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Old 07-21-2019, 12:18 AM   #1
99 rs
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Default 2009 Subaru Outback 3.0R Timing Chain Rattle

I'm currently in the middle of doing a timing chain replacement on our 2009 Subaru Outback 3.0R. The car has 251,000 kms and recently it started making a hell of a racket either in the engine itself or under the timing cover. I admit it sounded more to me like being in the area directly under the alternator but every forum post says it's the guides/tensioners so I went with it. I pulled everything apart (what an effing PITA those Allen bolts are) and when I went to inspect the chain it's really loose on top on the passenger side and I would say "normal" tight on the bottom. I'm pretty sure if I tried hard enough I could pull the chain off the guide kind of like in the video around the 7-8 second mark.

My question is: is the tensioner strong enough to supposed to be able to "spin" the cams/crank and make everything tight? I thought it would be but now I'm not so sure. I'll be checking the timing tomorrow so maybe I just have to manually "tighten" the crank sprocket back/forward by moving the chain a tooth. I'm still going to replace everything but if anyone has any insight while everything is apart that'd be great.

For future people I'm doing this on July 20/21, 2019.

Before:

During:




Current state:
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Old 07-21-2019, 09:09 PM   #2
Boxcar80
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The top side of the chain will tighten up because of the rotation of the motor, But the cams are probably in a position to "kick back" or relax the top side of the chain. It looks to me like the tensioner, for the right side of the motor has failed or the chain has stretch.
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Old 07-28-2019, 12:32 AM   #3
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Thanks Boxcar80, that's what I'm leaning towards as well.

***************************************

Finally got going on this again and I decided to pull the valve covers to measure the valve clearances. I don't know how people could possibly pull the covers without jacking the engine up but well done to those people! In my case I had to put some wood under the engine mount. Bonus is while undoing the engine mounts, pitch stop in particular, I think I found what was causing my knocking when the engine rocked back and forth.

In this picture I'm putting very minimal amount of force and the bushing is already compressing.






Now for the possible major problem. For some reason, one entire bank of valves is out of clearance (passenger exhaust side). This one has me puzzled as all of my googling shows that usually with something catastrophic it's the whole cylinder head that has issues (not just the exhaust side of one head). Other guys have a couple of clearance issues on random valves but not every single one all in a line. The opinion so far seems to be "just leave it" as it's better loose than tight especially for the amount of kilometereage (mileage) this car has. If this car didn't have the stupid buckets and the rear timing chain cover then I'd just go ahead and do them but it's a lot of extra work. The valve ticking noise existed ever since we bought it @~180k kms and hasn't gotten worse. What are your thoughts on the measurements? You can hear the ticking in the first video I posted.

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Old 07-28-2019, 04:07 AM   #4
Judee21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar80 View Post
The top side of the chain will tighten up because of the rotation of the motor, But the cams are probably in a position to "kick back" or relax the top side of the chain. It looks to me like the tensioner, for the right side of the motor has failed or the chain has stretch.
+1
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Old 07-30-2019, 08:33 PM   #5
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That is a pretty big difference in clearances. I myself would have to set them right. I couldn't let it go like that.

It seems to me like someone got lazy or was forgetful.
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Old 08-20-2019, 12:13 AM   #6
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This whole job started for me when a local dealer did the airbag recall on our Outback. In the process of them doing the recall they gouged up some interior panels which are unfortunately no longer available. We came to a mutual agreement (they were very very good about the whole thing so well played to them) about applying credit towards some parts. I knew the tensioner was starting to fail so I sat down with the parts guy and just pointed to every part I could see on the timing chain diagram. In the end, for all of the OEM parts, it ended up being ~$370 CAD which is an excellent price. Things like the fluids, valve cover items, etc. were all extra but at least the car will be ready for more -30 Celsius winters.

Other issues the car had was a sticking front left brake caliper which was miss diagnosed as a front differential failure. We were completely ready just to sell the car (with all of the uninstalled timing parts) but luckily, we decided to hose it down for pictures. When I did I noticed the front left rotor vapourized the water quite readily whereas the passenger side didnít. When I came home I measured the temperatures and passenger side was 57 Celsius and driver side was up to 208 (all without exceeding 50 km/h for about 15 minutes). I did a few additional items like struts, tie rods, polished some headlights, and then replaced a front parking sensor during this whole process too.

This thread will be mostly pictures and I wonít elaborate too much into anything. If something catches your eye let me know and Iíll explain it further.

Here is the car before doing any work. Has a few issues for having 250,000 kms on it but overall, the wife really likes it.











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Old 08-20-2019, 12:14 AM   #7
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The driver side seat is wearing on the bolsters

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Old 08-20-2019, 12:14 AM   #8
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After we took the above pictures we measured the rotor temperatures.

