During the year or so I owned my Maxima, I didn't find many mechanical defects. The problems that did occur, I believe may have all been because of misuse by the owner (me).
The first and by far most painful problem with the car was when I used it to take out a horse fence on a country road. I had only had the car for about 2 weeks, and was just getting good with the manual transmission, so I took the car out on a windy country road to play. I spun out in a turn and hit the corner of a horse fence. The corner post I hit (it was about as big around as a telephone pole) did a lot of damage to the right rear end of the car. All of the suspension links on that corner were damaged, and I believe the brake rotor was somehow bent.
Because of the age of the car and my limited income (I was 16 at the time) I bent all the links back into shape, and reinstalled them. Remarkably, this method held together well, but was not near as good for the fast driving I tried to use the car for.
A few months later, when again traveling above the posted speed, I slammed on the brakes and the right rear locked up, causing me to spin and hit a mailbox. This incident busted out the triangular window in the right rear door. I replaced it with a piece of plexiglass from a home improvement store for under 10 dollars.
The transaxle, which the previous owner had replaced a few years before, gave out under my harsh driving habits also. Actually, the throw out bearing broke due to repeatedly "dumping" the clutch. This only cost about 20 dollars for a new one. The procedure though, took about 2 days to completely pull and reinstall the transaxle.