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tb
tb HalfDork
10/13/14 8:12 a.m.

I know there are some nissan guys here and I have had a few Maxima in the past but I appreciate the knowledge of the collective.

I am thinking about a larger (than an e30) vehicle before the firstborn arrives and have thought about these as a good option. SWMBO suggested another Maxima and I have no reason to refute her idea.

We are city dwellers that only drive 3-5k a year but something with some space and moderate reliability would make life easier. Currently, we are thinking around $5k purchase will leave us comfortable for any repairs or upgrades needed for something we will use once or twice a week. I think that should find us a very well cared for, lower mileage example.

Any input is appreciated. FWIW, SWMBO is absolutely adamantly set against a Honda or Toyota (dont' ask...) and emotions are high these days so I am happy to bend to her good memories of previous Maxies ('90 & '96).

Also, am I correct in remembering that the SE was the only model to get the optional helical lsd?

Thanks!

t25torx
t25torx HalfDork
10/13/14 8:56 a.m.

You're about to have a kid.. don't even think about a car with a trunk. You want a Mazda3 hatch, or a SAAB 9-3 Wagon. That being said, I'm a Maxima fan since my first car was an '87 GXE.

tb
tb HalfDork
10/13/14 9:39 a.m.
t25torx wrote: don't even think about a car with a trunk

Can you help me out and expand upon this? In my experience a trunk is very nice for our particular situation. I live in a good neighborhood but do not have terribly secure parking; a trunk has been great to secure cargo in a locked steel box where no one car see the contents. Living in big cities you learn quickly to leave absolutely nothing visible to the general population inside your car.

szeis4cookie
szeis4cookie HalfDork
10/13/14 10:31 a.m.
tb wrote:
t25torx wrote: don't even think about a car with a trunk

Can you help me out and expand upon this?

Have you shopped strollers yet? If not, go to Babies r' Us (because they'll let you test fit in the car) and try to fit one in the trunk. That is why you are going to need a hatch.

tb
tb HalfDork
10/13/14 10:53 a.m.

In reply to szeis4cookie:

I haven't actually gotten beyond looking at strollers online and checking out what everyone else has. I will take a serious look at that very shortly.

My thought is that I will get a regular sized stroller; not a suburban mall crawler soccer mom monstrosity. Those giant abominations do not work well in an urban environment, impossible to maneuver and navigate in smaller, crowded spaces.

I am taking all of this advice very seriously and appreciate it.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UberDork
10/13/14 11:23 a.m.

Mrs. Mad Scientist and I have managed to fit all sorts of over the top strollers - a double stroller, a jogging stroller, etc - in the trunk of her Camry. (My 328 convertible would be another story, but I can't see a way to carry the whole family in it until our second kid is out of rear facing car seats anyway). I would not expect a Maxima to have a storage space issue unless you really go overboard.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde SuperDork
10/13/14 12:43 p.m.

I have a friend who had a 2002 until recently. Blew an engine after a life of aircraft-level maintenance and was then totaled by a light T-bone hit - car pulled across one lane from a dead stop and hit at the b pillar, less than 15mph. After examining the structure of the car post-wreck I wouldn't put anything I loved in one.

They seem pretty highly regarded, though, maybe this was a lemon.

noddaz
noddaz Dork
10/13/14 1:08 p.m.

Cats, (esp bank 1) o2 sensors and knock sensors... That generation Max likes those on a semi regular basis... lol Of course, Maximas from that generation are now old cars... So buy the best example you can find. As for strollers, by the smallest lightest one that folds up flat and it will fit in the trunk just fine. If you buy a stroller the size of a cozy coupe, you are doing it wrong...

tb
tb HalfDork
10/13/14 1:24 p.m.

Thanks for the info; I had thought these engines were fairly bulletproof beyond oil consumption issues.

I will pay special attention to the maintenance records or signs of exhaust work.

They are indeed old cars by now and I know that comes with any number of unexpected issues and upkeep. I just cannot see spending too much money or effort on something that gets used so little. My general thought is that almost anything will be easier to deal with, safer and more reliable than my e30 coupe...

