Is maxlife really a good choice for the Nissan RE5R05A?

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I've owned this 06 Nissan Pathfinder for about a year now and right when I got it I changed the transmission fluid over to the red jug Valvoline maxlife full synthetic ATF. Before I changed the fluid everything seemed good and shifted fine but since I've changed the fluid over it seems to not be taking it so well. When the transmission is cold is shifts great like new but when the transmission reaches operating temperate I start to feel the shifts no clunks or extreme jerks or slips though. Also right at 45 mph the torque converter can't seem to figure out when to lock and unlock that's the most noticable thing. The transmission doesn't overheat I monitored the live data it's around 140-150°F when it starts acting up but never gets higher then that. The fluid is nice and clean and full on the dipstick. I also dropped the pan today to change the filter which was very clean a few specs but no chunks of anything. Magnets in the pan had minimal buildup for 129k miles. The fluid was changed by Nissan around 60k according to carfax. At this point I'm completely stumped... Have I killed another automatic transmission? I swear these things hate me... Is it the fluid? I've read many people using it with success I haven't found any Nissan 5 speed issues related to using it. Could this be something stuck in the valve body from the fluid change possibly knocking something loose? When I dropped the pan everything looked pretty dang clean except one bolt had a little bit of build up of something on it. Also that plastic junction pipe going to the heater cores decided to explode when I was topping off the transmission fluid at the car wash so I had to get it towed home.
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I've owned this 06 Nissan Pathfinder for about a year now and right when I got it I changed the transmission fluid over to the red jug Valvoline maxlife full synthetic ATF. Before I changed the fluid everything seemed good and shifted fine but since I've changed the fluid over it seems to not be taking it so well. When the transmission is cold is shifts great like new but when the transmission reaches operating temperate I start to feel the shifts no clunks or extreme jerks or slips though. Also right at 45 mph the torque converter can't seem to figure out when to lock and unlock that's the most noticable thing. The transmission doesn't overheat I monitored the live data it's around 140-150°F when it starts acting up but never gets higher then that. The fluid is nice and clean and full on the dipstick. I also dropped the pan today to change the filter which was very clean a few specs but no chunks of anything. Magnets in the pan had minimal buildup for 129k miles. The fluid was changed by Nissan around 60k according to carfax. At this point I'm completely stumped... Have I killed another automatic transmission? I swear these things hate me... Is it the fluid? I've read many people using it with success I haven't found any Nissan 5 speed issues related to using it. Could this be something stuck in the valve body from the fluid change possibly knocking something loose? When I dropped the pan everything looked pretty dang clean except one bolt had a little bit of build up of something on it. Also that plastic junction pipe going to the heater cores decided to explode when I was topping off the transmission fluid at the car wash so I had to get it towed home. View attachment 43344 View attachment 43345 View attachment 43346

FWIW and speaking from my experiences here. We had a 2005 Nissan Xterra with the 4.0l V6. I'm just assuming it had the same transmission as yours. I flushed the old ATF out in 2009 and replaced it with Maxlife. Never had a problem with it at all. It was shifting just like it did when purchased new when we sold it in 2015. Last summer I flushed the factory fill in our Frontier with the same engine and I'm assuming the same transmission. Used Maxlife again. Still shifts just like it did when new.
 
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If it feels different than before I’d change it back to the correct fluid. Whatever that may be..Nissan something?

If the problem persists, it could be something else. I doubt something is stuck inside. The filter picks up anything that’d be an issue.
 
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What temperature did you check the dipstick level at? Much be check at the correct temperature, on a level surface.....

Don't be stumped. When changing to a new fluid, it would be smart to put the transmission into a 'learning' mode to clear out all previous habits. Same is done when parts/sensors/transmissions are replaced or rebuilt. If you can't, then stick with the OE fluid.

When asking questions, always state YEAR/MAKE/MODEL/maintenance history and FLUID requirements. S? J? K? D? unobtainium? superceded?

Maxlife is a LV full synthetic ATF and works great in any transmission that requires an LV ATF, including the Nissans that I've used it in.

If you keep killing transmissions, I'd recommend finding someone to teach you how to drive better.

Rockauto has Aisin ATF MSV

And, many transmission issues start with the rest of the drivetrain. So, make sure all is well with the engine too... full tuneup!
 
