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Discussion Starter #1
crank pulley chewed timing cover up

Hi, all. I'm a newbie here from Minnesota~ I work with people with disabilities, which means I don't have a great deal of money, so I'm hoping for a little wisdom here. I have a 2003 Legacy with 2.5 (interference motor) So.... I was driving, and heard a clicking (not banging), lost power, slowed down, and died. No loud bangs, no smoke, just clicking. I had my girlfriend steer while I pushed it into a parking lot. I popped the hood and saw that the crank pulley had separated (the rubber gave way of the "harmonic balancer") and had eaten into my timing cover. I popped open the inspection side of the cover on the driver's side, and the belt looked good. It turned out my battery was dead from the alternator not turning, so this had been going on a little while, and since it was only 3 blocks from home, I tried to turn it over, but it seemed to not want to start, so I had it towed home. I called around to local shops and they said that it was probably not a problem, that it was just the dead battery and that it takes a lot to throw it out of time if it's kept in good order, which this one has, but I fear a piece of plastic may have gotten caught up in my passenger side cam gear (maybe riding the belt over and up), because my timing appears to be off when i turned the new crank pulley to what should give me top dead center after I took the whole cover off. Is it possible to only have damage to one side of the engine? Any ideas on how much doing the valves costs? It's an 03 legacy with 185,000 with just over 60,000 on the timing belt. It's a great car, and it's been taken good care of, but the repair may be more than the car is worth... ha I'm all ears. Any room for optimism? I'd say it went about 2 blocks before I realized the issue and stopped it, but I know that's plenty of distance to ruin valves... .... OK... forgive me a big (UGH!!!!) I have never ruined an engine!

Is there normally a clicking noise if the battery dies while driving, or could that all be a coincidence, and I'm grasping at straws?

Ok... I'm not a negative person, so I'll say that I'm lucky this didn't happen over the fishing opener the weekend before... ha....sigh...
 

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2009 Subaru Outback 2.5i 5sp Manual
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355 Posts
I had a similar problem with the pulley eating into the plastic, but I did not have any problem with timing, didn't notice any damage to the belt or gears. Mine went on for about a week before I knew why my ac belt had fallen off and my other belt was squeaking.

I would say though that it is very possible to only mess one side up as it has different cams and everything on each side. But hopefully for you it is ok!
 

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2000 Limited Wagon 5MT
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303 Posts
Timing isn't checked with TDC, use the correct alignment mark. It can be easily found with a google image seach or with a manual.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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Do you still have the covers off? Are you looking at it correctly? #1 at TDC on the compression stroke?

Is the belt loose in any way? How long since the belt was replaced?

Doubtful that there is any damage to the heads, or jumped time due to the front pulley, unless the belt is loose.
 

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01 Outback H6 VDC, 97 GT wgn w/ ej22, 98 OBW w/ej22
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if it is just the crank pulley that is bad there is probably no other issues. but when you remove the pulley to replace it you may as well remove the timing cover and check the timing.

if the timing is off, i would reset it and see how it runs.
if it runs well, replace the pulley, torque it to 135 ft lbs, and do a timing belt job. something caused the timing to jump. who did the timing belt 60k ago? did they torque the crank bolt to 135ft lb.?

a used pulley will work fine. but you should replace all the idlers/pulleys, tensioner, and the water pump with new unless they were replace 60k ago.

if the timing is not off, just replace the pulley and drive on.

Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market if you need it, but someone here should have a pulley to sell, cheap.


i guess there is a small possibility, very small, that the crank bolt loosened up causing the timing to slip and as all this happened, the pulley started to wobble because it was loose and THEN the pulley separated. but you will not know until you take a look. this is fixable too.
 

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06 Outback 2.5i, 05 Outback Limited
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Where in MN are you? I'm in St. Paul and I was an auto tech for five years, and know my way around these cars fairly well. I'll be up in the UP of Michigan hiking all next week, but I might be able to swing by and check things out with you on Sunday if you're close by...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thanks for the great replies~ Only 60,000 miles on the timing belt, and it was tight when I took the covers off. I left them off and had it pulled to a local shop to check the timing so I can adjust my Memorial Day weekend spending appropriately if it's going to be major. I'm located in Duluth, MN on the tip of Lake Superior, where summer has just started to make itself known. I'll give a full report once the verdict is in. Thanks again, y'all. Great ideas and offers all around~ Good stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So... the timing is off a bit.

The mechanic said that the tensioner loosened a bit and may have gotten thrown off by the vibrating pulley, and it looks like the timing was off 1 tooth on the drivers side and 2 or 3 teeth on the passenger side. He's headed home, so it may be Tuesday before I know more. So, my question now is: is 1 / 2 or 3 teeth enough to cause damage or just make it run rough?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, the mechanic says it runs fine, but that everything has to be replaced in the timing area (claims belt's shot, as well as the tensioner and idlers) with a price tag of over $500. I may take it somewhere else, as it seems he's going a little crazy there since the belt was last changed by the dealer 60,000 miles ago, but the good news is that it's running fine~
 

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So I'm a new driver and don't have any experience at all. I am also having the same problem on my 03 outback 2.5L. Does anyone know how much it'll cost me to get it repAired by the dealer?
I recently replaced the drive belts and only the AC compresor belt jumped off. I just noticed today that the pulley was eating away the cover.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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First - you really dont' want to go to a dealer for this.
$500 for the cover cover, crank pulley, and A/C belt.

But it should only take $50 and about 15 minutes. Easy peasy.

The details aren't clear:

I am also having the same problem on my 03 outback 2.5L.
that's the timing belt in this thread.

I recently replaced the drive belts and only the AC compresor belt jumped off.
That's not a timing belt.

So which is it - timing belt, A/C belt, or both jumped?

I just noticed today that the pulley was eating away the cover.
Crank pulley?

They are a two piece design with a thin rubber ring separating and outer part and inner part - they can separate and the outer ring will push into the timing cover. And probably cause the belt to jump off.

If this is what you think your problem is then simply replace the crank pulley with a used one. You don't even need to replace the timing cover. JB weld or put some silicone or high performance tape over the hole in the cover. no big deal.

I can ship a pulley tomorrow for $37 and I think I have the timing cover for that engine too - but that big thing is just annoying to ship, so $75 if you want both the pulley and cover.

Might even have a used A/C belt I can toss in there.
 
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