Question about 2004 Nissan Maxima

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Transmission stuck in 5th gear???

Today I got in my 2004 Nissan Maxima and turned the key to notice that it whirlled alot before starting and when it did my Service Engine Soon light came on. So I said hmm...then I put it in reverse backed up put it in drive and started to accelerate only to notice that I was barely moving. I had no power. I have the variable transmission so I pushed it over to manual and noticed that my display said 5th gear. After stopping and turning the car off and trying it again it was fine till I turned it off again then the same problem all over again....whirl, whirl whirl, Service engine soon and then 5th gear only. PLEASE HELP!! was driving on the interstate and my transmission locked into 5th gear. It didn't go back to being normal until I stopped the car put it in park and turned it off. Now it's shifting pretty harsh. Had a mechanic look into it and he said I need a new trans. My trans oil is also pretty dark and I just had it flushed a year ago (20,000) miles. Any help is appreciated.

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This is most likely one of your cam shaft sensors. The reason your transmission goes to 5th gear and stays there is because the car automatically goes into "safe mode". This prevents you from running the car on high RPM's which decreases the chance of causing more damage to the engine.
Depending on the code you get from the check engine light, it will be one of the cam-shaft sensors or the crank shaft sensor. A code reader will answer that question.
Often the sensor just fails or oil gets into the connectors which prevents proper reading. This sometimes goes away temporarily when engine is hot but problem will return.
To replace the cam shaft sensors you are looking at approximately 30 min of work. Its a tight fit but not a difficult job.
Cam shaft sensors are about $80. Not sure how much crank haft sensor is.
Hope this helps, and good luck.

Posted on Dec 16, 2009

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Have your mechanic take a special hadr look at the cam pos sensor. we have seen this problem alot out of those vehicles and this seems to fix them without replacing the trans.


trans expert at MR. transmission

Posted on Jun 03, 2009

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It sounds like you have slipped some gears in the transmission. your mechanic is right it will cost less to buy new than pay parts and labor on fixing the old one. Spend the money and buy a new one it will also come with a warranty which is a good thing to have.

Posted on May 27, 2009

  • mightymaxima Mar 29, 2011

    Mine did the same thing; it is a broken main ground wire. The wire goes from the negative post of the battery, attaches to the body then attaches to the transmission. This is a well known problem with these Maxima's. Jack up front driver's side of the vehicle and secure it with a jack stand. Lie on your back and look under the vehicle, directly below the battery carriage and slightly toward the passenger side. The ground wire brakes at the transmission bracket. The error code is for cam position sensor bank # 2. The vehicle typically run fine until it warms up; this is because the resistance changes once the oil heats up.

  • brucew17 Jul 02, 2011

    This is a really great post (mightymaxima). Mine did the same. In fact my battery cable was broken at the transmission. Got a new cable end, put it all back together and it was fine until it got hot again. Same problem. Is is possible to have both a broken main ground wire in conjunction with cam shaft sensor?

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Change the the 2 cam sensors and crank sensor with Nissan oem parts. AFTER MARKET WILL NOT WORK. https://parts.nissanusa.com/

Posted on Nov 09, 2019

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I am having the same exact problem with my 2004 maxima right now. Literally just happened about an hour ago. What did the problem end up being?

Posted on Apr 25, 2013

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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SOURCE: transmission stuck in 5th gear???

i had same problem it is your cam positioning sensor

Posted on Jun 01, 2009

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Transmission stuck in 5th gear???


i had same problem it is your cam positioning sensor

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