Patrol GU 5th Gear failure

Submitted: Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 18:40
ThreadID: 25111 Views:2418 Replies:19 FollowUps:21
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Yep, it's happened to me. Failed on the way back from the Centre a couple of weeks ago.
My Patrol was built in May 1999 and it has done just under 100,000 easy km. No heavy towing or low speeds in 5th.
I got quotes from a couple of transmission repairers who told me it was a fairly common problem with the earlier GUs.
Then I read all about it on this forum. Why can't you find out about inherent problems in the early days when there is a chance to do something about it??

I booked it into my local Nissan dealer where I bought and serviced the vehicle and asked them to send the paperwork into Nissan Australia to ask if they would cover the repair out of waranty. Guess what. The answer was NO. They must have decided on a cut-off date because they said my machine is "too old".
$2,234 later.
My brother has the same model built 6 months later so he has sent his VIN number off to Nissan and is biting his nails waiting for a reply.

Can anyone who has had this gear failure and had it repaired by Nissan please reply with some info like the date of manufacture of their Patrol, date of failure, mileage at time of repair and whether Nissan came to the party with costs?

The RACQ Legal bods suggested that I send a nice letter to Nissan asking them to reconsider. I haven't any reason to approach them from a legal standpoint because the Patrol was out of warranty and Nissan can stop repairing things under "good will" whenever they like.
So now starts the paperwork.
(sigh!) why did it have to happen to me?

P.S. If I had a GU built during or before 2001 then I would be contacting Nissan to see if my vehicle was on the susceptible list.

Nevyn
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Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 18:51

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 18:51
My wifes 4.2td patrol was built in May 1999, it has 330,000ks with some very heavy towing, still going so i suppose you can be lucky!! hmmm!! or maybe tomorrow it will break!!
Patrol 4.2TDi 2003

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Follow Up By: nevyn - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:08

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:08
Hi Michael,
Hopefully yours will keep going for another 330,000ks.
2 Pats in the family? luck-ee
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Follow Up By: GUPatrol - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 21:19

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 21:19
Hi Michael,

You must have been unlucky or some "other" problem.
I got a letter in black and white from NIssan head office when I sent my VIN number to them to wither clear it or tell me if it was faulty.
Mine was clear, built june 1999 but a friends 2000 model (two actually) were not, one failed and the other was done before failure.
Mine has now done 205000kms heaps of long trips in fifth and no problems (touch wood)...
Nissan quoted that the problems started in early 2000 and ended in 2001.
However, talking to one of the NIssan dealers, they told me that even some GQs have had the problem but it was usually a one of incident...

Will
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Follow Up By: GUPatrol - Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 09:28

Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 09:28
Sorry Michael, that was supposed to be directed to Nevyn.

Will
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Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:05

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:05
Nissan will give you the dates of the suspect vehicles!
Patrol 4.2TDi 2003

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Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:06

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:06
I have a feeling that your vehicle is not amongst them!
Patrol 4.2TDi 2003

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AnswerID: 122358

Reply By: joc45 - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:12

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:12
Hi Nevyn,
Mine was a 4.2, Dec99 build, and 5th failed at about 115k, no towing. Had an extended warranty, and scraped in with a few months/km to spare, so Nissan came to the party, tho had to pay the $100 excess. I think the mainshaft is about $1200, 5th about $300 plus all that labour. I'd be giving Nissan a go, given that it is an acknowedged design problem - that sort of distance is not good enough for that sort of vehicle.
good luck,
Gerry
AnswerID: 122362

Reply By: AJB - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:17

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:17
Well I've got a 05/2000 model (3-0 Litre) and 5th quit at 143000 k's and it was covered by warranty. That was in April 2004 and I've done another 60000 since then. The vehicle is a workhorse and tows about 2 tonne every day (tandem tool trailer) so t is worked very hard. I have a good relationship with the dealer so that may have helped with the warrany repair. I was suprised it was covered as the dealer does not do all the servicing either. Push the dealer or Nissan as it is a known fault.
AnswerID: 122363

