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-   -   Subaru Timing Belt Replacement ? (https://www.winnipesaukee.com/forums/showthread.php?t=24054)

bigdog 12-17-2018 11:07 AM

Subaru Timing Belt Replacement ?
 
Reaching out to any Subaru owners or mechanics....

My wife has a 2011 Subaru Outback with 80k miles.

I was recently told by a mechanic that the 'timing belt' should be changed around
90k miles. Is this a Subaru dealer recommendation?
How long can these 'belts' actually last, to be on the safe side ?

Anyone go through the replacement before?
Cost ? Repair shop suggestions ?

8gv 12-17-2018 11:40 AM

What does the owner's manual say?

I encountered a shop that suggested a timing belt replacement on my 89 year old mother in law's Toyota. I checked the manual and found that it had many miles and months left.

In all cars a broken belt means you stop, right now, regardless of where you are.

On some cars, a broken belt trashes the engine.

It seems that trashing the engine is used more as an incentive to change the belt but I could argue that stopping suddenly on 93 in 80 mph traffic might matter more!

The newer Subaru 2.5L engines don't require timing belt changes. They have a timing chain that swims in oil.

garysanfran 12-17-2018 12:29 PM

On an 89 year old Toyota...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by 8gv (Post 305378)
What does the owner's manual say?

I encountered a shop that suggested a timing belt replacement on my 89 year old mother in law's Toyota. I checked the manual and found that it had many miles and months left.

In all cars a broken belt means you stop, right now, regardless of where you are.

On some cars, a broken belt trashes the engine.

It seems that trashing the engine is used more as an incentive to change the belt but I could argue that stopping suddenly on 93 in 80 mph traffic might matter more!

The newer Subaru 2.5L engines don't require timing belt changes. They have a timing chain that swims in oil.

I'd replace the timing belt and maybe change the oil too!!!

Biggd 12-17-2018 12:41 PM

My service book says 105,000 miles and gives 3 hours labor. I would do it by then. You're pushing it if you let it go too long. If it breaks on the highway you can damage the engine due to valve float.

swnoel 12-17-2018 12:42 PM

The mileage interval recommendation can vary anywhere from 60,000 to 90,000 mile intervals, with some recommended for replacement at 105,000 miles. We at Subaru Clinic recommend you replace your timing belt at 105,000 miles. That said, check your owner's manual for recommendations.

Rusty 12-17-2018 04:36 PM

It isn't just miles that cause timing belts to break, age also comes into play. Believe it or not a car that is driven regularly and has high mileage is better for the belt because it doesn't heat up and cool off as much. So IMO your timing belt should be changed now because it has below average milage.

You can pay between $500 to $800 to have it done.
I would have a dealer do it because they have the knowledge and equipment needed to do it right.

Good luck.

Biggd 12-17-2018 05:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rusty (Post 305386)
It isn't just miles that cause timing belts to break, age also comes into play. Believe it or not a car that is driven regularly and has high mileage is better for the belt because it doesn't heat up and cool off as much. So IMO your timing belt should be changed now because it has below average milage.

You can pay between $500 to $800 to have it done.
I would have a dealer do it because they have the knowledge and equipment needed to do it right.

Good luck.

It's not rocket science. Most reputable shops can do a timing belt. We do at least one a month. Replacements are starting to slow down because many car manufacturers are going back to timing chains which should never have to be changed.

Slickcraft 12-17-2018 07:54 PM

My wife had a 2010 Forester, her 3rd and last Subaru. The engine is an "interference design" which means that if the timing belt breaks while at speed, the pistons will smash against valves. Major engine rebuild. So I would not wait 'till the 100K + range.

She did have a major engine rebuild at 90K miles when the head gaskets started to leak. So the timing belt was done at the same time. All required the engine to be removed for rebuild. Not easy with a Subaru. Our mechanic said that Subaru s of that vintage with 90K miles either have had the head gaskets replaced or will need it soon.

About 2 thousands miles later the drive shaft central bearing went south, requiring a complete drive shaft replacement. By by Subaru.

So now she is driving a Toyota RAV4. Happy now.

steve-on-mark 12-18-2018 05:47 AM

I've been in the auto repair business for many years and it still amazes me that timing belts can do what they do! They connect the bottom of the engine ( crankshaft), to the top of the engine ( camshaft). The crankshaft makes the pistons go up and down, while the camshaft opens and closes the intake and exhaust valves. With the belt removed, the crankshaft can be spun quite easily, but the cam is very difficult to turn, even with a wrench on the cam pulley bolt. The reason it's called a timing belt is that the engine valves have to open at a certain time in relation to where the pistons are. If the belt breaks at 2000 rpm, those pistons keep going up and down, but the valves stop moving. Interference engines don't have enough space for pistons to be up and valves to be open, so bent valves is the outcome. Very costly repair, AND the timing belt still has to be replaced! I've advised customers to replace their belt and have them decline, then be towed in a month later because the belt broke...good for business, but bad for them. You can pay me now...or pay me later! Think of timing belt replacement as insurance for valve damage!

