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Changing the Belts

Changing the power steering belt by Shahjehan Baber

I checked w/ the nearby dealer & the charge for installation was outrageous. So I decided to do it myself. I finally completed the job w/ pain (great pain). This is how I did:

  • Remove the front passenger-side wheel.
  • Remove the side panel (plastic close out panel located in the wheel well, attached w/ 4 screws ; 1 nylon & 3 metal...)..
  • Remove the reservoir from radiator (plastic bottle that holds the coolant). This should just come off.
  • Loosen the alternator adjustment bolts. (2 bolts, need 12mm wrench).
  • Alternator would need a push to turn such that it loosens the belts & for that a non metal ham mer is OK. Or back side of a hammer (wooden side) to move from jammed position.. It may be required to hit it several times. This must be done at a heavier flanged section to prevent any damage on the component.
  • Remove the belt as required.
  • Now the belt that drives the p/s is smaller in size & is hard to reach from one angle. Following are some suggestions:
  • This belt is secured also w/ same procedure (2 bolts 12mm heads) for tightening & loosening. Loosen the bolt from the top (this is not the adjustment bolt).
  • Loosen the other bolt (adjustment bolt) from underneath the car (this requires some effort but don't loose heart. Lay underneath the car & use left hand).
  • Pull on the belt to loosen the jammed position of the components.
  • Remove the belt as convenient from above or below.
  • Reinstall the belts the same way starting from the p/s first & make necessary adjustments in the manner the bolts are accessed.

Some comments about SE-R belt replacement... by Bill Pollack

Someone was asking about belt replacement. I was also sold three belts from the local Nissan dealer, before I bothered to notice I only needed two. I'm not sure which model SE-R uses three belts, but not mine (92 with AC) (the third belt replaces one of the other two when there is no AC on the car. -ed.). I later took the 3rd belt back and traded it for a Nissan T-shirt...

  • You must remove the passenger side wheel splash guards from underneath the car, as indicated in the FAQ.
  • Both the alternator and the power steering pump have threaded-rod style tensioning devices, which are used to set the belt tension. These must be released. Unfortunately simply unscrewing this tensioner does NOT push the alternator down. You must eventually pry or tap the alternator and PS pump down...
  • The 'far-end' of the threaded tensioner has a pivot bolt, which must be slightly loosened. This allows the 'far end' to rotate as the alternator is torqued in or out.
  • I had to unscrew the alternator tensioner nearly it's entire length to get the new belt on, but that comes later...
  • Once you have unscrewed the threaded-rod tensioner, there is a pivoting bolt on the frame of the alternator/PS pump which must be slightly loosened. I then was able to use a small "cat's paw" prybar to coerce the alternator down. Memory fails me, but there seemed to be a particularly heavy looking part which was just asking to be pried on... I then had to use a metal bar and a small mallet to tap on the alternator to move it down sufficiently.
  • Putting the new belts on is MUCH easier than getting the old ones off. Again - the hardest part was moving the alternator and PS pump down far enough to allow for installation of the new belts.
  • Be sure your new belts are riding on the pulleys properly before and while tightening the belt tensioner...
  • Finally - tighten the threaded-rod tensioner to set proper belt tension. Tighten the other pivoting bolts, including the ones on the tensioners, re-install the splash guards, and you are all done!

This took me about 1.5 hours and two beers to finish.