Reply By: GOB & denny vic member - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:46

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:46
goodday mate
just a question
did you ring nissan or did the dealer "ring "on your behalf

steve
AnswerID: 122375

Follow Up By: nevyn - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:55

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:55
Hi Steve,
The dealer sent in a "Request for assistance" to Nissan Australia and when they told me Nissan's reply I rang the Customer Relations office in HO and they looked up my file and told me the same thing. Vehicle too old.

col
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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 14:02

Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 14:02
Ringing them is one thing, however I'd put it in writing, it has much more effect normally.
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Follow Up By: nevyn - Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 14:41

Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 14:41
Jeff,
I am in the process of writing the letter now. I have received advice from the legal beagles and have worked out a plan of attack. I just have to get the wording right and they have offered to check it for me before I send it off so I don't put my foot in it.
col
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Reply By: Member - Ross (ACT) - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:46

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:46
Hello Nevyn,

Mine was built in May 2000. I was out of warranty by about 6 months and over 5000 k's. Nissan dealer in Coffs Harbour fixed without questions.

Ross
AnswerID: 122376

Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:52

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 19:52
Mine is a 6/2000 build and I was very lucky......
I moved from NSW to SA in October 2002 when truck had about 83,000klm on clock. It was due for an oil change; and I always did my own. However, all my tools, ramps etc were still at Yass, so I (reluctantly) took it to the local Nissan dealership to do the engine oil change. When I went to collect it that arvo, the service manager pointed out that they'd done a check of oil levels/quality in other areas (diffs, g/box and tranny case) and had found that the g/box oil was slightly "coffe-coloured" which he went on to tell me was a sign that 5th gear was about to let go. Get this...............he then asked me if I'd like to have it done under warranty!!!!!!!! (bear in mind it hadn't let go yet).
Well, you can guess my response to that offer.
He told me later that it would have been a $3,500- job if it had happened outside warranty. However, he said it was a well-known problem in the early g/boxes of the GU.
Accordingly, I would be inclined to go back to the Nissan Head Office and politely (but firmly) point out that this is a well-known and documented issue with your vintage of GU. The fact that you didn't do a heck of a lot of klicks during the warranty period should not preclude you from having them fix this problem under warranty........it is not the sort of issue that arises due to the amount of time elapsed since the vehicle was purchased; it has everything to do with how many kilometers the vehicle has travelled.
I would also suggest that you refer the PR people at Nissan to refer to this website (and this specific post plus others that you can enumerate by doing a search of the archives....I know I have talked about this issue at least twice before on here).
Good luck.....I reckon you have a good case for at least the cost of parts and probably 50% of the labour cost.
Cheers
Roachie
AnswerID: 122379

Reply By: Member - Glenn D (NSW) - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 20:07

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 20:07
Hows it going Nev

This happened to me on the opposite side of the country , Perth . The dealer in question tried to rip us off by charging labour and saying we were lucky to get the parts, cause our vehicle was out of warranty ,after assuring us they had approached Nissan Australia.

It was only that we had problem with their exchange box that we found out that Nissan usually paid for this problem in full.

We have an August 2001 3.0td at the time just had 100,000 km on it.

Easy money earner for either the dealership or just the guys scaming, claim warranty from Nissan and get paid to do the same job.

I think to say your vehicle is too old is B***s**t. I wrote a letter to Nissan Australia in Melbourne , mentioned that I thought the failure was a result of substandard design and engineering and was a time bomb ticking since the vehicle was new. Also said the failure ruined our round Australia trip and I got a Patrol as a result of 4wd magazines favourable reviews of which many mentioned the Patrols driveline as bullet proof, also said I wish I had bought a Cruiser.

I was very surprised that within a week they called to say that the full labour cost would be refunded.

I think the precedent has been set for repairs out of warranty .

