Nissan Primera slipping alternator belt. New belt, correct tension, good alternator bearings, clean pulley

Hello, guys,

I have a strange problem and need some advice. Few weeks ago I was doing full maintenance for my Nissan Primera 2.2Di. I replaced alternator/water pump v belt with brand new Conti belt. I tensioned it to factory specs. It was all good until i started to hear a belt squeaking after start ups in morning. I checked tension, it was still up to specs. I put more tension to it, the squeaking stopped for few mornings and then reappeared. The chirping is heard on idle, sound rises with rpm’s to high pitched squeak, and disappears after reaching about 3000 rpm. Usually, when car is re-started hot, there is no sound. I didn’t want to put any more tension to the belt, so i bought new Daico belt, but problem still was there. Then i tested battery with multi-meter, the voltage is 14,4 when there is no sound, when sound happens, the voltage drops to 12,3 or so. I thing that indicates that it is definitely not the water pump slippage. So, i took took out the alternator, and gave it to the best re builders in city (guys working just with alternator rebuilds for over 20 years). They put it to test stand, ran it when drawing power, and without power draw and told me that alternator is working like new, there is no bearing damage or else. The pulley is not greasy, brazed or slippery. All three pulleys are in line, i checked with straightedge. When slippage appears, there is no visible wobble or play on the pulley. I’m out of ideas now. I thought maybe battery is shot, and requires more amps, thus creating strain on alternator, but battery showed no signs of weakness even on -25 C (-13 F) mornings.
Maybe someone had a similar problem and has the answer?

Thank you for your time, have a great weekend


Are you sure you have the correct belt? Do you have more than one? Did you replace them all?

My theory is that one of the bearings being turned by that belt, or a bearing that is not connected to that belt but shares a pulley with it, is beginning to seize. It could be any of the bearings, really. It could even be the air conditioning compressor that is beginning to seize.

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Hello, @eddo
Yes, i am certain about belt type and size, it was picked straight from nissan catalogue.
There is also air con belt, also v type belt runing on chrankshaft pulley, idler and ac compressor pulley. This one doesnt give me any problems nor sound.

If the two belts share a common pulley, the compressor beginning to seize might slow down the other belt, like I suggested above.

It’s just one possibility, but it fits my theory.

@Whitey alernator belt also droves water pump, i turned it by hand, it looked fine, no resistance. Of couse when there is high speed and twnsion, it could be different…
Anyway, if water pump bearing would be bad, wouldn’t it mean that the water lump pulley should be slipping?

Typically, yes, but I’d check all the bearings being turned by belts to make sure none of them is starting to seize.

I dont know if air con pulley could slow down diesel engine crankshaft with all this torque from the engine…

@Whitey thanks for your help.well, i turned all pulleys bu hand, they looked like they have no resistance, is there any way to check it without disasembling half of engine to take out water pump? :frowning:

If your water pump isn’t leaking and the engine isn’t overheating, I’d assume the water pump is fine. You’ve effectively ruled out my theory.

The only thing I can recommend, other than getting a slightly shorter belt and tightening the heck out of it, is to spray some belt dressing (a.k.a. belt conditioner, bought at an auto parts store) on the belt, but a new belt shouldn’t need it. It might eliminate the squealing though.

Our other regulars might have better ideas than I do. I’m just an amateur.

The car is fine in other ways, maybie someone more experienced in electronics than I could comment my theory of battery drawing to much current on startups. Its a pitty i dont have good spare battery to swap.

Also, why slippping completely vanishes after reving car to 3000 rpm and usualy does not reacur until next cold startup?

Check your power steering pulley.Does it make noise when you turn the steering wheel when car is stationary?

What you might be hearing is the harmonic balancer slipping.

Between the inner and outer hub of the balancer is a rubber isolator.

To find out if this is what’s happen, draw a line across the inner and outer hub with a piece of chalk.

Start the engine, rev it couple of times, and shut the engine off.

Now see if the lines are still lined up.


Power steering pump is driven by primary timing chain in this engine.

@Tester i dont think my engine has one?
Here is the scheme. As i remember crank pulley is just plain metal with two grooves for belts, no rubber or moving parts.

What’s item 18?


@Tester it shows chrankshaft pulley. Here, its my engine pulley according to part code. Let me know what you think.

I expanded the image.

It looks like a strip of rubber under the R.


It’s obvious from your description that the car does not have an automatic belt tensioner

That said, how are you determining the belt tension is in fact correct . . . ?

There are belt tension gauges for this purpose . . . did you use one?

The picture you provided wasn’t as clear as I would like . . . is the alternator belt an old-school v-belt or a multi-ribbed belt, in other words a serpentine belt?