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Timing belt bearings and auto trans 'some dumb thing'

automatic transmission timing belt bearings

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16 replies to this topic

#1 FivePoints

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 04:35 PM

I am a proud new owner of an old 1998 203,000 mi Legacy Outback Limited (whatever Limited means).  I have done a CarFax and nothing save brakes and oil change. Before purchase the mechanic/owner replaced the head gaskets (after market but holding up), water pump and timing belt (not the belt bearings). Then I had a Subaru shop do a bumper to bumper and among a bunch of stuff I can repair on my own the following questions.  
The timing belt bearings were not replaced... how much should I worry about this until I can do the work myself? I don't want to buy an engine if one of those bearings goes out. I was quoted $650 to replace the bearings, the oil pump and alternator bearing (which is noisy).
Second is work I can't do (but maybe I can) but can find no similar issues online.  When the engine gets warm and making tight turns I feel a thumping 'down under' and was told the automatic transmission 4x4 transfer 'some dumb thing' was going out, but not to worry about it too much until the gas mileage gets bad (cuz the 'some dumb thing' is dragging down the engine. 
Third is a winter (cold weather) thing I found online is an occasional overheating problem (could be wrong thermostat, a clogged radiator or a bubble still in the system??? And, no, no overt signs the head gaskets went bad).
I have an appt with a Subaru dealer for a diagnostic, $89.00 and check the overheating issue.
The question remains is will the mechanic be able to diagnose the transmission/front end bumping issue before I have them change the transmission fluid $190.00 (I read a fluid change can take care of some trans issues)?
Sorry to bother ya'all but I LOVE this car.


#2 chaz345

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 05:24 PM

Timimg belt bearings? I'm confused as to what exactly that is. Maybe he means idler pullies? In any case $650 to do that and oil pump and alternator is absolute robbery. Whole timing belt job, done right with all new pullies and tensioner, and water pump should be $400 or maybe a bit more. I personally am very suspicious of the use of the term bearings when talking about anything timing belt related. Either he doesn't know what he's talking about, in which case I'd be very afraid of the quality of the head gasket job, or he thinks you don't know anything. In either case, to do a head gasket job and not do the WHOLE timing belt job including idler pullies is just non-sensical, unless they had already recently been done.

#3 Fairtax4me

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 05:34 PM

Torque bind is the thumping/jumping feeling in tight turns. Usually caused by a failed Duty C solenoid or the clutches in the transfer pack are grooved and sticking. Sometimes a fluid change can help. No way I'd pay $190 for a trans flush. Drain and refill 3 times (really easy to do) for the cost of a case (12qts) of recommended fluid. I think they ask for dexron III, but check in the owners manual if you have it, or it may say what it needs on the dipstick tube. Auto trans dipstick is on the drivers side and is usually hard to see. The short one that's easy to see on the passenger side is for the front ring & pinion, and differential, which uses gear oil.
You can test the Duty c solenoid by putting a fuse in the FWD fuse holder under the hood on the passenger strut tower. With the fuse in the AWD should be disengaged, the binding ahould go away, and the FWD light should turn on. Changing the clutch pack and transfer drum is about $450 in parts and takes a few hours, but is doable with the transmission in the car.
Lots more info about this if you search for "torque bind" here.
Overheating when cold could certainly be an incorrect thermostat. Get one from a dealer or get a Stant "Exac-stat" (part number listed in the sticky thread at the top of the new gen forum page).
It could also be a sign that the heater core is clogged, or there is a clog in the bypass pipe. Try a correct t-stat and fresh coolant first. Also be sure to fill the block through the upper rad hose before filling the rad to prevent air locking and only partially filling the system.

Timing parts are cheap. You can get a whole kit in eBay with belt, idlers, tensioner, water pump, and oil seals from MizumoAuto for about $200 IIRC. Do that first and pop the new t-stat in there while its all apart. There is an o-ring that goes behind the oil pump that you have to get from a dealer but its only a few $ and they always have them in stock.

#4 ShawnW

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 05:35 PM

Timimg belt bearings? I'm confused as to what exactly that is. Maybe he means idler pullies? In any case $650 to do that and oil pump and alternator is absolute robbery. Whole timing belt job, done right with all new pullies and tensioner, and water pump should be $400 or maybe a bit more. I personally am very suspicious of the use of the term bearings when talking about anything timing belt related. Either he doesn't know what he's talking about, in which case I'd be very afraid of the quality of the head gasket job, or he thinks you don't know anything. In either case, to do a head gasket job and not do the WHOLE timing belt job including idler pullies is just non-sensical, unless they had already recently been done.

