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1990 LOYALE Timing Belt Broke, low on oil


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29 replies to this topic

#1 mmcclain

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 07:32 PM

I was low on oil coming back from a trip. The timing belt broke. I am going to fix it tomorrow, and I am curious if you folks think that there will be more broken than just the timing belt/bad timing with the low oil? Also, do think it will be faster for me to take out the engine or work with the engine in?

I was going 35mph when it happened. It is the drivers side belt. 1990 Loyale Wagon / non turbo.

Thank you so much!!!

#2 Hodaka Rider

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 07:44 PM

Depends on how low the oil was. I have an engine I'm rebuilding where the oil was low enough that the pump was starved and seized, taking out a t-belt with it. This prevented major damage (rod through block), but the engine still needs a full rebuild.

#3 grossgary

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 07:45 PM

slap on new belts, fill the oil up and you're golden. be advised there are two belts, not just one. check all the timing belt pulleys, if they are seized they need replaced. at this age it's best to regrease or replace them all. i've seen very few that are still in good condition (actually none even close to what a stock well greased pulley should be). there's no possibility of damage to this engine (EA82). all engines your year and before are non-interference variety.

as for the low oil....fill it back up. as long as there was something in there the engine shouldn't be damaged. if it's *really* low like you're adding 3 or 4 quarts, then you should go ahead and change it. what was in there is likely used and abused.

now...like he said..if the engine seized and broke a belt due to bad oil then your engine is hosed...so depends what you mean but "low oil".

#4 mmcclain

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 07:54 PM

The engine oil was very low. I did not notice it until the car stopped. Barely any on the dip stick. So... one of you says possibly, the other says doubtful more engine damage. Mainly I am trying to figure out if I will be able to do the job. I have 1 free towing and am going to tow it somewhere to fix it if I can, otherwise I will tow it to a mechanic. If it is more than a timing belt I probably do not want to takle it.

Any other opinions? Thank you for the info you have provided so far. I really appreciate your fast responses and USMB!

#5 mmcclain

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 07:55 PM

Is there anyway to test for seized engine?

#6 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 08:03 PM

If you could still see oil on the dipstick then it was less than 2 quarts low. Probably not low enough to do any damage.

Replace the belts - if it's more damage than just the belts you are looking at a new engine. It's not cost effective to rebuild them when cheap used engines are easily obtained. If that's what you need then you will already have new belts for your new (used) engine.

GD

#7 mmcclain

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 08:16 PM

Thank you GD. Do you know if there is anyway to test for seized engine? When I turn it over... it rotates and makes the typical "I'm about to start" noise.

#8 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 08:44 PM

Thank you GD. Do you know if there is anyway to test for seized engine? When I turn it over... it rotates and makes the typical "I'm about to start" noise.


The typical definition of a seized engine is that it doesn't turn over at all. Usually that refers to the rings overheating (loss of oil), and bonding with the cylinder wall at high speed and temperature. Nasty.

If it turns over it's not seized in any sense of the definition that I'm aware of. Unless as mentioned about it's the oil pump itself that seized. I haven't seen that myself, but the only way to check is going to be to tear it down and try to turn the pump pulley.

I think that you will be fine - these engines are non-interference and it takes a lot to bring one down. I've ran them 2.5 - 3 quarts low on oil (blown cam seal), and I've ran them without any coolant at all in 90 degree weather (blown heater core hose - don't try that one), and I have never seized one.

GD

#9 mmcclain

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 08:58 PM

The typical definition of a seized engine is that it doesn't turn over at all. Usually that refers to the rings overheating (loss of oil), and bonding with the cylinder wall at high speed and temperature. Nasty.

If it turns over it's not seized in any sense of the definition that I'm aware of. Unless as mentioned about it's the oil pump itself that seized. I haven't seen that myself, but the only way to check is going to be to tear it down and try to turn the pump pulley.

I think that you will be fine - these engines are non-interference and it takes a lot to bring one down. I've ran them 2.5 - 3 quarts low on oil (blown cam seal), and I've ran them without any coolant at all in 90 degree weather (blown heater core hose - don't try that one), and I have never seized one.

GD



Thank you for your help. I feel more sure that I can fix it now. I understand that it could still be more than a timing belt, but it sounds like it is just that. I just can't understand how they break all of the sudden... but it makes sense that they break eventually. I really appreciate you taking the time to help me!! Hopefully I can repay the favor sometime. (I have a small web design company, maybe a discount if you are ever in need.) I will post tomorrow if I get it running or not.

I can't believe there are so many people on USMB willing to take the time to post advice.

-M

#10 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 09:08 PM

Yeah - we're a pretty tight group here.

If you really want to help me, give me a job :-p. I'm an unemployed software engineer, and I've done web development too - PHP, SQL, and even some XSLT :eek:. My specialty is heavily optimized x86 assembly, 3D Graphics, and C++, but give me a book and I can do anything.

