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1999 Subaru Legacy Outback Manual
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a 1999 Subaru Legacy Outback 2.5i (engine
EJ25D).

I recently bought it and it's nearing 200,000 miles. I don't
know whether the timing belt has been changed before.

I looked at the Carfax and there are a whole bunch of
things listed. The only relevant listing is "recommended
maintenance service" at around 135,000 miles (see
attached photo).

Is there any way to tell whether the timing belt has been
done at some point, and whether I should do a new one
now?

And also, on a Subaru the cover is relatively easy to
access. Is this something I should do myself? I'm
relatively mechanically inclined, I just changed the
center differential (it's a manual transmission), but I've
never done something like this that requires a huge
amount of precision (other than TPS but that doesn't
count). I'm also good at improvising but I'd rather not
improvise my engine into paste.

Is there any way to check the date on the timing belt
(such as serial number or something)? There is also
some squeaking at low RPMs but I figured it's one of the
serpentine belts.
488181
 

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Outback 2011 3.6R Premium (sold Jan 22)
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Timing belts need to be done every 100,000 miles (or every 105 months from memory) so either way your vehicle is probably due for a timing belt kit (timing belt, tensioner and idler pulleys).

You can remove the right hand (looking at front of engine) timing cover and inspect the belt condition but there is no serial number or other marking on the belt to advice of age.

If your engine is a single overhead cam, it is fairly easy to do a timing belt kit and with your mechanical experience you should not find it too difficult but please watch a couple of online videos to be aware of the procedure as there are a couple of things that need attention such as the correct lining up of camshaft and crankshaft marks.

Seagrass
 

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Registered
1999 Subaru Legacy Outback Manual
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78 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Timing belts need to be done every 100,000 miles (or every 105 months from memory) so either way your vehicle is probably due for a timing belt kit (timing belt, tensioner and idler pulleys).

You can remove the right hand (looking at front of engine) timing cover and inspect the belt condition but there is no serial number or other marking on the belt to advice of age.

If your engine is a single overhead cam, it is fairly easy to do a timing belt kit and with your mechanical experience you should not find it too difficult but please watch a couple of online videos to be aware of the procedure as there are a couple of things that need attention such as the correct lining up of camshaft and crankshaft marks.

Seagrass
Appreciate the response.

My thought is, if the timing belt was done at 135,000 (like in the picture I forgot to attach that I'm attaching now), then I still have some time.

Also it's an EJ25D 1999, I think it's dual overhead cams (DOHC).
488180
 

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Premium Member
01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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18,139 Posts
If the belt is aged, 9 years is just over the 105 months, then it will have developed cracks in the belting due to age and drying out, especially in dry climates like Colorado. I don't see timing belt in your posted pic. So go by the date your report shows it was replaced.

You can look at the belt by removing either side cover.

The replacement is easy. Easier with the radiator and fans removed. This gives you more space. It's also a good opportunity to replace the thermostat and coolant.

There are a few post on this forum concerning timing belt replacement.
 

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1999 Subaru Legacy Outback Manual
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78 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If the belt is aged, 9 years is just over the 105 months, then it will have developed cracks in the belting due to age and drying out, especially in dry climates like Colorado. I don't see timing belt in your posted pic. So go by the date your report shows it was replaced.

You can look at the belt by removing either side cover.

The replacement is easy. Easier with the radiator and fans removed. This gives you more space. It's also a good opportunity to replace the thermostat and coolant.

There are a few post on this forum concerning timing belt replacement.
Sorry maybe I wasn't clear.

The report is the picture I attached, I didn't take a picture of the belt. The report only says, as seen in the image, "recommended service performed" but does not actually specify that the timing belt was changed. Nowhere in the entire report does it explicitly say that.

I was just wondering if there would be information physically on the belt that would tell me its manufacturing date.
 

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Super Moderator
Outback 2011 3.6R Premium (sold Jan 22)
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To try and directly answer your question, “recommended service performed” at the 116,000 miles service WOULD NOT include a timing belt kit as that is scheduled at 105,000 miles.

You have purchased a vehicle with an incomplete record of service history (it may have been done but there is no record) so it is now up to you to either catch up with the maintenance or take a risk.

Please be aware that if the timing belt, tensioner or idler pulley fails the engine will suffer serious damage that will typically cost $1,000 to $2,500 to fix at a workshop.

There is no way to reliably tell how old a timing belt, tensioner and idler pulleys are.

I hope this helps you decide what maintenance to do.

Seagrass
 

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Registered
1999 Subaru Legacy Outback Manual
Joined
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78 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
To try and directly answer your question, “recommended service performed” at the 116,000 miles service WOULD NOT include a timing belt kit as that is scheduled at 105,000 miles.

You have purchased a vehicle with an incomplete record of service history (it may have been done but there is no record) so it is now up to you to either catch up with the maintenance or take a risk.

Please be aware that if the timing belt, tensioner or idler pulley fails the engine will suffer serious damage that will typically cost $1,000 to $2,500 to fix at a workshop.

There is no way to reliably tell how old a timing belt, tensioner and idler pulleys are.

I hope this helps you decide what maintenance to do.

Seagrass
I know what would happen if it broke.

The problem is, there was no maintenance done at 105,000 miles at all which is why I figured the recommended maintenance at the point in the figure might be the timing belt, since it hadn't been done at 105,000 for sure.

I checked the belt, and unlike the factory belt (which usually has markings and such on it), this belt has nothing on it. No marks anywhere, no alignment marks.

So I'm guessing (hoping) that it is an aftermarket belt, indicating it has been changed. I checked the tension with my hand and it seems normal, and the belt is missing no teeth nor contaminated.
 
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