GU 3.0L TD 5th gear issues

Submitted: Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003 at 00:00
ThreadID: 3437 Views:1686 Replies:5 FollowUps:7
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Just as general info I thought I would share what I have been told about the above 5th gear problem in the GU's

Today, as a result of feed back from the forum I rang around (Perth) dealerships and the Nissan info line and posed the question "What have nissan done about the 5th gear issue in the GU's"???

Some played dumb and some thought about it for a while before playing dumb.

After some discussion the 'common' theme was "Nissan don't recognise it as a problem but if you think there is something wrong, bring it in and it will be fixed for nothing"

Funny to be so sure about an 'unrecognised problem'

One dealership said that they have had no correspondance from Nissan about the matter at all, but agreed they had fixed a few early ones.

Another said that they are aware as is Nissan and they are fixing them whether in or out of warranty for nothing!!!!! YAHOO

The nissan customer service line was a waste of time..not commital admit nothing.

I aslo quized them over the oil capacity the early models took around the 6litre mark but now they put in 8ltrs. I was advised there was no changes to the sump, but I believe they shortened the dip stick to reflect the extra two litres or so they now run as standard. Newer models already stipulate the updated amounts in the manuals.

With this info I still believe the 3.0L is a good/great car. Bad stories are few and far between and you have to take into account how many there are on the road. It's one of the best sellers at the moment and there are reasons for that I guess.

Hope this info helps someone. Great site, very helpful.
Hope this means something
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Reply By: rickwagupatrol - Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003 at 00:37

Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003 at 00:37
hiya andrew. funny thing this si. i asked magic nissan the same question a few weeks ago.
ie " have nissan fixed the 5th gear problem"?
the reply was that in the gu111, the shaft was updated at the factory, so there should be no problems with them.
hummm, makes one ponder where the truth lies, doesn't it?

AnswerID: 13438

Follow Up By: Andrew - Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003 at 00:45

Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003 at 00:45
Rick, You'll love this then

Giant Nissan was one of mobs I spoke to.
The answer from the Guy I spoke to was, " Yes, I think it has been addressed by Nissan but they do it direct with Japan. Japan I think has rectified the problem."

OK, so asked from which model or build date was it effected..He replied " I don't know and you wouldn't be able to find that out"

What if they (nissan) wouldn't know. anyway I like your answer, i've got a GUIII

FollowupID: 7881

Reply By: Nordave - Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003 at 00:40

Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003 at 00:40
I have a friend who runs an engineering business. He made up a special jig to change out GU gearboxes for the local Nissan dealer. The dealership keeps a spare and rotates the gearboxes through to fix the 5 th gear.
AnswerID: 13439

Reply By: desert - Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003 at 08:49

Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003 at 08:49
As one who has suffered the 5th gear failure, I shall share what I gleaned after repairs to my box. If anybody wishes to authenticate the following, then contact the dealers in either Port Augusta or Kalgoolie, as the failure is distance and load specific, as you will see... The internal splines machined in the 5th gear and the corressponding external splines on the mainshaft have too much clearance between them and this does not allow a full spline contact. It is a machining problem that has crept into production, probably at a component supplier that makes the gears for Nissan. 4.2 litre and 3.0 litre boxes are effected as they are the same box(apart from the odd leaf-sprung trayback). The faulty parts are from year 2000 to October2001. Mine is May 2000 build and it failed. Now, it appears that not all Nissan dealers have heard or had the problem in.It was not a general recall as it was not deemed to be safety related. The dealers that have done the most boxes are the above. This is because most failures occur in vehicle that are towing large vans and long periods in 5th, hence either end of the Nullabor plain. My local dealer at Seymour had not heard of the problem after I had returned. Kalgoolie and port Augusta have each done in excess of 30 to 40 claims and now stock a change over box to speed up the process for the client.
Mine is a tray-back and the failure occurred at 80km/h as I began to lightly, read lightly, accelerate out of Pimba on the Nullabor. A huge, loud,metal grinding noise will frighten the be-jeezus out of you and you loose drive in 5th. No other gear is effected, apart from a rather sick noise in reverse too. The dealers will advice you that driving in 4th gear will not do any more harm. I then drove across to Kalgoolie (1100km) in 4th to have the box repaired under warranty. It had done 60,000km at the time.It is a $1200 job, charged back to Nissan. They replace the mainshaft, 5th gear with modified components that have a greater surface area (longer) spline contact. It's a 2 day job. THere is no warning of the impending failure. I was not towing, but did have about a ton on the back. Common incidents usually involve caravans and/or heavy laden vehicles crossing over cattle grids and washouts. There are none of these in Melbouren, that is why some dealers are ignorant of the problem. I have photo's of the parts that were removed from my car.
That's the story. Nothing to do with loose nuts, weak synchro's, poor driving habits. Faulty parts is the story. The modified parts have been on the assembly line since, I think,January 2002 so now more problems since.Nissan WILL NOT DO THE FIX UNLESS IT HAS ALREADY FAILED. I have a contact high in the company, AND HE COULD NOT GET HIS DONE prior either.
AnswerID: 13445

Follow Up By: Peteg - Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003 at 13:00

Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003 at 13:00
Well put, we must have posted at the same time. Agree that manufacturing tolerances (ie limits and fits) are the issue as this is the only way that the spline can start to flog. This may also have something to do with heat and the length of drives done (ie bigger cog expands more than shaft) which also fits your Nullabour situation versus Melbourne.
Mine went without major towing on 4th to 5th at end of a passing lane - must admit at pretty well full boot.

