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Old 01-21-2013, 12:47 AM   Thread Starter #1
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Default Need Some Advice/Information

Hey guys! I got a couple questions about my car. Sorry if this is a long post...

I took my maxima down to the nissan dealership (175 miles, 2.5 hours to the nearest one) basically to see if I can get nissan to pay to repair it. I got in touch with them and expressed my deep, deep disappointment in the quality of my car. They said they were very sorry, gave me a case number, and said to bring it down and get it diagnosed and a quoted.

I brought it down there for two main problems: the timing chain noise and the transmission hard shifting. I walked out $400 poorer and holding a list of more problems than I thought a car could have. I kept getting the vibe that everyone working with my car was impressed I had made it the 175 miles to get there.

First problem, concerning the timing chain noise. They said that yes, I do have that problem, but it's not bad yet, and that I shouldn't worry about it for now. They said, however that I should use genuine OEM nissan oil filters to help with this problem. They said that by using OEM filters I get the correct pressures and flow. If I use anything else (aftermarket filters) the oil can cavitate in the engine and not give it proper flow and pressure. Anyone heard of this? I bought two nissan oil filters anyway, and plan on changing the oil this week.

Second, the transmission. This is probably mostly my fault. They checked the transmission fluid level and said it is extremely low and extremely dirty. I told them I will change the fluid out, and they had me buy five quarts. They used one quart to top it off, so it had at least some in there, and the other four I will be draining and filling this week. I gotta say, by them just putting the one quart in there, it shifts amazing now.

Third, the front engine mount. I know I have seen this problem on here a few times. This is probably why it bangs into gear sometimes, and why it has a huge delay from reverse to drive occasionally. I looked the part up and its $140, so I will probably be doing this myself. I just need to know how to do it, and where it is.

Fourth, bank one cat. They said that some of my noise is coming from the heat shield that broke off bank one cat. They also said that where the shield broke off it made holes in the cat itself, and that it is sucking air in. How hard is it to remove this so I can get it welded? Where exactly is it? They said it would be $1500 to replace it completely, but I may be able to weld the holes and shield back on.

Fifth, o-ring in the oil cooler is leaking a little. This one is not that big a priority. They said that it is a beast to fix, too, and that it is near the oil drain plug somewhere.

Sixth, the drive belts were cracked and breaking. I had them replaced there, as they were dangerously close to failing.

So, yeah. Quite depressing. For a seven year old car with 101,000 miles I can't believe so much is wrong with it. I will be updating nissan and the case number with what was found and see if they will help me. But I'm thinking the chances of that are pretty much nil.

Last edited by 06BlckMax; 01-21-2013 at 12:50 AM.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:45 AM   #2
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Default Re: Need Some Advice/Information

Routine maintenance is the key. Got my 06 with 49k on the clock. Couple months later i needed a new clutch. Got that fixed. Then i replaced belts an struts all around just because i knew it was time. Better to do it now than later. Oil changes i always go by the date if they put one down, because i never reach the mile mark before the date... lol.. I have had to replace lower control arm an one of the front axle's.. It's a expensive car to maintain. but well worth it when you get it all done. She runs like a champ now. An plan on keeping her for yrs to come...
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:37 AM   #3
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Default Re: Need Some Advice/Information

I changed my belts out at 35k miles...they were squeaking like crazy. The front mount you can do yourself. I've never used OEM oil filters, so I can't comment. My wife's Altima is due for her flush/fill this spring. I'll let the dealership do it since the trans is still under warranty. It's going to be pricey...no way around it. I did the drain/fill on my Maxima and her Altima a couple years back. You get raped on the cost of the fluid, but they kind of have you over a barrel there.

