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01 Outback LL Bean
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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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