Join Date: Sep 2011
Car Year: 2001
Car Model: forester
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
RE: REPLACING THE TIMING BELT ON AN '01 SUB FORESTER
Kudos for an excellent documentation of how to replace the timing belt, pump and tensioner.
A key reason your job went so well; is you sourced OEM parts--very important. I sourced parts that were allegedly "OEM quality" but sadly, they were not--not even close to true OEM reliability.
While I was a "bit" late in doing this service--at 170,000 miles, the old belt and tensioner were still in excellent condition and working fine. And, the belt had absolutely no fraying. However, the replacement parts did not do nearly as well.
A few months after replacing the belt and tensioner, whenever the temp dropped below 30 F, the engine had a nasty knock on a cold startup, a loud, metallic knock which lasted for 15 minutes or so, then slowly went away when the engine heated up.
The knock was caused by the tensioner which developed a leak around the tensioning rod, causing it not to maintain tension when cold. On startup the rod had about an 1/8th inch of free play and banged against the steel stop on every revolution of the belt, making a scary sound.
Some would say that I installed the tensioner improperly, but I compressed it slowly in the vertical direction using a press, following the instructions to the letter. Even so, the tensioner lasted only 6,000 miles before crapping out, compared to 170,000 with no failure for the OEM tensioner.
The replacement belt appeared to be of a higher quality, but the timing marks were off. Fortunately I had the factory service manual which showed where the cams were supposed to be when the crank mark is at the top. So, I dodged the bullet there.
After replacing the tensioner with one made by Gates--which comes compressed from the factory--it is working fine, even in freezing weather.
When I contacted the supplier of the "OEM Quality" parts, Mizumo, and let them know their tensioner had crapped the bed at 6,000 miles, they did not ask anything about what would cause such an "infant mortality" type of failure. Apparently, they are used to--or do not care--about such an indicator of horrendous quality. They simply replied with their party line that their warranty is good for only 90 days.
So, buyer beware. Avoid the cheap crap and remember that my aftermarket "OEM Quality" tensioner lasted only 3.5% as long (6/170) as a part with true OEM quality.