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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recent purchase of a 2004 Outback- Bean with 155,000 on its 3.0. Cold start up, engine is quiet and normal. After freeway driving or until it's hot, then the possible chain noise from the front of engine. I have read the threads about it and the theme seems to be on cold start is when others hear the noise.

I took the car to my mechanic and his initial diagnosis was chain. He took serpentine belt off and still heard the noise. He, however would rather I buy a crate engine than fix the chain which made me uneasy/suspicious.

Having just sunk a bunch of money into heavy duty cv joints (as recommeneded for the models with 3.0), I'm not made of money, thus purchasing a 13 yr old car. I understand the logic of a low mileage crate engine but I don't think it's that dire-yet.

Does this sound right? Is my chain dying? Without you all hearing it, am I at the beginning stages where I can squeeze 6 mos out of easy driving or am I at the other end of the spectrum?

Any input is appreciated!
 

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2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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moved thread/ updated title:
@Glennda5id and @idosubaru have done a few timing chain maint jobs on these. and they might read your initial post and make recommendations.

noise sometimes crops up around 180,000 miles. (read once on one around 100,000).

when you hear the noise, can you feel for the vibrations with a log screwdriver to your chin,.

isolating it to inside the timing chain cover,? or one of the heads? or to the shortblock?
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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Here?s what I recommend:

1. Ignore it. There?s far more ?my chain makes noise? H6?s than there are ?my chain failed?, actually I?ve never even seen a failed chain yet, I?m probably forgetting one but it?s not common. So data tells us the risk is generally very low. But to try to dig in and feel good rather than guessing....

2. Monitor gas mileage closely, preferably see what you get on Long consistent drives. Keep in mind alignment and dragging brake pins etc might impact alignment on a new to you used car. That won?t confirm anything but be good to know.

3. Have an oil analysis done, that is cheap and will tell you if there?s metal or otherwise contaminating the oil from wearnof improperly Seating/Wearing timing components.

4. Change your oil often and/or consider synthetic if you?re not leaking or using oil.

Unless steps 2 or 3 give any compelling reason, and depending on your follow up details of when/what the sound is like, i wouldn?t worry about it.

Hard data is ideal:
It only makes noise after warm up?
How often and how loud?
Does it always do it at certain speeds, only under load, only while cruising, etc? Or rarely like 1/week?

The cost between new engine and timing chain work won?t be significant different so your mechanic has a point.

A. He should replace all the guides, tensioners and chain. Include labor and the cost of replacing the timing chain isn?t mich different than a JDM engine. Probably $300 in parts and $300+ in additional labor (tats probably on the low side estimates) and JDM engines are $600 or $700. The labor on those chain covers alone is just plain annoying.

B. H6 timing chains are robust enough, they typically last the life of the vehicles, that one may wonder If the chain issues were caused by poor oil maintenance then a new engine sounds reasonable.

Add those two things together and presumably getting a 3-6 month warranty on the JDM and it?s not a bad idea at all.


You shouldn?t have bought any CV axles except cheap Subaru OEM which last the life of the vehicle. Regreased and rebooted they last the life of the vehicle.
They?re $15-$35 from car-part.com

Aftermarkets are terrible options.
 

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The majority of timing chain issues on the EZ30 are due to a design defect in the timing chain tensioner when the engine was introduced in 2001. The part was updated sometime during the 2002 production cycle to fix the design defect. An issue with the tensioner is not very likely with a 2004 with 150k miles in my opinion. But very poor oil service history could lead to premature failure. That being said it doesn't sound like you have a timing chain issue. The faulty tensioners leak oil and do not hold pressure. They leak oil when the car is sitting and then take some time to build pressure when you start the car and the chain rattles until engine oil pressure builds up.

If you need tensioners they are about $75 each or so and the shop time for the job is 3.4 hours skill level B. I would not scrap the motor over faulty tensioners.

Could you try recording the noise you are experiecing, post it on YouTube and share a link?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for the quick replies!

I've had the car for a month and my first trip to work (freeway) I ran premium with some Sea-Foam in the tank and set cruise at 70. 100 miles yielded 27 mpg. In reading past threads, this seems pretty good. I can't hear the rattle under load. Mainly at hot idle, like if I'm out of car, etc.

I hear you on routine oil changes. I am a little OCD so watching/waiting for the next change interval has never been a problem. I've heard that if I switch over to synthetic, I could be asking for more trouble due to the fact the engine has 156k on dino oil. She doesnt't burn or drip right now. Would going to a little thicker viscosity help? Perhaps a little 'hyper lube'? I had oil changed when I bought the car for base line. I am 1500 miles into that interval. Noise ws present before and after that oil change.

Hard data;

Noise is only at hot idle. Quiet on cold start.
 

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27mpg is really really good. I can get that on straight highway with 3 season tires on my own H6.
(a little stop and go, parked idling, or short trips, really makes the mpg go down on these).

I see your IP is somewhere by Seattle. ...land of the highest subaru prices, (more subaru lovers then subarus there ...so consistent high demand).

how much did you pay?
 
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