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I have a 2001 Outback with H6 with 250k miles and running sweet. However as the/your engine gets more miles on it don't expect it to be as snappy as is once was because of a stretched timing chain(s) and retarded valve timing. I would say after 250k - 300k miles you are on your own for engine performance and security. If the chain or any one of the many components that control the chains break the whole engine is a house of falling cards meaning bent valves and possibly damaged pistons when the cam shafts stop turning....in the end it's about how scared you are about maybe needing to rebuild much of the engine yourself or by a Subaru professional....good luck with your choice....Lee
 

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2001 H6 Engine Noise

My second text.....as some of the other posts have stated be careful what you diagnose...my 2001 H6 has 250k miles and is amazingly very quiet but most of its miles have been at highway speeds above 50mph....so great miles.....I bought it at 80k miles....youtube has great videos on the H6...aka the EZ30 engine.... Lee.
 

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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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I think that it is the tensioner based on my experience with motors and the way the particular problem behaves. I do not know any mechanics that have experience with Subaru's let alone the H6. I do all of my own car work and after analyzing the job I do not think it is actually any harder than a timing belt job on a H4 with the exception of the many bolts that hold the timing chain cover on. In fact, i think most people think this is a difficult job solely because of the number of bolts that need to be removed, which I think I will make pretty short work of with an air ratchet.

That all aside, if I wanted to fix the immediate problem I would just replace the tensioners and move on. I'm interested however is extending the life of the vehicle via some preventative maintenance and would like to pass some of that on to other H6 owners. Plus I think it will be fun to tear into the H6 a bit.
Wow, well if it’s fun for you, yes go for it! To me it sounds like a nightmare to buy $$$ parts and then hope I did everything right.
If my circumstances were a little different, like if I owned my own residence and had my own garage, I wouldn’t mind my Subaru sitting in there being all taken apart and even sitting forever. It would be no big deal, but I rent a garage and if anything would ever happen where I’d have to get out of there for financial reasons or what have you, it would be horrifying to me to have a car stuck in there.
You sound like you are game though!
I read a little further into this 9 page post, and I see you went for it, good for you.
I didn’t know Subaru H6’s had tensioner problems, like I always thought that was something you could only expect from a 2000 or so BMW 740IL.
 

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I'll reply my 2 cents worth. I had a rattle when hot at idle. With any increase in rpm it went away. It wasn't there before I changed to 10-30 oil so the PO must have used a heavier weight. Torn down I could see nothing wrong. It had ~ 115k mi but the worst guide still looked like it could go another 200k. I replaced any guides that showed any wear, both tensioners, and the cam chains. Everything is fine now. I have put about another 10k mi on it and it seems fine. The only thing that makes sense is the tensioners were a bit leaky causing loss of force at low rpm when hot. Probably would have been fine to just use a slightly heavier oil.

I don't recommend this repair for the timid, but my parts cost was about $500 and the dealer repair cost would have been around $2500. ($2000 of labor gives you and idea how big a job this is) As an added bonus I got to straighten a tweated frame front member while the whole front bumper was off.

If you try it get a compact impact driver. Those bolts only go on with about 9 ft-lb, but it takes about 50 to get them off. If you cam one out you are in trouble. You only have about 4" in front of the bolts before the frame member is in the way so only a compact driver will work.

I would also advise take a sharp probe and clean out the socket heads so you can make sure the allen end fits in the socket completely. Might be a good idea to take a short section of allen wrench and put it in each bolt and wack it with a hammer before starting. Might make the loosening easier though I didn't think to try it before getting mine all out. I consider myself most lucky an that.
 

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Glennda5id, the parts list you have on the original post can i ask where you found all that? I'm looking into purchasing a 2004 outback h6 3.0 pretty cheap because I think it needs head gaskets (burning Coolant). Anyway I do all my own work and am pretty confident about this job I just need to know exactly how many idlers there are, I know there are two tensioners, how many guides are there? And anything note worthy to know before I get involved?? Again if anyone can point me in the direction for parts that would be great. Thanks again everyone
 

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01 Outback LL Bean
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Discussion Starter #166
If you need to replace the HG I would skip and swap in a JDM EZ30. I have gone both routes and the JDM swap is by far the best value and will be more reliable for longer period of time. The HG swap is very involved in both time and cost and the end result is a EZ30 with a well worn bottom end, some blow by and various oil leaks.
 

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(1) 95 2.2L legacy wagon 243,000 miles; about to instal used 107.000m motor due to knocking rod end. On it's 3rd transmission (# 2 & #3 were from wreckers). (2) 99 Legacy outback ltd, recently purcha
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Some 2001s had the chain guides wear prematurely- that's about it.

All the early H6s had the idler pulley bearings for the serp belt wear early- cheap easy replacement.

That's about it.

Dave
Check for corrosion in the rear door "frames" bottom rear corner at front of rear fender. There is a rubber bump stop on the inside of the rear door that contacts a corresponding dimple in the door frame. A pinhole in the front of the rear wheel well can let moisture in and corrosion sets in. Seen this in many otherwise immaculate Gen 2 H6 sedans and wagons.
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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Check for corrosion in the rear door "frames" bottom rear corner at front of rear fender. There is a rubber bump stop on the inside of the rear door that contacts a corresponding dimple in the door frame. A pinhole in the front of the rear wheel well can let moisture in and corrosion sets in. Seen this in many otherwise immaculate Gen 2 H6 sedans and wagons.

Yeah I had big holes there! The fender lip seam goes then it pumps water right down into the rockers.
 
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