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Bringing my 1996 Maxima back to the road after 8 years.

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Old 09-24-2015, 08:15 PM   #1
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Bringing my 1996 Maxima back to the road after 8 years.

Hi, I don't really know what to say, so I'll give a brief history on my car. I have a 1996 Maxima that was my first car in 2002 or '03 (I forget). When I bought the car, it had 50k on the odometer. I loved the car and had great pride in it. I drove it A LOT. In 2007, the car started having really hard starting issues.

After sinking a bunch of money in to the car, I decided to get another car. When buying my new car, I asked how much they would give for a trade in. They told me they would just take it as scrap because the CarFax showed TMU (True Mileage Unknown), apparently the odometer was 'rolled back' 200K miles prior to being traded in to the dealer I bought it from. My best guess is that it may be 350k - 400k real mileage as it reads over 130k on the odometer currently.

So I bought a new car and decided to keep it. I used to take it out on the weekends just to keep it going. That didn't last long; I ended up parking it and just letting it sit in fall 2007 in a driveway. I had wanted to get it started and moving again many times, but just had a really busy schedule.

Fast forward to 2015, I finally started making time to bring it back to life. Earlier this year, I decided to look in the gas tank to see the condition. The pump and tank were rusted beyond being saved.




I knew I had to replace it if I had any chance of starting the car. I didn't want to sink a lot of money in it, so I kept searching for a used tank in good condition. I finally got lucky and found one in a local U-Pull it yard. I grabbed a couple fuel pumps too, hoping they'd work. They didn't. I bought a new fuel pump and installed the tank and pump.

I took the plugs out and poured some oil down all the cylinders to soak for a few days. I bought a used battery and installed it. I changed all the fluids, plugs, and filters, except for the transmission. I changed the fuel filter and ran some gas through the lines in to a container to clear the lines of debris. I changed the fuel filter again and reinstalled. I removed the plugs again and poured some more oil in the cylinders. I then manually turned the crankshaft with a breaker bar slowly for a few revolutions.

Leaving the plugs out, I finally turned the key to see what would happen. It felt like I had good engine turn, but heard a noise coming from the engine bay. I realized the alternator pulley was not moving. I sprayed some PB blaster at center of pulley shaft and 'gently' tapped the outside with a hammer. Turned the key again and pulley was free.

I reinstalled the plugs and was ready for a real go. After a couple of long runs, it finally sputtered to a start! I disappeared in a cloud of smoke, but it started to purr like she always had. Went to move it forward and the brake pedal fell to the floor. Brake line rusted out in rear, replaced that the next week. I then took it out down the street and back. It, surprisingly, drove really well (besides the flat spots in the tires).

The car still had a really hard time starting, like it did in the past. After researching this site, I felt it might be the CPS (POS or REF). I pulled both, cleaned and reinstalled. I also ran a direct ground to transmission bolt. Problem gone!!

I took the car around the neighborhood and was running really good. Coming back on the driveway, I heard a clunk. My exhaust broke at the flex end of the y pipe. I just ordered the Warpspeed y pipe and a cat the other day. I am waiting for that to come so I can see what else I need to pass inspection! I am SO excited to get this car back on the road soon!! I have a post asking for help about a hanger for the new y pipe if anyone wants to take a look to see if they have a suggestion.

Thank you for listening, lol.

Last edited by My Coffee; 10-11-2015 at 07:19 AM.
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Old 10-05-2015, 09:15 AM   #2
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Awesome story. I'm trying to bring mine back to life too. Mine has exactly 301k miles on it and the struts are bad because it clunks at the slightest bump. But the real problem is shifting problems and rpm problems. In park, it idles good at about 700 rpm but when you put it in drive it slowly climbs up to about 1500 without giving it any throttle. You sound experienced and if you could help me that'd be great
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Old 10-07-2015, 11:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by bryants95max View Post
Awesome story. I'm trying to bring mine back to life too. Mine has exactly 301k miles on it and the struts are bad because it clunks at the slightest bump. But the real problem is shifting problems and rpm problems. In park, it idles good at about 700 rpm but when you put it in drive it slowly climbs up to about 1500 without giving it any throttle. You sound experienced and if you could help me that'd be great
Thank you! Unfortunately, my experience level is probably novice in comparison to a lot of the people on here. Sorry. I did a quick search and found a thread with a similar sounding issue.

RPM go up when trans is in Gear

I would look into some of the things they suggest and maybe check for codes. If there are codes, it may be really useful to narrow down what is causing it (hopefully). You could also message the original poster on that thread and see if they ever figured out what caused their issue (if they are still active here).
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Old 10-19-2015, 11:26 AM   #4
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Glad to see you brought it back to life! Nice story. I have a 95 with over 325k miles on it that I drive a couple times a month. Didn't want to get rid of it but don't want to let it sit and deteriorate.
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Old 10-30-2015, 07:20 PM   #5
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Thought I would give an update. As of last week, the car is officially inspected and back on the road!! I ended up finding a great shop that did my whole exhaust for cheap. Now the real fun begins: seeing what problems come up driving it again.

