questions about an '83 Maxima wagon from a new guy!

General information about the first-generation Nissan Maxima in the US. What was the Datsun 810 became the luxury leader Maxima in the US in 1981.

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atalamark
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questions about an '83 Maxima wagon from a new guy!

#1

Post by atalamark » 12 years ago

Hey folks-

I'm buying an '83 '82 maxima wagon with the LD28 engine this weekend. My hopes are to eventually set up a WVO system in the car. I've had an old Mercedes I've been running on B99 for years and its just about dead....

Anyway, the Maxima, the second owner has it, he's had it for 15 years, and he says its been perfect for him other than routine stuff like alternator, oil changes, brakes etc. It runs great, doesn't smoke at idle, doesn't use oil, and the tranny shifts well. Its cheap because it is cosmetically challenged , which is fine with me.

So I have a few quetions: what are things I should do first? As far as belts etc......I ask because it seems that the timing belt on these cars needs to be changed regularly........

I do most basic work myself, but, for anything more in depth does anyone know of a good Nissan diesel person in the Portland Oregon area?

I figure I'm just gonna change the oil/filter, air filter, do all the basic stuff and then go from there.......

Any suggestions?

thanks!

Mark E Kaylor

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asavage
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#2

Post by asavage » 12 years ago

Hello, Mark, and Welcome to our Sandbox!
atalamark wrote: Post subject: looking for help in the Portland Oregon area!
Folks-

Another post that is more specific, maybe someone can help.
Please do not start multiple threads on the same topic. It will not get you any faster response, and they will be deleted (as was the one I've quoted above). Feel free to "bump" a thread if it seems dead, but do not start a new one.

Not speaking for others, my time is limited. I have a lot of irons in the fire and a "real life" that limits how many hours I have to devote to this forum. I practice triage: things that seem like emergencies get my most immediate attention. Less urgent Qs get pushed back, sometime by days. Perhaps other members work the same way, I don't know. Each one of these missives requires anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours to craft, and I can only type so much in a day.

I've got an '83 Maxima wagon with the diesel engine and need some help with some basic work. The problem being I don't have a manual for the car . . .
Get one, now. You absolutely can't get by without one. I run a canned search on eBay every week and you can too. A 1983 Maxima Factory Service Manual (FSM) (the only one worth having) can be had "any day" for $40, and as low as $10 on eBay if you watch for a while. Or I've got spare used ones that I sell for $20 plus about $4 USPS Media shipping. Get one from whereever, but get one. It's a must.
. . . I don't have much time or a good space to work on the car . . .
This is a serious disadvantage.
What I want done that I don't trust Joe Schmoe mechanic doing is:

1)Changing the IP belt
2)Changing the IP seal (I want to run more than B20)
3)then of course the timing

The car runs great its just that the previous owner doesn't remember the last time the belt was changed so.......

Any help? I'm willing to drive up to 3 hours away to spend a day with someone and of course pay someone......or just a good mechanic in town will do....

And I've read a bunch about these IP seals.......seems ya'll ordered a bunch in bulk.......anyone have an extra one I can buy?

Thanks for any help!!
A 1983 LD28 Wagon is the most desirable of the three years of LD28 diesels available to us in the US. The factory bypass oil filter, the only overdrive-equipped automatic transmission, and coil-spring rear suspension are the high points of 1983 Maxima diesel Wagons.

What pushed my response to you further down my personal priority list was you mention of WVO, which is anathema to me. For more information about my personal bias, please read this post. Folks wanting to jump on the "free fuel" bandwagon do not get as much free help from me as folks who wish to run ASTM D-6751 biodiesel or even petrodiesel -- my reasoning is in the linked post.
. . . it seems like every mechanic I talk to in town either won't work on the car, or, more often than not gives me the vibe that the car is a piece of crap (which it isn't). So what I'm hoping to find are some leads to a good mechanic in the Portland Oregon area, or even just someone out there who lives in the Oregon/Washington area who wants to make some money, help a guy out, AND let me help/watch........afterall , I want to learn about this engine.....
Regarding locating a good mechanic: they don't last. The industry has a well-earned bad reputation. Anyone who does not have grey in their beard is not likely to be familiar with the LD28 and will have to learn from scratch. Chances are better than even that you will have to know more about your LD28 (specifics) than the person doing the work. When seeking help, it might be helpful to try thinking of your car as being a Citroën, Hillman, or Tatra -- aspects of it are similar to other vehicles, but if you don't expect anyone to know anything about it, your expectations are more likely to match reality.

The auto repair industry is not geared up for niche cars, and that's what you have now. For specialty repairs, such as IP belt replacement, expect to pay double what it "should" cost, just because the typical mechanic will have to learn afresh how to do it while he's doing it -- and there's a lot more profit in replacing the next Corsica water pump or Accord alternator than your IP belt. Why would you expect him to be eager to work on your car, when he can make more doing line work on more-familiar stuff?

