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1989 Subaru DL timing belt replacement
Posted 11 August 2003 - 06:42 PM
I have a 1989 Subaru DL sedan and just the other day I was driving down the highway and blew a timing belt. The car is very worn out with quite a few miles (180k) and I am not willing to pay several hundred dollars to have it repaired. I am, however, looking into making a serious attempt to repair it myself, since the worst case scenario is that I screw up a car that requires repairs that would cost more than the car itself is worth. The car has a 1.8L H-4 engine and front wheel drive.
note: I have a Haynes Repair Manual for the vehicle.
I have read a few documents about this procedure and they mention removing the cam and crankshaft sprockets. Why? The illustrations show that there are tensioners for each belt so I don't see why this should be necessary.
Also, I have heard that many car engines are designed so that the valves go so far into the cylinders when open that the pistons may strike them in the event that a timing belt brakes, destroying/bending some or all of the valves on that side of the motor. Does anyone know if my particular engine is designed like this? I'd hate to go through the trouble of installing new belts just to find that my valves are all shot =)
Additionally, does anyone have any ideas which tools I'll require for this job? Any ideas as to which parts will need to be removed in order to gain access to the belt covers and belts themselves?
Thanks for any assistance/advice!
Posted 11 August 2003 - 06:52 PM
Posted 11 August 2003 - 07:04 PM
It's a fairly easy procedure if you are reasonably mechanically inclined, i.e. know which end of the screwdriver to hold, so go for it. No special tools are rquired. BTW, 180K isn't all that much for these motors, so it's worth it. As Click and Clack say, it's ALWAYS cheaper to keep the old one running instead of buying new.
Removing the sprockets is to gain access to the cam seals and o-rings, which is highly recommended to do as well, since they tend to leak after awhile. Also the crankshaft seal. That should take care of most oil leaks you may be experiencing.
Tighten up the drainpan bolts too--takes a minute or two to get three sides done. You'll need a long #2 Philips screwdriver or a 1/4" drive 10mm socket with a u-joint to get at the ones on the rear of the oil pan, but if you get three sides that will help a lot.
You should be able to find more help in the Archives. Some things to consider:
1. Leave off the outer timing belt covers, especially the center one--or cut the center one in two or three pieces so you can just unbolt it. This will save having to pull the starter, jam something in the flywheel teeth, and then tighten up the crankshaft bolt. With no center cover to pull, the job is much simpler.
2. When tightening the belts, rotate the cam sprocket on the driver side about 1/2 tooth clockwise to get tension on the upper part of the belt. Slack should be on the bottom, which you will take up with the tensioner.
3. If when you start the car up it seems low on power, you are off a tooth on one belt or both.
4. It helps to pull the radiator and grill, which is easy, but is not absolutely necessary. New radiator hoses perhaps?
5. These belts need to be re-tensioned EVERY 20K miles. Use genuine Subaru belts; the consensus is they are the best.
Posted 11 August 2003 - 09:15 PM
Posted 12 August 2003 - 03:31 PM
Not to worry..... as the other guys said. It just involves a half-day or so with wrenches -- but this is one job you want to go through carefully, follow the manual. The best advice is to make a list of everything you take off/disconnect/loosen/remove. EVERYTHING -- then work back up the list when you button it up.
I've been doing minor stuff for years -- brakes, fuel pump, tuneups -- and this was the first internal (well, almost internal) engine work I did. It's not difficult. I did it without removing the radiator -- put a piece of cardboard against the fins to protect it, 'cause there's not much room. I rigged up a tensioner tool with a metal plate and short bolts, some other guys here have also mentioned homemade tensioner tools. I think that step is critical, you don't want the belts too tight or too loose, but Tom may be right in "eyeballing" it instead.
Tom has some other good tips. New seals are a good idea but you can skip 'em if all you want is to get it running again.
Oh, and first step is to loosen the cranksaft pulley bolt. You do this with a 22mm socket and a deadman (piece of pipe or something to extend it). Disconnect the coil ignition wire (you don't want the engine to start up). With the socket on the bolt, hit the key for a second and it'll loosen right up. Just make sure the wrench/deadman is clear of any engine parts.
Everything else about lining up timing marks and stuff is in the manual. Good luck.
Posted 25 July 2004 - 06:56 AM
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