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2006 Outback XT
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4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all and thanks in advance for any advice you can spare. Also apologies for asking a question I know many have asked before, but the more I read the more confused I get so I figured I'd just ask.

I recently picked up a used 2006 Outback XT with the Turbo, higher mileage but super clean for a New Englander. The timing belt had been serviced already but 2 weeks ago the car broke down and this is what the shop told me they found:

"Removed timing covers and associated parts.......
Passenger side (bank 1) exhaust camshaft pulley is cracked and falling apart! With the cam timing lined up you can clearly see both drivers side (bank 2) cam pulleys are off at least 1 tooth. Also while the engine is running there is no way exhaust timing on bank 1 could stay correct with the cam sprocket in the condition its in! Also noticed while the timing cover is off, the tensioner is wet (leaking) and the passenger (bank 1) side rear timing cover is damaged from the badly damaged cam pulley! Also all the timing cover bolts on center cover are so rusted up they are unusable!
NEEDS COMPLETE TIMING BELT SERVICE ALONG WITH BANK 1 PASSENGER SIDE EXHAUST CAM PULLEY, PASSENGER SIDE REAR TIMING COVER (sits behind cam pulleys), TIMING COVER BOLTS FOR CENTER COVER AND DRIVE BELTS. "

They wanted just to fix the timing belt but I'm under the impression that after this amount of damage the motor is probably wrecked?

I'm no mechanic but there's one in the family who could perform an engine swap if it came to it, but my question now is: is it worth swapping? To be sure, it is a 2.5L DOHC (from what i've read this is bad.) I did enjoy driving the car and the rest of it seems to be in great shape.

Follow up questions include: Is there a preferred re-manufacture to look for? Will I need to get more parts in addition to the motor if the cam's are as miffed as they say?

Sorry for the noob-ness!! It's my first Subaru and I'm afraid I might have jumped in a little over my head with it, but we've always had one in the family and it's always treated us good so I'm still optimistic !!

Thanks again! Happy holidays!!
 

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Premium Member
2020 Onyx
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12,587 Posts
The timing belt had been serviced already but 2 weeks ago the car broke down and this is what the shop told me they found:

"Removed timing covers and associated parts.......
Passenger side (bank 1) exhaust camshaft pulley is cracked and falling apart! With the cam timing lined up you can clearly see both drivers side (bank 2) cam pulleys are off at least 1 tooth. Also while the engine is running there is no way exhaust timing on bank 1 could stay correct with the cam sprocket in the condition its in! Also noticed while the timing cover is off, the tensioner is wet (leaking) and the passenger (bank 1) side rear timing cover is damaged from the badly damaged cam pulley! Also all the timing cover bolts on center cover are so rusted up they are unusable!
NEEDS COMPLETE TIMING BELT SERVICE ALONG WITH BANK 1 PASSENGER SIDE EXHAUST CAM PULLEY, PASSENGER SIDE REAR TIMING COVER (sits behind cam pulleys), TIMING COVER BOLTS FOR CENTER COVER AND DRIVE BELTS. "
Is that the same shop that did the timing belt service?
 

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Outback 2011 3.6R Premium
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2,708 Posts
More information needed please.

How many miles has vehicle travelled?
How many miles/months since timing belt last changed?
What other timing belt components were changed when the timing belt was changed (typically you also replace pulleys and tensioner but it appears this may not have been done)?
Do you have the vehicle at a workshop familiar with turbo Subaru’s?

It is not common for camshaft pulleys to fail unless they have been abused when being removed.

If the timing is only one tooth off there may not be any valve damage so a new timing belt kit may get the vehicle going again.

Seagrass
 

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I initially had my passenger side exhaust cam off by 1 tooth when I did the timing belt service. ... Which drove badly but otherwise did not damage the engine.

Ymmv but I wouldn't necessarily assume a blown engine. My concerns are more general, - given the odd nature of the failure, what the **** is going on inside?!

Did the shop even raise the possibility of further issues when quoting the timing belt? It'd be a warning flag to me if they didn't.

Taking the engine out isn't that hard. Just remember to unbolt the flexy-plate from the flywheel thru the leetle access cover on top of the bell housing (!)

... Failing to do so is how that 5EAT shaft collar can come out and the (easy to miss) spring clip come off. Guess how I know.

I R&R"d the engine when I had an apparently serious AVCS or timing failure, anticipating having the heads rebuilt. Turns out it was the exhaust turbine on the turbo which came off the shaft.

I don't know why the ecu threw the AVCS codes but a replacement turbo, upgraded turbo and passenger AVCS oil supply lines, and a full timing belt service (belt done twice!) was the damage.

Car runs very well now.
Mmmv,
M.
 

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05 GT wagon, 09 Spec B, 18 3.6R Outback
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I agree with seagrass in post #3.

Also when you take good care of these turbo cars, they will give you years of fun.

You need to give them lots of TLC, always keep the oil level topped off.
 
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2005 Legacy Wagon Limited 4EAT
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251 Posts
The motor might not be wrecked. It's entirely possible you just have some bent valves but a perfectly fine engine block. Removing the engine and the the cyl heads are the only way you'll know that. Also consider the condition of the engine before all this happened. Did it burn any oil in between oil changes? If not then it might be worth the trouble and significant cost savings of just having 2 rebuilt cyl heads installed instead of the entire engine.
 

