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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I have 2 Versa Notes (2014 & 2015) and would like to upgrade my 2014 to have the D-step shift logic that the 2015 has.

My local dealer is clueless about this feature/software/programing and was unaware that the 2105 & later have this.
He thinks its the 2 speed sub-gear set that my 2014 does have (and I think the 2015 has as well, but cant tell because of the D-step).

I tried contacting Nissan USA direct and got the "get with your local dealer" run around.

Has anyone had their 2014 cars updated to the D-Step shift logic?
 

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Doesn't the D-Step Logic just add a whine to the car to simulate gear shifts like on a regular automatic tranny? From what I understand, Nissan owners of CVTs were getting freaked out about how silent CVTs were and wanted the sound of gear shifts back - not that it would improve the failure rate.

Nissan changed the internal design of the CVT but forgot which year. For sure the 2016 I've got but are you sure your trannies are the new design? According to this link the 3rd gen started in 2016?

https://www.nissanusa.com/blog/xtronic-cvt-continuously-variable-transmission
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
It simulates gear shifts, but no noise beyond the normal engine sound as the RPMs change between shifts.
The simulated shifts only seem to be noticeable durning more agressive driving, it seems to act like a "normal" CVT if you drive conservatively.

For me CVTs are not silent compared to a multi gear automatic. In fact due to the engine noise I think of them as noisier.
They typically hold a higher RPM during hard acceleration and that constant high RPM can be annoying on long acceleration runs.
What I will say is they are smoother in operation.

I have 3 CVT cars and the 2015 with the D-Step is the most enjoyable to drive.

Both my 2014 & 2015 say they have the Xtronic CVT, not sure if there is a difference in generations.
 

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I had a honda insight with a cvt and it was like driving with a weed eater centrifugal clutch. I usually kept the engine under 2 grand to accelerate to save fuel, but would take it to 4200 for max acceleration. Seems like a fairly linear connection between the throttle and engine. I use to have fun holding the engine at a set rpm and asking my passenger from work to let me know when the car "shifts". >:D

Flooring it would result in it redlining and slowing going faster.

I rented an altima in 2012 and it was all wacky. Minor throttle input resulted in the rpms dipping from 2 to 1500 if not even lower and felt like the car was lugging. Release throttle and engine speed increased again. :surprise

Floor it and the car paused as the engine revved to 5 grand then you started to move faster as it sounded like the engine was cavating.

Guessing this is a programming update, although when I read about the Versas I had the understanding they had a manual, 4 speed auto and 2 cvts. One for the base model and one for the upper end one.
 

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Just bought a '17 Altima. They use that D-step thing, the CVT is now very cleverly imitating shifts that old school trans used. I was pleasantly surprised but wondering how durability will be affected, being the CVTs still seem to have long life issues. The more the fake gear changes happen the more the clutch packs will be getting used. The major drive method there is metal chain and that releases scads of metal particle over the life and that eats clutch seals and more the more they work. They must have one hell of a magnet inside those trans.

The 2 speed 'subgear' thing is simply a planetary to get reverse, it's either in forward or reverse. (EDIT) I stand corrected, that one actually does have a second forward speed in it..........

Changing to get that D-step thing may require a computer change, that would be a whopping amount of software to change up. Maybe go to NICOclub and look at the different year service manuals to compare if any additional wiring changes have been added /changed? TCM differences? You could at least tell if the basic trans is the same model.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I am not so sure it is really shifting or doing anything in the CVT itself or if it is just making slight adjustment to the throttle to give you that feeling.
I dont believe it effects the clutch pack or torque converter as that is locked in once the car is moving.
If it is actually adjusting the ratios in the CVT there may be some added wear on the pulleys and belt.

I am hoping it is just a software update and is backward compatible.
If so it should not be a big deal, software updates are common place.

From what I have read it was an update on the 2014 Altimas after it was released on the 2015 model.
 

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No, the rpm is physically changing, it has to be ramping the CVT chain all over the sheaves (pulley halves), the tach goes up and down with the sound. The changes are major too and not slight, you then can easily tell the difference in an engine rear up in rpm flashing upwards as vs. a deeper same rpm drone like more throttle adds with the same gear ratio. Two totally different things. I would expect any rear up to include a convertor clutch release for a second, silly not to use the ability if you have it. It has been normal to drop in and out of convertor clutch at the drop of a hat for a long time now. I would expect them to use that effect to cover up the slight time span it takes to adjust the chain.

