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


Issue: The transmission slips from first to second gear. Problem: There are a number of things that may cause this problem. 1) Make sure the transmission fluid level is not too low. Also make sure the correct type of fluid is being used. Nissan calls out for its own Nissan Matic-D fluid, although you can also use Dexron III. 2) Double check the throttle sensor adjustment. Refer to the shop manual for proper adjustment instruction. 3) Check the line pressure using a pressure gauge. If you find you have low pressure, check the pressure regulator assembly and make sure a valve is not hung up in its bore or that a spring is broken. 4) Check the 1 – 2 accumulator. Make sure the piston is not cracked or the rings messed up. Make sure the spring is intact and not broken.

Dexron III can be used in the transmission


Issue: Transmission fluid shoots out of the transmission: Problem: I would first check the transmission fluid level. Putting too much fluid in the transmission will cause it to shoot out. Make sure the transmission is not overheating. Ideally, the transmission should not get much hotter than 200 degrees. As the fluid gets hot, it starts to expand.  Eventually the fluid will expand so much it will start coming out of either the dip stick tube or the transmission vent.

Issue: Transmission does not shift between select gears. Problem: This transmission contains a number of different electric solenoids that are used to move valves in the valve body. The solenoids are nothing more than fancy electric magnets with a plunger (attached to a shift valve) and return spring. There is a coil of wire inside the solenoid, that when energized, creates a magnetic field that moves the plunger. It is not uncommon for this coil of wire to either break or get internally shorted out. The solenoids are easily checked using a hand held ohm meter and are fairly easy to replace.

The solenoids in this transmission are subject to failure


In the unfortunate event that your customer’s RE4R01A suffers a major failure, please consider replacing it with a re-manufactured transmission over one was simply rebuilt.  A re-manufactured transmission will include modifications designed to make them last longer and be more durable. A rebuilt transmission will not. A re-manufactured transmission also carries a much better warranty; usually three years compared to an average 90 days for a rebuilt transmission.  In the rare event that you might actually have to use the warranty on the re-manufactured transmission, it is good to know that they will cover the R&R of your customer’s transmission. That could save your shop a lot of money!

2 Responses to “Issues with the RE4R01A Transmission That Every Shop Should Know About”

  1. George C says:

    Do you know roughly how much this gearbox is to rebuild?

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