Anyone ever owned (or known) an '02 or '03 Nissan Maxima (3.5L 6cyl) - Mustang Evolution

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Old 01-20-2009, 11:13 PM   #1
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Anyone ever owned (or known) an '02 or '03 Nissan Maxima (3.5L 6cyl)

As some of you might know, I'm in the market for a new car since I managed to total my truck from the kitchen table at Mark's house. Anyways, I had my eye on a 2002 Maxima SE with the 3.5 6 banger and an auto tranny. Its got 100k miles on it, but I figured hey a Japanese car will last for 1000k anyways, right? Problem is that the mechanic I was going to have look over the car tells me that newer japanese cars aren't really much better quality than their american counterparts, and that that generation maxima in particular seems to fall apart after 100k miles. Now, one side of me says "he's a mechanic, all he sees are the torn up cars" and the other side says "I don't want to buy the car and have it require $1800 worth of repairs in the first month". The internet isn't really all that helpful as I'm assuming 100k is about the top end of mileage for an 02 or 03 car, but what I have found doesn't seem to indicate any real problems from 100-120k. Really I'm just looking for someone with some real world input before I decide if i want to take the risk, any help is appreciated. (but please don't hate on it just because you got smoked by one in your v6 stang )
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Old 01-21-2009, 12:18 AM   #2
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Re: Anyone ever owned (or known) an '02 or '03 Nissan Maxima (3.5L 6cyl)

No experience with the newer 3.5 VQ nissans.. My sister has a 1997 maxima SE... 217k miles at the moment -
In the past 2 years only work I've had to do.. passenger side CV axle, regular oil changes and a rear 02 sensor

She's had the car from 181k miles onward, so almost 40k miles later it's only needed that.. and 4 tires.. I'd say it paid for itself so far.. but its got a check engine light on for EGR right now..

Yet it still runs strong and has plenty of power..

Oh and take it for what its worth..

Neighbor had a 99 regal GS - he sold it for a 4 door G35 sedan, same 3.5 as the maxima.. I had just put the ported SC on and was on the scan run to tune.. hadn't tuned yet.. and ran into him on the road nearby.. he couldn't keep up for anything with the regal.. :look: It's not a manual trans car but if you want a fun ride with v8 like torque.. look into the regal GS/ grand prix GTPs.. they might surprise you, and nothing has technically broken on this car in over 3 years, without my help... And that's running more than double the boost and 100+ track passes, the latter 20 or so of which were around 2 full seconds faster than stock..
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Old 01-21-2009, 12:35 AM   #3
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Thumbs down Re: Anyone ever owned (or known) an '02 or '03 Nissan Maxima (3.5L 6cyl)

Yeah, I hear all kinds of stories about the earlier nissans and how they were built like tanks, but that does little to ease my fears about getting into the newer one. I have looked at a few of the GTPs but between my dad telling me how he'll never own another damned pontiac and the stories of them catching on fire I'm just as wary of them as I am the maxima haha.
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:40 AM   #4
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Re: Anyone ever owned (or known) an '02 or '03 Nissan Maxima (3.5L 6cyl)

My sister owned one. She loved it and never had any problems with it. It had 150k miles on it.
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:49 AM   #5
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Re: Anyone ever owned (or known) an '02 or '03 Nissan Maxima (3.5L 6cyl)

Do you know if it was an automatic?
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:56 AM   #6
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Re: Anyone ever owned (or known) an '02 or '03 Nissan Maxima (3.5L 6cyl)

Yes it was.
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:23 AM   #7
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Re: Anyone ever owned (or known) an '02 or '03 Nissan Maxima (3.5L 6cyl)

I work for Nissan. The 00-03 maxima's were one of the best if you ask me. the 3.5 was rated one of the top 10 motors 10 years in a row. never in with too much problems. the most problems ive seen is the cats seem to go out around 80K and can be slightly pricey and o2 sensors seem to go out once in a while. and wheel bearings go bad usually after 100K or so. and trust me thats minor compaired to other cars. all and all almost all customers with that car is satisfied with the way it has treated them. aside for those things its rare to to see to many other problems. fantastic buy if its in good shape, and I can sell you parts for emp price (since your on this site with us) and ship them to ya for the same price i pay for shipping if needed.
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:25 AM   #8
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Re: Anyone ever owned (or known) an '02 or '03 Nissan Maxima (3.5L 6cyl)

I have an 05 maxima but its the newer style, so far the engine is fine at 60k miles on it~ but I dont plan to own it past 100 probably.

