Just got a call from NISSAN:
Transmission control unit (or whatever it is called) needs replacing. BUT Nissan doesn't replace just the box but the entire transmission. With brand new genuin parts of course. Quote: 9.000,–
Does anyone know a specialist near Mackay that touches / replaces just the control unit. With aftermarket parts if possible?
I am so done with this car at the moment eating up all our funds! Grrrmph!
You have to be careful with a Nissan dealer working on the car. They will note a fault, pull out the book and look up the steps required to rectify it. They are required to follow this procedure because that's what keeps them selling cars for Nissan.
If the loom is still damaged, they might still be getting eroneous signals from the TCM and the book says "replace the TCM" and the only way for the dealer to do that is to replace the gearbox. Actually they can just replace the valve body ($2,000) which contains an unprogrammed TCM - I have done this so I know what I'm talking about - but if the gearbox IS stuffed, you would be better off getting one from a wreck. That's what I did after replacing the valve body in mine didn't work.
However, I would question the need to even touch the gearbox. If there was loom damage, maybe not all of the damage was found?
Is the gearbox selecting gears acceptably when driven smoothly?
NISSAN dealer says their procedure is to exchange the entire transmission even though it's not necessary …*but that's their way of doing it.
So they have suggested towing us now to workshop #3 (some guys they now down the road) where they are not tied to NISSAN procedure and might just replace the TCM. Fair enough.
Yes, the gearbox did accept selecting gears, but in some cases is "switched" from manual to "D" and all that gave me back control over gears was restarting the car.
I have contacted a number of people (mechanics and car-industry related business-man we have met along our trip around Oz) and they are now all searching for second hand transmissions or TCM.
Insurance only covers costs up to 5K when it comes to transmission and they only pay to bring us back on the road. If that means using second hand part than that's what they tell mechanics to use. They even send part of their choice in.
@Old.Tony: It would be good having you nearby and just discuss with mechanics what would be best. I am not a mechanic, I am Australian and I am in need of getting that repair down. That normally all equals at the end to a hefty bill. ;-(
There's a wrecker in Brisbane with a 2010 ST auto. Here's their ad on Gumtree.
They have another but it's a manual.
Gearbox from a 2010 Pathfinder will also fit.
We got a gearbox for ours for $650 from Central Coast Wreckers near Gosford NSW. You might find that a wrecker may not want to split a gearbox to remove the TCM, but they'll happily pop the box out.
I am not convinced it's your TCM anyway, wiring loom damage could cause all sorts of mixed signals to the ECU. You could replace the gearbox only to find the problem is still there, and then discover that a further investigation of the cable finds the short and fixes the problem ... I'd seriously take a torch to the wiring and give it a good look under the vehicle where it could have been snagged by a stick when off-road, or near pressure points (small gaps) like coming up to the engine bay near the brake booster.
Thanks Old Tony!
Warrenty insurance just told us they pay 1.5K to have our transmission computer replaced. Where we get one is our problem, so contacting the wreckers you suggested is a good point on saving money. You last sentence is giving me goose bimps and I just hope it's all good after replacing that part.
UPDATE: I pulled the right strings and told my story someone I met months ago. He happens to have a friend who has a friend who is a NISSAN dealer and he could provide me parts number for that valve body. NISSAN Mackay still couldn't find it but as they would not do the repair anyway, I didn't bother. The only transmission specialist in Mackay (Kennedy) had a waiting list of 7 days (!) but finally did a great job. Car was running again but the alternator was still doing strange things. Mechanic #4 (auto electrician) traced it down to some melted wires and could fix it quite easily.
After 1 month (!) we are back on the road again. I have no trust in my car at the moment, it does sound differently that it did before but I am confident I will regain trust and faith in our setup soon.
All in all I had to pay about 3K, remaining 3K (inkcluding rental car, towing trucks, taxi and accommodation costs) are covered by RSA and Warrenty insurance. I did about 100 phone calls, lost my nerves once on the phone and definitely gained some more grey hair. Money is one thing but what bothers most is that we lost 1 months out of 12 before we need to fly back home to Europe.
Thanks for all your help – I appreciate it a lot!!
It does depend on the model. If it's a newer car it might have a smart alternator which will do this sort of thing a few minutes after the car has started running, but it should show 14V or more (the usual thing) beforehand.
It's possible that your alternator isn't working at all. Diesels draw a fair bit of power until the coolant temp is 85C (to run the glow plugs) so if your alternator isn't behaving, the starter battery is going to suffer sooner rather than later.
It's worth having it seen to. Watch the battery voltage before and after starting. If there's no variation, that alternator is in trouble.
Took it back to the auto elec today and will be getting a new alternator under warranty, told me he wouldn't charge me for labour, and I thought to bloody right you wont. Should be sorted early next week.