March CVT gearbox not changing gears - please help.

I run a small vehicle workshop with friends and a few days ago a client brought in a recently imported (but used) Nissan March [Chassis K11-902923, Model EAEARHZK11EDA, Engine CG10(DE) 997cc, Transmission code NP-TC46NHD1AA]. The car has a CVT gearbox. The car is not changing gears. It takes of smoothly but does not change gears. I am aware that one does not easily detect gear changes in a CVT car. However, in my vehicle, the car will scream and scream and will struggle to get to 80km/h. I have pushed it and it did get to 120km/h but I could tell that i was torturing the car. Occasionally, the vehicle will sound as if it has changed a gear soon after take off, but this is rear. We took the car for electronic diagnostic testing and all systems were reported to be ok.
This indicates that the problem is most likely mechanical, rather than electronic. What could be the problem? How do we rectify it?
To complicate matters, CVT gearboxes are highly unusual here in Zimbabwe and no one repairs these boxes or has any real experience with them.

I have noticed that the oil is a very light brown. Am told that the oil should be pink. Is this true? Is all CVT oil pink?

We would like to open the gearbox and am wondering if there is anyone out there who has done this before. What should we look out for? Does anyone have a downloadable repair manual?

P.S. Importing another gearbox will cost +US$3000 from IBC Japan - this is more than the cost of importing another March.

We would greatly appreciate any help that we can get.

Lemuel Dennis
Harare, Zimbabwe


You're after my robot bee
Club Member
lmao! :D CVT stands for Constant Velocity Transmission, in other words it doesn't have gears, it is a rubber band drive that pushes plates apart to increase the ratios.

yes the fluid should be pink. shame you are no where near here because i just came from the scrap yard where there is many of the things.

personally i am not totally sure about how they work as i hate the things and only use manual boxes,

but i would give it an oil change, and if you can source a new belt for it then it might be cheaper to recondition it. sounds like it might be slipping or the plates are not moving freely like they should be.