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Shop notes on timing belt change


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9 replies to this topic

#1 dashton

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Posted 13 September 2004 - 08:53 AM

Finally finished changing the timing belt, water pump and all the front oil seals in my '90 legacy. I really appreciate all the good advice and info on the board, I don't think I could have done it without it, at least not so easily.

Here are a couple of comments that I hope will help anybody else doing the same thing:

1. The worst part of the job was just getting the timing belt covers off. Of the seven cast inserts, five had cracked and just spun with the bolts. The best solution I found was to cut a slot in the ear with the insert to get it really loose, then pry it apart with a screwdriver. I put the covers back on with nuts and bolts, so far seems to work pretty good. I think the inserts failed because the shop before me tightened them too tight and stripped them out. I strongly recommend putting oil or anti-seize on the bolts when you re-assemble them and then carefully tighten them so they don't strip.

2. When I loosened the bolt holding the harmonic balancer I just removed the rubber access plug on the bell housing and used a screwdriver to hold the flywheel.

3. I loosened the bolts on the cam sprockets before removing the old timing belt - that way I didn't have to worry about clamping or holding them. Worked great.

4. The harmonic balancer fell off in my hand, but the crank sprocket was stuck tight. I had to use a generic steering wheel puller to get it off.

5. You don't have to remove the radiator, but it sure makes it easier. Highly recommended if you're also doing the oil pump seals and water pump at the same time as the belt.

6. To pull the old cam seals and crank seal I had to drill a small hole in the seal and thread a small screw in. Then I could grab the screw with vice grips and pull it out. I tried using a seal pick, but it didn't work - the seals were really stuck. Just be careful drilling the hole so you don't damage the sealing surfaces.

7. When putting the crank and cam seals back in make sure you use a lot of grease on the seal lips. I've even been told to pack the back of the seal full with grease to keep the spring in. I found the only way I could get the crank seal on without it folding was to pack it full.

8. While I had the back plastic belt covers off, I decided to file in new notches for aligning the sprockets. The original marks are difficult to see from the top of the engine, and the new marks made it easier to line it up the marks on the sprockets and belt.

9. To tighten the cam sprockets I used a bar with some holes drilled into it. I put bolts through the holes to catch the sprocket, and then was able to tighten the bolt in the middle of the sprocket.

10. When I intalled the timing belt I removed both lower idler wheels first. Then I rotated the three sprockets to line up with their corresponding marks on the covers and oil pump. Then I put the belt around all the top sprockets and idlers with the lines on the belt lined up with the marks on the sprockets. Then I installed the toothed idler next to the water pump, and finally the smooth idler at the bottom left. This makes it real easy to get the belt on with just one person, and you don't have to stretch it over the pulleys at all. The Subaru belt has all the marks you need already on it and makes it simple to line up.

11. If you also change the water pump you'll have to drain and re-fill the coolant. Make sure when you re-fill it you disconnect the hose from the top of the radiator and fill the engine block directly. I wasn't careful enough the first time and got an air bubble in the system.

List of tools you'll need:

Metric socket set (10mm - 19mm) Most of the bolts are 10,12 and 14

22mm socket for balancer bolt

Breaker bar or equivalent for the balancer bolt

Metric end wrench set

Screwdriver set (flat & phillips)

Torque wrenches: foot-lb for the idlers, sprockets and balancer bolts.
inch-lb for the water & oil pump & covers

For seals: drill + pliers or a seal pick or equivalent

Might need a steering wheel puller for the crank sprocket

6" C-clamp or equiv for compressing the belt tensioner
Here's a couple of other quick references to some timing belt info:

http://www.endwrench...pages/home.html (go to the archives section for engine)
http://www.endwrench...tReplaceW01.pdf

Also see legacy777's website for electronic scans of the factory manuals:
http://www.main.expe...u_manual_scans/

Just as a final note: all of the tips above came from this board or the reference info. None of these are my original ideas. I just thought it might be nice to put it all together in one spot to help anybody else. Mechanically the job's easy to do, it just takes time and patience. Thanks again to everybody who's posted this in the past on the board. My sube's up and running great again. Dave

#2 Olnick

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Posted 13 September 2004 - 12:05 PM

Thanks, Dave. Nice write-up--very well organized and very thoughtful of you to do.

I'm building up my courage to tackle the timing belt/oil seal/water pump and this has really helped.

USMB folk are the best!

#3 boilerman

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Posted 14 September 2004 - 03:08 AM

Heres another useful tip.....Cant get that 22mm bolt in the centre pulley un done? Also automatic so you cant put it in gear...also the screwdriver in the flexi plate or starter teeth doesnt work either?

Try this! 1/2" power bar extended with piece of pipe to reach the cars left handside sub frame beside the battery tray..22mm socket attached....brief crank on starter motor=200 newton metre jolt on bolt...and hey presto.....bolt comes free..Simple really

Thanks, Dave. Nice write-up--very well organized and very thoughtful of you to do.

I'm building up my courage to tackle the timing belt/oil seal/water pump and this has really helped.

USMB folk are the best!



#4 jerryjetman

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 09:45 PM

Thanks a lot,I am about to do the same for my -02 forester.This info was great and I'm sure it will help me a lot.

#5 jchipper

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 10:08 PM

also a good fast and easy way to get that crank shaft bolt off is use either a air or battery powered Impact wrench it spins it right off w/o even trying to turn the engine :D

#6 aircraft engineer

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 10:20 PM

trouble is that that using an impact requires full access to the bolt head and most impacts are too long to fit in the opening between the pulley and the back of radiator or condenser. (or at least that's what I found)

interestingly, shoving a couple of bolts the right diameters into the holes in the damper and using a pry bar to brace against them and stop the crank from rotating worked well, too. Well enough to get the 100ft-lbs for tightening the bolt anyway. from what I've seen, the "newer" damper with the flat face rather than the dished in would be a LOT easier to get off that way.

#7 jchipper

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 10:26 PM

this is true for the impact the Rad and condensor would need to be removed, also taking the starter off and shoving a screwdriver on the flywheel to hold it works

#8 grossgary

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 10:49 PM

wow, thread from the dead! awesome that you found it. he should be rewarded for using the search button! USMB cookie maybe?

timing belt covers do suck bad, the inserts seize and break like that all the time....very common problem. i just break them all out and either use zip ties to reinstall or go naked. there's no reason not to go the zip-tie route, so plan on having those handy.

#9 OB99W

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 06:48 PM

[...]there's no reason not to go the zip-tie route, so plan on having those handy.

Yep, cable/wire/zip-ties have almost as many uses as duct tape, and surpass it in many ways. :)

#10 JohnEPopper

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 06:45 PM

Heres another useful tip.....Cant get that 22mm bolt in the centre pulley un done? Also automatic so you cant put it in gear...also the screwdriver in the flexi plate or starter teeth doesnt work either?

Try this! 1/2" power bar extended with piece of pipe to reach the cars left handside sub frame beside the battery tray..22mm socket attached....brief crank on starter motor=200 newton metre jolt on bolt...and hey presto.....bolt comes free..Simple really


This tip worked excellent, loosed that pulley bolt in one small pop of the starter. I was alone and wasn't sure which way the crank would turn...found out that you want to brace on the subframe so that the extended bar is held from moving "down" on the left hand side (as opposed to held from moving up which I found it is wrong! - I'm sure a better mechanic could have visualized the lefty loosey / righty tighty in this case, but I went with the trial and error approach!).

I'm back in business...this 92 legacy just turned 320,000 miles when the belt broke (I'm sure this isn't the first time). Might not need another timinig belt until we get to 400,000!

PW




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