Nissan Hyper CVT transmissions.

Hi guys. My mothers car is a 1998 Nissan Primera 2 litre 4 speed auto with the hyper CVT transmission. Car has done approx 100k.

I heard these CVT transmissions are/were problematic. What is the crux of the fault and symptoms! I googled but no definitive answer.

Back to her car, when she is decelerating or coasting down hills 50k area there is a deep and loud groan noise from what sounds like the trans area and feels like it's in the wrong gear. Is this serious or could it be mended by flushing and replacing the oil with new or better!

My sister and I are are at a loss of what to get her for XMAS and are thinking of paying for this repair if only a few hundred dollars! If so shed be wrapped.

Many thanks for the help

driver_bdogg1, Dec 21, 6:17 pm

Is it a 4 speed auto or a CVT it can't be both.

driver_thejazzpianoma, Dec 21, 6:22 pm

Sorry I assumed it was 4 speed. It has the CVT stickers on the back. The gear stick is D,1,2 I believe.

driver_bdogg1, Dec 21, 6:27 pm


O.K, good to get that clarified. Its a CVT. For the record a CVT has no gears at all, thats the point its "contiually variable" whats confusing is that some have "tiptronic" functions which just make pseudo ratios which can make it appear to have gears.

I am not an expert on the Nissan unit but in general most CVT's are well due for a service if not twice over by those km's. I seem to remember the Nissan ones having longish service intervals though.

Getting a flush and change might be a good start, cheaper than buying a new transmission. Someone who knows those units more may be able to help you further.

Most CVT's are reliable so long as they are maintained as they are supposed to. which almost no one does!

Also, pull the transmission dipstick and have a look at the fluid, is it black and smelly or coloured and clean!

driver_thejazzpianoma, Dec 21, 6:31 pm

Excellent response Jazz. I will check the gear dip stick and also speak to my good mechanics re a service.Thanks

driver_bdogg1, Dec 21, 6:56 pm

Try http://www.cvt.co.nz/
CVT experts.Be ready for a shock.not cheap to repair.

driver_thewomble1, Dec 21, 7:52 pm


Yes this is the thing, you take a gamble just getting a fluid change, it may well not fix the problem. But its a few hundred dollars against thousands.

driver_thejazzpianoma, Dec 21, 7:53 pm

and for christs sake make sure that the person who does the flush knows their way around a CVT, half the failures must be due to people putting standard auto trans fluid in which stuffs them.

They are not inherently unreliable but get a much worse rep because people are stupid

driver_morrisman1, Dec 21, 8:00 pm

The groaning doesn't sound good but CVTs do feel different to normal transmissions so the second part of that may well be normal. See if you can drive another car with the same setup.

driver_vtecintegra, Dec 21, 8:02 pm

Plenty of confused people, including a few dealers who should know better - example http://www.trademe.co.nz/motors/used-cars/nissan/auction-425711594.htm (that one is also an import, not NZ new)

driver_vtecintegra, Dec 21, 8:04 pm

Yes the Nissan CVTs are prone to problems. They should be serviced by Nissan around every 40,000km. The problem is that either most people don't get it done and the ones that do get it done, go to some dodgy cheap place that don't use the proper oil in them. General rule of thumb is that if you are buying a Nissan or any car with CVT, make sure it has a full service history. With imports its really pure chance whether you end up with something that has been looked after and will last, or whether it will give you a large bill later on down the track.

