5.0 Cummins Engine Problems Nissan Titan XD

The 5 Most Common 5.0 Cummins Engine Problems

Jake Mayock

Meet Jake

Jake is a founder of 8020 Media and one of the lead writers at DieselIQ. He has over 10 years of experience in the automotive industry and is the proud owner of a 2002 F-350 7.3 PowerStroke. When Jake isn’t working, he’s usually wrenching on his PowerStroke, single turbo BMW, or Miata track build. Jake delivers tons of knowledge and hands-on experience and is a valuable asset for those looking to take their diesel to the next level. He is highly knowledgeable on Powerstroke and Duramax diesels.

The expensive cost of adding the 5.0 Cummins to the Titan, combined with various engine issues, and the limited towing benefit over gas trucks caused the engine to be retired after the 2019 model year. You can pick one up a bit cheaper these days, but should you?

The 5.0 Cummins itself is a great engine. However, when placed into the Titan XD it tends to run into a lot of problems with the emissions systems such as the DEF pump and EGR valve and cooler. Additionally, it has a number of other expensive-to-fix problems like turbo failure, injection pump problems, and transmission issues.

We’re going to cover five of these most common problems and discuss overall engine reliability, and whether or not they are worth it to own.

5.0 Cummins Engine Problems

  • DEF Pump Failure
  • Bad EGR Valve & EGR Cooler
  • Rough Transmission
  • Turbocharger Failure
  • CP4.2 Fuel Pump Failure

Note that the 5.0 Cummins is available in many commercial trucks and equipment. These problems are specific to the setup that was used in the Titan XD.

If you would rather consume this content via a video, check out our Nissan Titan XD 5.0 Cummins Common Problems video below:

1. DEF Pump Failure

While the Nissan Titan DEF system has had issues with excessive fluid consumption and false regen cycles, the DEF pump also commonly fails. The DEF fluid sits within a separate fluid tank and has a pump that pulls the DEF fluid from the tank to the injectors where it is sprayed into the exhaust stream.

When the pump fails, the fluid doesn’t get passed to the exhaust system leaving the exhaust gases untreated. Pump failure is mostly caused by contaminates getting into the pump itself. DEF fluids tend to leave behind deposits which then get sucked up into the pump causing it to fail.

DEF Pump Failure Symptoms

  • Engine goes into limp mode
  • Service DEF system light appears
  • Possible fluid leaks

Replacement Options

Without illegally deleting your emissions systems, the only option is pump replacement. Most diesel engines will enter limp mode when the pump fails which will cause decreased performance, acceleration, etc.

When the DEF pump fails it can take out the injector with it and can also lead to fouling of NOx sensors in the exhaust system. Unfortunately, the OEM pump itself costs nearly $1,000 and labor is likely going to run $500-$750 making this a hefty repair bill.

5.0 Cummins Engine Problems Nissan Titan XD

2. EGR Valve & Cooler Failure

The EGR system is predominantly controlled by one valve. The valve has an opened and closed position on it which controls whether or not exhaust gas is recirculated. When the Nissan Titan is at idle, the EGR valve is almost completely closed, recirculating the majority of the exhaust gas back into the engine. Under acceleration more oxygen is needed so the EGR valve gradually opens up, letting more air flow to the exhaust system and thus allowing the combustion chamber to fill with more oxygen.

Over time, carbon buildup will start to plug up the EGR valve causing it to either stick open or closed. The valve diaphragm can also crack or leak. Additionally, the EGR cooler leaks frequently which was eventually recalled for a majority of the Titan XD trucks.

EGR Valve Failure Symptoms

  • Rough idling
  • Poor overall performance
  • Lack of acceleration
  • Misfires
  • Engine knock
  • Check engine light
    • P0400-P0408
    • P1403-P1406

When the EGR valve fails it usually fails open or closed. If it fails closed, the engine will have a difficult time accelerating or operating at any speeds above idle. This is because the combustion chamber will be primarily filled with oxygen-less exhaust gases and more oxygen is necessary at higher engine speeds. At higher speeds the engine will be starved of air which can cause misfires and serious performance losses.

