2009 Nissan GT-R Long-Term Road Test - Maintenance

2009 Nissan GT-R Long-Term Road Test

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Final Trip to the Service Bay

November 16, 2009


One thing we won't miss about our 2009 Nissan GT-R is taking it to the dealer for service. We had our 30,000 mile service, which was basically an oil change and inspection, and it cost $283.

While it was in the shop at Nissan of Santa Monica they inspected the car pretty thoroughly and concluded that we will need brakes in about 3,000 miles. Other than that it was an uneventful visit which is good because it will be in the hands of a new owner soon and maintenance will be their responsibility.

Meanwhile, our eBay auction is concluding with the final bidding starting at $52,100. We'll let you know what price we wound up at tomorrow.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Corded Tires, Again

October 12, 2009


Another day, another set of tires for our 2009 Nissan GT-R. This round we bought two fronts and paid $907.96, mounting and balancing included. Also in this total was a fee to patch a puncture located center-tread in the left-rear tire.

The last time we replaced the front tires was at 16,000 miles. We blame the aggressive suspension setting and extended freeway driving for the short tire life. But we knew what to expect. To date we've spent $2,700 on tires and accumulated 27,000 miles on the GT-R.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 27,780 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Tire Surprise

September 25, 2009

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Yesterday, a low tire pressure light flashed up in our long-term 2009 Nissan GT-R's instrument cluster. I punched up the tire pressure display to determine the offending tire. Okay, left rear. I looked for a nail and found a small one in the middle of the tread. Yay for technology.

But I checked the other tires, you know, just in case. That's when this tire check got a lot more exciting.

Here's the inside of the left front tire:

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2009 Nissan GT-R: How It Fares on the Driveway

August 20, 2009

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In a previous post, commenter "mptlptr" had asked if we are able to negotiate driveways without having to go in/out at an angle in our 2009 Nissan GT-R. Despite the scrapes show in this picture, I was surprised to find that we didn't have to come in at a steep angle or ease ourselves onto the street, at least from our company driveway, the cause of many a scuffed-up chin. See this Z post.

Yup, unlike our Z, the GT-R doesn't require extra babying to exit the company garage. But the Z scrapes almost every time even when I'm braking and going slowww over that transition at an angle even.

Another test is 15-mph bumps. In the Z, I could brake before and during the bump and yet still manage to scrape its chin. In the GT-R, I could go over those bumps straight on at 21 mph and still emerge unscathed.

BTW, I took a ruler to the GT-R and found that the car's chin is about 6 inches off the ground, while the portion that's right in front of the front wheel is a little over 5 inches. Brent has the Z and says, "I used a tape measure. It's lowest on the corners of the car and at that point there's 4 and 11/16ths inches (or 107 mm) of ground clearance."

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 27,548 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Fully Automated? Not Completely. Not Yet.

August 14, 2009

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Aside from its frequent dealer visits, the usual criticism leveled at our 2009 Nissan GT-R is that it does too much for its driver, in effect isolating you from the driving experience. The car and its computers work the clutch(es), manage your launch and determine a target yaw rate as you steer into a turn.

So what's left for you to do? I went looking around our GT-R for stuff to do.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: New Performance Rubber

August 13, 2009

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Peep our new high-tech, high-strength rubberized iPod retention device. Slick, ey? Sigh....who am I kidding, the GT-R broke again. This time it was the return spring in the iPod connector. If you're not familiar with how one of these works, here's the skinny: There are two prongs on the side of that cable, each has a hook-ish thing at the end that holds the iPod tight to the cable. Push the cable straight in to dock it, push the side-buttons and pull to un-dock. Easy. Well, except when one of the prongs refuses to hold.

