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2004 Forester XT 5MT
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50 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just changed the timing belt and associated idlers and pulleys on my new to me 2004 XT and ran into a bit of a problem.

First the kit I am referring to was purchased from Advance Auto and is Dayco part number 95328K1. I can't post a link since I don't have 15 posts, maybe when I get to that number I'll edit with the link.

Now on to the story. The smallest idler pulley that came in the kit appeared to be exactly the same as the one that was coming off, so I bolted it right up and torqued it down. Then came that dreaded feeling when turning the bolt suddenly becomes a lot easier than it ought to be. The bolt had broken off right where the threads end and was flush with the engine surface. After a few nights of drilling and hammering to get it off, we attempted a bolt extractor to pull out the broken bolt. While doing this we only succeeded in cracking the mounting tab in half. After a few minutes of near panic trying to figure out how much it would cost to get it machined and put back to a usable state, I realized the piece that this particular hole in is actually removable, so for the low price of $36 I had replaced all the broken bits in this area.

Then when I went to put the idler on the new bracket I realized that the unthreaded portion of the bolt was sticking out past the end of the idler. The bolt had run in to the unthreaded portion, but because the idler wasn't tight to the engine surface, I had kept tightening it. With no way to go in any further, the bolt had snapped.

Upon further inspection I noticed that the bearing inside the idler was recessed further than the one in the original idler. Since I was on a deadline to drive this car from NY to UT, I didn't have time to get a replacement so I added a spacer under the bolt head and everything torqued down just fine without any trouble.

So be on the lookout if using this kit, or any other, make sure that everything is exactly the same as the piece coming off. It will save a lot of headache and panic.

<tl;dr> Idler bearing was recessed too far, snapped the bolt and had to replace bolt and tensioner bracket.
 

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Premium Member
2014 Impreza Ltd CVT
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3,363 Posts
Newer Idlers , even the ones from Subaru are like that. If you buy it fro the dealer, the will suggest the newer bolt as well.

Here's one thread. and I know I have seen many, even a You-Tube Video quite a while ago, about replacing the belt on a DOHC Turbo Subaru engine and in the video they point out that fact.

Nothing wrong with the kit, has the newer updated pulley, but obviously no reference to replacing it IF you have the older smaller one.

Small pulley, long m8 bolt - part number - NASIOC

Found the You Tube

 

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2004 Forester XT 5MT
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50 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
From what I can tell, my situation was opposite of that in the NASIOC post. My bolt was too long, the old pulley needed a longer bolt than the new pulley because the bearing was set farther out on the old pulley. According to the NASIOC thread rkramer is saying that the new pulley has the bearing set farther out.

The replacement bolt I purchased from the dealer was the exact same as the broken bolt and was still too long.

And in response to the youtube video, its not that the bolt was necessarily too long, its that the threaded portion wasn't long enough to snug down the idler. The threads stopped on the bolt before the idler was tight.
 

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2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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8,073 Posts
I would suspect your Foz had the updated pulley and bolt but the kit used the older parts. I have learned over the years to always double check every thing.
 

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2002 Forester
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293 Posts
OK, so if one gets a kit, any kit, one still needs to buy a new bolt?

I hate when this happens. Same thing with my Escort. They changed the serpentine belt idler size, and so if you change it, you also have to downsize your belt size.
 

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2004 Forester XT 5MT
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50 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
OK, so if one gets a kit, any kit, one still needs to buy a new bolt?

I hate when this happens. Same thing with my Escort. They changed the serpentine belt idler size, and so if you change it, you also have to downsize your belt size.
AFAIK there isn't a way to tell what length bolt you currently have or what comes with the kit. If you can afford a day of downtime, get the kit and tear down to the timing belt. Then you can see if the current bolt will work with the new pulley or if you need to get a different length bolt. Otherwise, get the kit and based on the pulley, buy the bolt that will fit the new pulley. Worst case you spend a few bucks on a bolt you don't need.

If you go the second route, you can post a picture of the pulley here and I can tell you if it needs the longer or shorter bolt.
 

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2014 Impreza Ltd CVT
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3,363 Posts
On the DOHC, you should be able to remove the Coolant overflow tank, then remove the left side timing belt cover to see the small idler, and which size bolt you have.
 

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2002 Forester
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293 Posts
AFAIK there isn't a way to tell what length bolt you currently have or what comes with the kit. If you can afford a day of downtime, get the kit and tear down to the timing belt. Then you can see if the current bolt will work with the new pulley or if you need to get a different length bolt. Otherwise, get the kit and based on the pulley, buy the bolt that will fit the new pulley. Worst case you spend a few bucks on a bolt you don't need.

If you go the second route, you can post a picture of the pulley here and I can tell you if it needs the longer or shorter bolt.
The downtime is not a problem since it's really my GF's car and she has two other cars that she can drive. At the moment all I really want to do is inspect the timing belt since she thinks it's the original timing belt, and last time I looked the car has over 117K miles on it, and that was many months ago. Just from looking at the instructions, this timing belt changeout looks easier than average (or at least easy when compared to a normal front wheel drive car).
 

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2002 Forester
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293 Posts
So, other than the bolt, is the Dayco kit fine? I actually like Dayco belts, if one actually gets the right length. Their other stuff, maybe not so much. At least with the Dayco stuff I can (potentially) go to the store and look at it first.
 

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2004 Forester XT 5MT
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50 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I haven't had any trouble with Dayco timing belts and pulleys. Granted, I've only had it on this vehicle for 2k miles, but I used Dayco on my previous Subaru and put around 70k on it with no problems.
 

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2004 Forester XS Automatic
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159 Posts
I bought the Dayco timing belt kit today from AAP. List price is $200, but thanks to their Labor day promo + US Airways code, I'm only paying $137.

Also found the Gates kit for $160 on Amazon, so I'm buying that too so I can compare them side by side and go with the best match.
 

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2004 Forester XS Automatic
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159 Posts
Not to beat a dead horse, but wanted to share my satisfaction with my Gates TCK304 kit. Definitely worth the $20 spent over the Dayco. The Gates pulleys matched the old ones inch for inch, and were even made by the same manufacturer.
 

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2003 Forester XS Auto
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Not to beat a dead horse, but wanted to share my satisfaction with my Gates TCK304 kit. Definitely worth the $20 spent over the Dayco. The Gates pulleys matched the old ones inch for inch, and were even made by the same manufacturer.
Thanks for the info. I am about to do a belt swap.
 

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2004 Forester 2.5X Automatic
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119 Posts
Not to beat a dead horse, but wanted to share my satisfaction with my Gates TCK304 kit. Definitely worth the $20 spent over the Dayco. The Gates pulleys matched the old ones inch for inch, and were even made by the same manufacturer.
I just bought a Gates kit, but haven't embarked on the install yet. I am glad to see this post and the thread in general.

Thanks All!
 
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