It may even ADD life to the trans as a normal CVT that stays in mostly a few areas of the pulleys tend to wear more the more they stay in one position. Moving the ratio around more would spread the wear out to have parts last longer maybe. Of course, more aggressive chain meandering will lead to more wear on chain teeth, which are only finite as compared to sheave surface.

There are software updates and then there are software updates, the two differences there are like the difference in windows 3.1 and win8, no way can you get that on the same machine. Instant power/load induced RPM ranging brings a whopping number of strategy changes with it. That's not minor at all. If it WAS a software only update it would be the biggest one I've ever seen but some are pretty big now I hear.
 

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Well..... thats why I drive a 5 speed. :laugh:

It seemed with the cvt I had in my honda that if you floored it performance was hindered as the rev limited got involved. If you used sequential mode and the paddle shifters you could go faster keeping the revs below redline. Only problem is if it was getting warm it wasnt uncommon for it to mis one of the 7 artificial ratios or 2 on your way to 70mph.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I read a few things where it sounds like the D-Step logic adjusts the throttle and the ratios.

On mine it just seemed too precise, it drops the exact same RPM for what seems like the same amount of time with each "shift".
I guess since it is all programed that is possible, but it still seems to perfect.
That's why I had thought it might just be a throttle blip thing.

My Suzuki with the CVT allows manual "shifting" like the Honda Cobb describes.
Mine never misses a shift though.
It does have a few nanny features that keep you from doing things that might cause the car/CVT issues.
It will not let you pick top gear (6th) at too low a speed and it limits your throttle input in top gear.
You can step on the throttle all day long and it only allows just so much actual input if you are in manual mode and have it locked in top gear.

On the Suzuki boards there was discussion on if manual shifting causes more wear in that it stays in specific areas on the sheaves/pulleys where in CVT mode it moves across them.
In CVT mode I believe it is pretty much only the top & bottom ratios where the belt really stays in one place.
I assume the top ratio the most.
 

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Same with the honda. I will admit in regular use it was hard to beat the cvt for mpg, but for performance like 0-60 and 45-70 manually electing ratios or using the left paddle to bump up 2-3 to pass made it much more drivable in heavy traffic.

Typically I used sport mode in stop n go traffic as it held the engine to about 3500 rpms. For slow and go traffic where speeds vary from 45-70 and back I turned off eco mode.

Turning off eco mode made the ac cooler too. :grin

Does Nissan do the thing the American manufactures do and run a tube from the intake to the passenger compartment so you can hear the engine better?
 

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I think it's too bad that the new CVTs have the D-step logic simulating gear shifts of a conventional automatic transmission. I like the feel of my CVT. I like how it holds the engine speed at a constant, low RPM, which saves gas and reduces engine noise. Plus, when the planetary subgear "shifts" from 1st gear to 2nd gear, it sounds like a spaceship. I love it!
 

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For me, I don't care whether you hear the shifts or not. Mine sounds whiney so I had to take it in to the dealer for a check. A guy in a parking lot with same car as mine said he was also concerned about the whine (which you usually associate with the dreaded failure) and took it to the dealer also, who said the same thing: not an issue.

I've driven a lot of CVT rental cars in Japan and I've found to accelerate (like up grades) it's best to not mash the pedal to the floor but to feather it as you depress it to the floor to accelerate. Still, with my 2016 Versa Note, you can't get away from the 'rubber band' effect, the lag on acceleration. You don't want to be drag racing people from stoplight to stoplight (for that I use my other car, see sig :grin). Still, you can pick up a head of steam with these cars; it just takes a while. And you can get better gas mileage to boot compared to those 6,000 lb SUVs and trucks with their V-6 and V-8s. Everybody's going the same speed on the freeway at some point anyway.

I like the CVT in my 2016 a lot. Going up a mountain pass where I live I can keep up with the cars on the steepest part and the engine is only turning 3800 rpm or so, before it downshifts as it flattens out. I like cruising on the freeway turning only 1500-1600 RPM at 50 mph yet there is adequate throttle response if you need to accelerate.

