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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Timing Belt Covers - Yay or Nay?

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89 replies to this topic

#1 mrroot


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Posted 05 March 2006 - 12:51 AM

Ok.. I've seen references by people that you don't really need your timing belt covers. But of course, they were put on there by Subaru for a reason.. So I'm wondering what experienced people have to say on both sides of the argument. Personally, I went to a jy and pulled a set so I could replace mine ( previously owner managed to strip the bolts ).


#2 Turbone


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Posted 05 March 2006 - 12:54 AM

My thoughts are if you stay on the road, you dont need them. Off-road, its a good idea to keep them on.
Debris is what you need to worry about.

#3 GeneralDisorder


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Posted 05 March 2006 - 01:15 AM

I don't run them on the road - but to keep the bearings in good shape, I would say probably keep them if you are going to get into any water. Mud only is fine as they are spinning fast enough to fling that away.

It takes 2 hours to change the belts with them, and 20 minutes without - you decide. I would rather keep an extra set in the car and be able to change them on the side of the road, than have to have the car towed. that to me makes it worthwhile. Plus I've maintained several EA82's without them for many thousands of miles (on road only) with absolutly no ill effect. If anything the belt covers IMO tend to collect debris, and keep oil and other contaminates from draining away from the belts and pulleys. The whole setup is easier to maintain and keep clean without them. Makes belt and pulley inspection a simple matter of opening the hood.


#4 MilesFox


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Posted 05 March 2006 - 01:31 AM

lots o' baja'n, open belts all day long. many motors, any miles
(i invented open belts):clap:

#5 mbrickell


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Posted 05 March 2006 - 09:56 AM

Being that my experience is primarily VW:

I have seen countless VW Rabbits, Golfs, etc with no timing belt covers. They go forever with no issues. On these cars, the cam and intermediate shaft seals weep oil and the cover holds it in. Then eventually the timing belt that is soaked in oil deteriorates prematurely and fails. Plus, having the cover off allows you to eyeball things periodically much easier.

If ( when ) I have to do my Loyale TBs, the covers will remain off.

My 2c


#6 eggroller


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Posted 05 March 2006 - 12:05 PM

Thanks to Miles Fox. I have done many things on my EA82 SPFI.

Because of him I the timing belt covers on the garage floor. It looks neato without them, too!:banana:

#7 Syonyk


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Posted 05 March 2006 - 12:57 PM

My thoughts:

On a clean, well sealed engine, they're good. They keep crap off the belts.

On pretty much any of our Subarus, they're bad. They just serve to keep oil/coolant/etc puddled up for the belts to snake through.

My old DL is without covers, and when I get around to pulling the engine in my GL to seal all the leaks up, it'll go back in without covers.


#8 baccaruda



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Posted 05 March 2006 - 01:10 PM

the covers might be there to keep the belts clean from outside contaminants...

or the covers might be there to protect the fingers of hapless subaru owners.

I've also seen exposed timing belt covers in other cars and it does beg the question, "why not on a subaru?" ... our cars do keep the engines lower in the bay due to the H configuration, but there are also splash guards under most of the bottom of the engine bay.

Maybe the belts could break more often due to projectiles or outside crap, but the USMB crowd is a little more inclined to shrug off such things. Like you said, 20 minutes vs. 2 hours..

#9 MilesFox


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Posted 05 March 2006 - 02:25 PM

i'll go ahead and take credit for any inspirations:brow: !!

anyway, covered vs not covered. oil and gunk vs projectile/debris

open belts: pros-
visual inspection. less work to do belts or seals or water/oil pump
cleaner look. oil that leaks can fling off or drip away, rather than accumulate on the belts. if the belt is getting bad you will see it right away, rather than poking fingers thru holes off the side of the road

keep your loose rags tucked away securely! speculation about the bearings in the idler pulleys from being exposed. watch danglies when under the hood(as you would with all the rest of the belts anyways)

projectiles/debris vs oil and gunk:
i like a clean looking motor. uf anything leaks the ol car wash will take care of that.

