Last post on Nov 22, 2013 at 8:34 AM
You are in the Nissan Maxima
What is this discussion about?
Nissan Maxima, Sedan
Jan 14, 2002 (5:06 am)
ludacris... Thanks and interesting. One person's opinion. But he does conceed my most basic point. The beam axle is inherently less stable on bumpy or uneven surfaces. A good beam axle, even the best beam axle, still suffers from its inherent non-independent limitation. And that is why the press pointed it out when Nissan cut corners with the re-design and why Nissan is now going fully independent rear suspensions with new Altima and G35. Future Maxima will follow.
Will those who defend the lowly cheap beam axle today bemoan its loss in future? Will they write how Nissan is making a mistake? Will they clamor for a return to beam axle for 2007? How come I find that hard to believe.
Nissan would've had the best of both worlds with a fully independent suspension set up. It would improve ride quality for those buyers who value it (most Accord and Camry buyers) as well as made the Maxima a better all around sport sedan for those who love its performance with its wonderful V-6 and manual transmission option. At least Nissan knows it made a mistake and will fix it.
#4006 of 8984 '95 Maxima
Jan 14, 2002 (7:32 am)
My parents have a '95 Maxima GLE and I've driven probably 10-15k of the 150k miles on it. The seating position is very low, feels almost like you are sitting on the floor. They are right in that you don't get a lot of leg support from the seats because the seating position is so low.
I think the main reason C&D liked the '95 Maxima so much was the new engine. The VQ engine used in the '95 and above Max is completely superior to the old VG V6 used in previous generations (we also had an '87 Maxima with the VG engine, so I have experience with both). The VQ engine is much smoother, more free-revving, and much more powerful. It feels like a sports car engine, not a family sedan engine.
As for handling, I've never driven the '89-'94 Maximas so I can't give a fair comparison. Also, my parents' Max is a GLE, which has a softer ride and more floaty feel than the SE models. I can say that there is a good amount of body roll on our Maxima, and the handling overall is not particularly confidence-inspiring. You can feel bump steer (a result of the solid rear axle) when you hit a bump mid-corner. I have an '02 Altima SE, and my car has much less body roll and feels more composed in corners, though the ride is stiffer.
#4007 of 8984 Re: Help Maxima Purchase
Jan 14, 2002 (7:34 am)
albatros 43 gave good advice. It's hard to believe there isn't a good buy on a Max that is closer to you, especially if you're in western Montana. But if you want to pursue this one, I'd make the purchase contingent on a clean bill of health from a competent (and unbiased) mechanic. That will tell you far more than pictures. And if you're looking for a good mechanic, try the Car Talk site (under "Actual Car Information" and then under "Mechan-X Files"). Unless the WI Max is in the boonies, you should come up with a mechanic both parties can trust.
#4008 of 8984 Buying 95 GXE
Jan 14, 2002 (10:43 am)
I am planning on buying a 95 GXE 5speed with 50,000 miles on it. This will be from a private part, is there any specific mechanical problems or concerns that I should check out? Edmunds used TMV is $7,215 does that sound about right. John
#4009 of 8984 Auto show
Jan 14, 2002 (12:13 pm)
I was at the Detroit auto show yesterday and had an opportunity to check out the '02 Alty and Max. I preferred the Max for style and interior. However, I was disappointed with the tiny trunk pass-thru. What's the point of having both seats fold down if that little hole is all they give you to stick things through? I use my wife pass-thru all the time and most of the time when I do I need more space that the Max gives me. All by itself it's not going to prevent me buying this car, but it's annoying.
Jan 14, 2002 (1:54 pm)
Yeah, I know all about the concepts of the beam axle, and I know what it's like in practice, since I own a 95 200SX SE-R. The Sentra (same thing as 200SX) underwent the same degrading operation in 95 as the Maxima, and the beam axle definitely sucks on my car. The ride is more jumpy and I hear constant rattles. What I don't get is why the enthusiast magazines never seemed to complain about this on the Maxima, since they scrutinize on every possible mechanical flaw on a car. C&D said the Sentra's ride got worse but made no such complaints about the Maxima, even after 5 seperate articles on the 95-99 generation. Edmund's never mentioned it at all on either the Maxima or the Sentra/200SX.
In the past, I've driven both a 98 and a 2000 Infiniti I30 non-Touring (on two seperate days when our G20 needed servicing and we were given a loaner car) and the ride actually seemed pretty good, but it's hard to make comparisons in your distant memory.