 

Where are you getting your parts??!?!?  A shop does charge labor to replace these items.  Book time is around 3 hours for the timing belt, add 1/2 hour for the oil pump.  Most shops are higher labor than me in Denver and I am at $90.  So $275 labor plus $115 for the alternator, and probably at least $225 for the idlers if the shop has any mark up at all....so at least $615.  If they are at 100 labor like most are, (not to mention tax) we are really getting close to $650.  So before you fly off the handle and yell highway robbery please at least take a moment to think about the fact that its not Rock Auto or some internet parts supplier and a do it yourselfer here doing the belt that's him paying a shop and a pro to install the parts.  And a job well worth paying a pro to do if you haven't done a 4 cam engine timing belt before on a Subaru its not the easiest belt around.



#5 FivePoints

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 06:39 PM

Where are you getting your parts??!?!?  A shop does charge labor to replace these items.  Book time is around 3 hours for the timing belt, add 1/2 hour for the oil pump.  Most shops are higher labor than me in Denver and I am at $90.  So $275 labor plus $115 for the alternator, and probably at least $225 for the idlers if the shop has any mark up at all....so at least $615.  If they are at 100 labor like most are, (not to mention tax) we are really getting close to $650.  So before you fly off the handle and yell highway robbery please at least take a moment to think about the fact that its not Rock Auto or some internet parts supplier and a do it yourselfer here doing the belt that's him paying a shop and a pro to install the parts.  And a job well worth paying a pro to do if you haven't done a 4 cam engine timing belt before on a Subaru its not the easiest belt around.

Thank You.  What you say is pretty much exactly as I was quoted at a Soob repair shop.  While, yes, I have a horid cold and me brain ain't working, what I said as 'bearings' (chaz345 chastized me) are the idler pullies...yes, of course.  However, they are still, in essence, bearings within pullies, and its bad bearings that make a lot of do-hickies in a car go out and major bills, dah!  I'm a good mechanic and could do the job,  but at my present residence and job do not have the time, space, nor all the tools to do the job.  As for the transmission I think I'll take the advise and flush the trans several times then add a slip differential additive.  Thanks again.



#6 Fairtax4me

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 07:06 PM

As for the transmission I think I'll take the advise and flush the trans several times then add a slip differential additive.


ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! NO LIMITED SLIP ADDITIVES IN AN AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION EVER!!!!!! It will ruin the clutches in the transmission. Limited slip additives are designed to make clutch type LSD units slip more easily by lowering the friction co-efficient of the clutches. If you put this type of additive in an automatic transmission it will affect ALL of the clutches in the transmission and you won't make it far up the road before the clutches are toast from constantly slipping.

#7 FivePoints

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 07:38 PM

ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! NO LIMITED SLIP ADDITIVES IN AN AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION EVER!!!!!! It will ruin the clutches in the transmission. Limited slip additives are designed to make clutch type LSD units slip more easily by lowering the friction co-efficient of the clutches. If you put this type of additive in an automatic transmission it will affect ALL of the clutches in the transmission and you won't make it far up the road before the clutches are toast from constantly slipping.

OK, FINE! Then I have three options.  Have Subaru change the fluid for $200, or have AAMCO do it for $125, or I'll replace the trans fluid myself (several times over) and see if that takes care of the problem after doing the tight figure eights and looking silly in a big parking lot. Your thoughts?



#8 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 08:00 PM

um, some people DO use additives in the AT, but, the term you used is a little confusing to some of us. There really is no center differential in the 4eat , it's a wet clutch pack.

 

I think 'slip differential additive' just is confusing to us..



#9 Fairtax4me

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 08:07 PM

OK, FINE! Then I have three options.  Have Subaru change the fluid for $200, or have AAMCO do it for $125, or I'll replace the trans fluid myself (several times over) and see if that takes care of the problem after doing the tight figure eights and looking silly in a big parking lot. Your thoughts?


I vote the third, since its just as effective as a flush and only costs you $40 and an hour of your time.

Didnt mean to make it sound like I snapped, but just wanted to keep you from making a $1000 mistake.
There are additives that can be used safely in automatic transmissions, but none that I'm aware of which will correct torque bind. It's always either clean fluid, new Duty C, or new clutch pack and transfer drum.

#10 FivePoints

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 08:16 PM

I vote the third, since its just as effective as a flush and only costs you $40 and an hour of your time.

Didnt mean to make it sound like I snapped, but just wanted to keep you from making a $1000 mistake.
There are additives that can be used safely in automatic transmissions, but none that I'm aware of which will correct torque bind. It's always either clean fluid, new Duty C, or new clutch pack and transfer drum.

