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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Car: POS 2000 Altima SE, M-5 (Probably same for 1st gen, too.)
Hand-Me-Down from the wife:
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/car.jpg

Disclaimer: I am not an auto-mechanic, so there could be parts of this procedure that are incorrect and could cause harm to your car. It's was written from an idiot's point of view. I do not take responsibility for anything that happens to you or your car during the use of this procedure.

Cost:
1) Dayco Idler Pulley: $22.49 at Advance Auto Parts. Courtesy had OEM unit for $48 shipped, but I needed it now and didn't want to pay $64 at my local dealership. You'll see the difference in the two in this procedure.
2) Dayco Drive Belt: $17.95 at Advance Auto Parts.
3) Bud Light (6-pack): $3.99 at HEB.

Total: $44.33

Price my local stealership wanted to replace it: $210

Symptom: When I started the car one cold morning, I got a noise that sounded like a box of rocks thrown into a gearbox. It was a combination of grinding and moaning. My car has 146K miles and I have never replaced the idler. Being on this site a lot, I knew that it was either the AC idler or the accessory idler. The noise was more toward the top of the engine, so I made an educated guess. I don't really know any safe way to confirm this diagnosis while the car is running.

Tools: Philips screwdriver, 21MM 1/2" socket for lugnuts, 1/2" impact for lugnuts and various other stuff I'm too lazy to remove by hand, 3/8" air-ratchet to further convince you of my laziness, 10MM 3/8" shallow socket, 10MM 3/8" deep socket, 12MM 3/8" deep socket, 12MM 3/8" shallow socket, 14MM 3/8" deep socket, 14MM 3/8" shallow socket, 3/8" ratchet, 6-inch 3/8" extension, 1/2" ratchet, 6-inch 1/2" extension, 14MM 1/2" shallow socket, 10MM end-wrench, 12MM end-wrench, 14MM end-wrench, 1/4"socket, 10MM 1/4" deep socket.

LETS GET STARTED:
1) First, I drank a beer and stared at the front of the motor cursing whatever engineer came up with the transverse-mounted FWD configuration that allows you just enough room to fit an end-wrench between the pulleys and the frame of the car, but not enough room to actually get the pulley out. While drinking the beer, I again contemplated driving to my Nissan stealership and trading this POS in on something newer. I'm just too damn cheap, though.....
2) so I jacked up the car and secured the car on jackstands on the car's framerails (or what passes as a framerail.) You'll need to jack for something else, later in the procedure, and you should always use jackstands. Lets be safe out there kids!
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/Jackstand-1.jpg
3) Disconnect the negative battery cable, remove the passenger side wheel, then remove the two passenger-side dust covers, underneath the car. There are a few 10MM bolts and two plastic Philips fasteners. I didn't take pics of this because it's pretty simple stuff.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/DustCover1.jpg
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/DustCover3.jpg
You now have a view of the crank pulley, the AC pulley, and the AC belt tensioner.
4) Loosen the AC belt tensioner and push up on it until the belt is loose enough to remove then pull the belt off. It's a 14MM bolt.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/ACIdler10.jpg
That belt is in the way of removing the accessory drive belt, so that's why you removed it.
5) Next, you need to remove the accessory drive belt. To do that, you have to loosen the alternator. The alternator doubles as a belt tensioner for the accessory drive belt. There are two 14MM bolts at the front and rear bottom of the alternator that hold the alternator to the lower mount. Loosen those two bolts.
Bolt at front of alternator:
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/AltAdjust3-1.jpg
Bolt at rear of alternator:
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/AltAdjust4.jpg
6) Now loosen the bolt at the top of the alternator that keeps the tension-adjustment bolt secured. It is a 12MM.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/AltAdjust-1.jpg
You can see the 12MM tension-adjustment bolt head directly to the right of it.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/AltAdjust5.jpg
7) That is all the bolts that holds the accessory belt tight, so now you can loosen the tension-adjustment bolt enough to allow removal of the accessory drive belt. Loosen the hell out of it and push the alternator toward the motor. The alternator should pivot easily.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/AltAdjust2.jpg
Now that the accessory drive belt is good and loose, take note of the routing of the belt and pull it off the alternator pulley, then crawl under the car and start figuring out how to fit a 2-inch wide belt through a gap between the pulleys and the frame of the car that is about an 1-1/2 inches. I lack the skills to explain exactly how to do it, but you'll figure it out. Damn those engineers. :soapbox:
Check the belt for cracks and glazing. If you see nylon threading in the cracks or an abundance of cracks, you need to replace the belt. I had to. Mine was worn out. Mine was also shiny on the face of the belt, which is "glazing." Pic is fuzzy, but you can kinda see the cracks. Oops.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/P1010081.jpg