I definitly wouldnt believe anything anyone at a major dealership told me , If you approach Nissan Aust you may be surprised.

Hope this helps you out.

Glenn.
AnswerID: 122382

Follow Up By: Member - Ray - Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 12:24

Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 12:24
Glenn, Name the dealer so we in Perth don't have to deal with the P@#%k
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Follow Up By: joc45 - Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 14:15

Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 14:15
Hi Glen,
Under my extended warranty, I had to pay a $100 excess. Did they charge you any excess?
Gerry
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Follow Up By: Member - Glenn D (NSW) - Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 21:10

Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 21:10
Was Giant Nissan , I think the suburb was Scarborough ?.

I didnt get charged any excess, but they still stung me. $50 for work shop materials , lot of rags . Had to pay for an idler gear that wasnt interference fit on the main shaft , $500 , wondering If they are still laughing about that .

With the first replacement gearbox only got to the Margaret River area before we realised we had trouble ,and had to go to Bussletown Nissan to get it checked , this was the other end of the spectrum as the guys there couldnt do enough to help and pointed us in the right direction to contact Nissan Australia .

We had to go back to Perth to get another box ( ended up being our box reconditioned ) where I asked the maintenance manager if it should have been warranted , he paid for fuel and accom but said Nissan said no , another guy there said I was being " greedy ".

At home I do 99% of work on my own vehicle , but even a box rebuild is a bit beond me , how do you find someone reputable on the other side of the country, the only theory I had was to go to a Nissan dealer because they should know what is going on , and they are nationwide.

Can this be defamatory when it is the truth ?

See if it gets mediated

Hope this helps members in WA

Glenn.
Wasnt
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Follow Up By: joc45 - Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 23:44

Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 23:44
Yeh, Glenn, Giant Nissan did my rebuild, and I got hit for the $100 excess. Didn't charge me for anything else.
Had a few issues with them on other sloppy work. They don't do my servicing now.
The excess on the idler gear sounds a bit shonky. I would have gone to Consumer Affairs with the labour charge issue. Sounds fraudulent to me. Greedy? They're the ones who've stuffed you round and ruined your holiday.
Gerry
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Reply By: Andrew (Whyalla) - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 20:12

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 20:12
DEFINATELY go back to Nissan HQ and DEMAND that they pay. Its a well documented defect and they ARE liable and if you hassle enough then they will pay.

Here's a recent thread about it on the Patrol Owners Forum
http://forum.patrol4wd.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1230
AnswerID: 122383

Follow Up By: nevyn - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 20:24

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 20:24
Thanks for the link Andrew. I reacon MadDan got it for free because his Patrol was only 3 years old instead of over 6 like mine.
I certainly do appreciate all the ammunition I can get though.
Col
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FollowupID: 377564

Reply By: GOB & denny vic member - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 20:20

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 20:20
goodday again nev

if all esle fails try this site www.not good enough.org
its a site worth looking at steve
AnswerID: 122384

Reply By: Member - Robyn J (QLD) - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 20:57

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 20:57
IOur Nissan gearbox failed 400ks from home after traveling 17000ks trip from Brisbane to WA and back late June. Contacted local Nissan who approched Melbourne fo repair costs under warranty and guess what they have knocked us back too. We contacted Nissan as well to be told it was too old 144,000ks 4/2000. Have sent a follow letter to service centre who havent replied tothe letter although they are asking about fixing the car which is still sitting in their workshop taking up room. We are going to follow through with a letter to Melbourne regarding no response from local service centre and futher explanation as to why it is not to be repaired under warranty. We too are going to ask RACQ advise.
Jenkie

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Follow Up By: nevyn - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 21:21

