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Camshaft Sprockets & Timing


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14 replies to this topic

#1 sid_vicious

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Posted 22 October 2005 - 12:03 AM

Hi,
I've posted a few questions in preparation for a water pump and timing belt replacement on my 97 Outback EJ25, and I have come up with another. I'm probably psyching myself out more than anything...

I plan to change the camshaft seals while I'm in there, and I have gotten widely varying replies about the likelihood of the camshaft sprockets (especially left side) rotating when the belt is removed. Some make it sound like the things are going to jump right when I take the belt off, while others say that they will not move at all. These varying replies alone have me a little worried about screwing up valves, but here's another concern...
My question focuses on the event that the camshafts do in fact rotate, but while I have the sprockets removed for the seal change. How will I find the right orientation for putting the sprockets back on? Are they keyed so this will not be a concern?

Also, the Haynes manual (which I have seen debunked on many occasions here) specifically says not to rotate the camshaft sprockets by hand more than a few degrees. I think I recall someone saying that they had to rotate theirs a half turn to get timing marks back in order. Is it OK to make this big of a correction (as long as intake & exhaust pulleys are rotated in their respective clockwise/counterclockwise directions)?

Sorry for all the questions, but I'd rather not have to repair any interference damage that may be caused if I make a mistake. :dead:


Thanks for the help,
Andrew

#2 Al_SemC

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Posted 22 October 2005 - 07:38 AM

The camshafts have Woodruff keys on them. You can't put the sprockets on wrong without breaking them.

#3 Dickensheets

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Posted 22 October 2005 - 09:23 AM

I just did this job two days ago (97obw 2.5). The left sprockets jumped as soon as the belt was off. It freaked me out a little but I just manually moved them from where they came from (ie back to the marks). A second set of hands is nice to have to hold the sprockets while you put the belt on.


ps - I bought a Subaru belt, it has timing marks on it. Use them!!! It's not necessary but it's an easy way to double check your belt placement if the paint marks line up with the timing marks on the sprockets.

Ryan

#4 sid_vicious

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Posted 22 October 2005 - 04:20 PM

Thanks guys...the job begins tonight! Hopefully tonight and tomorrow will be enough time for me to get it done.

I just did this job two days ago (97obw 2.5). The left sprockets jumped as soon as the belt was off. It freaked me out a little but I just manually moved them from where they came from (ie back to the marks). A second set of hands is nice to have to hold the sprockets while you put the belt on.


ps - I bought a Subaru belt, it has timing marks on it. Use them!!! It's not necessary but it's an easy way to double check your belt placement if the paint marks line up with the timing marks on the sprockets.

Ryan



#5 Gnuman

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Posted 23 October 2005 - 01:36 AM

Thanks guys...the job begins tonight! Hopefully tonight and tomorrow will be enough time for me to get it done.

It should be and with ease at that. If you manually rotate the camshafts, you will likely not hit anythig hard enough to do damage, if at all. The only time it is moving fast is when the valve tension is snapping the camshaft around, and at that time, the valves are retracting. Hard to do damage (caused by the valves being forced into an area occupied by the piston) that way. . . :brow:

#6 Al_SemC

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Posted 23 October 2005 - 06:21 AM

So, the general concensus is that the procedure in the Haynes book, that is one not using the two special cam lockdown tools, is safe enough for government work? I may do this before it gets too cold as I think I may need a water or oil pump. Something in that area's a little squeaky.

#7 JohnVT

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Posted 23 October 2005 - 09:46 PM

The Haynes method works well. The left cam sprockets will try to move, follow the Haynes writeup. Move the sprockets back to the marks carefully, and check carefully once you have the belt on. Use the marks and/or count teeth; the drawings in the Haynes book have the tooth count. It's easier if you mark the sprockets with light colored (reflective) paint, since the marks can be hard to see, especially if you don't have good light. The side marks on the lower cam sprockets are hard to see and line up; paint marks make it easier.
If you do happen to move the cams far enough to hit the pistons, you can move the crankshaft off TDC, and then move the camshafts back. Don't force anything. Just line everything back up when you put the belt back on.

