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!

2 Responses to “Issues To Look Out For In The Jatco 5R05 Transmission”

  1. Josh says:


    I have a 03 G35 automatic with this transmission.

    I am currently having issues with the transmission in regards to the Torque Converter not unlocking at lower speeds, which sounds like a solenoid problem perhaps?

    However the TC unlocks perfectly fine when in ‘manual mode’, its only when in ‘auto mode’ that the TC starts messing up.

    So I basically wanted to know if the transmission works differently when in Manual mode compared to Auto mode?

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