I've got a bunch of liberal arts degrees, my solution was to jam my iPod in the glove box (where the cable resides), under the 5,600-page owner's manual, and then bolster it with some additional paperwork we keep handy. After that, I'd rest the cable on the iPod and drive real careful so as to not upset the delicate balance achieved. (It was either that or write a sonnet about it and hope that spurs someone else to fix it.) Dan Edmunds is an Engineer, as such, his solution involved actually doing something productive. A big rubber band held the iPod in place until we could take it to the dealer to complain.

And complain we did!

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2009 Nissan GT-R: It's back. Again.

August 12, 2009

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I've nearly lost count how many times I've done a 'back from the dealer' post on the GT-R. Fifty-six...ish? And now I get to do it again!

Our 2009 Nissan GT-R is back from the dealer!

There we go, now to the point: The GT-R was out of commission from Monday morning until early Tuesday evening. In that time they replaced the same part that broke 11 months and 22,000 miles ago -- The vent control valve which, when broken, prevents excess pressure from properly venting, causing, among other things, a check engine light and fuel to puke out of the filler neck. Let me tell you, when that happens the cabin smells great. Fun times.

Two days out of service. No cost to us.

There was also a second, non-mechanical (surprise) issue we had repaired at the same time. But I'm saving that for a post later on tonight.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 27,170 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Engine System Malfunction

August 10, 2009

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Maybe it was the stress of being Car of the Week, but the 2009 Nissan GT-R went all diva on us, again, this morning requesting an immediate visit to the dealer. We checked the code and it was the same evap emissions control business we had back at 4,900 miles. And so, just like last time, we cleared the code assuming it was a loose gas cap, and went on with our business. (If you'll remember, last time the fault was caused not by a bad gas cap, but by a faulty Event Control Valve which was replaced.) Less than a day later, the light came back and we went straight to the dealer.

And that's what we know so far. The first day of the GT-R's second tour of 'Of The Week' duty will be spent at Nissan of Santa Monica. We'll give you updates as we have them.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 27,169 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Click Click Click Click Click

August 07, 2009

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"I think I picked up a screw." Walton says over the radio after his first pass down the drag strip. "Front left clicking noise?" I reply. "Yep." "Don't worry. It's been happening for a least three weeks. Maybe a few months. It's impossible to notice with the windows up. Windows down and next to a wall, it's all you hear. You'll be fine. Go faster."

Prudence ruled and we checked it anyway. There was no screw. But that click is, and after at least one dealer visit, it's time to get to sleuthing. Off to the internet we go.

Turns out this is an altogether too common problem on 2009 Nissan GT-Rs. See that pic that I posted (Thanks, Dan!)? See anything odd about it? Or anything asymmetrical?

Hint: It's got a yellow arrow pointing to it. Hint #2: Look at the top yellow arrow. Hint #3: There's no top Return Spring Clip (Nissan part # 41090-JF20C ).

So the noise, it would seem from other GT-R owners' experience, is an improperly lubed and improperly supported retainer pin. Nissan, it seems, thought one would suffice. (See the 2008 Subaru WRX Brake Pad Replacement blog for the more common, and correct, way to do this with one large spring clip.) We've ordered the part ($8) and it'll be here next week. Most likely we'll install the item ourselves, but I promise nothing at this point.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant

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2009 Nissan GT-R: 5 More Days

August 03, 2009

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If you'll remember, the last time we heard from our GT-R, Dan wasn't waving his arms frantically enough as Godzilla left him stranded. The following Monday (7/27/09) I dropped the GT-R off at, where else, Nissan of Santa Monica-- I'm considering asking for a cubicle there, it would save a good deal of time lately.

For those who don't remember and cant' be bothered to follow the link, here's what happened: Dan Edmunds tried to start the car and it didn't work. He rattled the wheel around with some vigor, tried again and it worked. Yey. A day-or-so later he goes to start the thing to drive to work and it's dead. (It's at this point I get a text message saying he won't be in until one of his neighbors wakes up.) Within minutes of him arriving at work we brought it over to the shop.

Follow the jump for the full story.