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Rusty 12-18-2018 10:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Biggd (Post 305382)
My service book says 105,000 miles and gives 3 hours labor. I would do it by then. You're pushing it if you let it go too long. If it breaks on the highway you can damage the engine due to valve float.

If they reccomend 105,000 miles, they will also reccomend 105 months.
Every 1000 miles is equal to 1 month in their maintenance schedule.
That goes for everything in their schedule..3000 mile oil change will be 3 months..7,500 miles will be 7.5 months, etc.

TheTimeTraveler 12-19-2018 06:12 AM

Do the timing belt now. Give serious consideration to replacing the water pump and head gasket at the same time, and you'll have many more miles of enjoyment and dependability.

By the way, in 2011 the Subaru Forester models started using a timing "chain" which means no need to ever replace (as others above have said).

Not sure which model you own, but vehicles with timing "belts" should always have their timing belts routinely replaced between 90K and 105K miles.

Poor Richard 12-19-2018 10:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigdog (Post 305376)
Reaching out to any Subaru owners or mechanics....

My wife has a 2011 Subaru Outback with 80k miles.

I was recently told by a mechanic that the 'timing belt' should be changed around
90k miles. Is this a Subaru dealer recommendation?
How long can these 'belts' actually last, to be on the safe side ?

Anyone go through the replacement before?
Cost ? Repair shop suggestions ?

Run it to 105k (or right through to end of next year) and don't worry about it.


The mileage and age limitations as defined by Subaru are 105,000 miles or 105 months (8yrs 8months). This page gives an example of the maintenance schedule.

When the vehicle reaches the timing belt service interval, consider purchasing the t-belt/ pulley/ water pump kit. You 'can' do the camshaft seals but I've yet to see ones that are weeping or leaking on the EJ253 engines.

Also, check which coolant you have (blue or green) and be sure to use that same color. Do not mix.


I've performed this service standing in my driveway several times on the EJ253 and EJ255/257 engines. 3hrs for the belt alone is reasonable. Plan on 5hrs if the pulleys and water pump are being replaced as well.

Cost should be in the neighborhood of $800-1000 to do the t-belt and water pump service in general. There's nothing special about this service, no exotic tools or procedures required.


For whatever it's worth, of the Subarus I've owned:

2001 Impreza 2.5RS, timing belt was done at 125k.

2005 Legacy GT, wasn't done at 147k when it was sold and the new owner is STILL running it.

2008 Legacy GT, 142k and still going

2009 Legacy 2.5i, 136k


Gotta love kevlar reinforcement!

songkrai 01-03-2019 07:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Slickcraft (Post 305391)
My wife had a 2010 Forester, her 3rd and last Subaru. The engine is an "interference design" which means that if the timing belt breaks while at speed, the pistons will smash against valves. Major engine rebuild. So I would not wait 'till the 100K + range.

She did have a major engine rebuild at 90K miles when the head gaskets started to leak. So the timing belt was done at the same time. All required the engine to be removed for rebuild. Not easy with a Subaru. Our mechanic said that Subaru s of that vintage with 90K miles either have had the head gaskets replaced or will need it soon.

About 2 thousands miles later the drive shaft central bearing went south, requiring a complete drive shaft replacement. By by Subaru.

So now she is driving a Toyota RAV4. Happy now.

Maybe the Subaru of today is better.

Have 3 folks that owned Subaru and as they aged multiple expensive issues - all three.

Subaru has had to extend the warranty on the CVT automatic transmissions
LINK

Toyota in its wisdom has kept the traditional automatic transmission in the RAV4. (not the hybrid)

Toyota does use the CVT in some vehicles though.


Nissan - on the other hand has switched to all CVT on it's cars and SUV's. Previous models of the Nissan CVT has had serious CVT transmission failures. And many unsatisfied customers paying for multiple replacements of the earlier CVT automatic transmissions. Although Nissan did offer an extended warranty on the earlier CVT's - that extended warranty has expired.

Honda it seems does a better job with the CVT automatic transmissions.

Poor Richard 01-04-2019 11:09 PM

The Subaru CVT warranty campaign ran out middle of 2018, I believe.

The perception by a notable number of people that Subaru is junk is solely on the hands of Subaru. SoA also leaves a lot to be desired with regards to customer service and experience.

At the core, the vehicles and engines really aren't bad and their transmissions aren't bad either with the exception being the CVT....which I think is garbage in all respects by all mfg's. Lifeless!

The Legacy 2.5i I mentioned went 200,000 miles without a failure. Just wear items like brakes, suspension, general maintenance. The car was perfectly fine when it was traded for the '17 Forester.

