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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Replacing REAR timing belt covers

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6 replies to this topic

#1 psychocandy


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 12:23 AM

'98 EJ22, 4EAT, Outback Sport, ~150k miles.

I did my timing belt a few hundred miles ago. When I did, I noticed that I really needed to replace my TB covers. The plastic tabs holding the nuts on the top are broken. At any rate, I'd like to find some TB covers and replace them.

I had no problem changing the TB, but I obviously didn't take the camshaft sprockets off b/c I didn't need to. To replace the rear TB covers, I'm pretty sure I need to take off those camshaft sprockets.
1) Will I need a special tool to hold the camshaft sprocket so I can break the bolt holding it on free.
2) Is the sprocket keyed in such a way that I don't have to worry about messing up the timing?

I've taped the covers together at the front because I think that after a certain amount of vibration occurs, the covers can separate enough that one of them rubs against the TB.

Another option, I've seen pictures of engines without TB covers. What do people think of that? Are the TB covers kind of a redundant safety, or are they pretty important?

#2 Fairtax4me



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Posted 11 December 2012 - 12:48 AM

I run no covers because the design of the older engines is non-interference. If the belt breaks there is no damage to the engine internally. After 1996 all Subaru engines are interference design, meaning if the timing belt breaks the valves can be struck by the pistons and be damaged. This usually means extensive work to repair. Some people take the risk but IMO you're better off leaving the covers in place on 97 and later model year engines.

The cam sprockets are keyed. Only way to mix them up is to put them on the wrong side when reinstalling. That can be avoided by only removing one at a time. Or just remember that the one with the teeth on the back is for the cam sensor on the drivers side.

A strap wrench or an old timing belt works pretty well to hold the sprockets while loosening the bolts. There are special tools but they can be pretty expensive.

While you have the sprockets off, put new oil seals on the cams. Prevent a leak or two further down the road. Get seals from Subaru.

#3 idosubaru


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 08:20 AM

yes have to take the cam sprockets off. can be kind of annoying but i never use a special tool. air tools before you pull the belt off are the ideal way. rubber strap wrenches work too and are easy enough to buy.

Post in the parts wanted forum, make sure to specify which covers you need. I have a 98 EJ22 in my garage right now that I won't need the covers on, so if it has them I might have covers.

running no covers isn't a big deal. i've run 60,000 miles in my one current daily driver and probably 100,000 miles in previous vehicles naked (no covers).

covers could be a liability because i've seen them rub into timing belts before too - that's not good.

the practical issue is protecting the timing belts from coolant/oil that might leak or spray out from a leaky hose. if the belt gets wet you should replace it as those fluids degrade the belt quickly. even with covers the belt should be inspected if it's a bad leak. three times on friends cars i've seen brand new timing belts break very shortly, like a couple months after coolant got on them.

#4 987687


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 09:54 AM

Personally I like running covers on an EJ. In the 105k miles they're rated for, you're going to get a lot of dirt and grime on the belt, that will seriously degrade its life. Since the dip stick and fill tube are over the timing belt oil gets spilled on it. I had one coverless EJ once because it was a test project, and I ended up getting lots of oil and coolant on it.

The way I get the sprockets off is with an old timing belt and putting a piece of flatstock steel in it to make a handle. Works just as well as a holder tool, and it's free.

As everyone else has said, do all the oil seals (both cams and crank) when you take the cam sprockets off.
If you're hellbent on not replacing the oil seals, I don't think you actually have to take the passenger side cam gear off with the phase2 engine. I seem to remember that the plastic piece is only on the bottom of the motor, and the outer cover seals to the head on the top.

#5 psychocandy


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 09:17 PM

@GrossGary, old love those TB covers if you have them. Lemme see what I need (both driver side at least).

@987... um, might need a visual on that method with the TB and piece of steel. my brain's not working it out right now.

#6 el_freddo


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:09 PM

When you get the new covers, don't use the bolts as per factory to hold the front covers on. I've removed these bolts and use cable ties (zip ties over your way). Works a treat and there's no thread turning business in the rear cases with cable ties :Flame:



#7 987687


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:54 PM

Or just use anti-seize on the threads. If they did that from the factory, it wouldn't be an issue.

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