For maybe the first time ever, the dealer called me and said, "Good news, we got the car to replicate the problem on the second try!" There's nothing more frustrating than getting your car back, unfixed, with a 'Could Not Duplicate' designation. This was late Tuesday and the problem had been identified as a faulty steering lock. Trouble is, there wasn't one locally and getting one from the main distribution center would take time as they were closed for business by this point.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Stranded x 2

July 27, 2009

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Not everything about the San Diego Comic-Con was fun or funny. The much needed sanity break I took with the 2009 Nissan GT-R ended with a minor crisis.

I dropped Ken off at his car, parked the GT-R and bought myself a Gatorade. Not five minutes after parking the car, it wouldn't start. Not a blip, not a crank. Save for this Intelligent Key warning lamp, the dash stayed completely dark, just as it would if the intelligent key wasn't in the car with me.

It was, of course, and the transmitter worked just fine when I unlocked the doors. So I plugged the fob into the emergency receptacle that's provided for occasions such as this...

Still nothing. She's dead, Jim.

There was nothing for it but to crack open the owner's manual, which has this to say about that:

Intelligent key warning lamp

This light warns of a malfunction with the electrical steering lock system or the Intelligent Key system. If the light comes on while the engine is stopped, it may be impossible to free the steering lock or to start the engine. If the light comes on while the engine is running, you can drive the vehicle. However in these cases, contact a GT-R certified NISSAN dealer for repair as soon as possible.

Sentence number two is exactly what happened, though the Intelligent Key seemed to be functioning normally from a door lock perspective.

And the steering lock itself wasn't actually locked, as I could turn the wheel from lock to lock, albiet with difficulty because the engine and power steering were off, of course. It was as if the steering lock failed to lock, or something.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: 25,000 Mile Service

July 21, 2009


The good news is that we don't need to bring our 2009 Nissan GT-R to the dealer again until it clicks past 31,000 miles. The bad news is that we just brought our GT-R over to Nissan of Santa Monica for a service, the one ours alerted us to last week at 24,960 miles, that cost $537.82.

What does a GT-R owner get for his 500 bucks? Well, an oil change of course. As usual, that runs just over the price of a black market kidney: $227.52.

But this service had a new issue, one we hadn't dealt with yet; we had to have the coolant changed. Now, you can imagine what ran through our minds when we saw this in the maintenance book. "Coolant? They charged $86/qt for ATF; this stuff should be at least $145/gal." Turns out it wasn't that expensive, $21.65 per half quart for regular Nissan Long Life Antifreeze. (25,000 miles is long life?) But they managed to get some of that money back by having an overly complex drain/fill/drain/fill procedure where they're instructed to use a 30/70 mix of coolant/distilled water each time. $64 in parts + $230 in labor brought this part of the service to $294.95. Add in the tax ($15.35) and bring back the 227.52 for the oil change and we're safely back at our original fee of $537.82

As usual, the service was excellent. There were concerns that Nissan dealers may not know how to deal with owners of $80,000 toys, but they do. You drive up in a GT-R and the red carpet comes out....followed quickly by the credit card swiper.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 24,958 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: 25,000 miles

July 20, 2009

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Hooray! It was early August when we introduced you to our 2009 Nissan GT-R. 20,000 miles was never going to be a problem, not with this kind of allure, and not when we bought it in Tennessee and drove it back to L.A. 25,000 miles in just about 11 months is what we expected. What we weren't expecting were the repair costs: $7,098.07 so far. (Edit: We paid $71,900 for the car + maintenance brings the total to $78,998.07 -- Still $51,001.93 cheaper than its main rival, the Porsche 911 Turbo, that stickers for $130,000.)

Oh, and just in case the static image of an odometer at 25,000 miles doesn't get your blood pumping, follow the jump for what is potentially the most boring video ever taken of a GT-R.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Service due

July 16, 2009

Our long-term Nissan R35 wants an oil change -- Pronto!
We will bring it in once the bank approves the loan for the service.

