Same issue. tranny fluid is cooled via intercooler that runs along bottom of radiator. this developed a crack and because tranny fluid is under more pressure, started dumping tranny fluid into radiator. A couple guys recommended replacing rad, then servicing tranny just in case any coolant leaked backwards.
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This is a common problem with the radiators in the Pathfinders and Frontiers, Nissan is aware of this and have extended the warranty to 80k miles for this issue. The ATF fluid is cooled in the lower half of the radiator and when the radiator fails the two fluids mix causing failure to the transmisson if not addressed immeadiately. You should bring your vehicle to Nissan and have it looked at ASAP. If caught soon enough you can flush the tranny and replace the radiator and be okay. if not then you are looking at rebuilding/replacing the transmission. Hope this helps
The transmission and engine are there own entities. Unfortuantly the radiator in some vehicles cool the tranny fluid. Its possable when the coolant lines were disconnected from the transmission or from the radiator, the seal was broken on the radiator where the line goes in from the radiator, so you wont see it because its internal. This will allow trans fluid to enter into the radiator. Be careful with trans fluid mixed with the coolant may cause engine damage. Your solution to the problem if this is infact the source would mean replacing the radiator, if you do this be sure to flush the coolant system to rid trans fluid.
Your transmission fluid is dangerously low (tranny is dry). The pops & jerks are the transmission internal components trying not to seize onto each other due to lack of lubrication and/or overheating. Low transmission fluid leads not only to loss of lubrication but lots of overheating (of the tranny). The loss of Elantra performance (speed tops out at 55), is caused by power loss due to friction inside the transmission. All your power is lost overheating the transmission (toward destruction), instead of being transmitted through the transmission to the wheels.
The 2004 Elantra takes Hyundai SP-III Automatic Transmission Fluid, with 8.4 quarts used in a total refill - but just 5 quarts at a fluid change. For How-to transmission fluid change instructions:
www.autozone.com claims that 2004 Hyundai Elantra can take these non-Hyundai ATF's: Lucas Semi-Synthetic Multivehicle ATF Pennzoil Muilt Vehicle ATF Valvoline Maxlife Dex/Merc ATF Castrol High Mileage ATF
engine oil,every 3to 5 thousand miles depending on what weight oil and brand of oil. transmission fluid, every 45,000 miles 4 wheel drive? change the gear oil in transfer case also every 45,000 miles but i like to insure my vehicles are properly lubed as they are my service trucks also.
Sounds like a bad radiator. The radiator doesn't just cool the coolant. It also cools the tranny fluid. So if it just started overheating and slipping at the same time then the radiator has probably leaked out enough coolant to make it overheat and enough tranny fluid to make it slip. Check for leaks or wet spots where you park. And obviously check both fluid levels.
What is overheating ? Engine or tranny? You said you put tranny fluid in, but not in the engine right? Engine sounds like it is toast. Is there any abnormal look to the engine oil on the dipstick? Are you losing coolant? If you add coolant with engine NOT hot, and watch the radiator fill spout with engine started and warming up, do you see water gurgling? Do a compression test.
Tranny fluid may have been contaminated with coolant since tranny cooler lines go to radiator or condensor. I would fix your leak on radiator, then completely drain tranny fluid and filter and replace.