What Years Interchange Nissan Hardbody Manual Transmission Interchange

Undoubtedly, the transmission is one of the most complicated yet least understood systems in any car. Knowing and understanding the type of transmission installed in your vehicle is essential to optimize maintenance and reduce service costs.

Sometimes when driving your Nissan hardbody, there could arise some issues with the transmission. Such issues often call for replacing the entire transmission with a new one. But not all transmissions are compatible with the Nissan Hardbody. The only years that can fit are 1996 and 1997 only.

This article explains more about the Nissan Hardbody and the right transmission for this vehicle. 

What Years Interchange Nissan Hardbody Manual Transmission Interchange

what years interchange nissan hardbody manual transmission

For Nissan hardbody owners, you may be wondering which interchange can be used to replace your current manual transmission interchange. Looking for transmission in the current market can be overwhelming, to say the least.

Nowadays, car manufacturers change the designs and types of transmissions for each car model from year to year. So, is the hardbody transmission interchangeable?

For the Nissan Hardbody, the years that can fit the truck are between 1996 and 1997 only. These are available in most auto parts stores. 

How Do I Identify My Nissan Transmission?

The transmission is a determinant for more than you could imagine when it comes to the operation of your automobile. Modern transmissions make use of sophisticated hydraulics and computer-controlled electronic components that work to transfer the engine power to the wheels and driveshaft. Often, many drivers do not know what it takes to run all the complex systems until an issue arises. 

You may be wondering what kind of transmission you have in your car. You can learn how to identify the transmission in your car so you can understand what goes on under the hood. Also, such information will be instrumental when you need to repair transmission-related problems. 

Check the Owner’s Manual

The owner’s manual is a great place to start if you have any questions regarding your car. More often than not, the manual outlines the transmission type of your automobile.

A Placard on the Driver’s Side Door

For new car owners, you might find a white placard with black lettering on the driver’s side of the door. This card often indicates the specific details about your car such as the year it was made, transmission type, and engine specifications, among other details.

Oil Pan

Sometimes it is possible to determine the type of transmission by the shape of the oil pan. An irregular shape means a manual transmission.

What Was the Last Year of a Nissan Hardbody Truck?

The Nissan hardbody trucks dominated the market from 1986 to 1997. They were well-known and one of the top best-selling models Nissan had ever made. After their reign, they were replaced by D22 models from 1998 to 2002.

When Did Nissan D21 Come Out?

The Nissan D21, also unofficially referred to as Nissan hardbody, is one of the most iconic mini-trucks that sent waves in the automobile industry in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

To be more specific, this model came out in the year 1986. During its production, there was an overlap of the outgoing and incoming Nissan pickups that year. 

However, the trucks are completely distinct and look different from the outgoing 720s. The hardbody came with a prominent body line running through its entire length.

It was a nice fit among the indestructible mini trucks that included Toyota pickup, Ford Ranger, and Mazda B-series among others. It was renowned for slamming to the ground and its 4×4 version was the go-to for tackling mountain trails. 

Which Nissan Models Use CVT Transmission?

Nissan made the change to CVT transmission on most of its models. These models include Nissan Versa, Nissan Murano, Nissan Altima, Nissan Sentra, Nissan Maxima, Nissan Juke, and Nissan Rogue, among others. This transmission is most preferred since it offers smooth and step-less ratio changes, different from the conventional transmission systems that used fixed gears. 

What Brand Transmission Does Nissan Use?

One of the go-to transmission brands for Nissan is the CVT by JATCO (Japanese Automatic Transmission Company) and for a good reason. Continuously Variable transmissions come with many benefits.

With the CVT, there aren’t any fixed gears as it is with automatic transmissions. This creates a smoother feel as you will not feel the gear changes as well as improved fuel efficiency. Moreover, when it comes to maintenance, the CVTs utilize fewer parts making them cheaper to manufacture and easier to fix. 

Can I Tell the Transmission From the Vin?

Some OEMs still use the same 10-digit VIN patterns to capture transmission information, such as manual or automatic vehicles. However, the VIN alone is not enough to determine the type of transmission in your car. This is even more problematic for older vehicle inventory. 


The hardbody term is used to refer to the double-walled bed, aggressive styling, and firm paneling of these Nissan models. These brick-like trucks of the ’80s were seriously tough. They are the only Nissan generation that was referred to as hardbody (formally coded D21). The hardbody name took hold. 

The reign of the Nissan Hardbody models came to an end in the year 1998. This was promptly replaced by the Nissan D22 which resembled a mini-truck. Years later, the design of the truck morphed more into a midsize truck. After this, the second generation D40 was introduced in the model year 2005. 

If you want to improve the transmission match rate beyond just using the VIN, there are two options. Firstly, you can choose to utilize the 17-digit VIN-specific vehicle build information from the data provider. Alternatively, you can identify the installed transmission using other data, besides the VIN, stored with the vehicle inventory. 

Final Thoughts

Nowadays, the market is filled with different transmissions for different vehicles. Sometimes it may be hard to determine which one is the best fit for your car when you need to replace your current transmission. It is important to take your car to a trained technician in case of any transmission issues.

Related Posts: