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2001 Outback 2.5; Timing belt snapped at freeway speed


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29 replies to this topic

#1 ChuChi

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 10:39 PM

Car just gave a mild 'thump', turned on the CEL (Cam Position Sensor) and allowed me to coast it up an off ramp and even pull into a curb side parking space.  Pulled the cover and confirmed the broken timing belt there on the street and had it towed home.  Compression Test shows 0 on all four cylinders.  

 

I read that as very, very bad.  But I was expecting to see some variation.  Hard to believe I hit it just right to bend every possible valve.  Of course, without the belt the cams are now "resting".  Does this naturally put the valves in an open position halfway through the stroke?  Any other logical investigative steps before pulling the heads?

 

I'm trying to figure out how broken I am before picking the next path.  The options I see are replace belt and cross fingers, rebuild and know for sure, or toss it and go with a new car/engine.  This is a daily driver and I'm not a quick mechanic so we would likely be paying for the rebuild if it goes that way.



#2 grossgary

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 11:17 PM

pull the heads and install a used set, that's the best way to go.

look here, find some locally, craigslist - $75 - $200 for a set of used heads ready to go.

www.car-part.com

 

as long as the pistons aren't damaged (which i've never seen yet), yo'ure golden.

 

that engine isn't hard to do with the engine in the vehicle.  remove top trans mount (one nut) and two lower engine mount nuts (2 nuts) and you can jack the engine up a few inches giving plenty of room to do the heads with the engine insitu.  3 nuts = easy.

 

doing a compression test on a broken timing belt engine is suicide.  it can't build compression properly with a broken belt, nothing is working properly, whatever results you got would be meaningless. a leak down test may show something if you properly aligned things first.

 

i've seen lots of bent valves...over half...so yeah lots can get dinged.



#3 AdventureSubaru

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 12:49 AM

Used heads for sure. Cheap and fairly easy to do. Get a decent head gasket set and of course your timing belt. You can change out the heads without pulling the engine if you want. There's a good write up on here somewhere for changing heads in the car with this motor.

 

Pick N pull keeps an online inventory of cars (not parts) and charges about $65. per head. (with a $10 core.)  Or, as mentioned, hunt Car-part.com and craigslist, or a want ad on the board here.

 

ballpark el-cheapo fix (gets the car back on the road, no other maintenance) $60 headgaskets from ebay, $30. timing belt only (rockauto or ebay) $150ish for used heads. - so about $250 and some wrenching can put the car back as a daily driver.

 

Spend a bit more and get the full timing kit (with water pump) replace some of the seals up front while you can and get the Subaru brand head gaskets and you'll spend a bit more but have much more long term reliability (and/or peace of mind)  The good news is, you'll come out of it with a motor with a freshly redone timing belt and head gaskets, ready to go another 100k. Good opportunity to have that motor in ship-shape.

 

Sorry to hear about the trouble. You're in the right place to get the best help and answers to get the outback running well again.



#4 Gloyale

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 09:53 AM

Used heads for sure. Cheap and fairly easy to do. Get a decent head gasket set and of course your timing belt. You can change out the heads without pulling the engine if you want. There's a good write up on here somewhere for changing heads in the car with this motor.

 

Pick N pull keeps an online inventory of cars (not parts) and charges about $65. per head. (with a $10 core.)  Or, as mentioned, hunt Car-part.com and craigslist, or a want ad on the board here.

 

ballpark el-cheapo fix (gets the car back on the road, no other maintenance) $60 headgaskets from ebay, $30. timing belt only (rockauto or ebay) $150ish for used heads. - so about $250 and some wrenching can put the car back as a daily driver.

 

Spend a bit more and get the full timing kit (with water pump) replace some of the seals up front while you can and get the Subaru brand head gaskets and you'll spend a bit more but have much more long term reliability (and/or peace of mind)  The good news is, you'll come out of it with a motor with a freshly redone timing belt and head gaskets, ready to go another 100k. Good opportunity to have that motor in ship-shape.

