CVT Replacement & Upgrade
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Thread: CVT Replacement & Upgrade

  1. #1
    Senior Member pboglio's Avatar
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    CVT Replacement & Upgrade

    I'm about to start on my CVT replacement/upgrade and figured I'd document the process in this thread. I'll layout my build plan which'll include a brand new CVT transmission replacement but also various bolt-on power mod upgrades. The list will change since I have to inspect the car. If items are worn, they'll get replaced at this point or just upgraded. This will also include a BOM for parts purchases and as many pics as possible. The CVT transmission teardown is going to direct me on where I "may" be upgrading the new CVT as there are several internal improvements to be made to increase the strength and reliability.

    Goal:

    Basic goal is to get the Juke AWD CVT to withstand more torque from the additional modifications I have planned. I'm realistic about the Juke CVT, it'll never be as reliable at torque levels that the 6spd RS cars are running, so the goals are going to be conservative. I could trade up to an RS 6spd, but I won't be doing that. I considered it but I'm already in another car payment and the time isn't right, plus I need an automatic for the daily. A stock CVT trans can hold 210 lb-ft @ wheels no problem for up to 75k miles and potentially longer if meticulously maintained and tuned correctly. Typically but not always a stock CVT will start slipping at the 245 lb-ft @ wheel level which isn't a good thing for CVT belt life. I suspect those with RS models may have higher torque slippage values due to differences in TCM tuning from the factory. The ECUTek flash tunes may also have some part to play but I can't verify that. Mine never slipped until the belt wear went critical due to mileage. The goal is a reliable 230- 245 lb-ft wheel torque level and it must hold trouble free for +50k miles. That is more than plenty for a daily driver.

    I could pay Level10 to provide an upgraded CVT transmission, but that's not my plan. The (1) member (i.e. ARF) I know of who has completely upgraded the CVT seems to have found some reliability at elevated torque levels so it's possible. I'm going to attempt to tie-in as many of the CVT improvements as possible in a DIY project. ANY marginal improvement in reliability and torque capacity I'll take. I'll be utilizing as much of these "off-shelf" upgrades as possible. The valve-body may eventually get sent out for upgrade as well but I can always do that at a later date since it's a simple removal/install procedure on the car.

    The Mamba 19T turbo, 2J Racing downpipe, High flow cat/Injen midpipe, 2J 255 LPH fuel pump, and an FMIC will get installed as well if I'm not pushed for time. There are so many parts getting removed for the CVT trans that the extra labor isn't much different. I'll also be replacing the upper & lower radiator support, & bumper crash beam due to light corrosion.

    Backstory:

    Back in March I started having drive-ability issues with my AWD CVT at 75k miles in terms of belt slippage and rpm hunting while driving. I had the basic bolt-on mods on my signature and was running these mods since about 2012. I'm not easy on my transmission but I also never launch it. After alot of diagnostic testing I ended up taking the risk and replacing just the CVT valve-body and switched to AMSOIL and this temporarily fixed most of these mechanical issues but a few remained. When I did it I almost knew right away I should have bought a new CVT for just another $1200 more, but it was done. Eventually the plan was to swap a new CVT anyway next year but this would buy me some time. Then at 80k miles I started getting bored at stock power levels and I decided the trans could take some upgrades, which probably wasn't the smartest idea. The additional torque going from a stock (the car was detuned at this point) 236 N-m to 320 N-m ended up being too much for my worn out transmission. It was running great for a couple days then it gave (1) massive slip during an awesome 3rd gear pull near 6000 rpms, at which point I decided to crank the boost back down. Well, 2 days later the CVT catastrophically failed while heading to work. There was no indication or slippage, just a roll into the throttle and then a "free" revving engine in all gears. I have had many transmission failures on modified cars and this is the nature of the beast. I kept my momentum up and maneuvered around a couple of cars and picked a nice spot to coast the Juke and it finally came to rest. I ended up calling a tow truck and had to make a quick decision on the side of the road to divert the tow truck to my house instead of the dealership. I had already priced out the CVT parts vs. Dealer installed and it was looking like $2500 vs. approx $4500. At my house the driver backed the flatbed up and perfectly rolled her into position neatly inside my (2) car garage. The Juke is now sitting about 20" up in the air on my QuickJack car lift with the front clip removed and the teardown process has begun.