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 21:21
Hi Robyn,
I would be extremely interested to hear if you have any better luck than me.
It seems like Nissan might have decided its time to phase out their liability for this problem.
RACQ told me there is nothing they can do for me due to it being out of warranty. They suggested a polite letter to Nissan requesting them to reconsider their stance. I have not sent the letter as yet. I planned to send a letter to Nissan Customer Relations first, then to Nissan Australia General Manager then to Nissan Japan if necessary.
Next would be Office of Fair Trading or Dept of Consumer Affairs. Then maybe Off Road magazines and the TV media to advise every other poor sap who is blissfully unaware that their pride and joy has a manufacturing defect.
Hopefully it won't get that far but I think it will. It would be good to know that there are other people around complaining as well.
Col
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Follow Up By: Member - Robyn J (QLD) - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 21:40

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 21:40
Col
We were first quoted around the same price as you and then the price was dropped to $2000 all this without even opening up the gearbox to know what was wrong. When going to check on the car etc my husband saw the gearbox out of the car but not even pulled down.Then have had the car for since the 29th JUne so I would say it is becoming a pain in their workshop. send me your email address at jenkie@optusnet.com.au and I will keep you informed on what happens.Would also like to know how you go
Robyn and Lindsay
Jenkie

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Follow Up By: joc45 - Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 00:40

Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 00:40
Nevyn,
forget the Offroad mags - they still haven't heard about Nissan's engine blowups, gearboxes, or Toyota's IFS problems, or don't want to know, and aren't likely to want to know. Too much at stake for their part to mention those sort of things.
Gerry
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Reply By: Kumunara (SA) - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 22:16

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 22:16
Mine went and I rang the Nissan Dealer and they didn't want to know about any warranty repair.

I contacted Nissan Customer Service direct and they organised the repair and paid for it. This occurred on the 16th April 2005. Mine is a 2000 GU and had done close on 120,000 kms towing a camper trailer in fifth gear for a lot of them.

Did you contact Nissan Customer Service? Did your local Nissan Dealer actually send the paper work to them.

I had some problems with the integrity of my local Nissan Dealer and no longer take my vehicle to them. That is not to say that your local dealer may be the same but I would ring Nissan Customer Service and quote you VIN to check if your local dealer had actually contacted them.
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Follow Up By: nevyn - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 22:25

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 22:25
The Nissan dealer sent in the paperwork at my request.
However, when I rang Nissan Vic Customer Service and queried why they knocked it back they confirmed they had received the request but had decided not to help because "the vehicle is too old".

I have not been able to get a copy of the correspondence between them from the dealer because he said they are not allowed to release documents that detail correspondence between them and Nissan.

I will be querying this with the RACQ Legal bods tomorrow and also asking for a copy when I write the letter to Nissan Customer Relations asking them to reconsider their stance.
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Reply By: nevyn - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 22:32

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 22:32
It would be interesting to hear if anyone has any luck getting an out-of-warranty repair for this problem after 1 July 05.
AnswerID: 122425

Reply By: at4x4 - Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 23:50

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2005 at 23:50
The problem has certainly been more prevelent in the 3.0 patrol, which has a harmonic vibration which causes the wear on the splines [hence the oil filled flywheel to act as a damper ] but the 4.2 was also a problem in the early 3.0 stages.

A friend worked at Alice Springs dealer at the time they were released, and they had to rent extra yard space while they stored the vehicles effected, while waiting 6 weeks + for parts to arrive, at the time.
AnswerID: 122444

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 07:22

Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 07:22
As harsh as it may sound,

How long should a company warrant a car outside of warranty?
AnswerID: 122467

Follow Up By: nevyn - Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 08:09

Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 08:09
Hi Truckster,

True.

But looking at it from the other angle.
How much liability should a company have for selling a defective product.

The drive train of the Patrol GU is supposed to be "bullet proof". Not "bullet proof except for the 5th gear due to a defect in manufacture in some models".

Morally, Nissan should have recalled all the affected GUs when they discovered they had included a manufacturing defect in the build. Instead they seem to have taken the stance that if they don't say anything then they only have to pay for the ones that fail inside a predetermined period or when someone discovers there may be a problem and queries them. They weren't forced to do a recall by law because the defect is not a safety issue.

