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Old 11-19-2004, 07:19 PM   #1
Susie's Suby
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Default New timing belt broke & damaged motor!

So, we have 98+ K on our '01 RS 2.5 right? So we take it in to the dealer, who will remain anonymous (at least for now!) to replace the timing belt before we hit 100 K. After all, we wouldn't want the thing to break, damage the engine and leave the driver (me) stranded with a baby in the back seat and a cello in the passenger seat on the right shoulder of some major interstate highway, right??

Well, they replaced the timing belt & timing belt tensioner, which they said also needed to be replaced...but they did something wrong, b/c the above scenario is exactly what happened.

The dealer has been very cool, so far--sent a tow truck and gave us a loaner to drive. They said they had to order parts in to fix the engine & we won't have the car for a couple of days (at least).

What we need to know is, how can we be sure that we won't have problems down the road with this repaired engine? Is there anything to look for under the hood (the hubs knows motorcycle engines)? Are there specific questions we should ask the dealer about the repair?

We'd be grateful for any help/advice! Thanks.

Susie
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Old 11-19-2004, 07:32 PM   #2
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You don't really know if anything else will happen later, and there isn't anything visual you can check. You have to trust that they repaired whatever broke and did so properly. What you might be able to do, since this was clearly the dealer's fault, is insist that they provide you with an extended warranty on the engine at no cost.
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Old 11-20-2004, 12:31 PM   #3
poison
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I agree with Mulder, and would add that any problem that could possibly be tied to this in the future, regardless of what warranty they may or may not provide, should be covered by them, even 100,000 miles down the road. Keep all records and reciepts of the whole incident.
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Old 11-21-2004, 12:22 PM   #4
avk
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FWIW my observation is that timing belts replaced by dealers (and independent shops as well) seem more likely to fail prematurely than those installed at the factory. The practical side of it may be that unless you want to DIY, it's safer to drive past the recommended mileage (for say, 10,000-20,000 miles) and use the time to find someone you can really trust with this job.
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Old 11-21-2004, 01:03 PM   #5
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I don't think you should drive over the recommended mileage on this issue. It's too important of a component. No need to take a chance with your valves, which would end up costing you more in the long run. You take a chance of anything not lasting as long as it is suppose to once you break into the system. Too many variables. I think you should plan before it is due, so when it is due you are prepared for it. Have the money, know who is going to do it and such. Just my opinion.
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Old 11-21-2004, 01:54 PM   #6
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Planning ahead is the best way, no argument here. My opinion was about
the relative risks of being over mileage vs. replacing the belt at a random place.
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Old 11-22-2004, 12:22 PM   #7
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(i'd bet improper adjustment of the new tensioner?)

Over milage, bad, but not that bad.

Random place, VERY BAD unless you know/trust the mech. in which case it's not a random place.

Subaru dealer, Best bet as if something does happen, they'll probably take the blame and get you the parts for the fix.

Back to the original question, since the EJ25 is an interferance engine, they're probably going to replace the valves, mabye the heads, valvetrain, etc. I'd doubt that the piston would be damaged before a valve broke, but it is possible.
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Old 11-22-2004, 03:31 PM   #8
Susie's Suby
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Thanks for your help, everyone. We're waiting to hear from the dealer and hoping we don't have a fight on our hands. (Meanwhile, the hubs is driving a loaner--a Buick Century Custom. He calls it his Pimp-mobile... )
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Old 11-22-2004, 04:18 PM   #9
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It's pretty hard to screw up the timing belt installation. Are you sure the timing belt broke or did something else break, like one of the idler pullies not being bolted down? I had a bolt on an idler pulley snap off on my 1995 L, but it's a non-interference engine. I'd ask them if they knew exactly what went wrong with the belt. If they don't know and are just replacing things then I'm not sure how much I would trust them.
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Old 11-22-2004, 07:39 PM   #10
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According to Subaru, the new 105,000 mile timing belts must not be flexed to tighter than a 2 inch (I seem to remember) radius or the belt fibers can be straned or broken. I have seen supposedly good mechanices bend belts tight while just taking them out of the box. Ed
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Old 11-23-2004, 07:34 PM   #11
Susie's Suby
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Quote:
Are you sure the timing belt broke or did something else break, like one of the idler pullies not being bolted down?
Well, they now tell us that the new tensioner is what broke...And yes, we're very nervous about them fixing the engine right! That's why I posted in hopes of getting some advice. So, does anyone know what signs to look for when we get the car back? I'm just worried that it'll a) keep breaking down or b) not be as powerful.

