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Old 09-07-2021, 05:51 AM   #1
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Default 2000 Xterra Won't Go to High Gear

Been looking at a 2000 Xterra with reasonably low miles with one main problem. The CEL came on, and then it wouldn't shift into high gear normally. Stays in second although it runs fine while doing so.

I started thinking it might be the shift solenoid. Tranny does not slip. Just won't shift into high. And that it might be limp mode as a result.
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Old 09-07-2021, 06:23 AM   #2
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Does it say why the CEL is on? P07XX are the transmission related codes. That generation Xterra uses the same transmission as a V6/automatic D21, so the information in the FSM would also apply to an Xterra transmission. You'd have to look at the power flow charts and diagrams to see what it needs to shift into overdrive to narrow down what it could be.

In a lot of older 4 speed transmissions there are only two main shift solenoids, and having them on/off in various combinations is how the TCM controls what gear it's in. You can actually test it to see if the solenoids are working but it's a bit more invasive than most sellers would be probably be comfortable with. IMHO I'd probably walk away from this one unless you can get it cheap and are prepared to put a transmission in it. The problem with transmissions is that when you add up the cost of individual parts, it doesn't take too many guesses to equal the cost of replacing it entirely.

I have seen it both ways though. Years ago I went out to look at a car that only had 1st and reverse and it turned out to be the fuse for the instrument cluster was blown (so the TCM had no idea how fast the car was going since it gets that information via the instrument cluster). On the other hand, I've also worked on a couple of cars that would slip and shift erratically. Clearing the codes out of the ECU would fix it temporarily but after driving for a few minutes it would start acting up again. Both of those ended up needing to have the transmission replaced.
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Old 09-07-2021, 07:10 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SBJ View Post
Does it say why the CEL is on? P07XX are the transmission related codes. That generation Xterra uses the same transmission as a V6/automatic D21, so the information in the FSM would also apply to an Xterra transmission. You'd have to look at the power flow charts and diagrams to see what it needs to shift into overdrive to narrow down what it could be.

In a lot of older 4 speed transmissions there are only two main shift solenoids, and having them on/off in various combinations is how the TCM controls what gear it's in. You can actually test it to see if the solenoids are working but it's a bit more invasive than most sellers would be probably be comfortable with. IMHO I'd probably walk away from this one unless you can get it cheap and are prepared to put a transmission in it. The problem with transmissions is that when you add up the cost of individual parts, it doesn't take too many guesses to equal the cost of replacing it entirely.

I have seen it both ways though. Years ago I went out to look at a car that only had 1st and reverse and it turned out to be the fuse for the instrument cluster was blown (so the TCM had no idea how fast the car was going since it gets that information via the instrument cluster). On the other hand, I've also worked on a couple of cars that would slip and shift erratically. Clearing the codes out of the ECU would fix it temporarily but after driving for a few minutes it would start acting up again. Both of those ended up needing to have the transmission replaced.
Yeah....as usual your advice is solid. I will walk away from this one. There are plenty of Xterras out there. Thanks.
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Old 09-08-2021, 02:24 AM   #4
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I was also going to suggest using your code reader. It seems like some codes (like for the Throttle Position Sensor) cause the ECU to go into limp mode where the transmission acts funny. I'm investigating that issue on my ex's 2002.
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Old 09-09-2021, 05:47 PM   #5
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FWIW, i had an 04 xterra with super low miles that used to do the same thing. I dropped the transmission pan and replaced the filter along with new fluid. Cleared the problem right up. Never understood how it started that with super low miles. Sold it to a coworker and he drives it everyday with no issues. I would definitely air on the side of caution though..
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Old 09-09-2021, 10:03 PM   #6
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FWIW, i had an 04 xterra with super low miles that used to do the same thing. I dropped the transmission pan and replaced the filter along with new fluid. Cleared the problem right up. Never understood how it started that with super low miles. Sold it to a coworker and he drives it everyday with no issues. I would definitely air on the side of caution though..
I was telling her that.

I also got to wondering about a TPS code. That is something that will put the ECU into limp mode, and it controls the transmission shifting. I wonder if the TPS code is causing a limp mode that is making the transmission act up.

It's possible!
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