In other breaking news, the GT-R will soon be celebrating its 25,000th anniversary.
Perhaps we'll celebrate with a party at Chateau Oldham...

Albert Austria, Sr Vehicle Eval Engineer @ 24,960 mi

R35 Service due display.jpg  

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Life at 20,000 miles

May 12, 2009

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We just reached the 20,000-mile mark in our 2009 Nissan GT-R. Some of our more memorable costs of ownership include a windshield replacement ($1,669), four new tires ($1,757) and the now infamous 18,000-mile service ($2,010).

Total cost to date: $6,560.25

Days out of service to date: 12

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 20,000 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: 9-12 Month Transmission Calibration

April 23, 2009


As Mike Schmidt mentioned yesterday, our 2009 Nissan GT-R went straight from the body shop to Nissan of Santa Monica for service.

No, it wasn't broken again, it was just that Tuesday 4-21-09 was the first day our GT-R was eligible to have the transmission recalibrated under warranty. Nissan wants one calibration done at the 1,000-mile mark. We hit 1,000 miles somewhere in the middle of the country while bringing our GT-R back from Tennessee. That service was done at about 3,900 miles and remains the cheapest service we've had to date; they didn't have pricing available yet. But the next service is not based on mileage. Instead they mandate a transmission recalibration be done between the 9 and 12-month mark. Our GT-R, according to the computers at Nissan, started its service life on 7-21-08. Tuesday was nine-months to the day.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Body Shop and More Service

April 22, 2009

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After 5 weeks our GT-R is finally back in action. Almost. We took it in for service while waiting to schedule an insurance adjustor. Repairs to the rear bumper were finished after about a week at no cost to us. The at-fault party's insurance picked up the $3,500 bill.

But now its back to the dealer again. We are due for a scheduled transmission calibration and alignment. So we pulled from the body shop driveway back into the service drive at Nissan of Santa Monica. We will give you a summary of the service when it returns.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 19,000 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: More new tires

March 27, 2009

So our 2009 Nissan GT-R needs new rear tires. You don't think it has anything to do with the way we've been driving do you? This video is a prime example of what can happen when you put fresh tires on the front of a car and leave worn ones out back and go tearing around a skidpad. That's test driver Josh Jacquot's voice you hear over the radio at the beginning of the video. He's clearly a fan of this setup.

Total cost: $903.52 for a set of Bridgestone Potenza REO70R size 285/35R20. Stokes Tire Pros here in Santa Monica ordered them Wednesday, they showed up Thursday and were installed in about an hour (busy day).

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Bargain Supercar Gets Expensive

March 26, 2009

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Those of you 2009 Nissan GT-R haters out there, you're going to love this one. To the GT-R fanboys, well, sorry, this is going to be hard to make excuses for.

Last week we took our Nissan GT-R to Nissan of Santa Monica for routine service. We knew going in that this was going to be an expensive one. We'd been warned ahead of time that this service was not only an oil change (already expensive on these cars), but also a routine change of the differential and transaxle fluids.

Should be simple, right? Consider this: Automatic Transmission Fluid (GT-R specific) lists for $114.98 per quart. That's not a typo-- maybe an accounting error on Nissan's side, but not a typo. Forget Cristal we're going to start seeing hip-hop videos with rappers pouring this stuff on the ground while throwing dollars in the air. Don't worry, though, we didn't pay that. We got a deal; only $84.24 each. What a bargain.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Smacked in Its Rear

March 17, 2009


See the two dark circles just above the Nissan GT-R's lower rear fascia? That's what happens when the Pontiac GTO behind you fails to stop in slow-moving freeway traffic.

The GT0's young driver admitted to being so taken with the GT-R, he rear-ended the car while trying to get a closer look.

The impact was minimal, but enough to leave two screw gouges and a light plate frame impression on the supercar's rear end.

Unfortunately, our local dealer reports there's additional damage under the skin as well.

Estimate for repair: $3,626.18.


Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 18,260 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Time for Some Service

March 10, 2009


Our GT-R broke the 18,000 mile mark this weekend, an event which told the on-board information system that it was time for some maintenance. Actually, it gave us several alerts as the intervals can be adjusted to various mileage limits depending on how much you care about your GT-R.

Despite the repeated launch control take-offs, we do care deeply about our beloved GT-R. It'll get the proper attention shortly, probably just an oil change we're guessing.

Until then, we'll savor the fact that we have one of the highest mileage GT-Rs in the land.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 18,128 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Tired Front Tires

January 28, 2009


Our GT-R is down. No, the transaxle hasn't gone kapow, the front tires have. Check it out; both are corded on the inside edge of the tread. A Nissan engineer tells me he's surprised they lasted this long. "If they keep the suspension in the performance alignment settings, as you obviously have, most customers will get between 12,000-15,000 miles out of the first set of tires," he told me.

He's right. All GT-Rs are delivered with a performance alignment. It increases the car's grip due to a fair amount of negative camber, but it also accelerates front tire wear. There are less aggressive alignment settings that Nissan recommends, and your dealer will make the adjustment if you wish. We never wished. Our car has always had the performance alignment.

And now it is parked awaiting new front tires, which won't be cheap. Considering we just bought new rubber for our BMW 135i, this is not good timing.

Scott Oldham, Edmunds Editor in Chief @ 16,383 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Caveat Emptor

November 23, 2008


Sorry for the delay in posting this, but there was a lot going on with the service and it took a bit of time to iron out the wrinkles.

Follow the jump for full details, this one's a doozy.

As always, easy stuff out of the way first: 12,000-miles in GT-R world is transmission calibration and oil change time. That runs $384.95, $300 in labor and $84.95 in parts. Air filters are also recommended at this interval and given the amount of time this car spends in the desert, it was an easy decision to drop the $85 (this price is for the filter elements only -- still $15/ea more than Courtesy Nissan in Texas wants--because of an original price misquote here they threw the labor in for free. Expect that to cost more when servicing your GT-R.). After the recent fires we've experienced here in SoCal, though, we may need to replace them again sooner than we had wanted. That brings me to the first thing we did not have serviced; the in-cabin microfilter. But again, after these fires, we'll have to do soon.

The big thing here was the windshield. My usual contacts had no luck finding a GT-R windshield and wouldn't get one from Nissan. I could bring them a windshield, they said, but we'd have to buy it ourselves. Well, at that point it was easier just to have the dealer set up the appointment and that's what we did.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Is the GT-R's Transmission Really a Problem?

November 12, 2008


There's a considerable amount of internet chatter going on these days regarding the GT-R's durability. We've had our fair share of problems, but none of the issues have left us stranded - and that includes the transaxle that was replaced. It had a leaky seal that Nissan wanted to inspect more closely, but it never refused to work right.

That's noteworthy as most of the chat room bickering involves the transmission. We don't doubt other owners have had problems, but our experience has been considerably different.

For one, we bought the car at a dealership like everybody else and we never had to sign a waiver that said the warranty would be voided if we used the launch control system. If anybody else has, we would love to see it.

Since that time, we've track tested our GT-R twice, used launch control numerous times and ran it hard on the Streets of Willow road course during our GT-R versus ZR1 comparison test. The VDC was off and nothing broke. And this was on a car with over 11,000 miles on it, 5,000 of those miles since the new transaxle was installed. Drove it home last night and the car felt fine.

Again, we're not saying the GT-R doesn't have its problems, but when someone says they barely ever used launch control and suddenly their transmission imploded, you wonder if there's more to the story. We would be glad to hear them if people really want to vent, but for now we'll just keep driving our GT-R as hard as ever - "delicate" transmission and all.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 12,171 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Getting its New Windshield

November 06, 2008


This morning our 2009 Nissan GT-R returned to its second home, Santa Monica Nissan, to get a new windshield. The estimate? $1,696. And we had to leave it overnight.