It's now far enough away in history that they must believe they can weather out any backlash that owners might feel without tarnishing their record.

Legally, they called it "good will" when they picked up the tab after warranty, but I believe they are morally obligated to repair all of the gearboxes that fail due to this defect until they are all replaced.
If they want to put some kind of limit on their obligation then it should be mileage, not time. If it was mileage, then I wouldn't feel so stringly about the defect. After all, everything will fail eventually. But keep in mind that my vehicle has travelled less than 100,000km which is the limit that Nissan warrant the vehicle. It just took me 6 years and 1 month to do it.
I have a suspicion that Nissan have decided that June 30 is the cutoff date for liability, but time will tell.

The only positive to come out of this excercise is that now I am fairly confident that I have that so called "bullet proof" drive train that I thought I bought in June 1999.

Live long and prosper.
Col
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Follow Up By: GUPatrol - Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 09:36

Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 09:36
The rules are that they are not obliged to recall defective products unless safety is at stake, which is why Toyota should recall IFS cruisers.
3.0L engines and 5th gear problems are not safety related (according to them).
Check policies on recalls.
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Follow Up By: nevyn - Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 10:24

Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 10:24
Hi GUPatrol,
Thanks mate.
I think I said something like that myself.
FYI It's not just 3.0L Patrols. It's all of them.
Mine is a 4.2TD ST

Col
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FollowupID: 377660

Follow Up By: Member - Glenn D (NSW) - Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 21:21

Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 21:21
Hows it going Truckster,

Pretty sure you are resposible for something ,if you sell it, if it is not fit for the purpose it was sold for.

Glenn.

This is also a good sentence to include in a complaint letter !
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FollowupID: 377792

Reply By: vitara - Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 09:19

Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 09:19
Hi All maybe this problem has been around for longer than people think or my mate's navara has the same fifth gear set up as his fifth gear went as well at about 140,000klms has only ever towed behind it twice. Out of warranty had to pay for it himself. Repairer told him not to go into 5th gear until doing 80ks or more was told a comman prob with both patrol and navara. Maybe there are people out there with a navara having the same probs ?? Have a good day Take Care Vitara
AnswerID: 122486

Reply By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 14:12

Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 14:12
After reading this entire post I thought to myself... How ironic, 10 years ago (and I still here it today from some people) people were saying "don't buy an auto in a 4wd because a manual is more stronger and more reliable". How many 3.0TD Auto's have failed I wonder. Just food for thought.

And sorry to hear about the bill, nasty one...
AnswerID: 122546

Follow Up By: nevyn - Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 14:37

Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 14:37
hi jeff,

I don't know about the current autos but in the past the issue with auto vs manual had more to do with engine braking than transmission strength.
I have been in situations going down steep hills where driving an auto 4x4 was downright dangerous and I had to use the brake which is a no-no.
The same hill in manual low range was a piece of cake. It just walked down in low 1st.

There are times when an auto shines over a manual e.g. tackling sandhills, but by preference, I still will not buy a 4x4 with an auto box.

Everyone to his own opinion.

Col
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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 16:39

Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 16:39
" have been in situations going down steep hills where driving an auto 4x4 was downright dangerous and I had to use the brake which is a no-no. "

Nah, peice o' cake. Left foot on brake pedal, right foot on throttle. Bring her up to 1500rpms or so and control the downward speed with the left foot (brake pedal). Works a treat and gives you more control than Low 1st in a manual IMHO. (I've had manual 4bies before too).

Also has the added advantage of stopping the dreaded wheel spin/CV snap/Diff crunch problem on IFS vehicles.
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FollowupID: 377737

Reply By: Member - Bradley- Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 18:45

Thursday, Jul 28, 2005 at 18:45
Even though it is out if warranty, it has failed well within the designed service life of the component, AND it is a manufacturer recognised fault.

So put everything in writing and only deal with Nissan Aust.

any gearbox should do 250,000+ before needing a re-build under normal service conditions.
AnswerID: 122592

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