Thanks, everyone!
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Old 11-26-2004, 11:09 PM   #12
Susie's Suby
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Default Visited my RS today

Just visited the Subie at the dealer today. Very discouraging...it's sitting in the garage still waiting to be serviced. The service mngr is pretty sketchy about a prognosis--says he'll call us when he "knows anything".

Anyone know how long it might take, on average, to re-build this kind of engine? My old Celica took 2 weeks and had to go back in again for another week b/c the 1st rebuilt engine was no good.
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Old 11-26-2004, 11:59 PM   #13
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If they really wanted to rush, they could have it done in a day, but their probably gonna be lazy and take 4-5 days. More if they choose to pull it out completely.
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Old 12-10-2004, 04:27 PM   #14
Susie's Suby
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Default Update

Here's an update, in case anyone's curious. It's been 3 weeks since the newly-installed tensioner/timing belt broke in our '01 RS 2.5.

My Hubby picked up the car yesterday from the dealer. As he drove away, clouds of smoke billowed out from the rear of the car, so he drove back to the dealer. They said it was coolant that leaked when the heads were re-installed (they told us the heads were in the machine shop a few days ago).

He says the car drives fine; the smoke/steam seems to have burned off.

Does this sound right? I haven't driven the car yet (will tonight) and don't need it to break down on the way to a gig in the middle of nowhere!

Thanks, everyone.

Susie
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Old 12-10-2004, 04:38 PM   #15
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Hm, you would think that they would have run the car long enough to burn off whatever got in there, and then test-driven it, so that when you picked it up all would be ok. Maybe they just didn't bother to do this and it's fine, but I'd be very suspicious. Then again, this is the same dealer that broke it so who knows.
Monitor the coolant and oil carefully, watch the levels and look for signs of mixing (milky oil, oily coolant). If you see white smoke again, especially if it has a sweet smell, take it back there immediately and have them tear it down again (or insist on a new engine).
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Old 12-10-2004, 05:32 PM   #16
Susie's Suby
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Default

Quote:
Hm, you would think that they would have run the car long enough to burn off whatever got in there, and then test-driven it, so that when you picked it up all would be ok.
That's what we thought, too. And ditto about it being suspicious & the same dealer who messed it up.

We'll definitely keep an eye on the oil & coolant, thanks. Not to whine, but (to whine), it's really sucky b/c I don't have confidence in the car anymore. I absolutely loved it before this happened. Drove it all over the place in all kinds of weather.

2 more questions: 1) should I reveal the name/location of the dealer in this forum or is that uncool? 2) I'm thinking about writing a letter to Subaru--any word on how effective this has been for others who've done so?
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Old 12-10-2004, 06:18 PM   #17
Mulder
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You're certainly free to rant away about the dealer, but if you're going to do that the proper place would be the Dealer Review forum rather than here.
As for writing to SOA do it if it makes you feel better. If you write an intelligent, factual letter and provide good supporting documentation (copies of repair orders, other dealer documents) it should get their attention. What they then will do about it is another story, don't expect much but you never know.
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Old 12-10-2004, 06:22 PM   #18
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Yes post the name.

Help other avoid that dealer and their shady service, thats what the community is for.

It does sound like they didnt road test the car very well but since the tech who installed belt orig probably had to do the valves and stuff for free he might not have cared,

Retorhical question, how does coolant get trapped in a horizontally apposed motor???? if it was a V motor I would buy that, they should have cleaned out the cylinders before putting the heads on either way.

Get yoru oil changed asap, cause if there was enough coolant in the cylinders to cause that much smoke, I bet there is some coolant in your oil and thats bad They should have cleaned out the cylinders before assembling the mtor and changed the oil, then road tested the car.

I think you will be ok though. Just make sure you keep everything documented.
Give subaru a call 1800subaru3 and let them know what happened, get a case number, just for some added protection.

Jay
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Old 12-21-2004, 08:45 PM   #19
Susie's Suby
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For anyone who's curious, I posted on the dealer forum about this particular service dept. The car is running fine, so far, but last week some stupid girl ran a stop sign and damaged the left front! (Anyone who's in Pittsburgh, look for the BR pearl RS with the YELLOW duct tape around the left fog/turn signal lights. ) That's for another forum, though!

In general, though, it's not been a good month for my Subie.
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Old 12-28-2004, 10:34 AM   #20
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Just out of curiosity, is the Subaru WRX motor (EJ205) have an interference head design? ... in other words: is the head going to be damaged any time the timing belt comes loose? If I'm not mistaken, some of the Toyota motors have a non-interference head, which means the timing belt will not damage the head if it comes loose.

Thanks for letting me hijack...
-x
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