I used to work in that industry (as have and do other members here), and I think I can confidently state that you will not find a mechanic who is in business to make a living that will allow you to watch him/her work. Partly because working on older vehicles sometimes involves some not-very-pretty forces and procedures that most owners do not want to watch, partly because it is the rare owner that can resist conversation and comments -- both of which slow down work and cut into profit. It's also almost unheard-of in this area to get someone to moonlight from their day job to work on your car -- maybe a young-un will do it, but greybeards don't mess around with that: they do what they do for a living not a hobby, and their time outside work is their own and not for sale.

If you want to watch, or worse, help, you need to hire someone outside the industry. Or you need a "friend", not a "mechanic".

Like a great many things in Life, replacing the IP belt is easy -- once you know how. By now, you should be aware of the basic FAQ I wrote (woefully under-maintained: nobody has volunteered to add anything to it in a long while) and the basic categories therein do mention some things about the IP belt replacement. Given adequate time, basic tools and a minimum of special tools, and patience, you don't even need a strong back or specialized vocabulary to replace the IP belt and/or IP shaft seal. Do read up on the IP belt tensioner replacement too, because it is NLA from Nissan as of a couple of months ago. I am now (re)manufacturing a replacement, but at this point it is not as cheap as the first run will be. You will often be able to re-use your old tensioner, but you cannot bank on it, and the labor is exactly the same whether you re-use or replace it.

However, this is a 25-yr-old car and unexpected things will happen along the way to your completed repair. Bolts will snap off, socket-head screws will round off, you won't have the correct socket and Sears will be out of that size, you'll find the crank seal leaking and nobody has it in stock -- that kind of thing. Even with the most careful planning, repairs can be delayed. If you begin a repair with the knowledge that you might not be driving the car for another week, you will be more likely to have your expectations met or exceeded, than if you think you'll be able to drive it to work on Monday.

All 25-yr-old cars need work, regardless of how they run.

There are a couple of red-flags in your query. You are buying an old car, presumably to drive it regularly (not many folks "collecting" Datsun Gen1 Maximas yet). Folks who buy old cars usually do so because they can't/won't afford newer cars that are much more expensive.

You don't have a lot of time to lavish on it. Reading between the lines: not much time and not much money. Paying someone else's labor to repair an old car is for most people a money-losing proposition: the only way to play the old-car game is to do nearly everything yourself. The only alternative is to drive the car into the ground and discard it, which is the typical American automotive/economic model, sad to say.

And WVO is not going to happen all by itself. If you don't have a lot of excess time for repairs, performing a proper "conversion", even one from a kit, is not for you. Long-term viability of a WVO system requires constant maintenance of the system itself and rigorous attention to the startup/shutdown routine and cleansing. Short-term, you can get most any diesel to run on a wide variety of "fuels", but long-term is a whole different bucket of clams.

Put another way: if you have the funds to pay someone to repair and maintain (aside from oil changes etc.) your old car properly, you have the funds to buy something newer and avoid a lot of the maintenance anyway.

Finally, I am five hours away from you, which puts me out of your target range. I am in the Portland area about four-five times a years (always in April for the Auto Swap Meet up at Delta Park, many times/year on my way to Carlton -- McMinnville -- to visit friends there, as I will be on 12-Oct) and might be able to give advice in person that could not be done here, though I would not have adequate time during any visit to help you perform an IP belt replacement -- too many hours. If you wanted to visit Port Townsend for a weekend, I would be amenable to helping perform an IP belt replacement here, with the understanding that Things Go Wrong: have a Plan B. Working slowly, I take about three hours to replace it -- I remove the radiator, which is not the way the FSM shows the procedure -- and I always include setup and cleanup in my estimates: the job's not done until the tools are cleaned and put away, and the bay is ready for the next job. In this kind of situation, you provide the labor, I provide the space and some of the tools and advice.

Don't neglect your homework: read as many posts here as you can, and you will learn a great deal about what to expect -- and not expect -- from your new/old car. Use the Search feature, it works (for words three characters long and over), and read the search options too: you can search for individual posts, or topics that only have certain words in the title.

And, when you get really good, you can help add to the FAQ.

Well, there's another 90 minutes invested in the cause . . . please keep your pleas for help confined to this thread, and help prevent proliferation of excess topical growth. Or something like that.
Regards,
Al S.

1982 Maxima diesel wagon, 2nd & 4th owner, 165k miles, rusty & burgundy/grey. Purchased 1996, SOLD 16Feb10
1983 Maxima diesel wagon, 199k miles, rusty, light yellow/light brown. SOLD 14Jul07
1981 720 SD22 (scrapped 04Sep07)
1983 Sentra CD17, 255k, bought 06Jul08, gave it away 22Jun10.

atalamark
Posts: 38
Joined: 12 years ago
Location: portland,or

thanks!

