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Old 09-07-2005, 10:52 PM   #1
BlackoutWRX
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Default can i Subaru tech tell if a timing belt tensioner is bad by looking at it?

my car is going in for its 60k mile check up and i really think that my timing belt tensioner is messed up. i get this off beat clunking sound right in front of cylinder 4. It seems to really only happen when the car is started after sitting for awhile, RIGHT when the rpms are idling around 1000rpms (when its above 1000, or when it moves down to 750 it goes away) i beleive they check the timing belt at 60k (correct me if im wrong). First of all does this seem like it could a a tensioner problem? Now would a tech beable to definitely tell by inspection that the timing belt tensioner is warn out? or is it something that is really hard to see?
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Old 09-08-2005, 12:40 AM   #2
Uncle Scotty
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...#2 is 'right in front' of #4.......but the tensioner is on that side....mine is dying, too....at ~60k
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Old 10-17-2012, 07:24 PM   #3
Steven Jo
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Default '99 Subaru Legacy

I just bought a '99 Legacy and was told that the Timing Tensioner was bad. I need to know how dangerous it is to continue to drive it with out getting it fixed. The only time you know something is wrong is at start up, after 4-5 minutes it completely goes away and only happens again after it has sat over night. Any ideas?
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:06 PM   #4
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Is this a record? Dude revived a 7 year old post.


But yes, replace the bad tensioner. A timing belt without proper tension can become toast very quickly

Last edited by vtdave; 10-18-2012 at 06:16 AM.
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:15 PM   #5
w0ng3r
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at least he used the search function
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:17 PM   #6
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well if the t belt tensioner is bad the belt can get slack and jump timing some, or a lot... Think of it as a time bomb if you were told it is bad replace it! If you cant afford it then i would get the parts and a friend that is mechanically inclined to help you and get it done.
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:20 PM   #7
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I've had customers driving around with such bad tensioners that the vibration broke the bolts holding the bracket on...
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:21 PM   #8
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just to add to your story, anything involving the timing belt can have catastrophic consequences... I had a 1.8t jetta and was doing a t belt and water pump replacement and got it all back together and left the top covers off the gears bc i was running out of day light. Well a 10mm socket was left in the engine bay and made its way in there and wedged itself in the crank gear and trashed my head.

My friend also had a passat 1.8t that was at 89k miles and was putting off getting the t belt done his wife snapped it while driving home that week.

So long story short get it done, you could go really cheap and check to see if the belt is within tolerances and just replace the tensioner.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:59 PM   #9
Steven Jo
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Default '99 Subaru Legacy

So how difficult is it to replace the tensioner? I have a friend that is a passable back yard mechanic, is it reasonable to expect him to be able to get it done? He has no experience with Subaru's...he is a Jeep guy.
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:09 PM   #10
HinshawWRX
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Honestly if you are doing the tensioner, you might as well do the entire timing belt setup. There are SEVERAL write ups, and many youtube videos on how to do it. Expect it to take from 30 mins to 2 hours. Just make sure your timing marks line up, and spin the crank by hand to verify timing.
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