Thank You, that's what I wanted to hear.  Now I'm prepared.



#11 FivePoints

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 08:25 PM

Thank You, that's what I wanted to hear.  Now I'm prepared.

In addition, given what I've learned today and liearn in the future here I think I'm going to work on my Soob myself before I take her (yes, she's an old girl) in to get any 'uplifts' I can't do myself.  



#12 efseiler

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 08:32 PM

The thumping could also be the CV joints...it doesn't always 'click' when they fail.  Mine used to thump and knock like that.  I think it's partially due to the loose 'cup-on-axle' issue that is probably very common for those transmissions.  Either due to axle stubs that have been worn or cheap soft steel axle composition (Chinese-made crap).  A mechanic would know for sure...my knowledge is limited.  My Dad's Subaru has almost 180,000 miles on it and the outer race still has zero freeplay on the stub.  My Subaru has no such luck.

 

In spite of that symptom le subaru should go fine...when the race gets worn then usually the joints have to be replaced.

 

 

I think a fluid flush is a good idea in spite of all the hysterical nay-saying.  I drove an automatic 4EAT for over 100,000 miles and had good luck with the lucas additive.  It eliminated a flashing AT light I used to get.  It had some slight binding issues due to a failing duty solenoid, too. 

 

Good luck!

 

--Damien



#13 ShawnW

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 10:51 PM

I suggest 2 drain and fills within 100 miles of each other.  



#14 Gloyale

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 11:05 AM

Where are you getting your parts??!?!?  A shop does charge labor to replace these items.  Book time is around 3 hours for the timing belt, add 1/2 hour for the oil pump.  Most shops are higher labor than me in Denver and I am at $90.  So $275 labor plus $115 for the alternator, and probably at least $225 for the idlers if the shop has any mark up at all....so at least $615.  If they are at 100 labor like most are, (not to mention tax) we are really getting close to $650.  So before you fly off the handle and yell highway robbery please at least take a moment to think about the fact that its not Rock Auto or some internet parts supplier and a do it yourselfer here doing the belt that's him paying a shop and a pro to install the parts.  And a job well worth paying a pro to do if you haven't done a 4 cam engine timing belt before on a Subaru its not the easiest belt around.


+1

Alt, oil pump(don't know why they would replace not reseal?) and t-belt set cost almost 600 alone for QUALITY parts. Not to mention professional labor.

#15 chaz345

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 02:41 PM

Where are you getting your parts??!?!?  A shop does charge labor to replace these items.  Book time is around 3 hours for the timing belt, add 1/2 hour for the oil pump.  Most shops are higher labor than me in Denver and I am at $90.  So $275 labor plus $115 for the alternator, and probably at least $225 for the idlers if the shop has any mark up at all....so at least $615.  If they are at 100 labor like most are, (not to mention tax) we are really getting close to $650.  So before you fly off the handle and yell highway robbery please at least take a moment to think about the fact that its not Rock Auto or some internet parts supplier and a do it yourselfer here doing the belt that's him paying a shop and a pro to install the parts.  And a job well worth paying a pro to do if you haven't done a 4 cam engine timing belt before on a Subaru its not the easiest belt around.

My price comes from my subaru mechanic and includes parts and labor, and he's definitely making plenty of money. I did miss that he was talking about replacing the alternator though. But are you really trying to say that just the idlers alone are $225 in parts? If so I'll repeat my claim of highway robbery. I get that it's going to be more expensive than Rock Auto, but more than twice what they charge for an entire timing belt kit? That's not reasonable.

The other clue that the price he's been given isn't reasonable is they they said $190 to change the transmission fluid? Really? That's what, 1/2 hour of labor and if we're really generous 3 gallons of fluid @ $25 per gallon.

Edited by chaz345, 14 March 2013 - 03:11 PM.


#16 chaz345

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 02:43 PM

what I said as 'bearings' (chaz345 chastized me) are the idler pullies...yes, of course.

I appologize if I came across as chastizing you. I said I was confised by the use of the term, and that's all I meant.

#17 chaz345

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 03:12 PM

Backing up here a bit, I do realize that I missed that the alternator was included in the $650 price. I also have realized that we're talking about an EJ25 not an EJ22 so timing parts are a bit more. I have an infortunate tendency to read quickly and somehow got it in my head that we were talking about an EJ22. $500 ish for the timing on an EJ25 is not out of line. And like I said I missed the alternator.

I appoligize for my oversight.

I do still question why the whole timing job including idlers, wasn't done when the engine was apart for the HG job though. It seems foolish to me to penny pinch on parts when a lot of the same labor is going to need to be redone. Especially considering the consequenses of one of those idlers seizing.





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