Notes: In a very limited selection on small pickup trucks, the Frontier is one of the best options except -- and I cannot emphasize this enough -- for one problem that makes it an avoid-at-all-costs pain in you know what: the radiator ruptures and leaks coolant into the transmission, killing it. Such a buzzkill.

This problem affects most 2005-2008 (and maybe beyond) Frontiers.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
88,900 miles
Total Complaints:
20 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace defective chains & tensioners (15 reports)
  2. not sure (4 reports)
  3. replace (1 reports)
2005 Nissan Frontier engine problems

engine problem

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2005 Nissan Frontier Owner Comments

problem #20

Jul 012018

Frontier 4 Wheel

  • Manual transmission
  • 40,000 miles


THE TIMING BELT WAS ALWAYS NOISY, I am the original owner. So, if the timing belt was always noisy, and NISSAN knew there was a problem with the timing belts, then NISSAN should have at least paid for the replacement at only 40,000 miles. The engine stalled in traffic at an extremely busy intersection going only 5 miles an hour, I was lucky I wasn't hit or killed, or what if I had been going 60mph? I shudder to think of the possible catastrophic engine failure that could have occurred from this faulty timing chain. The very least Nissan should do is pay for my repairs.

I hope a CLASS ACTION ATTORNEY SEES THIS! DO YOU KNOW WASHINGTON AND CALIFORNIA ALREADY WON THEIR SUIT? NISSAN needs to be held accountable big time. The fact that I had to use my bill money to pay the repairs and I am 73 years old still working to survive...really put me in a hole. Thanks Nissan! Now belly up to the bar and do the right thing, otherwise I will tell everyone I know in my community and on Facebook, how truly disgraceful and disreputable you are! Heck, I'm going to do it anyway.

- Donna G., Makawao, HI, US

problem #19

Jul 112018

Frontier LE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,908 miles

Nissan not standing by their product and making timing chain repairs.

- Art N., Inverness, FL, US

problem #18

May 012018

Frontier Niamo 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles

Nissan has to fix the bad guides at 117k my truck should run for another 200k. They don't want to help with repairs or do anything really .

- Kyle B., Kingston, PA, US

problem #17

Feb 052017

Frontier SE 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles


This vehicle has only 69000 miles on it and I can't drive it because of the defective timing chain guides. I have been turning the motor over for over a year in the hopes I can save it. I loved that truck but I have had a lot of defects to correct and this is the last and most major one to solve.

- Rob B., Metairie, US

problem #16

Dec 022015

Frontier SE 4L

  • Manual transmission
  • 105,000 miles

Secondary timing chain and tensioners was poorly designed by Nissan. Dealership wants $2000 to fix issue. Should be a re-callable (recall) offense.

- Matthew S., Arlington, US

problem #15

Sep 012014

Frontier 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 149,760 miles

After I had the transmission replaced in my truck I started hearing a whining noise and I thought it was the transmission, but when I had it checked, I was told it's my timing gear they said it may go on for years or it may not. But it's sure is aggravating to hear that noise not knowing if it's going to go out or not. I really think the 05 frontier was a bad deal and Nissan should deal with it for their customers. I had a 93 Nissan pickup and it was the best I ever owned. That's what made me buy this one. I have been very disappointed with this 2005. If Nissan would help with the repairs then It would help to keep good faith in them.

- taylorms, Waynesboro, MS, US

problem #14

Jun 052007

Frontier SE 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles


Good job Nissan truck still under warranty but one of the THOUSANDS of parts not covered I'm truely surprised you manage to sell even one car anymore

Update from May 17, 2016: Not timing belt, serpentine belt tensioner

- Eugene R., Cedarpines Park, CA, US

problem #13

Jan 012016

Frontier 4.0L V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 163,000 miles

For this to be a known issue and not recalled is ludicrous. Now, with a winch bumper and winch installed the removal and repair is even more costly and on my dime since it wasn't disclosed up front while the vehicle was under warranty. The repair is half the costs of a rebuilt installed motor, and one third the costs of a new Nissan crate motor.

Also, there is no "Kit" available to replace all three timing chains, secondary (2) and primary (1), plus tensioners, and chain guides.

My costs to repair will be $3300 on a 10-year old vehicle.

- docwells2000, Red Oak, TX, US

problem #12

Dec 212015

Frontier Nismo 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

It is disappointing to work for the very company that does not fix their problems

- Michael J., Winchester, US

problem #11

Jan 012015

Frontier LE 6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

Nissan should stand behind their products and replace.

- Tim E., Atlanta, US

problem #10

Sep 212015

Frontier LE 4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


Annoying timing chain whine that I was forced to fix or suffer catastrophic damage to the engine at any time. $1700 out of pocket, no help from Nissan. At 75k miles I should not have timing chain problems.

