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2003 Forester
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2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 03 forester that stopped running while going down the road. The break down was severe as it didn't sound good lots of clacking and banging metal sounds and the car lost all momentum and power. I pulled over and tried to start the vehicle and more clacking etc. So I towed it home and plugged in a code reader. This code reader is very confusing I really need help if possible desiphering these codes and see if it is indeed a timing belt break. This forester has 250000 on the odometer and no service done to timing components. I would really appreciate any info I can get as I can't figure these codes out and can't afford to tow the vehicle into suburu to have them tell me and then turn around and tow it back home. Thanks for your time and any help you can give
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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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If you have a socket set or wrenches, why don't you just look at the belt yourself ?

Is your Forester a Turbo or Non Turbo version? Manual or Auto? It would really help if you completed your profiles so others are able to provide accurate help.

If your Forester got to 250,000 miles with original timing components, you did not suffer a mechanical fault, it suffered a user fault. :giggle:
 

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2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
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5,246 Posts
... stopped running while going down the road... lots of clacking and banging metal sounds... tried to start the vehicle and more clacking... plugged in a code reader...
I think the reader needs signals from the ECU computer of a running engine to generate DTC diagnostic trouble codes.
It looks to me like it requires the removal of accessory belts and a full cover, to be able look at the belt. The evidence of a broken belt seems clear enough without that.
 

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2016 & 2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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20,567 Posts
The described symptoms match those of timing belt failure, and being way over the 105k mile maintenance schedule certainly increases the probability.
 

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2004 FXT 4EAT
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1,370 Posts
The timing belt cover is in multiple pieces. On the SOHC (non Turbo model) it is 2 pieces and on the DOHC (Turbo model) it is 3 pieces. The piece on the right side (standing in front of the car, looking at the engine) can be removed by removing 3 bolts (using a 10mm socket). You'll be able to tell if the belt is "tight" on there or not once you have that cover off.


If that belt was indeed never replaced for 250'000 miles, you might have a record on your hands! It should have been replaced twice already!
 

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2003 Forester
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2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If you have a socket set or wrenches, why don't you just look at the belt yourself ?

Is your Forester a Turbo or Non Turbo version? Manual or Auto? It would really help if you completed your profiles so others are able to provide accurate help.

If your Forester got to 250,000 miles with original timing components, you did not suffer a mechanical fault, it suffered a user fault. :giggle:
Right lol thanks man. I would have I just didn't realize what details were important. So it's a automatic non turbo. I do have some tools it's just I'm not sure what needs to come off to check the belt except the entire plate or cover for the front of the boxer that covers the timing components. I do appreciate your help and knowlage my friend. Thanks for the response
 

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2016 & 2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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We all gave thanks when Subaru introduced the 'lifetime' timing chain in 2011. The claim of 'lifetime' is still under evaluation, but reports of problems have been very few.

One of my greatest complaints about the timing belt was their also using it to power the water pump, an engine component that's important but not in an instantaneous death to the engine way. Pump failure can break the belt, which in turn can break the engine. The accessory belt is a much more intelligent choice for powering the water pump. Visible, easy to change, and small chance of collateral damage.
 

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I'm not totally familiar with that model, but if you have easy access to the spark plugs, pull them out and use a compression tester (a gauge or just cover the hole with your thumb), to see if the valves and pistons are moving the way they should.
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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3,501 Posts
Right lol thanks man. I would have I just didn't realize what details were important. So it's a automatic non turbo. I do have some tools it's just I'm not sure what needs to come off to check the belt except the entire plate or cover for the front of the boxer that covers the timing components. I do appreciate your help and knowlage my friend. Thanks for the response
Thanks. Knowing it is a non turbo. Your timing belt cover is in 2 pieces. You'll also have more room under the hood to work with it being a non turbo too.

This shows the 2 parts of the timing belt cover. You'll be aiming to remove part A
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Hopefully this video demonstrates how to remove the part A of the timing belt cover. If the belt has broken, it should be obvious from this point alone.
If you're unsure, you can rotate the timing assembly by the crank and it will become obvious if the timing belt has broken.

If on the offchance the timing belt is actually ok. I would check the oil level.

There are people on here who have rebuilt their non turbo engines after a timing belt breaking and have detailed their journeys if fixing it was an option to you.
If you decide not to fix it, depending on which state you're in, a forum member might offer to buy the Forester and fix it up themselves to save her from the scrapyard - Depending on the condition of the rest of the vehicle and rust etc ofcourse.

If you have the time and space, it might make sense to break the vehicle and sell it off in pieces. This can take a long time and hassle arranging collections/postage though.... You would almost certainly retrieve more funds from the Forester this way vs the scrapyard but it does take time and hassle.....
 

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2009 FXT
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456 Posts
I've never heard of a timing belt failure that made a lot of metal clanking and banging sounds where the engine survived without internal damage, ie bent valves.
I've experienced a timing belt snapping while driving and there was no unusual sounds, just the car died. And the valves were bent.
I've also experienced rod bearing failure while driving, that made a lot of clanking and banging sounds
 

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2020 Outback
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106 Posts
Thanks. Knowing it is a non turbo. Your timing belt cover is in 2 pieces. You'll also have more room under the hood to work with it being a non turbo too.

This shows the 2 parts of the timing belt cover. You'll be aiming to remove part A
View attachment 573548
Hopefully this video demonstrates how to remove the part A of the timing belt cover. If the belt has broken, it should be obvious from this point alone.
If you're unsure, you can rotate the timing assembly by the crank and it will become obvious if the timing belt has broken.

If on the offchance the timing belt is actually ok. I would check the oil level.

There are people on here who have rebuilt their non turbo engines after a timing belt breaking and have detailed their journeys if fixing it was an option to you.
If you decide not to fix it, depending on which state you're in, a forum member might offer to buy the Forester and fix it up themselves to save her from the scrapyard - Depending on the condition of the rest of the vehicle and rust etc ofcourse.

If you have the time and space, it might make sense to break the vehicle and sell it off in pieces. This can take a long time and hassle arranging collections/postage though.... You would almost certainly retrieve more funds from the Forester this way vs the scrapyard but it does take time and hassle.....
Thanks. Knowing it is a non turbo. Your timing belt cover is in 2 pieces. You'll also have more room under the hood to work with it being a non turbo too.

This shows the 2 parts of the timing belt cover. You'll be aiming to remove part A
View attachment 573548
Hopefully this video demonstrates how to remove the part A of the timing belt cover. If the belt has broken, it should be obvious from this point alone.
If you're unsure, you can rotate the timing assembly by the crank and it will become obvious if the timing belt has broken.

If on the offchance the timing belt is actually ok. I would check the oil level.

There are people on here who have rebuilt their non turbo engines after a timing belt breaking and have detailed their journeys if fixing it was an option to you.
If you decide not to fix it, depending on which state you're in, a forum member might offer to buy the Forester and fix it up themselves to save her from the scrapyard - Depending on the condition of the rest of the vehicle and rust etc ofcourse.

If you have the time and space, it might make sense to break the vehicle and sell it off in pieces. This can take a long time and hassle arranging collections/postage though.... You would almost certainly retrieve more funds from the Forester this way vs the scrapyard but it does take time and hassle.....
Thanks for the video and explanation. The inspection looks to be super easy on this engine. Easy enouigh that I would not think twice about inspecting every 30,000 miles -especially considering the cost of not inspecting and having the belt slip or snap. ($$$$+)
 
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