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Hello to everyone. This is my first time posting here. It seems as if this is a very informative website with a helpful community. Please bear with me during this fairly long post. :crazy:

1996 Nissan Maxima - mileage 136,000 -

The problem I'm having is: Several weeks ago, I started to notice a leak somewhere around under the coolant container. I fill it constantly and it tends to leak out the more I drive and is almost empty by the end of the day.
I haven't been able to get it checked out due to current money issues. Well, it started to run hot on occassion after that; mostly while I was accelerating and would cool down at a stop or red light........

The other day it overheated and started smoking (a little) & wouldn't start. After jumping it off with jumper cables...it started. This happened a couple of times afterwards. We bought & replaced it with a brand new battery 2 days ago (needed a new one anyway) and my husband drove it to work the next day and said he had no problem with it at all...didn't even run hot. Well, that same day, I drove it to pick up the kids and about half a mile down the road, it started to rattle. And then it started to rise to the HOT level. The further I got down the road, the louder the rattle became. When I came to a red light...it would rattle and die! It would barely start back up and at other red lights, I would put it in Neutral (it is an automatic) and press gas to keep from dying. When I got to the school, it died COMPLETELY. Would not start. Stranded. I could smell something hot & burning...i noticed just a small amount of smoke coming from back left under the hood. Almost like rubber burning. After 10 minutes, the car started again...barely. So I drove home with the same routine (in neutral at stops) it would die. I would stop and wait ..then it would start again. This happened 3 times.

Now its at home here and I called the Nissan dealership and they want to charge me $75 just to look at it!!!!!!!!!!! Holy cow!
IM DESPERATE & BROKE...... :waving: I need some advice from someone who is familiar with this problem. Any help would be so very much appreciated.
THANKS in advance!

~jo
 

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Obvious stuff first-- where's it leaking from?

At 136k miles, the water pump, radiator hoses, or radiator itself are obvious places to check for leaks. If you haven't bothered to change the coolant at all, it's also possible the leak is coming from somewhere else which is more difficult to fix, such as the heater core.

Other things-- is the fan turning on? Check for melted wires, a blown relay, blown fuse, etc. Is the thermostat stuck closed?

Three times, huh? :eek:
 

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At this point I hope you don't need a new engine.

the thing is obviously overheating and shutting itself down... make sure the coolant level is full in the radiator and not just the reservoir- and don't check it when the engine is hot.

you need to find out where the water is coming from and fix the leak. that's first step after filling it with coolant.... and stop driving it while it's overheated- that will ruin the engine faster than anything else you can do to one, other than running it with no oil.

good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info guys...

I appreciate the feedback. I pray to God that I don't need a new engine :rolleyes: .
Stupid question.....(i'm a female here~don't make fun of me)...If I check the radiator, can I tell by looking in what level it is? And how full is it suppossed to be? And what do I fill it with? (i told you not to laugh!) :)

it looks more like the leak is coming from the side where the resevoir is..and not the radiator...if it is just the resevoir, is there any way I can fix it myself? Where do I check for a blown fuse (under the hood?) , or the water pump or radiator hoses? Is there any way possible I can check these myself? and go buy replacement parts if needed...I really don't have the money for repairs. The initial $75 they are charging just to look at it is due up front. If they repair it, will the $75 go towards my charges?

Sorry guys for all the questions...I've gotta learn some how...I would love to be mechanically inclined.
But for now, I'm just a :dumbass: . Pardon my language :cool: .

Thanks again, ~jo
 

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The water pump is on the passenger side of the engine, about halfway back from front/rear..

when you start the car, where is the water leaking from?
for the time being, you can just fill it up with regular water since it's coming out so fast.

once you fix the problem, you'll want to use a mix of 1/2 and 1/2 antifreeze and water.

When you pull the cap off the radiator (again, engine cold!!!), the thing should be completely full, to the top.. that's why the reservoir is on the side.. as the engine warms up, any extra coolant runs through the hose from the radiator over to the reservoir. the way the cap is designed, it vents when the pressure gets too high, but will allow water to get sucked back in if it gets low. That's assuming your system started out full and doesn't have any air in it.

All that being said, fill up the radiator with water and the reservoir on the side, then start the car and let it warm up. see if you can locate the source of the water leak and get back to us.

good luck.
 

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Just like Matt said,if after filling the radiator and reservor up with water and water still coming out of the reservor,then there's a leak somewhere in your cooling system,it could be from your radiator cap to your head gasket(cause the water to boil and over flow it to the reservor)or your thermostat stuck closed,weak water pump which cause the over heat,or if the fan doesn't spin it also cause the water not circulate and over heat.Hope this will help.Good Luck.

