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How important is it on a non turbo 2004 2.5 forester to replace the timing belt?  And how difficult is it?  (I have completely rebuilt a big block chevy motor with internet and phone help)  For some reason it came to me with a new belt laying in the back, I know the owner previous to me was not capable of changing it.  I'm guessing two owners back someone bought the belt.  BTW, it has about 205000 miles on it.

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Depends on how much you like valve jobs and bent valves.. It's not difficult and is only good for 105 months or 105k miles as far as Subaru rated

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Depends on how much you like valve jobs and bent valves.. It's not difficult and is only good for 105 months or 105k miles as far as Subaru rated

 

I thought I read here that it is a non-interference type engine?  Not so?

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ALL 2.5s ARE interference motors...

 

the earlier 2.2s (1990 to about 1996) are non-interference, as were the older gens EA82s, and i think the 1.8s (out of my realm on that one)

 

The timing job is not hard to do, but it is highly recommended that you do ALL of the timing components when you do it - idler pulleys, water pump, tensioner, etc. Also a good idea to replace the cam & crank seals while you are in there since they are probably hard as a rock by now.

 

Shop "book time" is around 4 hrs i believe, but even a newbie can accomplish the job in a day, taking their time with it.

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Easy - you can replace a belt only in less than an hour with no special tools at all.  Granted it'll be longer for the learning curve, first time, and doing additional parts while the belt is off but overall it's not hard at all. 

 

Replace the tensioner, pulleys, and belt.  At this point the pulleys are just as likely, if not more likely, to fail than the belt. I they fail, the belt fails.

 

The only failure mode of the pulleys is the bearings running out of grease. Then they seize and overheat/melt the belt or fly apart and let it all fly loose.  Valves bend, usually a lot of them, over half on every one I've seen.  you can regrease them with a needle fitting or press in new bearings. But it's usually outside the skillset or equipment for most DIY folks, and if they do have the skills or equipment it's not worth their time compared to the price of the available kits.

 

AISIN kits or OEM parts only. Others are inferior quality.  If you do buy a cheaper set no way would I use the bolts that come with them, I've seen those fail and while I can envision reasons for it it's a poor excuse to replace OEM bolts that have zero failure rates when properly used. 

 

the water pumps on those rarely fail.  you're at the mileage where i would replace it but i also would not be scared to leave the pump on there because they fail so rarely.  about the only thing they do is start to leak at which point they're not hard to replace. 

 

AISIN, OEM only again and use an OEM style water pump gasket only which is metal stamped rather than thin paper material like most aftermarkets. 

 

I usually install new cam seals, crank seals, and replace the oil pump oring while the timing belt is off too, although those seals aren't prone to leak it's just easy while it's part and they're like $5. 

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The manual says to mark the OLD timing belt and gives measurements between the marks after it is off.  Is that to make sure neither cam slipped a notch?  I don't understand why not to just turn the crank to the mark at the top and verify?  Or is that only if you are going to reuse the old belt?

 

Also says to remove the tension adjuster and press it vertically and insert a pin to hold it.  I have a vise that isn't mounted yet, if it's big enough, can I hang it on the side of the workbench and use that to press it in (taking 3 minutes per the manual).?  Then again it seems to show putting a socket on the pulley and removing tension from the belt.

 

And another ... Some kits say they are for automatic and some for manual, other sources don't specify?

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There actually are different timing belt widths on some years for some variations between auto/ manual. I have never encountered it but remember discussions about it on here..

 

You can use a vice that's not mounted sure. It's not a big deal. Count the belt coming off if you want. Count the belt going on for sure. There's a 90% chance marks are right but you want to make sure

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Only use a new timing-belt from a respected manufacturer.

Have a good look at your belt that "was lying in the back".

If it has no manufacturer's mark, I wouldn't use it. Some 'no-name' timing-belts have been known to deteriorate and fail prematurely.

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I think the kit I have is the wrong one, it's not for a 2004 XS.  Although I'm not certain I have an XS ... how would I know what I have if the little plastic emblem on the hatchback is missing?

It's standard tranny 5 speed

Power most everything except the seats, well actually it does have heated seats and heated mirrors.

Automatic climate control

Auto rear view mirror dimmer for night time

 

Anyway my kit is a Gates TCK328, except it has an extra part that is like a small idler.  And the part wasn't added because I opened the sealed plastic wrapping plastic on it.  I'm guessing the kit was never installed because someone found out it was the wrong one.  An XS takes a Gates TCKWP304

 

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NO GATEs! -------chinese sub-standard junk that will kill your engine.

 

 

Japanese (NTN or KOYO) rollers and Mitsuboshi or OE subaru belt.  Contitech, meh....maybe.

 

Paraut, Aisin or NPW water pump.

 

FWIW, sounds like you have an XS.

 

you will also want to replace the Camshaft and crankshaft end seals.

 

I would invest in a tool that holds the Cam sprockets for removing the cam bolts to access the seals.

 

like this  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XX5P1Y8/ref=sspa_dk_detail_0?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B06XX5P1Y8&pd_rd_wg=FhZf8&pd_rd_r=WDEEBGFSCXB2MH6F72R0&pd_rd_w=qvDFb

Edited by Gloyale

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Is a complete Aisin kit good stuff?  I believe my belt is the one with 223 teeth as opposed to the turbo and dohc ones that are 280 teeth.  And there is something screwy also with what tranny you have, a manual transmission takes a different belt than an automatic.