My reverse light wasn't working right, so I figured it was the neutral switch. While I had the switch out, I decided to change the manual transmission fluid to Redline MT 90 after reading so many great things about it. Everything seemed to go ok. I made sure to lube the crap out of the o-ring before installing the switch back. Topped it off with almost 5 quarts, set it down level to let the excess drain out before plugging it up.

Random pic:


What's behind the Reverse / Neutral safety switch 5 speed manual transmission.



I drove it for a day and noticed a new oil spot under the car. (Yes, new. I have always had a slow power steering leak I never took care of. It's funny though, all that fluid coated the lower radiator support and surrounding areas and seemed to help preserve them from rusting out after all these years!) So I looked to see where the new one was coming from, sure enough, the bottom of the tranny has a slight coat of new oil (I cleaned it up when I changed it in case it leaked). It actually seemed like the leak was coming from a bolt, then running down to the bottom of the housing and running towards the back of the car. It's a slow leak, it takes like 30 minutes for one drop to fall. I went to tighten this bolt to see if it was maybe loose... Barely applying and pressure at all, it turned slightly, but not in the tightening way. I knew instantly it was stripped. Fearing removing it, I decided to leave it in.
So don't judge me, but I thought I could use black RTV gasket around the bolt head to seal the small drip. I figured there is no apparent need for me to remove that bolt, and this way, I could cut away the gasket if ever needed.


Black RTV around this leaky transmission bolt.



It seems the leak runs down the side of the transmission, then while the car is moving forward, gets blown back and collects near the rear of the tranny leaving a trail.




I know, I should have removed the transmission fluid before doing this... Well, I didn't have a clean container handy to reuse the new fluid. (Just kidding, I was being lazy.) So that seemed to work for the 10 minutes I was watching it, so I dropped it, topped off the fluid again and called it a day. It's been a day and haven't seem a drop yet (but I didn't go anywhere today).
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Old 10-30-2015, 07:30 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by matts95max View Post
Glad to see you brought it back to life! Nice story. I have a 95 with over 325k miles on it that I drive a couple times a month. Didn't want to get rid of it but don't want to let it sit and deteriorate.
Thank you! Yeah, I definitely regret not making more time just driving it around once in a while... I passed inspected without working on it too much, which was kind of surprising lol. But I know things will quickly need attention the more I drive it, mainly all bushings and ball joints. Even though they had no play when I took it in, I know many of those joints were entirely dried up; so it's only a matter of time lol. That will be fun.
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Old 02-20-2016, 12:29 PM   #7
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Lol

So here is an update:

About a month after I received my new license plate with a temporary registration tag, the DMV called me to tell me there were unable to issue me a new registration for the vehicle because my title for the vehicle was invalid. They explained that it was branded as 'junk' in Wisconsin in 1999, so I should have never had a clean title. They told me I had to go get an enhanced inspection to attempt to get an R title. I told them how I've had the car for 14 years and bought it from a dealer; they didn't care and would not help me. So I called Wisconsin's Department of motor vehicles and explained the situation, they referred me to the advanced title research team who looked into the history. At that point, my temporary registration had expired and I could not drive my car.

Wisconsin finally called me back and told me they do not know how it was even possible for that car to be branded as junk in their state because a vehicle would need to be titled within their state for that to happen. Since my car was never titled in that state, they agreed to removed the junk brand from my car. They said it should show up as clear in the national database within a week. I contacted the PA DMV and explained what I was told, they said I would have to wait for my paperwork to be mailed back to the notary just to send it right back to them.

So once the paperwork arrived, it was sent back. The DMV refused to issue another temporary registration, so I could not drive the car. A few weeks later, the notary called and told me my registration came back. I went down to pick up just to find out the issued my an R title. The notary called the DMV to find out that the DMV did the paperwork wrong and I would need to give my title back to the notary, to be sent out to the DMV, and then be corrected and sent back to me... but the DMV did say I could drive the car with the registration I did receive until I got the correct one. So...A few weeks later I got the R title in the mail, gave it back to the notary, and they sent it back to the DMV.

At this point, I felt like everything was going to be fine. So I went ahead an replaced a crap load of stuff on my car; mainly all new suspension parts. So thousands of dollars later, and tons of hours, the car was driving like a dream. Then someone backed into the car.


What one would think is minor damage.


So, they kid who hit me admitted fault, I called the insurance people, and they sent someone out to look at it. They gave me a rental to drive until they came up with the estimate. Well, I got the call last week that the car is a total loss. Apparently, my car was not meant to come back to the road.