Yes, the VQ30DE engine is definitely superior and more efficient than the old VG30DE: it's lighter (since it's aluminum) and has more horsepower and torque from the same-size block. But since I'm planning to use this as a mild-mannered family car, torque is the most important commodity, and it didn't improve all that much. Plus the 89-94 GXE models with their SOHC engine only ask for 87 octane, correct?
What else was degraded on the Maxima on 95 besides the suspension and styling? I noticed the little details on Nissans started getting cheaper around that time. My 95 SE-R doesn't even have a CLOCK. Didn't the Maxima gain a big stupid intrusive trunk hinge and such? I noticed that Nissan leather quality went down in the late 90's. Seems to me that the world's most perfect mid-size sedan would be a 94 Maxima with the 95's engine and dual air bags.
Jan 14, 2002 (2:10 pm)
Yeah, the rear beam suspension does kind of lack in performance. I never notice it in everyday driving, but over speed bumps and other bumps, BOY do you notice!
The most recent experience I had with the beam on my 02 SE model was going around a 50 mph corner at 80 mph. The back suspension hit a bump and the back end jumped out on me. It caught the ground again, but it was still a pretty unsafe and scary feeling.
Believe me, NO one is going to miss that rear beam! Especially me! I love my Maxima, but that is the only negative thing about the car. I am glad they will be changing it for next year.
#4012 of 8984 riez - As a 1998 540i owner..
Jan 14, 2002 (4:25 pm)
..you should be the first to appreciate that it is possible to engineer good performance out of older technology.
The recirculating ball steering in the 540i is clearly inferior technology to the rack and pinion setup in the 530i. And while some (me included) may notice a bit better steering feedback, smoothness and precision in the 530i, nobody is likely to dump on the 540i (and M5), just bescause BMW made the steering sacrifice to fit an 8-cylinder in the engine bay.
There is no doubt in my rear end that the Maxima SE outhandles virtually all of it's front wheel drive competitors from Japan, Germany or Sweden. (oh yeah, and America).
If your rear end tells you differently, then I respect your opinion. Just don't give me the "technical" answer as to why it can't be. After all, bumblebees do fly and the M5 is the ultimate performance sedan (imagine that, even the Maxima has rack and pinion steering!).
#4013 of 8984 Technology: Theory vs Practice
Jan 14, 2002 (4:59 pm)
habitat1... There is a huge difference between an independent and a non-independent rear suspension. The physics dictates that the latter is inherently inferior to the former. There is no similar analogy between a rack and pinion steering system and a recirculating ball system. They have different characteristics and there are trade offs in regard to when one might be superior to the other. Steering is more than just turning. It includes responding to bumps, tracking in straight lines, turning at various speeds and angles, etc. Same goes for front suspensions. Why don't you point out that the wonderful 5 Series uses "lowly" McPherson strut fully independent front suspension?
Being more expensive or more "sophisticated" does NOT automatically mean it is "better". Technology is only superior when it is used by real people every day, not when it is looked at on paper or compared for its "technological superiority". Was Beta superior to VHS? Apple Macs over Microsoft Windows?
An automatic transmission is more "sophisticated" or "technologically superior" to a manual transmission. Which would you prefer? In my opinion, the former is inherently inferior. It adds weight, complexity, cost, eats up space, reduces acceleration, degrades overall performance, and wastes fuel. So why isn't it better?
Is a turbo-charged or super-charged smaller DOHC 4-valve engine better than a larger, normally aspirated OHV engine? There is a lot to be said for the "primitive" engines in Vipers and Corvettes.
Probably because the proof is in the pudding. The 5 Series handles superbly. It may not have as "sophisticated" a front suspension or steering rack, but then both do exactly what you want when you want it.
What famous law posits that the prefered solution is the simplist one? You get to the same conclusion (driving nirvana) but reach it thru different steering or front suspensions.
#4014 of 8984 Maxima; 530i vs 540i
Jan 14, 2002 (5:31 pm)
Your argument doesn't really apply. Recirculating ball isn't "inferior" to rack-and-pinion in absolute terms, it just sacrifices precise feel in exchange for more isolation. But there is NO dynamic benefit of switching to beam axle, as both ride AND handling suffer. I also don't see why you think you can claim the Maxima to be the best handler in its class (in terms of numbers or subjective seat-of-pants feel), especially with the Passat and even the Accord around.
As for your car, it is notable that even with recirculating ball steering, BMW managed to provide better steering feel on its 540i (according to one magazine, I forgot which one) than Mercedes did on their rack-and-pinion E420. But that just means BMW's engineers are better than Mercedes' (who would argue with that?).