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Nissan Maxima Maintenance and Repair



  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Posts: 398
    I got 6K miles on my 2001 GLE, and I noticed the other day that after not having driven the car for a week and when applying the breaks hard I got a vibration in the steering wheel. I heard there was a problem with the lug nuts being put too tight by the factory and I asked my dealer to re-torque them to specification. I don't know if they actually did this.

    Now does anyone know what the cause of the vibration might be? If it is the lug nuts, and if I correct the problem now, is there a possibility that I have already damaged the rotors?

    Any response will be appreciated.
  • johnk324johnk324 Posts: 6
    I have a 1988 Maxima, 5 speed. Replaced clutch, throw out bearing, etc. What type of oil is used in the manual transmission. I don't know if it's 85-90 or dexron II.
  • gnlgnl Posts: 94
    The Max should use premium unleaded. You will not get the performance from the car that you should if you use regular. And do the math - it will cost you maybe $2-$3 bucks a fill-up more with premium. If that's a deal breaker for you than look for a different car, but if you like the Maxima, then use what the manufacturer recommends.

    About color - I have the frost interior, and have to admit the lower part of it does show shoe scuffs and so on probably more than the black would. I live further south though and can't stand the idea of a black interior in the summer. In Massachusetts you might want the exact opposite! Surely the dealer would have enough cars on the lot that he could show you what both interiors look like, even if it's not the exterior color that you want?

    Whatever you buy, I think you'll enoy the Maxima. Good bargains to be had on price right now too.
  • qx4qx4 Posts: 99
    after 190,000kms on a 1995 GXE the ride is now very bumpy (not bouncy). it seems to be mostly from the back end of the car.

    any solutions?
    i heard that they could be the bushings in the suspension joints and so on.

    i'm debating if i should keep the car or get rid of it. its still very reliable and drives good except the bumpy ride lately.

    car still running on original battery since july 1994 as a 95model and the above indicated kms.
  • txcarbuyertxcarbuyer Posts: 19
    What aftermarket 6-CD changer works with the factory head unit for a 01 Maxima GLE?

    Does any one know which aftermarket 6-CD changer works with the 01 Maxima GLE? I know Honda head units work with Alpine, but I don't know which brand matches Nissan.

    It would be very helpful if you could tell me the brand and model number.

  • edwardh5edwardh5 Posts: 130
    My 99 Maxima pulls to the right. Does it even when tires have been rotated twice.
    Dealer has aligned it twice, and gives me a Factory handout about road crown causing pulling to the right. All the other cars I drive also pull to the right but not nearly as much, the Hondas seem to go where you point them, same for my camry and most rental cars.
    Dealer says only "toe" is adjustable - is this true I though camber caused pulling?
    - do maximas have caster and camber adjustments?
    Seemed odd the dealer had a handout on road crown - like maybe they get a lot of complaints.

    Anyone else had this problem/
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Posts: 398
    Mine pulls to the right too. A wheel alignment helped a little, but the problem is definitely still there. Initially I was more eager to pursue this, but now I sort of got used to it. I need to find a good wheel alignment specialist in order to see if anything can be done.

    I think the problem is in the rear alignment. Basically, I have a fairly large negative thrust angle, and I believe the main reason for this is that I have a toe in on the right rear wheel, and a toe out on the left rear wheel. Both values are just within the specification limits – but only just. However I’d rather have toe out on both rear wheels or better still – a toe in on both of them. The pull to the right is particularly exaggerated under acceleration, when both rear wheels experience more load.

    Unfortunately, there is no easy way of adjusting the rear toe.

    Right now all camber, caster and toe settings are within their limits, and this is as far as most dealerships will go to adjust the alignment. The car still pulls to the right, though. I believe a good alignment specialist may be able to fix this by adjusting the toe on the front wheels, even if that means setting the front toe out of specification.

