Auto tensioner noise


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Auto Tensioner Removed?

Postby donhall » Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:34 am


I am new to the forum and this may be a super easy question so I apologize in advance if this is a newbie type question.

I am trying to replace the auto tensioner on my 05 and the book says to remove the fan shroud and then the fan to get to the tensioner bolt.

Is there an easier way to remove this thing? It looks like it is going to be a pain in the rear to remove the fan shroud...

Any guidance would be great!

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Postby Tech » Mon Jan 18, 2010 12:37 pm

Just take the air intake tube off (the one that goes across the front of the engine, over the rad), then reach down and do the deed. super easy. the bolt is TIGHT, and it will only go on one way (there is a nub). Good luck!

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Postby NVRDONE » Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:56 pm

In our shop we work on alot of Nissan Pathfinders / Xteras / Frontiers.
They all seem to have excessive belt squeel when the weather is wet. It seems moisture colcets on the belt & pullys & causes a squeel until they warm up.
also aftermarket belts don't work good because the grooves in the belt & pully are slightly different - the belt ones are too wide & don't ride in the pully grooves corectly. Factory belts don't seem to have the problems.

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Postby donhall » Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:08 pm

Tech wrote:Just take the air intake tube off (the one that goes across the front of the engine, over the rad), then reach down and do the deed. super easy. the bolt is TIGHT, and it will only go on one way (there is a nub). Good luck!


Thanks for your help on this. Another dumb question. I tried to reach down and remove the belt but couldn't get enough leverage to remove the bolt. Are you using a breaker bar or something to remove it? Also, my wrench slipped on the bolt a few times. I used the 14mm which is the only size that fits but doesn't seem to fit perfectly. I am sure that I am doing something wrong here but wanted to get an expert opinion on what I should be doing! I am fairly new to auto repair but am trying to learn as I go along.

Any help would be appreciated!

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Postby Cliff_Jumper » Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:45 pm

Tech wrote:IMO the aftermarklet belts are more problematic than factory. You also have to be carefull about the pulley alignment, it's a n**ch to adjust, especially on V8's (which it also applies to), but be particular - even with jobber belts, you shouldn't have gone thru two and a tensioner already. eye-balling is not enough. you really need a proper straightedge. I also wouldn't recommend "dressing" the belts with anything - only a temp. mask. Also, make sure you get the grooves clean before you put any new parts on.
So I tried to fix this issue per the TSB. My pulleys are off alignment by 1mm.
First of, this is a bi*ch to do! :x And the worst part is, it didn't do anything and it still off by 1mm.

I broke one of the bolts for the heat shield the third bolt is a B*atch to remove and re-install. Then the two rear bolts holding the PS pump are hard to reach. It took me an hour to get those loose. I did all that frustrating work for nothing!

So I put the new belt on and no more squeeks. At least for now. We'll see!

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Postby trance34 » Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:52 pm

Did you use a Nissan belt or aftermarket?

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Squeaky Belt

Postby jbknh » Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:40 pm

I had the same problem with my 2005 pathfinder. I had the belt changed (not sure if it was a nissan belt) and 6 months later the squeak was back. It got worse with the cold weather. Since I don't want to change belts every six months I dicided to try some belt dressing. It stopped the noise instantly when I sprayed in on. However, the next morning it squealed even worse and continued for the hour drive I had. On the return trip, the noise stopped and it has remained quiet ever since. It has been a week now. This seems to have worked.

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Postby trance34 » Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:12 am

10 days with OEM belt on and no squeal.

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Postby trance34 » Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:50 pm

Over a month and no squeaking. Looks like you need to use the Nissan belt and not a Gates, or any other belt from the Auto store.

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Postby Suliman » Sun Aug 01, 2010 2:47 pm

Yep, just swapped out the auto tensioner and (unknown to me) Gates belt that was on there... no more belt wine and no more tensioner squeal.