Even my Mustang I've tried to lug at 1500 rpm in 6th gear going up a slight grade and it would gradually accelerate without lugging. Modern electronics are wonderful. Cannot believe the smooth idle of my 'Stang when it has 420 HP on tap for a little 302 cubic inch V-8 with 11:1 compression to boot! Redline on the twin overhead cam V-8 with 4 valves per cylinder is just under 7000 RPM on the stock motor, higher than a lot of 4-bangers.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I think it's too bad that the new CVTs have the D-step logic simulating gear shifts of a conventional automatic transmission. I like the feel of my CVT. I like how it holds the engine speed at a constant, low RPM, which saves gas and reduces engine noise. Plus, when the planetary subgear "shifts" from 1st gear to 2nd gear, it sounds like a spaceship. I love it!
Have you tried a D-step?

All the things you say you like about the CVT is still there......when driven conservatively.
Driven conservatively it does not do the shift simulation, its works just like my other CVTs.

The D-Step only really comes into play when you put your foot into it.
Driven the same way, my 2014 does not hold a low RPM, it revs up and holds that high rev.
It's what CVTs do (without d-step), but it is the thing that I find annoying/bothersome about them.

Because of the d-step I tend to drive/accelerate quite a bit faster with the 2015 than I do the 2014.
While the 2014 can be pushed, it really gives you the feeling it is "happier" being driven conservatively, much like you note.

In spite of being driven less conservatively, my 2015 D-step shows better MPGs on its computer than my 2014.
I dont do hand calcs on these, so I am not sure it that is truly accurate, but it is there.
 

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Is there an equivalent temple of vtec for Nissan? Having been new to cvts myself I read an article where the engineer or one of many who helped design it for the fit/insight said the device was better to be serviced frequently vs one fluid change during hte life of the unit. After finding this out we went a step further and would also service the only known filter at that time that was inline to the cooler hoses that looks like an accumulator. Later on I read the service manual and found it had a filter the user could replace and did so. From that point one it felt like a traditional transmission with no jerking motion between 25-35 mph as well . as coasting then accelerating lets say you approach a red light and before you come to a stop the light turns green.

Since it seems the cvt is not sealed I think changing the fluid is a good start and only use Nissan fluid. I did find Eneos fluid for my honda and it did perform better, but at the next fluid change the fluid was black vs light golden brown and the magnet/drain plug was covered in silt like material. :surprise
 

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CVT fluid is going to go black or dark, the major contaminant there is metal dust from the chain to sheave interface.............more than you will find in a standard ATX.

Since so much of the silt is metal particles I too suggest sooner than normal fluid changes, it may lengthen trans life by a whopping amount. I pretty much have ignored OEM trans fluid change intervals for years, that stuff where they tell you every 100K miles or 'never needed' is simply the way they get more trans work out of you. I change at least standard ATX fluid out as it begins to change color and can't seem to kill any ATX I've had in a car until way way off in the future. Let the fluid get really dark and you just whacked 50K miles off the life in my view.
 

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I had a used 2000 Honda Accord EX (fully loaded) with 3.0 liter V-6 and 200 HP before I got my Note. That car is known for tranny failures, with repair costs around $3500-4500 at repair shops. 6 months after I bought it, would not shift into D when engine cold, but after that, shifted fine. The tranny fluid was black with 1" of sludge at the bottom of the pan. I flushed the fluid several times to clear it out, but it never resolved the problem.

So lesson learned. I was thinking of prematurely changing the fluid on my 2016 Note at 20,000 miles. Problem is, you can't do it by yourself, and even if you did, the replacement CVT fluid would run around $150 anyway. I would say I am mechanically inclined (I've rebuilt two automatic transmissions: a Ford AOD and the tranny in that Honda for fun), but supposedly the CVT in my car needs to be drained/filled from the drain plug using special equipment that only the dealer has (it has no fill plug). Nissan did this on purpose to prevent owners from screwing up the process, and to prevent formation of air bubbles. I talked to my local dealer and he told me to just replace the fluid at the recommended interval of 60,000 miles. So I don't know what to think. The cost he quoted was $275 or so.

The later Nissan cars like mine are warranteed for only 60,000 miles, not the extended 120,000 mile warrantees of the earlier models with their problematic CVTs. The jury is still out whether the newer XTronic design has cured the issues.
 

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'... it drops the exact same RPM for what seems like the same amount of time with each "shift".'

Ever drive a close ratio race car transmission? What they do when the gear ratios are spread right and follow what the motor wants. Drive a motocross dirt bike, you'll see.
 
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