Nissan instructs dealers to reprogram GT-R launch control

Mook

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annnnnnnnnnd flame away!

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.
 
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Mook

Mook

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u can go in to a dealer and have it reprogrammed is what i'm hearing
 
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Mook

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quite a few people actually. the snow at least
 

PANDA

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how bout they make that trans stronger.
 
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Mook

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id say 10.5 aint too bad on a 4000lb car
 
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Mook

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and it costs a million bucks. i fail to see the point
 
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Mook

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touche salesman
 

bluzohh6

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well at least they are reprogramming it and giving the option of launch control still
 

Bru

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There's a guy in our building who drives his GT-R everyday. It was there yesterday in the parking garage covered in salt. If I ever see him, I'm gonna give him a high five.
 

PANDA

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There's a guy in our building who drives his GT-R everyday. It was there yesterday in the parking garage covered in salt. If I ever see him, I'm gonna give him a high five.
Why because he drives his AWD car in the winter?
 

andcbii

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I like how they are urging people to come in and get this fix but still maintain that it's not a big deal.
 

Bru

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Why because he drives his AWD car in the winter?
Yes, I give everyone a high five who drives their AWD car i the winter.
 

Turk

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Yes, I give everyone a high five who drives their AWD car i the winter.
Can I get a high five for driving a rear wheel car in the winter???
 

DanJoy

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I wonder if this is a feature that an aftermarket tune could restore.
 
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Mook

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wouldnt be the least bit surprised....heres a full right up on everything that is going on




Nissan Modifies the GT-R's Launch Control To End Warranty Issues With the $22,000 Transaxle
By John Pearley Huffman


Legendary heroes always have a fatal vulnerability. Achilles had his heel and Superman has Kryptonite. The Nissan GT-R, supposedly, has its transaxle.

In the great unverifiable stew of message boards on the Internet, you can read about rumors of GT-R trannies grenading the moment a driver engaged the launch control feature and then (naturally) launched his all-wheel-drive 480-horsepower supercar.

Then — rumor atop rumor — there are stories about Nissan voiding warranties simply because a driver engages the highly touted launch control system, so that once the intricate transaxle fails, the owner is left with the choice of either paying $22,415.38 (plus $1,380 for installation labor) for a new one or turning their GT-R into a garden planter. Although Nissan won't comment, we know there is some litigation being pursued by GT-R owners regarding this.

Is the Nissan GT-R's unique rear-mounted, computer-controlled dual-clutch six-speed transaxle really so fragile? Is Nissan really running away from a launch control feature it once promoted so heavily? Are GT-R warranties falling like Don Barzini at the end of The Godfather? We have some answers.

The Imminent Change
"In our view," says Scott Vazin, Nissan North America's chief of product public relations, during a conference call with Inside Line, "this has been blown way out of proportion."

According to Nissan, "less than 1 percent" of the transaxles in the GT-Rs delivered to customers in the United States have failed in some way. With somewhere between 1,750 and 1,800 GT-Rs in the garages of American enthusiasts, this puts the number of transaxle failures experienced in this country at somewhere between 16 and 19 cars. This is not an insignificant number of GT-Rs, but it's short of an epidemic of transaxle failures.

Regardless, Nissan has already instituted a running software change to the onboard computers of any still unsold 2009 Nissan GT-Rs. This software modifies the action of the Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), which incorporates the so-called launch control protocol. This affects about 50 GT-Rs that are currently awaiting dealer allocation at Nissan's facility at the Port of Long Beach in Southern California. The new software will also be offered as a retrofit — with Nissan's vigorous encouragement — to the current owners of the 2009 Nissan GT-R.

This is a software change for all R35 GT-Rs worldwide, Nissan asserts; it isn't limited to the litigious United States.

How It Works
The revised programming, Nissan promises, will offer acceleration similar to that with the current launch control, but will do so while the Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) system remains on. Instead of launching at 4,500 rpm as the original launch control system does, the new system will launch at considerably fewer revs. (Nissan isn't quite sure what this final number will be, but it will be more than the 2,000 rpm currently used when the car is brake-torqued for an acceleration run with the VDC turned on.)

