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97 Legacy Brighton. Timing belt, maybe ?

97 Brighton timing belt

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15 replies to this topic

#1 Mikey41a

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 11:10 PM

  First post here but I have been loving this board for a few weeks now. I have a 97 Brighton that has always run wonderfully, temp. gauge never budged, ever, idles so quietly that I have forgot once at work and left it on. Super reliable car and of course I do very regular maintenence. My problem is that a few weeks ago I started it in the garage and its normaly quiet idle quickly developed a squeaking almost scraping sound that got worse for about 20 seconds and then, for the first time ever, the motor kind of gently just chugged to a stop. Of course this sounds a lot like a timing belt issue except that the car did the same exact thing, made the same alarming noise once about a week before this but the first time I jumped in and gave it a little gas and when the RPMs died down it smoothed out. It did not do this again until a week later when the car died. Now the car cranks like crazy but just wont catch and start. I've checked the following. It is getting gas past the fuel filter. It is getting spark. I pulled out the cranck position and camshaft sensorand cleaned them both up, they were pretty filthy. I did pop in new plugs and wires just in case (the old plugs looked pretty bad.). I removed one side of the timing belt cover (passenger side) and the belt seems tight and actually looks pretty new. I really do not know when any of this stuff was done on this car. I bought this car with 234,000 on it and currently it has 280,000 so I know it is is up there but it ran so well and at one point was my families only ride and we grew to love the car ( Its OK, laugh, I know it sounds silly ) that I would really like to keep it going. If I can get it running we would become a two Subaru family. we cant really afford a second car right now but I could spend a little on this.The motor sure did not run, up to this point, like it was tired or long in the tooth. Is it possible that it could be anything other than the timing belt ? Would it be worth the $200.00 plus for me to throw in a new timing belt kit just to find out if that is it and/or are my vaves smashed. Are the valves automatically toast even if it fails at idle ?? Insight from more experienced minds would be much appreciated.



#2 upnorthguy

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 11:27 PM

There is a timing belt kit for this on eBay for $135 (includes shipping, seller is mizumoauto).  I'm about to get one for my '95 Legacy.



#3 Mikey41a

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 11:48 PM

  Thanks for the heads up. Dayco makes a few kits too, some pretty cheap, but I was alittle confused about what they come with. Specifically the actuater, some seem to have them, others do not. Is this really necessary or are the idlers, tensioner, belt and water pump enough ?



#4 Mikey41a

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 11:49 PM

Oh wait, I see the one your looking at and scads of others too. Much more well presented on Ebay. Looks like most of them come with an actuater.



#5 Fairtax4me

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 12:10 AM

At that mileage you'll want to replace the tensioner as well since they tend to wear out with age.

I would recommend pulling off the timing covers and finding out which type of tensioner you have first. There are two different styles, and they switched the design in mid 97. You can also verify the timing marks, and determine if it did in fact jump time.

#6 Mikey41a

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 12:11 AM

Copy that.

#7 Mikey41a

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 12:15 AM

Would it be unususl for it to show a symptom the week before the actual failure or does the system generally just upchuck all at once.

#8 Fairtax4me

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 12:34 AM

Timing is not intermittent. It's either in time or its not. If it acted strange a week ago that could just be a coincidence, it could have been a sensor giving a warning that it was about to go south for the winter, or just a fluke.

The noise that happened before the engine stalled is ominous, and since the engine now doesn't start its hard not to assume it was related to a timing component failure. The problem with the 97 engines is they made a few changes that year that made the 2.2 an interference design. So if the timing has jumped, valve damage is a big possibility. And that means a much bigger repair bill.

Get the covers off ASAP and check the timing marks so you know what you're dealing with.

#9 mikec03

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 12:53 PM

+1 to checking the timing [ie crank vs the two cams] before you do anything else.  You have to get the timing belt cover off and that means getting the harmonic modulator [aka outer crank pully] off.   Getting  it off is difficult but there are many diy on the web and here.  I used the "starter jog with a bar against the driver side frame" method and it worked fine.  I'd also invest in a six sided socket.  When putting the bolt back back on, use 130 ft lb instead of whetever the 97 service manual says.  Subaru constintly increased the torque for this bolt from 95 to 00 until they arrieved at 130 ft lb.



#10 Gloyale

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 01:31 PM

If you suspect timing issues at all, stop cranking it over.

 

97 is the first year of interference 2.2 liter.

 

Lower idler may have dropped balls but not completely siezed/broken belt.  May have skipped a few teeth.  belt must be spinning if there is spark but could be off time.......don't let it get too far off time or it will bend valves.

 

Take off the covers and look.



#11 grossgary

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 01:23 AM

what he said - take the timing covers off and look, check the timing.  doesn't take long at all.

 

bent valves won't be known until it's tested. the couple of broken belt interference Subaru's i've come across all bent valves.

but it's possible you're fine.

 

the squeaking seems to suggest pulley noise - maybe timing pulleys, the bearings loosing grease.


Edited by grossgary, 11 November 2013 - 01:24 AM.


#12 Mikey41a

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 12:46 PM

Will do to all of the above. I was actually planning to pull the other two timing covers off this weekend (family busyness "till then)  using the "starter jog" technique and look things over. I think that Im going to have to pull the fans out first but I'm hoping to not have to mess with the radiator. I've never put one in or taken one out and I'd like to learn my way around that another day if possible.



#13 Mikey41a

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 12:58 PM

I dont know if it matters as it pertains to damaged valves but the belt itself is not broken, feels nice and tight and actually is kind of new looking. Like maybe it was replaced just before I bought the car. Of course that is just what I can see behind the left timing belt cover until I can dig in on Saturday.



#14 Mikey41a

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 01:01 PM

By the way thanks for the help. I really do appreciate it. I'll report back what I find under the remaining timing belt covers this weekend.



#15 upnorthguy

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 11:36 PM

I would suggest using some Liquid Wrench or PB Blaster on those timing belt cover and fan bolts now so it can soak before you turn them this weekend..  I'm sure they will be rusty with all that St. Paul salt.  I cracked both rear timing covers (they house the nut that the front cover bolts to) when the nuts spun due to rust.  I'll be doing the zip tie method that Fairtax suggested if I decide to put the covers back on.

 

Removing the radiator is easy: drain (plug located at lower passenger side of radiator) undo two bolts on top, disconnect the big inlet and outlet hoses, undo the two fan electrical connections and (if necessary) undo the two transmission cooler hoses next to the coolant overflow tank (which can be a lot easier for the upper hose if you remove the overflow tank).



#16 Mikey41a

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 11:49 PM

Thanks for the tip on the PB Blaster now. That stuff works great as I learned when I replaced the rear struts on my 98 Outback last week. The knucklebolts were unbelievable pains in the butt. I ended up breaking a brand new 19' box end and the ratchet mechanism on my breaker bar but I got 'em off with multiple applications of the magic blaster. I was prepared to break or cut the nuts off if I had to because I had another set of bolts handy but I didn't have to.

Edited by Mikey41a, 11 November 2013 - 11:50 PM.






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