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Installing Automatic transmission on 2001 Xterra Forums > > Installing Automatic transmission on 2001 Xterra Installing Automatic transmission on 2001 Xterra
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:25 AM
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Default Installing Automatic transmission on 2001 Xterra

I need some help understanding if I have a problem. My daughter's 2001 Xterra 4x2 with 4 speed automatic transmission recently had a head gasket failure near #5 cyl. So I tore it down, decided to have the heads rebuilt since it has 155k miles. Also, since it has always dripped oil, I decided to put in the extra work to replace the rear main seal. So I removed the transmission using a transmission stand on my floor jack for good positioning control, replace the seal (by the way, it wasn't the rear main seal that was leaking - the factory installers had missed a two inch segment of RTV sealant at the rear oil pan rubber seal right under the rear main seal) - anyway, when reassembling the transmission to the engine, we slowing moved it into place and everything lined up until we got with 1/2" of mating with the engine. We were careful to make sure everything was aligned and were even able to start a couple of bolts, but were unable to make it slide the last 1/2". We rocked the crankshaft back and forth manually to make sure the spline was aligned but figured being that close it must be engaged already. I decided to verify the spline was engage by putting the transmission in drive, rotating the crankshaft, and confirmed that the transmission output shaft was turning and it was. Not wanting to force it, but needing a little tension on the joint, I used two 3" C-clamps to try to close the gap while rocking the crankshaft manually. There was slight popping sound, and the transmission slid into final position. However, after moving forward the last 1/2" we noticed that the output shaft of the transmission now longer turned with the crankshaft. I'm nervous that something isn't right, but cannot figure out what could be wrong, if anything. Is it possible that since the transmission has been drained that it just doesn't turn anymore? Or could the splined shaft somehow have been pushed back into the transmission and not be engaged? I hate to separate it again unless I have to, because it was so tough to get into position the first time. Does anyone have any knowledge that could help?

Thanks for any and all info.
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Old 04-29-2011, 11:05 AM
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NissanTech NissanTech is offline
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What was impeding the transmission to line up was probably the guide pins. Did you disconnect the torque converter bolts when removing the trans or you left the convert attached to the engine?
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Old 04-29-2011, 11:31 AM
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I left the converter attached to the engine and also assembled it that way. I've since learned that probably wasn't the right way to go, but that's water under the bridge now. What guide pins are you referring to?
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Old 04-29-2011, 12:19 PM
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If you were referring to the two dowels / guide pins on the block - we were still 1/4" away from them when we met resistance.

I'm thinking of taking the transmission back down by detaching the torque converter first, if possible, but I'm not sure what to look for when I get if off again.
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Old 04-29-2011, 09:04 PM
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tech22 tech22 is offline
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Check to make sure the torque converter notches (2) did not damage the transmission pump.The converter drives the pump and by applying the amount of pressure to did with the C-clamps you may have done so.Lets hope not.Since out eyes are not there you will just have to take a close look at the complete picture.
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:55 PM
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tech22, thanks for your reply. I downloaded the service manual today and see what I did wrong. I'm hoping the sound I heard was just the torque converter slots dropping into place on the pump tabs. I plan to take it apart tomorrow and look closely for anything that might not be right. I'll post a picture if I have doubts.

Thanks again for your help.
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Old 04-30-2011, 06:12 PM
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I took the transmission and torque converter down again today the correct way and inspected everything. All looks well, it was probably wasted time, but I have more peace of mind. My torque converter doesn't have tabs like shown in the service manual, but two flats ground on the end of the torque converter shaft. I'm sure the popping sound was just the torque converter finally sliding into place. I assembled it the correct way with the torque converter on the transmission and buttoned it back up. This turned out to be a very long job to replace a seal that wasn't even bad. I would highly recommend anyone with suspicions of a rear main seal leak to check the oil pan gasket first. It's also no picnic to get off, but it's much easier than the rear main seal.
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Old 10-21-2020, 06:26 PM
Madmako Madmako is offline
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2001 Xterra
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hey i have the same problem and i was wondering what manual you downloaded to find out what was wrong?
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2001, automatic, installing, transmission, xterra

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