I flogged the 2.5RS for 3 years and that car was perfectly fine. Took it ice racing a few times on Newfound lake with BMW CCA. No issues or catastrophic failures.

The turbo engines in the Legacy GT's are a different topic and not in the spirit of this thread so, not worth the typing about.

The interference design of the engine isn't just a Subaru thing. There are countless engines out there that are interference regardless of t-belt or t-chain. And contrary to popular belief, timing chains do indeed have a service life since the chains, sprockets and guides wear. The Audi S4 V8 is probably the most extreme example of this that I can think of.

The topic of head gaskets comes up often with the Subie N/A engines and the failure can manifest itself in a few ways. Lack of (or extending certain) maintenance intervals is one and the design of the multi-layered head gaskets is another. I'll spare the details as there is plenty of info to peruse on the information highway. As a sidenote, Subaru isn't the only mfg that has experienced head gasket issues. Enter the 4.0L Toyota V6 (1GR-FE), as one example.

In the event the EJ25 head gasket does fail, a few things tend to happen (or not happen) during repairs. First was the continued issuing of the crappy gaskets by Subaru before the gasket was redesigned (shame on them). Couple that with shops reusing head bolts and/ or not taking the time to inspect the heads for things like warping and you'll have customers that experience a SECOND head gasket failure. And so the spiral runs ever downward.

I personally have not had the issues that so many others have experienced however I consider myself more of an enthusiast and therefore might be closer to understanding the nuances of the things I own and operate.

Maybe my penchant for crappy cars runs deep. I did own a few BMW's prior to taking my first Subaru for a drive.....reader beware!!

;)

8gv 01-04-2019 11:20 PM

What maintenance task prevents a head gasket failure?



I have been happy with the six Subaru CVT equipped cars I have owned but...

all have left my hands prior to 60k miles.

One went to my son and Subaru installed a new transmission at 102,000 miles for free.

He did report the CVT's strange behavior around 95,000.

It seems that Subaru's procative extension of the CVT warranty to 100k miles and ten years is good faith.

8gv 01-04-2019 11:26 PM

Some of the auto transmission cars sold today have many gears.

My wife's BMW has eight gears.

I believe I have seen nine in the specs I've read on other manufacturer websites.

It seems that when you get that many gears there's a whole lot of shifting going on. There have got to be many parts in those transmissions.

For my '18 Forester, the computer runs the CVT with shift points as if it were a traditional automatic. I preferred the previous CVT operations and wonder if this change will affect my mpg's.

ApS 01-05-2019 06:12 AM

CVT Trivia...
 
The first production automobile with CVT transmissions was the DAF "Daffodil" from Holland. (1961).

https://imsvintagephotos.com/image/c...-1000x1000.jpg

CVT was later adapted for Formula I racing, when it was promptly banned.

:rolleye2:

Poor Richard 01-05-2019 07:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 8gv (Post 305962)
What maintenance task prevents a head gasket failure?.

Keeping up on the oil and coolant services, moreso the oil due to exposure from the combustion cycle.

The engine arrangement is generally known as a flat 4 or "boxer" (technically speaking, it's an H4 design). This means the cylinders/ pistons move horizontally. Once the engine stops running the oil drains to the low spots and one of those low spots includes the head gasket area of each of the cylinders as there are oil passages to lubricate the cylinder head. The acidity of the oil might react with the layered head gasket at which point the gasket sort of delaminates slowly over time.

The effect will hardly be noticable at first and it could go years or thousands of miles like this however, keeping up with the coolant service would almost certainly show oil contamination in the coolant and early detection of the failure can easily be determined.

8gv 01-05-2019 10:13 AM

Dirty oil pooling affecting head gasket life.

I had not considered that.

I found it interesting that Subaru changed the oil change interval.

My '14 Forester required 7500 mile changes.

My '17 and '18 Foresters required 6000 mile changes.

The same 0-20 fuel economy full synthetic oil is specified.

Could the cleaner oil help the head gaskets live longer?

Poor Richard 01-05-2019 10:54 AM

That's a good question for our friends at Subaru. Of the people that I've talked with over the years, preventing the issue sounds to me to be two-fold, clean oil and redesign the gasket (which has already happened by now. There was merely an 8-10 year delay on the part of Subaru but no biggie, right?).

I have a very good long term relationship with a Subaru dealer in NH and at one point in time they were telling me to add a factory-recommended liquid to the cooling system. This was prior to the gasket redesign so, 15+ years ago.

Problem is, as I see it, with the oil change intervals moving around, viscosity changing, the additives to the cooling system that are no longer being recommended and placing the costs to repair a known and widely documented design flaw on their customers, Subaru has certainly done their best to cut off their nose despite their face and not acknowledge this in any meaningful way.

For me, every vehicle manufacturer has some type of nonsense to deal with, it's just a matter of what you are willing to put up with as a customer.


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