Nissan GT-R Transmission Problems


The Nissan GT-R is the latest version of the Nissan Skyline, though it no longer carries that moniker. The GT-R is a veritable feast of high technology. It is powered by a 3.8-liter, 24-valve V6 that pumps out 480 horsepower. Its chassis is all-wheel-drive and the gearbox is equally high tech, and consists of a DSG manual transmission that is shifted with paddle shifters mounted on the steering column. There have been some reports of these gearboxes self-destructing. Like any all-new vehicle, the GT-R is experiencing some teething issues while Nissan irons out the problems.

The Gearbox

  • The gearbox in the GT-R is the GR6, which was developed exclusively for the car. It utilized dual clutches and triple cone synchronizers to allow extremely quick shifting. There is a clutch for first, third and fifth gear as well as one for second, fourth and sixth gear, allowing the gears that aren't being used at the time to be pre-selected. The gearbox has several different settings that vary how aggressively it shifts, ranging from auto mode to a much more aggressive R-shift mode. The GT-R also features a Hill Start Assist similar to BMW's, where the car can automatically apply brake pressure on a hill to assist in starting.


  • The problems that have been reported with the GT-R relate to the first gear cog, which under stress can develop cracks and then fail entirely, destroying the gearbox in the process. Like many new supercars from Porsche, BMW and Ferrari, the GT-R comes with a launch control feature, which can be used to produce the dramatic acceleration figures that the car boasts by holding the engine at 4,800 rpm and then quickly releasing the clutch. This allows it to go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. Revving the engine at a higher rpm produces more torque, but it also incredibly hard on the gearbox when it is suddenly transmitted to all four wheels in a car that weighs 3,800 lbs. Because there is so much traction available, the wheels "hop" instead of spinning, sending more force into the gearbox. The result has been the destruction of some GT-R gearboxes, which cost $20,000 to replace.


  • There are some companies like PPG (Pfitzner's Performance Gearboxes) that are developing stronger components for the GT-R's gearbox. Some owners who drive their cars extremely aggressively are upgrading the first gear and the input shaft with stronger parts. Like most manufacturers, Nissan is being pretty mum on the subject of gearbox failure. There have also been reports of Nissan voiding warranties and refusing to replace the gearboxes on cars that have seen frequent use of launch control.

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