It would satisfy the wife and I figure the gen 5.5 has the bigger engine but is not as hideous to look at versus a gen 6.

HappyAndy
HappyAndy UltraDork
10/13/14 3:19 p.m.

I've got nothing against Maximas, but I'll second the notion that wagons and hatch backs are more useful for baby hauling duty.

belteshazzar
belteshazzar UberDork
10/13/14 3:42 p.m.

if you search for used maxima engines on car-part the results yield like eighteen thousand available. how bad could they be.

imgon
imgon New Reader
10/13/14 4:07 p.m.

One of my kids had an 03 that had 240k miles when he crashed it and it was still running strong. I would think the trunks are pretty large on those as well, he had a monster sub woofer in his and still managed to get other items it with it. Take one for a test ride to Babies r us and do the stroller test.

pimpm3
pimpm3 HalfDork
10/13/14 4:31 p.m.

You will be astonished by how many accessories such a small creature requires. When we got married my wife was driving an MR2 Spyder. Post baby we were piloting a Sequoia.

Between a "mommy bag", a rear facing child seat, and a stroller vehicular real estate gets eaten up real fast.

fanfoy
fanfoy HalfDork
10/13/14 4:55 p.m.

I'd say Yay. These are great cars that are big inside (think P71 big). Great engine and gearbox, HLSD, lame suspensions, but plenty of space for some big tires. Knock sensor are a PITA to change.

Since this is your first kid, trunk space should be sufficient, but realise that it might be a little tight if you get two.

slow
slow Reader
10/13/14 5:46 p.m.

Are you stopping at one kid? If not, you know what you need to get.

irish44j
irish44j PowerDork
10/13/14 5:52 p.m.
tb wrote: Thanks for the info; I had thought these engines were fairly bulletproof beyond oil consumption issues. I will pay special attention to the maintenance records or signs of exhaust work. They are indeed old cars by now and I know that comes with any number of unexpected issues and upkeep. I just cannot see spending too much money or effort on something that gets used so little. My general thought is that almost anything will be easier to deal with, safer and more reliable than my e30 coupe... It would satisfy the wife and I figure the gen 5.5 has the bigger engine but is not as hideous to look at versus a gen 6.

They are about as bulletproof as it gets (though the VQ30DE-K in the 00-01 is even moreso). I'm sure you can find some horror stories about any engine out there. Fact is that the VQ30/35 is a great engine and it's pretty rare to hear about one fail.

The VQ35 did have the consumption problem though, and if oil level gets too low the timing chain tensioner gets loose, etc etc....that could be an issue. FWIW the VQ30DE-K did not have that issue, and an 00-01 would be just as good a choice in my book (though only the Anniversary Edition in 01 had the LSD)

As to the safety thing, no idea what was referenced above, as the Maxima had good safety ratings and I've known PLENTY of people get in accidents in them (from the forums) and they always seem to come out of them without any major injuries. YMMV.

If you haven't already, look around Maxima.org. A lot of good stuff there (I used to be a moderator)

tb
tb HalfDork
10/13/14 6:24 p.m.
irish44j wrote: If you haven't already, look around Maxima.org. A lot of good stuff there (I used to be a moderator)

I knew that there was a good forum out there but I couldn't remember the name, thanks! I will check out the classifieds when I get a chance.

I am definitely appreciating the info.

tdisalvo
tdisalvo New Reader
10/13/14 8:52 p.m.

I second Irish's comments. IMO the 5.5 gen Maxima is probably the zenith of the the nameplate. Attractive body style, plenty of passenger room, pretty reliable, relatively inexpensive consumables and available with a stout V6/6-speed combo. The range of current sporting sedans with that kind of powertrain is short and getting shorter. I do believe the LSD was an option on the SE (which also came with stiffer suspension, 17" rims, body color trim and spoiler.) Clean examples can be had for $5k ish, although finding manual-transmission SE's is difficult.

I drove a '98 SE (slightly smaller overall dimensions than the 5.5) for more than a decade, including a couple of years carting around two young children in their carriers / car seats. I could rock the rear-facing carrier plus the rear-facing convertible seat without much trouble (and I'm 6'-3".) The trunk was also big enough for the monstrosity of the double tandem stroller. Don't let the naysayers tell you it's too small. My wife's '95 Civic was too small, but not the Maxima.