#3

Post by atalamark » 12 years ago

Hey thanks for the info. It seems like I am leaning towards doing most of the work myself when applicable.......I will have to make the time, which CAN happen if need be. I've done as much as dropping the engine out of a '70 VW squareback (on the street) and having it on my coffee table and eventually rebuilding it......I got it back in and the car ran for 3 years until I sold it.......all this to say, I've done some wrenching on cars, maybe I'm just getting lazy in my old age.

So, I would love to buy a used book. Let me know how to send funds etc (I've got paypal).

I have done a bit of searching on the site and it seems I can learn alot here!

I don't neccessarily need the car for daily driving, I really only use it for around town moving of musical equipment for shows.

However: I do take some long road trips. This is something I ponder: am I putting myself in a sticky situation by driving around the country, and possibly getting stuck somewhere waiting/looking for a part? The car runs great and I feel as comfortable/confident jumping in her to take a long ride as I ever did with my old Mercedes 240D.......however the Benz has lots of parts around......

well again thanks for the response. Much appreciated.

Mark E kaylor

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asavage
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#4

Post by asavage » 12 years ago

I think that if queried, long-time owners of LD28s would say that they have had fewer breakdowns than your average old VW. The IP belt is a weak area only because its replacement interval was never mentioned in a serious way in the Nissan literature, and I have found a couple in JYs with stripped belts -- probably, the car wouldn't start one day, and that was that. Without a resource such as this forum, or the FSM and some digging, you would be in for at least several hundred dollars to diagnose & repair -- and the vintage of these vehicles is such that they get pushed into a backyard or towed off.

Salvy had a head gasket failure. That's the only one I've heard of, and it may have been cooling system related (lack of changing the coolant and/or not using distilled water).

IP belt & tensioner need periodic replacement.

Nissan calls for periodic injector rebuilding. Few of us do that.

The PS belt is harder than average to replace, requiring removal the the water pump pulley. Since you'll have it off to do the IP belt & tensioner, replace the vee belts too, unless they are in very good condition. Always replace the coolant. Run the alternator belt tighter than you think. Check for crank damper separation while you have it off.

Valve cover gasket leaks. The valves are supposed to be adjusted every so often. It requires a special too, either a crowfoot adapter or a special wrench
Image

The power steering pressure hose will develop a leak and member goglio704 sells a replacement that is easier to replace than the OEM (if you could still buy it). Change yours out at the first sign of a leak. Another good reason to keep the engine bay clean.

The Gen1 Maxima (both gasser & diesel) suffer from a main wire harness break that prevents it from starting. It's a somewhat easy & straightforward fix . . . once you know where to look. At least three members have experienced this.

The front driveshaft develops a low-speed vibration. The u-joints are non-replaceable. A replacement fabricated driveshaft is about $600. The vehicle remains driveable but vibrates at speeds under 20 MPH. I am developing a solution that involves replacing the non-replaceable u-joints. Hard part is the CNC work to make circlip grooves. Still in the planning stage: I need to buy a boring head, next week I'll order it.

Driveshaft carrier brg rubber rots out. I've never seen a bad brg, but the rubber that supports it goes to hell. Still available from several sources for fairly cheap.

On Wagons only, the rear brake self-adjusters freeze up. Expect to have to completely disassemble them and remove rust, reassemble with anti-seize.

Rust is a big problem, esp. on the Wagons. See these pics.

Intake manifold clogging.

Stuff like that. Forewarned is forearmed. Check out the "Common Problems" section of the FAQ for more info.

About the 1983 Maxima FSM: I can ship one Monday. PayPal is fine: asavage@iname.com, and add 4% for PayPal's fees. Or snail-mail me a MO and skip the PayPal fee surcharge. PM me for the address.
Last edited by asavage 11 years ago, edited 2 times in total.
Regards,
Al S.

1982 Maxima diesel wagon, 2nd & 4th owner, 165k miles, rusty & burgundy/grey. Purchased 1996, SOLD 16Feb10
1983 Maxima diesel wagon, 199k miles, rusty, light yellow/light brown. SOLD 14Jul07
1981 720 SD22 (scrapped 04Sep07)
1983 Sentra CD17, 255k, bought 06Jul08, gave it away 22Jun10.

atalamark
Posts: 38
Joined: 12 years ago
Location: portland,or

more

#5

Post by atalamark » 12 years ago

Okay I'm gonna get some $$ in my account and send that out PayPal, probably won't be until Monday or so.......

