how much do you tow with your Maxi?

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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odie
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Location: CC, TX

how much do you tow with your Maxi?

#1

Post by odie » 12 years ago

How much do you guys tow with the Maxi?

Do you OD guys tow with the OD off?

My Maxi is a real dog with my motorcycle trailer. I've been thinking maybe to tow without the OD.

I just installed a 3 core radiator I aquired. I will see how much better it fares compared to my old 2 core.

With the two core the temps would go right up to the max after a while on the highway and I find myself driving more by the temp guage limits than by the speedo or feel of the engine.
1996 VW Passat B4V TDI diesel...main ride
1983 Maxima LD28..sold
1984 Isuzu P'up diesel 4x4..sold
1981 Rabbit diesel - sold
1984 MB 190 diesel - for sale...sold
1987 MB 300TDT diesel...sold
1983 Holiday Rambler 6.2 diesel Banks turbo...sold
1983 Dodge Ram D50 2.3 TD diesel for sale
gas stuff-Jeep, Lebaron, Porsche, Harley

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asavage
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Re: how much do you tow with your Maxi?

#2

Post by asavage » 12 years ago

odie wrote:How much do you guys tow with the Maxi?
See this post.
Do you OD guys tow with the OD off?
Applies to 1983 only. I tow with my '82, has no OD. I often wish I could unlock the torque converter though.
My Maxi is a real dog with my motorcycle trailer. I've been thinking maybe to tow without the OD.
You don't think you're getting 80 HP worth? Pushing a 3300 lb. car + a trailer? See the link above and a couple of posts below, to see what I've been pulling. Brakes are the limiting factor.
With the two core the temps would go right up to the max after a while on the highway and I find myself driving more by the temp guage limits than by the speedo or feel of the engine.
I've never seen my temp gauge go above slightly horizontal in my '82 Wagon, since I've owned it (purchased in Oct-96). For more info, see this thread.
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.

odie
Posts: 114
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Location: CC, TX

#3

Post by odie » 12 years ago

My temps with the 2 core radiator always stay low until I'm towing a load.

I might be due for a FF change. Non-towing power does feel a bit "off"
1996 VW Passat B4V TDI diesel...main ride
1983 Maxima LD28..sold
1984 Isuzu P'up diesel 4x4..sold
1981 Rabbit diesel - sold
1984 MB 190 diesel - for sale...sold
1987 MB 300TDT diesel...sold
1983 Holiday Rambler 6.2 diesel Banks turbo...sold
1983 Dodge Ram D50 2.3 TD diesel for sale
gas stuff-Jeep, Lebaron, Porsche, Harley

diesel-man
Posts: 150
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: Elkton, MD

#4

Post by diesel-man » 12 years ago

At some point in time a 2 row core was put in your car. It originally left the assembly plant with a three row core, if it started out in life as a diesel.

Towing without the car in overdrive will eventually be costly. A crescent wrench can always be used as a hammer, but over time most logical people will recognize their error.

Perhaps you may want to glance through some old threads about the automatic transmissions that our maxi's have. Interesting enough you have picked the weakest of all trannys installed in a diesel Maxi, to tow with.

Back in the good old days when gas was less than a dollar, many of Detriot's finest specimens (full size) had "practically" the same drivetrain as a half ton pickup. I cannot think of one foreign car that has been produced that can match that statement. (not talking about Rolls Royce etc.) Many of todays vehicles made in the USA fall into the same catagory, except for maybe the Crown Victoria.

Well, good luck and keep us updated.

P.S. If you can drive @ 55mph or more, mash it to the floor and roll a lot of "coal" then a new fuel filter will not increase the power you are hoping for.

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asavage
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#5

Post by asavage » 12 years ago

diesel-man wrote:Towing without the car in overdrive will eventually be costly.
Hmmm. Most mfgrs recommend towing in direct rather than OD. I tow in OD (non-Maxima) but tow only with the TC locked (if possible). If I can't get lockup on OD, then I have to drop to direct. Unlocked TC gets the oil very hot quickly when towing.
If you can drive @ 55mph or more, mash it to the floor and roll a lot of "coal" then a new fuel filter will not increase the power you are hoping for.
A very good tip.
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.

