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2000 Outback Ltd
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Discussion Starter #1
The maintenance book for my 2000 Outback says replace the timing belt at 105,000 miles. My dealer, West Houston Subaru, says replace it at 60,000. That adds $300 to what would otherwise be a $600 service--same as at 30,000 miles. Is the dealer just increasing his revenue, or does he know something I don't?

Has anyone else dealt with this question? Is it reasonable to expect the belt to last only 57% of its rated life? In case climate matters, I live in Houston, Texas. You can count on both hands the number of times the winter temps drop into the low 30's here, however we see the 90's in seven or eight months of the year, so any machine affected by heat is affected by the heat here.

Any experience or opinions? Thanks.
 

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Superb Moderator, ,
MY12 WRX, MY07 FXT
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One word--Interference. That is the kind of engine you have. An interference engine. That means when the timing belt breaks, there is a 99.9% chance your valves will hit your pistons and create havoc. So, now the question is, do you want the assurance of a new belt? Or do you want to take the chance...

Me, I would wait until four years or 60k personally. Time will deteriorate the belt, as will mileage, heat, etc. The price for the belt versus the other things for the usual service should be totally seperate. I mean, if your were quoted $300 for the belt replacement including the rest of the service, I'm sure you could hold of on the belt for a while and only be charged $300 when you want to do it then. They won't be any closer to the timing belt when they do the other service.

So it's up to you. 105k is too far in my book for the type of engines we have. However, a newer belt could realistically break also...Oh well. Choices, choices. Make the one you fell good about. Brian
 

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Formerly 04 Outback 3.0R VDC, now 2011 Mitsubishi Pajero GLS DiD
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I agree with Brian, 105K miles seems very long.. I'm almost totally sure that Subaru in Australia recommend replacement at 100,000km which is about 60,000 miles. We have a similar climate here to Texas. Cheers, Karl
 

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OBS Obsessed, ,
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I have read so many conflicting reports on this. Some people insist that it should be done at 60k, others say 105k is fine. On the interference engines I would agree that 105k is too long to wait b/c of the reprecussions if it goes. On the 2.2 non-interference I have read that as long as it is inspected at every major service it is fine to wait till the recommended mileage to change it. Anyway, since you are having that other big service done this is what I would do. Wait another 10-15k miles then then have the TB, water pump, cam seals and crank seals all done together.
 

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2000 Outback Ltd
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Discussion Starter #5
Timing belt...the word from Subaru

Thanks, guys, for the comments. I sent an inquiry to Subaru, and below is the reply I received. They didn't exactly pass the buck, but ... they still pushed the decision back to me.

"Our recommendations are to follow the SCHEDULE OF INSPECTION AND MAINTENANCE SERVICS CHART found in your Warranty and Maintenance booklet. On page 42, the maintenance intervals for Camshaft drive belt are inspections at 30,000 60,000 90,000 miles or months; whichever occurs first. Replacement at 105 months or 105,000 miles; whichever occurs first.

The symbol (i) in the chart references = Inspect, correct or replace if necessary.

If the dealer has determined that your vehicle should have this item replaced, then we would recommend you follow his advice. However, this is your vehicle and what service/maintenance is done to the vehicle is ultimately your decision."

Of course, the dealer did not determine that my vehicle needed the early replacement, it is just a matter of their standard practice. I guess I'll just bite the bullet and pay the man.

Thanks again for all the advice and comments.
 

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Lord of ScoobyMods, ,
19' Impreza Sport 5 dr / 01' Forester S / 13' OB CVT / 10' Legacy 3.6R / 99 Mita MX-5
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I say wait and here is why. The 2.5L motor (and some others) have a common problem of the front crank oil seal going bad. When this happens, normally between 50 and 80K, they have to go in there anyway. When my 97 OB hit 70K I had the crank seal leak. At that time I had them do the timing belt. It's the labor that costs the belt is cheap. Just a thought and heads up. You will be kicking yourself if you have it done and next year you get the crank seal leak. I'm not saying you will get the leak but it is not uncommon.

Peaty
 

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Tokyo's between my toes
2001 Wintergreen Outback 5MT
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90,000 miles or months
*G* yeah, 90,000 months sounds way too long... that would be better than the VW in the Woody Allen movie Sleeper.
 