If it fails open then no gases are recirculated. While this has less performance related issues it will still trigger a code in the system and can put your truck into limp mode. It will also lead to increased emissions, worse gas mileage, and rough idling.

3. Bad Transmission

The calibration on the Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission used in the Nissan Titan XD was extremely poor and the overall manufacturing was lackluster. This problem is a bit more generic because there isn’t necessarily a fix for it outside of swapping an aftermarket transmission onto the truck.

Owners have reported a lot of issues with hard shifting, transmission overheating, jerking, slipping, etc. Additionally, there have been a number of owners plagued by complete transmission failure.

Some of the problems have been addressed through recalibrations, although it is frequently reported that getting the transmission recalibrated has not fixed any of the problems experienced.

Overall, the transmission itself is simply poorly manufactured which which makes for an uncomfortable driving experience.

4. Holset M2 Turbocharger Failure

The 5.0 Cummins uses the Holset M2 twin sequential turbocharger. Approximately 12,000 2016 Titan XD’s were recalled for potential turbocharger lubrication issues (technical service bulletin NTB16-097). The issue had to due with poor turbocharger lubrication caused by low oil pressure.

Due to a manufacturing defect, low oil pressures would result in the turbo being staved of lubrication. This could cause the turbine wheel to come in contact with the turbo housing. When this happens metal shavings can be sent through the turbo and into the engine leading to potentially catastrophic engine damage.

The recall had three potential outcomes. If your ECU was storing a P0524 low oil pressure code, you get a new engine and new turbo. If the code was not present, the turbo is pulled and inspected. Upon inspection, if the turbo had contact with the housing, the turbo and engine were being swapped. If the turbo passed inspection, the engine remained but the turbo was still replaced.

While this incident was mostly attributed to 2016 models, there have been a number of owners who were not affected by the recall who have had multiple turbocharger failures.

5.CP4.2 Fuel Pump Failure

The fuel pump is responsible for pulling fuel from the gas tank and sending it to the injectors via the fuel lines. The 5.0 Cummins uses a Bosch CP4.2 fuel pump. Fuel pumps operate under high pressure and therefore are prone to natural wear and tear over time that can cause them to fail or weaken.

The most common cause of fuel pump failure is contaminated fuel. Diesel fuel is less refined than traditional gasoline which makes it more susceptible to picking up contaminates like water & dirt. When these harmful substances get into your gas tank they get sucked up by the fuel pump. In turn, this can damage the internal fuel pump components causing failure.

Outside of the pump itself, the fuel level sensor on the 5.0 Cummins Titan XD is known to be faulty, more specifically for 2016 year models. The fuel level sensor was placed in a bad location of the gas tank for this model year which would incorrectly read fuel levels and cause the car to shut off while driving. This occurred most frequently when fuel levels were around 1/4 of a tank or lower.

When the fuel pump itself fails it can no longer deliver enough fuel to the injectors. Harmful contaminates can also passthrough the pump and lines and take the fuel injectors out along with the pump. To prevent fuel pump issues its important to always use good diesel fuel and add fuel lubricate.

Fuel Pump Failure Symptoms

  • Cylinder misfires
  • Engine no start
  • Rough idling or stalling
  • Lack of power and acceleration
  • Engine won’t rev past low rpm’s
  • Surging while accelerating
  • Low fuel pressure warning

Nissan Titan XD 5.0 Cummins Reliability

Overall, the 5.0 Cummins engine featured in the Titan XD is plagued with issues. While the major components of the engine such as the heads, block, internals, etc. all seem to be durable and hold-up very well together, the rest of the engine does not. Cummins manufactured the block and major engine components which is likely why these parts don’t have any major flaws. Nissan is responsible for the engineering behind all of the major engine systems that are problematic on these trucks.

The emissions systems on the Nissan Titan XD are all problematic, the turbochargers are known to fail, the fueling system has issues, the transmission is awful, and so on and so forth. Outside of these major engine problems, the Titan XD fell short to start with. With the engine being nearly a $10k upgrade it only offered 1,000lbs. more towing capacity than its V8 gasser counterpart. Additionally, the ride quality, interior, and overall driving experience were far inferior to that of its Dodge, GM, and Ford competitors.