so far the ONLY REPORTED FAILURE DUE TO OPEN BELTS was from a loose rag that caught around the crankshaft, blowing both belts. this was on my car.

so far not a problem in tall weeds, taller than myself, saplings, rocks, gravel, snow, water, mud.

every now and then i'll find the evaporation canister riding on top of the timing belt, no harm(flip it back over the spfi inlet tube)

one time i lost either a bolt or the oil fill cap, somtething of that nature, i discovered it riding atop the driver side belt between the oil pump and the tensioner

it is to my belief and might as well say from seeing so myself, any debris are going to be knocked away by spinning belts before they would have a chance to get anywhere

i might as well had a hay bail under my radiator when i pulled the motor but the belts have been just fine! tall grass and depris are more likely to puncture the radiator than to throw a belt

last and not least. why worry when all you need is a spare belt and a 12mm deep socket?

#10 Sonicfrog


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Posted 12 March 2006 - 02:18 AM

Tomorrow I will finally be finishing the Muphy ($500 T Wag) head gasket replacement. i have decided to leave the timing belt covers off. Just thought I'd let ytou know.

#11 Numbchux


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Posted 12 March 2006 - 02:51 AM


both of my GL's have them off....I'd never go back, even offroad.

if you're muddin regularly, hit 'em with some white lithium grease every now and again, you'll be fine.

and keep a set of tensioners/idler/belts in the car, then if anything does go wrong....replace em on the shoulder of the freeway!

#12 soobscript


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Posted 12 March 2006 - 02:57 AM

mine are off, if anyone's counting...

#13 gemery10


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Posted 12 March 2006 - 06:48 AM

You guys rock! I hate those ##$$%%## covers. Hadn't heard of anyone doing this but was considering at least splitting the bit behind the pulley

#14 calebz


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Posted 12 March 2006 - 10:56 AM

Another one for no covers. I removed both front and rear covers last time the motor was out.

#15 Tom63050


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Posted 12 March 2006 - 11:55 AM

You guys rock! I hate those ##$$%%## covers. Hadn't heard of anyone doing this but was considering at least splitting the bit behind the pulley

I originally left the covers on when I did my TBs, and split the middle cover to get to the belts in the future without pulling the crankshaft pulley. Finally I said "what the hell" and just pulled the outer covers entirely. I left the inner covers on mainly so there would be reference marks for the pulleys on the heads (although the really manly among us don't need 'em).

#16 samo



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Posted 12 March 2006 - 12:28 PM

Mine are off too. The car trudges through snow, dirt, and rocks every day, and so far, no ill effects.

#17 torxxx


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Posted 12 March 2006 - 12:33 PM

Ok.. I've seen references by people that you don't really need your timing belt covers. But of course, they were put on there by Subaru for a reason..


Yes and that reason is to make a Timing belt swap take an hour instead of 10 minutes like you can do with the covers off

#18 idosubaru


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Posted 12 March 2006 - 02:23 PM

they are minimally functional and mostly aesthetic. a motor looks better (too some, i like seeing more stuff), but it offers a more pleasing look to most people that don't know anything about cars.

no covers on my XT6 and no problems either.

#19 gemery10


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Posted 12 March 2006 - 08:34 PM

Rocks, mud, water, grass. But where oh where is the sand,salt more sand? Anyone beach it without timing belts?

#20 mikeshoup



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Posted 12 March 2006 - 11:41 PM

Anyone beach it without timing belts?

I'm sure it'd do great without timing belts, as long as you have someone to push :grin:
Sorry, had to ;)

#21 PoorManzImpreza


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Posted 13 March 2006 - 12:00 AM


#22 rallyruss


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Posted 13 March 2006 - 12:47 PM

Yay :burnout:

#23 Subarian


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Posted 13 March 2006 - 02:33 PM

Still got mine. I like having them on there. I put anti-seize on the bolts before I reassemble them, and that makes taking them off the next time a breeze.

#24 azsubaru


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Posted 13 March 2006 - 05:53 PM

Nay. Why add more work than necessary?

#25 operose


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Posted 22 March 2006 - 01:09 PM


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