PS. Never drive a modern car when the temperature reach HOT(pull over and let it cool off before you drive again),cause most of them are alluminum(block and head),so it's really easy to get warp.
 

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shoe_shiner said:
I recently had a problem like this! funny thing im still in it! if it does so happen to be ur water pump and ur gonna do the job be very carefull when u turn the crankshaft cause if u turn it more than the 20 degrees then ull be where i am.....trying to find the TDC for the #1 piston! but anyway here look at this site it should help! http://autozone.com/servlet/UiBroker?ForwardPage=/az/cds/en_us/0900823d/80/1f/47/d4/0900823d801f47d4.jsp
Well the 95-99 Max(VQ 30DE) are timing chain,not timing belt llike the one in the link(VG 30DE). :rolleyes:
 

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Matt93SE said:
Frank, keep scrolling down.
That page has instructions for VG30E, VE30DE, and VQ30DE. :)
Well I was being lazy when I saw the VG30DE at the top,and scroll it down just a bit and saw timing belt,that's why I thought it was for the VG30DE. :dumbass:
 

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:dumbass: Is right! it's the VG30E at the top of the page anyway! that's the 3rd gen Maxima engine. that service manual covers 93-98 Maximas, which has the VG30E, VE30DE, and VQ30DE in the model lineup. :)
 

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96 Maxima leaking

I don't think it is the resevoir (sp!!) - that is just a holding tank to catch overflow from the radiator when it gets hot then put coolant back into the radiator as it cools down. The other postings are correct - you just have to look for the leak. You might try running with the radiator cap loose (one notch) so pressure doesn't build up but this is only a temporary fix. My bigger concern is it sounds like the heads are warped dut to running it hot. Good luck.
 

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mine 96 nissan maxima is running hot only when driving there was a small radiator leak i fixed it and i thought it was the thermostat i replaced it now it is still running hot only when i am driving not while it is idling it will cool down when i take it out of gear and idle i even parked it tried pushing the gas peddle to see if it would run hot but it doesnt only while it is being driven please help
 

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The problem I'm having is: Several weeks ago, I started to notice a leak somewhere around under the coolant container. I fill it constantly and it tends to leak out the more I drive and is almost empty by the end of the day. I haven't been able to get it checked out due to current money issues.

Well, that same day, I drove it to pick up the kids and about half a mile down the road, it started to rattle. And then it started to rise to the HOT level. The further I got down the road, the louder the rattle became. When I came to a red light...it would rattle and die! It would barely start back up and at other red lights, I would put it in Neutral (it is an automatic) and press gas to keep from dying. When I got to the school, it died COMPLETELY. Would not start.

Now its at home here and I called the Nissan dealership and they want to charge me $75 just to look at it!!!!!!!!!!! Holy cow! /QUOTE]

mine 96 nissan maxima is running hot only when driving there was a small radiator leak i fixed it and i thought it was the thermostat i replaced it now it is still running hot only when i am driving not while it is idling it will cool down when i take it out of gear and idle i even parked it tried pushing the gas peddle to see if it would run hot but it doesnt only while it is being driven please help
For POJO: Here's a part of your quote: "I haven't been able to get it checked out due to current money issues." If you think you have money issues now, just keep overheating the engine, then you'll see REAL MONEY ISSUES.

If the system is leaking coolant at a high rate that you seem to indicate, then you should be able to spot the leak rather quickly while the engine is fully warmed up and idling. As you're probing around, be extremely careful with the fans coming on and getting injured. If the overflow reservoir is defective, you can go to a junk yard and get a replacement.

In the meantime prior to any fix, carry extra water with you in the car to avoid any overheating. If you make a trip, say 10 miles or more, as soon as the engine cools down a bit, check the coolant level at the radiator fill hole; if it's down to the fins, fill it up. You may have to do this several times a day while waiting for a fix. DON'T run with the radiator cap partially closed; you'll lose the coolant super fast.

For TANYA: The radiator may be partially plugged up. Some shops use an infrared thermometer laser pointer and shoot it at different parts of the radiator to see how much the temperatures vary. If the temperatures vary by 30-50 degrees and the thermostat is working, chances are it's restricted. Without this you can also check it with the palm of your hand. First after the engine is warmed up shut it off and feel the upper and lower radiator hoses to see if the temperatures vary. If restricted chances are the upper hose will be very hot to the touch while the lower will be just warm. Once again that is if the thermostat is functioning properly. Also if you have access to different parts of the radiator core itself (the finned middle portion) feel it with your hand in different locations to feel for temperature variations. Be careful however because if you have an electric fan it can come on even with the car off. If temperatures vary, you can try to power flush or reverse flush the cooling system, but your best bet is to replace it with a new one.
 
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