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Old 03-09-2013, 06:38 PM   #1
happs subi
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Default Timing belt idler carnage

I thought I would share with you guys my near death experience. I started hearing some wicked munching sounds from my lower drivers side timing belt cover, and assumed my water pump was going out. I figured it would at least last me a little while longer until I had time to change it. I was wrong The next morning it was significantly louder, and I could hear the timing belt slapping around. So, I parked it and borrowed another car.

When I opened up the timing cover, there were shavings and bits everywhere. I am glad I parked it, I dont think it would have lasted me another day like it was.

Here is a picture of said idler. All of the bearings started pouring out when I was setting the timing:



From what I understand the drivers side timing marks do not stay perfectly aligned after it is set, but this was pretty off:


There were shavings everywhere, even pieces stuck in the belt. It took me a good 3 hours carefully cleanings it all out:



After a hard days work, I put everything back the way its supposed to and so far the wrx is running great

I learned a very important lesson here. I had been hearing it go out for awhile, but assumed it was just noisy belt pulley's. I make too many assumptions.
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Old 03-09-2013, 10:12 PM   #2
corvallisbattery
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Be sure to check and clean your crank position sensor! glad to hear all is well!!!
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:29 AM   #3
mod maniac
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I just did a dodge d50 that lost its balance shaft idler and the bearings were loose in the front cover. one of the bearings got under the crank gear and pushed through to the oil pan. What an oil leak!! Yea if you hear something stop and fix it before it becomes a big problem
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:32 PM   #4
rrg123
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Why do you think the bearings came out?
Any ideas?
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Old 03-10-2013, 02:00 PM   #5
happs subi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corvallisbattery View Post
Be sure to check and clean your crank position sensor! glad to hear all is well!!!
Thanks, i did not think of that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rrg123 View Post
Why do you think the bearings came out?
Any ideas?
The previous owner told me that he had changed the timing belt and water pump, so i assumed he also changed the idlers. After i took everything apart, I dont think he changed anything but the timing belt and thermostat, everything else looked original and very worn out after 153k miles.

On the idler that failed, most of the bearings were still in tact. As soon as i started turning the crank by hand was when that idler bit the dust
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:50 PM   #6
scby rex
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those bearings are stainless and not magnetic.
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:34 PM   #7
dictoresno
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thats what happened to mine as well. it seized and was dragging the belt over it. ended up killing my valves. glad you caught it in time.
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:55 PM   #8
happs subi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scby rex View Post
those bearings are stainless and not magnetic.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dictoresno View Post
thats what happened to mine as well. it seized and was dragging the belt over it. ended up killing my valves. glad you caught it in time.

Thanks, I really feel lucky. I think if I would have driven it another day it would have seized, Im glad I made it up my driveway. The belt route is just too long. You've got 4 cam pulleys, the crank, 2 normal idlers, a tooth'd idler, an odd ball idler thats kinda up out of the way, a tensioner, and a water pump. Way too many things that can go wrong and destroy the engine.
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:00 PM   #9
WRXsubbie
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Same thing happen to me last week. The PO stated that he had done the timing belt and idlers 12K ago and that he changed the clutch at the same time. It turns out the timing belt and tensioners had never been changed and the clutch is also original. Hopefully the PO is reading this! Karma is a MoFo my friend!
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:23 PM   #10
ogboot
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Wow bearings everywhere. You got lucky, it looks like it only jumped 2 teeth or so at the most.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:06 PM   #11
2gnt2wrx
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My friend texted me pics of the exact same idler blown in the exact same way as yours just last night. What did it sound like before it got really bad?
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:21 PM   #12
wrx1392
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im thinking every other timing belt change im going to replace the idlers and WP weather they need it or not .
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:34 PM   #13
Tavery92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2gnt2wrx View Post
My friend texted me pics of the exact same idler blown in the exact same way as yours just last night. What did it sound like before it got really bad?
Mine sounded like a train on old wooden tracks. Had the same issue in mine, caught it while it was very loose and not blown up. Made it to 96k miles. Dealer I got it from did belt tensioner and water pump, why they or anyone decides to skip the idlers is beyond me.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:55 AM   #14
art@grimmspeed
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Glad it did not do any engine damage. That idler that you had go out seems to be the most common one to fail.
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Old 04-11-2013, 01:44 AM   #15
ogboot
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My idlers sounded like old fashioned roller skates when I replaced them at 150k!
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