    I am mostly speculating here – I am not a mechanic.
  • arcxerarcxer Posts: 2
    Yea, it's there. Although when I bought my 96 Maxima in 1999, I didn't notice it. But then after some time it developed. Several alignments and wheel rotations helped a bit, but it never went away completely. I guess I got used to it.
    And I also believe that decent alignment job may help, but I didn't succeed to find a good specialist to do that.
    In my case I believe it is camber on front and rear, which is inside specification brackets, but not equal between left and right. That is, I have more negative camber on left front then on right front, and vise versa in the rear. And yea, only toe-in is adjustable, not camber (at least, without some special quirks).
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    ... there's no such thing as negative thrust angle. The split of both rear wheels' toe angles determines rear thrust angle. It's either left, right, or (ideally) parallel to the vehicle's geometric centreline. Preferred toe setting on both rear wheels for most vehicles is zero. A pull to either side under accel with fwd vehicles is referred to as torque steer, a phenomenom which can be amplified by excessive front wheel toe. Aftermarket kits from Moog, Federal Mogul, Dana, etc, are available for many makes of vehicles to make front camber and rear camber/toe adjustable if not originally equipped.
  • edwardh5edwardh5 Posts: 130
    I though it was real strange the dealer had a handout on "road crown" - purpose of which was to get you to accept the sensitivity to road crown, which does not exist as much in Hondas and Toyotas I have owned or even in some rental cars.
    The few times on other car I had any alignment problem, I had it aligned and the problem went away.
  • kman28kman28 Posts: 2
    I have a 1999 SE Limited that I use for business travels. The front, hood, mirrors, and even a couple of places on the side all have sections where the paint has chipped. I just assumed that it was rocks from the road. I have 58K on my car and would need to get it painted in order to sell. One chip is so deep that it has even started to rust! Very disappointed in the paint tolerance on this car!!!
  • kman28kman28 Posts: 2
    I have a 1999 SE Limited and on my 48K maintenance was told that the "BRAKE CABLE WERE STRETCHED AND REQUIRED REPLACING". After reseaching on my own, I have found that Nissan had submitted a bulliten (not recall)acknowledging this problem. As it turns out, the cables for your emergency brake stretches and causes the rear brakes to drag and wear prematurely. I just spent $450 replacing brakes and cables to resolve this problem. Apparently Nissan will cover under warranty 30K or 3 years only if the customer complains of brake wear or noise. Has anyone experienced this problem with the brake cables?
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Posts: 398
    The thrust angle is defined as the deviation between the bisector of the total rear toe angle of the vehicle (the thrust line) and the vehicle centerline. The angle measured between the vehicle's wheel system centerline (as determined by the position of all four wheels) and the thrust line of the vehicle (determined by the pointing direction of the rear wheels) is the thrust angle. Therefore the thrust angle is determined by the total rear toe angle AND the position of all four wheels, not just the rear wheels.

    Angles are commonly described as positive or negative, not left and right.

    If you stand behind the vehicle and imagine the thrust line vector pointing forward, then if it points to the left of the centerline, then you have a negative thrust angle. (And conversely for a positive thrust angle). If the centerline and the thrust line coincide then you have a thrust angle of 0. (Hope this helps, as I have no way of drawing a diagram.)

    I am aware of torque steer, and I can actually experience torque steer under very hard acceleration. Then I have a pull the left not right.

    Under slow to moderate acceleration the torque steer is negligible, and I get a pull to the right - again - I believe because of my negative thrust angle.

    As the rear toe is not adjustable on the Maxima, the only other way to adjust the thrust angle is to adjust the centerline, which would imply adjusting the front alignment.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Since front wheel toe will equal under dynamic conditions, what exactly are you referring to when you mention adjusting front alignment? If it's front toe, you'll succeed only in feather edging the front tires and exaggerating torque steer.
    Btw, the Bear and Hunter machines which I use daily in the motive power dep't of the college I work at do NOT refer to rear thrust angles as positive or negative, but left and right. Most other angles such as camber, caster, SAI, included angle, toe out on turns, etc, are referred to as positive or negative degrees and/or minutes. Setback is in inches.
    Have you looked into aftermarket rear adjustment kits? Not familiar offhand with the Maxima rear suspension but shim kits, eccentric bushings, etc are available for many makes. Recently had to install rear camber adjustment offset lower arm bushings in my Taurus to correct the -3 degree camber which was, obviously, eating the inner edges of the tires.
  • lugwrenchlugwrench Posts: 213
    One of the best cars I ever owned was a 1984 Nissan Maxima Wagon that I purchased brand new. Had the car for 13 years which 12 of those was trouble free. Got rid of the car in 1997 with over 217,000 miles on the odometer. Had the oil changed every three months or 3000 miles which ever came first and always used Castrol GTX. From the first day I drove the car off the lot, I noticed that the oil pressure gauge was always almost not registering. Dealer where I bought the car said it was normal. When I moved, took it to another dealer and he told me it was an oil sending unit that needed replacing. Had the work done for $47.00 and the car registered the same readings. To this day, I was always wondering if this was normal. The car never leaked oil or burned oil. Probably would still have it today if the body hadn't rusted out beyond repair. My question is, has any other former 1984 Nissan Maxima owner experienced what I just explained? To this day, I am still curious!
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Posts: 398
    Thrust Angle in most publications (that I have read) is measured in degrees. Even on my last wheel alignment printout it was given in negative degrees. I had a look on the internet and you are right you can call it left or right thrust angle and measure it in linear units. The same applies to toe – you can call it toe in (or toe out) and measure the actual toe in linear units, or you can measure toe in positive/negative degrees.

