Poll: Auto transmission clunky shifting - Maxima Forums



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View Poll Results: Does your auto transmission clunk when shifting?
Yes, it clunks like a son-of-a-beach! 20 50.00%
No, it's smooth as a baby's credit report. 13 32.50%
Auto what? I row my own gears, thank you! 7 17.50%
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Poll: Auto transmission clunky shifting

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Old 04-08-2012, 08:29 PM   #1
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Poll: Auto transmission clunky shifting

Does your auto transmission clunk violently into 2nd gear when you are just cruising along? Have you changed your atf, mounts, and drop resistor to no avail?

My '98 auto with 171k clunks like the axles want to fall out sometimes. It doesn't seem to matter if the car is cold or warm either. My rear engine mount was badly torn and the new mounts have helped...but the clunking is still there occasionally.

How about you guys? Anyone actually solve this problem or is this just life with the RE4F04A?

Spill it!
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Old 04-08-2012, 08:31 PM   #2
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No clunks here at 99K.
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Old 04-08-2012, 10:12 PM   #3
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I'm noticing a slight clunk from R to D, but not all that often. First to 2nd, not yet...
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:59 AM   #4
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I thought it was solely transmission, but it's engine mounts as well?
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:13 AM   #5
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well at 130,000 it isnt a clunk....but it could be smoother
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:16 AM   #6
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Yes, mine clunks going into 2nd but all other gears are fine. Swapped everything including TPS and still no dice. I opted for the last resort and picked up the improved solenoids but didn't get a chance to install yet. People say its the line pressure solenoid but it doesn't sell separately. Once it is, I will give you guys a response back.
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:56 AM   #7
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well at 130,000 it isnt a clunk....but it could be smoother
I agree with you
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:21 AM   #8
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My 97 has 123k, and it doesn't clunk into 2nd gear but the shift isn't as smooth as it should be. Looks like I'm gonna have to spend some money
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:38 AM   #9
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Another Maxima I had (2000 GLE) used to do this, no matter how warm/cold or how you were driving it, there would be a hard shift from 1-2. Sometimes it would even chirp the tires going into second. I drove it hard and it never got any better or worse so I wasn't too concerned about it.
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Old 04-09-2012, 01:37 PM   #10
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225k on the transmission and the only clunk I have is from the rack/pinion assembly.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:14 PM   #11
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yeah mine clunks. I just let off the gas right when it's about to shift and give it gas again when it already shifted to 2nd. it's smooth that way lol
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:23 PM   #12
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i have the same problem sometimes i let off the gas right at shifting point as well.. also shifts hard going from Park to Drive :/ can anybody give a rough estimate on how much this is gonna cost to fix??
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:56 PM   #13
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yeah mine clunks. I just let off the gas right when it's about to shift and give it gas again when it already shifted to 2nd. it's smooth that way lol
Ha i do this too
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:04 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by AllentownMaxima View Post
i have the same problem sometimes i let off the gas right at shifting point as well.. also shifts hard going from Park to Drive :/ can anybody give a rough estimate on how much this is gonna cost to fix??
I'm not sure if there is a definitive fix for this problem, but the hard shifts cause a lot of stress on the engine mounts. Replacing the front, and especially the rear, mounts will help somewhat.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:55 PM   #15
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I thought it was solely transmission, but it's engine mounts as well?
Bingo that is the most likly the problem with clunking Auto Trans
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Old 04-12-2012, 01:46 AM   #16
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Bingo that is the most likly the problem with clunking Auto Trans
The torn mount is a symptom, not the cause. The reason the mounts tear on the auto transmission cars is that the 1/2 shift is so firm that they wear out over time. It would be like dropping the clutch at 3 grand every time you took off in a manual car.
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Old 04-12-2012, 06:30 AM   #17
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My car does it too, does anyone know what's the cause for the clunking?
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Old 04-12-2012, 06:43 AM   #18
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my 97 is at 172k. it hard to shift out of park when in cold, and the occasional 1/2 hard shift. it also seems to not down shift properly.when im crusiung in 3or 4, and come to a complete stop and then accelerate it seems like its not in first gear and i have ot lay on the pedal so i dont get rear ended. i recently changed the tranny fluid and it hasnt done it yet so im hoping that solved it.

any one else ever have this problem???
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Old 04-12-2012, 07:34 AM   #19
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sounds like worn shift solenoids to me, especially if everything else has been replaced. The only thing left to replace is the Torque Converter or solenoids
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Old 04-12-2012, 08:41 PM   #20
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sounds like worn shift solenoids to me, especially if everything else has been replaced. The only thing left to replace is the Torque Converter or solenoids
Yeah I know which is why I will attempt the solenoids at some point. But if that isn't it, maybe the torque converter but they don't sell it separate at JY.
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Old 04-13-2012, 12:01 AM   #21
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i have the same problem sometimes i let off the gas right at shifting point as well.. also shifts hard going from Park to Drive :/ can anybody give a rough estimate on how much this is gonna cost to fix??
I have a fix for this too. lol

normally when you put it in park, the car will be able to move ~+/- 5 inches(I'm estimating) in either direction. the reason it makes that clunk when shifting, is because when you put it in park, it rests against whatever stops the car from moving. so what I did is I started using my parking brake when I park the car.