While we do believe that the 5.0 Cummins engine itself is a very durable and strong engine, the one inside the Titan XD cannot be considered reliable. We have faith in the block, heads, internals, etc. all lasting upwards of 300,000 miles. However, we don’t have faith that a Titan XD will make it anywhere near that mileage. At least not without tens of thousands of dollars in maintenance and repairs along the way.

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  1. I own a Nissan titan xd sl diesel I was just pulling my trailer down the highway and it just cut off turning off but no stared I’m disappointed with the vehicle not very pleased with

    1. I worked as a mechanic on the line that built these engines. They were problematic from the get go. Crankshafts seizures included. Lots of problems on the machining line. So the whole Cummins quality thing is bullshit. I actually got to drive one of the prototypes before the truck made it into production. Was there for big reveal at Cummins. So what’s what I’m saying is that motor had problems from the inside out. The story of the motor when it was a Ford project sanctioned by good o’l “Uncle Sam” to when Cummins got involved is a joke. Seems whenever the U.S. Government gets it’s hands in anything it becomes a cluster f**k. It was their idea to begin with.

      1. I had a 2016 with the Cummins engine. From the get go the turbo lag was unbelievably terrible. Then just before the clock turned 59,000 miles, the crankshaft broke and tore up the block. Nissan did make good on the warrant. The dealer said it was a problem that both Cummins and Nissan knew about. So disappointed. I traded it in.

    1. A disable/delete/tuner kit is the best option. I bought one with the EZ-Lynk Auto Agent 2.
      It is sold for about $1900 with a straight pipe and tuner. I would suggest buying a muffler and finding an exhaust fabrication facility to create 2 separate exhausts. That way, you can put the OEM exhaust back on when you need to have the truck inspected.
      There are other cheaper tuners out there, but with the Auto Agent and straight pipe, my ’16 Titan XD breathes no black smoke. I don’t need to buy DEF anymore, and my mileage is better with 60 more HP.

      1. I also own a 2016 Titan xd. The def fuel pump stopped working for the second time. First time was under warranty. Second time wasn’t. The repars where going to cost me $1900.00. I got the ez lynk and a straight pipe. Problem solved. Gives me 22.1 mpg. Love my truck.

      2. I concur. This combination of engine and truck is awesome, But I did my research first. I have the kit mentioned above and the truck operates flawlessly.

  2. This was interesting I guess this is why they gave a five year bumper to bumper on the 2018 model I bought.
    Although so far i haven’t had any problems and like the way the truck drives, but the two things I have noticed since the day i bought it, is the hesitation when pulling out from the transmission,you think its going to stall.
    The other is the fuel gauge which is never the same, it will pop on anywhere between 50 and a 100 miles left so your never sure. what is left in the tank.
    Always been a Ford diesel man but they got so high this seemed like a good replacement ,maybe not.!
    This was good information.

    1. Hi Bill, I had the same issue with the hesitancy when pulling out and almost stalling. I installed a pedal commander module which was super easy and it completely got rid of this issue. I do get about 8 mpg now but the hesitancy is gone.

  3. I totally disagree with the author of this article. I’ve owned my 2018 Titan for 3 years now, & the truck has brought nothing but joy. I never had any issue at all with the truck. I Now have 98000km on it.
    I had a Dodge Ram eco diesel 2016. I got rid of it after two years, why? Because the Ram had an endless list of recalls, in addition to engine issues that Dodge could not rectify. I brought my truck in 4times as a result of the check engine light luminating, Dodge reset the computer and sent the truck back to me, the issue with the truck was never rectified. I will never waste my money on another Dodge truck after that nightmare. The Titan is rock solid, reliable, rugged; it may not have the towing power of the Ram 2500 or 3500, however it beats the pants off the eco diesel. This info is from an actual owner of a Titan XD with the Cummins 5.0, not from someone that just writes for money.

