• Jan 29, 2009
Few topics have set the Autoblog commenting system on fire more than the Nissan GT-R. And once stories began to surface about Godzilla's gearbox grenading when customers invoked the power of launch control, it was like a Hateraid atom bomb had gone off below the fold. Well folks, strap on your riot gear and grab a stick of C4. Nissan's in the news again, officially addressing the GT-R's gearbox failure and rolling out a new software program to mitigate the problem.

Make the jump for all the details.



[Source: InsideLine, StraightLine]

According to the dealer directive (below) and a subsequent report by InsideLine, Nissan has begun implementing a software change on around 50 GT-Rs awaiting dealer delivery, along with "vigorous encouragement" for current owners to bring their vehicles in for reprogramming. The onboard computer modification will supposedly offer "acceleration similar to that with the current launch control," but will do so without disabling the Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC). At launch, revs will be reduced from 4,500 rpm to somewhere between 3,000 and 3,500 rpm and the clutch engagement has been reprogrammed to limit driveline stress. And this isn't just for Stateside GT-Rs. All the vehicles sold from here on out, no matter the country, will use the revised programming.

Nissan North America's chief of product public relations, Scott Vazin, told IL that the situation, "...has been blown way out of proportion." And according to Nissan, less than 1% of the vehicles – between 16 and 19 cars out of the 1,750-1,800 GT-Rs delivered to customers in the U.S. – have been affected. Furthermore, Nissan is sticking to its guns about disabling VDC, making it clear that the only time the system should be turned off is when the vehicle is stuck in the mud or snow. To make sure that point is driven home, a revised customer disclosure form will be required for all new GT-R sales from this point forward.

The dealer bulletin is below and... well... you know what to do in the comments.

DEALER DIRECTIVE

Nissan has enhanced the Model Year (MY) 2009 GT-R by incorporating new MY 2010 programming that will optimize clutch engagement control for improved drivability. This upgrade also improves vehicle acceleration with the Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) ON/activated.

Nissan will provide this MY 2010 specification upgrade to MY 2009 GT-R owners at no additional cost. Nissan has already incorporated this programming into the GT-R vehicles in its U.S. inventory and will resume shipping of those vehicles to dealers. We will advise you soon on how to install this new program into all MY 2009 GT-Rs (see below).

The GT-R will continue to offer supercar characteristics of exceptional handling, maneuvering and overall driving experience. This upgrade provides the consumer improved drivability and enhanced acceleration performance with VDC ON (as required by the warranty). Standing acceleration capability with VDC ON (VDC-R mode) will improve compared to the original model year 2009 performance while such acceleration with VDC OFF will be moderated. Customers should be reminded to drive safely and obey all traffic laws. [Please note independent media reports of 0-60 drive times with VDC OFF (or what the media call "Launch Control") on closed courses with professional drivers will likely increase after this change.]

The GT-R Owner's Manual expressly warns against driving with the VDC OFF (except to free the vehicle when stuck in mud or snow) to avoid damage. Repeated acceleration launches with VDC OFF have resulted in some reported instances of damage to the transaxle. Repairs for damage caused by driving with VDC OFF are expressly excluded under the terms of the Nissan GT-R New Car Limited Warranty. Except when stuck, there is no reason to drive with VDC OFF.

This change was initially implemented with the start of MY 2010 GT-R production and has been completed for all 2009 GT-Rs still in NNA inventory... In a few weeks, you will receive the Technical Service Bulletin explaining how to implement this specification change for all remaining 2009 GT-Rs...

Attached is a REVISED Customer Disclosure Form With Modification Notice, which must be used with all customers who buy or take delivery of a MY 2009 GT-R.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 60 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm confused. If you are stuck in Mud or Snow, how does spinning your wheels that fast get you unstuck? I've been stuck many times and the idea of using Launch Control in that manner is funny.

      Clearly they intended it to be used as it is currently used and therefore should honor the original warranties.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You don't use launch control to get unstuck. You hit the gas and try to rock your way out, or use some wheelspin to get out. It's just the VDC won't let you spin your wheels while it's on. It will cut power. Therefore, you need to disengage it to spin the wheels, which might void your tranny warranty if it break while you're doing that.

        It just happens that launch control ALSO requires you to disengage VDC, probably to allow for full wheelspin at launch.

        Although it WOULD be funny seeing someone use launch control while stuck in mud...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Quit Whinin about you transmission...buy a RWD with a 3rd pedal and learn how to launch your own damn car. Nissan seems to be in the business of building sports cars for people who have no business being behind the wheel of one. Just like this rev-matching nonsesne in the new Z...I'll do my own rev matching, thank you! If you can't handle launching a car, controlling oversteer, or doing your own rev-matching, then go buy a Camry where you'll be safe...

      And I in no way mean this as a jab at all AWD drivers...If you drive an STI or EVO or the like, and know how to drive it, then respect to you...at least the guy in the STI doesn't require all the electronic nannies to get him safely around the track
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, because having a feature like rev matching means you absolutely have to use it. You definitely cannot turn it off.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nissan should have never set such an aggressive launch in the first place. I'd think it's better to make a car that can do 0-62 in 3.9 for the rest of its driving life than a car that can do 0-62 in 3.5 a handful of times before voiding the warranty and possibly grenading the transmission. After all, it is still heck of an attractive proposition with its still huge power, grip, handling not to mention the Ring time and much lower price than, say, a 911 Turbo. (The last two were its main USPs, anyways)

      But kudos to Nissan for owning up to it and correcting it, heck, I'd actually like them to put LC in this milder form back onto future ones now. :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hmm, interesting. Will they add a little extra boost to compensate?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm sorry, but going off reports of tranny failure on the Internet is just stupid.

