If you want to conquer the North American market, you can’t do it without a full-size pickup truck. Nissan realized this at the beginning of the 2000s and finally released their F150 competitor, the Nissan Titan, in 2004. This blog digs deeper and analyzes all the transmission problems of the Titan. Here is a short summary:
The first-generation Nissan Titan’s transmission was prone to premature failure due to a problem with transmission fluid contamination. The transmissions in the second generation of the Titan are more reliable, although there are reports of rough shifting and lurching.
If you want to learn more, make sure you stay with us. As we continue, we dissect both generation Titans by the type of transmission and the exact problems they face. We conduct our research by reading all the NHTSA complaints and reviewing potential recalls and technical service bulletins. We did the work, you do the reading; stay with us!
Common Nissan Titan Transmission Problems
There are only two generations of the Titan so far; let’s see how the transmissions in both generations fared in terms of reliability.
Second Generation – A61 (2016-2023)
The second generation of the Titan hit the road in 2016. With improved design and engines, Nissan also made more effort in the transmission department. Here are the transmissions available in the second-generation Titan:
- 6-speed automatic Aisin A466ND transmission (paired with the 5.0L Cummins Diesel)
- 7-speed RE7R01B automatic transmission (paired with the 5.6L V8 gasoline engine from 2015–2019)
- 9-speed Jatco JR913E (2020–present)
Nissan Titan Diesel Aisin A466ND Transmission Problems
Gathering information about this transmission proved to be quite difficult. Which is usually a good sign. If there were major problems with this transmission, we would have no problems reading and hearing all about it.
But still, we need to know more. The Aisin A466ND transmission was developed specifically for the diesel Titan XD models. Installing a different transmission for a diesel variant is a good sign because you want a transmission to be able to handle all the torque of a V8 diesel engine.
We found the following issues with this transmission:
- Rought gear shifts
The gear shifting of the Aisin A466ND seems to be on the rougher side. However, the situation improved significantly as cars made decent mileage. The transmission is built to withstand heavy towing and loads, which explains why it is not the smoothest out there.
- Quality action campaign bulletin PC604
Certain 2016 – 2017 model year Titan XD models were issued a free reprogramming of the transmission control module. This helped in the prevention of three things:>Transmission shift shock when accelerating enough to create a 7>3 downshift
>Engine RPM fluctuations when driving at a steady speed
>Lack of power under light acceleration which could be perceived as transmission hesitation.
- Avoid tuned-up vehicles
Diesel trucks are often subjects of heavy tuning and power modifications. These transmissions do not take it lightly without doing mechanical modifications to the transmission internals. Stay away from heavily modified diesel Titans.
That is it, these transmissions will last the lifetime of the vehicle when driven and maintained properly. This transmission is based on the Aisin AS68RC transmission, which means it was developed with much trial & error know-how of the previous version. That is always a good sign.
RE7R01B Transmission Problems on the Petrol 2015-2019 Nissan Titan
The RE7R01B transmission is an improved version of the RE7R01A transmission. Built on a great platform, the RE7R01B is designed to handle immense torque (up to 600 Nm) and power.
The main problems of this transmission seem to be occurrences of delayed engagement, hesitation, and erratic shifting with wildly fluctuating engine RPMs and speed changes. An owner of a 2017 Titan reports:
The vehicle intermittently shifts erratically at speeds between 0 and 40 allowing excess rpms before shifting resulting in loss of power. This problem occurs when first accelerating and can occur at any time. The dealer has reprogrammed the transmission twice and still intermittent and erratic shifting still remains.NHTSA ID Number: 11374909
Many of these issues (see an example here) were resolved by Nissan with the technical service bulletin reference NTB17-016B. This technical service bulletin instructed the service centers to reprogramme the engine control module and the transmission control module.
This resolved common problems with engine RPM fluttering, rough downshifting, and the hesitation of the transmission when starting from a complete stop. If you are in the market for a gasoline-powered 2015-2019 Titan today, make sure this technical bulletin has been addressed.
During our research, we also came across an interesting article about a dilemma with the RE7R01B transmission. An owner of a 2016 Titan came into Grisham Transmission Center with a sudden loss of reverse gear.
The transmission expert determined that there was damage on the reverse brake clutch and that the piston seal was torn up and broken. Additionally, the housing of the reverse piston was also cracked.
This was the reason why the vehicle suddenly lost the ability to engage the reverse gear. However, Nissan does not supply all transmission internals as service parts. The owner had to pay for an entirely new transmission assembly which ended up costing a small fortune. The entire article, with images and more detail, is available here.
9-speed Jatco JR913E Transmission Problems
The 9-speed Jatco JR913E transmission is connected to no other than Mercedes. Since the formation of the Nissan-Mercedes partnership in 2010, the companies have been sharing technology and know-how.
Mercedes shared the rights and schematics of their Mercedes 9G transmission with Nissan, which led to the creation of an identical transmission in the production of their own brand Jatco.
Despite the excellent track record of the Mercedes 9G transmission, the Jatco transmission in the 2020+ model year Titan has been getting a lot of backlash for harsh shifting, lurching forward, and overall rough functioning.
