Replacing timing belt. Should I replace drive belt, too? - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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Replacing timing belt. Should I replace drive belt, too?

I have a 2011 Outback w/ 2.5L with 111K miles on it. Realized this weekend that I somehow made it past the 105K interval to replace timing belt. I called a few places.

Dealer closest to me wants $1600 - TB, tensioner, idlers, water pump. Holy crap.

Dealer 2 said anywhere from "six and a quarter up to $1400 depending on what they find" - said they almost never need to replace water pump, and sometimes don't see a need to replace the tensioner and idlers. Hmm.

Independent mechanic (highly regarded) said $750-800 for (Gates) belt, tensioner, idlers.

I'm going with independent guy. I am thinking about having them do a few other things while I have the car in there.

Definitely going to have them change the front and rear diff fluid, as I've never done that. Should I go ahead and have them replace the drive/accessory belt too? I see the interval to replace is at 120K...so that's a half year away, give or take given the amount of driving I do. What's the consensus here on replacing CVT fluid? Lifetime seems so...trusting.

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 02:13 PM
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I'd replace the accessory drive belt, as long as you're in there....
IMHO lifetime fluid means it stays in there till the transmission dies, and that's its life. Since this is my first experience with CVT, I'm a little paranoid (not consensus) so I'm changing CVT fluid on the severe service schedule. I expect the transmission to last longer than the life of the fluid.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 03:11 PM
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I'm pretty sure Subaru has backed off on the "lifetime" claim for the CVT fluid. I'd encourage you to get that changed as well (if not now, then soon).
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 03:40 PM
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I was on the highway in November when the belt went, due to a frozen tensioner/idler pulley. 2012 3.6 with, yes, 105,000 on it. The local Subaru dealer replaced the belt and the tensioner/idler pulley (but did not replace the water pump) for under $225
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 04:05 PM
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If anyplace ever suggest ONLY the belt and not the tensioners, etc....don't let them touch your car.
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Have you tried using the Google search bar at the top of the forum?

2003 Outback 2.5 wagon: "Kaylee". 161,000 and counting.
More rust than I care to think about. And leaking head gaskets. And electrical gremlins. Still flyin'.

2002 L.L. Bean Limited 3.0 Outback wagon: "Mal". 110,000 and counting.
Plenty of battle scars and fixing up the previous owner's neglect.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 04:45 PM
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Gates is probably fine, ask/price your Indy for an Aisin timing belt kit.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 04:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonotuck View Post
I was on the highway in November when the belt went, due to a frozen tensioner/idler pulley. 2012 3.6 with, yes, 105,000 on it. The local Subaru dealer replaced the belt and the tensioner/idler pulley (but did not replace the water pump) for under $225
It's my understanding the water pump is driven by the timing chain (for 3.6R) or timing belt (for 2.5i) in these.

Accessory belt would be running the alternator, power-steering, and A/C compressor. Losing it would mean limited time to keep going (until battery runs down and can't power computers/ignition system when everything will suddenly quit), stiff steering, and no A/C no defrost.

My 3.6R they said at 105K the accessory belt and everything still looks fine so I'm going to wait for now...but I don't have a timing belt so there's nothing to take apart right now.

As for the 2.5i - I assume you have to remove the accessory belt to get access to the timing belt? If that's true then why put the old one back (you're doing all the labor). Same with the water pump, if you have it all apart it's just a cheap part almost nothing additional labor once you take all the other stuff apart for the timing belt.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice! I'll go ahead and have them do CVT fluid and drive belt as well.

For grins, I wrote the Subaru dealer where I purchased my first Outback. I thought they ran a good, honest business. However, they're over 3 hours away from me now. Anyway, I asked their price to replace TB, tensioner, and idler pulleys. He said around $895 + tax.

It's maddening to see the price differences from dealer a to b to c.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 06:20 PM
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EJ water pumps routinely last 200,000+ miles and catastrophic failure is nearly unheard of, it's so rare i wouldn't believe it's an actual failure of an OEM factory installed pump unless I saw it myself. No need to replace.

Belt, pulleys, and tensioner I'd definitely replace.
The belt and tensioner are a given.
The toothed pulleys almost always need replaced - they're simply devoid of grease.
The others are questionable, i like to replace them but I can understand a dealer not wanting to charge that extra labor/parts.

I like to do the cam seals and reseal the oil pump (tigthen backing plate screws, crank seal, reseal pump body).
The parts costs are like $20, cheap and easy. But a dealer would charge two extra hours of labor probably - so $200-ish.

Drive belts - why not just do it all and be done with it?
That said - they're cheap, easy to replace and can be inspected or done later, not a big deal. They rarely cause issues - though it's possible for them to fail and interact with the timing belt, that's rare though.
If yours has the plastic drive belt pulley - i'd replace that as well. I forget when they used those.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonotuck View Post
I was on the highway in November when the belt went, due to a frozen tensioner/idler pulley. 2012 3.6 with, yes, 105,000 on it. The local Subaru dealer replaced the belt and the tensioner/idler pulley (but did not replace the water pump) for under $225
That's a different issue, those pulley bearings (2 of them) should be replaced every 60,000 miles or so. 100k at the most.
Those fail due to the idler pulley bearings loosing grease (same thing that happens to timing pulleys).
The bearings are $10 and take 30 minutes to tap in, super easy job. I do it every 60k or so.
That's a well documented issue and specific to EZ engines only, lots of information and stickies about it and the options you have to repair.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-07-2017, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the note, GrossGary. It's good to get added confirmation and suggestions. This car has been relatively pain free in its first 100+K miles. Showing some extra love now is worth it to keep it going for several more years.

"If yours has the plastic drive belt pulley - i'd replace that as well. I forget when they used those."

Thanks - what's the easiest way to find out if my engine has it or not - is it easy to see or will I have to remove something to check?

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