    Progress:

    To start off, here is the Juke raised in the air 20" on the Quick Jack 7000SLX with wheel ramps as backup supports. The QuickJack is sitting on it's "safety-lockout bars" and not hydraulic pressure. The Lift is rated for 7,000 lbs so the 3,160 lb curb weight is hardly stressing the lift. The rating mostly pertains to the hydraulic unit as the frame itself can lift 21,000 lbs. Jack stands cannot be used as safety backups on this type of lift unless they are pre-loaded against the chassis, neither can crib blocks under the wheels. The risk of vehicle collapse is low but still there. I initially had 6" steel pedestal risers for the lift but it proved much too unstable to trust while wrenching on the car. I also had medium durometer "rubber" riser blocks but they were collapsing on the inside under the pressure load from the vehicle weight. I replaced them with solid pine wood 2"x4" to raise the high durometer "uni-body pinch-weld" polyurethane blocks enough to get correct vehicle & lift clearances. This solution is working great and the mounts are not flexing whatsoever. When the front wheels get removed the car will have wheels lying flat under the unibody to catch a potential collapse.

    The other pics is my FMIC design with the Setrab CVT cooler/integrated fan. This'll go in place of the stock side mounted FMIC. I have the Nismo RS bumper grill insert illustrated to improve radiator cooling I'm going to lose with the FMIC. I may switch to the treadstone 22"x 6"x 3.5" core as an alternate as well to avoid having to cut/weld the Garrett core endtanks.

    I've pulled the front clip and today I'm starting on the driveshaft/propeller shaft removal from the transfer case. I'll also be pulling the battery/intake/etc. to gain access to the (4) topside CVT bell housing bolts. The car has some corrosion so the "bottom-side" will be challenging. Next after that will be removing the right wheel, partial suspension, then drivers axle and transfer case.



    Attached Images Attached Images   
    Last edited by pboglio; 08-04-2018 at 04:19 PM.
    Car: 2012 Nissan Juke SV AWD/CVT
    Mods: Injen SRI, Forge FMIC w/pipes, Forge Recirc Valve, Injen 3" testpipe, Injen 3" catback exhaust, Hallman Pro MBC @ 14 psi, ECUTek/Viconti Stage 1 flash.
    Power: 185 w.h.p./210 lb-ft (DynoJet P&L Performance)
    Quote: "The enemy outnumber us a paltry 3 to 1, good odds for any Greek!" (David Wenham as "Dilios, Narrator & Spartan soldier, Frank Miller's "300", Battle of Plataea)

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  3. #2
    Senior Member JuklearWinter's Avatar
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    Its come full circle. I hate that you're having to replace it after all your research and experimenting but I am really looking forward to watching you catalog the process. Hope everything goes smoothly!
    2015 Juke SL FWD CVT: ​Orange Splish Splash Edition

    Performance: 2J Pulley, 2J Exhaust, 2J Midpipe, AEM Intake, Visconti Custom Tune, Manny Mounts

    Handling: Eibach Pro Springs, Spoon Rigid Collars, Vordoven Forme 9 18x8.5 Wheels

    Appearance: Color Studio Trim, Remin Carbon Fiber Dash Kit (don't buy one), custom painted grille, Redline Goods Wheel Wrap, Dash Topper Suede Mat, MW Bros Custom Seat Covers

    Misc: Innovate AFR/Boost Gauge, Injen X-Pedal Pro

  4. #3
    Senior Member pboglio's Avatar
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    Thanks. It was depressing for about 1 day, but the tranny was on it's last legs and it was a matter of time and I was pushing it anyway. I'll have some good links to post with sourcing, pricing, time schedule and all that. Luckily I have the equipment and tools to handle this no problem. I'm planning for (3) months or better. I'll then follow up with some good dyno runs but I might be conservative on the torque since I'd like to dyno what I drive everyday.

    I actually like driving a CVT car so that's why I'm keeping it and starting the build.
    Car: 2012 Nissan Juke SV AWD/CVT
    Mods: Injen SRI, Forge FMIC w/pipes, Forge Recirc Valve, Injen 3" testpipe, Injen 3" catback exhaust, Hallman Pro MBC @ 14 psi, ECUTek/Viconti Stage 1 flash.
    Power: 185 w.h.p./210 lb-ft (DynoJet P&L Performance)
    Quote: "The enemy outnumber us a paltry 3 to 1, good odds for any Greek!" (David Wenham as "Dilios, Narrator & Spartan soldier, Frank Miller's "300", Battle of Plataea)

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  6. #4
    Moderator squirtbrnr's Avatar
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    I will be watching this thread for sure. I like to know how things work and your analysis of the CVT will be quite intriguing to me.