    1. Totally agree with you, the only issue I have had is the fuel filter housing broke, wasn’t too bad with my extended warranty though. I’ve also seen complaints about smelling exhaust???? I mean it’s a vehicle of course your going to smell if

    2. Agreed. I pulled a 40′ camper through the Berkshire mountains a few weeks ago. However, my Titan XD Cummins has a delete/disable/tune kit installed.
      I did a lot of research before buying this truck. Many people have posted problems about these trucks. Most problems are related to the emissions systems that Nissan installed on the engine. The kit that I bought was $1900, and lets the Nissan be a Nissan, and the Cummins be a Cummins. They only interact at the crankshaft. It works well, and I get better mileage with 60 more HP.

    3. Don, same experience here with a 2016 that currently has the same 98,000 miles. The truce is the 4×4 version and does an awesome job of towing when called upon. I have driven in through the Rocky Mountains in very hot summer weather. The great engineering by Nissan resulted in cool running across the board even when towing 8,000 pounds at 80mph. As an engineer I am amazed by how well the folks at Nissan did with the first year introduction vehicle in the stable here.

    4. My 2017 blew up with 109k. Factory warranty is 100k and they wouldn’t touch it. They say they have a grace period which I was told I was still in. This was in 2020 so I still had two years left on age. The fact that the reps said I was still in their grace period but Nissan wouldn’t help with anything was enough for me to go back to a dependable diesel that lasts beyond just injectors and other minor repairs and the motor stays together. Won’t buy another diesel that pukes out at 100k lol I believe in Cat but have no respect for Nissan anymore.

      1. Little bit of fear mongering in this article. Nissan did not let there diesel mechanics go. My 2018 was just worked on by a diesel mechanic at the Nissan dealer in spring of 2020. They will have a mechanic there to fix your truck until you’re done with your five year warranty. They will also have a diesel mechanic there all the way through 2023 when the people that bought the 2019’s go off warranty.
        That said after that time point they won’t be required to have someone to work on your truck

    5. Don, I have a 2017 and I was thinking the same thing about mine. up to 143K the truck was flawless and I bragged about it and told many people that it was one of the nicest trucks I’ve owned. I do traveling sales so I put on lots of miles. Driving home one day the engine started making some noise. I pulled over and had it hauled to the dealer. Long story short, $14K for a new long block.
      Funny thing I also had the RAM ECO 3.0 and had issues so I traded it for the Titan. Very disappointed!!
      I really hope the 3.0 Duramax works out for me in my next truck.

      1. The 3.0L Duramax has a belt-driven oil pump located in the back of the engine. It is to be replaced at 150K. The price of this service will be between $7.5K and $10K. In most cases, the engine needs to be removed from the vehicle. The book says 36 hours for labor, but the service manager that I spoke with said it was closer to 60 hours of labor. While the engine is out, you may as replace the timing chain. Ultimately, this was why I did not buy the 3.0L Duramax. Hope this helps.

    6. I read your comments about the Titan XD which I’m exploring…a 2016 with 56K miles. Wanted to see if you are still confident….I also owned a Ram Eco-Trash that was plagued with issues and same dealer results over and over….I sold it and the motor blew at 29K miles to new owner that finally was given full warranty. I like the size and towing is perfect for my normal needs and it is very well optioned in the Platinum Reserve series….would appreciate any additional feedback good or bad…thanks!

    7. Eco Diesel is Italian junk. Was originally a joint venture between General Motors and VM Motori. Custom ordered a 2018 2500 4×4 regular cab stripped down Tradesman. Vinyl seats, crank windows, six speed manual, Cummins. Hell of a truck. I worked at Cummins. I seen the problems that they had with the 5.0 liter firsthand. That’s why they don’t make it anymore. Some people got lucky with buying them. Guess you’re one. Happy for you. Keep your fingers crossed.

  4. Disagree somewhat… Love my Titan Diesel, Earlier titan XD diesels had some harsh shifting trans, turbo issues and typical “A model” issues but this was either replaced under warranty or fixed through software reprogramming and as an added insurance hence extending the warrantees in 2017 models.