    I think positive/negative is more confusing then left/right (for thrust angle) or in/out (for toe). But whether you call it negative thrust angle of left thrust angle you still have to be able to quantify it. If you measure the angle between two intersecting lines (e.g. centerline and thrust line) in degrees, then I know exactly what you are talking about; on the other hand if you measure it in inches, then you have to specify how far away from the point of intersection you take your measurements. I guess there is some implicit standard when it comes to measuring vehicle toe, thrust angle, etc.

    Anyway, my right rear wheel points in (toe in), my left rear wheel points out (toe out) – so my rear end has a tendency to go left and therefore push the front of the car right. I have a substantial negative/left thrust angle.

    The Maxima has a non-adjustable rear toe, so I think that I can align the front wheels to fix the thrust angle – I probably need left front toe out, and right front toe in. (In any case the total front toe should be in.) Then the car will go slightly sideways but will not pull to the right.

    The idea of adjusting the front suspension in order to correct the thrust angle of a car that has a non-adjustable rear suspension can be found if you go to this site, for instance:

  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Posts: 398
    By the way I've heard (and if anyone knows any better, please correct me) that the left drive shaft on the Maxima is longer than the right one, so the torque steer on the Maxima is to the left. I have experienced this under hard acceleration; under normal driving conditions, however, the car pulls to the right.
  • lucy1213lucy1213 Posts: 18
    I have written here before about my 2001 GXE shifting hard and even sometimes surging when it shifts. Since I bought the car on Feb. 9, I have been back to the dealer six times and the problem still has not been resolved.

    Nissan acknowledges some of the problem through a service bulletin and they recommend first replacing the solenoid, which the dealer did and nothing changed, so then they replaced the transmission control module, which also did not correct the problem.

    I am at my wits end and don't know what to do. The service manager is going to have a technician ride with me Monday to check it out, but they have offered no further advice.

    Anyone have any similar experiences?

    This poor car has only 3,100 miles on it, already has paint chipped in four spots, had rust all around the trunk from shards of metal left over from the spoiler being installed, has started hard at least 40 times (meaning it takes at least three tries to start it) and is making a weird clunking sound when I turn corners.

    Do I have a lemon on my hands?
    Seriously--I am so heart broken over this.
    I don't mean to whine, but my level of frustration is increasing to the point that I am truly considering selling or trading in this car, even though I love its comfort and know that financially I will take a beating to get rid it.

    Any advice?
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    "If your car has a non-adjustable suspension, thrust angle is compensated for by aligning the front wheels to the rear wheels." With earlier alignment machines, 2 head front alignments were possible. If a rear thrust angle exists (usually does with independent rear suspension), the car will dog track even though front settings are to spec. This results in an off centre steering wheel which may obscure gauges or warning lights on the instrument panel, place the steering box off the over centre high spot (if recirculating ball type) and generally annoy the driver. This is the reason why most current machines require heads to be placed on all 4 wheels when doing even just a front alignment. Once the software knows where the rears are pointing, it automatically compensates when displaying front toe. This eliminates an off center steering wheel, but the vehicle will still dog track if rear thrust angle's not zero.

    Re torque steer, a large number of fwd vehicles have an offset differential, resulting in unequal length half shafts. It's not the length difference of the shafts as much as the unequal CV joint angles that generates torque steer. Typically, manufacturers compensate by using a solid short shaft which will "wind up" a certain amount, and a tubular long shaft which doesn't. Other strategies include an intermediate shaft and outer hanger bearing on the long side, with both halfshafts now at equal length and angles (Chrysler with higher torque engines), and a built in differential extension on one side of the transaxle which accomplishes the same thing (several GM models). Take a quick look under yours and see which side the diff's on, and halfshaft types.

    In any event, good luck with it and rotate the tires regularly. :-)
  • edwardh5edwardh5 Posts: 130
    Infiniti/maxima had a tsb in late 99 on right pull. I got a copy and gave it to the dealer - but they won't say weather or not its applicable to my car.

    the factory tsb says the pull can come from the rack having unequal friction right to left. The TSB says take off the tie rod ends, start engine, run it a little , stop engine, and use a spring scale to measure the pull required to move the rack right, then pull it out left and measure that. If unequal, within some range you adjust it.
    How common is this rack problem?
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Posts: 398
    alcan, thanks for your explanation! You certainly seem to know more about wheel alignment than I do. I can investigate the torque steer of my Maxima, but I doubt that this is the problem, as I have test driven two other Maximas (same model) that didn't pull to the right under normal driving conditions. So I think there is something else specific to my car that is not quite right. Thrust angle was my first suspicion. It may be something else - I guess I need to find a good alignment specialist who can take a look at my car. Can you recommend anyone (NYS area)? Re wheel alignment - I didn't do it on my previous car but will do it on this one. I have 6.5K miles now, and I guess I'll do it during my next visit to the dealer. I wonder if I have a bad tire that's causing the pull... Maybe the wheel alignment will show that.

    edwardh5, now I am thinking - maybe my problem is in the rack having unequal friction right to left, as you described above. Could you please post the TSB, so that I can check this with my dealer? Thanks.
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Posts: 398
    >Re wheel alignment - I didn't do it on my previous car but will do it on this one.

