RE5R05A Converter Shudder

Miles Owner/Technician Georgia Posted   Latest  
2008 Nissan Frontier LE 4.0L (VQ40DE) 5-spd (RE5R05A)
P0734 — Gear 4 Incorrect Ratio
P0735 — Gear 5 Incorrect Ratio
Converter Shudder

Long story short... vehicle was towed in and had transmission contaminated with glycol. Rebuilt the transmissions, new converter, and valve body/tcm preprogrammed from Street Smart. Vehicle drove great and shifted through all gears no problem for 4-5 miles and then would shudder into 4th and 5th then loose 4th & 5th all together. I was getting codes p0734, p0735, p0717, and once a p0733. Did a bunch of research and figured out it was the input clutch shaft seals were damaged during rebuild. Input clutch held no pressure when air checked.

Did a whole bunch of research on RE5R05A comparability and found a 08 G35 2WD at a junk yard with 87k miles and a 6 month part warranty for just shy of $400 without a core to give them (am going to replace the input shaft seals and save the trans for another customer). The 08 G35 has the same gear ratios as the Frontier the only difference is the bell housing, (weight on the top of the tail housing), manual shaft (connects to the shift cable on the driver side), and the valve body/tcm (may not be different but the programming probably isn’t the same and it has a Bosch tcm whole frontier had a hitachi. It is the 3rd design valve body though). So I swapped the bell housing, tail housing (because it had a brand new output shaft seal), manual valve, and put in the street smart valve body/tcm that I used in the rebuilt. I also air checked all the clutches and all sealed and held without loosing any pressure unlike the rebuilt which the input clutch wouldn’t hold pressure at all!

Took it for a drive and everything was perfect shifting through all gears smooth and perfect the whole time I drove surface streets. I decided to jump on the highway just to be sure before I gave it back to the already upset customer (who paid for a used transmission but I did a rebuild at the same cost which ended up backfiring anyways). As soon as I got up to about 65-80mph I started getting converter shutter quite bad and hard shifting when I would give it gas to shift into a lower gear once it decided it was going to downshift. I got off the highway and took the surface roads back to the shop and I would get a shudder for a second as it was shifting from 3rd to 4th. I got back to the shop and ran the codes for the hell of it. Same codes I was getting before p0734 and p0735 were pending. No P0717 this time because I wasn’t having a neutral condition in 4th and 5th due to input clutch Seals not holding any pressure.

I was racking my brain trying to figure out what the problem was the only common denominators between the 2 transmissions was the street smart valve body/tcm as far as I could think.... then I came across an article by ATRA on the RE5R05A rebuilding and this was the 2nd or 3rd page of the pdf:

“Nissan Matic Fluid J is no longer availble and has been replaced with Matic S. I was notified by Tim Prugh of CVC (Consolidated Vehicle Converters) that one of his customers contacted him stating that two Pathfinders were shuddering during lockup using his converters. The shop only uses the Matic J fluid from Nissan but no longer available. The shop tried using the Matic S fluid and the converters on both vehicles still shuddered. Steve Younger at RatioTek stated that they have been battling this issue since the Matic J fluid has been discontinued. The shop was told to use Honda fluid by Steve and it cured the problem. Thanks, Tim and Steve for the heads up!”

I thought wow that’s gotta be it! Then I searched further and found this tech article by Sonnax:


Now that’s what my problems sounds like! I already bypassed the radiator trans cooler on this vehicle while doing the rebuild and am only running the OEM air-to-oil cooler on the front... Monday I’m going to get rid of the OEM air-to-oil and run a large heavy duty Hayden aftermarket cooler ALONE! Hopefully this will do the trick. If not my only other idea is to contact Street Smart and have another valve body/tcm sent out...

What do you guys think? Anybody run into this problem before? Anybody ever end up fixing the problem if they did? I really need some peace of mind because the stress of this vehicle is going to kill me pretty soon. This has by far been the most stressful repair I have EVER done!! Thanks to all in advance!

P.S. Attached are some documents I used for interchange that were super helpful!!

Anthony Technical Support Specialist

Hi Miles: I haven't but Ed Lee is a real smart critter. You can probably contact him at Deltrans in Newark, DE. HTH, Guido

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Mike Owner

Did u replace all the rubber hoses when u eliminated the radiator? I've read multiple times that the glycol will leach out of the rubber after couple heat cycles and contaminate the new trans. Any time we do these we replace all rubber lines as well. Also, and not trying to brand bash, but we've had 4 cvc converters on these that shuddered on test drive. They were remans, so they had me source…

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Miles Owner/Technician

Mike, I did not change the rubber cooler lines. Was going to do that tomorrow when I put on the Hayden 678 cooler and get rid of the oem. Also the converter I’m using now came with the used transmission from the g35 so it should not have any problems. Defiantly not the exact problems the rebuild was having. I’m thinking the oem air over oil cooler or the rubber lines are causing a pressure…

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