Following Haynes carefully will work. Good luck.

#8 sid_vicious

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 08:48 AM

Well crap....I've got everything off up to the camshaft sprockets. I didn't break the bolts loose with the timing belt on because the Haynes manual said not to do that. However, I'm just about fed up with the Haynes book because of things like this: they say to hold the camshaft sprocket with "a suitable tool" while loosening the bolt. The picture they show is of a channel lock grabbing the hex on one of the RIGHT side sprockets. Of course, the left side hexes are recessed and a channel lock gets no purchase on it. Suitable tool my butt.
I've tried everything I can think of...large channel lock on the pulley with a piece of old belt around it, strap wrench around both pulleys, etc. I'm going to order special tool #499207300 from SPX-Kent Moore and be done with it. That was a nasty surprise....

#9 JohnVT

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 09:59 PM

ok - guess it's been a while. I think we ended up putting the old belt back on to help get the cam bolts loose. TAPPING on the ratchet handle with a hammer can help get the bolt to loosen. Then put the old belt back to tighten the cam bolts. Perhaps a chain wrench, carefully with an old belt to protect the cam sprockets, would work. But that might be risky with those sprockets... There is a flat on each cam shaft, but that's under the valve covers, which you could use a wrench on.
sorry I'm not more certain about how we did it. surprised no one else has answered with a more recent experience.

#10 Al_SemC

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 01:30 AM

What's that tool cost?

#11 JohnVT

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 08:59 AM

What's that tool cost?


I'm not sure, my father-in-law bought it a while ago. Probably at Sears. We used it for the crankshaft pulley. They also have strap wrenches, which may be better for the cam sprockets. These have a rubber/nylon strap which is probably easier on the sprockets than a steel chain and teeth on the other wrench!

#12 Al_SemC

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 05:54 PM

Sorry -- that was directed at sid_vicious. I should have quoted him.

I meant to ask what ST499207300 costs. If it's like the valve bucket compressor, it's something stupid like $250.

#13 sid_vicious

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 07:18 PM

Sorry -- that was directed at sid_vicious. I should have quoted him.

I meant to ask what ST499207300 costs. If it's like the valve bucket compressor, it's something stupid like $250.


The special tool was about $130 plus shipping. It was easy to justify after pulling my hair out for a few hours in the garage. Plus I figure I will use it again for lots of other engine work in the future. The cost of the tool is less than the labor alone would have cost if I had taken it to a shop, so I'm ok with it. It does seem like it would be easy to make though.

#14 sid_vicious

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 07:21 PM

I'm not sure, my father-in-law bought it a while ago. Probably at Sears. We used it for the crankshaft pulley. They also have strap wrenches, which may be better for the cam sprockets. These have a rubber/nylon strap which is probably easier on the sprockets than a steel chain and teeth on the other wrench!


I actually had a chain wrench, but the chain was not long enough to wrap around both of the pulleys (there is not enough clearance between them to wrap it around just one). I'm not a big fan of it anyway, it did a great job of chewing up my crankshaft pulley and I had to get a new one. I wish I had known about wedging a screwdriver in the flexplate earler...

I also have a strap wrench that I tried on the camshaft sprockets, but the flexing of the rubber strap wouldn't allow me to get enough torque to break the bolt loose. Just when I thought I had everything.

#15 Al_SemC

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 05:49 AM

The special tool was about $130 plus shipping. It was easy to justify after pulling my hair out for a few hours in the garage. Plus I figure I will use it again for lots of other engine work in the future. The cost of the tool is less than the labor alone would have cost if I had taken it to a shop, so I'm ok with it. It does seem like it would be easy to make though.


Hoo! Way to be expensive. It'll save bent valves and make the job hella-easier, though.




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