 

Sorry to hear about the trouble. You're in the right place to get the best help and answers to get the outback running well again.

 

Hmm......No yard around here sells 2.5 heads for $65 bucks......espescially not pulled already.  2 heads for $150?  Either the yards in CA are super cheap or you are maybe a bit out of touch with what heads for a PHASE II 2.5 cost.

 

I just paid $1300 for the last used 2.5 I bought........and it probably needs headgaskets.......grrrrr......anyhow.

 

And besides, there is no need to buy new heads. 

 

First off, get a T-belt, and install it and then retest for compression.  you may have gotten lucky, espescially if it's an automatic trans.

 

Then if you do have bent vavles, likely you will.  pull the heads and have new vavles installed.

 

Definately don't order headgaskets from Ebay.  Dealer only or you will be doing them again.


Edited by Gloyale, 08 October 2013 - 09:54 AM.


#5 AdventureSubaru

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 10:11 AM

My estimate came from Pick N Pull's website - which is self service. But yeah, the Portland Pick N Pull yards are 66.99 per head with a $10. core. My only uncertainty would he how many 2.5s would be available in the area. Pick N Pull has an inventory and listed a 2000 Legacy in the Sherwood yard. Whether the heads are available or not - who knows? But self service yards are in that ballpark. Double that price if they pull them. And craigslist - anything can happen.



#6 ferret

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 10:35 AM

Too bad you are not near NJ ... I have a used set from an 03 Legacy with the rear hole for an EGR. willing to part with them for $150, but local pickup only.

 

Here was my tale of woe from a few years back: http://www.subarufor...e-engine-64410/



#7 AdventureSubaru

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 10:37 AM

I shipped EJ22 heads about a year ago by fitting them in 2 flat rate priority boxes. it's easier than you might think. Cost was like $36. total.



#8 ChuChi

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 10:49 AM

Thanks for the ideas.  Started looking into the head gasket replacement procedures and it doesn't look too terrible.  Certainly not as bad as I imagined.  However if I went for Pick N Pull heads (or equivalent), I'd run them through a machine shop before putting them on the car.  Don't want to end up with something warped or with it's own valve issues.  I'll pay extra if I can find a rebuilt set rather than just 'used'.

 

I was looking at Felpro gaskets.  Everyone seems to have a favorite, and every option other than that is certain doom.  Makes it difficult to narrow down the options.

 

It is an auto trans, but I still don't have much hope.  We were doing 60mph at ~2.5Krpm on a long flat section when it broke.  I felt the snap and immediately looked at the dash.  The only thing funny was the CEL.  It felt like it took ~15-20sec before I figured out I had no power since we were basically coasting before the break anyways.  The engine kept spinning all the way into the parking spot.  The only conceivable way I can come up with that I dodged damage was if all 4 cylinders were mid stroke, the cams stopped fast enough to keep the valves out the way, and mid stroke for the valves is a non-interference zone.

 

Good call on rerunning the compression test with a new belt.  Should be a relatively quick test.  The thought with running the test now was that I'm not going to damage anything that hasn't been already (as long as I don't move the cams).  If I got compression on one, and 0 on another it would confirm bad news.  All zeros doesn't really answer one way or another I don't think.

 

Ferret, I'll play interested and would pay shipping if it falls into that <$50 category.  PM me pics/history if you're up for it.



#9 grossgary

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 11:13 AM

you can resurface heads yourself.  it's actually really easy, check out GD's write up on this forum.  excellent results.

 

these heads don't really warp but they'll have high and low spots.



#10 ferret

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 11:43 AM

I don't see any options for flat rate for the size these heads are. I measure on the larger one, the drivers side 7" x 9" x 14" ..... so when I put them in to ship in a non-flat rate box from NJ to Or, I come up with $96 each.

 

So if you can figure a way to ship these at a rate you would be willing to pay, I will pack and get them on the way.

 

They are from an 03 Legacy 2.5L w/EGR and 112k miles.