    On a side note, depending on how corroded your front crash bar is, since you’re replacing it, can I buy it from you?
    2013 Nissan Juke SL - Gun Metallic - CVT - AWD "Hidden Content "
    Injen - CAI w/ Aux Tube, Midpipe, Cat-Back Exhaust, IC Pipes w/ Custom Lower Pipe
    Turbosmart - Kompact Recirc Valve
    2J Racing - Lightweight Pulley, UpRev Tune ~22psi
    Saikou Michi - Dual OCC
    Impact Racing Zone - Strut Bar
    Stillen - Sway Bar
    Prosport - EVO Boost Gauge
    Gen 2 Taillights, HID Retrofit Headlights


    "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." - Albert Einstein

  7. #5
    Moderator Macgyver's Avatar
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    Ditto. Its too bad that all this happened but now you know and we know since you are so kind in sharing your rebuild.

    Will you use Amsoil from day one or the NS2 ?
    2014 Silver 6spd RS 285whp 255wtq 21PSI
    Tint SunStrip. Cargo Cvr. DRL Mod. HID Hdlites, Ultratech Race Brace Pkg, Koenig whls&20mm spcrs
    LED:Gator, Backup, Dome, License, SideMrk, Cstm Hatch. Pinstriping. Weathertek's,
    Lited Scufs, Accent Liting, Turbonoob mounts. Uprev Tune. Boost gage, 2J DP & Pulley, Mamba Turbo, RHW FMIC
    Injen IC pipes,CAI, Midpipe,Stillen Exhst, TS BOV & Wastegate, IRZ Stut Brce, Maxbore TBody

  8. #6
    Senior Member pboglio's Avatar
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    Squirtbnr, I'll let you know if I'll put it up for sale.

    Macgyver,

    I'll be running Amsoil from the get go. The AMSOIL has proven on my car to hold torque very well, even on my completely worn out belt. I'm looking at the Bosch 901047 belt rated at 350-400 N-m (257 - 294 lb-ft). I need to confirm the OEM belt is the Bosch 901066 before buying anything, the teardown should help here.

    I just dropped the Injen midpipe/testpipe. Doesn't sound like much but it was 2 hours of cutting off the bolts. The Injen exhaust gasket gave up pretty good causing a big exhaust leak. Injen says they used 304 S.S. tube but it looks like 400 series to me based on the extensive surface corrosion. I now have a straight shot at disconnecting the driveshaft with alot more room to work as well. The catback and driveshaft will not be dropped as it's unnecessary. This is a huge time saver as well.

    However, the front subframe is going to be hell. I need to disconnect the front sway bar end links, disconnect the steering rack and tie rods, disconnect the transverse link from the front knuckles, pull the axles, swing the knuckles out of the way, etc. Then finally remove like maybe 9 bolts to drop the front subframe onto a jack. If the bolts aren't corroded in place, this'll go good. The transfer case and CVT should then be fairly straightforward. I'm figuring maybe 5-7 working days if nothing is frozen in place, then the trans is on the workbench for teardown. I usually take my time on these tranny swaps since I'm not in a rush. I'll take detailed pictures of this part since it's kinda tricky.
    Car: 2012 Nissan Juke SV AWD/CVT
    Mods: Injen SRI, Forge FMIC w/pipes, Forge Recirc Valve, Injen 3" testpipe, Injen 3" catback exhaust, Hallman Pro MBC @ 14 psi, ECUTek/Viconti Stage 1 flash.
    Power: 185 w.h.p./210 lb-ft (DynoJet P&L Performance)
    Quote: "The enemy outnumber us a paltry 3 to 1, good odds for any Greek!" (David Wenham as "Dilios, Narrator & Spartan soldier, Frank Miller's "300", Battle of Plataea)

  9. #7
    Moderator Macgyver's Avatar
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    I saw the rust on my 2012. So I took matters on and my present Juke. I treated the underside immediately. It is not gonna rust out thats for sure. If its not painted and rust treated. Its got Fluid film on it every year.
    2014 Silver 6spd RS 285whp 255wtq 21PSI
    Tint SunStrip. Cargo Cvr. DRL Mod. HID Hdlites, Ultratech Race Brace Pkg, Koenig whls&20mm spcrs
    LED:Gator, Backup, Dome, License, SideMrk, Cstm Hatch. Pinstriping. Weathertek's,
    Lited Scufs, Accent Liting, Turbonoob mounts. Uprev Tune. Boost gage, 2J DP & Pulley, Mamba Turbo, RHW FMIC
    Injen IC pipes,CAI, Midpipe,Stillen Exhst, TS BOV & Wastegate, IRZ Stut Brce, Maxbore TBody