Give the guys at Gearbox factory, Kaspa transmissions, Gearbox shop, Nissan NZ a call and see what they recommend or how much they will charge for repairs.

driver_trdbzr, Dec 21, 8:43 pm

Thanks guys. My mechanics of choice are Kelvin Armstrong but if they're iffy on CVT's ill take it to the specialist. Checked the fluid before. Not low, half cooked ie not golden and not black but did have a 'used semi burn' smell to it.

driver_bdogg1, Dec 21, 8:51 pm

Burnt smell not good. I was told by nissan every 60kms they should be serviced so If its smelling slightly burnt then its well overdue for a service

driver_jason18, Dec 21, 9:08 pm


You are quite right!
Arrogant stupid dealers like that piss me off. You see Punto's (CVT with 6 speed tiptronic mode) advertised as 4 speed auto's. There is NO excuse, they just spout off and assume, if they bothered to drive the car at all even if they were too stupid to notice the lack of gear change they would see the tiptronic ends at the 6th gear.

People pay a significant premium for the coveted "dealer" car sold cars, the least the lazy slobs can do is drive the vehicles before advertising them.

driver_thejazzpianoma, Dec 21, 10:12 pm


Not sure what colours the Nissan fluid comes in but its possible it was once red or some other bright colour, so even the brown color may be worse than appears. That said, some CVT fluid does come in a golden brown colour out of the bottle.

driver_thejazzpianoma, Dec 21, 10:14 pm

Its a gold colour from memory

driver_jason18, Dec 22, 8:44 am


That sounds promising at least!

driver_thejazzpianoma, Dec 22, 9:01 am

I used to say don't touch them with a 10 foot barge poll, but now they are getting more common and more people are knowlageable on how to work on them. Most proplems seem to be cause by lack of or incorrect servicing. I recenlty met a couple who bought a 98 primera and they had to rebuild the gearbox at about 70000km soon after they got it, however the car has now done almost 300000km without a single gearbox issue.

driver_curlcrown, Dec 22, 2:18 pm

Aren't these Nissan Hyper CVT extroid CVTs - so no belts!
From the way these work, if they made any unusual sound at all, then I suspect that this would be a good indication that they're about to grind themselves to pieces, and probably a full replacement rather than repair would be the solution.
I think I'd even prefer DSG as a solution to torque converter energy losses.

driver_mm12345, Dec 22, 2:29 pm


I agree and while I am not sure what colours the Nissan fluid comes in but its possible it was once red or some other bright colour, so even the brown color may be worse than appears. That said, some CVT fluid does come in a golden brown colour out of the bottle.

driver_thejazzpianoma, Dec 22, 10:14 pm

There are,

Manual
Auto
Auto+Tiptronic
CVT
CVT+Tiptronic

And 4WD + all of these.

driver_rlr29, Dec 23, 12:35 pm

Only the Murano and Maxima (larger engines) come with the extroid

driver_jason18, Dec 23, 2:50 pm

I have one of these CVT tiptronic beasts, if one doesnt actually use the tiptronics, which I dont, do I need to maintain it as often as those that do. You have all got me worried now.

driver_blacktulip, Dec 24, 8:27 am


Yes!
You still need to maintain it just as often. The Tiptronic part is nothing fancy at all it's just the computer holding particular points on the pully's like they were gears.
Don't worry but DO maintain it!

driver_thejazzpianoma, Dec 24, 10:18 am

Damn, thanks jazz, better talk to the mechanic next time Im there, cheers have a good xmas.

driver_blacktulip, Dec 24, 4:50 pm

groaning noise sounds like the belt is partly broken.dont drive it any more and have the cover removed to look for steel as the belt is both rubber and steel with plates.if you find steel parts its all over rover.time for a new gearbox recon.there is only one way this happens.no serving.the right oil and it would have outlasted the car.
a oil and filter is not a sevice.

driver_jfstyle, Dec 27, 8:23 pm

I have a nissan liberty 2001 model. When I drive it for about 2kms it drives so well
and then all of a sudden it fails to change
gears, it will rev like it is in neutral gear. If I re-start it, the sport gear light on the dash board blinks and it revs
high and fails to change the gears. So it looks like when it gets warm it fails to change gears. I bought the
vehicle second hand and it has done 124000kms, it has an automa
tic CVT gear box.

driver_guest, Apr 20, 4:38 pm