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2009 Outback XT 5MT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Giday,

As I set off to work this morning in my 2009 Outback XT, the blue light was on, as usual. Yes, it's cold enough in PA to have the blue light on first thing in the morning.

I got two miles before the heat warning light came on. I pulled over immediately and turned the thing off.

I called AAA and while waiting, it cooled and I tried starting it. No luck. I could hear the starter engage and turn, but the engine wasn't turning over.

The dealer called at about 4:45 pm to let me know that belts / pulleys broke. I know he used both words, but I'm not sure exactly what is broken. I've got a phone call in for him to call me back. I think it's three belts which need to be replaced.

He did say the timing belt did not break.

However, putting it all back together will be costly and we won't know if the engine is OK until after that is done. Ouch.

Do y'all have theories as to what has happened?

My amateur guess: the water pump seized up. Everything else stemmed from that.
 

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2011 Outback Prm AWP 6MT
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As far as I know the water pump is driven by the timing belt on subarus, even turbo models. So if the timing belt did not break, then that's not it. Unfortunately I don't have any other theories as to why you had overheating and your accessory drive belts snapped.
 

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As I set off to work this morning in my 2009 Outback XT, the blue light was on, as usual. . . . . I got two miles before the heat warning light came on.
I'm puzzled. "blue light", "heat warning light". On a 2009? Doesn't it have a temperature gauge? (See attached, which is the 2007 turbo combination meter, but I believe is similar to the 2009.)

I could hear the starter engage and turn, but the engine wasn't turning over.
I presume you mean the starter motor engaged and turned, but the engine itself wouldn't start. (The engine probably was "turning over", i.e. rotating if the starter was engaged and turning.)

On the 2009 2.5 engine there's two external (accessory) belts, one for the AC compressor, and one for the power steering pump and the alternator. Neither would cause the car to overheat if they were broken.

The timing belt is the third belt on these cars. If it breaks, the engine stops, period. The timing belt does drive the water pump. If the pump, or a timing belt idler or tensioner pulley seizes, the belt usually either breaks, or comes off its track, and the engine stops.
Sometimes the belt will slip a few teeth (it's a toothed belt); that could cause improper timing of the camshafts, which could lead to very poor running engine, probably stalling, and perhaps overheating, but you don't mention anything like that happening.

How many miles on the car?
 

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2009 Outback XT 5MT
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm puzzled. "blue light", "heat warning light". On a 2009? Doesn't it have a temperature gauge? (See attached, which is the 2007 turbo combination meter, but I believe is similar to the 2009.)
There is a blue light which indicates that the engine is not yet warm enough for Sport # mode. I think it's unique to the XT.

There is also a temperature gauge. It was in the red when that heat warming light went on. No, I didn't notice the temperature gauge before that.


I presume you mean the starter motor engaged and turned, but the engine itself wouldn't start. (The engine probably was "turning over", i.e. rotating if the starter was engaged and turning.)
OK. It just didn't sound right at all.

On the 2009 2.5 engine there's two external (accessory) belts, one for the AC compressor, and one for the power steering pump and the alternator. Neither would cause the car to overheat if they were broken.

How many miles on the car?
just over 70,000 miles

Pictures of the two dead pulley to follow next.
 

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2009 Outback XT 5MT
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Any values in replacing the water pump and timing belt since we are there now?
 

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2009 Outback XT 5MT
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
AHHH!

I just called. Timing belt was going to be replaced anyway.

And... the water pump is dead. Going to replace.

Hypothesis: dead water pump caused this.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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wow - those bearings got fried. that is a very, very rare failure on such low mileage.

did they verify timing is in check? if the cams lost timing then bent valves are unlikely and they should not be moving forward with a timing belt job.

*** given that you have two failed pulleys i would be replacing them all. whatever (heat?) caused those pulleys to fail likely degraded the oil/seals in the other ones too. no way i'd want the other original pulleys in there, that's a really bad idea. they should replace all of them.

they almost have to replace the timing belt on it. it's 70% used by mileage and obviously suffered extreme wear and heat, no way that belt should be reused.

"dead water pump" - meaning it seized or something else? that's rare, EJ water pumps are very robust.
 

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2009 Outback XT 5MT
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
wow - those bearings got fried. that is a very, very rare failure on such low mileage.

did they verify timing is in check? if the cams lost timing then bent valves are unlikely and they should not be moving forward with a timing belt job.
I do not know if they verified timing. That can be done without all this work?