      You have NO idea whether they abused the car. Maybe the wear came from continual runs on the drag strip? That puts a strain on any car, be it a Corvette or whatever car you could imagine. If you expect to drop the clutch at high revs on a high-powered manual car every day for four years, and expect the clutch to hold up then you'd just be delusional. Did they abuse the tranny? We have no idea. So to come to lofty conclusions of "lol the cars just suck" is just plain presumptuous.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Considering the Veyron is more of a tourer, I doubt people thrash it as much as they would a GT-R. But who knows, maybe the Veyron is more resilient.

        As to the blithe ad hominem response: the mindless mob of the internet is pathetic. I suppose you have to believe that 9/11 is a conspiracy and that the Amero currency is on the horizon? After all, if it's on the internet, it must be true!

        Reality is, you know jack squat of the specifics behind the failure. And you're being purely speculative by automatically throwing the blame at Nissan. Why would I be a Nissan attorney when I said the claims could be true? Moron. The fact is we don't know the facts behind the instances of failure, and you're just blindly and ignorantly pointing fingers.

        On the flip side, I think this is a total PR failure for Nissan. Had they just forked over the $20k to a much-publicized Internet posting, it would've greatly helped their image. These ninja-changes only hurt their image more--much more than the cost of just replacing the thing.
        • 5 Years Ago
        A lot of the failures come from dumbasses who chip the engine, so torque is increased beyond the thermal limits of the clutches. (with the stock launching procedure)
        The clutch assembly is supposed to wear out the oil, not the friction material.
        See oil change interval: Audi Multitronic, VW DSG.

        and with higher launching torque loads, that will not do well for the gears/bearings.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nissan's defense attorney?
        • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well, on the one hand, I congratulate Nissan for FULLY owning up to it, even explicitly mentioning that 0-60 times by reported media outlets will likely rise.

      On the other hand, it's kinda tough to say there wasn't a problem here now that Nissan agrees. Nissan's marketing department was writing checks that the cars couldn't cash without seemingly unacceptable levels of vehicle deterioration.

      Yeah, I know there isn't a car >100HP in this world that you can do full bore standing starts on repeatedly without damaging it, but most companies don't respond by slowing their cars down to mitigate the problem.

      One of the saddest parts for me is every time people talked about 0-60 times and computer chicanery, the defense was usually "but these tests were done with VDC off!. And now we see even when VDC is off, the computer is still determining your performance.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's really sad. Nissan spends all this time building a world beater, then fails to ensure durability over the long run. I've launched my launch control equipped car more than a dozen times, and it's fine. I'm totally with you on this one, nice that they're fessing up, but they never should have needed to in the first place. All the talk of all the research that went into this car and they couldn't insure LC would work past a dozen launches? This issue never creeped up during testing?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Really Zamafir? Really? You actually think that a Nissan GTR was launched just a dozen or so times and that broke the transmission? Yet C&D, MT, Auto. Mag, and countless other publications could perform their full lobby of tests and never once have this 'transmission failure'. Really?

        All of you that are blaming Nissan for a parts failure are beyond ridiculous. I'd love for you all to drive putting you Toyota Corollas in neutral, raising RPM to 3,500 (let alone 4,500) and then dropping the car into gear. You let me know how many times in succession you can do that.
        • 5 Years Ago
        konatown:
        One thing I can't understand is apologists for companies that go beyond the companies themselves in trying to play something down.

        Nissan admitted there is a problem. Why do you and others insist on continuing to say it isn't so?

        Nissan is being very open about this. Let's not try to make it something other than what Nissan (who has the data) seems to say it is.
      • 5 Years Ago
      In before the sh*tstorm!

      It's good that Nissan is actively trying to do something about this. Too bad that the people with grenaded transmissions don't get compensated for them, though.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That video is genius. LOL!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Or buy an R32/R33/R34 GT--R.

      The key here is that dual clutch gearboxes CANNOT stand up to hard use like a proper manual. Sure, racecars have them, but how often do they rebuild their gearboxes?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Race cars don't have dual-clutch gearboxes. They have sequential gearboxes, typically with a programmed throttle cut so you can do a no-lift, no-clutch upshift. Some even have a pre-programmed blip on downshift so you can do those without the clutch too.

        But by and large, dual-clutch gearboxes (and CVTs) are prohibited in racing. I don't really have any idea why.
      • 5 Years Ago
      are they still taking it off new cars?
      • 5 Years Ago
      "blown way out of proportion." And according to Nissan, less than 1% of the vehicles – between 16 and 19 cars out of the 1,750-1,800 GT-Rs delivered to customers in the U.S. – have been affected."

      If our infant mortality rate was 1%, what you have to say about that?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wow. So your comparing babies dying to broken transmissions. Can you fix a dead kid for $20,000?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'd say, yes: yes it is about 1%
      • 5 Years Ago
      so, they admit their programming was faulty, still don't authorize warranties, and are changing other peoples' going forward.

      i'll take my GT-R in an R8. At least Audi will fix the problems, and the car doesn't kill itself.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Aki, it doesn't matter if Nissan has solved the self-destructing transmission issue if they're taking something away that was present in the car at the time of purchase and not providing any sort of compensation for it (and not providing a warranty if the owner doesn't let them take anything away).
        • 5 Years Ago
        The killing itself part is right, whats the point in going a second faster than the other car when it couldn't even last to take you to where you want to go. It takes years to develop a component, but they really should revise the design of the trans so it'll be able to deliver the power instead of limiting it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nope they just patched it. Its now R35 v1.1
        • 5 Years Ago
        Er, didn't Nissan just address the issue?
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