'96 Maxima (VQ30DE) Under valve cover pics 285k

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2,852
Location
Kentucky
Doing some repairs / maintenance on my '96 Maxima that I'd hoped to do at 300k, but it's getting done a bit early-- Valve cover gaskets were leaking enough to really annoy me and I had a phantom coolant leak that I could smell after a long drive, but could never locate any drips. Had to top off the reservoir every couple weeks. After putting the cooling system under 14 PSI pressure, I spotted the leak way back at the firewall where two heater hoses come together at a simple plastic coupling. The plastic was brittle as a peanut shell and broke into pieces just getting the hose clamp off. Decided to replace all the 25 year old heater hoses. Nissan in their infinite wisdom, used plastic at the heater core fittings (where it goes through the firewall) too, I was afraid they'd break also, but I was able to carefully cut the hose off; I think they'll live another day. Taking the dash off to get at the heater core is not my idea of a good time.

Some other things on the list (many were done just because I was in there): axle seals, passenger CV axle, PCV valve, coolant temp sensors, 02 sensors, all motor mounts, thermostat and fuel filter. The PCV valve made the job extra fun, the plastic PCV valve broke in two while removing it, leaving the bottom half stuck inside the valve cover. I debated just leaving it down there in the oil baffle which is too narrow/small for the piece to come out and fall in the engine, but I was worried it would rattle in there and decided to pull the grommet out. Naturally the old grommet broke into two pieces. Hoping I can find a replacement or I'll be doing a custom RTV fix (hack if you will, but I prefer "custom") with what's left of the grommet.

Did a compression test just for kicks and it returned: 185-185-173 (back cylinders) and 164-170-178 (front). Other than not being very service friendly (which can be said for a lot of transverse V6), this has been a great engine.

Some pics under the valve covers:

FRONT:

F1.jpg


F2.jpg


BACK:

B1.jpg


B2.jpg
 

92saturnsl2

Thread starter
Messages
2,852
Location
Kentucky
What has been your main go-to oil? That was a sweet version of the Maxima!! (y)
It saw PYB and VWB at up till around 200k, changed every 5k.

Since 200k I've been making a deliberate effort at trying all different kinds of oils from 0w-20 to 5w-50. It's usually whatever synthetic I find on clearance, Castrol Edge, Mobil1, RGT, Pennzoil Ultra, etc. with an HDEO used here and there. I usually change every 5-10k, mostly highway miles. No observable oil use between changes until recently. Lately I've been adding 1/2-1qt in an OCI, but I think that's due to the valve cover gaskets which were leaking pretty good.
 
Messages
7,429
Location
FL, USA
Nice! My grandparents just replaced their 1996ish Caprice Classic wagon with a 2002 Maxima with only 36,000 miles! Anything they should watch out for?
 
Messages
7,429
Location
FL, USA
Is the Caprice wagon for sale?
It sold quickly. My father sold it for them, he had numerous offers within days. It sold above market value. My grandparents purchased it nearly 15 years ago with around 50K miles if I remember correctly, they sold it with around 110K miles.
 
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11,586
Location
USA
Looks good! I used to have a 4th gen Maxima with similar mileage. I used a 10k OCI on GC/BC Castrol 0w30, and it still looked good underneath :)
I got it at 250k, got rid of it near 300k

You should've replaced the rear fuel injectors, as they are a common failure point on these cars, and you don't want to pull the intake again!

I think Nissan still sells the PCV grommet, so you should be able to get it with no problem.

How is your radiator support?
 

92saturnsl2

Thread starter
Messages
2,852
Location
Kentucky
Looks good! I used to have a 4th gen Maxima with similar mileage. I used a 10k OCI on GC/BC Castrol 0w30, and it still looked good underneath :)
I got it at 250k, got rid of it near 300k

You should've replaced the rear fuel injectors, as they are a common failure point on these cars, and you don't want to pull the intake again!

I think Nissan still sells the PCV grommet, so you should be able to get it with no problem.

How is your radiator support?

Radiator support is still good, this car spent most if its life in southern Nevada and Missouri, so it's had very infrequent salt exposure. We don't get a lot of salt here either, maybe once or twice a year. Touch of rust on the body (base of the wheel arches in couple spots), but hardly any rust on the mechanical components, working on it is still pleasant with no rust or rot to deal with.

I actually replaced all the injectors at around 230k as preventative maintenance as you suggested-- I did the water pump then and the valve cover gaskets for the first time. These last VC gaskets only lasted 50k, not sure why, might have bought cheap junk, I don't remember what brand I used. Went with Felpro this time. I've got the intake job down pat after having removed it twice now. I leave one of those brackets off on the back (at the suggestion of some folks on the Maxima forums), it's pretty much impossible to get to. Without that bracket, it's not too bad a job.
 
Messages
11,586
Location
USA
Radiator support is still good, this car spent most if its life in southern Nevada and Missouri, so it's had very infrequent salt exposure. We don't get a lot of salt here either, maybe once or twice a year. Touch of rust on the body (base of the wheel arches in couple spots), but hardly any rust on the mechanical components, working on it is still pleasant with no rust or rot to deal with.

I actually replaced all the injectors at around 230k as preventative maintenance as you suggested-- I did the water pump then and the valve cover gaskets for the first time. These last VC gaskets only lasted 50k, not sure why, might have bought cheap junk, I don't remember what brand I used. Went with Felpro this time. I've got the intake job down pat after having removed it twice now. I leave one of those brackets off on the back (at the suggestion of some folks on the Maxima forums), it's pretty much impossible to get to. Without that bracket, it's not too bad a job.

:cool:

I used Victor Reinz (now called Mahle) valve cover gaskets, and they seem to be the reboxed OE gaskets, made in Japan. The spark plug tube seals were easy since the shape of them made it obvious which side goes which way.

For the radiator support, I still recommend spraying it with some kind of oil. Noxudol is great stuff, but Krown is good too (and there are plenty of other good products out there that serve the same purpose). After spraying it, use whatever is left in the can to spray the rest of the car.

My car went to the junkyard because of the rust. Up here, it's ok if the valve cover gasket only lasts 50k because the rest of the car won't make it to another 30k :sneaky:
 
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