An owner of a 2021 Titan complaints:
2021 Nissan Titan is having major transmission problems jerking when down shifting. This has become a serous issue when try to maintain speed. I have taking the vehicle to the dealership to which I am told, “Nissan is fully aware of the issue and is working on a fix”. This has been on going for close to a year.NHTSA ID Number: 11438639
In November 2020, Nissan released a technical service bulletin, reference NTB20-077, that provides the correct approach for replacing the valve body on the 2020-2021 9-Speed transmission of the Titan.
However, according to the plaintiffs in the 2022 class action lawsuit against Nissan, a replacement valve body does not resolve the problems. Nissan also released the technical service bulletin NTB21-073, providing a transmission software update for the 2020-2021 Nissan Frontier.
Despite addressing the exact same issues, the Titan was not included in this TSB. That did not stop a number of owners to get Titan’s transmission software updated, but unfortunately, it did not resolve the issues.
In fact, nothing seems to help in resolving this issue which is the exact reason why class action lawsuits began popping up against Nissan.
We must also point out the recall affecting the 2020-2023 model year Nissan Titans (NHTSA recall number 22V671000). Due to a software problem in the transmission control module, the parking pawl failed to engage when shifting into Park. This could lead to a vehicle rollaway.
Because of this, Nissan advised the owners to always use the parking brake and visit the dealership to receive a reprogramming of both the transmission and engine control module.
First Generation – A60 (2003-2015)
The first generation Titan featured the following standard hydraulic automatic transmission:
- 5-speed automatic Jatco RE5R05A transmission
This transmission was paired with a Nissan 5.6L V8 engine. On paper, this looks as a promising combination. Here is the real story.
Jatco RE5R05A Automatic Transmission Problems
The Jatco RE5R05A transmission is generally considered a reliable unit. However, it does come with certain drawbacks. Despite the problems, Nissan never released any transmission-related recalls or technical service bulletins.
These transmissions were prone to transmission fluid contamination due to the failure of the transmission fluid cooler located in the radiator cooling unit of the engine. As the transmission fluid cooler failed, the transmission fluid mixed with the engine coolant, which led to a premature failure of the transmission.
Even the slightest presence of engine coolant in the transmission fluid leads to a repeat failure of the clutch seals. To avoid this issue, many owners choose to preventively replace the radiator. There are aftermarket options that ensure a better design and prevent premature transmission failure.
An owner of a 2004 Titan reports:
Transmission fluid diluted with anti-freeze from faulty radiator/tranny cooler. Nissan needs to address this problem it is a stall issue, a safety issue. Its an expensive repair and not uncommon.NHTSA ID Number: 10659942
Furthermore, the coolant leak would initially cause damage to the valve body of the transmission. For those of you wondering, a valve body is the central routing system of the transmission fluid. It sends the transmission fluid to the right location based on the action of the transmission.
There are two ways in which the coolant/transmission fluid damages the transmission. Firstly, the residual friction particles from the torque converter and the clutch assembly mix with the coolant and the transmission fluid. It creates a thick fluid that blocks the pathways on the valve body.
Secondly, the coolant is also highly conductive. What this means is that it causes a lot of electrical problems in a short amount of time. In the case of the RE5R05A transmission, this led to the failure of the transmission control unit, and the thick fluid we mentioned before wrecked havoc on the transmission solenoids.
This eventually led to poor shifting performance, slipping of the transmission, refusal to downshift, getting stuck in certain gears, and eventually, a complete transmission failure. These problems were common before the issue became widespread and analyzed.
If you are in the market for a first gen Titan today, make sure it has been addressed. There are amazing companies offering aftermarket solutions that make this transmission bulletproof. You can learn more about this transmission from Lance Wiggins.
Other Problems Related To The Powertrain
A common problem on the first generation Nissan titan is the failure of the rear axle. This is both a great safety concern and a major reliability factor. This is especially common in the 2004-2006 model year Titan.
At the same time, there are also many reports of rear differential failure. This was common in the first-generation Nissan Titans, however, it is also present in the second-generation Titan if the maintenance is not done according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
How Long Does A Nissan Titan Transmission Last?
Apart from the crucial radiator issue on the Jatco RE5R05A first-generation Titan transmission, no other transmissions suffer from crucial problems which could lead to premature failure.
Based on this fact, we predict that a well-maintained Nissan Titan transmission should last at least 200,000-250,000 miles.
How Much Does A Nissan Titan Transmission Cost?
- Vin-matched aftermarket valve bodies (applies to all types of transmission): 400$ – 800$
- Transmission rebuilt kits (applies to all types of transmission): 400$ – 1400$
- Complete pre-owned transmissions (price varies by mileage): 1200$ – 2500$
- New complete transmissions (applies to all types of transmission): 3500$ – 5500$
Prices are estimates and can vary based on supply. Sources: eBay and carpartplanet.com
He is the founder and owner of LifeOnFour.co, where he focuses on transmission-related articles. Furthermore, he finished a 4-year program to be an auto mechanic at the Technical Education Centre of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and worked for six years as a floor manager of a transmission specialist repair shop in Nova Gorica, Slovenia.