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2002 2.5 Timing Belt Dare?


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14 replies to this topic

#1 Scoobaroo

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 05:56 PM

2002 OBW 2.5 AT- 107k- Original T-Belt. Original owners.

I know it's due @ 105k. Took a "peek" behind the t-belt cover. The t-belt looks new. I know what a good timing belt looks like and this one looks good. The tension is good. No glaze or cracks. I have the experience to change it and the water pump/idlers in probably 4 hours, but I'm a cheap, lazy bastid. My impression is that OEM Subaru t-belts are really high quality and might go 200k miles in this SOHC application.

The water pump doesn't leak. The engine doesn't leak a drop of oil. My question is: has anyone ever had a 2.5 (SOHC) T-belt fail before 200k?
I know its an interference design and the valves/pistons would be toast if the thing fails, but this belt doesn't even look close to being worn out and I don't hear of many (or any) SOHC 2.5 belt failures.

#2 grossgary

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 09:27 PM

Yes, they fail. Search the forum, you'll probably find some. And yes interference just like you said. There's a couple on going broken timing belt threads right now and they are not 200k vehicles.

Assuming it's good for 200k is a really really bad idea for way more reasons than just the belt.

First of all there's a number of things that will take out a perfectly good timing belt - pulley lacking grease (very common with mileage/age), bad tensioner, and a failed water pump. all of those items have a significant chance of failing well before 200k....multiply the individual chance times the total number...and it's just not good sense to be that risky for a car that's worth that much money.

A good timing belt job on 105k replacement engine includes replacing the water pump because expecting 200k out of a water pump is not good sense, particularly when they're right in front of you on a timing belt job and don't cost very much. On the older 60k interval belts you can replace the water pump every 2nd (my recommendation) or 3rd timing belt...every 120k or 180k.

Good financial advice would be: in the future it would be wiser to not over extend finances on a vehicle that can't be maintained properly. particularly on such a new, interference, and valuable vehicle. The only thing worse than being lazy and cheap is needing to tear the engine down to the short block to repair bent valves in the heads....waayy more expensive and time consuming than a timing belt job. Or find something with a non interference engine or timing chain.

#3 lostinthe202

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 07:22 AM

Just take a Saturday and do the job. Not doing it for the reason you mentioned is like saying you don't wear your seat belt 'cause you know TONS of people who haven't ever been in an accident.

#4 Petersubaru

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 04:44 PM

I can picture this to happen..your in a hurray to make a left hand and then suddenly the timing belt brakes while at the same time a transport truck is headed your way or your passenger...your crossing the train tracks,.. the belt brakes and now for some strange reason your seat belt does not want to release while a train is coming your way...both are true stories

#5 Scoobaroo

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 06:56 AM

Thanks, everyone.
I'll change it soon. Shouldn't take me more than an afternoon and a six pack. (I have impact wrenches, too.) Are the E-Bay idler/belt kits any good? My gut tells me to go with an OEM belt and an OEM water pump.
My point was that Phase II 2.5's aren't really known for belt failures. I suspect that 105k is a bit conservative on the interval.

Anybody want to see pics of the job or are there enough pictorials on the site already?

#6 lostinthe202

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 08:07 AM

I suspect that 105k is a bit conservative on the interval.


I know the sentiment. I feel the same way about 60K interval for my 2.2L. Especially with the miles I put on it, that has me changing the belt about every 2 years!

After doing a lot of reading on this site, I went with the ebay kit for the pulleys but used an OEM belt and water pump.

Grossgary did a great write up on how to re-grease the OEM pulley set which is not a bad idea. Had I found that before the job I probably would've done that since the OEM bearings are no doubt better quality then the feebay ones. But since I'm in there every 60K, I'm not too worried about it.

I'm not sure if the following applies to your 2.5 but some one will correct me if it doesn't. Be sure to get a new o-ring for the oil pump and pull it off and check the screws on the back that hold on the impeller as they like to back off. Use a bit of locktite for the screws and an anaerobic sealant when you put the pump back on.

Also, you may consider changing the crank and camshaft seals especially if you see any hint of a leak. They are pretty easy to do and could save you some unnecessary work in the future.

And last but not least, the torque for the harmonic balancer bolt should be 135ftlbs instead of the 80 or whatever is printed in the manual.

