Generation 1 Maxima door won't open? Here is why.

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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goglio704
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Location: East Tennessee

Generation 1 Maxima door won't open? Here is why.

#1

Post by goglio704 » 12 years ago

3 out of 3 Gen1 Maximas that I have owned have had problems with doors that won't open. To repair them you must remove the door panel and the lock. Here are some pics of a rear door lock. The fronts are similar.

This first picture shows an area of interference that occurs because a small rubber bumper dry rots and falls off.

Image

The second picture shows a different view of the lock with a small piece of hose used to replace the missing bumper. An alternative is to simply bend the small tab on which the hose rests. The object is to stop the arm in a position where the linkage can engage when the door is unlocked.

Image

The third pic shows the engagement that is needed to unlock the door and operate the latch by the inside or outside handle.

Image
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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#2

Post by asavage » 12 years ago

Do you think this should be repaired prophylactically? Or can I wait until I am having trouble opening a door? IOW, will I get a warning?
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.

goglio704
Posts: 726
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: East Tennessee

#3

Post by goglio704 » 12 years ago

If you are paying close attention, you might notice the door being hard to unlock right before this happens, but I really didn't see any of mine coming.
Every time I have seen this happen, it has been on a car which has sat idle for extended periods. I suspect the rubber bumper adheres to the latch arm over time and gets pulled away when the latch is cycled. This last one is actually the first one where I have caught a glimpse of the bumper before it evaporated. I have not seen this completely disable a front door yet. Enough fumbling will usually get them open, but the rears are done when they go. BTW it is possible to remove a rear door panel with the door closed and the seat still installed. You have to sort of pivot it around the upper rear corner. Fortunately, the push in fasteners Nissan used are not the super hold variety that GM had. It wouldn't be a bad idea to do this as a preventative, particularly if you carry back seat passengers often. I think about it a lot with my little girl. I never use the child safety inner handle disabler. In the event of an accident, I want her to have the option of getting out of the vehicle if she is able.
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

ronin
Posts: 14
Joined: 11 years ago
Location: Spartanburg, SC

front door problem

#4

Post by ronin » 11 years ago

Hey. I have a problem with my front door not opening. I was able to get in, but when I tried to get out, I was stuck. Had to ease out the passenger door. The only thing I remember doing that related to the door was I accidentally locked the door with my arm when I rested it on the door lock.

Do you feel this is occurring because of the problem described above? If so, can I get the front door panel off with the door shut?

Thanks,

Eric
1983 Maxima Diesel Sedan
White w/ Blue Cloth Interior
Automatic w/ OD

goglio704
Posts: 726
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: East Tennessee

#5

Post by goglio704 » 11 years ago

I'd say you'll have to get the door panel off to diagnose and fix this problem. If the outside handle still works, it may be a different scenario than what I describe above. Either way it is an internal door problem. You may want to remove the front seat(s) to make access easier.
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

ronin
Posts: 14
Joined: 11 years ago
Location: Spartanburg, SC

#6

Post by ronin » 11 years ago

Unfortunately, neither handle works right now, as far as actually opening the door. That is what is so frustrating. The door won't budge. So trying to work on it is tight. When I pull on the handles they seem to be trying to move something so I don't think they are broken. I'll have to play with it to see what I can do. I just didn't see how I could get the panel off with the door stuck shut...

Thanks,

Eric
1983 Maxima Diesel Sedan
White w/ Blue Cloth Interior
Automatic w/ OD

goglio704
Posts: 726
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: East Tennessee

#7

Post by goglio704 » 11 years ago

It definitely sounds like the same scenario I've had. The door is in effect locked due to the loss of that little rubber bumper. If you haven't already, try pulling up the lock knob while working the handle. Don't use a lot of force. I don't remember for sure, but I think I had some luck with this technique. If you get it open that way, don't shut it till you've fixed it.
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

User avatar
asavage
Site Admin
Posts: 5333
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: Duvall, Wash.
Contact:

#8

Post by asavage » 11 years ago

You can remove the seats, then you can remove the door panel to access (partially) the latch. Not fun, but possible.
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.

rlaggren
Posts: 541
Joined: 12 years ago
Location: San Francisco

#9

Post by rlaggren » 11 years ago

My driver's door is getting that way, though I don't have any trouble on the outside, only intermittently on the inside. I punch the door lightly just below the lock peg and it always opens after that - or cycle the lock peg up and down a couple times.

Good luck. Rufus
82 Maxima wagon

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kassim503
Posts: 1027
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Location: Stony Brook, NY

#10

Post by kassim503 » 11 years ago

I experience similar problems, except with my rear drivers door, so far its been going 3 years, sometimes itll jam up bad, i just cycle the lock in and out a few times by hand rapidly and pull up, always works like a charm. This appears to be my early warning, and I should consider heeding to it
'83 maxima sedan, l24e, a/t, black

227K SOLD 6/7/2012

ronin
Posts: 14
Joined: 11 years ago
Location: Spartanburg, SC

#11

Post by ronin » 11 years ago

Thanks for the feedback guys. I'll let you know how it goes once I have a chance to play with it (remodeling my house right this sec. so not alot of free time).

I would highly recommend fixing before you get to my situation. Pulling a Dukes of Hazzard to get in and out of the car isn't fun. The window opening isn't nearly as large as their car was...
1983 Maxima Diesel Sedan
White w/ Blue Cloth Interior
Automatic w/ OD

rlaggren
Posts: 541
Joined: 12 years ago
Location: San Francisco

#12

Post by rlaggren » 9 years ago

Driver's door finally got too irritating to open - had to pull in on the grab handle _hard_ while I operated the latch handle to open it.

On pulling off the inner panel and looking in at the door latch I found there was about 3/8" free play when the inside latch handle moved before the linkage conneccted with the latch. Being lazy I opted to bend the linkage a bit to take up the slack; the outer handle has always worked fine. The fix appears to mostly work - once in a while I still need to pull a tiny bit on the grab handle but no more strength tests.

Not sure what causes this; it doesn't seem exactly the same as the lock problem, but it's in the same area... <g> There's a good chance this fix will need additional attention some day; just needed to get the thing functional again.

Rufus
82 Maxima wagon

slimwhitman
Posts: 2
Joined: 8 years ago
Location: Kansas City

#13

Post by slimwhitman » 8 years ago

This is an interesting thread. I own an '81 Datsun 810 Maxima. I have not been able to open my driver side door from the inside for several years now. It opens fine using the outside handle. Over the course of 6 months or so the inside handle got harder and harder to open, eventually stopping altogether. I have not removed the door panel to investigate (yet).

rlaggren
Posts: 541
Joined: 12 years ago
Location: San Francisco

#14

Post by rlaggren » 8 years ago

Have some small pliers of different types ready. If you're conscientious get some extra clips for the door panel for the ones that break.

You want to be able to put the membrane back together. So you want some good tape; don't know the best kind except duct tape won't do it - most the stuff readily available quits in a year or less. Maybe some of the foil type that has the peel off backer; bit more expensive.

Good luck. It's a pretty worthwhile fix.
82 Maxima wagon

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