    There are half tons rated higher for towing etc but in real world towing; power/economy, stopping and handling are night and day when compared to those higher rated 1/2 ton trucks. Great vechile for someone needing a heavier than half ton but not quite 3/4 or 1 ton.

    For those interested have a look at the issues other manufactures are having with modern diesels and gas for that matter.

  5. I had one for two years and for the most part loved it! But as some others have found, I had a few things I didn’t care for such as a surge at a red light or stop sign where the engine revved up and felt like it was going to pull me out into traffic, and the transmission hit very hard going from 1st to second almost every time if on blacktop especially, and the loss of power at times when letting off the gas and then trying to speed up. But the worst thing was when I was in town and the engine light came on and had no way to hardly even get it to a safe place. I had it towed to the Nissan dealer and after 2 weeks they called me and told me the diesel particulate filter was stopped up and would cost nearly $6,000 to repair. I still had factory warranty and extended warranty since I purchased used but they said neither would fix it because it was an emissions problem so I told them they could have it so I took my equity and purchased another truck. Wasn’t very happy so beware!

    1. 2017 with the Cummins at 63000 miles. Had a rear end replaced for free since it was covered by warranty about 5,000 miles ago. Still drove fine but was making a slightly noticable pinion whirring noise. Would’ve cost $6000 but warranty covered replacing the whole unit. Have a glow plug check engine light currently that will be fixed next week, again all under warranty according to my local dealer. Truck has been a treat to own honestly. It’s just a better built frame than any half ton. Drives straight as an arrow even while towing my 12000 pound fully loaded toy hauler. Great control uphills and especially down grade. Don’t be scared by the loudest voices complaining, these are some really good trucks when cared for properly. I drove f150s and 250s before buying this Nissan XD with 4 wheel drive and I’m glad I did. They were crap compared to the ride quality of this truck. The f150 tow ratings are an absolute joke BTW! I don’t even notice my trailer behind me with my anti sway hitch. Love the XD truly.

  6. I have a 2016 Nissan Titan XD 5.0 and just bought the truck 5 months ago with 91,000. coming back from Orlando my truck broke down on florence,SC. my turbo blew. So when I read all the info on this truck it’s turning out to be true.

  7. I bought a loaded 2017 diesel Pro4X with 9800 miles for $40K in 2019. I am now at 65,000 miles and the only mechanical issue I experienced was a bad spindle in the turbo. Do not let the specs of 1/2 ton trucks claiming 10000+lbs of towing capacity fool you. I purchased a 32 foot travel trailer with an estimated loaded weight of 8500lbs. I was using a 2015 screw F150 to tow it until I was hit with 30+ mph winds. White knuckle driving at 40mph! My Titan pulls the same trailer with ease. I have been hit by 45+mph winds (way to many times) and have all the confidence of knowing my family and I are safe even when towing at highway speeds. The best money I have spent on a truck.

  8. My transmission on my 2019 titan pro 4x shifts from 1st to 2nd rough sometimes. I heard there was a sensor that could be replaced to fix the problem. Is this true?

  9. Traded my 2017 Titan XD diesel for a Ford F250 powerstroke. After Nissan wanted $5400 to repair broken driver’s seat then fuel pump and lift pump failures I had had enough.

  10. Nissan Sucks I had a 17 and the crankshaft destroyed itself did not pull anything, 26k miles the fuel pump failed had to argue with them to cover it, 54k had to buy a new turbo for it, 96k crankshaft and they won’t warranty it because of my air intake. they want $13,357 to do a new exhaust and def tank to WARRANTY the junk that they don’t sell anymore

  11. I bought my Titan XD diesel new in 2016, and really enjoyed it. I never used 4WD low until recently, when it was just out of 5 year warranty, but had only 30,000 miles. The changer states “push and turn” so I did this to put it in low gear. Then with my foot on the brake, fully stopped, I pushed and turned it to 4WD normal, and there was a cracking noise from the transmission, and I got error messages telling me to read the handbook.
    My failure to read page 200 or so of the handbook cost me around $4,500 for a new transfer case, because you apparently cannot buy the aluminum arm that snaps off unless you are in neutral.
    Now the engine has blown up at 32,500 miles, and I am waiting to see if they consider this to be a manufacturing fault in a unit that should last 500,000 to a million miles, or if it is my fault because I used it so sparingly over the previous five years.
    I would welcome any feedback at chriscowlandcpa@gmail.com if that is allowed.
    Thanks guys,