Attached Files


Edited by ferret, 08 October 2013 - 11:48 AM.


#11 nipper

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 09:22 PM

Use Subaru head gaskets. It is a lot of work to take a chance on aftermarket gaskets.



#12 ivans imports

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 09:32 AM

change valves and good to go



#13 mikec03

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 10:33 AM

On my 02, I replaced the HG last year with the Six Star from AWD.  I was at 90K with a oil leak.  No problem with the Six Star gasket yet but I only have 6K miles on it.

 

Can you advise how many miles were on the belt when it snapped?  My impression is that the idlers will fail before the belt.  Just curious.



#14 ChuChi

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 12:47 PM

I need to do more research on the gaskets.  I saw somewhere that the dealer still sells 'bad' gaskets, but the turbo gaskets are better?  Then the aftermarket options...  I'm open to advice and experiences.  

 

We bought the car with ~180K and documentation of head gasket replacement, timing belt, and related items being done at 155K.  We have 220K on it now, so 65K miles.  All the documentation I've seen says 105K on a timing belt so I was planning on catching it around the 250K mark.  But some aftermarket belts are less I gather.  My (painful, expensive) mistake there.  

I pulled the belt last night and all the idlers and tensioner felt ok for the most part.  One was a bit rough, almost sandy, but still spun freely.  I'll be replacing them, a Gates kit should be here today.  Just after replacing the heads too.

 

Ferret, I'm exploring some local options so don't hold them for me.  If nothing better crops up I'll circle back though.



#15 grossgary

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 01:03 PM

i'd use the EJ25 turbo headgaskets, that's what some folks are doing.  they fit, and the turbo Ej25's do not have headgasket issues.  *if* that is at all due to a better headgasket i'm all for it.  Subaru headgaskets were failing up to 2009 and 2010 (foresters)...so I'm not that interested in Subaru's offering for the non turbo headgaskets, though they're certainly better than years ago.

 

the "sandy" timing pulley probably caused or sped up the breaking of the belt.  they loose grease and then begin to run hotter - it is heat that eventually kills things.

 

resurface the heads yourself, it's super easy.  i'm so glad i don't have to drive to a shop to drop off and pick up and worry about hours, time, questions, wait in line...saves a lot of time and it's super easy:

http://www.ultimates...hop-techniques/



#16 mikec03

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 04:49 PM

Chuchi:

 

For your information, Subaru used 3 different head gaskets on the 2.5 sohc engine from 00 to 09.  The last one, 11044aa633, commonly referred to as the 633 gasket, is now the standard replacement HG for all those years.  It is a single metal sheet with a black coating on both sides.  You can look at it you local Subaru dealership, since they have in in stock at all times and use a lot of them.

 

The replacement gaskets referred to by grossgary and myself are both MLS, as is the Felpro HG.  They are all three metal sheets with black coatings on the outside surfaces.  Are they better then the 633 gasket?  A lot of people think so.  We will all know for sure in 5-10 years. 

 

Welcome to the failed HG club.



#17 ChuChi

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 01:53 AM

Well, the HGs are fine, the valves aren't and I confirmed it tonight.  I slapped the new timing belt on it and reran the compression test.  90 0 0 <30.  Cylinder 4 the needle didn't move from ~0, but it let out a little hiss when I pressed the release on the tester.  Calling on used heads tomorrow.

I also noticed that I don't have the belt guide that sits over the crank sprocket.  The mounting holes are there though.  I think it was the service manual that said this guide is for MT cars only.  Seems a strange difference.  Any ideas why the AT doesn't get it?

 

 

So what's the part number for the recommended replacement gaskets?  11044AA642?  This is a EJ251 SOHC.  

And the head bolts?  This car has already had it's gaskets changed so I'd like to play it safe and assume they reused the originals and it's time for new ones.  Go stock here?



#18 grossgary

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 05:35 AM

bummer, but good job tracking it down to the issue at hand.