The kit I'm looking at is about half way down this page  https://www.partsgeek.com/catalog/2004/subaru/forester/engine_mechanical/timing_belt.html

with a part number 18020-09009444

Thanks.

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What is the difference between a
                    

2004 Subaru Forester 2.5L MANUAL XS

and a

2004 Subaru Forester (251) MT XS

?  Thanks again!

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Yes, get Aisin, you can't get a better kit and the parts may be, or are, OEM. 

 

There may be no difference - why are you asking? Are they listed on the same sight or different?  If you're looking at two different websites then their algorithm or database might just list it differently. 

 

EJ251 is a particular EJ25 so "251" probably means "EJ251". 

 

As to compressing the pin - you should be replacing the tensioner anyway so you won't need to compress it.  It'll come pre-pinned. 

But yeah if you want or need to for some reason just compress it slowly and keep everything square, I've used a vice or c clamp before. 


I never mark belts or worry about belt markings.  They're just a guide and a help to verify.  
What matters is the crank mark and both cam marks, that is it just like you suspected.  Just make sure to use the correct marks. 

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Yes, get Aisin, you can't get a better kit and the parts may be, or are, OEM. 

OK ordered!  I hope it fits.  The belt in the Gates kit that was in the car when I bought it is the wrong one.  It has 280 teeth.

I believe the belt in the kit I ordered has 223 teeth.

It just boggles my mind that something like this would be different depending on whether the tranny is auto or standard.   That is why I've been asking so many questions.

 

Yes, get Aisin, you can't get a better kit and the parts may be, or are, OEM. 

OK, ordered!

There may be no difference - why are you asking? Are they listed on the same sight or different?  If you're looking at two different websites then their algorithm or database might just list it differently. 

 

EJ251 is a particular EJ25 so "251" probably means "EJ251". 

One website lists both as if they are different

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AT/MT is not a usual timing belt distinction for Subaru. 

01-ish EJ25's do have two style cam/crank triggers so maybe it has to do with that difference, which is also an MT/AT difference.   There's been discussions over the years but I forget where it all lands in the end.  

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Belt may not be different.

 

Kit difference could be water pump with or without second bypass port for oil cooler.

 

Autos got Oil Coolers, MT's did not (mostly)

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AT/MT is not a usual timing belt distinction for Subaru. 

01-ish EJ25's do have two style cam/crank triggers so maybe it has to do with that difference, which is also an MT/AT difference.   There's been discussions over the years but I forget where it all lands in the end.  

 

OK if I can ask without sounding too stupid, what is an "EJ25"?

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Belt may not be different.

 

Kit difference could be water pump with or without second bypass port for oil cooler.

 

Autos got Oil Coolers, MT's did not (mostly)

Oh, that makes sense.  I'm new to this all as I'm sure you can tell.  I've never heard of an engine with a bypass for and oil cooler (I'm assuming that's a transmission oil cooler."

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Oh, that makes sense.  I'm new to this all as I'm sure you can tell.  I've never heard of an engine with a bypass for and oil cooler (I'm assuming that's a transmission oil cooler."

no. engine oil cooler sandwiched between the oil filter and the block.

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EJ is an engine family from 1990-2012.

The last two digits refers to engine displacement so EJ25 is the largest, a 2.5 liter version available from 1996-2012.

 

Oil cooler is the engine oil cooler. It is sandwhiched between the engine and oil filter and receives coolant from the water pump. Look at yours and follow the pipes and you’ll see the cylinder stacked under your oil filter.

 

The transmission cooler is a standard radiator integrated unit and completely separate system.

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Oil cooler is the engine oil cooler. It is sandwhiched between the engine and oil filter and receives coolant from the water pump. Look at yours and follow the pipes and you’ll see the cylinder stacked under your oil filter.

 

 

 

good description but technically water circulates though it from the lower passenger side of the block and returns it's water to the water pump.

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Installed the Aisin kit yesterday, easier than I thought!  With the old belt, the one cam looked like it may have slipped 1 notch, so of course, me being me, I'm hoping for it to run with awesome power now (didn't get out of the driveway yet).

 

The old pulley with cogs was free wheeling with no grease and had a good bit of noise to it, definitely dry, and one of the others wasn't far behind.  I could tell the cover had been off before but I question if the timing belt was changed.

 

Oh, and the old parts looked to be most all the same brand as in my new Aisin kit.  Aisin water pump, everything was Japanese, no China crap.  The heater hose on the pump had that awful sound of breaking strings/fibers inside when I twisted it off and looked original so I found one for another car that was close enough, cut to fit and a tiny little twist did the trick.

 

Does the crank pulley/balancer normally slide right off?  I was expecting it to be a real pain like others I've pulled with a puller and struggled to put on again (interference fit).

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Does the crank pulley/balancer normally slide right off?  I was expecting it to be a real pain like others I've pulled with a puller and struggled to put on again (interference fit).

 

you mean the outer crank pulley? yes, they usually come off fairly easily once the bolt is removed.

I have only ever had to fight with one, and it wasn't that much of a fight, LOL. things had gotten a bit gunked up on that car.

 

Sounds like you have managed to dodge a bullet with the toothed pulley and the hoses.. always a good idea to check those when doing this job.

 

when I did my old car - the radiator hoses were so bad you could see light through them in places - yes they got changed!

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