During it's stay, we asked to have its scheduled maintenance calender reset. As you can see it thinks the car needs service. Trouble is, it doesn't. We're off schedule because the car was serviced early when we had its transaxle replaced some time ago.

And such is life with a supercar.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: This is going to be expensive...

October 26, 2008


Noticed this gem just the other day. Guess what? No third-party suppliers of windshields for an '09 Nissan GT-R.

The order for a new one has been placed with Nissan of Santa Monica. Installation and curing will leave the GT-R out of service for a full day. We'll let you know the extent of the damage to our budget when the glass arrives.

EDIT: A close-up photo of the impact has been added after the jump. Click the image for full size.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 11,708 miles.

Oh, and yes that is a fire extinguisher in the back seat....I'm not telling you why though.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: No Alignment Needed

October 20, 2008


During last week's sneak preview of the 370Z, one of the Nissan engineers in attendance asked to take a quick spin in our GT-R. He was curious to see if all the recent work we had done was up to spec. After a few brief runs around the block he gave a thumbs up to the transmission swap, but said he thought our alignment might be off.

Since we don't want any uneven wear on our very expensive tires, we took the GT-R to Steve Mitchell at M-Workz in Gardena to have a look. He's worked on more R35s than anyone in L.A., so if there was anything wrong he would know. After setting our GT-R up on his alignment rack, he checked the numbers and declared everything perfectly straight.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 9,437 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Fixed (again)(again)

September 24, 2008


After almost two weeks out of service, our 2009 Nissan GT-R is back on duty.

Follow the jump (and be prepared) for the full run-down of the fix(es).

Last Monday, Sept 15, our GT-R went back to Nissan of Santa Monica after only three days back in our hands. The trouble this time was, again, related to the evaporative system and the fuel system. It wouldn't take gas.

The following is taken directly from the Nissan GT-R's owner's manual. "REFUELING STOPS BEFORE THE TANK IS FULL The fuel tank pressure is higher when the vehicle is hot. If the vehicle is refueled when the vehicle is hot, the fuel pump may automatically shut off before the tank is full. This does not indicate that there is a malfunction. This will not happen after the vehicle has cooled."

This "quirk" results from the tank set-up, a saddle-bag design with two resevoirs and, obviously, only one inlet that sits atop the transaxle. As the temperature in the tank rises, the gases fill the void and limit the amount of fuel that can be pumped in.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Still Not 100%

September 15, 2008


Late last Friday, we got a call that our GT-R was back in one piece and ready for the weekend. A full run down of everything that was done is in the works, but until then I volunteered to give it a test drive to see if everything felt up to factory spec.

It did. The car is still stupid fast and there were no new noises coming from the rear end. No sign of the warning light that started everything either. Everything seemed solid until I went to gas it up. The nozzle clicked off with the tank only half full and no amount of wrangling would get it flowing again. I tried two other pumps at different gas stations, but it was the same story. Needless to say, the GT-R went back to dealer. We'll keep you posted on its progress.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 6,108 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Gutless

September 12, 2008

Not going to tell you how we got past the iron curtain to get these photos of our Nissan GTR, but a bit of subterfuge was required. Enjoy.


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2009 Nissan GT-R: MIA

September 10, 2008


(Illustration by photo guy Kurt Niebuhr)

10-days ago I dropped our GTR off at Nissan of Santa Monica to let them deal with a fuel leak we experienced during some *ahem* spirited driving. Once at the dealer the problem, predictably, could not be repeated and nobody in the GTR program had heard of it. Unlike some other issues we've experienced that the dealer couldn't replicate, Nissan decided to act on our complaint immediately instead of waiting for it to happen again. But as the problem couldn't be duplicated and they have no pool of information on this car from which to draw, they weren't quite sure what they were going to do. After several calls to Nissan brass in the States and Japan a solution was decided upon: Replace everything involved in the fuel / evap system from the driver seat back and ship it back to HQ for analysis. The parts were already in the mail when he called me. The car, they said, would be available the following Wednesday, today.