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FYI: The AutoZone flyer I picked up in-store in No. NJ has $5 off MaxLife Dex/Merc LV through Friday Feb. 5th 2021. Maybe it's national?

A far cry from the half price sale AZ once had but better than nothing.
 

Dogred08

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What temperature did you check the dipstick level at? Much be check at the correct temperature, on a level surface.....

Don't be stumped. When changing to a new fluid, it would be smart to put the transmission into a 'learning' mode to clear out all previous habits. Same is done when parts/sensors/transmissions are replaced or rebuilt. If you can't, then stick with the OE fluid.

When asking questions, always state YEAR/MAKE/MODEL/maintenance history and FLUID requirements. S? J? K? D? unobtainium? superceded?

Maxlife is a LV full synthetic ATF and works great in any transmission that requires an LV ATF, including the Nissans that I've used it in.

If you keep killing transmissions, I'd recommend finding someone to teach you how to drive better.

Rockauto has Aisin ATF MSV

And, many transmission issues start with the rest of the drivetrain. So, make sure all is well with the engine too... full tuneup!
How exactly do I put it into learning mode? I did a reset a few times with my scan tool but nothing seemed to change. I have no fault codes on the entire car at all. Everything else works as it should engine runs perfectly and everything on the drivetrain is tight except the differential bushings which I would imagine i would feel when the car is cold. I replaced the transmission mount a while back but the factory one wasn't even broken. The filter on these is just a screen so fine particles can pass right through it it's not a good filter that actually picks up stuff.
 

Dogred08

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What temperature did you check the dipstick level at? Much be check at the correct temperature, on a level surface.....

Don't be stumped. When changing to a new fluid, it would be smart to put the transmission into a 'learning' mode to clear out all previous habits. Same is done when parts/sensors/transmissions are replaced or rebuilt. If you can't, then stick with the OE fluid.

When asking questions, always state YEAR/MAKE/MODEL/maintenance history and FLUID requirements. S? J? K? D? unobtainium? superceded?

Maxlife is a LV full synthetic ATF and works great in any transmission that requires an LV ATF, including the Nissans that I've used it in.

If you keep killing transmissions, I'd recommend finding someone to teach you how to drive better.

Rockauto has Aisin ATF MSV

And, many transmission issues start with the rest of the drivetrain. So, make sure all is well with the engine too... full tuneup!
I checked the fluid on a level surface at 150°F
 
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The Nissan RE5R05A (aka Jatco 5R05) that's in the OP's 06 Pathfinder would have came from the factory with Nissan Matic J ATF which was superseded by Matic S in 2009. Matic S is a typical synthetic LV Dexron VI like ATF, nothing really special so I can't see how using it instead of Maxlife will change anything since it's also a LV synthetic Dexron VI type fluid. I'd check to see if it's a valve body or solenoid issue you're experiencing, having the car scanned with a reader that can read manufacturer transmission codes might be helpful.
 
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I checked the fluid on a level surface at 150°F
150F is the middle range for the 'hot level point' and for all intended purposes, perfect and level isn't causing issues.

If your owners manual states to use Matic-J, and not the thinner superseded Matic-S, then use the J for a little more viscosity.

matic-j was 7-7.5cst
matic-s is 5-6cst

If it were mine, I'd do an 8-12 quart cooler line exchange or 3x drain/refills with 10 minute drives in between, and see if it helps with the thicker older spec fluid, and toss in a bottle of Lubegard Red for a longshot:

Hyunda/Kia use ATF RED-1 for the same transmission and Subaru uses ATF-HP. So, plenty of full visc choices out there.

BTW, leaky radiator coolers, a Nissan standard option, will mix antifreeze into your ATF. If you haven't replaced your radiator, I would definitely consider replacing it, or bypass the radiator cooler for a larger aftermarket tow/race-type ATF cooler. I would UOA the ATF ASAP if running the original radiator. Once you hit a certain contamination/time level, you'll need a new transmission. SO, ACT QUICKLY!
 
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Does your Nissan have an "A/T Check" light ? If not, you'd need something better than the simple ODBII scanners that most DIY people use to read AT codes.

