Nissan Primastar (2002–2015)

What's good

Refined dCi engine and low cabin noise means the Primastar is good for long distance work.

Neat handling and good steering mean it's good in town and easy to slot into tight parallel parking spaces.

What's bad

Recall 19-09-2016: Steering wheel may break/detach and cause loss of steering (affecting vans built from 25-09-2012 to 14-12-2013).

Standard stereo looks cheap and is fiddly to use.

Starting to feel dated now, particularly the interior.

General Motors PK5, PK6, PF1, PF6 manual transmission failure common in Primastar. The 'built-in' fault, which will result in failure, irrespective of how the vehicle is driven or serviced, is that the gearboxes are assembled in such a way that the preload on the bearings is massively over-torqued, which results in bearing failure, and the total destruction of the box from as low as 20k upwards. In some cases the boxes are built up so tight that it makes turning the box over by hand virtually impossible. Once the bearings are replaced, and shimmed correctly, the box will “go on” virtually indefinitely.

 Report on BBC Watchdog that some 2006 - 2010 Renault Trafic, Vauxhall Vivaro and Nissan Primastar vans fitted with the 2.0DCI M9R diesel enginewere suffering from rainwater dripping from a failed bonnet seal at the base of the windscreen into the valley on the top of the engine containing the injectors. On a van left for long period unused, or used primarily for short runs, this water is not evaporatred off by the heat of the engine and causes corrosion between the injectors and the cylinder head, fusing the injectors to the head (very similar to the notorious problem with Ford Focus 1.6 petrol engines). There is now a new piece of kit that can extract corrosion fused injectors from diesel engines. The current Vauxhall Technical Service Bulletin (published in August 2013) covering injector corrosion states that Vauxhall will make a 100% goodwill contribution to replace the injectors on vehicles up to 7 years old and 248,000 miles. The first Technical Service Bulletin pertaining to this issue (published in June 2010 and effective up to August 2013) stated that vehicles within warranty would be repaired under the conditions of the warranty. Vehicles up to 4 years old/100,000 miles would be repaired with a goodwill contribution of 70% from Vauxhall. Vehicles up to 5 years old/100,000 miles would be repaired with a 50% goodwill contribution from Vauxhall.

Very common gear linkage problem Renault Trafics, Renault Masters, Nissan Primastars, Vauxhall Vivaros and Vauxhall Movanos from 2001. The selector cable bush wears or simply pops off  the balljoint on the gearbox selector arm. Warrington Transmissions ( has developed a repair clip to prevent this from happening for just £8 that takes a mere 15 minutes to fit.

3-11-2017: Report of Nissan Primastar van developing a "really low biting point on the clutch" making it almost impossible to get a smooth change. Garage found no leak in the hydraulics, so removed gearbox and replaced the clutch. Showed owner that it was in good condition and confirmed no leak from slave cylinder or cranskshaft end seal or transmission input shaft seal. Problem persisted. Garage eventually discovered that pedal assembly had fatigued and was pulling away from the bulkhead. Something to watch on ageing Primastars, Vivaros and Trafics.


What does a Nissan Primastar (2002 – 2015) cost?