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Timing belt change questions

2633 Views 12 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  tanker1975
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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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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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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