 

with AT's the load of the vehicle is not on the engine like it is with an MT in gear. with an MT the timing belt could get loaded in shipment, while in park, towed, poor shifting (downshifting 3 gears while doing a burnout) etc - it's like putting an impact gun on your timing belt.  can't happen with an AT but you can install that guide if you want.  though subaru's don't jump time without reason.

 

no need or quality value in replacing the headbolts, it would be a false sense of security.   headbolt replacement is based on the type of headbolts used, TTY (Torque to Yield) headbolts. Subaru doesn't use those kinds of headbolts so you'd be installing the exact same thing you removed. it'll save you a couple minutes cleaning the threads though.  Cars that do use those kinds of headbolts *must* have them replaced as the bolts get deformed during installation. not so with Subarus.

 

I'd definitely be installing the multi layer gaskets, i wouldn't use Subaru's single layer.



#19 ivans imports

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 08:27 AM

I use the fellpro gaskets work well the turbo ones hold up longer because of the stronger block not better headgasket they are slightly better the block is the real problem. The turbo block has extra webbing to keep cly from vibrating and tearing up gasket



#20 WoodsWagon

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 08:38 PM

I use the EJ25 turbo gaskets. I cross checked the coolant holes against the SOHC gasket and the thickness and everything was close enough not to matter. The MLS gaskets were certainly an upgrade on the older EJ25d's, so I'd expect the same thing for the newer ones. With 3 layers of gasket you have 4 interfaces for the gasket to be able to move to stay with the expansion of the block and head instead of just 2 with the single layer gaskets.

 

I would run a tap down the block threads for the headbolts. A lot of them have coolant leaked in around the bolt and corrosion. You can't get a reliable torque reading if the threads are full of junk. I think it's 11mm X1.25, but check before your order.



#21 ChuChi

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 11:17 AM

Small work update. I said I was a slow mechanic, but that was before the kid. Now I'm going on ~2hrs/day.

Last night I removed the alternator, pulled the ps pump and AC off to their respective sides and removed the intake manifold. Looking down the intake ports the valves are visible. No noticeable damage, but I'm not sure it would be apparent from this angle. I have pictures but left the camera in the garage. Will try to get some uploaded tonight. I'm also holding off on buying the new-to-me heads until I have the current ones off and inspected. I'm not sure what valve replacements cost, but its on the table.

I haven't purchased any new parts yet (except for the timing belt kit), but am keeping a running list of gaskets, hoses, and other bits that I'll need. I'll add a tap to that list.

I've decided to go ahead and pull the engine rather than do the work in the car. From the point I'm at now its just mounts, torque converter, and transmission bolts. Plus it will give better visibility and control, more access to "since I'm here" bits, and my wife picked up an indefinite loaner from a friend so the time crunch is off. Makes this more a fun project rather than a required one.

Edited by ChuChi, 11 October 2013 - 11:18 AM.


#22 Bushwick

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 12:39 AM

Either the yards in CA are super cheap or you are maybe a bit out of touch with what heads for a PHASE II 2.5 cost.

We have Pull-A-Part around here and they flat-rate 4cyl, 6, 8, etc. regardless of what it comes from. Though technically you could argue it's a 2cyl head and throw them for a loop :) I can get a COMPLETE DOHC 4cyl head with cams for $61 with an $11 core charge. SOHC $56 with $10 core. Entire 4cyl engine is like $155 with a $55 core charge. That member isn't out of touch bud.

 

Here's a link if you still have doubts:

 

http://www.pullapart...c=25

 

 

You jealous?


Edited by Bushwick, 12 October 2013 - 12:40 AM.


#23 ChuChi

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 12:27 AM

So I'm a bit late with the pictures, but better than never...  Right now the dis-assembly is complete.  I decided to send the heads to a shop for repair and refurbishment rather than used heads and the bench resurface.  The cost to bring these back to life is certainly more than a used set, but will greatly increase my confidence once everything's back together.  Spending the down time buying all the gaskets, hoses, and bits that will be replaced as it's re-assembled.

 

Here's a rough run down of the past several days.  First, what triggered this whole thing.  I recommend you never let this happen.