come to a stop, keep your foot on the brake, pull the parking brake, and let off the brake with your foot. when you start the car again, press the brakes, release hand brake, shift out of park. smooth as butter
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Old 04-13-2012, 05:57 AM   #22
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Mine slams the 1-2 and 3-4 shift all the time 99 with 230k but I have a shift kit hahaha
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Old 04-13-2012, 06:59 AM   #23
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With 142K miles my RE4F04A was shifting from 1st to 2nd too soft. Those long soft shifts can cause damage so I threw in the transgo shift kit earlier this week. It now gives a harder shift but with no clunk.

You can get those solenoids for only $80 in the solenoid upgrade package so with the VB disassembled I threw new solenoids in.
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Old 04-13-2012, 07:59 PM   #24
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With 142K miles my RE4F04A was shifting from 1st to 2nd too soft. Those long soft shifts can cause damage so I threw in the transgo shift kit earlier this week. It now gives a harder shift but with no clunk.

You can get those solenoids for only $80 in the solenoid upgrade package so with the VB disassembled I threw new solenoids in.
80 bones i got a deal from the parts counter at work and the price was 307 i didnt buy them theyre only sold in a kit. or maybe its cuz there 5th gen solenoids

Last edited by maxed_out_99; 04-13-2012 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:40 AM   #25
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80 bones i got a deal from the parts counter at work and the price was 307 i didnt buy them theyre only sold in a kit. or maybe its cuz there 5th gen solenoids
So did you install these solenoids and did it resolve the shifting issue or you haven't done it yet?
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:29 AM   #26
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80 bones i got a deal from the parts counter at work and the price was 307 i didnt buy them theyre only sold in a kit. or maybe its cuz there 5th gen solenoids
The 31940-80X25 was an upgrade kit made for an AT before the RE4F04A. It contains our shift solenoids, 31940-80X05, along with the 21 pan bolts and the snap ring. Nissan must have an overstock of these kits and decided to make it a steal. Just do a search for that kit, 31940-80X25.
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Old 04-14-2012, 12:56 PM   #27
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So did you install these solenoids and did it resolve the shifting issue or you haven't done it yet?
No I havent installed the solenoids I just wanted the tcc solenoid my trans shifts great but my tcc has a problem I'm pretty sure a new solenoid will fix that

Once again for those who missed it I have a 5th gen trans, valvebody and solenoids with a transgo hd2 shift kit
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Old 04-14-2012, 12:57 PM   #28
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The 31940-80X25 was an upgrade kit made for an AT before the RE4F04A. It contains our shift solenoids, 31940-80X05, along with the 21 pan bolts and the snap ring. Nissan must have an overstock of these kits and decided to make it a steal. Just do a search for that kit, 31940-80X25.
Will do. thanks
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:09 PM   #29
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A slightly harsh first to second shift is nothing to be concerned about, if that's the only complaint you have about your automatic then don't worry. I think many automatics from the 1990s did this, and here is why:

1. The difference in adjacent gear ratios is greatest between first and second, so the engagement of second from first has more engine rpm to pull down than the rest.

2. The lower the gears, the more you will feel any of these effects, just like you feel the power from your engine more in lower gears.


More modern transmissions coupled to engines with electronic throttles power down the engine during upshifts, so this is no longer an issue. You can't compare our 1995-1999 cars to 2007-2012 cars in this arena.
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:15 PM   #30
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With OD "on" my tranny is a bit rough but I usually keep it off when driving around town to keep it from shifting another gear and it seems to help a ton. I try to monitor my RPM's too so I know when it will shift and can kind of keep it in the gear I want. After I put in the tranny cooler though it shifts a lot smoother one it gets up to operating temperature. I think changing the fluid can honestly make it worse sometimes. The A/T just sucks. The JWT controller makes it shift better but certainly not smoother. I try to accelerate quicker than normal when I can though because when you accelerate really slowly it makes the hard shift even worse.
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:31 PM   #31
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ShocknAwe, you are right, this 1-2 upshift feels worse with light throttle input. When I open the throttle more the clutch engagement force/friction seems to better match the task, and the shift feels smoother. Maybe it just uses a little too much line pressure for light throttle input, but I'd rather have a bit too much pressure than too little pressure (slipping or flaring) any day.