Good Luck!

#7 grossgary

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 08:21 AM

Are the E-Bay idler/belt kits any good? My gut tells me to go with an OEM belt and an OEM water pump.

i don't know if they're good!! but, i use the Ebay kits. kind of a toss up on the belts - sometimes i use them but often, like on your newer vehicle, i get a Subaru belt just to be sure.

i like the ebay kits because it easily and reasonably allows you to replace everything. no one i work on cars for wants to foot the bill for all new subaru stuff - and i wouldn't either. it comes down to all new stuff or one or two new subaru parts. i like having all new stuff rather than leaving a few subaru pulleys and hoping they make 200k for the next change, for the reasons i already mentioned earlier and the same reason i replace the water pump as well.

My point was that Phase II 2.5's aren't really known for belt failures. I suspect that 105k is a bit conservative on the interval

it is rare, and for a reason - subaru makes good cars and has a good maintenance interval. increasing the change interval will result in more failures...a small percent - 3% instead of 0.5% for example...but that's more unhappy customers, buying a new (non soob) car, or high repair costs. they have to choose some point on the graph as their maintenance interval, and no matter what number they pick - it will be waaaay below "likely failure" which gives the impression that it's too soon.

#8 McDave

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 01:16 PM

I would want the best parts money can buy on an interference motor.

#9 rweddy

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 02:02 PM

Thanks, everyone.
I'll change it soon. Shouldn't take me more than an afternoon and a six pack. (I have impact wrenches, too.) Are the E-Bay idler/belt kits any good? My gut tells me to go with an OEM belt and an OEM water pump.
My point was that Phase II 2.5's aren't really known for belt failures. I suspect that 105k is a bit conservative on the interval.

Anybody want to see pics of the job or are there enough pictorials on the site already?

I have used the EBAY kits and the water pump was same manufacture as Subaru oem same with the upgraded timing belt.

#10 welly

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 02:01 PM

One thing I dont understand is why in USA you guys get 105k miles between belt changes yet here in Uk its recommended at 60k miles. I would assume its the same belts? Mind you my local dealer tried to do my last belt change at only 45k miles. Should I start pushing my intervals out to 105k? 2.5 l Legacy 2001 MY and if so should I buy belts from the USA?

#11 McDave

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 02:14 PM

One thing I dont understand is why in USA you guys get 105k miles between belt changes yet here in Uk its recommended at 60k miles. I would assume its the same belts? Mind you my local dealer tried to do my last belt change at only 45k miles. Should I start pushing my intervals out to 105k? 2.5 l Legacy 2001 MY and if so should I buy belts from the USA?

Are you sure the change interval in the UK is in miles and not kilometers? 60 kilometers = 100 miles.

#12 hohieu

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 02:58 PM

The conversion is 160 km = 100 miles.

It may have to do with drivetrain warranty issues mandated by law. I'd imagine the parts are of similar quality. Perhaps someone who knows for sure can chime in.

Much of it also depends on the type of driving you do and environmental factors (e.g., city vs. highway miles, ambient temperature extremes).

#13 McDave

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 03:03 PM

The conversion is 160 km = 100 miles.

Ooops, boy did I get that wrong. I was thinking mph/kph and even got that backwards. Dang metric system. :rolleyes:

#14 johnceggleston

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 05:14 PM

One thing I dont understand is why in USA you guys get 105k miles between belt changes yet here in Uk its recommended at 60k miles. I would assume its the same belts? Mind you my local dealer tried to do my last belt change at only 45k miles. Should I start pushing my intervals out to 105k? 2.5 l Legacy 2001 MY and if so should I buy belts from the USA?


as i understand it, back in the mid 90s california required higher emmision standards and longer timing belt intervals. (what they actually required may be different but the t-belt intervals was a result.) the 95MY 2.2L NON-california car had a 60k interval, the california car had a 105k interval. at some point in the US they changed all of the intervals to 105k. the 60k belt actually cost more and it's in stock at my local auto zone, you have to order the 105k belt which is cheaper. go figure.

#15 Gnuman

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 01:37 AM

And the 105K belt is slightly thicker, making for longer wear. The 105k belts will fit in cars built for the 60k belt, with no problems. The tensioner pulley has plenty of slack to handle it.




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