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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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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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