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Old 09-13-2011, 05:34 PM
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Default 02 Pathfinder Transmission & Differential Fluids

I want to change my 2002 Pathfinder's Transmissiom Fluid and Transfer Case/Differential Fluids I was thinking of getting Nissan fluids. Can someone please tell me exactly what I need to ask for and the number of quarts. Also should I get synthetic or non-synthetic. Thank you very much.
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Old 09-14-2011, 01:13 AM
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I recently had both of my 02 LE's done. The LE has the auto transfer case that uses ATF. I was able to pick up a case (12) of the Nissan Matic D fluid on e-bay for about $65.00. You can only do a partial change of the transmission fluid - to do the transmission and the transfer case takes 6 quarts. The front and rear differentials take a little less than 5 bottles of gear oil. I used Mobil 1 synthetic. Mobil 1 meets the specification listed in the manual (I think it is labeled 75/90) -- don't use the higher weight one. Both of mine have Limited Slip in the rear and the Mobil 1 does not require any additional LS additives. The Mobil 1 goes on sale around me for around $7 a bottle.


This is a messy job! My local mechanic did the differentials/ trans/ transfer/ engine oil and a simple coolant change for $150.00 labor. I provided all the fluids/ oils - including the 1 gallon Nissan coolant and distilled water.

The transmission fluid is changed by removing the drain plug in the pan -- you will need a new crush ring. The differentials by removing both plugs on the differentials -- make sure you open the fill plug on both first to make sure you can remove it. Otherwise you will drain the fluid and not be able to fill it back up!. The plugs can be a pain to remove -- that is why I had someone do it for me -- plus disposing of all the old fluids.

The AT fluid in the transfer case was a little nasty on both of mine: one has 58k and is new to me - the other has 140k and I am the original owner (never changed). The fluid in the differentials was as expected: I had changed it out on the one at 60k -- I believe the other to be original. Same for the transmission fluid -- condition as expected - mine had been changed at 60k.

I no longer play around with fluids: With so many different coolants and ATF's available -- I stick with the OE fluids. Most of the time you are not removing all of the old -- so I want the same fluid when I am mixing. The coolant cost me maybe $10.00 more and I lucked out on the e-bay ATF find. Don't believe all those who say "its all the same" it's not! If you plan on keeping the truck use the correct fluids.

I get my repair and maintenance parts from Pinnacle Nissan -- so I ordered the crush rings when I picked op some brake parts a while back. I get my filters and any other small stuff I may need at the time from them also. No more than the the auto stores and I know I have it and it will fit.

Good Luck

Last edited by yeldogt; 09-14-2011 at 01:17 AM.
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Old 09-14-2011, 06:19 AM
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yeldogt,

Thank you so much for your very informative response. You are a wealth of knowledge! I am contemplating having a local garage do the work but was thinking about providing him with at the fluids to make sure he uses quality fluids. I know he would not go out of his way to get Nissan fluids.

Is the transmission case and the transfer case separate or does the ATF flow between both of them? Do the crush rings have to be replaced or is it just a good idea? Do I need 1 or 2 crush rings?

I'm not sure if I have a Limited Slip Differential. I believe there it is supposed to be a label on the rear end. I will have to check tonight, but can't imagine it would still be there after 10 years anyway. Is there any other way to tell?


What I intend to buy:
Front & Rear Differentials: Mobil 1 Synthetic, 75W90 (GL-5?) 5 Quarts
Transmission & Transfer Case: NissanMatic D, 6 Quarts

Crush Rings: 2 ?

Thanks so much for your help. You are very kind.
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Old 09-14-2011, 07:22 AM
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The sticker on the rear differential is orange and is visible when you look under from behind. If you use the Mobil 1 it will not matter -- as it is fine for both differentials. GL-5 is the minimum specification: You will see most gear oil meets this but not all will work on LS differentials without additive -- the Mobil 1 will.

The transfer case is a separate -- I believe it uses the same setup as the differentials two internal plugs. I don't have a way to check right now -- one of the Nissan forums has all the maintenance information available for download -- so you could check on the plugs. The dealer can also tell you. I think the dealer charges about $10.00 for the ATF.

I always replace the crush rings -- the one for the transmission is a little different then most -- they are about 50 cents each. Why do it and have a leak!

The Matic D is smelly stuff -- must be partial or full synthetic.

You should be good to go with your fluid choice. I will mention that one of mine took more differential fluid ?? -- so it my be wise to get an extra Mobil 1 and tell your mechanic not to open it unless he need it (some guys open all the bottles before they start) -- that way you can take it back. I was fine with the six quarts of Matic D on both.

I forgot to mention I also did my belts at the same time -- cost for the two OE nissan belts from the online dealer was less than Pep Boys.