You are at 100K miles, which is pretty much wear the timing chain issue rears it's ugly head. You can get the timing chain guides done anywhere...a local shop would be much cheaper than the dealership, just make sure you find a shop that is familiar with the VQ engine. If you wanted to do it yourself, it is possible...see this thread:
Timing Chain Tensioner Job - With Pics

As far as the heat shield on the cat goes, if my heat shields rattle, I just remove them, so I wouldn't be bothered by not having it on the car. I'm guessing that they are talking about the pre-cats, and not the cats? Usually the pre-cats on our cars are where the problems arise. As far as the holes go...any way you can get some JBWeld on them to seal them up? The pre-cats are another known issue on our cars...they tend to fail right around the 100K miles mark. Your only options are headers, which will trigger a CEL, Racingline High-Flow pre-cats, or OEM pre-cats...NONE of the options are cheap, and there were some reported failures on the Racingline pre-cats, so proceed with caution...

As far as the oil cooler O-ring...if we are talking about the same thing here, I really don't believe it is that big of a deal to fix...see this link:
Oil Cooler Ring Swap
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:28 PM   Thread Starter #4
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Default Re: Need Some Advice/Information

I don't know, it just bugs me. A car that's this high maintenance and high cost just strikes me as poor quality. If you have to keep fixing stuff that breaks, that just tells me poor quality parts and materials were used.

I have a 22 year old chevy pickup, and it is still going strong on pretty much all the OE parts. Zero problems with the engine or transmission. I also have a 2006 chevy 1500 pickup for work, and I have not had any major problems with that. It's got over 160,000 miles, and over the last 4 years I have put on average 25k to 30k on it per year. I drive it very hard, doing a lot of both highway travel and off-roading. Sure, the shocks are gone, it leaks a little oil, and it's generally beat up, but it is not having anywhere near the problems my maxima is.

I don't know. I hate to complain, but I don't have the money to be throwing at a car like this. I bought it thinking "Hey, it's not that old, it should be pretty reliable." Nope. Money pit.

Basically I think I am going to replace the engine mount, drain and replace some of the transmission fluid, and see if the oil filter helps with the timing chain clicking. After all that I'm hoping that the car will feel and sound OK, and then I will try to trade it in for a more reliable car.
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: Need Some Advice/Information

Originally Posted by callisto View Post
I don't know, it just bugs me. A car that's this high maintenance and high cost just strikes me as poor quality. If you have to keep fixing stuff that breaks, that just tells me poor quality parts and materials were used.

I have a 22 year old chevy pickup, and it is still going strong on pretty much all the OE parts. Zero problems with the engine or transmission. I also have a 2006 chevy 1500 pickup for work, and I have not had any major problems with that. It's got over 160,000 miles, and over the last 4 years I have put on average 25k to 30k on it per year. I drive it very hard, doing a lot of both highway travel and off-roading. Sure, the shocks are gone, it leaks a little oil, and it's generally beat up, but it is not having anywhere near the problems my maxima is.

I don't know. I hate to complain, but I don't have the money to be throwing at a car like this. I bought it thinking "Hey, it's not that old, it should be pretty reliable." Nope. Money pit.

Basically I think I am going to replace the engine mount, drain and replace some of the transmission fluid, and see if the oil filter helps with the timing chain clicking. After all that I'm hoping that the car will feel and sound OK, and then I will try to trade it in for a more reliable car.
The timing chain sound is from the broken tensionsers. It's not the timing chain itself. Usually it goes out at around 70K+. I started to get the noise around 74K. Oil changes help, but not the permanent solution. Eventually ticking will come back and get worse. Some people even use a thicker oil just to help with the noise.

Now for the transmission, that's going to be a your biggest expense. Depends on where you go. If you don't go to Nissan, make sure you go to a shop that has done Nissan Maxima transmissions before and offer warranty. Usually it's the valve body.

Don't be discouraged as ANY car can have issues you were not expecting. Yes, the 6thgen has it's issues but alot of is depending on how the car was treated in it's early life. Me personally, I never had transmission issues and I'm at like 109K miles. The timing chain is a normal wear tear item.

Good Luck!
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: Need Some Advice/Information

Even the trans valve body is doable yourself if you are comfortable and have the tools to work on your car. For every vehicle that has been maintenance free for x amount of miles, there's another that has needed a lot of work. As Eddy said, the tensioner are maintenance, and they are due...

See if the dealer you bought it from will help with the cost at all.
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