  10. #8
    Senior Member pboglio's Avatar
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    Smart move on the rust preventation. My Unibody....looks really good actually. I had to cut the mid pipe exhaust bolts, swaybar endlink, knuckle/endlink ball joint, wheel nut completly off. That was just on the drivers suspension. All the front subframe..... bolts are hanging loose at this point.....they were not rusted on and easy to break loose. The drivers axle slid right out of the hub, usually a problem area. Waiting to pop it from the transmission tomorrow. Alot worse then I expected but the dremmel... with a cutoff wheel is a huge time saver. My 500 lb-ft impact was no match for the wheel nut. I had to cut 2 slices to weaken the nut......then impact it off. Works everytime. Subframe should drop by this weekend along with the CVT trans and transfer case. I'll be getting new wheel hubs, new axles, new front end links, new tie rods, new sway bar end links and new struts/springs, new brake rotors/pads. I'll have to refurbish the front knuckles......had an end link ball joint seize up.....gotta cut that out too. I'm gonna repaint the subframe as well, moderate rust but it's thick sheetmetal and costs nearly $900 new. Overall, progress is moving along after 1 week. I need to start cleaning up the work area when the right side suspension is completed. Then I'll setup a teardown station and a separate rebuild station for the cvt tranny using some folding tables. Finally I'll put the parts order list together and start spending some money.
    Last edited by pboglio; 08-06-2018 at 11:22 AM.
    Car: 2012 Nissan Juke SV AWD/CVT
    Mods: Injen SRI, Forge FMIC w/pipes, Forge Recirc Valve, Injen 3" testpipe, Injen 3" catback exhaust, Hallman Pro MBC @ 14 psi, ECUTek/Viconti Stage 1 flash.
    Power: 185 w.h.p./210 lb-ft (DynoJet P&L Performance)
    Quote: "The enemy outnumber us a paltry 3 to 1, good odds for any Greek!" (David Wenham as "Dilios, Narrator & Spartan soldier, Frank Miller's "300", Battle of Plataea)

  11. #9
    Moderator Macgyver's Avatar
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    Dayum. You got a ton to do. But at least you are doing it right.

    Are RS parts any better ? I know some are beefier and from Nissan they may be close to the same price? Just a hint.

    I am doing my Spoon Sub frame busings soon. Should be interesting.

    Oh btw on your Quote. I like a target rich environment. Haha.
    2014 Silver 6spd RS 285whp 255wtq 21PSI
    Tint SunStrip. Cargo Cvr. DRL Mod. HID Hdlites, Ultratech Race Brace Pkg, Koenig whls&20mm spcrs
    LED:Gator, Backup, Dome, License, SideMrk, Cstm Hatch. Pinstriping. Weathertek's,
    Lited Scufs, Accent Liting, Turbonoob mounts. Uprev Tune. Boost gage, 2J DP & Pulley, Mamba Turbo, RHW FMIC
    Injen IC pipes,CAI, Midpipe,Stillen Exhst, TS BOV & Wastegate, IRZ Stut Brce, Maxbore TBody

  12. #10
    Senior Member pboglio's Avatar
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    Jun 2012
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    I'm down for any RS parts for sure. If you have any ideas please let me know.

    There is a bunch to do but I also have 3 months. I'm looking at some suspension upgrades as well, maybe the Bilstein B14 coilovers. My EVO X runs Bilsteins and they are nice, handles tight but still has some compliance. I'd like to reduce some bodyroll but can't find any front sway bar upgrades for the Juke, do you know of any?
    I like that quote, it's one of my favorite lines.
    Car: 2012 Nissan Juke SV AWD/CVT
    Mods: Injen SRI, Forge FMIC w/pipes, Forge Recirc Valve, Injen 3" testpipe, Injen 3" catback exhaust, Hallman Pro MBC @ 14 psi, ECUTek/Viconti Stage 1 flash.
    Power: 185 w.h.p./210 lb-ft (DynoJet P&L Performance)
    Quote: "The enemy outnumber us a paltry 3 to 1, good odds for any Greek!" (David Wenham as "Dilios, Narrator & Spartan soldier, Frank Miller's "300", Battle of Plataea)

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