*** given that you have two failed pulleys i would be replacing them all. whatever (heat?) caused those pulleys to fail likely degraded the oil/seals in the other ones too. no way i'd want the other original pulleys in there, that's a really bad idea. they should replace all of them.
I checked. Yes, all five pulleys are being replaced.

they almost have to replace the timing belt on it. it's 70% used by mileage and obviously suffered extreme wear and heat, no way that belt should be reused.
Glad to hear that. Yes, they are definitely replacing the timing belt.

"dead water pump" - meaning it seized or something else? that's rare, EJ water pumps are very robust.
I don't know. Just that it needs to be replaced.

I was thinking, and it was suggested by friends, that the pump be replaced regardless, given we are already in there.
 

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I do not know if they verified timing. That can be done without all this work?
yes, it's easy. it takes about 30 seconds to verify timing. hopefully they already did, doing all that work and spending all that cash without checking something that would take one minute would be ludicrous. i am very nervous that you said the engine wouldn't turn over in the original post....hoping you're not in $1,000 worth of work on an engine with bent valves that they could and should have checked in a matter of minutes.

i would call them and ask if the crank and cam sprocket timing marks were still in alignment or if the cams slipped?

I checked. Yes, all five pulleys are being replaced.
that the pump be replaced regardless, given we are already in there.
excellent.
 

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2009 Outback XT 5MT
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I appreciate the suggestion, but the work is nearly done.
 

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2003 Outback, 5 MT, 134K, HG changed.
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What I can't imagine is how two pulleys failed so catastrophically, and yet the belt looks like it didn't derail. Those pulleys are merely that - free spinning parts that don't drive anything. Unless they were never installed straight when your engine was first built. Maybe they were bolted in too tight and were binding this whole time, and finally gave up the ghost.

Can you visit the car before repairs have begun to get any more pictures? Or try spinning the water pump and see it its really seized. Best case scenario is the belt didn't jump any teeth at the cam sprockets, or else you may risk bent valves.

edit: nevermind - just saw your post about the work being finished already. Would be neat if you could ask them for the failed pulley or tensioner, and just nail it up somewhere in the garage as a "trophy".
 

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2009 Outback XT 5MT
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you for the suggestion. However, the work is nearly done.... and I bet the old timing belt is already off.

Oh, sorry, I posted this when I didn't see my original post in the comments, but now I see it there..
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Oh, and yes, I think you are correct: the timing belt looked to me (a novice) to be in place.
 

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2009 Outback XT 5MT
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Got a call back from the dealer.

The engine runs. There is slight valve tap, but it runs.

Also: the clutch is going. Not surprised. I may be hard on clutches.

And a brake tail light is out.
 

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05 manual XTL stage 2 with post facelift JDM front end
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You may want to ask them to do both compression and leakdown tests to make sure the valves are OK.
 

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2009 Outback XT 5MT
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks.

Called them, and asked about these tests. He figured: the engine is showing no signs of misfire, so that indicates no head or valve damage. The valve tapping shows they need adjusting, but it's nothing which affects the drive-ability of the vehicle.

The car should be available today. I've got a weekend trip away, but I may use another vehicle for that. :/
 

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No misfire MAY indicate no head or valve damage. Unfortunately, it is not 100% sure until those tests are performed.
As you get your car back, keep an eye on the valve tap noise. It'd be nice if you post a sound clip of it. I had a similiar 'disaster' happened to me where my timing belt tensioner gave out while driving and sheared off the engine block. Timing belt became loose and I guess I switched off the car at the right moment before disaster occured. I put a new T belt and new tensioner and pulleys myself. Fortunately the car is running fine (apparently 5000 miles later) but I do get valve tap noise around 1200 rpm under load louder than before. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I may ask my local garage to do those tests for me. See what they say.

As for an audio clip, sure I can do that. My phone can do that. Hood up, engine on, phone above the engine?
 

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I may ask my local garage to do those tests for me. See what they say.
Sure. It should not be too pricey to do.

As for an audio clip, sure I can do that. My phone can do that. Hood up, engine on, phone above the engine?
^I would do that while someone slightly revs up the engine especially between 700 to 2500 rpm.
But then it'd also be nice to get another audio clip while the engine is under load. That I think is perhaps more important. So for instance in a parking lot, you could put the car in first gear and slowly get the car rolling while holding the phone outside the driver's side window to record the engine sound. To increase engine load, you could try on an uphill while keeping revs low. Make sure your phone is doing high quality audio recording.
 
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