An Inside Look: Understanding the Future of Electronically-Controlled Automatics

Posted by on Friday, December 26th, 2014

Learn about the wonderful advantages of electronically controlled automatics and how they work. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Learn about the wonderful advantages of electronically controlled automatics and how they work. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Electronically controlled automatics are becoming more and more popular, especially on newer cars. They still utilize hydraulics to activate the bands and clutches, but the crucial difference is that each individual hydraulic circuit is operated by an electric solenoid. What is the benefit to this? The main advantage is that it helps simplify the plumbing on the transmission thus, allowing for more advanced control setups.

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Domestic vs. Imported Vehicles: Which Offer Better Automatic Transmissions?

Posted by on Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

An automatic transmission is an integral part of your car. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Find out if domestic transmissions are really better than imported ones and why. 
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

It’s the all-too-common debate that you hear among vehicle enthusiasts, “Are domestic automatic transmissions better than imported ones? Or vice versa?” In the following sections, we’re going to help resolve this debate once and for all by showing you the advantages and disadvantages of each kind. That way, you can make a better decision as to which type of automatic transmission is right for you.

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Common Problems with the 2015 Nissan Xterra Automatic Transmission

Posted by on Monday, October 20th, 2014

While the Nissan Xterra is a great automobile, the transmission may give you issues. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

While the Nissan Xterra is a great automobile, the transmission may give you issues.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons


The Nissan Xterra’s automatic transmission has been plagued with problems for nearly a decade now. The history of this particular piece of equipment is long and sorted, involving more than one major change from the company and a lot of smaller changes and concessions along the way that seemed to only have a limited effect on the issue at hand. While Nissan has fixed a lot of the old problems, there are still a few that it has to look into.

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Issues To Look Out For In The Jatco 5R05 Transmission

Posted by on Monday, September 9th, 2013

The Jatco 5R05 is an automatic transmission made jointly with Nissan. It has five forward speeds and is designed primarily for rear wheel and four wheel drive vehicles. It was first put into production in 2002 and remains in production today. The 5R05 can be found in the Nissan Armada, Navara, 350Z, Pathfinder, Xterra and  Titan. It’s wide spread use means that one is bound to end up in your shop sooner or later for service work or repairs. Let’s take a look at some of the possible problems you may encounter with this transmission.

This is the 5R05 automatic transmission


The 5R05 transmission is primarily used in heavy vehicles. Most of them are equipped to tow (with the exception of the 350Z) and that’s where problems can occur. Owners often tow over the factory recommended tow limit. This can be very hard on an automatic transmission. Clutches can slip and the transmission can overheat.

Ideally you want to keep the temperature of this transmission under 200 degrees. For every 20 degrees you go over 200, you risk the possibility of cutting the expected lifespan by a factor of two. As the temperature rises, things can quickly snowball. At temperatures as low as 240 degrees the transmission fluid can start to turn to varnish.

Internal view of the 5R05 transmission


You can do two things to help your transmission battle excessive heat. The first is to install a high quality aftermarket transmission cooler on your vehicle. Second, switch from organic oil based transmission fluid to one that is synthetic. Don’t forget to buy a transmission temperature gauge so you can keep an eye on the transmission temperature. Finally, don’t tow over the factory tow limit!

A weak part in the transmission is the solenoids used for shifting the transmission and controlling the lockup torque converter. The solenoids are nothing more than an electric/mechanical magnet that moves a valve in the valve body. The magnet is made up of a long coil of fine wire that when energized, creates a magnetic field.

The 5R05 transmission has many solenoids

The coil of wire in the solenoid can fail in two ways. First, the wire can break. This is usually the result of excessive vibration. Second, the wire can internally short out.  This is usually the result of excessive heat causing the protective plastic coating to melt off the wire. Both conditions can be verified using an ohm meter. If the wire is broken you will get no reading. If the wire is internally shorted you will get a low reading. Refer to the shop manual for correct readings.

Sooner or later, due to high mileage or abuse, you will be faced with a decision to replace your 5R05 transmission. I highly recommend doing so with a re-manufactured transmission over one that was simply rebuilt. A re-manufactured transmission will include major internal modifications and upgrades designed to make it both stronger and more durable. A rebuilt transmission will not include this feature. A re-manufactured transmission also comes with a much better warranty; three years compared to an average 90 days for a rebuilt transmission. And in the rare event that you need to contact the company that re-manufactures transmissions, they are just a quick phone call or email away!

Potential Issues With The JF506E Transmission You Should Keep An Eye Out For

Posted by on Monday, August 26th, 2013

The JF506E is a 5 speed automatic transmission made by Jatco. It was used in a number of different makes and models, including the VW Gold and Sharan, MG Rover, Ford Mondeo, Land Rover Freelander, Mazda MPV and the Jaguar X-Type. This transmission is considered to be a medium/large unit. Jatco is actually a spinoff off from Nissan.

While Jatco generally make good products, there are a few things you should look out for, as is the case with all automatic transmissions. Here is what to look for.

This is the JF506E transmission


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Issues with the RE4R01A Transmission That Every Shop Should Know About

Posted by on Friday, May 24th, 2013

The RE4R01A is an automatic transmission made by Nissan. It has four speeds, is designed for rear wheel drive vehicles and is the heavier duty version of the two different 4R01 transmissions made. It was first put into production back in 1988, and remained so until the end of the 2004 model year. Sixteen years is a very long time for one transmission model to stay in production. It was used in many popular Nissan models, including the Pathfinder, 240SX, 300ZX, Frontier and the Xterra. It was also used in the Mazda MPV, 929 and the RX-7.  There is a very high chance a vehicle with the RE4R01A transmission is going to roll through your shop sooner or later. That said, here are a few common problem areas with the RE4R01A that you should be aware of.

The RE4R01A Transmission


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