Another factor that comes to mind is that, under low power output, the engine is not pushing hard on its mounts, so the shift shock makes it move. But when the engine output is greater it is already pushing hard on the mounts, so the shift shock is less noticed.

Last edited by iDuty; 04-14-2012 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 04-15-2012, 01:22 PM   #32
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I thought the inability or difficulty to shift gears were the result of bad shift solenoids, not shift quality. It's been well documented on the boards about the 1-2 shift on A32 ATs.

My I30t with ~168k that just had the pan, magnets and filter cleaned and 2 drain and fills with conventional ATF shifts just as well, if not a little better than my Maxima with ~68k, Amsoil ATF and a B&M AT cooler and yet the slightly firm 1-2 shift is still present depending on throttle input. IDuty is correct in the line pressure. The I30 shifted a lot harder (though nowhere near what some people are describing theirs) before I did the AT service so I can't imagine that to cause more harm than good. At worst, maybe re-use the old ATF if it does get worse.

Last edited by Bonka; 04-15-2012 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 04-15-2012, 01:57 PM   #33
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Yea both of you have good points. I agree with Bonka that the ATF fluid that is in there matters a TON. Sometimes doing a lot of drain and refills makes it worse. If the ATF isnt in terrible shape then I would leave it if it was my car. I check it fairly frequently anyways. The solenoids did have a recall but I would imagine the original owners probably got them changed out. I do not know if there is a way to check because if mine have not been changed then I would love to be able to get some new ones in there. Anybody know about this?
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Old 04-15-2012, 07:07 PM   #34
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Yea both of you have good points. I agree with Bonka that the ATF fluid that is in there matters a TON. Sometimes doing a lot of drain and refills makes it worse. If the ATF isnt in terrible shape then I would leave it if it was my car. I check it fairly frequently anyways. The solenoids did have a recall but I would imagine the original owners probably got them changed out. I do not know if there is a way to check because if mine have not been changed then I would love to be able to get some new ones in there. Anybody know about this?
I would think most of them were not changed out if there were no problems during the warranty period. After that, replacing that at the dealership had to be an arm and a leg.
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Old 04-15-2012, 08:18 PM   #35
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Does your auto transmission clunk violently into 2nd gear when you are just cruising along? Have you changed your atf, mounts, and drop resistor to no avail?

My '98 auto with 171k clunks like the axles want to fall out sometimes. It doesn't seem to matter if the car is cold or warm either. My rear engine mount was badly torn and the new mounts have helped...but the clunking is still there occasionally.

How about you guys? Anyone actually solve this problem or is this just life with the RE4F04A?

Spill it!
Considering the age and mileage, it might be time for an overhaul. If you're not the original owner, you have no way of telling if the previous owner(s) serviced the transmission properly, unless you have r.o.'s that say so.

Automatic's only last so long before they need rebuilt, no matter how well they're taken care of. Something to keep in mind.
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Old 04-15-2012, 11:01 PM   #36
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Considering the age and mileage, it might be time for an overhaul. If you're not the original owner, you have no way of telling if the previous owner(s) serviced the transmission properly, unless you have r.o.'s that say so.

Automatic's only last so long before they need rebuilt, no matter how well they're taken care of. Something to keep in mind.
I'm the third owner and I have maintenance records since it was new...the atf has been changed every 30k.

I would never pay to have the transmission rebuilt, as it would cost as much as a replacement 4th gen. I think I may just sell the car and buy a manual again.
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Old 04-16-2012, 06:40 AM   #37
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I'm the third owner and I have maintenance records since it was new...the atf has been changed every 30k.

I would never pay to have the transmission rebuilt, as it would cost as much as a replacement 4th gen. I think I may just sell the car and buy a manual again.

I agree.

I have hrd more than $2000 for rebuild. Screw that.
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:15 AM   #38
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This sensor fixed my transmission shifting problem

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Old 04-22-2012, 03:09 PM   #39
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They all kick 2ND gear after 200k miles when cold from my experiance they last looong time after it starts tho lucas helps a little along with a filter replacement.
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Old 05-19-2012, 07:28 AM   #40
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my 97 is at 172k. it hard to shift out of park when in cold, and the occasional 1/2 hard shift. it also seems to not down shift properly.when im crusiung in 3or 4, and come to a complete stop and then accelerate it seems like its not in first gear and i have ot lay on the pedal so i dont get rear ended. i recently changed the tranny fluid and it hasnt done it yet so im hoping that solved it.

any one else ever have this problem???
I too have a 97 with ~174K. Have experienced similar responses you have reported. Niether situation is constant. 1 - 2 shifts feel better when drivetrain is warm. The sluggish feeling when leaving from a full stop is baffling too. I drive mostly highway and drive fairly conservative due to my old age of maturity. Not worried about the issues as long as they don't get worse. If they do, I'll sell and move onto something else. Otherwise, and overall, this has been great commuter vehicle.
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