Good luck
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Old 09-14-2011, 10:42 AM
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Thanks again for all your help. One more question. I read somewhere that NissanMatic D is conventional or non-synthetic. I don't what whether there is synthetic or non-synthetic ATF in the car at this time. Assuming it is synthetic, is there anything potentially harmfull with switching back to the conventional NissanMatic D? Thanks again
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:18 PM
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I really should not have used the word synthetic - technically all AT fluid is synthetic. Originally AT fluid was whale oil!

I was really talking about some of the advanced synthetic additives smelling.


Many transmission fluids are a Dextron formula base with additives that change the fluids characteristics. These additives are added for all kinds of reasons -- and they do change the fluid. With electronic transmissions where you can have greater control of the shifting the fluid is more important than in the old hydromatic transmission where all the shifts are the same.

Are you saying you don't know what is in the car?


Nissan in the factory books lists Dextron III/ Mercon as a secondary choice -- so you should be able to use any quality fluid meeting III and not have any harm done. That is not to say that Matic D is the same as Dextron III -- the factory instructs the dealers to use Matic D when filling and rebuilding. You may get slightly different shifting characteristics out of the transmission. Mixing should not be a problem

Soda is almost all water -- but Coke is not 7-up is not Dr. Pepper.

How many miles on the truck? What is the fluid condition when you wipe off the dipstick? Any trouble with the shifting? Fluid rarely fixes a transmission.

I bought an older Lexus a few years ago -- to the best of my knowledge it had the OE fluid in it but I'm not sure. The fluid looked normal for the miles. I bought 4 quarts of the Toyota Type IV fluid from the dealer for about $5 a quart and changed it out - then at my next oil change I had him do it again with another 4 quarts. The transmission in that car holds 9 quarts -- about the same as the Nissan. So I gave it a good fluid refresh.

You could certainly do the same thing. Change out the transmission fluid and ask your mechanic how the fluid looked -- if he said it looked bad -- do it again at the next oil change. If you know the fluid is really bad and need to save a little money you can always change it out twice with Dextron III and if you are happy fine - if not -- do another change with the Matic D to replenish the additives.

But, if the fluid looks good -- or normal for the miles -- a simple refresh with 4 quarts of Matic D would be the way to go.

I would only use the Matic D in the transfer case.
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:33 PM
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Thanks again. The bought the Pathfinder new in 2002 and had the original Transmission fluid changed by a local garage about 3 years ago or about 35K miles ago. I'm not sure exactly what the garage used. They are very reputable but local garages typically don't go out of their way to use dealer parts such as NissanMatic D. I'm assuming they probably used Mobil 1, or Valvoline or another respected brand. The Pathfinder now has about 125K miles on it. I just figure that it is probably due to be changed again.
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:51 PM
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Whenever manufacturers list a second choice that is widely available -- its the one that gets used. I would bet it was changed out with Dextron III.

They would have mentioned and charged you more for the Mobil 1 or the Matic D. It is a rare shop that would do otherwise.

In your case I would get the six quarts of Matic D and the crush ring - You will be good to go.
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Old 09-14-2011, 04:33 PM
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I looked on Ebay and could not find the deal you got on NissanMatic D. Do you live in the USA? I live in Connecticut. I'll keep looking.
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Old 09-14-2011, 05:38 PM
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I purchased the fluid from an individual -- I don't know why he had a case of the fluid. It was a full unopened case -- I think I paid $35 for the fluid and $30 to ship it! It was just luck.


I own five cars and my company five more -- so I'm always looking for stuff !
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Old 09-14-2011, 07:15 PM
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af3683,
I just performed the 60K service on my 2001 pathy about 2 months ago. For the transmission, I would highly recommend doing a full fluid exchange instead of a drain and fill. The ATF pan and transmission housing takes 9 qts in total. If you drain and fill, you will be replacing only 1/3 of the old ATF. Most of the old ATF will be still in your truck.

You can do a full fluid exchange by disconnecting the driver side transmission cooler hose and aiming it into a bucket. Drain the pan first from the drain bolt. Plug it back, pour in fresh ATF to the fill mark, start the engine and instantaneously start pouring in fresh ATF into the ATF filler. Remember to add it as fast as it is pumping out. This is a 2 person job actually. I had to stop the engine once to prevent the ATF oil pan from running dry. After 9 quarts or so, reconnect the hoses and check ATF fluid level.

You may also want to consider dropping the ATF pan, but I would also inspect and or change the ATF filter every 60-90K miles. I usually flush and every other ATF change, drop the pan to inspect the filter.

The transfer case uses ATF (matic-D). I only managed to drain about 2 qts although the manual says its capacity is 3-1/8 qts. I just filled it back up to the mark and moved on.

The front and rear differential will take about 4-3/4 qts. I bought 5 qts of Mobil 1, had about 1/4 qt left over. Remember to clean the magnets on the drain plug before reinstalling.

Last edited by sawdusted; 09-14-2011 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 09-19-2011, 02:01 PM
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Can anyone tell me what is the part number for Nissan Genuine Hypoid Super 80w-90 API GL-5 gear oil?
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