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Fordaniece

When to change timing belt on 1997 Subaru Impreza Outback

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Hello All - 

We have just purchased a used 1997 Subarau Impreza Outback sport (78,187 miles) for our niece, and would like to know if we should change the timing belt before we give it to her. Is it difficult on a subaru? Has 2.2 L H4 EFI engine. We service all our own trucks/tractors here on the ranch, so are not novices. Please advise. Thank you

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I think they are good to 100k miles but, that's only 20k miles off and '97 is interference... Pull the radiator as a unit and the belt will be pretty straight forward. crank it in line the 3 hash marks on the the cam pulleys and the crank sprocket. Then you can remove the old belt, tensioner and the idlers. Do the water pump at the same time. Install the belt with new idlers and you can reuse the tensioner itself, but you should replace the cam... I find leaving the cogged idler off, installing the belt and then installing the cogged idler is best. A trick is to clamp the belt in place on the cam sprockets

Edited by matt167

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the timing belt interval on the 97 2.2L engine is 60k miles or 60 months, so it is due NOW.

and your engine will likely have bent valves if the belt or another component fails.

but the belts usually don't fail, the idler pulleys do.

so it is best to replace the belt, all idlers, and the water pump to be sure.

 

the 97 has a 2 piece tensioner and the piston usually does not need replacing unless it is leaking or not working properly.

also good to replace the cam & crank seals, cam cap o-rings, oil pump o-ring and re-seal the oil pump.

 

check out the ''theimportexperts'' on ebay. they have quality parts for a good price.

and usually a kit including the water pump for about $130.

 

the seals i get from the dealer, about $35 online or wholesale, ~$42 retail.

 

pretty easy job, just make sure you KNOW which the correct timing marks are.

DO NOT assume you will be able to figure it out by looking at the engine.

 

http://www.lovehorsepower.com/SubaruDocs/TimingWaterPump.htm

Edited by johnceggleston

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in that case you have a 105k mile or 105 month interval, and it is due NOW, unless it was done recently.

and even if it was done recently, did they do just the belt, or the belt and the water pump or did they also do the idlers????

 

so for less than $200 and a few hours of your time, you can do it all and know that the timing belt ''stuff'' is not going to cause the car to break down at 11pm at night with you niece alone on some unknown road somewhere with iffy cell phone coverage.

 

you might also consider new plugs, NKG. (~$2 each)

and new plug wires, subaru (~$45 @ online dealer) or a very HIGH quality alternative.

do not install cheap wires.

new oil and filter, new air filter.

Edited by johnceggleston

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ps: you might cal the import experts and mention you want a 105k belt. i do not know if the one in the kit they sell is a 105k belt.

they have a real store some where and they will put together the kit you need.

 

in VA @ advance auto parts, the 60k belt costs more and is in stock. the 105k belt cost less but you have to order it.

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it's 15 years old - it definitely needs replaced.

even if the belt was new i'd still replace it - because i'd want new pulleys and tensioners - those are failure prone.

 

get a timing belt kit - with new pulleys and tensioner and timing belt and replace it all.  theimportexperts sells them on ebay like $200 for everything if you have the new style tensioner (likely).  Subaru changed tensioner style from 1996 to 1997 but i've seen some bleed over like old style tensioners in 97 vehicles.  the old style is actually more reliable but if you get a new one it's a wash anyway.

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I would say given the car's age, go ahead and replace the belts. To make the effort worth the investment, take this time to replace the water pump, rebuild the oil pump (loc-tite the inner screws) and replace the cam seals as they most certainly probably are seeping a little anyway.

 

Remove the radiator for better access, and take the opportunity to change the hoses and clamps with new coolant.

 

Make sure to use a genuine oem thermostat, and since the thermo is on the bottom of the water pump, please observe subaru specific proper coolant fill and burping procedures (fill the block via the upper hose first, then the radiator)

 

Depending on what you have for a tensioner, either one will swap in either's place, so log as tou have the mounting piece (specivic to style of tensioner) which swaps either way

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The mechanical part of this operation is no problem.  Getting the right parts seems to be next to impossible.  I went to my local NAPA to get the timing belt kit and water pump.  Water pump went right in, no problem.  The timing kit says it is for a 94-97 1.8L, a 94-97 2.2L, and a 97-98 2.2 L, which is the engine I am working on.  The kit comes with a larger offset idler for the tensioner.  Well, I don't have that type of tensioner.  NAPA says that is the only kit they have, but they can get me a separate tensioner Idler bearing.  Wrong size inner.  Now they tell me I have to buy a complete new tensioner.  Is it really this difficult?  Does anyone have a bearing that will fit on the tensioner that I have without spending 135 for a new tensioner?  Any input would be appreciated.

 

Tate

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