I believe that a sign is a ticking/rattle (nothing alarming - was going to mention it at the next service) which can be heard when passing close to concrete barriers window down. In mine this happened for about 2-3000k's before the big bang.

I must say that I did not buy and pay for a 5 speed box to have to leave 5th alone. The trucking industry would go broke if they did not use their O/Drive cogs. Hence I think the advice about not towing in 5th gear is a recognition of a perceived weakness in the box design. This of course assumes one does not lug in 5th

Pete G
FollowupID: 7894

Follow Up By: Stevo - Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003 at 13:14

Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003 at 13:14
Desert, I own a TD42 with a build date of August 1999.
Upon returning from a long trip in the far north of SA last year (not towing) I noticed an almost inaudible whine in 5th gear at around 100km/hr. Upon changing the 12 ply "pizza cutters" I use for such trips, back to the 10R 16's the increase in tyre noice was enough to completely mask the whine. With all due respect to my local Nissan Dealer (small family owned) although the noise couldn't be heard it was investigated and the characteristic orange discolouration of oil associated with this very fault was detected and new parts were installed under warranty!!
FollowupID: 7895

Follow Up By: Andrew - Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003 at 18:29

Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003 at 18:29

Excellent piece of background, many readers will appreciate seeing that.
I hope your right about when they started to address the problem, I have a GUIII Built in May 2002.

Thanks again.
FollowupID: 7917

Reply By: PeteG - Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003 at 08:55

Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003 at 08:55
I suppose you could put this down to the mighty $$$ and "marketing".

It is an absolute load of rubbish that they are "unaware" of the problem.
My Jul 2000 GU 3.0l did 5th at 72k's some 12 months ago. I asked the dealer for a look at the stripped down box and was shown the replacement parts. Basically a new mainshaft and cog were provided with an increase of about 1/3 on the spline length. These parts were supplied by Nissan

The reports you obtained show just how out of touch or untruthful the dealerships can be. Caveat Emptor - let the buyer beware - a very good reason to support this great website.

As an aside whilst my vehicle was in dock the dealers workshop was full of (about 10) Pulsars having serious surgery (ie engines out). I asked if there was a problem and was told well no not really. A mate has one and is having serious oil consumption issues whilst his dealer stuffs about.

Still - all said and done can any one show me a dealer or manufacturer who stands out from today's shabby pack. Unfortunately in today's environment the customer is increasingly becomong the front line of the Quality Assurance program. I don't hold any hope for change unless we can motivate our sluggish Consumer Affairs Dept's to put the interests of the consumer ahead of Big Business.

Whilst I have been treated OK by the dealer and Nissan this is not really all that re-assuring overall, as often what results are obtained depend on one's individual efforts as one weaves through the dumb silence, can't hear it, we'll look into it further, see if it still does it and then just plain dumb marketing "we are the mister nice guys - would you like to buy a nice new car from us" , when all you want is to know the truth and have your problem fixed.

In my experiences over the years Nissan are ahead of Ford and Mitsi, however, perhaps thats just me.

As with all things new, I guess progress happens in a series of forward and backward steps and when they get it sorted they will have a good vehicle. All said and done really what choices do we have - progress is progress or we'd all be driving around in well recycled T Fords.

For those interested DOTARS (access through Fed Gov website) may be an avenue - especially if safety is involved. They list all manufacturer recalls.


Pete G
AnswerID: 13446

Follow Up By: Andrew - Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003 at 18:27

Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003 at 18:27
Well said Pete G
FollowupID: 7916

Follow Up By: Rickwagupatrol - Friday, Feb 21, 2003 at 23:18

Friday, Feb 21, 2003 at 23:18
Andrew and Pete G. Shouldn't this problem with the 5th gear be treated as a safety issue?
I mean, i for one wouldn't like for it to go when my missus is driving with all the kids in the car, up the freeway at 100kmh, then bang, there goes 5th gear. she would freak out. I shudder at the consequences!!!

FollowupID: 8113

Follow Up By: Andrew - Saturday, Feb 22, 2003 at 02:43

Saturday, Feb 22, 2003 at 02:43

I agree, and if it was a $30 job, I'm sure it would be a recall issue....trouble is, it's a $3000 job and who's gunna put their hand up for that??? Not Nissan I would suspect.
It's one of those things I suppose where, if Nissan recalled all of them, it would cost a bleep load..and really some may not need replacing. So, if they run with a policy of "fix'm when they break'm" I guess they think the customer is happy and they have saved a heap of money.

What we need is customer That sort of advertising and investigation sure makes people take note and the suppliers run for cover. If this info was 'out there, common knowledge' imagine how it would effect sales. If nothing else, i'm sure we would end up with an answer as to just when, and from what build date the matter was rectified.

FollowupID: 8127

Reply By: desert - Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003 at 21:51

Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003 at 21:51
Some further on the 5th gear blow-ups. On reflection, I did complain to the dealer, at time of service, early in the vehicles life, approx 35,000km, of a slight whine in 5th at about 93 to 95km/h. The said they road tested the car, but could not fault it. And, to be fair, it would be a very hard fault to diagnose. Then, as time wore on, I noticed that shifting down from 5th to 4th, like when slowing coming into a town for example, you had to consciously give the gear lever a small tug to get it out of 5th. Those symptoms have since disappered since the rebuild so I can only conclude that they were small warning signs of the impending failure.
AnswerID: 13532

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