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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all!

My Nissan Altima, 2002, 2.5L S started making a rattling noise when I put the car in reverse or drive and the car is on idle or naturally moving.

After popping the hood, I was able to verify that the noise is coming from the serpentine belt area.


I performed the following steps:

Turned car on in parking with AC off - no noise
Switched to Reverse - no noise
Switched to drive - very little noise but mainly no.

Put car in parking with AC on - no noise
Switched to reverse - Rattle Noise
Switched to Drive - no noise

Drove the car a bit, came to a red light, and the noise started up again and noticed the AC was on.

Drove about 2 hours with AC off and no noise happened.


The car has been running smooth ever since I got it at 70k.

Its now at 100,105K

Possible Culprits:

Cousin -> Engine Mounts (didnt make ac connection)
Uncle -> Possibly Serpentine Belt and Engine Mounts (Didnt make AC connection)
Dad -> Air Conditioning pulley or Air Conditioner Compressor

Research -> Potentially the Alternator, someone said transmission, AC pulley, Serpentine Belt and Tensioner Pulley

What I think -> Alternator or AC.

Called dealership -> Need to pay for diagnostics $140.
Called Local Repair Shop -> Probably your alternator, $50 diagnostics if needed.

Any ideas?

Please and thanks!
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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My guesses from most to least likely:

1 belt tensioner pulley $40
2 AC clutch $$
3 Alternator $120 and up for a new/reman one

Unless you are enjoying the same snow storm as we are you could remove the passenger wheel and the plastic cover to expose the belt system. Remove the belt and spin each pulley by hand. Any rough turning or grinding noise would be a pretty big clue. Pull and push each PULLEY to check for excessive play.

If those don't pan out then check your ps pump and water pump if you have the 2.5
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My guesses from most to least likely:

1 belt tensioner pulley $40
2 AC clutch $$
3 Alternator $120 and up for a new/reman one

Unless you are enjoying the same snow storm as we are you could remove the passenger wheel and the plastic cover to expose the belt system. Remove the belt and spin each pulley by hand. Any rough turning or grinding noise would be a pretty big clue. Pull and push each PULLEY to check for excessive play.

If those don't pan out then check your ps pump and water pump if you have the 2.5
So I ended up getting my tensioner pulley replaced, cost me about $200 in San Luis Obispo by the mechanic. I asked them about the other parts and they said that the pulley fixed everything.

Noise kinda came back after I moved to LA but its not that violent, and only seems to happen when I put the car in reverse and have the AC on?

Alternator actually broke down a few months ago and replaced it myself...

As of today, I still get a slight rattle noise... I think it's the AC but my current mechanic says its fine... just some things make noises sometimes?
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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^^ thanks for the update...was waiting like 2 years for closure!! :) Glad to see it was #1 after all. Sorry about #3 , at least you had the 2.5 and it wasn't that terrible a job.

Your slight rattle in reverse is likely just an exhaust heat shield that's loosened. Standard decade-plus practice is to put a 6" stainless gear band clamp around the loose part and tighten just enough to prevent the rattle and the clamp from slipping off. I have one on my front cat...works like charm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
^^ thanks for the update...was waiting like 2 years for closure!! :) Glad to see it was #1 after all. Sorry about #3 , at least you had the 2.5 and it wasn't that terrible a job.

Your slight rattle in reverse is likely just an exhaust heat shield that's loosened. Standard decade-plus practice is to put a 6" stainless gear band clamp around the loose part and tighten just enough to prevent the rattle and the clamp from slipping off. I have one on my front cat...works like charm.
Thanks for all the input! After doing a lot of research, stuff on the car starts to go out after 100k and need maintenance or replacement.

As for the heat shield, how do I get to it? I assume from the bottom?

Is it this? View attachment 90009
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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You get to it however you can...generally from underneath on these cars though as that's the part that rusts out first.
 

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if you have a 2.5 thats not it.
That pic looks like a v6. Check the flexpipe under the front of the car.
Tap on the pipe when it is cool to see if you hear any rattle down the exhaust.
The clamp trick is a great trick, and its cheap
 

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Who wants a body massage?
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On a 2.5, the exhaust heat shield is over the second cat, under the engine. There are metal "rings" holding it onto the cat which lose their grip due to rust. I have two hose clamps, one on each end of the heat shield, holding mine on. I can verify they make a hell of a noise!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
On a 2.5, the exhaust heat shield is over the second cat, under the engine. There are metal "rings" holding it onto the cat which lose their grip due to rust. I have two hose clamps, one on each end of the heat shield, holding mine on. I can verify they make a hell of a noise!
Would that be in this area?

View attachment 90209
 

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Who wants a body massage?
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Would that be in this area?

View attachment 90209
I spaced it earlier, I wasn't even talking about the heat shield at all. The two "rings" are at either end of the flex coupling, not the heat shield. That's the silver braided part that the lower right corner of the black rectangle in your picture is touching. These metal rings come loose and rattle around, so I just shoved them back against the braiding and the hose clamps keep them tight.

I attached a picture of my car. The circled areas are what I'm talking about. Hope this helps.
 
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