Attached File  The Original Problem.JPG   154.47K   22 downloads

 

Initial removal of all the accessories and intake manifold went very smoothly.  Just had one stripped bolthole with one of the power steering pump bolts.  Noticed the well used PCV valve too.

Attached File  Power Steering Pump bolt.JPG   121.2K   24 downloadsAttached File  Power Steering Pump bolt hole.JPG   167.05K   21 downloadsAttached File  Will be replacing this.JPG   151.55K   24 downloads

 

And got the manifold off.  Most difficult part was some of the electrical connectors sticking.  I also had to eventually take the water pipe off the top of the engine to get some of the transmission bolts.

Attached File  Manifold is gone.JPG   160.03K   24 downloadsAttached File  Manifold.JPG   133.74K   26 downloads

Attached File  Intake.JPG   145.13K   22 downloadsAttached File  Exhaust.JPG   133.93K   22 downloads

 

At this point is when I decided to just pull the engine.  A hand full of transmission bolts, engine mounts and a hoist.  Turned out to add about half a day with a buddy.  Most of that time was spent negotiating the best approaches to the lower trans bolts and cutting off stuck exhaust bolts.  Had it out in time for date night though.

Attached File  Finally Out.JPG   116.21K   24 downloadsAttached File  Someone lived here.JPG   115.39K   26 downloadsAttached File  On The Stand.JPG   157.97K   27 downloadsAttached File  Torque Converter.JPG   149.2K   23 downloads

In the second picture, just to the left of the center of the plate you can see where we found a spider egg sack.  Didn't get a picture before it was wiped away.  No idea how it got there or how long ago.  Looks like the metal oil separator (yay), but what's that grungy looking cover to the left?  Seems like I should do something about that...

Also, when we first removed the engine it pulled the torque converter with it.  Came out the oil seal and made a big mess.  I pushed it back it for now, but since it came out I'll remove it again, replace the seal, and reseat it.  Found this thread (http://www.ultimates...track/?p=985663) which makes it seem very doable.



#24 ChuChi

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 12:41 AM

And here's the good stuff.  Heads came off super easy.  I can see why some people do this in the car.  But here's the damage.

 

First the piston tops.  It's easy to see where the exhaust valves impacted in all four cylinders.  Harder to make out where intake valves hit, but there was some damage to those too.

Attached File  Piston #1.JPG   134.3K   21 downloadsAttached File  Piston #2.JPG   180.03K   27 downloadsAttached File  Piston #3.JPG   141.47K   28 downloadsAttached File  Piston #4.JPG   167.58K   28 downloads

 

And now the valves.  It's hard to get good pictures showing how much these are off.  From the compression test with a new timing belt, cylinder #1 had 90psi while the other 3 were 0.  Easy to see why here.  I'm a bit surprised #1 held pressure though.  This is #2, #4, and #3/#1.

Attached File  Valves #2.JPG   93.59K   25 downloadsAttached File  Valves #4.JPG   104.5K   24 downloadsAttached File  Valves #3 and #1.JPG   108.46K   22 downloads



#25 grossgary

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 06:01 AM

last one i did like this it, same valves as yours, was so hard to differentiate bent valves from non-bent valves i went ahead and replaced all the valves.  i had them in a pile and couldn't tell the difference spinning them in a drill.  some i could, but i couldn't pick out all of them.  no way you'd be able to tell just by looking at some of them. the obvious ones will be easy of course. 

 

if you replace valves - i cut a notch out of a spark plug socket and put all-thread through it with a nut inside the socket.  this was my "valve spring compressor tool" and i just did all the valves by hand.  get a valve grinding kit and chuck the suction cups in a drill and you're golden.  don't bother trying any valve spring compressor tools from the store - they're a debacle and only work on some of the valves - the intakes are nearly impossible with no clearance due to those spark plug tubes and more. i was fumbling forever until i made my own hand tool.

 

i would opt for replacing heads unless there's a compelling reason.






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