colored by my feeling of accomplishment.

I think the transmission was being starved the whole time I owned it. I feel like a less well engineered vehicle without a devoted forum like this one would have been junked. And I feel excited to get some snow finally this year, maybe in February. I can't thank you all enough for this resource and taking the time to write down your experiences. Saved my life, wallet and pride several times over now. This little truck kicks ass. Now to think about tires.... snow specific? Two sets? Thanks -David
 
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Apologies if this or something similar is posted elsewhere. I tried searching for a poll, but I did read through some of the extensive threads and captured usernames, years, mileage and outcome. If you are finding this from other sites, this is an issue that, in addition to Xterras, affects Pathfinders and Frontiers. Where the radiator fails and coolant mixes with automatic transmission fluid. THIS DOES NOT AFFECT MANUAL TRANSMISSION MODELS.

What is SMOD?
SMOD
= Strawberry Milkshake Of Death (basically what your transmission fluid looks like after mixing with coolant.) The coolant and transmission fluid mix due to an internal failure in older model Nissan radiators.

Here's a Good Description on SMOD Causes, by Forum Member Robert Bills:



How can I tell if I have SMOD?
Symptoms include: Strawberry Milkshake like sludge on underside of radiator cap. (Check when engine is cool.)
  • Rumbling / shaking around 50+ from the transmission (feels like you are driving over rumble strips)
  • General transmission issues (slipping, poor shifting, hard shifting, etc)

What can I do to prevent SMOD? / What is ByPassing?
You could upgrade to the new Nissan radiator (part # needed) or put in an aftermarket radiator.

Alternatively, you could potentially 'ByPass'. ByPass = Re-routing cooling lines so the transmission does not utilize the radiator for additional cooling. Members have mixed views on this. Some say its fine, others feel that it reduces cooling capacity, especially in Xterras that are off-roaded or tow. "ByPassing" is a preventative measure. Once damage has been done its either new parts or possibly a flush.

Nissan also has an extended warranty in place (see below).

Additional information on by-passing:

What can I do if I have SMOD?
First, if you do or suspect you have SMOD - stop driving the Xterra as soon as possible to limit further transmission damage.

Next, most people end up with a New / rebuild of Transmission and new radiator system + updated fluid and removal of all contaminated fluid. Typically Nissan does cover this.

Alternatively you could try flushing the system and just changing the radiator. Some members have reported they have "saved" the transmission that way. Depends on how long you have been driving with this issue and the level of damage done to the transmission.

Other general information:
  • Nissan has issued an extended Warranty that covers transmission failures related to the flawed radiator design. Covers 2005-2010, 100% till 80,000 - over 80k deductibles are required.
  • Link to extended warranty: http://www.nissanassist.com/web/Radiator/faqs.php?menu=22
  • So far there have been no failures from 2009 on wards (and the 1 2008 listed is likely a false positive).

Disclaimer, (in other words, before you freak out): The data reflected in this post, and on this board is of a small subset of total Xterras on the road and sold. Overall, the Xterra is a reliable truck. Most users who find this post are here because they have SMOD, few people sign on to say "everything has been great". You'll also note that the data so far reflects early year Xterra's (2005, 06 & 07). These are also the years with the most Xterra's sold and those that have the most miles on them. However, these are also the years with the old coolant type and radiator design.

Outcomes:
Saved = Typically new radiator, hoses, and multiple flushes with Matic-S
New Transmission: Exactly that. Some covered, some weren't.

I plan to make this list eventually more sort-able and capture counts. But for now here it is.

Additionally I'd love to get data points for those that have by-passed how long they have been running it, whether or not they have an aux cooler, and if they have had any issues (overheats or still SMOD).

Lastly, I'm trying to find out what year the switch from Matic-J to S occurred (updated: 2009 = fluid switch) and when (if at all) a new radiator part was issued. <-- General concensus is that a new radiator has been implemented. Exact date unclear (either in MY 2009, 2010, or 2011).

PLEASE ADD YOUR NAME IF I DON'T HAVE YOU ALREADY.

SMOD List (updated 10/30/2015)

2005
• 56,000 – mac_man2507 (new transmission)
• 120,000 – 6pack (saved)
• Texterra (saved)
• 65,000 – synjohn
• 115,000 – GhostX (saved )
• 103,000 – TRON (saved)
• 79,000 Riehle (unknown)
• Draines (unknown – frontier)
• 100,500 – tsiturbomightym (new transmission)
• 92,000 – zambonikane (new transmission)
• 56,000 – alexterra (new transmission)
• 80,000 – rockdog (new transmission)
• 84,000 – micheljm (new transmission)
• 90,000 – Hinsx (new transmission)
• 103,000 – guedesigns (unknown)
• 82,000 – jaysonics (upgraded to 2011 Xterra)
• 72,000 – KpnObvious (new transmission)
• 110,000 – Blucas (new transmission)
• Machine>Matter (new transmission)
• 39,000 nporecords (new transmission)
• Nexus_7
• Peasy207
• First class X (new transmission)
• 40,000km vandman
• 130,000k - mango (saved)
• 78,000 - pkiddddd (new transmission)
• 77,000 - Dirtbag (new transmission)
• 137,000 - Salsa E 2005 Pathfinder (saved)
• 80,000 - Texterra (saved - 2 flushes and new radiator) - Now at over 316,000+ miles w/out issues!
• 105,000 - skipper172
• 175,000 - gorillamel (Saved: by-passed, but had overheat issues and by-pass removed. Got SMOD sometime after.)
• 115,000 - mtbx (new transmission)
• 117,000 - EsotericSYN (saved)
• 114,000 - chicago111 (saved)
• 120,000 - mmkco (saved?)
• 123,391 - Strat1tude (saved)
• 59,778 - jeffnjm3 (new transmission)
• 127,000 - drink
• 330(km) - Scoop
• 120,000 - nixorz
• 69,000 - alex_godmar (saved)
• 93,000 - DucXterra (new rad and trans)
• 69,000 - Shagaroo (new rad and trans)
• 168,000 - raleighx (new rad and trans)