GD

#11 mmcclain

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 09:42 PM

Yeah - we're a pretty tight group here.

If you really want to help me, give me a job :-p. I'm an unemployed software engineer, and I've done web development too - PHP, SQL, and even some XSLT :eek:. My specialty is heavily optimized x86 assembly, 3D Graphics, and C++, but give me a book and I can do anything.

GD



Maybe I can. I have been getting a lot of work lately. More than I can do on my own. Would you be willing to work by the job vs by the hour?

#12 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 09:46 PM

Maybe I can. I have been getting a lot of work lately. More than I can do on my own. Would you be willing to work by the job vs by the hour?


We should probably take this to PM land. PM sent.

GD

#13 Numbchux

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 09:53 PM

if you're in there to replace the timing belts. make sure you replace the tensioner AND IDLER pulleys. I bought an EA82 wagon last spring, the previous owner assured me that he had just replaced the belts and pulleys. on the way home, the idler seized, and took the drivers side timing belt with it.....slap on the towing charge to get it home, and suddenly it wasn't such a good deal :rolleyes:


I would also highly recommend replacing the seals in the oil pump. aswell as the ones behind the cam pulleys. maybe even the main seal, and water pump too. depending on how ambitious you are.

#14 daeron

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 11:21 PM

if you're in there to replace the timing belts. make sure you replace the tensioner AND IDLER pulleys. I bought an EA82 wagon last spring, the previous owner assured me that he had just replaced the belts and pulleys. on the way home, the idler seized, and took the drivers side timing belt with it.....slap on the towing charge to get it home, and suddenly it wasn't such a good deal :rolleyes:


I would also highly recommend replacing the seals in the oil pump. aswell as the ones behind the cam pulleys. maybe even the main seal, and water pump too. depending on how ambitious you are.


Excellent advice, the next step that needed to be spoken of. these are all things that "should" get replaced together on ANY engine, as a regular maintenance thing. (~60K miles or so, give or take)

It sounds like you've got the right attitude about things, though.. chances seem pretty good that the rest of your engine will be OK, but we aren't shamans or witch-doctors here.. we can't know that for sure. However, typically when an engine snaps a timing belt while running, the primary fear is bent valves.. and with the subaru EA82, you do not have that worry, as the pistons will in no case ever touch the valves (unless there is something FAR worse gone HORRIBLY WRONG already :eek: ) This is what is meant by saying it is a non-interference engine. Knock on wood!

Anyhow, good luck on the T-belt repair, the info has been posted to the USRM (Ultimate Subaru Repair Manual, top right corner of the screen.) The procedure has given many of us a 20 minute headache the first time, but if you read Miles Fox's procedure carefully, you should be golden.

#15 NorthWet

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 11:26 PM

And don't make the common mistake of aligning both cams with their alignment marks up at the same time... the cams are supposed to have their marks phased 180 degrees apart.

#16 mmcclain

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 11:41 PM

And don't make the common mistake of aligning both cams with their alignment marks up at the same time... the cams are supposed to have their marks phased 180 degrees apart.


Yes, thank you. I have changed the timing belt before (on another Subaru) but I took the engine out. I am a little paranoid about doing it with the engine in. It seems that it will be hard to get to everything.

The last time I changed a timing belt it was because I was replacing the head gasket. You folks helped me out big time with the timing issues because my manual had left the step out where I am to offset each cam 180 deg.

Two days later my Subaru was stolen from in a mall parking lot. Same day I found the same color, year, model for sale. My wife and I bought it same day. We love our Subaru and I like to fix it, but I don't have 2+ days to work on it.

Easier to take the engine out? I mean how much work will it be with the engine in?

I know I am to replace the parts while I am in there. I am not sure what I will replace yet, still thinking about it. Especially if it turns out I blew an oil pump or something. I value your opinions a lot, but I think I may just replace the timing belt and probably tension pulleys, sense that seems to make a lot of sense. Replacing the other parts will add a lot of time to the project, although I will probably regret it later.

#17 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 12:10 AM

You *can* repack the tensioner bearings - it's not impossible. It does take a grease gun and a needle fitting to pump the grease in.

Unless I have another reason to pull the engine, I prefer to do belts (and head gaskets for that matter) in the car. I own a hoist but if you have a set of ratcheting wrenches you don't need to pull it. Definately pull the radiator to make room to work, and I sugest getting the front up on jack stands so you can get to the drivers side belt (and the oil pump) from underneath.

Also if you leave the belt covers off, you can change the belt next time it breaks in about 20 minutes (not kidding) as there is no need to remove anything but the accesory belts. It also makes it a lot easier to check their tension, and to inspect things without them. And it really doesn't shorten their life - the consensus here on the board is that it's fine either way. Although I did drop a rag in there with it running and it snapped both belts instantly..... just don't do that and you'll be fine.