I'd put Castrol Import Multi-Vehicle ATF in it myself. Nissan did supersede the spec'd Matic-J fluid with Matic-S (a full synthetic LV ATF) like Jake_J pointed out so the Valvoline LV shouldn't be an issue but it's an inexpensive option to try. There's absolutely no need for Nissan-branded fluid as JATCO makes this transmission for Subaru as well and guess what ? Subaru doesn't specify Matic-J for it...

I checked the fluid on a level surface at 150°F
With the engine running ?
 

Dogred08

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Does your Nissan have an "A/T Check" light ? If not, you'd need something better than the simple ODBII scanners that most DIY people use to read AT codes.

I'd put Castrol Import Multi-Vehicle ATF in it myself. Nissan did supersede the spec'd Matic-J fluid with Matic-S (a full synthetic LV ATF) like Jake_J pointed out so the Valvoline LV shouldn't be an issue but it's an inexpensive option to try. There's absolutely no need for Nissan-branded fluid as JATCO makes this transmission for Subaru as well and guess what ? Subaru doesn't specify Matic-J for it...


With the engine running ?
There are no codes on any of the computer modules on the entire vehicle. My scan tool is capable of reading anything obd1 OBD2 and manufacturer codes.
 

Dogred08

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150F is the middle range for the 'hot level point' and for all intended purposes, perfect and level isn't causing issues.

If your owners manual states to use Matic-J, and not the thinner superseded Matic-S, then use the J for a little more viscosity.

matic-j was 7-7.5cst
matic-s is 5-6cst

If it were mine, I'd do an 8-12 quart cooler line exchange or 3x drain/refills with 10 minute drives in between, and see if it helps with the thicker older spec fluid, and toss in a bottle of Lubegard Red for a longshot:

Hyunda/Kia use ATF RED-1 for the same transmission and Subaru uses ATF-HP. So, plenty of full visc choices out there.

BTW, leaky radiator coolers, a Nissan standard option, will mix antifreeze into your ATF. If you haven't replaced your radiator, I would definitely consider replacing it, or bypass the radiator cooler for a larger aftermarket tow/race-type ATF cooler. I would UOA the ATF ASAP if running the original radiator. Once you hit a certain contamination/time level, you'll need a new transmission. SO, ACT QUICKLY!
Radiator has been replaced with one of the 2017 or 18 really expensive modern Nissan radiators that have 0 smod reports on them and I check my coolant and transmission fluid periodically to make sure it's not mixing. The valve body and pan was way to clean looking to have had any water in it that I could see it was all just clean fluid. Ive used lubegard red on my Honda in the past with good success not perfect but good enough but it also has 250k on it so it has a right to act up some.
 
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Matic S is usually recommended as a replacement for the Matic J that came in them from the factory. I wouldn't think maxlife would cause issues with the torque converter not knowing when to lockup. That sounds more like a sensor issue. Possibly throttle position, MAF, speed/rev sensor, even temp sensor. It should lockup around 40-45 MPH with light throttle and unlock with moderate throttle. You may need to have someone hook up a Consult II and capture real-time data. I would be inclined to think it was something that was touched while you were doing the job, but not always. Since you pulled the filter housing, are you certain that the seal is good? If it is sucking air, all kinds of issues could occur.
 
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So resetting the accelerator pedal position, TB closed position, and idle air volume (aka Nissan's infamous "pedal dance") also resets the TCM ?
 
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I ran 150,000 miles plus on my 2006 Pathfinder with the 4.0 V6 engine with Valvoline Maxlife ATF and 100,000 plus on our 2008 Frontier with 0 issues.
 

Dogred08

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Matic S is usually recommended as a replacement for the Matic J that came in them from the factory. I wouldn't think maxlife would cause issues with the torque converter not knowing when to lockup. That sounds more like a sensor issue. Possibly throttle position, MAF, speed/rev sensor, even temp sensor. It should lockup around 40-45 MPH with light throttle and unlock with moderate throttle. You may need to have someone hook up a Consult II and capture real-time data. I would be inclined to think it was something that was touched while you were doing the job, but not always. Since you pulled the filter housing, are you certain that the seal is good? If it is sucking air, all kinds of issues could occur.
There is no kind of gasket behind the filter and everything was tight and everything is tight now as well.
 
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