Going to check out a 2005 Nissan Altima SER today.

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And I am wondering if anyone can give me any main points to look out for. This car isn't for me but a friend of mine. It's being privately sold for a ridiculously low price. The car has high miles for the year (102k) but this price is a steal if everything checks out. I am test driving it since it is a 6-speed and my friend isn't very good at manual since he never owned a stick. Any suggestions on how to tell how bad the clutch may or may not be slipping? I am not too familiar with the SER's -- cool lookin cars though. And I am pretty sure those 3.5L nissans are solid as a rock.
 
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Sit with the car on level ground, no brake, in first with the foot on the clutch for at least a minute to make sure the master/slave cylinders aren't leaking. Full throttle bursts in fifth to see if the clutch is slipping. I don't know much about those cars, but on any inexpensive performance car I'd be worried about the clutch, and the syncros being a bit abused, especially in first and second.
 

jigen

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Thanks for the tip. Pretty sure this is the same transmission found in the 350z's. I am not too sure on Nissans though.
 
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The transaxle in the Altima has nothing in common with the transmission in the 350Z, other than they're both bolted to a VQ35. With the ventilation and stereo off and the windows up, drive slowly through a parking lot (idling in 1st gear) over small bumps and other irregularities and listen for creaking / groaning / thumping. If you hear ANYTHING up front or feel a thumping in the floor, the struts are bad. I know..I had 3 sets replaced on my 2002 3.5 SEbefore 19,000 miles.
 

jigen

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Thanks. The guy looking to buy the car had an 05' Altima 2.5L and I am pretty sure he knows of some common issues.
 

jigen

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Okay we saw the car and he decided to pass. The Good: The car was only being sold for $7,000. It was her son's car and he went overseas now he told her to just sell it. These cars go for about 15k with 50k or less on them. This one was at 102k. The car was quiet when started and the clutch seemed to not slip at all. Car is definitely quick for a sedan too. The Bad: First off the exterior was in terrible shape for an '05. It just seemed that no one cared about it and it was just driven a whooole lot. Clearcoat was peeling in spots. Rock chips galore. Lots of scratches... overall I would say the car needed a new paint job. The paint didn't look all that nice for a 30k car. Thankfully the interior wasn't as bad. Back bumper needed to be replaced since it was in a small fender bender. Front bumper was unhitched slightly too. Something most people wouldn't notice. The next two things I noticed could be real serious so enlighten me if ya can guys! : ) - First of the clutch pedal was very hard to press down. I've driven many sticks, and I always thought my Camaro's pedal was the firmest I've used. This one was easily twice as hard to press down. Hard enough to the point it didn't feel right since the break and gas pedals were very touchy and easy to press. - oil pressure gauge was straight up freaking me out. At normal gear shifting rpms and cruising the oil psi was ranging between around 55-70 but at idle it was either at zero or [censored] close to it. I felt the car would have ran much worse if pressure was like that, so I thought maybe it was just a dumb gauge. Maybe not though! Anyway too much racket for the price. I would personally see at least 2k getting dumped in that car before it came out how it should be.
 
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 Originally Posted By: ViragoBry
The transaxle in the Altima has nothing in common with the transmission in the 350Z, other than they're both bolted to a VQ35. With the ventilation and stereo off and the windows up, drive slowly through a parking lot (idling in 1st gear) over small bumps and other irregularities and listen for creaking / groaning / thumping. If you hear ANYTHING up front or feel a thumping in the floor, the struts are bad. I know..I had 3 sets replaced on my 2002 3.5 SEbefore 19,000 miles.
Nissan OE shocks/struts are HORRIBLE. The Xterra forums stated they last about 20-25k, I bought mine used with 32k and they were shot(hand compressed and never came out). My fiance's Altima was bought used with supposed servicing(you know, making sure the car is up to snuff for selling) by Nissan 46. Nope, we were driving with my mechanic friend and he was like this car is riding awkward. Take it to the shop and sure enough struts are shot or have been. 40k on the odometer. She sold her pos Altima(it was, that one anyway because they conned her into a lie about the car). Long story short, it was in several accidents with a falsified carfax/autocheck. I've installed Bilstein shocks on my Xterra and sleep better knowing that they will go 50-60k miles and really plant my wheels to the ground.
 
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