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2006 Outback XT
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4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
First off thanks to you all!! I’m bad at shorthand I suppose but this whole ordeal has me spinning so apologies !! But here are the details:

I only got the car in October through a dealership, it had 194,000 miles but I’ve been in a few 250k+ Subaru’s before so I didn’t think it’d be a big issue. Car had one owner for most of its life and was definitely garage kept, first owner also kept a very detailed maintenance log. Dealership told me the TB had been done recently and when he pointed to it on the carfax I didn’t check the date (it was actually closer to 100k when this was done.) No major maintenance or issues on the carfax before or after, however. I put about 2,000 miles on it but the sticker said I had a ways to go for my next oil change.

I did have to drive it with the infamous TPS code error for about a month, and the week that I was going to take it in for repair i got an additional knock sensor code and the following day about a mile from home going up a hill, the car slowed down into sluggishness and the motor got super loud with that terrible tin can rattle sound. Only started it once more after that just to see if anything could be found but i ran for less than a minute before I realized I was in over my head.

The shop I had it diagnosed at is new to me but was a AAA backed Subaru specialist and I took it there because the place the dealership works with was giving me the run around about the TPS. After reading the repair estimates I asked if prior service or poor maintenance could have caused this amount of damage but they wouldn’t say, and insisted they’d have to fix the TB before taking a guess about further damages. I reached out to Subaru of America to see if any of the engine codes it was running would have lead to this and they told me to get it looked at and find out from a mechanic, and that’s about where I stand now. Took the car back because most of the stories I’ve read about a bad tb lead to a new motor, feeling uneasy about what the shop was telling me and not wanting to have to pay for both.

And no help from the dealership, they bounced back and forth about fixing the sensor issue and the day I brought it for service (5 days after they said they’d fix it) they actually called to tell me my warranty was up. After sending them the reports they told me not fixing the tps (even though he called it a cam sensor) is what caused this.
 

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2020 Onyx
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Took the car back because most of the stories I’ve read about a bad tb lead to a new motor, feeling uneasy about what the shop was telling me and not wanting to have to pay for both.
Does this mean you got your money back?
 

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2020 Onyx
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Ugh. So sorry this is happening to you.
 

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Outback 2011 3.6R Premium
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I am not very confident that this is going to have a good ending.

From your details in post #7 it sounds like the engine was due to have the timing belt replaced (due every 100,000 miles) and this is why the tensioner may have been weeping (suggesting it was no longer providing enough tension to the belt).

The cheapest and quickest way for a workshop to confirm if the engine is OK would be to install a new timing belt kit and see if the engine then runs OK, so therefore their suggestion to do this is resonable.

From the sounds you suggest the engine was making, I suspect you will be looking at an engine rebuild or repalcement. Unfortunately an engine rebuild is going to cost between $6,000 and $8,000 depending on what is needed.

Seagrass
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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It doesn’t have to be a brand new belt and tensioner just for purposes of seeing whether there are other issues present with the engine - most shops would have spares that are used just for testing that they could temporarily put on, thereby sparing the cost of a brand new kit should there prove to be other issues.

But I’m with @seagrass - I have a bad feeling about this.
 

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2006 Outback XT
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@SilverOnyx 2020 all the way!!

@seagrass I have been figuring a new motor is probably the way to go, I guess to be clear I’m wondering what most people replace this engine with, and if I’ll need to factor in any extra components that I would have been transferred off from the funky one I have.

And thanks again everyone !!
 

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Outback 2011 3.6R Premium
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@SilverOnyx 2020 all the way!!

@seagrass I have been figuring a new motor is probably the way to go, I guess to be clear I’m wondering what most people replace this engine with, and if I’ll need to factor in any extra components that I would have been transferred off from the funky one I have.

And thanks again everyone !!
$6,000 “should” get you a fully reconditioned engine with a good warranty.

If you also need the turbo replaced the price will go up accordingly.

If you need to get this done you need to make sure you get it done by a good workshop that is familiar with Subaru‘s so that all the “common” problems can be checked for and resolved if necessary (banjo bolt screens cleaned, oil pump seals renewed, etc).

If you tell us where you are located someone may be able to recommend a good workshop or Subaru engine rebuilder in your area.

Seagrass
 
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05 GT wagon, 09 Spec B, 18 3.6R Outback
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2021 Subaru Outback Premium, 2015 Toyota Sienna LE AWD
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You can find a rebuilt engine with a warranty or sometimes you can find super low mileage imports from Japan. That’s what my aunt and uncle did with their early 90s Mazda. Either way you should be able to get a warranty. A competent shop specializing in Asian vehicles can swap it. I would not rebuild your motor - it’s far cheaper to swap in a fresh one especially at your mileage.
 

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05 GT wagon, 09 Spec B, 18 3.6R Outback
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I would caution people about going cheap and swapping a JDM ej20 into one of these cars. In my 16 years on the Legacy GT forum, those that do this and have engine issues later on can have a hard time getting the parts to fix it.

Again, when done right...I have over 140,000 trouble free miles on my ej257 and rebuilt heads.
 
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