How to Change a Serpentine Belt on Nissan Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The Nissan car uses three separate serpentine belts for the major components along the motor. This is useful in case a weak belt breaks. You will still have use of the other components until you can get to a place to replace the broken belt. There are three layers of belts to replace. You will have the air conditioner compressor belt, the alternator and water pump belt and the power steering belt. All these belts work off the constant motion of the crankshaft and supplies power to all the components along the belts paths.

Under The Hood:

 How to Change a Serpentine Belt on a Nissan 200Sx

Park your Nissan 200SX in a flat, level area such as a garage, where you can keep your work area secure. Set the parking brake and allow the engine to cool. Release the catch for the hood and open it to expose the engine. Look for the serpentine belt configuration diagram on the shroud cover for the radiator or on the underside of the hood. Disconnect the negative battery lead with the adjustable wrench and set it aside.

Locate the belt tensioner pulley referenced on the diagram under the water pump hose in most 200SX models (your particular year/model could have it placed differently -- use the diagram to find exactly where it is on your Nissan). Slot an appropriate socket over the end of the nut that protrudes from the side of the tensioner pulley and attach the ratchet to the socket. Turn the pulley in the direction indicated on the diagram to loosen the pulley. Remove the serpentine belt and allow the tensioner pulley to return to its original, closed position.

Remove the belt from the other pulleys in the engine. Refer to the diagram chart to install a new belt. Start with the crankshaft pulley and attach the notched sections of the belt to the corresponding pulleys and match the smooth sides of the belt with the smooth pulleys. Work your way up to the tensioner pulley and use the ratchet to "open" the pulley. Slide the belt over the pulley and let it close again to tighten the belt.

Start the engine of your Nissan 200SX. Let it run for several minutes and listen for sounds of the belt screeching or flopping. Allow the tensioner pulley four to five minutes to adjust the tension on the belt before driving.

Items you will need

  • Adjustable wrench

  • Ratchet

  • Socket set

  • Masking tape (optional)

 How to Change the Serpentine Belt in a 2000 Nissan Altima

Removing the Belts

Open the hood to access the engine compartment. Locate the idler pulley on the top right-hand side of the belt path.

Loosen the bolt behind the idler pulley with a socket wrench. The belt will lose it's tension.

Slide belt off the power steering pump, crankshaft and idler pulley. Pull the belt out from the engine compartment.

Locate the idler pulley underneath the air conditioner compressor. You will need to crawl under the vehicle to locate this pulley.

Loosen the bolt behind the the idler pulley with a socket wrench. The tension will loosen as you turn the bolt counter-clockwise. Pull the belt off the pulleys once the tension has been relieved.

Locate the tensioner bolt above the alternator. You can access this from under the hood. Loosen with a socket wrench. Remove the belt once the tension has been relieved.

Discard of all three belts once they have been removed.

Installing the Belts

Place first belt around the alternator, water pump and crankshaft pulleys. Tighten the tensioner bolt until the belt is tight along the pulley. There should be no slack on the belt when you pull it with your hands.

Place second belt along the air conditioner compressor, idler pulley and crankshaft pulley. Tighten the tensioner bolt with a socket wrench. Tighten until there is no slack in the belt.

Place third belt along the power steering pump, idler pulley and crankshaft. Tighten the tensioner bolt until all the slack is removed from the belt.

Start the car to observe the belts. Watch for any loose belts and to ensure all the components are working adequately.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench

  • Socket set

  • 3 Serpentine belts

 How to Replace the Serpentine Belt in a Nissan Sentra

Find the lock nut and loosen it with the wrench.

Loosen the adjustment bolt by turning it counter-clockwise until you can get the old belt off. The alternator has an adjustment bolt for the alternator belt, and the power steering component will have another adjustment bolt for its belt. The alternator adjustment bolt is often underneath the water pump hose.

Install the new belt by putting it onto the pulleys in the same way that you got the old belt off. Nissan generally includes a belt routing diagram on a decal under the hood.

Turn the adjusting bolt clockwise to get tension back on the belt.

Make sure the belt is seated correctly on each pulley.

Tighten the lock nut.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set for adjusting bolts (size may vary for a specific model)

  • Replacement belts

 How to Replace the Serpentine Belt in a Nissan Pathfinder

3.3L V6 models and other models with an idler pulley

Check the routing of the belt so you know how to replace the belt. If you can't find a belt routing diagram under the hood, make a sketch for your own reference.

Find the idler pulley that holds tension on the belt.

Use a wrench to loosen the nut in the center of the idler pulley.

Turn the adjustment bolt, located beside the top of the pulley, to loosen tension on the belt.

Take off the old belt and replace it with the new one according to your belt routing diagram.

Tighten the adjustment bolt to replace appropriate tension on the belt.

Make the pulley lock bolt tight.

3.5L V6 models and other models without an idler pulley

Note the belt routing diagram under the hood. If there isn't one, make a sketch for your own reference.

Loosen the lock bolt that is situated near the top of the component you are going to move.

Turn an adjustment bolt that moves the component toward the engine to release tension on the belt.

Slip the old belt off and replace the new one according to your belt routing diagram.

Turn the adjustment bolt the other way to replace tension on the belt.

Tighten the lock bolt.

Items you will need

  • Replacement belts

  • Wrench set

 How to Replace the Serpentine Belt in a Nissan Maxima

Use your wrench (size may vary by model) to loosen the lock nut for the belt that you want to take off. For the alternator belt, the lock bolt is near the upper idler pulley; for the power steering belt, the lock bolt is at the back of the power steering pump.

Loosen the adjustment bolt to release tension on the belt. Again, the adjustment bolts will be near their respective components.

Slip off the old belt and compare the two belts to make sure you have the correct length for the replacement belt. The older belt will be a little longer due to stretching during wear.

Use a routing diagram to put the replacement belt back on to its pulleys. You can work from your memory, or look for a routing belt diagram in your owner's documentation.

Tighten up the adjustment bolt to replace appropriate tension on the belt.

Make sure the belt is seated on all pulleys. Tighten the lock bolt.

Run the engine and observe to see if the belt is installed correctly.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • Replacement belt

 How to Replace the Serpentine Belt on a 2005 Maxima

Park the 2005 Nissan Maxima and engage the emergency brake. Raise the hood and secure it in place.

Locate the front belt on the front of the engine. The front belt is the serpentine belt that is wrapped around the alternator pulley, air conditioner pulley and the crankshaft pulley. Then, locate the adjustment pulley between the alternator and the crankshaft.

Loosen the lock nut in the middle of the adjustment pulley with the 3/8-inch drive ratchet and a socket.

Turn the adjustment bolt at the top of the adjustment pulley counterclockwise to loosen the tension from the serpentine belt.

Pull the serpentine belt out of all three pulleys. Then, pull the belt around the fan blades and out of the engine bay.

Slide the new serpentine belt around the fan blades and onto the three front pulleys.

Turn the adjustment bolt clockwise with the ratchet and socket to tighten the belt to the proper tension. Once the belt is tight, push down on the belt with the palm of your hand. If the belt has more than a half-inch of slack in the belt, continue to tighten the belt until it has no more than a half-inch of slack.

Tighten the lock nut down tight with the ratchet and socket. Then, crank the 2005 Nissan Maxima and let the engine run for 30 seconds. Turn the engine off and check the tension on the belt again. Close the hood.

Items you will need

  • 1/2-inch drive ratchet

  • 1/2-inch drive socket set

  • New serpentine belt

 How to Replace the Serpentine Belt in a Nissan Altima

Find the auto-adjusting belt tensioner. You can use your owner's documentation or a belt routing diagram under the hood--if provided--to find out where the tensioner pulley is located.

Rotate the belt tensioner bolt with your wrench or belt tool to release tension on the belt. Bolt size may vary on different models.

Remove the old serpentine belt.

Use your own memory or refer to the routing belt diagram again to install the new serpentine belt, fitting it around all of the pulleys. Make sure the belt is seated correctly on all the pulley and that the ribs fit into the pulley grooves.

Rotate the tensioner again to allow the belt to be installed on all pulleys, then release it to regain tension.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set or serpentine belt tool

  • Ribbed serpentine belt

About the Author

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