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Old 12-17-2008, 12:21 PM   #1
ratso
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Default How to hold cam gears...timing belt replacement

1997 Subaru 2.5L motor. What sort of tool do you guys to hold the cam gears/sprockets in place while replacing the timing belt?
In addition, if I have to remove one of the sprockets, what do you use to keep them from turning so you can get the bolt out of it. They are plastic and I don't want to grab then hard with anything.
Thanks,
Jim
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Old 12-17-2008, 12:35 PM   #2
sniper1rfa
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Don't you just pull off the belt tensioner?
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Old 12-17-2008, 01:21 PM   #3
yarrgh
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there is a whole procedure to taking off the timing belt, get a FSM, it helps a lot. You can try loosening(is that a word?) the cam bolts while the belt is still on, or you can try to impact it off, that shouldn't hurt the plastic gear. If you're replacing the belt, put the old belt on the cam gear, hold it with some vice-grips, and get it off that way. It's a sort of makeshift strap wrench. Is this a DOHC or single? I'm pretty sure that the DOHC guys have a place on the camshaft itself to hold with a wrench while getting the gears off.

As for holding the drivers side cam gear in place when installing the new belt, I have used a 17mm socket and ratchet to hold it in place.
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Old 12-17-2008, 04:22 PM   #4
ratso
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Yes, it is a DOHC motor. I have already installed the new belt. It was just a bit of a pain in the a$$ trying to get all of the cam gears lined up. The ones on the driver side kept trying to spin on me due to the valves being open on those cylinders. I thought there was some sort of tool that held all of the gears in place to make the job easier. I needed 3 hands to do it.
Can't impact the cam gear bolts off either. Even when I pulled the radiator out to get some room in there, the AC condensor is in the way. Can't fit an impact gun between that and the cam gears. Must be another special tool to hold the plastic gear in place while removing the bolt.
Which brings me to my last point....Why the %#@* did Subaru design a spot for the water pump that required removing the timing belt and 2 cam gears to replace it?? WTF???
Look at an old Chevy......it is right up front!!
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Old 12-17-2008, 05:16 PM   #5
Matt Monson
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Don't ever under any circumstances put vise grips to one of those plastic gears, even with a timing belt scrap between the gear and grips.

Take the valve cover off. You will see that there is a notch for a wrench on the body of the cam. It's a big mother. 24 or 27mm IIRC. That will lock the cam in place for you to break loose the gear with an allen.

As for locking the gears in place while you line up the belt? Binder clips. You know the little black ones you get at Office Max? They are perfect for this job. You just clamp the belt to the gear with them. It's still kind of a three handed job to keep everything aligned and it really helps to have a manual that tells you the proper order for installing the idler pullies. If you do them in the wrong order it's near impossible to get the belt on there. I know some smart guy will pop in and tell us how he just slid the belt on with all the pullies already installed. He's the exception and not the rule. The rest of us do it by the book.
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Old 12-17-2008, 06:40 PM   #6
ratso
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I did do it with all of the pullies installed. Removed that hydraulic tensioner, compressed it in a press, installed a pin to lock it in place. Then put it back on (loose) All of the pullies were on and I installed the belt as per my Haynes manual. It gave me the sequence to install (crank, driver side top cam, driver side bottom cam, pass side top, pass side bottom (along with routing it through the tensioners correctly), then up over the idler pulley last. It also gave me the belt tooth count between all of the gears. I marked the belt with white-out at the appropriate tooth counts (28, 54.5, 51 and 28). Then installed the belt in the proper order. When it was done, I slid the tensioner to the left, tightened it's mounting bolts and removed the locking pin from the tensioner.
So, to hold the cam gear sprockets for bolt removal, you are saying to pop off the valve covers and get behind them to hold them? That makes sense, Just hate to take apart more crap than I have to.
Just bugs me that to replace something simple like a water pump, you have to remove al of the drive belts, the crank balancer, the timing belt, a valve cover and two cam sprockets just to get at it.
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Old 12-17-2008, 08:08 PM   #7
Tim Sanderson
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To hold the belt in place I use a couple of those squeeze type hand clamps. They have rubber cushions on them so they work pretty well. it keeps the sprockets from moving. If you tried using that with the belt on you could drop a long 17mm wrench down and get to the sprocket bolt(pretty sure the old dohc had bolt heads not allen right?). When I am loosening them I use a hammer to smack on the wrench/ratchet instead of straight force. To tighten I use the same method and just tighten, should work fine.

