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2016 Outback 3.6R
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184 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I recently had my 105K service done at a local dealership. They are pretty good. Did the HG job on my 2001 for free after the warranty was out. Helped me out financially big time on the HG job on my 2007, as well. Did quality work.

Anyways, I asked them what they do for the timing belt job. They replace the timing belt and tensioner automatically, and replace anything else on an as-needed basis after an inspection.

I called another dealership and they told me the same thing, and actually got snippy with me after I asked if they would replace anything else automatically. Yeesh.

Anyways, my OCD tendencies are getting the best of me, I suppose. :)

Has anybody actually heard of an idler pulley failing and therefore ruining an engine?

The service rep told me that in his 6+ years there, they have only replaced 4 water-pumps. That is why they don't replace them during the service. I'm not so worried about the water pump anyways, as those typically don't ruin an engine when they go.

I replaced the drive belts myself at 90K. I did not tell them this, and the service rep did state that they looked good, so they were not replaced, so that tells me they were inspecting things?

I did talk to a mechanic buddy of mine after the job and told him the situation. He put the fear-of-God in me and made it sound like my engine was going to blow any day now b/c the original pulleys, water-pump. etc were still on the car.

I am good about keeping my cars running to 200k+.

Who else has had those pulleys, etc. last a full 200k with no issues? Any issues/noises with them?

Thanks!
 

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2010 Forester
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63 Posts
There was someone here that had a pulley seize and strip grooves off the belt (geared pulley). If any other pulley would be giving in you might notice squealing first... but if bearing brakes you might have a problem. What they do at the dealership is they just check those pulleys for any play... and replace as needed... IMO if it ain't broken don't fix it doesn't really work with timing... I wouldn't take any chances there. Water pump? Not sure about that - why it's a good measure to get it replaced when doing a timing belt job? I gues strictly because you are tearing the front apart and have easy access to it... but is it needed? I don't think so...
 

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2006 Outback 2.5i Limited 5MT, 1984 Porsche 944
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276 Posts
Here's my experience: replacing my T-Belt at 103,000 I found the water pump to be tight. I wouldn't have hesitated to leave it if I hadn't already bought the new one. All of the idler pulleys were very shot. They span freely with noise.

I'd assume the dealer would have replaced those. But you know what happens with assumptions.
 

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I own 4 Subarus. A 95,97,02 and a 14. The first two are 2.2 and the last two 2.5.
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657 Posts
"anybody actually heard of an idler pulley failing and therefore ruining an engine"

Yea, there have been a number of posts on this and other forums of idler failures on 2.5 engines. Apparently, it's the cogged one that fails most often. That's probably how the great majority of the timing belts fail. I assume that you know that you have an interference engine so a timing belt failure probably means that you should consider just towing it to the junk yard. [I didn't say do it, just consider it].

Your first mechanic is probably right that the water pump will very likely make it to 210K. He's also probably right on the idlers but not with 90% confidence.

On my 02, I just replaced everything when I did the timing belt and HG last summer. I was reluctantly convinced by other posters that you shouldn't gamble with an interference engine.
 

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2016 Outback 3.6R
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184 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
It is a H4 non-turbo.

I guess I'll keep an ear out for noises. Seems OK for now.

If my OCD kicks in again, maybe I'll have the pulleys, water pump, etc. replaced soon. :)

I hate to pay AGAIN for labor to get in there, though. Geez.

Speaking of engine noise, when the dealership did the HG job a few months ago (for a much reduced cost, thank you SOA), they drained the engine oil and refilled with Subaru-brand oil. No problem, but I noticed the engine was a little bit more noisy at idle. After 3k miles, I drained and went back to using Pennzoil synthetic. Noise reduced. I love that stuff.
 

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00 Outback Wagon...269K 09 Legacy 2.5 Sedan...93k
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201 Posts
Not replacing "the works" under the cover is penny wise and pound foolish. The "kit" will come with belt, tensioner, pump, idlers. Add a couple of cam seals and a crank seal you have NO worries. The real cost of the job is the labor...

Stealerships WANT you back in 20K to replace a bad idler, leaking seal etc...so they can jack you up for the labor...AGAIN.

It's your money...
 
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