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Any recommendations for a long-lasting Timing Belt?


In my 2002 Forester EJ251, I replaced the original Subaru factory Timing Belt at 163,590km (101,671miles), as a maintenance precaution. That Subaru belt looked like almost new, with no cracks or other visible deterioration.


The next belt was part of a MizumoAuto timing-belt kit (incl. pulleys, idlers, tensioner, water pump).
After another 62,633km (38,927miles), I discovered that the belt was badly cracked. There are transverse cracks on the back-side of the belt, opposite to the ‘valleys’ in the toothed side. See the attached photo.

That replacement belt only lasted 38% as long as the original Subaru belt, and I have removed it from service.



I can buy a replacement timing belt on line for a variety of prices, and from a variety of manufacturers.
The most expensive belts are the Subaru OEM (13028AA231), followed by Gates and Mitsuboshi. And there are many others available for a fraction of the price.


Which belts are the best buy for the price (I have an interference-engine)?
I know that the Subaru OEM belt is good (no visible deterioration at the recommended change-interval), but it is expensive.
And the MizumoAuto belt was scarily inadequate, with cracking after a much shorter interval (I have asked MizumoAuto to tell me the manufacturer’s name, but no reply).


I have seen lots of online reviews, mostly with comments about how the belt went on easily, or looked nice when new, etc.
But I haven’t found any reviews that comment on the longevity of the belt, or otherwise.


So I welcome comments/recommendations about what make of timing belt to buy, preferably with first-hand experience on how long the belt actually lasted.

Edited by forester2002s

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I just replaced the timing belt on my 2008 Impreza OBS (EJ253) with a Gates kit (TCK304) at ~94K miles.  The original Subaru belt (made in Thailand) appeared in excellent shape with no visual wear.  The replacement US made Gates belt appears good quality.  I will keep an eye on it via removal of the little left side TB cover from time to time.  FYI - the rollers in the Gates kit were all OEM parts from Japan (NSK, Koyo etc.) and one was also a double bearing roller vs. the single one I removed.  We have driven a little over 2K miles since the change in late May, and all appears to be in order.  You should be OK with the Gates belt. 

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Well if I did my math correctly, your are somewhere around 202K miles, or what ever that works out to in KMs. How much longer, or how many miles, or kms are you planning to drive the car?? If not for long, then don't buy the best one that is the most expensive. If it were me, I would buy a timing belt kit that includes tensioners, water pump, and pulleys from ebay at a reasonable price. I did that on my old Subie with 224K miles on the odo, and continue to drive on.

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I just used the Gates kit on my '99 Outback with 186k miles this past weekend.  Hopefully it will last well.


A word to the wise, be sure to replace the tensioner and ALL of the idlers.  I had the kit on hand waiting for a convenient time to do the job, but fate intervened.  The bearings in the geared idler wheel overheated and popped off the ball bearing cover (a ring of plastic covered metal), which then got caught in the timing belt and caused the right-side cams to go out of time (P0301 and P0303 codes). 

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