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Lord of ScoobyMods, ,
19' Impreza Sport 5 dr / 01' Forester S / 13' OB CVT / 10' Legacy 3.6R / 99 Mita MX-5
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The_Lizard said:


*G* that would be better than the VW in the Woody Allen movie Sleeper.
"Just my luck it landed on the back of a turtle!"
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The_Lizard said:

*G* yeah, 90,000 months sounds way too long... that would be better than the VW in the Woody Allen movie Sleeper.
Yes, I noticed that typo, but of course, they're covered by the "whichever occurs first" provision. Unless, I cut w-a-a-y back on my driving, I'll almost certainly hit 90,000 miles before the car gets to 90,000 months. Hmm. 7,500 years--Charlton Heston could dig up my Outback next to the Statue of Liberty, find the email which I've placed in the glove compartment, and proclaim, "You bastards! You finally did it! ... but this old fossil fuel burning automobile still isn't due for a new timing belt!"
 

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2001 outback 2.0
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I had mine replaced at 85,000 due to a long trip I was planning with the kids. At that time they found that oil leak that Peaty mentioned. I still ended up paying 1,100.00 for everything.
 

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02 OB sport, 2.5, 5MT, WRX seats/catback/rear bar, Hellas, Home Despot CAI and roof rack
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do it at 60. most manufacturers, who probably use the same belt mfgr Sub does, say 60ish. my ex' Volvo had one let go at less than 60. it's a thin little strip of rubber that costs you $1500-5000 that warranty probably won't cover if it craps. doyou ever rev your engine over 4000?

things like maint recs tend to be like warranties, where the #s are determined more by the mfgr's cost-benefit analysis than by engineering/mechanical considerations.

Peaty's right, have em do the camshaft and crank seals when they do belt....seals are a $10-20 item each but it'll take sevl hours to get at em. but i wouldn't put off belt to do em, just do em now with the belt.
 

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Tokyo's between my toes
2001 Wintergreen Outback 5MT
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Too bad there isn't an inspection hole so you could go in with a finger or swab and check for rubber dust, sign of a stressed and aging belt.

...or is there one?
 

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OBS Obsessed, ,
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I still say it is ok to wait a little longer so long as it is inspected now and good to go. In another 10k or so have the TB, cam and crank seals and water pump done. Spread the costs out a bit. You will be good to go for another 100k.
 

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02 OB sport, 2.5, 5MT, WRX seats/catback/rear bar, Hellas, Home Despot CAI and roof rack
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"I still say it is ok to wait a little longer so long as it is inspected now and good to go. In another 10k or so have the TB, cam and crank seals and water pump done. Spread the costs out a bit. You will be good to go for another 100k."

not a bad idea. i tend to err on side of caution due to basic mechanic conservatism and a fondness for upper 1/3 of rpm band, but if you drove it reasonably gently (avoid 6500 rpm blasts), it shd go another 10 easy. these are similar enough to fan belts that you can use the same visual inspection approach....is it dried, brittle, hardened, cracked? i still wouldn't go 115K on one tho.

it's been a while but i thot there was an access cover you can pull without too much disassembly. at least on 2.2
 

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for what it's worth, I am looking at a 2000 Outback Ltd. wagon and phoned the local Subaru dealer here in western Canada to ask about timing belt replacement.

I was told that for the SOHC engines which I believe the 2,5 litre 4 in the Outback is, the reccomended replacement time is at 168,000 km or the 105,000 miles. The DOHC engine ( not sure which model has that one) has a recommended TB replacement at 96,000 km or 60,000 miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
TB Replacement postponed

Thanks again, ladies and gentlemen, for your advice and comments. Since I--chump that I am, from time to time--bought the six year, 100,000 mile extended warranty, I decided to offer Subaru the chance to head off the loss. I took it in for 60k service and asked the dealer to call the warranty people (the warranty is Subaru, not a third party). "I'll pay the $100 deductible, if they'll pay the rest ($200). Otherwise, do the 60K service according to the book."

As you probably guessed, Subaru opted to not pay for a share of the replacement. That means they would rather risk paying for the damage to this "interference" engine, a tow, and a rental car, in the event it fails. In any case, I'll have it replaced just before the extended warranty runs out.

BTW, I just spent a couple weeks in New Zealand, driving around the south island, and it looked to me like one car out of three was a Subaru Outback or other Subaru wagon of that style. Given the narrow, twisty, hilly two lane roads that I drove for around 2500 km, frequency of road signs warning of slippery when "frosty", and the infrequency of cities and auto dealers, this Subaru product seems a very practical solution to road travel in the land of middle earth. I knew I picked the right car to drive. I guess I just picked the wrong country to live in!
 
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