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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am going to change the timing belt on my 99 legacy outback and I have seen a lot of posts on how people have been locking the camshaft to get the bolt off the pulley. First is there a preferred method to this, I don't have a chain wrench and am worried that the starter method may damage something, can i just use the screwdriver method to remove and reattach without any problems or is a chain-wrench needed? Also how long approx does it take to change one, i am pretty proficient mechanically but have never changed one before. I ordered a kit that has the timing belt, and replaceable pulleys in it along with camshaft seals.
 

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2014 OBW 3.6R Limited, 1997 OBW 2.5L Auto (sold, but not forgotten), and 1991 Ford F150
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Do you mean the crankshaft bolt instead of the camshaft? If so, I think the screwdriver method is superior to the chain wrench method as the latter can damage the crankshaft pulley internally and potentially pull it apart, rendering it useless. I still like the starter method, though.

If you are going to replace the camshaft seals, that is going to add a lot of time to the job as you will have to remove all four of the camshaft sprockets and the inner timing belt covers. Start early and plan on a long day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes sorry the crankshaft bolt, i was multitasking and got them mixed up.
Would i need the chain-wrench for the camshaft sprockets or are they also locked with the engine? I have a small oil leak, barely noticeable, that seams to be coming from behind the timing cover, that is why i ordered the seals in case they are leaking. Could the leak be coming from something else maybe?
Thanks.
 

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have a 3 foot pipe to put over your socket wrench, that's the best for the crank bolt. lock the flexplate in place or use the starter bump trick, takes 5 seconds and works every time.

cam pulleys are trickier - yours has the plastic ones too so they're prone to break if you hose around. try loosening them with the old timing belt still in place - might get lucky sometimes. otherwise you can use a rubber strap wrench to hold them.

if you have an oil leak it's best to fix that while the timing belt is off. if it's centrally located then it's likely the oil pump. should be resealing that while yo'ure in there, i just posted in another thread how to do it 5 minutes ago, not doing it all over again. it's easy and should be done while it's all apart.

if the leak is drivers or passengers side then it's one of the cam seals.

last timing belt job i did on a DOHC EJ25 took 45 minutes but i've done a bunch before and there was no rust! rusty timing cover fasteners can be annoying. of course expect a glitch your first time. don't install the lower timing pulley on the passengers side until the belt is already installed. on some (i forget which ones but i just did it to an EJ22 this week - i even install the lower idler sprocket after the belt is in place so to speak. it's so tight that it's just easier that way sometimes.

aluminum threads though - so don't get too crazy on bolts and bad angles.

the kit with pulleys and hopefully tensioner is the way to go on these, that's a minimum for this job. seals and water pump can you always do later and they don't really fail. if a pulley fails it's taking your engine with it.
 

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Would i need the chain-wrench for the camshaft sprockets or are they also locked with the engine?
No, they are not locked with the engine. Well, they are, kinda, when the TB is still installed, but probably not firm enough to remove the sprocket bolts as they are often on very tight. There are various schemes to lock the sprockets usually involving wrapping the old TB around a couple of sprockets and TB pulleys and locking it into place with a clamp or vise grips. After you've tried that and it doesn't work for you, remove the valve covers and you will find a hex area on the cam just behind the front cam cap/seal ... you can place an adjustable wrench or 26mm open end wrench on it to hold the cam while you remove the sprocket bolt. Or, there are special tools available to lock the cam sprockets while you remove the bolts ... I've never used one so can't recommend one to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok. so I am going to use the screwdriver method to remove and lock up the flywheel. I think I remember that the bolt is 22mm, correct. I am going to change the belt, pulleys and sprockets, tensioner - all the things in the kit I got, then look into the oil pump for a possible leak. I also have to maybe take off the drivers side cam sprockets - the rear plastic cover was broken and I would like to repair that. And I have 2 days 5pm-? after work to fix it before it leaves on a trip - son taking it to Colorado from MI. Am I forgetting anything important to look for? nothing like a time crunch to keep you on your toes.
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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might be a good time to put in a new thermostat. make sure its 170deg larger-OEM-type, not cheap aftermarket. I think Stant and now maybe wix and NAPA offer soob -specific ones. Test the new one on the stove if possible, just to be sure it opens around 170.

burp the coolant system well.

be careful with the tensioner - either re-using or if you make a mistake and have to re-compress the new one - do it glacially slow.

good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all your help. I may have to set up the GoPro for this job and post it. I will post updates tonight as to how day 1 went. Thanks again.
 

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i wouldn't worry about the plastic cover unless it's really hosed or something. those timing covers really aren't that big of a deal, some of us completely remove the timing covers to make subsequent work/timing belt changes easier. i love 20 minute timing belt jobs that require removing one bolt once the drive belts are off!

so if it's not bad just ignore the plastic, it's benign and mostly cosmetic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
After looking at it, is there a way to tell if the timing belt and pulleys have been replaced already? I recently got this vehicle and the owner did not have any knowledge of that and I didn't see any service record that it had been changed. So is there a way to tell without removing the crank pulley? I was really going to change it as standard maintenance at 179K but if it had already been changed then I may not have to.
 

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If the TB is not a Subaru belt, then it has been changed ... but who knows when and how many miles it has on it? Spec calls for the change at 105k miles, but back in the days when I didn't know any better, I let a dealer talk me into the change at 60k miles. The same dealer changed the TB a second time at 155k. Neither time was any mention made of changing the pulleys.

So, even if it was changed at 105k, chances are the pulleys were not. Even just 4-5 years ago, the standard advice was to change the pulleys at the second TB change, i.e. 210k. Then we started seeing enough bearing failures before 210k that the advice changed.

If a TB pulley fails and the belt slips a few teeth, chances are you will need either a new engine or a new car. I wouldn't take the chance.

FWIW, I changed my pulleys at 185k. Afterwards, the engine was a whole lot quieter. At least one of the bearings was probably going bad and making enough noise to hear the difference. I figure I dodged a bullet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Update:
I got the whole thing disassembled, surprisingly the crankshaft bolt was not a difficult as I had read on other posts. I used the screwdriver method and some muscle and it came right off. After I got all the covers off I noticed that the tensioner was a different style then what came in the kit I had. Now a dilemma, do I use the other parts and put the old tensioner back on or wait and get a new one. I took off the old pulleys and sprocket and measured them against the new ones, everything look exactly the same so I replaced them, then I matched the two timing belts together and measured them, again exactly the same so I replaced that. I checked the water pump and it looked almost brand new, spun the pulley and it spun, felt tight and did not make noise or wobbled, which would be a sign of a bad bearing and no leaking so i left it in. Then removed the tensioner putting a pin in place, then checked it, it slowwwlly moved in and out with a vise and the roller was tight. I put it back in and reassembled. I tested the car with the covers off, ran great. put all the covers on, ran and test drove. Everything runs great, 4.5 hours total. Am I missing anything I should have checked?
The oil leak I talked about earlier was from a small leak at the front of the oil pan gasket, I will have to change that.
I just wanted to update, I hate unresolved posts, and thank you for your help.
I think it should be able to make the MI to CO trip and then some.
 
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