Okay....so you're belts are out and you can now access the idler pulley, right? WRONG!!! That would be too easy. I though I would be smart and simply remove the 14MM nut from the front of the idler pulley and yank the pulley out. The nut comes off easily enough, but then the pulley won't fit between the end of the stud that the idler pulley rides on and the frame of the car.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/IdlerMount14.jpg
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/IdlerMount1.jpg
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/IdlerMount11.jpg
So what do you have to do?
8) You have to support the engine and remove the front motor mount so that you can move the motor up and down and pull the whole idler pulley bracket out. After realizing this, I cursed a little and drank a beer. I even started another one before getting to it.
What the Hell???!!!
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/P1010078.jpg
Must have had a bad Bud Light.
Anyway, you need to support the engine. If you don't, removing the front motor mount will have dire consequences. The best way to support the motor is to put a piece of wood on the floor-jack and simply jack it up to the oil pan. As soon as you feel tension, just leave it there. If you jack it up too much, you'll put tension on the front motor mount bolt and bind it up to where you can't remove it. (In the pick, the dust shield is still on, but you get the idea.):love:

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/1jackpan-1.jpg
9) Now that the motor is supported, you need to remove the bolt that fastens the front motor mount to the frame of the car. 14MM again. You have to hold one side of it as it is a bolt and nut.
Nut:
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/MotorMount10.jpg
Bolt Head: (Notice mine is a little rounded off :sad:)
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/MotorMount3.jpg
Once the nut is off, the bolt should slide right out toward the front of the car. If it is bound up, just adjust the height of the jack to free the bolt. Don't try to beat it out. It shouldn't need to be whacked.
10) The three 14MM bolts that mount the front motor mount to the motor block need to be removed, but the upper alternator bracket will need to be loosened up first to get to the rearmost motor mount bolt. Always gotta remove one thing to get to the other. It's a vicious circle. :sad:
You need to remove the 14MM bolt and the 12MM nut on the top alternator mount. This will allow you to manipulate the bracket enough to get to the front motor mount bolt that is under the alternator bracket.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/TopAltBracket-1.jpg
11) Remove the three bolts the mount the front motor mount to the motor block.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/MotorMount4.jpg
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/MotorMount6.jpg
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/MotorMount7.jpg
12) Now that the bolts are out, manipulate the front motor mount around the AC lines and pull the front motor mount out.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/MotorMount9.jpg

You now have a better view of the front of the motor. If you look closely, you'll see that there is a bracket that holds the idler pulley and its mount by three bolts. Two bolts are 10MM and one bolt is a 14MM that also holds the top of the Power Steering bracket.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/IdlerMount14-1.jpg
12) Remove the top 10MM mounting bolt with the 1/4" ratchet.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/IdlerMount2.jpg
13) To get to the bottom bolt, you need to drop the motor a little ways. Be careful when you do this. Let the motor drop very slowly with your jack until the jack starts to come away from the oil pan, then snug it back up against the oil pan. This is as low as the motor can go.
Now crawl under the car and remove the lower idler pulley bracket mounting bolt with the 1/4" ratchet and 10MM deep socket.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/IdlerMount4.jpg
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/IdlerMount5.jpg
The 10MM bottom mounting bolt is shorter than the top 10MM mounting bolt, so keep them in order when reinstalling.
14) Now jack the motor back up SLOWLY until the car begins to move up with the motor, then stop jacking. This is as high as the motor will go without damaging something. The car is starting to move upward with the engine because something is bound. Don't force that. Just let it down slightly and go from there. The wire harness at the alternator bracket will be tight, but you're okay.
Now that the motor is up, remove the 14MM bolt at the top left of the idler pulley bracket. This bolt also mounts the top of the Power Steering bracket. Remove it with a 3/8" ratchet and deep 14MM.
I couldn't get my camera in to a good enough spot to get a good photo of the bolt. Just follow the idler pulley bracket up and you'll find it.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/IdlerMount10-1.jpg