GD

#18 Prospeeder

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 12:11 AM

i just did it with the engine in, and im 16, and have never worked on a subaru, and it took me a weekend and it started with the first turn of a key. Take out the fans and radiator and youve got plenty of room

#19 mmcclain

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 12:13 AM

You *can* repack the tensioner bearings - it's not impossible. It does take a grease gun and a needle fitting to pump the grease in.

Unless I have another reason to pull the engine, I prefer to do belts (and head gaskets for that matter) in the car. I own a hoist but if you have a set of ratcheting wrenches you don't need to pull it. Definately pull the radiator to make room to work, and I sugest getting the front up on jack stands so you can get to the drivers side belt (and the oil pump) from underneath.

Also if you leave the belt covers off, you can change the belt next time it breaks in about 20 minutes (not kidding) as there is no need to remove anything but the accesory belts. It also makes it a lot easier to check their tension, and to inspect things without them. And it really doesn't shorten their life - the consensus here on the board is that it's fine either way. Although I did drop a rag in there with it running and it snapped both belts instantly..... just don't do that and you'll be fine.

GD



Leave the cover off? Really? I would assume the any greese , rocks etc would cause some problems?? I am very curious about this.

#20 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 12:27 AM

Leave the cover off? Really? I would assume the any greese , rocks etc would cause some problems?? I am very curious about this.


Interestingly, the belts spin so fast that dirt, oil, rocks, etc don't stick. It all gets flung off. I've run for about 50,000 combined with no covers and never had any trouble except when I dropped that shop rag. It could arguably prevent premature failure because you can inspect the belts visually at each oil change, and it makes replacement of say a single squeeking tension really trivial. It's nice to be able to redo the belt tension each 10,000 miles as the belts stretch - hopefully it will lengthen their life as well.

It's important to note that this is common practice with a lot of other brands too - a lot of VW owners do it too.

Even if it shortened the life of the belt by 10,000 miles (which it doesn't as far as I can tell), I would still run without them just for the advantage of being able to replace them on the side of the road with only a 12mm deep socket and ratchet. 2 hours minimum with the covers, 20 minutes without.

GD

#21 daeron

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 01:14 AM

no timing belt covers here. destroyed the bolts the first time i took them off, and hacked them back into place anyhow... then had to do the water pump. theyre somewhere around here, in a box.... dont want to bother with all that again. :grin: GD == right. here, at least :grin:

#22 subarubuddy

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 09:35 AM

Leave the cover off? Really? I would assume the any greese , rocks etc would cause some problems?? I am very curious about this.

i leave the covers off. its way easier to replace and check them, as other people mentioned. and also, i think if its okay for the accesory belts to run open, it should be okay for the timing belts as well.

#23 mmcclain

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 10:03 AM

Thanks all. It is 7:00 the tow truck will be here soon. I am going to get started. I think I am going to leave the covers off.

Thanks again for all of your help.

-M

#24 Numbchux

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 10:25 AM

I have a pile of timing belt covers in my shed (most of them are broken because they didn't come off like they should). The only time I've been left on the side of the road since, is when that idler pulley imploded, and I didn't have a spare. but I always carry a few basic tools (don't need much, a 22mm for the crank pulley, a 12mm and a short extension for the tensioners/rad fan, and a 10mm to turn the cam pulleys.), and a spare set, and if a timing belt breaks, I'm a little (not even alot) late for wherever I'm going....with the covers on...call AAA

here's what an old idler pulley can do:
Posted Image

Posted Image

#25 grossgary

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 10:39 AM

do not pull the engine to do a timing belt, that is way overkill. a timing belt can be replaced in 30 minutes, not worth pulling the motor at all. it's a little tight, but remove the fans and there's plenty of room. the EA82's are even easier, i'm usually doing the ER27 XT6's. headgaskets - leave the engine in too, very easy. but that's for another thread another day.

if you had any oil on the dipstick you did not ruin your engine at all, there would have been plenty of oil in there to prevent damage. sure, i'd change it right away. you could always add two quarts and see how far it comes up and the difference is what was left in the engine....if you're worried. but even if the oil doesn't read at all on the dipstick, there can still be enough oil in there to prevent engine damage. very risky, very bad idea, but i'm just saying....you probably didn't ruin your engine at all.

here's how to repack the pulley bearings:
http://www.ultimates...ead.php?t=50430
this is easier to do on the XT6 than the EA82 though, the bearing seals are a little trickier to access on the EA82. very easy on the XT6 though. if you don't know what a brand new pulley feels like you should stop by the store and grab one off the shelf just to see, they are very tight and smooth. it is doubtful that any of your existing pulleys feel like a new one. old bearings with no grease generate more heat and are more likely to seize or fail - this will significantly shorten your timing belt life.

i run without covers as well, it's the way to go for sure.




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