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kassim503
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Location: Stony Brook, NY

#6

Post by kassim503 » 12 years ago

When I tow with the maxi, ill keep the OD off until I can get sufficient speed so i dont have to worry about the 3-4 jumble, if im towing with a full size, i usually leave it on, I only turn it off when I notice alot of 3-4 shifting, dont wanna burn the clutches as a result.

The most ive ever towed with the maxi? 3700 lbs of camper around a dirt lot.
Real towing? mabye 1200 lbs, the braking seems to be more of a limiting factor than power with the gassers.
'83 maxima sedan, l24e, a/t, black

227K SOLD 6/7/2012

diesel-man
Posts: 150
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Location: Elkton, MD

#7

Post by diesel-man » 12 years ago

Hmmm. Most mfgrs recommend towing in direct rather than OD. I tow in OD (non-Maxima) but tow only with the TC locked (if possible). If I can't get lockup on OD, then I have to drop to direct. Unlocked TC gets the oil very hot quickly when towing.
I believe the question was towing with a 1983 Maxi diesel with overdrive and we are on a thread to exchange ideas about this type of vehicle. The advice you gave was very good for as you say "most mfgs", but we are being specific here. I humbly respect your vast knowledge of the rainbow of vehicles that traverse our roads, but each person brings an area of expertise or specific knowledge much like the person that is attempting to get a tach reading? out of the speedometer head (wires).

I stand by my advice to go and look through the transmission thread from early last year.
Perhaps you may want to glance through some old threads about the automatic transmissions that our maxi's have. Interesting enough you have picked the weakest of all trannys installed in a diesel Maxi, to tow with.
Al:
I think you should tell us about your experience driving the 1983 Maxi wagon (that you have since sold) on some extended mountain roads at 40 to 65MPH. How did you operate the vehicle when you were between 35 and 45MPH with the TC locking and unlocking? How did you handle it?

Personally having also repaired cars for 35yrs myself, I have opted for the ideology that realizing that the Maxi automatic overdrive is a weak peice of crap transmission, and that it cost more to rebuild one than some of our cars are worth, that the prudent thing to do is to treat it with care. Out of all the maxi parts cars I have, only one has a 83 auto overdrive in it, meaning I have one spare for two cars, and one has been slipping @ lockup for the past 70K.

Anyhow, If All Ya'Alls have a different experience than what I have described, then that is just plain wonderful!!! I am happy that my experience (with the two Maxi OD auto) is apparently like the 5 blind men describing the elephant. Each of the 5 blind men were correct in their description of the elephant even though each one's description was different than each of the others.

Not referring to anyone here, but when you are searching for the edge of the Grand Canyon in the dark, there is only one way to know that you have found it...

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asavage
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#8

Post by asavage » 12 years ago

That yellow '83 Wagon I had I only drove maybe twenty miles, due to very bad ball joints. It drove OK after I replaced the front rims & tires, but once I determined that it was not really safe (these were loose joints, not just "loose"), I didn't pursue it further. It needed work I was unwilling to do -- I had taken it on for the transmission only, really, and when it was found to be a viable vehicle with a few items needing work, I concentrated on repairing the hard stuff (broken harness splice, missing rear side window) and documenting what needed to be done by the next owner.

So I have no real-world, long-term experience with the OD trans, as you have.

My other '83 is a Sedan which I drove a total of five blocks before selling it to Mark, whose wife is commuting sixty miles a day with it now. Again, I didn't drive it much.

