Edit: added some pics. Car was in the shade, so it was a bit dark in some pics with the dark grey carpet.
I will get my profile updated, and, I will get some pics up in a day or so. Be patient, it's worth it, you won't see but a handful of 2nd gen Maximas left, that are in this bone stock condition!
As the title says, I recently found a 1987 Maxima GXE on craigslist 3 weeks ago. I am the third owner, and the first owner owned it from 1987 to 2015. The second owner purchased it in 2015 along with a house, and all the furnishings, from a very old lady, who was moving into assisted living and didn't want to take anything with her beyond personal belongings. The car spent almost its entire life in a garage, in a non-kid, non-smoking, pride-of-ownership environment. Second owner put 5-6k miles on the car, did some minor maintenance, including a killer job on paint restoration. It now has a little over 157k miles. The car has a sunroof, standard transmission and the interior is basically brand new, as is the exterior, minus a few bumper scrapes/scratches and one very very minor long scrape(maybe a millimeter deep dent or less) type dent down the back drivers side door, that culminated into catching the rear fender lip and leaving a minor dent there... That is the worst thing on the car. I am an IT guy, with a little of an engineers mindset... I take the (sometimes long) time to do it right, label and ziploc bag everything, take pics and vids, and never pull something apart, that I am not 100% sure I can repair or put back together. I have a decent set of tools, but no rolling Snap-On toolbox full of tools.
It was purchased new in 1987 buy the lady and her retired Air Force husband. It has the original owners and warranty manuals, and, the husband kept a written logbook of dates, dealer maintenance performed and mileage. The logbook goes until 1995 and 83k miles, which is the year her husband passed. Sad thinking about it. From 1995 on, it had a few thousand miles a year put on it, and from what I understand, oil changes and regular maintenance was done, and upkeep of the car was handled by her family members. The A/C was converted to r134 at some point, so it has a barely used compressor and A/C system that blows ice cold, and a heater that will blast you out. Carpet and floor mats are in incredible shape, zero fade or cracks on the front or rear dash areas. The driver side door has a clip busted near the door pull area, so that is a little floppy, but I will get that taken care of soon enough. Car has all new motor mounts, the clutch was replaced and has a few thousand miles on it. New non-electronic struts and springs, newish tires, original rims are in incredible shape. Since I got it, I have done the t-belt, t-belt tensioner pulley and spring, water pump, thermostat, all new belts and coolant hoses (including the bypass hose), fuel filter, plugs and wires, new vacuum hose from the manifold to the brake booster, wheel hub and bearing on the front passenger side, gone through most vacuum lines and electrical connections. Brakes and rotors in great shape. Car drives straight as an arrow, no shimmies or shakes. Can't be for sure, but it looks like ball joints, tie rods and other steering and suspension components are fairly new. Can't find a single spot of rust in, around or underneath the car. Exhaust front to rear is in great shape. Trunk carpet, jack and spare all there... Trunk carpet could use a steam clean, but otherwise no rips/tears. Oil and coolant changed. Used a magnet on the used oil and couldn't find a single spec or particle of anything, just lightly used oil that didn't even look like it had been changed that long ago.
The Bad: (Most of this stuff I just haven't had time to address yet)
All cruise control components look to be in good shape, cruise light on dash comes on, but cruise control won't engage. 2nd owner put a really crap self tint job on, that will need to be re-done by a professional, which probably means the end of the rear window defogger working. The engine idles semi-poorly when cold, but I have that narrowed down to the coolant temp sensor, and possibly a bad o2 sensor. When the car is warmed up the idle is a little erratic (fluctuates 100-200 rpm), but way more than stable enough for a daily driver. Car has no acceleration problems I can detect, and pulls hard through the RPM band. When the A/C is kicked on the idle improves some with the extra gas it's getting. There may be some other issues that I haven't discovered yet. It wouldn't surprise me if an injector or three needed cleaning or replace, or, if the fuel pump was sketchy, or if the manifold/throttle body needed a good cleaning (things I just haven't had time to check/do yet). The speakers could stand to be replaced with some new units. The trunk popper switch doesn't work (oh, the agony, LOL). The underbody engine splash shield is missing, which doesn't surprise me... I am going to just make a splash shield, in one or two pieces, as finding one is next to impossible. If you live in Spring, TX, and you notice a few street signs missing, it wasn't me, I swear. The most annoying thing of all, the e-brake either needs adjusting, or, needs a new cable, it doesn't work at all... Like other things, I just haven't had time for it yet. The washer fluid motor doesn't work and the sunroof switch is bad, but the sunroof and motor works perfect when you jump the wires on the switch. I am going to try and fix the sunroof switch.
I want to get the motor running and idling like the day it drove off the lot. I need to double check the timing with a strobe to make sure it's 20 degrees BTDC, and the idle needs to be adjusted to spec (650-700 rpm), but that all needs to wait until I get sensors replaced. Had I have known where that coolant temp sensor was prior to today, I would have changed it when I did the t-belt, now I just have made it tough on myself, which is fine, I like a little masochism when I mechanic on things. I plan to work on the minor things as I go, but ultimately, I want to get everything that is not working, working again. I don't have any plans to show the car, and, at the moment it is my only transportation, although, I almost feel criminal for driving it as a daily driver. A good quality car cover is going to get ordered soon, as I don't have a garage to keep it in, but, it does stay under shade most of the time the sun is out, and, I currently keep a sun shade in the back window to keep the sun from damaging the interior while it is low and setting in the evening.
Forum Expectations and Contributions:
I will be asking some questions, mainly centered around locating parts or procedures. There is a ton of misinformation out there on the net, and I will need the help of those who have been down this path already, to help me dispel the real deal from bull caca for this 2nd gen Maxima. I will try my best to help others with advice for things that have worked for me, but, I am not a professional mechanic, so you won't see me throwing out guesses to problems, I will only ask questions, that I think may help to lead someone down the right path, or, if I am mostly sure, I may post/comment what worked for me.
Thanks for reading!
This is the only panel left that hasn't had the stained clear coat removed. This is a small spot I sanded with 1000grit, rubbing compound, polishing compound and then wax. This is the color the paint should be.
The steering wheel is in great shape, I just put a cover over it while working on it with dirty hands.