15) Now you need to pull the idler pulley/bracket assembly out of the car. It should come right out. This is what you have:
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/Idler.jpg
16) Remove the pulley from the bracket with a 14MM wrench. You should have a 14MM nut, a washer, a bushing, a stud, and the bracket. You will re-use everything but the old pulley. Here is the new plastic Dayco pulley:
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/IdlerComparo.jpg
If having a plastic pulley upsets you, you could probably just swap bearings. I researched the bearing number. It is an NSK 6203DULX. I couldn't find any listing for it on the internet, but that's normal for proprietary parts. I'm absolutely sure you could second-source the bearing if you took it to a bearing dealer. They could size a replacement for you. It would probably cost 12 bucks or so. I just didn't have the time for that. I needed my car. The dealer-part is $60+ at my stealership, but it's a hulky metal bastard.

17) Mount the new pulley on to the bracket with the old hardware. I torqued the nut down to 30 ft/lbs. I couldn't find a torque spec in my Haynes manual. As a matter of fact, I found no toque specs at all for this job because my Haynes manual doesn't have a procedure for this. If you find proper torque specs, use them.
At this point, I drank a beer. I'm already through 4 beers at this point and I thought this was going to be a 1-beer job. :banghead:
18) Now that you've got a good buzz going, install the new idler pulley/bracket. Slide it in and start the top 10MM bracket bolt. Don't tighten it yet.
19) Install the 14MM top left mounting bolt. Don't tighten it yet.
20) Lower the motor SLOWLY and install the 10MM mounting bolt. Go ahead and tighten it. Be careful not to torque these too much. They're very small bolts and the last thing you want is a broken bolt on the front of your motor that you won't be able to get to. I went 10ft/lbs
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/IdlerMount4.jpg
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/IdlerMount3.jpg
21) Raise the motor back up SLOWLY and tighten the other 10MM mounting bolt and the 14MM mounting bolt. I tightened the 14MM bolt to 30 ft/lbs because it's a bigger bolt and because it is holding the power steering bracket as well.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/IdlerMount12.jpg
The bracket is in. Congratulations!
22) It is easier to go ahead and install the accessory drive belt at this time, before installing the front motor mount. You won't be tensioning it yet, but it's a good idea to get it in place. Be sure to route it correctly.
23) Now put the front motor mount back into place and tighten the three mounting bolts that fasten the mount to the block.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/MotorMount8.jpg
I tightened these 14MM bolts to 60ft/lbs. Hell yeah! Big muscle!:weightlift:
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/MotorMount5.jpg
24) Now lower the motor back down SLOWLY to where the front mount is in the frame-mount and the bolt hole is lined up good enough to slide the bolt through the mount. If you have a hard time getting the bolt through the mount, just adjust the height of the motor in small increment up or down until the bolt goes through. No need to beat on the bolt. Tighten the nut. I tightened this to 30 ft/lbs.
You can go ahead and remove the jack from under the motor, now.
25) Time to re-install the 14MM top alternator bracket bolt and the 12MM nut. I tightened the 14MM nut to 30 ft/lbs and the 12mm nut to a good snug tightness.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/TopAltBracket2.jpg
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/TopAltBracket3-1.jpg
26) Now you can tension the belt, but have a look and make sure the routing is correct, that the belt is inside the ribs of the pulleys, and that it is contacting the face of the tensioner pulley correctly. Tighten the alternator tensioning bolt until the accessory drive belt is tight, but not too tight. I just tighten it until there is about 1/4 inch of deflection between the crank and the power steering pump. I'm used to american trucks, where the tensioner is just pulled back and let go on to the belt, tensioning automatically to the right amount. That is not the case here. To correctly measure deflection, you put some kind of straight edge on the edges of the pulley you're measuring between, then push down on the belt with you finger, close to the middle point between the two pulleys, then measure the distance from the belt to the straight edge. :confused2 :banghead: I just eyeball it.
27) Your belt it tight, so now it's time to secure the alternator. Tighten the 12MM bolt that secures the tensioning bolt on the top of the alternator.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/AltAdjust-1.jpg
I didn't torque it to any specific amount. Just tighten it.
28) When that's finished, tighten the two 14MM alternator bracket bolts on the bottom of the alternator.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/AltAdjust3.jpg
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/AltAdjust4.jpg
Your belt is on, and tight. Take one more look to see if the belt is cenetered inside the lips of all the pulleys.
29) Re-install your AC drive belt, or replace it with a new belt. No pic for that. It's easy as pie. Once it's inside the crank, AC compressor, and tensioner pulley grooves, tighten the tensioner until there is a quarter inch of deflection between the AC compressor pulley and the tensioner pulley.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y10/sstupid/ACIdler1.jpg
30) Both belts are back on, so you can re-install your dust covers, re-install the passenger-side wheel, jack up the car, remove the jackstands, lower the car, start the car and check belt movement and noises, then drink a beer. That will be the end of the 6-pack. You just saved $160! :woot:
 