By locking out OD, the trans is in direct, right? Do you have a theory why this is a Bad Thing to do? I would think preventing the trans from extra shifting (up, then down, then up, then etc.) would be beneficial. You're the man with the most extensive collection of these things; you must have gained some tidbits to be able to state that one would want to run in OD with a tow load, something which is contrary to other similar drivetrains. I'd like to know more ;)
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.

diesel-man
Posts: 150
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: Elkton, MD

#9

Post by diesel-man » 12 years ago

http://nissandiesel.dyndns.org/viewtopic.php?t=49
I posted this Jan 8/06:
I have 3 '83 Maxi diesels w/OD. For flat ground they are wonderful, I'll never take another one much more than 50 miles West of Baltimore. Once the torque converter unlocks the engine speeds way up (a lot more than an 81 or 82) on a hill. I came back from Cincinnati OH (end of January of 2001) with a carload of stuff I bought off of ebay, on Interstate 68 which has a 7 mile hill (with a truck slow lane) and I was just rolling coal to keep speed up as long as possible on all the hills, otherwise it would come down to 25mph. I even could smell a little hot oil (transmission) from the torque converter slippage as well as the temp creeping up. (snow on the sides of the road) I think it was 20 hrs out, finding the place, loading up and coming back.

Today:
The T/C is so freewheeling in the 83 auto overdrive that any hill longer than a half mile feels "closer to the end". I've tried it both ways and taking it out of overdrive "feels" like it is also unlocked. I took a 83 maxi wagon to Minnesota (1990) and the next year a 82 wagon and got the same mileage with a similar load (overloaded). The 83 is a flatland car and should never be "pushed". I could feel the difference in the amount of slippage (@ 38MPH when TC locks) on one trip to Southeastern PA. (83 sedan 10 yrs ago) I was not expecting the tranny to act that way (TC to not unlock smoothly and was slipping until I slowed down to 35MPH). 70K miles later I am still babying it @38 or else it would have been out and gone years ago. I think it is most likely greater than $1500 to rebuild a 83 tranny.

My theory is that for Joe car owner to drive his 83 Maxi in such a fashion and smoke the tranny is an unfortunate occurrence. For a mechanic of thirty some years to do the same is an avoidable, unfortunate and expensive learning experience. With the OD locked out you cannot tell if the trans is slipping or if the TC is unlocked. (between 38 & 35MPH) And if you're wrong the car is a candidate for the crank pirate.

Most do not recognize how "fragile" some parts are on cars, and Joe car owner does not have the opportunity Al and I have to see what happens to other peoples cars (drive 5 miles in August with no antifreeze to save a $60 tow bill). 83 Maxi diesel OD auto cars are not made for towing much more than 5 people w/luggage. Brand new it may have been OK, now that it has towards 200K...crank pirate.

I have a 1996 Dodge 3500 dually diesel 5spd that gets 26.5MPG on the highway (under 65MPH). A Maxi overloaded gets about 30 to 32MPG unless it is a 5spd. I realize everyone cannot do what I do, but someone would risk smokin the tranny for 5MPG? Just depends on how much you value your ride. Do you see people with expensive antique cars abusing their cars? Anyhow, when something stupid happens, and your ragging on the car to your Wife, just tell her it must have been a piece of crap anyway and that you can still get over $300 for the crank.

diesel-man
Posts: 150
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: Elkton, MD

#10

Post by diesel-man » 12 years ago

First and foremost I do not advocate towing with a Maxi diesel, never done it, never will. I've overloaded a few before I got something better (96 Dodge diesel dually) A five speed would be one choice or a 82 auto, or something else as the best choice.

I know that for those that do not have an 83 Maxi diesel overdrive automatic, that you compare the 82 tranny to the 83 in the respect that they are the same except for the addition of an extra speed. To the average Joe, this is the case. The 83 TC has a much higher stall speed than the 82, meaning it "slips" more until the TC locks up. I have to go all the way back to a 1950 Buick Dynaflow transmission to make this comparison. A race transmission's TC would compare, except for the lockup feature, which is is controlled by hydraulic pressure.

These differences would make it very difficult to differentiate the tranny slipping and the TC unlocking @ 35MPH. On my own car I am still not sure if the problem @ 38MPH is the TC slipping or most likely Overdrive slipping until line pressure comes up @ 40MPH. I have babied this car for 70K at those speeds to avoid a trans rebuild which is most likely over $1500, which is more than the car would sell for. I have tried the Overdrive switch in the distant past on long hills and was never comfortable with the results.

