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Old 05-19-2018, 07:10 PM   #1
silver2004impreza
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Default Junkyard engine timing woes

I've got a junkyard engine out of a 2003 Subaru Impreza that I'm in the process of re-sealing before dropping it into my car. I spun the engine over by hand before disassembly when it arrived from LKQ and everything moved like it should. I mounted the engine on a stand and began the disassembly process. I basically tore then engine down to just the rotating assembly on the stand (I couldn't find any machine shop willing to re-ring it for me so that's not getting done), and sent the heads off to the machine shop to be decked, crack-checked and to have the valve guides replaced. The heads came back from the machine shop in a ready-to-install condition. That was a couple of weeks ago.

Fast forward to today. I finally get the o-rings I was waiting on for my oil pump and the oil pan so I get those parts bolted back onto the engine and now it's time to install the heads. They get installed with fresh gaskets and head bolts, torqued down properly according to Subaru's specs. I put the new water pump on as well as the timing belt idlers except for the smooth pulley that sits over on the passenger side of the engine. I always put that one on once I get the belt in place, but before I pull the pin on the tensioner. Now, here's where the problem occurred.

I was trying to line all the timing marks up in preparation for the belt installation. The passenger side cam's timing mark lined up just fine. I got the crank lined up just fine, but when it came time to line up the driver side cam, the intake valves on the front cylinder hit the top of the piston. I've tried everything I can think of to get the marks lined up without there being any contact between the valves and pistons and I'm fresh out of ideas. I'm hoping someone on here has seen this kind of fault before and has some advice. I'm not going to be able to do anything to it before Monday though, since the engine is at work with my tools and even if I left my house right now work would be closed before I got there and we're not open on Sundays.

TL,DR: Junkyard EJ251 has the piston on cylinder 2 contact the intake valves before the timing marks are lined up. Engine turned over fine (by hand) before sending the heads to the machine shop.
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Old 05-20-2018, 01:59 AM   #2
05-rsx
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I'd start by taking the cam gears off and double check they've been installed correctly with the keyway in the correct orientation/ correct cam gear on correct side
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Old 05-20-2018, 08:28 AM   #3
whitrzac
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Then you don't have the crank lined up correctly.

With the crank timeing mark in the correct position, both cams can be rotated 360* without hitting.
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Old 05-20-2018, 08:31 AM   #4
Charlie-III
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What crank timing mark are you using? It should be the line stamped into the disc on the rear of the crank gear, not the triangle on the front.

The timing belt marks on a Subaru have the pistons at mid travel, NOT top of the cylinder.
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Old 05-21-2018, 08:29 AM   #5
silver2004impreza
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I'm an idiot. I was looking at the wrong timing mark. I've got everything lined up correctly now. Thanks everyone.
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Old 05-21-2018, 10:50 AM   #6
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Easy enough to do the first time.
Subaru is odd in that doing a timing belt has pistons at mid stroke, most others have piston 1 at TDC.


Glad you fixed it.
Thanks for the followup.
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Old 05-30-2018, 01:26 PM   #7
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easy to mix up the arrow and the paint lines on the gears.
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Old 08-26-2018, 10:35 PM   #8
marxtr6
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Guys, I can't seem to post without replying to three threads and am in need of help so I'm tagging on here. I've got a '05 Impreza Outback Sport that needed the HG's replaced. I lined everything up when I took it apart. Sent the heads to the shop to be shaved and when putting it back together, I accidently moved the PS mark off TDC. Now while trying to put it back, it snaps past TDC by 15 degrees or so and I can't get it to stop in place. Any thoughts on how to line this up so I can replace the belt? TIA

Mark
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Old 08-27-2018, 07:33 AM   #9
Charlie-III
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Looking at the front of the engine, the left side should sit still, the right side will be opening valves, this spring loaded.

Again, a Subaru engine is NOT at TDC when correct marks are used. Pistons are mid stroke.
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Old 08-27-2018, 12:27 PM   #10
yarrgh
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It might help to have an extra set of hands to hold the driver side cam in place while you route the belt around. With a little practice, it can be done by 1 person.
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Old 08-27-2018, 04:36 PM   #11
marxtr6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie-III View Post
Looking at the front of the engine, the left side should sit still, the right side will be opening valves, this spring loaded.

Again, a Subaru engine is NOT at TDC when correct marks are used. Pistons are mid stroke.
My mistake, I meant the Drivers side. It snaps past the marks when I try to line it straight up. pistons are mid stroke, you are correct. Wrong wording.
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Old 08-28-2018, 12:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marxtr6 View Post
My mistake, I meant the Drivers side. It snaps past the marks when I try to line it straight up. pistons are mid stroke, you are correct. Wrong wording.
Get a 18"-24" breaker bar (not ratchet or ratcheting breaker bar) with the appropriate sized metric socket and wedge it just right to hold the driver's side cam gear in place at the appropriate mark while you line up the timing belt and put the last pulley on which is the passenger lower one. pull the pin for the timing tensioner and you are done.

~Josh
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Old 08-29-2018, 02:49 PM   #13
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Glad you got it worked out
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Old 08-29-2018, 03:24 PM   #14
Charlie-III
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjahr01 View Post
Glad you got it worked out
Whom are you replying to?

OP is covered, tag along is up in the air.
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