Well this morning I got another call from our local Nissan shop with more news. When the corporate techs (flown in to diagnose a sick godzilla) were removing the transaxle (!) to replace the fuel tank they noticed some moisture on one of the seals. They wiped it off and road tested the car in an attempt to replicate that leak. No dice. Following precedent set with the fuel system problem, they called HQ and were told to remove the transaxle and ship it back for analysis.

The new gearbox is already en-route, we should have the GTR back on Tuesday unless they decide to replace the engine while they're at it.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ ?,??? miles.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Back to the dealer (again)

September 03, 2008


It's a good thing that Doug at Nissan of Santa Monica is a nice guy and that he's one of the most attentive and knowledgeable service advisors I've run across. I have a feeling I'm going to be seeing a lot of him in the next year with our GT-R.

We had two reasons for bringing in our Nissan this time. The first was pretty benign, the 6,000-mile service was at hand. The second issue was more serious; during our performance testing our GT-R was leaking fuel. Leaking may not be a strong enough word here. Trails of fuel raced from the fuel-door and the smell was overwhelming. There were no warning lights and no noticeable loss of performance. Nothing really except a bunch of gas being ejected from the car. The testing was thankfully finished when the fuel-purge began so we parked it, ate lunch, and then drove it home. On the way home, and for the next few days, the issue did not repeat. That doesn't mean that it never happened, though.

The car is at the Nissan dealership now, we'll let you know when we have an estimated time of delivery. One of the problems with buying cars this new and driving them with the frequency we do is that we're often the first people to encounter problems (we were the first GT-R to be serviced in Santa Monica -- they didn't even have a price in their computer yet for the service when we went for our belated 1,500 mile) and the diagnosis is a learning experience for all involved.

Stay tuned.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 5,990 miles.

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2009 Nissan GTR: Back From the dealer

August 29, 2008


On Monday our Long Term Nissan GTR went back to Nissan of Santa Monica for a recurring "Check Engine" light. The first time we reset the gas cap and cleared the code ourselves. The second time we brought the car in, they read the gas cap code tightened the cap and cleared the code. On this, the third go around, we sat them down and told them to fix something or we weren't going to leave.

We couldn't just go in blind at this point, not with a car with more computer processing ability than Russia circa-1992. No, one of the neat things about this business is our Rolodex is bursting at the hinges with phone numbers, email addresses, fax numbers and blood types of engineering types at the manufacturer level. While we won't ask them to pull any strings, we have no issue calling them in to appease our own curiosities.

When we heard back from "our guy" he said that, given our symptoms, the Evap Vent Control valve was most likely the culprit, but the dealer would know more once they scanned the car. As much as we trust the guys over at Nissan Santa Monica, there's no sense in giving them partial information. I blacked out the pertinent names and associations and gave them a quick summary of the potential problem. They said they'd call when they had a diagnosis.

Sure enough when we got the call late that very same Monday we dropped it off, they had read the codes and the evap vent control valve was faulty. Good news was that the part was in stock and was being installed as we speak.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Four New Facts About Godzilla

August 26, 2008


Each and every time you start the GT-R it checks its own oil.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Back to the Dealer

August 25, 2008


For the second time in a week our long-term 2009 Nissan GT-R is back at Santa Monica Nissan to fix a problem with the car's evaporative emissions system. Atleast, we think it's a problem with the car's evaporative emissions system. The GT-R seems to be running great, but this warning light keeps showing itself sporadically. The first time it happened the dealer said it was the old loose gas cap problem.

Hopefully they have a real solution to the issue this time around. We'll let you know.

Scott Oldham, Edmunds Editor in Chief @ 4,993 miles

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2009 Nissan GT-R: One Sick Machine

August 15, 2008

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Just this morning I was chided by an alert reader that my use of the word "sick" to describe our 2009 Nissan GT-R's awesome performance in yesterday's post was misleading.

