Adjusting Nissan Sentra Serpentine Belts
Introduction: Adjusting Nissan Sentra Serpentine Belts
Squealing or slipping belts? This DIY "how-to" shows you where to find the simple adjustments for the serpentine belt and standard belt for a Nissan Sentra and how to tighten it. Photos are of a 2006 model year with a GD16DE motor but many models are similar.
Be sure the engine is turned OFF before making any adjustments.
- 8mm socket wrench with a small extension (for serpentine belt adjustment rod)
- 14mm socket (for serpentine belt idler pulley)
- 12mm socket (for regular belt adjustments)
For the serpentine belt: Just be sure to slightly loosen the 14mm idler-pulley nut before you adjust the 8mm threaded adjustment rod.
For the smaller belt that goes around the power-steering and waterpump, be sure to loosen the 12mm nut on the side so the power-steering pump can move before you adjust the 12mm nut on the threaded adjustment rod.
DO NOT overtighten the belts. Only tighten them enough to stop the squealing to avoid extra stress on the belts and bearings.
These adjustments use a normal (as opposed to a reverse) thread. We like to use this simple memory mnemonic to help you remember which way to turn light bulbs, nuts, bolts and other things that screw in and out:
"Righty-Tighty - Lefty-Loosey"
Making Nissan Sentra Serpentine Belt Adjustments
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I loosen the nut and I twisted the rod but the belt still isn't loose
If you mean the back tensioner nearest the driver, the nut on the back of the bracket isn't the only thing holding the pulley from moving. There's a bolt on the very back of the pump that is almost impossible to get to unless you know what to look for.
Once that is loose, the entire thing pivots, yet no one ever seems to mention it. It's strange. In theory it will allow movement, but it will be stiff and not obvious movement.. You'll be able to retention a belt with it tight as it rotates on the bolt, but it really makes it feel like there's no movement when loosening.
Incredible actually that they shared that bolt with such an important aspect of the cars future maintenance, because, here we all are talking about it 15 years later.
If you mean the front tensioner, it really is just the 14mm bolt on the idler pulley that locks the front pivot.
Can anyone recommend a good belt tension gauge?
While I know you can start loose and tighten if you hear and squeal, the tensioners are kind of garbage for this car, and it's very hard to feel any difference.
Surely there's an official tension from the dealership?
Thanks for the advice. I wasn't sure how to adjust the power steering belt till I read this. The only thing I would add is that you should tighten the belt some, ( I couldn't tell how tight to go), then start the car and see if it stops the slipping, then you could readjust if needed.
I am sorry for my english, but, for me, was necesary to loosey one bolt inner side of
the power steering pump, , it can make accesible taking out the tire and cautchut
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Serpentine/Drive Belt Replacement Service
How much does a Serpentine/Drive Belt Replacement cost?
On average, the cost for a Nissan Sentra Serpentine/Drive Belt Replacement is $118 with $23 for parts and $95 for labor. Prices may vary depending on your location.
|2001 Nissan SentraL4-2.0L||Service typeSerpentine/Drive Belt Replacement||Estimate$252.89||Shop/Dealer Price$297.37 - $408.29|
|1993 Nissan SentraL4-1.6L||Service typeSerpentine/Drive Belt Replacement||Estimate$164.35||Shop/Dealer Price$190.34 - $243.50|
|2007 Nissan SentraL4-2.0L||Service typeSerpentine/Drive Belt Replacement||Estimate$173.03||Shop/Dealer Price$202.56 - $268.60|
|1984 Nissan SentraL4-1.6L||Service typeSerpentine/Drive Belt Replacement||Estimate$178.07||Shop/Dealer Price$208.84 - $278.64|
|1991 Nissan SentraL4-1.6L||Service typeSerpentine/Drive Belt Replacement||Estimate$164.35||Shop/Dealer Price$190.35 - $243.52|
|2009 Nissan SentraL4-2.0L||Service typeSerpentine/Drive Belt Replacement||Estimate$201.53||Shop/Dealer Price$234.06 - $302.36|
|1983 Nissan SentraL4-1.5L||Service typeSerpentine/Drive Belt Replacement||Estimate$190.99||Shop/Dealer Price$223.62 - $299.28|
|2018 Nissan SentraL4-1.6L Turbo||Service typeSerpentine/Drive Belt Replacement||Estimate$198.99||Shop/Dealer Price$233.99 - $315.94|
Show example Nissan Sentra Serpentine/Drive Belt Replacement prices
What is a serpentine belt and how does it work?
A serpentine belt is a relatively long, flat, multi-ribbed belt that is driven by the engine’s crankshaft pulley. The belt drives many, and often all, of the engine accessories such as the alternator, air conditioning compressor, power steering pump, water pump, and air pump. The serpentine belt is tensioned by a hydraulic or spring-loaded automatic tensioner. Some older cars use a serpentine belt to drive most accessories but will also have a shorter v-style belt to drive, for example, the power steering pump.
When to consider replacing the serpentine belt:
- Regularly scheduled maintenance. Typically, belt manufacturers recommend belt replacement at 90,000 miles. However, the belt must be inspected for wear or damage at regular intervals prior to this high mileage.
- Squealing noise, belt slippage, visible belt damage. Should the belt fail or wear out prematurely, you may hear noise or you may see visible signs of deterioration such as missing chunks of rubber, excessive cracking, or a shredded appearance on the edge of the belt.
- Battery Light. A loose belt, perhaps caused by a defective tensioner, may not drive the alternator at adequate speed and thus the battery may discharge, causing the warning light to illuminate.
- Engine overheating. Often, the serpentine belt drives the water pump. In those applications, if the belt breaks the engine will overheat in seconds to minutes. If the belt is inadequately tensioned, you may notice higher-than-normal engine operating temperature.
How do mechanics replace the serpentine belt?
- Prior to removing the belt, the mechanic must run the engine to determine if the idler pulley and the belt tensioner are noise-free. Those rotating components have grease filled bearings and are subject to wear. In addition, the mechanic will ensure that all pulleys and accessories are turning in the same plane. These steps help make sure your new belt will operate trouble-free for its full-service life.
- The belt’s routing path through the various components is noted. The belt tensioner is released, usually with a wrench or lever, to release the tension from the belt. With the tension off, the belt slides off the pulleys.
- All rotating components — that is the alternator, air conditioner compressor, etc. — are checked for smooth operation and no noise.
- If everything checks out, the new belt is slipped over all of the pulleys while holding the tensioner away from the belt. Once the belt is centered on all pulleys, the tensioner is released and the installation is complete. The engine is run to ensure normal operation.
Is it safe to drive with a serpentine belt problem?
No. Should the belt have visible damage, you risk unexpected and sudden breakage that could potentially leave you stranded. Serpentine belt problems that result in the alternator not charging may cause the battery to discharge, which will result in loss of electrical power to the vehicle. Additionally, if a deteriorated belt breaks and that belt drives the water pump, the engine will overheat in a matter of seconds.
When replacing the serpentine belt keep in mind:
- On many cars, the expected service life of a serpentine belt is around 90,000 miles. Should the belt fail well prior to that, a very careful inspection should be performed to check for out-of-alignment pulleys, a possibly out-of-position crankshaft harmonic balancer on which the drive pulley is mounted, binding pulleys, or a defective belt tensioner.
- Attention should always be given to serpentine belt routing, since proper routing is critical to proper belt tension, and function of the driven components.
- Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish serpentine belt related noise from other engine noises. In these cases, a mechanic will determine the origin of the noise by momentarily running the engine without the serpentine belt attached.
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