Think about it this way, if you see a bunch of a given car on the road as it continues to get older chances are they are good cars. I dont see THAT many older maximas.
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:28 AM   #9
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Re: Anyone ever owned (or known) an '02 or '03 Nissan Maxima (3.5L 6cyl)

^^Might just be your area. I see a ton of them.
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:42 AM   #10
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Re: Anyone ever owned (or known) an '02 or '03 Nissan Maxima (3.5L 6cyl)

From what I can gather on the 'net, the engines tend to use a little oil, but otherwise are rock solid, I'm mostly just worried about the auto transmission, they seem really hit or miss with some people posting horror stories about the TCM going on the fritz. The mechanic also said something about the timing chain usually having to be replaced around 100k (wtf) and costing out the rear.
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:49 AM   #11
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Re: Anyone ever owned (or known) an '02 or '03 Nissan Maxima (3.5L 6cyl)

She never had a problem with hers. She bought it with 40K on it and totaled it at 150k. The trans always worked fine. The only thing that was replaced was the water pump. At keast to my knowledge.
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:06 AM   #12
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Re: Anyone ever owned (or known) an '02 or '03 Nissan Maxima (3.5L 6cyl)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThaWill View Post
From what I can gather on the 'net, the engines tend to use a little oil, but otherwise are rock solid, I'm mostly just worried about the auto transmission, they seem really hit or miss with some people posting horror stories about the TCM going on the fritz. The mechanic also said something about the timing chain usually having to be replaced around 100k (wtf) and costing out the rear.
Ive only seen trans issues in 05 and up maximas with the 5sp trans. not to many ive seen with 4sp issues
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Old 01-21-2009, 10:07 AM   #13
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Re: Anyone ever owned (or known) an '02 or '03 Nissan Maxima (3.5L 6cyl)

I'm in the waiting room bull****ting with the mechanic while a rack frees up and he is telling me the timing chain is a huge piece of **** and the cost about 1800 bucks to have fixed when they inevitably **** up. He said grimy oil collects under the cover and ****s up the tensioners, unless the oil has always been maintained perfectly. Blargh why does this have to be difficult.
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Old 01-21-2009, 10:19 AM   #14
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Re: Anyone ever owned (or known) an '02 or '03 Nissan Maxima (3.5L 6cyl)

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Originally Posted by ThaWill View Post
I'm in the waiting room bull****ting with the mechanic while a rack frees up and he is telling me the timing chain is a huge piece of **** and the cost about 1800 bucks to have fixed when they inevitably **** up. He said grimy oil collects under the cover and ****s up the tensioners, unless the oil has always been maintained perfectly. Blargh why does this have to be difficult.
Its a car. There is nothing easy
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Old 01-21-2009, 12:35 PM   #15
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Re: Anyone ever owned (or known) an '02 or '03 Nissan Maxima (3.5L 6cyl)

So, I got it in the back on the lift, and one of the younger techs comes over and is looking under the car with me, and I ask him "what do you think about these cars?" He says "I really like these nissans they are pretty good cars." So I'm "even with the exploding timing chains?" He asked me if it was a 3.0 and it turns out the old guy telling me that they were junk just had the engines mixed up since they swapped to the 3.5 mid generation. PRAISE BABY RAPTOR JESUS FINALLY I GET A BREAK.
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Old 01-21-2009, 01:24 PM   #16
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Re: Anyone ever owned (or known) an '02 or '03 Nissan Maxima (3.5L 6cyl)

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Originally Posted by ThaWill View Post
So, I got it in the back on the lift, and one of the younger techs comes over and is looking under the car with me, and I ask him "what do you think about these cars?" He says "I really like these nissans they are pretty good cars." So I'm "even with the exploding timing chains?" He asked me if it was a 3.0 and it turns out the old guy telling me that they were junk just had the engines mixed up since they swapped to the 3.5 mid generation. PRAISE BABY RAPTOR JESUS FINALLY I GET A BREAK.
TOLD YA!
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Old 01-21-2009, 04:17 PM   #17
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Re: Anyone ever owned (or known) an '02 or '03 Nissan Maxima (3.5L 6cyl)

Yes, I called him Frank.
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:25 PM   #18
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Re: Anyone ever owned (or known) an '02 or '03 Nissan Maxima (3.5L 6cyl)

Thanks for the input guys, I really appreciate it. I drove it home tonight. Its a damn shame too, I only rocked my sweet legs signature for a couple of days.
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:09 PM   #19
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Re: Anyone ever owned (or known) an '02 or '03 Nissan Maxima (3.5L 6cyl)

Hope you like it.
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