  12. I love my 2019 Nissan pro 4 x . ITs a beast! We towed our camper 7200 effortless miles. Never a white knuckle moment. Try that with a typical 1/2 ton. It did better than my older 3/4 tons by far. Very good overall power and towing abities. My trailer just under 10k lbs

    1. Can’t decide what to do. I have a 2018 Titan XD Diesel, only has 15,000 miles. I only use it for towing my trailer. My factory warranty is up in November and Im wondering if I should replace it with a different truck.

      The issues really do seem to be an issue.

      1. Get rid of these trucks as soon as you can!! I have a 2017 with 64k, been nothing but problems! I can check off all the boxes on this list of faults and now that my 5 years is up the crankshaft broke, dealer quote was 37k to replace engine. I’ve owned 3 Nissans; a 2000 xterra, 2007 Titan and now this 17 xd and I will never buy another!

  13. 2016 XD. 86,700 kilometres (Canada). Limp mode so towed to dealer. NOx and turbo valve shot. $11,200 repairs, but ext warranty only paid 80%. Thinking of going back to gas Frontier but no units on lot can be delivered to buyers because of recall issues. Might just buy a Leaf instead as am retired and can just rent a truck when needed. Not impressed Nissan! Been driving these vehicles since 1968 …

  14. I have a ’17 xd which has been back to the dealer nearly 50 times! Only 70000 miles! Got the new turbo and now I want to keep it so where do I find the EZ link kit?

  15. Really good article and very well explained. (Thank you). The authors obviously has a mechanical background. I just traded my Titan XD 2017 diesel in for a Tundra. In my opinion, the XD was one of the most beautiful pick up trucks ever made. The seats were very comfortable, the ride wasn’t bad, the towing capacity on large campers was effortless. It was a work-horse truck. It just was not reliable. I had problem after problem: turbo had to be replaced, fuel filter, coolant tank, transmission. After the warranty period was up (I had an extended warranty also), I had to get rid of it. I wanted to bypass the DEF but it was impossible to find someone to do it, and I didn’t want to run the risk of having problems with the State. Despite all the problems, I do miss it. I doubt the Tundra with a 12,000 pound tow rating will come close to effortless towing of the Titan.

    1. You buy a Tundra to do towing within its range. The more realistic towing capacity is at or under 11,000. Owned a ‘14 Tundra with 9+ years of reliability. Towed a 7800 wet RV at least half its 83k miles. Just bought a ‘23 Tundra. Hope to get the same reliability from this gen 3 version.

  16. I owned a 2017 For three years trading on a 2019 both of them have been safety three times now no issues with either one Pull gooseneck trailers cattle horses and equipment best trucks I’ve ever owned by far

  17. I have over 42K on my 2018 platinum reserve it runs great no issues but I live in California so I just need to remove the cold air intake and the pedal commander.
    So far so good!

  18. 2018 Platinum Reserve. 77,000 miles. The only problem was a steering column issue around 30,000 miles. The y dud a repair but the issue came back in a few weeks. Then they replaced the whole steering column.
    I tow a 32 ft travel trailer, about 8500 lbs loaded and occassoonally take a 20 ft gooseneck with my tractor, 9000 to 11000 lbs depending on implements between Texas and OK. Tows, handles and stops beautifully. I can comfortably run 70-75. Big rigs don’t even budge me pulling the travel trailer. Only wish a got better mpg pulling the trailers about 9-11 mpg. Tried slowing down and it was worse. 1800-2000 rpm about 72-75 mph is the sweet spot. Very little downshifting on the Texas and OK highways. So far O am loving it. Had a Nissan NV3500 before that. Awesome vehicle ! Absolute best tow vehicle for large families ever made. It also towed a 32 ft travel trailer beautifully while carrying me, my wife and 7 kids years ago.

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