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DIY'er
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engine is out of the car for tear down and full rebuild.

valvecover leak? it's an 16 year old engine. wtf do you expect.
 

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Great write up sstupid! Very complete and good details.

My wife's 00 SE just had the same problem. Unfortunately for me the bolt came off the idler so I have to get the dealer part. It is the only way to get a new bolt for the pulley that I can find. I decided to replace the water pump while I am in there too :crazy: :sad:

Just some added info for the write up it is much simpler to get to the power steering/idler mount bolt referenced in item 14 & 21 if you just slide the power steering reservoir out of the bracket. You can then get access to it much easier.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Another great write-up by sstupid. I'm gonna have to go through all your write-ups and save them onto my disk drive in case the images gets 'lost'. Thanks.
Thank you, sir. Coming from you, that means something. I think you offer the best advice on this site.
 

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Twizted Innovations C.C.
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320 Posts
Went down this road recently myself, also had to replace the water pump in the process. Not nearly as difficult as it looked at first. Great write up though.
 

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2750lbs
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Lol funniest write up ever, excellent!
 

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1st Gen SE Lover
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Some mod FAQ this!

We should make writeups like this into PDFs like one of the Mercedes forums does. That way, you can easily print it out and take it with you to work on the car. :)
 

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99 altima
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could be a power steering leak too ...

I definitely need to replace mine.. my engine is so loud in the am..
 

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I have been looking for this for a day now. Stumbled into this forum looking on how to change the serpentine belt, and I got another post where they were taking the engine out, and the post had serpentine in it once. Anyways............. I am chaning my belt, and I noticed that a pully was wiggling free, but the bolt was still hjolding it on. Took the alternater out, and belt, belly pan and inner fender cover off. The pully (I wanna say looking from the wheelwell, the pully that is about 1'' above the metal fender wall that looks like a little 4 spoke wheel ) is loose and off axis as the engine runs. I think that it is the power steering pully, a linr from the PS resivior leads right behind the pully that is wobbling. The bolt that holds the pully on, wont come off, or wont tighten either. And, bolt that nut is on spins with the bolt also. the pully is worn away in the middle from grinding with the bolt. I have no idea on how to take that pully out, or how to fix it.
Anybody know if there is a belt that I can bypass the power steering for a little while?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I have been looking for this for a day now. Stumbled into this forum looking on how to change the serpentine belt, and I got another post where they were taking the engine out, and the post had serpentine in it once. Anyways............. I am chaning my belt, and I noticed that a pully was wiggling free, but the bolt was still hjolding it on. Took the alternater out, and belt, belly pan and inner fender cover off. The pully (I wanna say looking from the wheelwell, the pully that is about 1'' above the metal fender wall that looks like a little 4 spoke wheel ) is loose and off axis as the engine runs. I think that it is the power steering pully, a linr from the PS resivior leads right behind the pully that is wobbling. The bolt that holds the pully on, wont come off, or wont tighten either. And, bolt that nut is on spins with the bolt also. the pully is worn away in the middle from grinding with the bolt. I have no idea on how to take that pully out, or how to fix it.
Anybody know if there is a belt that I can bypass the power steering for a little while?
You will need to remove the power steering pump completely. The easiest way to do that is to pull the passenger side CV axle. Search for the DIY wrote for that, as well. It sounds hard, but it's not. It's going to be a messy job. Once you get it out, you can figure out where you need go from there. New pumps don't come with the pulley unless you buy OEM, so I would just go that route. Start over with a new part. Bypassing the power steering pump would be more trouble than replacing it. You would also burn up the rack doing it. Good luck!
 
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