While working on later model Nissan vehicles equipped with the RE0F10D CVT (figure 1), you’ll notice they’re using a much heavier push belt compared to the earlier model RE0F10A CVT (figure 2). The late model RE0F10E/ H/J CVTs now use a chain instead of a push belt. Everything still works the same; they just use a heavier chain to handle the torque from larger engines with more horsepower.
When you remove the pulleys with the rear cover — which is standard procedure on most CVTs — you’ll notice the RE0F10E chain assembly looks very familiar (figure 3). It also has two plastic chain guides, which are similar to the ones in the Subaru Lineartronic CVTs.
The best part of removing a chain from the pulleys instead of a push belt is there’s no need for nylon tie wraps (or zip ties). These nylon tie wraps prevent the push belt — made of hundreds of plates held together with steel bands — from coming apart (figure 4).
The construction of the chain eliminates this requirement, making it easier to work on. If you’ve ever had a push belt fall apart on the bench because you didn’t wrap it with at least two nylon ties, you’ll understand.
A closer look reveals two chain guide pins, similar to the Lineartronic, but now it has lubricating holes designed to spray oil onto the chain. The open end of these tubes fit onto two steel tubes inside the case (figure 5).
There are two flat notches on the tubes that align with two notches on the steel tubes. These notches preventing the tubes from rotating (figure 6), which keeps the lube holes aligned to spray oil onto the chain.
The procedure for removing the chain from the pulleys is the same as for removing a belt. You can remove the chain with the pulleys out of the rear cover or leaving them in and using the cover as a support. If you’re leaving the pulleys in with the transmission on the bench, you’ll have to prop the case up because of the height difference.
You can use a two-jaw gear puller to compress the spring on the secondary pulley. Similar two-jaw pullers are available on the internet for around $200-300, such as this TJ-1 Posi-Lock #11054 (11054 is the jaw length; figure 7).
A three-jaw puller is available for a few dollars more, but the third jaw won’t fit in tight areas on some CVTs. The two-jaw puller works well on almost all CVTs, except the Subaru Lineartronic Gen II. That CVT requires a special tool because of the secondary pulley design. (For more, check out the ATRA Lineartronic Gen I and II comparison webinar or the article in GEARS June 2016 issue).
To use the gear puller, set the edge of the two jaws on the edge of the upper secondary pulley to compress the spring. The jaw’s edge won’t damage the pulley sheath. Now you can easily remove the chain from the primary pulley. Use the same procedure to reinstall the chain.
Once the chain or belt is back onto the pulleys, you’ll need to add a couple nylon ties around the entire chain or belt before removing the puller. They’ll keep the upper pulley from moving too far down, leaving some slack in the chain/belt for aligning the pulleys during installation (figure 8).
Normally, the next step for reassembly would be to install the pulleys and chain back into the rear cover. Once installed with the retainer bolts through the cover, you’d cut the nylon ties off. That would keep the chain or belt stretched tight.
Not so on this unit: On this chain assembly, there’s nothing holding the two aluminum tubes in place; they just sit on the plastic guides (figure 10). There are two extended tabs on the rear cover to hold the tubes in place (figure 11), so the pulley and chain assembly has to go into the case first; not into the rear cover. Then you can set the two aluminum tubes onto the plastic chain guides, one at a time, before installing the cover (figure 12).
Make sure you have the two flat areas of the tubes facing inward, so the tubes are aligned correctly (figure 13). Now you can install the cover onto the pulleys, using a couple bolts with the heads removed for alignment pins (figure 14).
That’s it; you’re done! And you’ll find this same procedure much easier on all Nissan CVTs… even those with a push belt. Every day should be a new learning experience; otherwise it just wouldn’t be worth getting out of bed.