I noticed a part number on this site for the IP belt, but I wasn't sure where that was from, Nissan or Napa, someone else?

And the only thing I'm a bit confused with is, if I change the belt, and the IP seal, the timing needs re-set , correct? Timing is something I never feel very comfortable with.

And as for the tensioner, if I'm gonna need one , what to do? Or, how do I know if mine us re-usable?

And whats the best bet for one of the IP seals?

thanks!

mark

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asavage
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#6

Post by asavage » 12 years ago

I usually quote the OEM number. What is the number you are looking at?

The NAPA belt would be Gates, I think it's still available. I like Gates' products, but I still put the Nissan belts on for the IP.

When you change the IP belt on the LD28, the injection timing is not affected. IP belts do not stretch. Again, no timing needs to be done if only changing the belt and/or shaft seal.

Re-timing the LD28 IP is a major PITA. Don't do it. Nobody owns the factory tools. Substitutes have to be fabricated -- it's been done. Access is nightmarish.

IP belt tensioner: you want yours to be relatively free, no play, and quiet. If it makes any noise when you hold it in your hand and spin it, it will probably not last until the next belt change. The load is not high, but the brg is also not real robust. It's designed to last the life of the vehicle. How many years/miles do you think Nissan planned for it to last? They do pretty well, but most are pretty well wiped out by now.

I am now ready to begin fabricating remanufactured IP belt tensioners, as described in the thread I linked to above. They are "lifetime" after reman and can be rebuilt for those who don't believe that. They are not cheap (yet): $160 plus your old one as a core. Matt has found a very inexpensive (US$40, though plastic outer wheel) tensioner overseas that would probably work OK if you replaced it every belt change, though I'm a little leery at the thought of the plastic + heat + cyclic loading of the IP. It's an option, and it's one-fourth the cost of the next best option.

Matt (goglio704) is our "stocking distributor" of biodiesel-compatible, USLD-compatible viton material IP shaft seals. He imported a large enough batch of them to make the price extremely reasonable. I bought ten from him. I can put one in the box with the FSM. He gets $16 for them, I get $20 (but I throw in a old "Datsun" emblem I bought at the meet last April).

Hope this helps.

atalamark
Posts: 38
Joined: 12 years ago
Location: portland,or

IP belt number

#7

Post by atalamark » 12 years ago

Well I'm gonna hit you up for one of those IP seals......Monday or Tuesday.....

And I can't seem to find the part number for the IP belt......NAPA says "huh?"
and the one number I found on here, 16405-W2500, when I typed it in on a Nissan parts catalog (some online distributor) it came up with a fuel filter....

I would want to get the Nissan one, but having the NAPA number would be helpful too just in case......

thanks so much

mark kaylor

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Location: East Tennessee

#8

Post by goglio704 » 12 years ago

The Beck Arnley part number is 026-0227. Napa and many others sell Beck Arnley. I have used these exclusively and had good results. They are paintmarked for matching the timing marks on the sheaves.

Beck Arnley belt

For sale At Napa

For sale At PartsAmerica.com
atalamark wrote:... 16405-W2500, when I typed it in on a Nissan parts catalog (some online distributor) it came up with a fuel filter....
It appears you are correct. From my research the Nissan number is 16806-V0700.

At Nismoparts.com
Matt B.

83 Maxima Sedan, LD28, 5 speed, white, 130k miles. My original Maxima.
83 Maxima Sedan converted from gasser, LD28, 5 speed, 2 tone blue, 230k miles
82 Maxima Sedan, LD28, 3 speed auto, 2 tone Gray/Silver, 140k miles
81 810 Sedan, LD28, 3 speed auto, rust, rust, and more rust!

2005 Jeep Liberty CRD

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asavage
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Re: IP belt number

#9

Post by asavage » 12 years ago

atalamark wrote:and the one number I found on here, 16405-W2500, when I typed it in on a Nissan parts catalog (some online distributor) it came up with a fuel filter....
Matt just fixed that.
I would want to get the Nissan one, but having the NAPA number would be helpful too just in case......
Matt's found the BA number, which NAPA still lists as good. I can't find the Gates number right now -- I have one in a box in storage, maybe I'll go get it out.
Last edited by asavage 12 years ago, edited 1 time in total.

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asavage
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#10

Post by asavage » 12 years ago

The IP belt I thought was a Gates is actually a Goodyear 40086, possibly NORS and out of production, I don't know.

Dayco apparently sells a belt too, their No. 95086, about $16. I don't particularly like Dayco. No indication if it has the correct alignment marks or if you have to paint them on yourself.

atalamark
Posts: 38
Joined: 12 years ago
Location: portland,or

book

#11

Post by atalamark » 12 years ago

Al

I just sent some funds via PayPal to you for a used shop manual.....
Thanks again!

mark

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