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Discussion Starter #1
So I decided to finally take out the CVT fluid dipstick and check the status of the transmission fluid on my 2008 Versa SL w/ CVT.

I was quite surprised to see that the fluid looked fairly decent. It still had a good bit of translucency to it without the charred look or smell that others have reported. Fluid level actually looks to be above the recommended level but as far as I can tell it came straight from the factory like this and with no issues I'm hesitant to make adjustments to level. I purchased this used at 49k miles and it is now approaching 163k miles.

How does the fluid look to you guys and gals? I'm beginning to wonder if I really need to swap the fluid now.

 

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Doesn't look that bad, but I'd probably change it. Do you mostly do highway driving? A little bit over the line isn't going to hurt in a real-world scenario, especially if you've made it this far. That's probably an eighth of a quart? Half a quart or more over would cause concern for me.

I'd be tempted to say do one or two drain and fills with new fluid, but I couldn't tell you which would be better to use: Valvoline/Castrol/etc CVT or the more expensive Nissan fluid.
 

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Hi, I would say based on the miles you've put on you may want to have it changed. If I remember correctly, it should be green when new (like antifreeze colour) so the darker or grey/black it gets the worse shape it is in.

Your's definitely seems to be in the greyish territory so to play it safe, I'd get it changed. Recommended schedule is about every 60,000 miles or 100,000 kms so for the above-average cost of doing a CVT fluid change versus the frequency it should be done, seems like a no-brainer.

Good luck.
 

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It's maddening that Nissan didn't just put a dummy light on the dash to indicate when it was time to change the CVT fluid. There is a oil deterioration sensor inside the CVT unit that relays oil quality to the ECU. Only problem is best I can tell that info can only be read by the Nissan CONSULT scan tool. I've called around to all the service centers in DFW and they all saying its about $250-$280 for the flush and fill. I'm tempted to ask them to just scan the ECU to see if the sensor says it needs to be changed. But my guess is they will just say they've scanned it and sure enough the computer says I need to give them $300 dollars (irregardless of what it actually says).
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Well, I just finished changing the CVT fluid after doing my rotors and brake pads. It was the first time I've ever done either of these so it took me essentially all day (worked completely solo, ~10 am to 8 pm with zero breaks in between) although a good portion of that was driving to break in the brakes and heat up the CVT fluid to check the level while hot.

Below is a comparison of new (left) vs old (right). And no, I'm not storing it in these containers, I did this only to get the same amount in as I drained out). I did a drain and fill only and about 5 and 1/2 quarts came out. It's a good thing I sprang for the 6 pack of CVT fluid (I used Valvoline CVT fluid which is Nissan NS-2 compatible). What is shown in the containers below is not the total amount of fluid that came out; there is still some sitting in the drip pan to the right.




What's interesting is that I ordered a crush washer from the Nissan dealership (50 cents with tax with store pickup), and they cancelled my order and told me to just come in and pick it up. Went in and they gave me one for free. Another interesting fact is that there was no existing washer in the transmission pan so maybe I didn't even need it to begin with. I installed it anyway.

Even after driving for quite a while to give the new and old fluid a nice amount of time to mix I found that the resulting fluid was quite clear when I checked the dipstick. I think I may be a bit above the recommended level, but it's at the same level as the fluid that was in there since the car was new.

When I first took it out on a test drive I thought I noticed a little difference in response, but I am probably imagining it. The occasional weird sounds on acceleration from a stop are still present.

In case anyone is interested, I used Centric 120.42091 premium brake rotors and Akebono ACT815 brake pads. I have the 2008 Nissan Versa SL without ABS. There were no issues installing these items.


Edit: Checked under the car this morning for any leaks and everything looks clear.
 
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