So after spending 2 years on and off fixing this car up, hundreds of hours, and probably close to 4 thousand dollars...all for nothing. I highly doubt the car would pass the rigorous examination of an enhanced inspection, also because my check engine light came on; so I guess I am just going to take the joke of an offer they are giving me and keep the car so I can at least take my sound system out of it... Maybe when I get a salvage title, someone might buy the whole car for parts and I can recoup some of my losses.
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Old 05-06-2016, 10:59 AM   #8
 
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Wow. I thought that **** only happened to me. Gah that sucks, so sorry.
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Old 05-06-2016, 12:51 PM   #9
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Wow



Terrible
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Old 05-25-2016, 10:40 AM   #10
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Keep it

Quote:
Originally Posted by My Coffee View Post
So here is an update:

About a month after I received my new license plate with a temporary registration tag, the DMV called me to tell me there were unable to issue me a new registration for the vehicle because my title for the vehicle was invalid. They explained that it was branded as 'junk' in Wisconsin in 1999, so I should have never had a clean title. They told me I had to go get an enhanced inspection to attempt to get an R title. I told them how I've had the car for 14 years and bought it from a dealer; they didn't care and would not help me. So I called Wisconsin's Department of motor vehicles and explained the situation, they referred me to the advanced title research team who looked into the history. At that point, my temporary registration had expired and I could not drive my car.

Wisconsin finally called me back and told me they do not know how it was even possible for that car to be branded as junk in their state because a vehicle would need to be titled within their state for that to happen. Since my car was never titled in that state, they agreed to removed the junk brand from my car. They said it should show up as clear in the national database within a week. I contacted the PA DMV and explained what I was told, they said I would have to wait for my paperwork to be mailed back to the notary just to send it right back to them.

So once the paperwork arrived, it was sent back. The DMV refused to issue another temporary registration, so I could not drive the car. A few weeks later, the notary called and told me my registration came back. I went down to pick up just to find out the issued my an R title. The notary called the DMV to find out that the DMV did the paperwork wrong and I would need to give my title back to the notary, to be sent out to the DMV, and then be corrected and sent back to me... but the DMV did say I could drive the car with the registration I did receive until I got the correct one. So...A few weeks later I got the R title in the mail, gave it back to the notary, and they sent it back to the DMV.

At this point, I felt like everything was going to be fine. So I went ahead an replaced a crap load of stuff on my car; mainly all new suspension parts. So thousands of dollars later, and tons of hours, the car was driving like a dream. Then someone backed into the car.


What one would think is minor damage.


So, they kid who hit me admitted fault, I called the insurance people, and they sent someone out to look at it. They gave me a rental to drive until they came up with the estimate. Well, I got the call last week that the car is a total loss. Apparently, my car was not meant to come back to the road.

So after spending 2 years on and off fixing this car up, hundreds of hours, and probably close to 4 thousand dollars...all for nothing. I highly doubt the car would pass the rigorous examination of an enhanced inspection, also because my check engine light came on; so I guess I am just going to take the joke of an offer they are giving me and keep the car so I can at least take my sound system out of it... Maybe when I get a salvage title, someone might buy the whole car for parts and I can recoup some of my losses.
You should keep the car. You have too much time, NRG, and $$$ into the car to let it go. Not to mention that you fought the Government (DMV) and won! How often does that happen?! Plus, in a few more years these old Maximas will be collectors items and worth 5x what they are worth now. And your car has a great story to go with it. Think about it.
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Old 07-20-2016, 11:06 AM   #11
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Your story

Wow, when good stories go bad.....sorry. I would keep it. My grandpa would go to the junk yard, get parts, come back and rebuild all kinds of cars and cycles. Maybe one day you will do the same. Makes for a good hobby.
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Old 08-07-2016, 09:27 AM   #12
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wow: I stumbled across this story yesterday as I've never even been in this forum. I'm always in the 4th gen forum.

I bought my 95 Max Se new so really liked your story how you breathed life into your 4th generation beauty. I'm so sad that you were in an accident and that they totaled your car. Doesn't this mean however that they will still pay up to the actual cash value of the car but if you take the money you will have a total loss title now? Maybe that wouldn't be so bad to get the car fixed and back on the road if you save your receipts and all for any future sale.

I was curious about Phoongdan's comment about potential collector status for these cars. I've always absolutely loved the styling and fit and finish build quality of my 95 and have always wondered about this. In my opinion, I feel these cars do have a classic look to them and there is little that compares to them that are currently being built. Is this a real possibility? When would something like this even begin to be reflected on kbb.com or nadaguides? In other words, say with the old Ford Mustangs, when did blue book values start to soar? Did these old classics show dramatic depreciation for and while and then suddenly soar?
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Old 09-20-2016, 09:40 PM   #13
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I wonder if OP still has the car... And wow, I never realized the advanced research team for titles is a thing.
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Old 12-17-2016, 01:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryants95max View Post
Awesome story. I'm trying to bring mine back to life too. Mine has exactly 301k miles on it and the struts are bad because it clunks at the slightest bump. But the real problem is shifting problems and rpm problems. In park, it idles good at about 700 rpm but when you put it in drive it slowly climbs up to about 1500 without giving it any throttle. You sound experienced and if you could help me that'd be great

2nd rebuild of my sons 1997 Max after a deer hit
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Old 12-17-2016, 01:40 PM   #15
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Been There


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Originally Posted by phoongdan View Post
You should keep the car. You have too much time, NRG, and $$$ into the car to let it go. Not to mention that you fought the Government (DMV) and won! How often does that happen?! Plus, in a few more years these old Maximas will be collectors items and worth 5x what they are worth now. And your car has a great story to go with it. Think about it.

Been there..
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