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timing belt issues (Part 2)


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9 replies to this topic

#1 briankk

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:29 PM

After a week or so trying to carefully remove the plastic belt covers, I got my BFH and wrecking bar and removed the whole lot to the nearest dumpster.

The belts look pretty good, both the idler pulleys had seized, and the driver-side one had spit its bearings out, causing that belt to jump. Keeping the belts for drive-home spares, if needed.. The new idler bearing are pressed together, so I can't re-pack 'em with real grease to replace the OEM Yak fat..

While in there, replaced the contacts in the starter, which had become intermittent, and the voices that told me the oil pump is OK thought the water pump wasn't, the bypass hose was soft and the water pump o-ring was leaking in spite of liberal quantities of silicone, so, new pump, gasket and all the bolts and the bypass hose.

I think I understand the belt timing, but the book says to apply 18 ft/lbs of tensioning torque to the belt while tightening the idler pulleys. There seems to a special tool for this. Is this actually required? Why?

#2 NorthWet

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:38 PM

Simple answer to the cam sprocket back-torque: no.

What they are trying do is get all of the slack onto the tensioner side of the belt. If it is a new belt, it probably won't matter much as you may need to reset the tensioner in a few hundred miles anyway.

If you want to, you can grab the cam sprocket with your hand and apply some back-torque to it.

BTW, the first time I did belts, I saw that torque spec and misread it: I saw the INCH-lbs figure and thought it said FOOT-lbs, so I welded-up a special tool to handle that kind of torque... DUH!

#3 old sub freak

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:04 AM

So I too am doing new belts as soon as i get them from Yakima.In the mean time i put some used belts on it (1987 GL wagon) just so i could move it around. I just put the used belts on and slowley loosened (as it was under pressure)the tenisioner and before tightening it I checked it like i was taught to do with fan belts.There was 1/2" play in the belt when I pushed down on the top side..Is that even close to doing it right??.i have heard many ways to set the belts.When I started messing w/ timing belts years back i took a cam sprocket and welded a 3/8" socket to it so I could do the back pressure toque thing.It seemed to not do much so I started to just wing it and turn the sprocket back some by hand and hope for the best...So... whats the BEST way to set the belt tention? i'm all ears.Thanks Todd

#4 man on the moon

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:35 PM

I have a special tool for this...my thumb :).

Once the belt is on, lift (or press, depending which belt you're doing) the tensioner with a couple fingers until it's tight. Check that the cam marks are still aligned. Check that the opposite side of the belt has almost no slack (you can push a bit) and that it can't skip teeth on the cam. Tighten the tensioners. Sometimes you have to re-adjust the belt on the cam two or three times; I usually put it off by a tooth or so and it shifts into position when I tension the belt.

I've also used a screwdriver or long crescent wrench to hold the tensioner pulley while tightening. As long as the belt has no play (ok, no more than 1/16-1/8 inch or so) and all the marks line up, you should be ok. Check the flywheel, too, if you didn't lock it in place prior to tensioning.

#5 scoobiedubie

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 10:59 AM

The spring on the belt pulley, applies all the tension that you need. Both belt pulley bolts must be slightly loosened, in order for that spring to take the slack out of the belt. For new belts, you would want to reset the belt tension in maybe 3000 miles. You would want to use a 2 1/2" long 12 mm socket to tighten. Otherwise a short socket may pop off of your 3 inch extender, and get lost inside of the belt covers.

#6 old sub freak

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 01:09 PM

OK sounds doable....I got my belt kit today from PCI, 68 bucks...compared to napas 260 and auto z 225.....Every wright up I read about PCI says they are good so i'm going for it..But when I got my kit in there is instructions... They say that even one drop of anti freeze ruins the belt and to throw it away and buy a new one ?? true/false ??,They said ANY chemical will ruin the belt,oil,soap,anything... and they say that they should be inspected at 25,000 miles and "Don't skip this". hmmmm??? Well I'm just hope they last like the ones I got from Napa last time.I got 58,000 miles out of them.. How many miles have you got w/ PCI belt kits?? Anyway for the money ,even if it only last 30,000 miles I'm still money ahead buying from these guys...So Happy Subaruing...Todd,OSF Oh PS,It says on the belts "Made In The USA" and on the box "Made in Bearings/Korea" ??..North?? haha

Edited by old sub freak, 30 January 2013 - 01:17 PM.


#7 rdweninger

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 02:08 PM

Just try to keep the belts clean. Use a funnel when adding antifreeze or oil... don't just glug it in. The manufacturer/seller has to put that warning in there so they are not responsible when the belts fail prematurely. They'll just say there was antifreeze/oil on them.... so not their fault.
Yes.... check your timing belts... often. And why not... they are right in front of you because they are coverless!

#8 MilesFox

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 03:33 PM

re-adjust the tension after putting some miles on them once they stretch and break in.

#9 briankk

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:45 PM

Finally got the new belts and water pump on, drive 10 miles down the road and the new pump vibrated itself off the block, dumping the entire coolant load on the new belts.

On reflection, the new WP had the fan mounting flange about an inch closer to the block than the old pump, so I spaced it out with washers and assembled the whole thing. I can only think that I must have neglected to tighten the bolts...

Got the car towed home, replaced the new pump with the old pump, put it all back together and drove away. Will presently find out the long term effect of coolant on new belts.

About 50 miles on this setup now, runs just like it used to..

When I pulled the plugs to center TDC for the belt installation, I noticed that three of the plugs looked about perfect, but the plug from #2 cylinder seemed a bit off. Local Soob specialist said the SPFI on the EA 82 starves #2 because of the manifolding. Anybody have a fix for this?

#10 grossgary

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 01:53 PM

i've seen belts break in a couple months or less when they get significant amounts of coolant or oil on them. it degrades the rubber compounds in the belt, so yes that comment holds some water.

now - as to how much it takes to do that, or whether a small amount does anything significant, i have no idea. what I do know is that if the belt gets saturated it breaks down quickly and will break.

people are using the PCI kits often for newer interference EJ engines where a broken belt means bent valves. they're a great fit for me anyway.




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