Passenger side @ 57:



Driver side @ 208:



Beginning disassembly:


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Old 08-20-2019, 12:15 AM   #9
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After removing the easy stuff including radiator I tried to hold the crank pulley with a strap wrench…..that didn’t work. Then I went out and bought a stubby impact wrench……that didn’t work. Then I rigged up a fairly sketchy contraption using a Toyota 2JZ crank pulley holder tool, 2 bolts just taped into the holder, a milk crate and 2 breaker bars. Worked like a charm.










After that it was time for the allen bolts. Most of mine came out but every single freaking one was filled with rust to the point where you couldn’t even get the tool in. I had to scrape out the centers. What a stupid bolt style for our climate.



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Old 08-20-2019, 12:16 AM   #10
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I made a makeshift template of where each bolt goes since there are 3 different sizes. I bought all replacement bolts anyways but at this point I wasn’t sure if everything that I ordered was correct (in quantity).







I had to cut a few off them apart. You guys in fair weather climates have no idea how good you have it.



After much time passed I got to where I needed to be.
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Old 08-20-2019, 12:17 AM   #11
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Pile of parts accumulating.







Also figured I would check the valve clearances (which you guys already knew about). The valve cover bolts did not want to come out easily.


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Old 08-20-2019, 12:18 AM   #12
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Passenger side was easy. The driver side I had to jack the engine up meaning undo engine mounts and drop exhaust.




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Old 08-20-2019, 12:19 AM   #13
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Eventually got them both off and measured the clearances (more on that later).

Then with nothing else left to take apart started tackling the chain stuff.



Before putting everything back I degreased all parts and left half of the engine on my deck

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Old 08-20-2019, 12:19 AM   #14
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Cleanup of the mating surface took much longer than I expected but overall it turned out nice. Note, make sure to clean everything up before you take the old stuff apart (even before you unbolt any of the idlers as that opens up oil passages where the small silicone bits can fall into).





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Old 08-20-2019, 12:20 AM   #15
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Here was my box of parts. Really small box relatively speaking but many many things inside. Mostly OEM.







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Old 08-20-2019, 12:21 AM   #16
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For the valve cover area:






Now for the removal. It’s really straight forward. Set the passenger side intake cam with the arrow pointing up. Make sure crank is facing up as well. And that’s it. Really simple.

After it’s set start by removing the tensioner. In my case this was the culprit of my timing chain slap.

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Old 08-20-2019, 12:21 AM   #17
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The chains are different lengths

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Old 08-20-2019, 12:22 AM   #18
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Here the tensioner is removed


Now the guides (upper and lower). Note the chain hangs way lower than you’d think it would.


Do the same treatment to the other side then tackle the water pump. Mine was filthy but that middle portion is open to the atmosphere by a hole in the bottom of the block. I suspect they air gapped it in case one of the seals leaks so no oil/coolant would mix.



I had to use the 12 mm bolts to get it out


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Old 08-20-2019, 12:22 AM   #19
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She’s naked




New OEM water pump


All of the old stuff


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Old 08-20-2019, 12:23 AM   #20
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I coated the inner seal in coolant but note sure if you have to. It went in snug.




New pump in


I went full stupid and bought new idler sprockets too. Again, I was just sitting with the parts guy pointing at stuff on the parts diagrams since if I didn’t use the credit given to me then I would lose it.


New double and single sprockets
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Old 08-20-2019, 12:24 AM   #21
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Right side chain on


Match up the crank pulley dot to the gold link


Match up the blue link to the driver side intake cam


Again blue link to dot for driver side exhaust cam



Note there is no dot on the idler sprockets so the blue link doesn’t matter on this portion. It only matters when the passenger chain goes on and that both blue links have to be on the same tooth.
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Old 08-20-2019, 12:24 AM   #22
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The manual says to get new bolts for these side guides. I suspect it’s only because of the thread lock on them.


If you look closely the guide is starting to form a groove. The tensioner might have enough leeway that it shouldn’t matter but I still replaced mine.


Lower driver side guide


Pivot pin which isn’t actually bolted in. It just kind of floats there although the front cover probably secures it.


In my case the new guides were black and not that brown colour.
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Old 08-20-2019, 12:25 AM   #23
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Again grooves have formed into the guides


Upper driver side guide




New tensioner and bolts that secure it
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Old 08-20-2019, 12:25 AM   #24
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Back side of the tensioner. You can see where the oil injects into it




I took it apart since I was curious to see what was inside.






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Old 08-20-2019, 12:26 AM   #25
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Driver side done other than the grenade pin


The passenger side chain is on and just make sure the blue links are on the same tooth


Passenger intake cam


Passenger exhaust cam. Notice that the chain isn’t seated fully into the teeth. I actually didn’t notice this at first and when I pulled the pin on the tensioner I saw the cam “spin” a few degrees. Perhaps this was the cause of my knocking from before???


Passenger upper guide (long boi)


New bolt. It’s the one where the outside cover bolts into
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