    I meant wheel rotation. Sorry.
  • edwardh5edwardh5 Posts: 130
    Sorry, I left it at the dealer. I cant post it anyway.
    you can request it from the agency though.
    My problem is not torque steer. and its not tires, as I have done several tire rotations and it does it no matter which tire is where.
    That leaves brake drag and alignment.
    My guess is that there is some generic problem and due to Nissans poor financial shape last year (tho getting better now) they have told the dealers to stiff people on warranty problems to save money. I too have driven demo/loaner cars (Infiniti gives you a loaner) and they don't pull.
  • adithyaadithya Posts: 2
    I have a 97 Maxima with 62,000 miles and for the past 10,000 miles or so I have been hearing an annoying whine on starting the car. I got my accessory belt replaced and the noise disappeared for a few thousand miles, only to have recently reappeared. The difference after replacement being that the whine disappears after the engine has warmed up. I have had the belt re-adjusted several times so what else could it be ? Anyone else with had similar problems ? The engine seems pretty noisy on opening the hood and not at all like the V6 VTEC on wife's Honda. Wasn't there some mention of excessive valve noise on the V6 VQ's ?
  • mhammy84mhammy84 Posts: 167
    if i was you, i would use the opportunity to "prove" to the tech who will be arriving that your car has a noise that another car doesnt. since you will be at the dealer, request that you drive your car with the person, show them all the noises and concerns, and then drive another NEW maxima same year, same options, etc. and try to re-create the same concerns and point that difference out. if after this nothing gets done and they refuse to repair, then you will most likely have to find another dealer who would be more willing to at least make you happy by replacing parts, etc.
  • wdoranwdoran Posts: 31
    any ideas on how to open a front passenger door on a 90 Maxima. The locking mechanism seems to be working, but door will not open with door handles or key. Thanks for any help.
  • wg45678wg45678 Posts: 55
    My $0.02

    There's TSBs out on both the front end noise (others report strut replacement fixes it) and the 5 speed problem shifting problem. All us 5 speed drivers have the same issue in varying degrees (lurching in low gears, engine revs when shifting, etc). Check the M&R forum for Nissan 5 speed problems. This TSB involves reprogramming the engine computer, not parts replacement. If your car is an automatic, there's a TSB out that fixes the problem on the automatics as well. Check with the regular Maxima forum, or the NHTSA web site for the TSB numbers since you may have to enlighten your dealer.

    As to the rust problem -- I assume that's a dealer installed spoiler. You'll have to take it up with him. (But that's one reason I didn't have a dealer installed spoiler on my GXE).

  • lfd440lfd440 Posts: 33
    Thanks for you kind imput as to what type of gas I should use for my new Maxima SE (loaded) I purchased one.
    Sterling w/ black leather.I'll use the premium gas as you recommended for better performance.
    I'va already waxed it and put a "protection" on the dash surface. Love it... a real eye catcher. I'll say you live a little "south" of Boston MA. ( in Virginia!!)
  • lfd440lfd440 Posts: 33
    Brian, very sorry for the delay in returning your question as to where I would look to purchase my vehicle in the Boston MA. area.
    I went to Kelly Nissan in Lynnfield MA. The salesman's name was John Pashby and I was treated
    very well.
    I checked at Quirk in Braintree but in the long run they didn't come through with as good of a deal that I got at Kelly of Lynnfield. Here's the number 781-598-1234. And ask for this salesman. let me know how you made out..Thanks!
  • edwardh5edwardh5 Posts: 130
    On 94 - 99 Maximas there is no caster or camber adjustment front or rear. Nissan saving money. So when you pay for a dealer wheel alignment all you get is a toe adjustment.
    After 3 dealer tries to correct a right pull, I took my 99 to a private mechanic who's computer machine said that the rear wheels were in spec, the right front was in spec, but the left front even though in factory spec (which is very wide) varied from the right so much that that was causing the problem of right pull.
    How to adjust? His solution which worked, was to grind a very small slot on the strut bolt hole, allowing the needed adjustment.
    Car tracks great.
    Dealer would not do this and wanted me to put up with the right pull (their thought was: if its inside the spec range you should put up with the pull)
    Beware of this at dealers.
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