"For a moment there I really thought your GT-R needed a doctor," was the exact text.

Well, anyone who has watched an episode of "My Name is Earl" knows that karma is a powerful thing. Perhaps I souldn't have been alarmed when the above dire warning flashed before my eyes as I merged the GT-R from the Marina freeway onto the 405 south with a downshift and a squirt of throttle.

It must be serious. After all, three warnings came on all at once: a big yellow warning declaring an "engine system malfunction," (which, in a double-karmic move, obscured the digital speedo I spoke of in the "sick" post), a "service engine soon" lamp and, worst of all, a triangle containing the dreaded exclamation point.

I finished the drive home since the words "visit dealer" and "soon" appeared, instead of "pull over" or "now". I was further encouraged by the normal status of the plethora of gauges that can be called-up on the navigation screen, four pages worth.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Unmatched Service Experience

August 13, 2008


Nissan recommends the GT-R's first service at 1,000 miles. At that point we were still in St. Louis. So we decided to wait until back in Santa Monica to see the dealer. Not all dealerships are qualified to service GT-Rs. But it happens our local Santa Monica Nissan is one of them.

We called to schedule a service appointment.

"We haven't seen a GT-R in for service yet. Heck, we finally got two of 'em in the showroom just the other week. Bring it by anytime tomorrow. But to warn you, it's an extensive service so we'll need it all day."

Our service experience was truly unique. We're sure some of it was due to the novelty of being their first GT-R. But there was more to it. We really felt as though the red carpet rolled out for us.

At this location one service writer handles all GT-R customers. And only one service technician is certified to work on GT-Rs. Both walked over to shake our hand and introduce themselves when we pulled up. This has never happened to us before. And we service cars for a living. The writer proceeded with the normal check-in questions, but at this point we were already impressed.

"We are still waiting for our alignment equipment to arrive, so we can't check that for another week or two. But we will perform all prescribed inspections and confirm the engine and transmission are still calibrated to the correct factory specifications."

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Nashville to LA, Part 4: We Both Like Colorado

August 08, 2008


Our long-term Nissan GT-R and I enter Colorado on Interstate 70, but quickly divert to U.S. 24 and I-25. We're headed to Walsenburg, south of Pueblo. We'll cross the state via the southern east-west highway, U.S. 160, which, judging by my atlas, looks like it has its share of twists, turns and elevation changes. Later, I have second thoughts and wish I'd picked twistier U.S. 50, but with a motel booked in Cortez for the evening, we have to press on.

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2009 Nissan GT-R: Nashville to LA, Part 2: I Can't Go Straight Home

August 06, 2008


I'm actually supposed to do this trip in 3 days, but 5 minutes after getting into our 2009 Nissan GT-R, I realize that's not happening. Granted, the GT-R's fast enough that I could probably do it in 2 days. But this is my first east-west drive across the United States -- I want to take every highway in my atlas. It's also the longest amount of time I've ever not had to share a high-end performance car.

I immediately give into nostalgia and point the GT-R toward Memphis, because about 10 years ago, I went to college there. I'd forgotten how nice the roads are here, and the GT-R's ride quality borders on compliant on I-40.

I arbitrarily decide to keep revs below 4,000 for engine break-in, but I later read that Nissan recommends keeping it under 3,500 rpm for the initial 400 miles. And until 1,300 miles, you're not supposed to use full throttle and you're supposed to keep the suspension in "Comf" mode to allow for maximum travel, says the owner's manual. It's OK, though. Even half throttle provides considerable speed, and you can still see triple digits during closed-course driving.

By the time I roll up to the midtown Memphis Holiday Inn Express (friendly staff here, by the way), my luggage is cooked. Outside temperatures have been mild, so it must be the rear transaxle that's causing every carpeted surface in here to heat up. For the rest of the trip, my backpack rides in the passenger footwell.

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Past Long-Term Road Tests