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2003 VDC Subaru Outback 3L H6
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Discussion Starter #1
What could be the cause of a rattling/scraping sound coming from a cylindrical part with slats about 6 in wide and 2 in deep at the top and front of the engine block, visible through the grating in the center of the plastic cover?

This is for a 2003 VDC Outback 3.0 L H6. I should note that while this engine has an automatic belt tensioner, and the belt is supposed to be replaced at the 112.5K inspection, our old mechanic said it looked fine and suggested leaving it in place until it needed to be replaced. Now that we're at 113.7K miles, maybe it needs to be replaced now.


The rattling/scraping noise seems to go away after several minutes driving but I think it's getting steadily worse. Planning to bring it in tomorrow.
 

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2003 VDC Subaru Outback 3L H6
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Discussion Starter #2

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1993 Legacy LSi with still functioning Air Suspension, 1999 Outback 2.5L 5MT lab Rat
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Since these cars do not get a timing belt at 105K like the 4cyl engine, I usually inspect and recommend the belt at least, and usually the pulleys. It is cheap insurance and not very expensive against a pulley/belt failure then Towing, lost time, rental car etc. Plus you'll end up replacing them anyway. Just my thoughts. I have seen the pulley bearings fail, and when that happens bad enough your alse replacing in some cases the AC bracket, due to damage from the failed pulley/bearing.
 

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2003 VDC Subaru Outback 3L H6
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Discussion Starter #4
Could be tensioner bearing; Replace whole Tensioner + Idler, or just the bearings?

Thanks SubyTechJoe. I should also note a few months ago the Harmonic Balancer (Crankshaft Pulley) delaminated and split and I replaced it. At the time some forum members also recommended replacing (with Subaru part numbers):

-Drive Belt - $39.95 - 809221100 (though keep the old belt as a backup)
-Belt Tensioner - $106 - 23769AA003
-Idler (there are 2 on the 3.0L H6, so this is the price for each): $46 - 23770AA020

Another forum member instead suggested simply replacing the ball bearings pressed into each pulley - if you pull the Idler and Tensioner off, there is a ball bearing pressed into each pulley (both use the same bearing, which runs about $5 a piece - that forum member got his from Carquest).

So I think the belt makes sense in any case, but should I replace just the ball bearings (and it sounds like the noise could be caused by a bad bearing), or replace the entire Belt Tensioner and Idler at a much higher cost?
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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those bearings have gotten a little more expensive since some of those old posts so, some of the dayco or other aftermarket brand pulleys, for a little xtra $, are probably a reasonable choice now.
 

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2003 VDC Subaru Outback 3L H6
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Discussion Starter #6
Was the pulleys; FYI

The noise was definitely coming from the pulleys. Decided to replace the Drive Belt, Idler Pulley and Belt Tensioner Assembly for the peace of mind (that was recommended by members here after the Harmonic Balancer/Crankshaft Pulley went a few months back). Based on what I've read and seen, if these parts haven't been replaced on your Subaru and you've driven over 90K miles, I'd replace them (and you can keep the originals as spares if you like). Ours lasted 113K miles.

I checked out the parts after pulled. Whatever grease was originally in the pulleys, it was just dry powder by now.

Our awesome indie mechanic was able to do it all parts and labor for $230, very worthwhile considering the time I'd have to invest in doing it myself.

It got rid of a lot of background noise and the engine runs much more quietly now.
 

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2003 VDC Subaru Outback 3L H6
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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Cause Oil Leak/Check Engine/VDC light after Idley Pulley, Tensioner, Belt replaced?

Barely drove the car (not more than about 25 miles) after having the Drive Belt, Idler Pulley and Belt Tensioner Assembly replaced, when the VDC Light lit up on the dashboard (indicating VDC is now off), followed by the Check Engine light minutes later. Luckily the Check Engine Light went on just as I pulled up to my driveway. Immediately cut the engine and smelled a bit of burning fluid. Looked under car and noticed coolant leaking. It was late at night. By morning the reservoir was empty.

I'm guessing the mechanic likely dislodged a tube under the coolant reservoir. What do you think?
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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probably just coincidental to the pulley/belt work. Any other work done at the same time as those?

almost any code will disable traction control and cruise control on newer cars.


Thinking of fluid-filled stuff in the area of the serpentine belt that could be 'disturbed' by repair work and only coolant or PS fluid are 'nearby'.
 

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2003 VDC Subaru Outback 3L H6
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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Correction - coolant leak not oil leak

CORRECTION (wish I could edit the title of the post) - it was a COOLANT LEAK not an oil leak. All the coolant gone. So lucky I caught it right away and that I had enough coolant to make it to my driveway before the check engine light went on. My guess is that they dislodged a tube under the coolant reservoir, which is right next to the Idle Pulley, Tensioner Assembly and Drive Belt. What do you think?

It was so late at night I left it to the morning to check the oil and coolant.

Moderator can you change "Oil" to "Coolant" 2 posts above, above 1 Lucky Texan's post?
 
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