Regrettably Nissan jacked things up with the 6th generation version, although they did carry forward the 6-speed for at least one model year before dropping it forever. So long, 4DSC, and its slow slide into mediocrity.

Maxima.org is a good source for info, but you'll have to filter through some posts to get to the good stuff. The earliest 4th gen cars are now approaching 20 years old. Lots of old machines out there and now affordable to first-time owners who are only interested in adding HIDs and the latest in clear taillights.

/former Maxima.org member (not moderator)

Fr3AkAzOiD
Fr3AkAzOiD Reader
10/13/14 8:53 p.m.

Don't have any knowledge about that gen Maxima but as far as strollers go for toddlers (6+ months) the City Mini is awesome. You can open and close it in two seconds one handed and easily fits in the trunk of my Cobalt.

You can get adapters to lock in a baby car seat to use with infants but my wife and I had a separate infant stroller cause we hadn't found out about the City Mini yet.

Even with my daughter being five we used it at Disney this year to haul our junk and tote my girl when she ran out of gas and passed out.

http://www.babyjogger.com/product/city-mini/

tb
tb HalfDork
10/13/14 9:10 p.m.
tdisalvo wrote: IMO the 5.5 gen Maxima is probably the zenith of the the nameplate.

I am kind of thinking the same here. Our previous Maxima were very good for us and I think it slipped a bit as the years got on. The later models just seem to have gotten fatter and softer; SWMBO likes 4 door sedans but she also likes acceleration and maneuverability!

Good info, thanks. I will probably put together a WTB ad on maxima.org at some point; an enthusiast maintained car does have some appeal. Sadly, due to my disability I am shopping for an automatic, but that should open up more options.

tb
tb HalfDork
10/13/14 9:12 p.m.
Fr3AkAzOiD wrote: ...the City Mini is awesome...

This is exactly what I have heard from many parents; both friends and strangers.

The City Mini GT is at the top of the list for stroller shopping when I get around to it. I really do not see any viable competitors, actually.

Thanks for reassuring me that I am on the right track!

irish44j
irish44j PowerDork
10/13/14 9:15 p.m.

yep, that should open up a LOT more options for you, since the M/T cars are in much higher demand and tend to cost more. My memory is hazy, but you may also want to do a quick search on there as to whether the HLSD was on automatic cars. I think they were on ALL of the M/T 3.5 gens (02-03).

But, it's been a while since I was in that scene (2009ish), so I've forgotten some stuff for sure.

tb
tb HalfDork
10/13/14 9:42 p.m.
irish44j wrote: ...My memory is hazy, but you may also want to do a quick search on there as to whether the HLSD was on automatic cars. ...

I am trying to find good info on this issue because it does actually matter to me.

I think what I have found is the only the SE had the option of an lsd for the automatic and that autos got a viscous unit, not helical. Which means a good "testing" of the functionality would be required.

Also, it appears that the transmission code on the door jamb sticker will give up info on the specifics of the car. I have read that the last letter tells a story: A = no lsd, H = hlsd and V = vlsd.

Just more info for me to forget some day when it no longer becomes important...

irish44j
irish44j PowerDork
10/13/14 9:53 p.m.

FWIW, mine was an '00 with an open diff. With Dunlop Wintersports, it was pretty much unstoppable in the snow. I worked at a ski shop at the time and was always up in the mountains during snowstorms (the more snow, the better). Never had any problems. Long wheelbase, pretty heavy up front, good tires and it's fine without the LSD.

tb
tb HalfDork
10/13/14 10:29 p.m.

In reply to irish44j:

I agree that a lsd is not a deal breaker; I know it will be fine either way. It is more of a hope to find one deal, and a bargaining point too. I am just strange about always wanting to find the absolute best options when shopping even if they do not really matter when driving.

Whatever I wind up with will probably get brand new top of the line all season rubber along with fresh high performance street pads and that will suffice for any situation.

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