Can you be: I might end up rebuilding the trans sure? Possibly there may be a different vehicle that might tow/carry the load with less risk? (of smoking the trans) Where do you get a used 83 trans? The gasser is geared different, don't know what else.

I reckon the idea I had about this website, was to conserve (the cars) and exhange ideas about parts, repairs, shortcuts, find a better way of doing things, help each other out of jams, warn each other about the consequences of neglecting to address something, etc. Here is a good example: On the Turbo Diesel Register site that caters to Dodge diesel trucks with the Cummins engine...some years of trucks have a potential problem with what is called the "Killer Dowel Pin" KDP for short, and if it isn't addressed it can come out and get in between the timing gears and cause thousands in damage. So, one can read and do something about it, or ignore it and look for empathy after the fact.

So, if you think the 83 trans is as good as the 82 or any other for that matter, then go for it. The second mouse gets the cheese!

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asavage
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#11

Post by asavage » 12 years ago

If OD is locked out, power flow is straight through. As long as the TC is locked, ATF temps should be reasonable. But I have nothing riding on this, so it's easy for me to say, "it should be OK".
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.

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kassim503
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Location: Stony Brook, NY

#12

Post by kassim503 » 12 years ago

Since I have a trans temp gauge I notice the temp while towing around town gets kinda hot, 210 or so with no a/c with 70 degrees out. It gets significantly worse with the a/c on and does get into overheating conditions if you whoop on it around town with the trailer, but if you dont whoop on it the temperature stays at a reasonable range.

On hot days its a different story, I drive by transmission temperature on hot days, slug off the line and take it easy.

If your driving at a highway speed for a long time with the OD locked all the time, the temperature goes back down to the same as cruising at highway speed, around 150. The transmission shouldnt be making any significant amount of heat once the OD is locked up, so Al is right, everything is and should be alright while cruising with the trans locked up.

Transmission cooler? Good idea! I have noticed more resistance from heating up after the 160 range with a trans cooler, When I had mine I put it in-line before the oil-water cooler, so it also acts as a heater in the winter.
'83 maxima sedan, l24e, a/t, black

227K SOLD 6/7/2012

HowlerMonkey
Posts: 130
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: West Palm Beach Florida

#13

Post by HowlerMonkey » 12 years ago

Man.....my 4n71b is sitting behind a turbocharged engine and I pull maximum RPM shifts 5 times a day for the last 2.5 years and have put 35,000 turbocharged and hard driven miles on it...........never mind that it had 225,000 miles before being turbocharged.

The only trouble is that you can easily run the car fast enough in overdrive at part throttle that tipping in to the kickdown switch will cause it to go to 3rd which causes your tranny to push the engine to 7k rpms.

I now have a switch in series with the kickdown switch.

Carimbo
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#14

Post by Carimbo » 12 years ago

What are you towing?

odie
Posts: 114
Joined: 13 years ago
Location: CC, TX

#15

Post by odie » 12 years ago

well, my trip was not too fun for towing. averaged about 65 with OD on and cruise control on. I could get a little faster if I kept my foot on the gas but then I can't use the cruise. this is all flat towing, TX coast and I-10 in LA.

The temps never got over half the gauge under any conditions.

80 HP is enough for the car by itself but not much more. But this was a car built and marketed for the 55mph era.
1996 VW Passat B4V TDI diesel...main ride
1983 Maxima LD28..sold
1984 Isuzu P'up diesel 4x4..sold
1981 Rabbit diesel - sold
1984 MB 190 diesel - for sale...sold
1987 MB 300TDT diesel...sold
1983 Holiday Rambler 6.2 diesel Banks turbo...sold
1983 Dodge Ram D50 2.3 TD diesel for sale
gas stuff-Jeep, Lebaron, Porsche, Harley

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