As mentioned earlier... correct, ignore the instructions:

1. Remove the top engine cover (2 bolts, 10mm)
2. Remove front side air intake (2 bolts, 10mm
3. LEAVE on the fan shroud and all other stuff
4. Use the 3/8th socket wrench to insert in the square indent on the auto tensioner and and rotate (twist to the passenger side) to loosen the auto tensioner to pull off the old belt, essentially shifting the tensioner down to the bottom of the car.
5. Us a 14mm box end wrench (a socket and socket wrench is probably too tight, like I found out to, fit between the auto tensioner bolt and the fan).
6. Verified it IS TIGHT, so you'll need some leverage, like another wrench, breaker bar, etc.
7. Swap er' out (Auto Tensioner Part # 11955-EA20B).
8. Install new NISSAN belt (# 11720-EA200)
9. Refer to page EM-14 in the shop manual in case you didn't pay attention to how the belt came off. ;)
10. Good to go

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Postby mikeshunk » Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:40 pm

Any updates on this issue? Pretty sure this is what mine is doing ( sqeeking squealing) I just bought a nissan belt and tensioner on line and hope that fixes the issue.

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Postby sleeper » Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:48 pm

i had the same problem as these guys, except mine was just the belt. mine would squeek to the rhythm of the engine (e.g. higher rpm, faster the squeek). when it was wet out it would do it extra loud. applying belt dressing sometimes made it 5 times louder or sometimes made it disappear for 5min...when i changed the belt last week, it turns out it was a gates belt. i now have a nissan belt and it hasn't squeeked since then.

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Postby Kidd_Funkadelic » Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:17 am

Holy old thread :)

I bought my '05 last year from an Acura dealer that had gotten it on a trade in. I noticed a belt squeal during the test drive and went ahead and ignored it hoping it was because it had been sitting for awhile. It didn't go away and would happen when the engine was cold but regardless of whether it was wet out or not. The dealer mentioned they had just replaced the belt while prepping it for sale, so at first I dismissed that and figured it was the tensioner or something.

Thanks to this site I got a tip from someone that suggested it could be the fact that an aftermarket belt was used, and that the grooves are slightly different than the OEM one. So I went online and bought the OEM belt shipped for about $20 figuring that was worth trying before spending 10x that much at a dealer.

Wouldn't you know it when I swapped them out that 1) it WAS an aftermarket belt, and 2) the grooves were noticeably different.

It's been 6 months and 10k miles and it's never made a peep since.

So, that's worth looking in to if you're having similar issues!

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Postby mikeshunk » Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:22 am

Kidd, your story is just like mine. bought a 05 used from a Suzuki dealership. started squealing about 2 months after we got it. father in law replaced belt and tensioner with parts from napa. that worked for about 2 months, now it's squealing again. so, like you, i ordered nissan parts on line, and am awaiting thier arrival. I will update and let you know if this fixes the issue. I am also going to check the pulleys with a straight edge while I'm in there.

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Postby stang9946 » Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:08 pm

I guess this is an ongoing symptom with these model years, we too have a 2005 and its driving us crazy.

We have went through 2 belts($40 ones, not realizing the dealer is cheaper), a diagnostic fee, and me spending half the day with tool purchases to replace the tensioner arm. Ok the tool purchases were fine because who doesnt like buying new tools.

This squeal is still there and it only happens in the winter(cold) months which in the south is mainly december-march, I read the one post about using a straightedge to check alignment but I have never attempted that and would like to know how to check that part of the equation. I am pretty sure its the belt but I want to check this to make sure we dont have to purchase another one in a year. Oh I forgot one thing, should the dealer have checked this when we had in there for service? I see the numbers next to the symptoms but I cant tell if thats a nissan notice or from someone else.

The next step is to buy a new belt from the local nissan dealer tomorrow and I am hoping that fixes the noise since the girlfriend is driving me crazy about getting this fixed. She is extremely upset at Nissan for this and has pretty much sworn off ever buying one again, I tried to tell her its a minor issue in the grand scheme but the sound is driving her nuts.

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