- Daniel E., Redmond, US

problem #9

Dec 052014

Frontier 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,000 miles

I purchased the vehicle from a dealer in December 2014, 2 days later the check engine light came on and the engine was idling really high and erratic. In overdrive it was screaming. Took it to my local Nissan dealer and $1500 later I have a great running vehicle. Codes PO507 B2205 Recommended primary and secondary timing chain, guide chains, tension sides, tensioner face, crankshaft front seal, several other seals and fluid changes

I had researched this vehicle on the internet and was aware of the issue with the radiator leaking into the tranny but that this particular problem occurred well under 100,000 and I checked what I could. The radiator looked new and not a spot of rust anywhere on it.

I really like the vehicle, but I seriously doubt I will ever buy another Nissan.

- mamasugar.neal, Vancouver, WA, US

problem #8

Apr 182010

Frontier SE 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles

Timing chain and sensors failed and I had to repair out of my own pocket. Nissan made the Frontier an inferior product.

- Alden J., Bolivar, MO, US

problem #7

Jun 122014

Frontier Naismith 4.0L Gas

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,250 miles

Very pissed off. All due to light duty plastic tensioners. F*#k!

- Gary P., Haleiwa, HI, US

problem #6

Jul 112014

Frontier Naismith 4.0L Gas

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

Go to nissan dealership for repair of transmission and radiator cross contamination problem and I am informed that this problem exists as well. Timing chain is touted as a "lifetime part" while cheap plastic guides invalidate the whole concept.

- Gary P., Haleiwa, HI, US

problem #5

Nov 302012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles

No way a truck with 48K miles should have timing chain problems. This is a design defect in with the chain tensioner and Nissan knows it - they just don't stand behind their vehicles. Will not ever buy another Nissan. Fortunately I found out about the trans cooler problem and bypassed it before that went bad and melted down my trans. What a POS.

- Steve A., Monrovia, CA, US

problem #4

Mar 292012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,384 miles

I took in to because the truck would die driving down the road and but would start back up. Which had said was the Cam Sensors - which I had replaced but they also said that the timing chain was bad. Now if all the complaints that I'm seeing on the internet is true then why doesn't Nissan have a recall since it's a major problem. All mechanics that I have spoke to are saying that they shouldn't wear out. I have owned several Nissan cars and they have been great, but the truck isn't.

- jacquetx, Forney, TX, US

problem #3

Jan 122012

Frontier LE 4.3L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,650 miles

Nissan knows about this problem, there has been a TSB for years. The dealership I bought this vehicle from KNEW about it and waited until the warranty expired time wise (but not mileage wise) and then said hey, you have a problem and need to get this fixed. I still have the original tires and brakes on this truck and have had all the service done as recommended, so the truck hasnt been abused by any means. (Now I find out about the guaranteed radiator/transmission failure issue and I'm REALLY pissed.) Nissan corporate called me after I filed a bad on line followup from the dealership, but all they did was waste my time. I asked the dumb bitch on the other end of the line why she called if they weren't going to do anything in the first place. no response. Nissan SUCKS. I will never by another Nissan product and fully intend to bad mouth their products every chance I get.

- Rick C., Culver City, CA, US

problem #2

Sep 142011

Frontier LE 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

I had my truck in for a recall at Balise Nissan where they told me that my timing chain and tensioners needed to be replaced. I was floored and I could not understand that this could ever happen, timing belts yes chains and parts no. I had my local mechanic service it. He informed me that I and anyone who has this problem it has to be done but to save the parts and bill so when it does get to a recall notice Nissan will have to pay. I was also told, and I did have it done, the water pump is actually in that same compartment -it was not in the best of shape since they were in there anyway the extra $225 would be well worth it because I was planning on keeping it anyway. If the water pump went it would cost the same as the Timing job because it is so labor intensive. Good luck to all frontier owners in this matter lets just hope for a recall.

- joseph b, Warwick, RI, US

problem #1

Mar 102010

Frontier Nismo 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,348 miles

Have 2005 Nissan Frontier with defective timing chains & tensioners. Makes loud whining noise. This problem is well documented & they have released service bulletin NTB09-128 DATED 11/16/09. This failure is due to poor quality timing chains. They were not polished or finished properly so they wear the also poor quality hollow tensioner shoes down very quickly. I have used Royal Purple oil & installed a much larger remote filter kit since the truck was new. I have cared for this truck better than most people would. I tried to get assistance from Nissan consumer affairs & was denied any assistance. The dealership was nice enough to discount the job for me. This should have been covered by the factory. Toyota would have recalled this problem. Will never but another Nissan ever again

- Wayne K., Waipahu, HI, US

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