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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All:

I recently had the camshaft break and destroy the engine on my 2008 Outback with 145K. It was the standard 2.5LH-4 engine. Luckily, I had purchased an extended warranty, and the company will replace the destroyed engine with a used one. (my mechanic is allowed to choose the engine).

The mechanic is recommending that I have the timing belt and water pump replaced when the new engine is installed. His reasoning for this is that you don't know the exact mileage and component replacement history of a used engine. Seems reasonable enough to me, but it will bump up my out-of-pocket cost to about $1500.

For a number of reasons, I'd rather not spend that money currently, but can do so if absolutely essential. What are your thoughts on the necessity of having these components replaced right now?
 

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it is a good idea to replace the timing belt and water pump on a used engine.

if you want to save some money, ask for a timing belt kit without the water pump, as OEM subaru pumps last
"like" forever,

however the rubber belt itself may outlast the other parts of the kit

= the timing components (idlers/ pulleys/ tensioner), are the weak link, those are the things that toss and break the belts.

so a timing belt kit is what you are looking for, the pump maybe cheap with it though.
 
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$1,500? That's crazy. Have him replace the engine and then have someone familiar with Subaru's install the timing belt, tensioners, and pulleys for $700.

He is correct - addressing the timing belt now is smart, he's just overcharging and doesn't know that engine very well.

Timing belt replacement costs $400 - $700 add $200 for water pump. So he's going to charge twice the normal rate when the job is half the work? (timing belts are done with the engine in the vehicle and just removing the engine skips some of the timing belt labor).

Also - on that engine you always replace the timing tensioner and pulleys before the water pump. Absolutely stupid to replace the water pump ahead of those items on that engine. He might not be super familiar with Subarus so that's not his fault necessarily, just doesn't know. He also may not like to hear your recommendations you read online - so be ready for that. Timing tensioner or pulleys are catastrophic 4 digit repair/replace engine events if they fail because it's an interference engine. Water pumps almost never fail on that engine and they just leak if they do, which is only a 3 digit expense and no engine replacement.

Water pump is good to do now as it's well timed with a timing belt, but it can wait as well.
Make sure they use a Subaru or Aisin water pump and Subaru water pump gasket. $200 parts and labor, it's really easy with the timing belt removed - 5 bolts, clean, install - done, takes well under one hour with the belt removed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the info. and advice! I should point out that the $1500 quote included $800 labor to replace the engine, so the upcharge for the timing belt and water pump replacement was $700, which seems in line with what most shops charge.

In the end, the shop found me an engine with 88K on it. The charge for the engine is $3000, which is the maximum my warranty will pay. I've found similar engines on eBay for about $1500-2000, so this seems on the high side. However, we worked out an arrangement for him to use the pulleys and water pump from the destroyed engine, which were only replaced about 30K ago, along with a new timing belt. In addition, I'm having him replace the head gasket and valve seals on the used engine, which he said were showing signs of leakage and breakdown. This is a common problem with these engines, and I've been quoted as much as $3000 to rebuild and replace these seals on my original engine, which was showing the same signs of gasket/seal breakdown, although it was not to a critical point yet.

I'm being charged $1800 to have the timing belt replaced and the pulleys and water pump swapped over from the destroyed engine, plus having the head gasket and valve seals replaced. Does this seem reasonable?
 

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$2000 for a new timing belt kit, new water pump, subaru OEM turbo head gaskets, and all oil seals, and head machining at a engine shop,
is kind normal on a EJ253 type like you got....if you had a good donor.

so you could do a little better, but... I am not standing next to the car with my mechanic friends that work on subarus all the time either.
 

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I'm being charged $1800 to have the timing belt replaced and the pulleys and water pump swapped over from the destroyed engine, plus having the head gasket and valve seals replaced. Does this seem reasonable?
With that added info, the full picture of what he's doing? Yeah, that actually sounds dead-nuts perfect for this work, and I can't recommend a better plan of action if your goal is to radically renew this car and squeeze a lot of future value out of it.

(I'm guessing "valve seals" means the valve cover gaskets)
 

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..... Luckily, I had purchased an extended warranty, and the company will replace the destroyed engine with a used one. (my mechanic is allowed to choose the engine).
Not to rain on the parade here, but if you take the cost of this extended warranty, plus the deductible, plus the labor you have to pay your mechanic, it may not be so "lucky" to have an extended warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I bought the car used at 80K on the odometer, and bought a 100,000 miles extended warranty for $1300 with it. Since they are paying out about $3250 when you add in the rental car coverage, it seems like a good move.

Many folks told me to stay away from an extended warranty with a Subaru because they are reliable cars. But I also have a 2001 Outback that I bought from a private individual and the transmission and driveshaft failed at 135K. I didn't buy the extended warranty and I was out $4500.
 

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yep looks like you got it figured out and it's all good. hopefully you got another reasonable 100,000 miles coming your way without a hitch this time.

if you're doing the headgaskets the heads on those engines absolutely should be resurfaced. not for "flatness", which is what most mechanics will say - but for proper finish, fire ring impression, and high and low spots which they always have and you can see if you resurface them yourself regardless of "flatness".


I recently had the camshaft break
that's not a normal failure.
were the cams seals replaced during the previous timing belt job 30,000 miles ago?
if so - the cam sprocket was likely compromised at that time and fatigued leading up to the current breakage.

why didn't the mechanic consider replacing the head?

or if you mean to say "crankshaft" or "crank" failure rather than camshaft (because that would be more common)- that usually refers to the crarnk pulley damaging the end of the crank which is repairable (i've done a few myself) but mechanics write them off as the engine is toast (i've seen that happen before as well). this also often happens after a timing belt job and the bolt not being installed tight enough. seen and repaired tha multiple times as well.
 

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In the end, the shop found me an engine with 88K on it. The charge for the engine is $3000, which is the maximum my warranty will pay. I've found similar engines on eBay for about $1500-2000, so this seems on the high side. ?
$3,000 seems really high.

The most expensive engine for that car listed in the US is $2,500 and has 52,000 miles on it, some have even fewer miles, lowest is $1,350.

http://www.car-part.com/cgi-bin/sea...039277&userUID=0&userBroker=&iKey=&userPage=4

CCR engines are around $3,500 and come with 3 year 36,000 mile warranty (including new headgaskets, timing, water pump - i think they use all Subaru parts).
 
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