History of the Nissan RE5R05A Transmission
The RE5R05A is a 5-speed automatic transmission that was released in 2002. Developed by Jatco, a subsidiary of Nissan, the RE5R05A mainly came in 4x4 vehicles and sports cars built by Nissan and Infiniti. At the time the transmission was released, it was a real novelty as it contained 5-forward gears. It has been a very popular transmission since its release, and is still widely used nearly two decades on.
Specifications of the Nissan RE5R05A Transmission
Nissan RE5R05A is an electronically controlled transmission that is controlled by the use of solenoids and a transmission controller. It is rated to be a medium torque capacity transmission and can handle up to 500 Nm of torque. It is also capable of handling lots of horsepower. It came behind the 5.6L V8 engine in the Nissan Armada that created about 320hp in stock configuration, though with the right modifications it can handle up to 700 hp.
Its design has remained almost exactly the same since its release. The major changes that occurred over its lifetime had to do with the valve body. There were three versions of the RE5R05A valve body. Some of the valve bodies had an internal Transmission Control Module (TCM) built-in, while some valve bodies were connected to an external TCM.
The Two Primary Gear Ratios of the Nissan RE5R05A Transmission
Strengths of the Nissan RE5R05A
At the time it was released, the RE5R05A offered 5 forward gear ratios instead of the previous model’s 4 speed. This extra gear ratio allowed the engine to stay in the ideal power band for longer and also gave a lower first gear ratio, leading to fuel savings and a smoother drive.
The transmission works great for off-roading and towing. It has a very high first gear ratio which provides the much-needed extra torque on hills and starts. It also has a lockup torque converter clutch (TCC) which locks-up to provide a direct drive from the engine to the drivetrain. This eliminates slippage in the torque converter, helping reduce engine revs and heat generated in the torque converter. Locking up the TCC has a positive effect on fuel savings, and also lowers engine and transmission wear.
As the RE5R05A is electronically controlled, the transmission controller monitors important parameters to operate more efficiently, preserve itself and highlight any issues via diagnostic trouble codes.
Weaknesses of the Nissan RE5R05A
The RE5R05A was unfortunately known to have several common issues, most of them having to do with the valve body.
For models that used the internal transmission module (TCM), one of the most common problems was engine coolant entering the transmission’s valve body through the cooling system. This was due to a seal failure in the transmission oil cooler. The coolant which entered the transmission, mixed with the transmission fluid causing corrosion on the internal module’s lead frame. This produced erroneous error codes and led to transmission failure in many cases.
The RE5R05A was never considered for the inline 4-cylinder diesel engines, as the unbalanced secondary forces could cause the gear shifts to behave erratically, making it much harder to tune this transmission than if it were to be attached to a smoother 6cyl or V8 engine.
There was also a common torque converter shudder problem especially with the Nissan Navarra and Pathfinder. While it could and was often thought to be a mechanical problem, a lot of times the issue was considered to be electronic. One theory believes that the original TCM would have a self-learning strategy that would decrease the line pressure over time, which produced a shudder in the torque converter. A reset to the TCM was usually all that was needed to resolve this issue.
Custom Vehicles which use the RE5R05A Transmission
In the custom vehicle scene, the RE5R05A is almost always used with the petrol and diesel 6cyl and V8 engines for reasons mentioned earlier. Many owners choose the RE5R05A in custom builds as it is still a popular transmission with lots of support to this day. It is commonly chosen when doing a manual to automatic conversion, and also when doing power upgrades. It’s popular with hot-rods and off-road vehicles.
Tuning a 5-speed automatic transmission like the RE5R05A is far more time consuming and difficult than tuning a similar electronically controlled 4-speed one, as every gear has to be uniquely tuned for. The transmission’s pressures vary for different engines; hence the operation of the pressure control solenoids needs more fine-tuning.
There are aftermarket valve body upgrades for this transmission, however a far more effective and efficient method to control and improve this transmission’s performance is to control the shift strategy via a customizable transmission controller. One like the COMPUSHIFT Pro, which can control every aspect of the RE5R05A’s shift strategy.
A Nissan Patrol which was converted from manual to automatic using the RE5R05A transmission and COMPUSHIFT Pro
All Automatic Nissan 350z cars came fitted with the RE5R05A transmission
Controlling the RE5R05A with the COMPUSHIFT Pro
The COMPUSHIFT Pro transmission controller directly plugs into the RE5R05A’s wiring harness. It can be used alongside the original engine management systems or even interface directly with most aftermarket engine management systems via a CAN bus. While almost all modern vehicles have an ECU, the COMPUSHIFT can work with carbureted engines if fitted with the Acculink Throttle Position Switch.
Within the RE5R05A transmissions, the COMPUSHIFT Pro can only work with the models that have an external TCM. If your RE5R05A valve body has an inbuilt TCM, the valve body will need to be swapped out for one that does not have the internal TCM in order for the COMPUSHIFT Pro to control the transmission.
The COMPUSHIFT Pro comes with a mini display to display all the important parameters of the transmission. It also has Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to manage and control the transmission’s shift strategy on the go via the accompanying smartphone app.
The COMPUSHIFT Pro allows you to lock and unlock the TCC at will. This is very useful in some situations, as you will have a direct drive from the engine to the drivetrain. Locking up the TCC assists with engine braking, which can be useful when going down a steep hill.
A 5-speed electronic automatic transmission like the RE5R05A requires a lot of effort to get the shift strategy to work right. Fortunately, the COMPUSHIFT Pro already comes with safe and reliable settings for a wide variety of engines.
To find out what you require to control your RE5R05A with the COMPUSHIFT Pro, head on over to our configurator tool here to build your customized kit.
To get details on the COMPUSHIFT Nissan RE5R05A transmission controller click the below link: