• Oct 13, 2008
Click above for high-res gallery of the Nissan GT-R

A member of the North American GT-R Owner's Club forums started a thread recently in which he tells about dropping off his Nissan GT-R at the dealership when he began hearing loud noises coming from the rear of the car. The dealership told him that his transmission was toast as a direct result of him turning off the car's VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control) too much, which you have to do in order to use the Launch Control function. The cost to repair the tranny is $20,000 and Nissan won't cover it under warranty since the GT-R owner's manual states that damage to the transmission is not covered if it is proven to be the result of using Launch Control with the VDC turned off. In fact, the manual states that the only reason you should turn off VDC is for when you're rocking the vehicle because it's stuck in mud or snow. That's kind of like Nissan saying you should never use the Launch Control function despite the fact it's there.



The situation clearly sucks for this GT-R owner, and we can certainly understand his frustration. Nissan, however, has itself covered in that the owner's manual makes it clear that any damage to the transmission resulting from using Launch Control is not covered, and we're told GT-R owners actually have to sign something when picking up the car to show they understand this policy. And to be clear, just switching off VDC will not void the warranty, and many owners have used Launch Control with no damage to the transmission whatsoever.

We think there's something a little fishy going on with both parties in this conflict. For one, no one knows for sure exactly how many times this GT-R owner used Launch Control. Doing it once in a while to show off is one thing, but abusing any car with that much power will eventually lead to something failing, and in those cases the automaker shouldn't necessarily be held responsible for the repairs.

That said, we're also not exactly sure how delicate these GT-R transmissions are. If Nissan had any idea that its Launch Control function could damage the car, it should have built a system that could protect itself. Take the new Porsche 911 and its PDK dual-clutch transmission that also has Launch Control. The new Porsche will let you rip off about a dozen runs in a row before a dashboard light illuminates and the ECU limits engine power until everything cools off. Why can't the GT-R watch out for itself like that?

Click the source below and decide for yourself who is right and who is wrong in this situation.

[Source: nagtroc.org]


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  • 125 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      nothing to see here, just testing my log in.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Kind of like Evo owners trying to get warranty on their drivetrain.

      I think Mitsubishi ended up putting a rev limiter of 5K RPM's and limits boost for full throttle launch.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't know if this is covered or not in this thread, but there is already a class action lawsuit being formed due to multiple GTR transmission failures in the U.S. that have not been covered by Nissan. $20K for the owner to replace the transmission? The whole thing sounds like poor engineering to me.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yeah, sucks for the GT-R owner, but I've got to side with Nissan on this one. No manufacturer covers the car if you abuse it, and my guess is that this is EXACTLY what was going on.

      No need to use Launch Control at every stop light....
        • 6 Years Ago
        Again, I am not aware of a single manufacturer that would repair a car under warranty if you race it. Every manufacturer I know of SPECIFICALLY states that if you use the car for that purpose (racing) that you stand to void any warranty on the car.

        Take Chrysler for instance. None of the SRT vehicles come with the lifetime warranty because they KNOW you are going to abuse them, and abuse leads to things getting broken. These are street cars, not race cars, they are meant for the street, NOT the track. It sucks, I agree, but its the truth, and everyone who buys one knows that....

        To complain after the fact is just kind of childish imo...
        • 6 Years Ago
        If you read up on this whole story, the guy used Launch Control 20 times in the first 2 weeks. That is plain and simply put, excessive. It causes extreme wear and tear on the vehicle and is bound to break something...

        I would figure with a $80k car that you aren't driving it 100's of miles a day so I would guess that when the car broke it only had a couple thousand miles MAX on it, probably less than that.

        He abused the car, something broke, and now he has to pay and is whining like a child who threw his new toy against a wall and can't believe it broke... Learn to take car of your toys or expect to pay for them when they break.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ MIKE S
        I don't see how Honda goodwilling a few clutches compares to Nissan goodwilling a $20K transmission that was made by another company (Ricardo) that they have to pay for. Talk to more of your Honda friends who had gears drop out of their Si's, bad engines in S2000's or bad trans in their V6 powered vehicles and see if they had just as good response.

        @naggs
        Although I agree with you that more and more watchdog technology is being loaded into vehicles, it isn't just to help "them" It also will help you that the manufacturer doesn't have to pay for fraudulent wearranty claims on people that abuse their vehicles, or return them to stock before taking them in to service and otherwise take advantage of a company who might could do better off by not offering vehicles such as this at all. Otherwise, we'll only have vehicles like Toyota's lineup to chose from.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I bet this was not from sustained aggressive driving. More likely he locked up one of the wheels somehow and one side of the diff spun to kingdom come. Or he manually shifted out of neutral at high rpm. There's a nasty combo.
        • 6 Years Ago
        im sure it was abused.

        nissan should only cover the repairs if it was normal ware and tear. sorry but sounds like this guy was racing his gtr.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Mitsubishi never gave out free SCCA memberships with Evos or any of their cars, that was Subaru.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Anyone with a pulse who spends that kind of money on a "sporty car" is going to want to try out launch control and act like a big kid. Just what is excessive? Does Nissan clearly define that? Either way it would be simple to have an idiot light come on before you pass that threshold? This is a case of ridiculously poor engineering.

        • 6 Years Ago
        when you buy a car with a computer logger, this is what you have to expect.

        from the owners POV, computer control peaked with obd1. its all downhill from there because the technology in the car you are buying is not there to help you, its there to help them.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm not a big fan of car companies including features on the car that, when used properly, abuse / damage the vehicle. This also goes for the Cobalt SS's no lift shift / launch control, which just seem like they can't be good for the clutch / synchros.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Thanks for the correction Tourian.

        Subaru: gave SCCA memberships, voided if raced.
        Mitsu allegedly scanned the web looking for proof of racing to void claims.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I thought this car was suppose to be like an inteligent robot, since nissan was concerned with tuners messing this piece of engineering. so much has been said about this car that i am having seconds thoughts.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Honda does. I've seen it first hand with S2000 and Civic SI customers smoking their clutches at 5000 miles, event less, one time goodwill gestures. Make sense. Best form of advertising in the world. Look at bad press Nissan is getting. Also, it would not cost Nissan $20K, that's the customer pay rate, which the dealer is probably thinking, if this person can afford the mark up, then off with their head.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree somewhat, but I don't think they should be able to quote a 3.2 sec 0-60 time or whatever the figure is if it requires doing something that would void the warranty. Isn't that a bit absurd?

        I wonder if this is a case of "get what you pay for," although even if it is, the GT-R is still one hell of a value.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ John:

        This is a specific feature of the car. If the manufacturer will not stand behind the feature, do not offer it to the customer.

        Also, look at the Evo/STI autocross membership fiasco from a few years back.
        • 6 Years Ago
        1) transmission must be replaced, cannot be repaired. Wow.

        2) Do not offer a 'feature' that voids the warranty.

        3) If the sum of the parts are not up to the task of reasonably completing the purpose of a 'feature', detune the feature. BMW does this with the Euro versus US spec M-series launch control.

        4) This proves the hazards of the black box. Not only do these devices provide input into the driving dynamics/abuses of the owner, it also provides insight into the abuses manufacturers can inflict on customers. "We are sorry Mr Johnson, according to the OBD-o-matic you have started your Camry in sub-32 degree weather more than three times, voiding your powertrain warranty."

        5) It amazes me that someone as seemingly illiterate as the owner can afford a vehicle like that.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Regardless of how irresponsible the owner may or may not have been, it's embarrassing PR for Nissan. To say you've built an exotic-car beater--but then have the tranny crap out--isn't good exposure.

      They'll need to take a cue from Porsche and have the ECU limit how many consecutive launches you could do. And maybe strengthen the DSG so it can take more punishment, if necessary.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Read the manual, dumbass!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's a known fact that GT-R trannies are freakin' made of glass. There's lots of threads on the Nissan sites documenting people losing the tranny with only a few hundred miles on them. That should not be.

      Isn't it true that the GT-R manual even has a section to document how many times the tranny gets replaced?? Who puts in a transmission log into a manual????
      • 6 Years Ago
      pardon my ignorance. What is launch control?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Launch Control is an easy way to launch from a dead stop, basically the computer or "nanny" does everything for you so you don't have to know how to drive that powerful car of yours.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The enables you to hold the brakes on, rev the engine up to a launch rpm (lets say 3500rpm), then soon as you release the brake, the clutch grabs and the car takes off. Its basically like dropping the clutch in a traditional manual transmission.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That's what you get when all you have is an automatic transmission. Get a real manual tranny, Nissan -- it will get rid of all the losers that don't know how to drive beyond just mashing the throttle.

      *ducks*
        • 6 Years Ago
        Heh, no need to duck, oddly enough, i agree with you. Not that nissan should disregard their super quick DSG semi-auto, but the side effects of making a car that an idiot buys because he thinks it'll make him look better than he is. Good point.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Nissan GTR is such a fragile beast poor thing
      • 6 Years Ago
      nothing to see here, just fixing my log ins.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Look, with all the gadgets and such that this car has, it would have been quite easy for them to put a huge warning on their Grand Turismo LCD screen that turning off the VDC is for snow or mud use only and that it could cause damage to the car, as the VDC is disengaged.

      Advertising or allowing magazines to advertise specific 0-60 numbers using a function that causes severe damage to the car is negligent at best. You put a function in the car, allow it's benefit to be known, then run for cover when an owner uses that function?

      It's real simple, take that option out or be sure the consequences are truely known and don't allow the magazines to use it, nor should you brag about it on Leno's garage.

      It's been said before and it'll be said again, Nissan allowed all the hype to overshadow reality on this car. If they're allowing their 0-60 times to be reduced by .5-.8 seconds by using a destructive sequence of controls, what other things aren't they telling their owners?
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