Good luck
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Old 12-17-2008, 08:32 PM   #8
ratso
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Sanderson View Post
.... If you tried using that with the belt on you could drop a long 17mm wrench down and get to the sprocket bolt(pretty sure the old dohc had bolt heads not allen right?).....
Correct, it is a 17mm bolt. This thing makes my Chevelle look easy to work on.
Thanks,
Jim
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Old 12-18-2008, 06:25 PM   #9
SOHCEJ25
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There is a Tool , basically 2 large socket looking pieces that lock the 2 gears together , then you just loosen the bolts ..... I bought mine from Subaru .. works awesome ...

Or go here ... http://www.etoolcart.com/camsprocket...499207300.aspx

Shawn
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Old 12-18-2008, 10:51 PM   #10
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I use the big hex formed in the camshaft to hold them while removing or torquing the cam gear bolts. When installing the belt, I use a small chunk of wood shim to apply a little pressure to the drivers side cam gears. When inserted between the gears from the left (pointing this way ->...) it acts as a 3rd hand tool.

I leave out the bottom most idler and leave the others loose until the belt is on. Then I put the bottom one in, and tighten them. Pull the 3rd hand tool before you release the tensioner pin...... And compress that tensioner ever so slowly, the slower you go, the easier it is.

The DOHC motor looks daunting at first, but it's not too bad once you've done it a few times.

Jay Storm
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Old 12-20-2008, 12:17 PM   #11
ratso
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That tool looks like the ticket, but wow...$180+ Guess if you do it for a living, it is worth it. As far as removing the center bolt on the cam gear, either that tool or pop off the valve cover and grab the cam from the back looks like the only way to do it. Jay (Storm) ,....what do you grab that big hex formed in the gear with and still manage to get a 17mm socket on the bolt? I'd be afraid of breaking the plastic. For installing a belt, the wood shim trick is pretty cool for holding the gear in place.
Thanks again.
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Old 12-20-2008, 01:58 PM   #12
RaceFaceXC
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that tool could be fabricated without too much work, if you had the shop/tools to do it. for much less than $180, depending on how much you value time.
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Old 12-20-2008, 02:14 PM   #13
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Last I remember I didn't have to remove the cam gears at all when doing a waterpump and timing belt. I simply just turned the cam gears with my 17mm socket and put the belt on the exhaust, then slid the pulley on. I keep the pulley that's on the bottom left of the oil pump off and install it last. Yes I've worked on the 2.5L DOHC NA engines, SOHC, and turbo EJ engines. Just enough to know how.... to build my hybrid EJ22T WRX swap.
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Old 12-20-2008, 08:33 PM   #14
Storm
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That special tool is probably overkill like you say, unless you're doing these all the time. The big hex I'm referring to is on the camshaft itself, accessable when you remove the valve covers. I prefer to use that instead of holding the gear.

For the 3rd hand tool I was talking about, I use a simple piece of shim for construction, and break off what I don't need. You can use most anything to wedge between the gears to hold them while you thread the belt on. Simple, effective and cheap.

Jay
Quote:
Originally Posted by ratso View Post
That tool looks like the ticket, but wow...$180+ Guess if you do it for a living, it is worth it. As far as removing the center bolt on the cam gear, either that tool or pop off the valve cover and grab the cam from the back looks like the only way to do it. Jay (Storm) ,....what do you grab that big hex formed in the gear with and still manage to get a 17mm socket on the bolt? I'd be afraid of breaking the plastic. For installing a belt, the wood shim trick is pretty cool for holding the gear in place.
Thanks again.
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