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2003 Forester XS
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Discussion Starter #1
Just purchased an 03 Forester 2.5 XS last week and I am curious to know how long I can wait before replacing the timing belt. I understand that Subie recommends at 105K or earlier, I am currently at 107K so obviously I have to do it soon. Just trying to budget for repairs and determine how long I can wait. Opinions?
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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Statistically very few would be expected to fail before 105K miles but You never know. If it fails you will need to rebuild the heads as a minimum. It will crunch valves.
 

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04 Forester X, MT
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can't remember exactly but it's 105k or XX months, whichever comes FIRST. so you are overdue. i guess you want to eat first, but other than that i would do it ASAP.

as far as budget goes, if it breaks you're in for a lot more $$$ because it's an interference engine. it would take a miracle not to bend any valves etc. then you would have to have a head job to replace valves.

btw have the headgaskets ever been replaced? you may want to have them carefully examined to see if you have any leaks before doing all the timing components and then having to essentially take the same things back off.

if you want to keep the car a long time, also consider putting on a new water pump and resealing the oil pump in addition to the timing belt, tensioner, idler pulleys, etc.

A good mechanic could do the job on the cheap and only replace what was needed or felt nearly worn out but if you're going to 200k then at least one of the remaining components will likely go bad before the timing belt needs replacing again. At best you repeat-spend the labor. At worst something seizes, timing belt breaks, ... or water or oil loss not caught causes bad things too. Not very likely before 150k but after that becomes increasingly likely.
 

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2003 Forester XS
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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks! My goal was to get it done in early May before the Front Range frying pan heats up here in CO.
 

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2003 Forester XS
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Discussion Starter #5
Statistically very few would be expected to fail before 105K miles but You never know. If it fails you will need to rebuild the heads as a minimum. It will crunch valves.
Just now noticed...Elizabethtown, PA eh? I grew up there, graduated in 94. Small world!
 

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I'd imagine that Subaru's engine designers would engineer something like a +15-20% distance before failure cushion into the service interval. That said, I would not want to push it past +%10 at most before replacing the timing belt. So don't worry, be happy.

Guy
 

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2003 Forester XT
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50K miles was what was in my service book. But I didnt get it changed till 60K as I thought it was then they ware supposed to be changed. Just had them replaced again at 92 due to having new valves :(
 

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50K miles was what was in my service book. But I didnt get it changed till 60K as I thought it was then they ware supposed to be changed. Just had them replaced again at 92 due to having new valves :(
I think after the 2000 MY on North American models the interval was change from 64K miles to 106K miles on all 2.0, 2.2 and 2.5L H4 engines.

Guy
 

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2003 Forester
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Just did my 04 at 96k because the valve cover seals where leaking decided to go ahead put it on the ramps and get everything done. I had the luxury of having another car so I was able to take my time. It is a first for me I normally always wait till the last mile but I love this car want to see it make 200k since I bought it new.

And this was the time a wrench had been put on it except for fluid changes.
 

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99 Forester
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You want to change it just before it breaks. Maybe go see a fortune teller.

I changed mine when I got my car since I had no idea when it had been replaced. A little peace of mind you might say. I didn't replace the tensioner or rollers since they seemed to be ok. About 35,000 miles and a couple years later the new belt broke, maybe because of a tensioner failure, I'm not sure. Ended up replacing the motor.

It's your call, it's due now by the numbers. It's cheaper to change it now than to be too late.
 

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99 Forester
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Why not just do it yourself and save some money? It's not hard.

I bought a 99 with 104K on it and replaced the tensioner, pullies, water pump, timing belt, acc belts, crank seal, cam seals and various gaskets, did a coolant flush and an oil change all in like 6 hours for like $400 lol

I'm not a stranger to cars by any means, but that was definitely my first time working on a Subaru so I'd say it's an easy job since I was able to do it that quickly.
 

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2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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Unless you have considerable mechanical experience and access to good tools it's no job for a weekend mechanic.

Guy
I would say the vast majority of weekend mechanics who can do disk brakes could do a Subaru SOHC timing belt.
 

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99 Forester
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I would say the vast majority of weekend mechanics who can do disk brakes could do a Subaru SOHC timing belt.
I agree for the most part. I usually pull the radiator out to give a bit more space. I can be tough to get the crank bolt out if you don't have a big breaker bar. The first time I struggled to get the timing marks to line up right, it always seemed like I was off one tooth. Take your time and double check things and it's not over whelming. Planning it for a time where you don't have to rush is probably a good idea too.
 

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I would say the vast majority of weekend mechanics who can do disk brakes could do a Subaru SOHC timing belt.
Yeah. Like I said, "considerable". But I wouldn't advise some who's never done anything more complicated than an oil change to tackle it. I'd say if you've done your brakes, axles, changed plugs AND done a valve adjustment then you're probably ready to go at it.

Guy
 

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2006 Forester XT
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"curious to know how long I can wait......."

You can wait right up till it breaks, then come back here and give us the definitive answer.

Pretty obvious if you think about it.......
 
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