2006
• My3rdx (saved)
• 98,000 p.staff
• 160,000 – paffcon (saved)
• 85,000 – klrkknt81 (new transmission)
• 06_xterra_s (saved)
• 50,000 - Xterra3100 (new transmission)
• 63,000 - az_jerry (new transmission)
• 69,000 - dutch169 (new transmission)
• 86,000 - Mnemonic (new transmission)
• 80,000 - Metal-X-Militia (new transmission)
• DaveGH
• 105,000 - oskon187
• 207,000 - Notread - (possibly saved?)
• 176,000 - DriverX
• 74,500 - dignow (new transmission)
• 81,000 - G&L (new transmission & new radiator)
• neflihim (saved)
• nolesfan (saved, then bought a 2013)
• 117,000 - socaloverlander (flushed / saved)

2007
• 111,000 – White07x (new transmission)
• 63,000 xguy4life (saved)
• 84,000 camaro194 (new transmission)
• 65,000 miketerra07 (new transmission)
• Frasersxterra (saved)
• 75,500 - Chug
• 106,000 - Weber58 (new transmission)
• 79,300 - Evan77 (new transmission)
• 105,000 - JohnCB (new radiator + flush)
• 124,000 - Un4Seen (new radiator + flush)
• 137,000 - ThorX (New rad + flush, lasted for 1 year, needs rebuild or new trans)


2008
• 158,000 - sullivan (new radiator, flushes, saved)
• 61,000 - Ramsker (new transmission & radiator - dealer covered)

2009
• 100,013 - jimmpotter
• 75,000 - painroller (new radiator + trans)


2010


2011


ByPassed Trucks
- List members and mileage / time they have been bypassed

  • 2007 X - KillSwitch, bypassed for 30k miles, no SMOD or issues
  • 2005 X - Surf and Snow - bypassed for 3 years, no issues
  • 2007 X - rthinchey - Bypassed at 78k. now at 94k and no problems
  • 2005 X - Tib - Bypassed for over 3 years, over 40K miles since bypass, no aux cooler, no smod, no issues.
  • 2008 X - El'Zilcho - Bypassed for 5,000 miles, no issues
  • 2005 X - shralp313 - Bypassed @ 110k
  • 2010 X - g6620 - Bypassed @ 36k, plus external cooler
  • 2006 X - unamused - Bypassed @ 35k, now at 100k, no issues
 

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Hi guys,

Looking for some council. I've got a deposit on a 2008 pre-owned X that's currently at a Nissan dealership in Vancouver BC. I was supposed to go for a test drive today, but found out that it's still in their service bay for a radiator replacement. It's also throwing a fault code that has something to do with the motor / controller on the transfer case. I spoke with the service department manager and he let me know that they've ordered a replacement and are working on that. Should be ready for me to test drive in 3 days.

Now, I've read enough to know about the horrors of SMOD. As soon as I heard that they were replacing the radiator, I of course asked about coolant contamination. He admitted that yes, it's had contamination, but they've flushed all coolants several times, and it's now running clean. They're taking time to run diagnostics while driving after replacing that part.

They do offer a 90 day warranty, which includes transmission issues. I need to find out details of that, and how much they cover. It would be a certified pre-owned from a Nissan dealership. I don't know if that matters much?

My question is this - With the radiator replacement and coolant flushes they've performed, if I give it a test drive and witness no sporadic / weird shifting, is it safe? Or is it merely in "wait and see / pray" mode? How many KM's would I need to put on it to feel secure that the contamination leading to SMOD has been caught in time with the rad replacement?

I'm trying to avoid buying a 2nd Gen X that runs great off the lot, then inevitably ends up costing me a transmission replacement. I asked the service manager if they felt like they've caught this in time, and he said it was running well and he's confident that it's been caught. But - He of course is working at a dealership and they're looking to sell this thing. He did say that if it looked to be pooched and not worth their time to continue working on, they would have just unloaded it on a wholesale lot rather then continue to service it.

What do you think? Run far away? Is it worth investigating the extent of what the warranty would cover? I would also be looking into extended warranty to feel more secure, if details on coverage look satisfactory. But I really want to know if anyone has any experience on how long it takes for more SMOD symptoms to show after a radiator replacement / flush at 1st signs.

I'd love to buy this vehicle. I've got a 2001 X right now but really have my eyes on a 2nd gen. But, I don't want that excitement to blind me to walking into a pitfall.

Thanks for your advice.
 

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I'd call a dedicated transmission shop and get their opinion. Can contamination be flushed out realistically?

I could probably handle the risk for $2500. I'm guessing they want significantly more.
 

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@georgeardenallen - Walk away.

Take your time and find another. There will be one.
 

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Thanks for the replies and advice. Unless they're willing to replace the transmission, I think I'll be patient and walk away from this one. Cheers.
 

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Thanks for the replies and advice. Unless they're willing to replace the transmission, I think I'll be patient and walk away from this one. Cheers.
I am late to the party but that is a good plan. Many have caught the smod early enough to flush - and they get some time out of it but pretty much all eventually need replacement. The issue on the ones caught early seem to be the TCM rusting. Some have fixed this as well. However unless your getting a deal - definitely not worth it.
 
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