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Hello fellow outback enthusiasts,

So, here goes...The other day i was just about to head out with my (1999 subaru legacy) outback and heard a whining noise. Proceeded to check it out then got back in the car, dropped it to neutral and revved the engine a bit, only to hear a loud snap which stalled the engine...Long story short - had it towed to the local subaru dealership and this is what they had to tell me;

"Good afternoon Bob, Bad news I am afraid. The right upper camshaft pulley is broken and the belt has jumped meaning that the right cylinder head is useless and also more that lightly the left side has bent the valves.
We do however have a set of good used cylinder heads for that engine . we just got them back from the machine shop so we know that they are good. Cost for them would be 340.00 for the two. Rebuilding the motor
Using all new seals and gaskets and new timing belt and tensioner without the heads usually costs around 2000.00 including labour. In this case provided the rest of the motor is good you just need to add the cost of the heads.
So that would bring the cost to you to 2340.00 plus GST . This is our best estimate without removing and striping the motor. I hope this meets with your approval. The time frame should you decide to go ahead with this repair
will be approx Friday afternoon or Monday next week"

SO, is the rebuild worth it???
(The outback has nearly 300,000kms)
 

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First, I don't think that the costs would be out of line even in the midwest of the US, much less in Canada. We have seen some horror stories about costs in Canada so don't take offense.

Second, I will let others comment on the appropriateness of the repairs. I would just add that you should try and convince them to include all the pulleys and water pump in the quoted price.

Finally, I just put in $2000 into a 95 that I bought used, which had 200K miles [330Km], so obviously, I think that it's a good idea to spend that amount of money on a 99 of which you have a history.

Just for curiosity, can you tell us when the timing belts were last changed. By the way, I assume that one of the pulleys failed, not the right camshaft.
 

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Cheapest option is often to swap in an EJ22 engine, they are plug and play. My friends car (same engine as yours) blew - I found a 1995 EJ22 for $300, installed all new timing belt kit for $100 and he had a great engine for only $400. Pay a mechanic to install and you're under $1,000 and get a more reliable engine out of it. A 1995 Automatic EJ22 is plug and play. Any 1995-1998 EJ22 with EGR is plug and play if you also get the exhaust manifold with it.

Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market is a great resource in the US and where I found the $300 EJ22.

Then you can sell your EJ25 block and recoupe some of your costs, they're quite valuable since they blow all the time.

Subaru isn't going to do that swap though.

Your valves definitely are bent, unless you're really lucky. They should do a compression test just in case you're lucky - it does happen, I fixed a friends last year which broke and is a non-interference engine. I tossed a new belt on and it was fine, first time I've ever seen it though.

You could probably get it done for $500 - $1,000 less elsewhere with some searching but may not be worth the tow/time.

They should not be leaving the original timing belt pulleys in place. All timing pulleys and the tensioner should be replaced. They are expensive from Subaru though - the ebay timing kits run about $160 - $180 for your motor. for all new belt, tensioner, and pulleys. They didn't include the lower sprocket and two idlers in their quote -that's another $200.
 

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Just out of curiosity, how many miles were on the timing belt?
Wouldn't matter the belt is rubber and if it were original it would be over the 105 month suggested life. When a guide bearing fails the belt may or many not break but the effect is the same.

I'm not a big fan of cutting corners and going with the cheapest shop on these type of repair jobs if you plan on keeping the car given the cheap small shops NEVER step up and correct their lacking repair job later down the road nor do they go out and find the skill set to go and make the repair correctly if their first effort was a failure.

This forum is full of HG failures shortly after an expensive HG job all due to the lacking skill the shop that did the repair and so far I have yet to see any of these posters report that the shop stepped up found a skilled tech to do the HG again only correctly to avoid future issues.

A dealer on the other hand is backed by Subaru and a BAD repair job will get addressed at 100% if it was poorly done the first time. Cheap Head jobs are never cheap.
 
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