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'04 Outback Base, 146k miles
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Discussion Starter #1
Evening everybody, I'm Dave. If anybody's from the BMW or Ford worlds you might recognize me. I'm here for my mom's car. Her mech. recently retired down to the Gulf (must be nice, right?) and I've inherited maintenance duties.

146k miles on it, she bought it as a former demo car with 1300 miles on it. Mom isn't much on preventative maintenance (read none) other than religious oil changes. I'd estimate 4-5,000 of that a year is on road trips. The rest is not much city/stop and go. We live out in the suburbs so a lot of cruising, but all ~55 or below. Unfortunately she works about 3mi from home and has probably never sped. So carbon is probably having a party down in there.

The car has been losing coolant and there's an odd rumble at idle every 20-30 seconds. No surge in idle or lurch forward, just a shaking of the whole car.

Here's what's been replaced in the past; plug wires, filters, both front CV axles, accessory belts a few times, brakes.

I realized going through it that the timing belt is from the factory :gasp:. After a panic and a good laugh I started tearing in to it. Her driving must not be as hard as I'd thought on it, she's had pretty good luck as far as reliability goes. Here's where my question comes in:

On the guides and pictures/videos I've seen there's factory paint marks on top of the notched timing marks. However mine are just to the passenger's side. When those are straight up the metal notch on the back of the crank gear is at about 1 minute (per a clock). However, all three metal notches line up. Crank straight up, both cam notches are straight up and align with the rear timing cover.

So trust the metal marks? Just want to double check myself before I turn my few hundred savings in to a few thousand mistake haha. Also, I think I found where the coolant is going. Is that the infamous head gasket failure I see? Including a picture of the data card incase that helps...
Thanks in Advance everyone.





 

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'14 3.6R Outback
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2,346 Posts
Dude, awesome post and pics.

Unfortunately most of our senior members are currently out enjoying their rides. I suggest checking back in the morning and some one will have your answer.
 

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'04 Outback Base, 146k miles
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20 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Hah, thanks Dave. Don't know that I've ever had one of my posts called awesome?

Forgot a little more info for anyone that comes in. That green coolant is from me removing the upper hose. The black gunk and the stuff that looks like spray foam is from whatever leak.

Seafoamed the car. Cleaned the TB and idle air valve. Pulled the plugs. They looked great, just had that orange-white age color. What a relief. However, the valve cover gaskets are shot. I've never see so much oil in the plug wells, and I come from german engines hah.
 

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Yes, your timing marks are good. The paint is from an inspector that it was checked, not an actual t mark.
This series of EJ engines is known to have external coolant leaks and Suby's "fix" is their conditioner (in reality Holt's Stop Leak). Get some from dealer and add 2 bottles and just monitor coolant level from here.

O.
 

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'04 Outback Base, 146k miles
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20 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Much appreciated Osei.

Got everything back together today. I guess the machine that trims the metal burrs off engine pulleys was broken when they built this one. I must have two dozen nicks all over my hands. Looks like I've been fighting kittens all day.

But she's running like a top. I noticed almost instantly the idle feels better. About 600-750rpm when in gear. I think revs rise and fall a little quicker, not sure. Mom did say it's running better than it has in a few years.

Had a little time to work on the paint before bourbon:30 came along. Seems I either have to deal with etching or repaint it, c'est la vie.
 
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