Launching hard with the VDC turned off, however, does potentially void the warranty on the transaxle (though the rest of the car's warranty is unaffected). In fact, the GT-R owner's manual has always expressly warned against driving with the VDC system turned off except when trying to extract the vehicle when it's stuck in mud or snow. And the internal memory of the GT-R's computers will tattle on an owner who launches with VDC turned off. Indeed, it will record any events in which the VDC is turned off.

What Nissan Says
Here's the whole text of a letter Nissan sent to all its dealers today regarding the GT-R software change:

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...

Bottom line, the GT-R with the revised software will be quicker with the VDC on, but not as quick as it was before with the VDC turned off. Only a trip to the track will reveal exactly how performance will be affected. That's why Inside Line plans to take the 2009 Nissan GT-R that we purchased for long-term testing to the track as soon as we can get the new software installed.

The Part in Question
As sophisticated as the GT-R is, there's no single component aboard this starship that's more technically advanced than the transaxle. Tasked to contend with the twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-6's 480 hp and 430 pound- feet of peak torque, it has to be robust. But it also has to reliably distribute power to all four wheels, respond instantly to the driver's gear selection and enable the car to putter around smoothly at low speed. This is simply one of the most technologically advanced automotive components on Earth.

In fact, Inside Line's own GT-R (purchased outright and not part of any Nissan public relations fleet) had its transaxle replaced at Santa Monica Nissan when fluid was found around one of the seals. "I've been regularly servicing six or seven GT-Rs here and yours is the only one that's needed a transmission," said Doug Chaske, our service advisor at Santa Monica Nissan.

"When something goes wrong with a GT-R," Chaske further explained, "we're supposed to call Nissan. It's not like when something goes wrong with an Altima and we can determine what to do ourselves. With the GT-R, Nissan always sends out an engineer. And they determine what to do."

The Ownership Experience
Most GT-R owners that Inside Line has contacted did report using launch control, but they suffered no ill effects. Darryl Alison, whose JspecConnect.com imported two right-hand-drive Japanese-market R35 GT-Rs before he became the first person to take delivery of a U.S.-market GT-R, has had no problem with any of his GT-Rs, including the second U.S.-market car he bought and subsequently modified for increased engine output.

"It has a less restrictive exhaust for more power," Alison says. "We ran it in Sport Compact Car's Ultimate Street Car Challenge and made seven launches. Plus it survived the 'Gross Display of Horsepower' competition and the car still drives fine." Subsequently, Alison also had the memory flashed by Cobb Tuning for even more power and reports no problems with the car.

Yes, some cars that have been launched repeatedly with the VDC off have munched their transmissions. The proof of that is as close as YouTube. For instance, here's Samurai Speed's 600-hp GT-R losing its transmission after the shop says there had been more than 100 runs with launch control.

Despite some Internet postings to the contrary, Inside Line has yet to verify a GT-R transmission failure in a car that didn't endure at least several hard launches with the VDC system turned off.

Extraordinary Car, Extraordinary Treatment
While Nissan is well within its rights according to the warranty to not cover such transmission failures, it also appears that it has covered failed transmissions in GT-Rs that were launched with the VDC off.

For example, one GT-R owner (who insists on anonymity) says that Nissan installed a new transaxle in his car after it failed following several hard VDC-off launches. He also says that as a condition of getting his replacement transmission, he had to sign a non-disclosure agreement, promising not to talk about the circumstances under which his car was repaired. So far Nissan hasn't commented on the existence or non-existence of such non-disclosure agreements.

Nissan is apparently within its rights to deny warranty coverage to any GT-R that regularly operates with the VDC off. And it seems, at least so far, that Nissan has considered GT-R warranty claims on a case-by-case basis. What it will do going forward — particularly for cars with owners who refuse the software change — is open to speculation.

The Nissan GT-R is no ordinary car. And it appears that Nissan is breaking new ground not just in performance but also in the complicated promise a car manufacturer makes to an enthusiast when it sells him leading-edge technology.
 

Slow Buick

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the nissan dealer in libertyville has two.. a black one and a white one.

god they are nice cars in person.
 

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