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I'm hoping some of the many experienced Subie mechanics here will answer some questions I have about my '99 Outback Sport's engine. I have done some online searches, and some of the info I have found has been less than credible. Here are my questions:


1.) From what I gather, my car has the 2.2 L SOHC engine, 'Phase II,' for which '99 was the first year.


   a.) Is this engine a 'non-interference' design? I bought the car from a dealer with 218,500 mi. It seems to have been well maintained, and has records showing 'scheduled maintenance performed', but the records don't specify timing belt change. I asked the dealer about this, and he claimed the belt had been inspected and was good. However, I don't want to entrust my Subaru's life to a dealer's claim.


b.) Are there any other common issues with this generation engine? I really want to get as many miles as possible out of this car, and the transmission may go before the engine (already has some problems with 2nd gear synchro), but I want to do everything I can to get to 300,000 +.


Thank you in advance!








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The last year of the non-interference in the 2.2 was 1996.  Your '99 is an interference engine so a timing belt problem/failure often leads to bent valves.   Even if the belt is OK, often one of the pulleys can seize up and cause timing to jump.  Replacing a timing belt is pretty easy on the 2.2 and kits run about $150-200(they include new belt, pulleys, and a water pump.  Your car has the newer design timing belt tensioner and the consensus is those should be replaced when you do the belt/pulleys.

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what he said,

plus, the interval is 105k miles or months.


the dealer is trying to get out of replacing it in order to sell the car.

but the good news is that he did not slap on a new belt call it good and sell it to you.

now when you have it done correctly you can do it all as mentioned.

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It's interference.

Replace all the timing components. Get the $125 Gates kits on rockauto and amazon.  Double check this fits your 99 Phase II EJ22, that's a rare engine, only available in 99 legacys and 99-01 imprezas.




Replacing the water pump, cam seals, crank seal, and oil pump oring/resealing the oil plate would be wise while the timing belt is off. All that stuff resides behind the timing belt so twice the labor if you're back in there again.  Do all this and you're done for 100,000 miles.


I thought MY99 2.2 timing belts were still 60k miles.




Subaru also says "California Emissions EJ22 belts are 105,000 miles".  so it's left up for you to decide which camp you fall into:

1.  Subaru makes a "California belt"

2.  They're all the same

3. Something else


Phase II EJ22 and EJ25 water pumps, crank sprockets, oil pumps, timing tensioners, timing pulleys - are all identical - so the timing gear and routing is exactly the same.

Phase II timing kits are said to fit EJ22 and EJ25 engines.  Strong implication is that they are 105,000 mile belts, but I'm not guaranteeing that or saying they are/should be.

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