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2003 Forester
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59 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The shop is getting into the last stages of the H/G replacement and they just installed the timing belt. All parts were from a new kit with all Aisin parts. When they pulled the pin on the tensioner there was not much pressure on it. They left it overnight and in the morning you could still squeeze the belt and get the tensioner to move with very little tension. The shop wants to use the old tensioner since it holds pressure better, and to swap over the new roller. It appears that this tensioner was replaced at some time, since it's clearly newer than any of the other components on the front of the engine. Anyone had any experience with a weak tensioner? Do they have to pump up through use? Do the hydraulic parts wear out after awhile?
 

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91 Posts
Could be defective. Also have they tried turning the engine? It always gets tighter when you turn the crank...I would think a shop would know that though.
 

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2003 Forester
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59 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I don't think they turned then engine, but how does that tighten it? Isn't it just the variation in belt tension "pumping it up" when the engine turns? They tried that by agitating the plunger by hand (squeezing and letting go of the belt many times) and it didn't do anything.

They're installing the previous one again (which looks like new) and they're going to see if that does the trick.
 

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2005 Forester 2.5X Manual
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127 Posts
I'm curious about this too, as I recently had it happen.

I did my timing belt at 105K with OEM belt, all new OEM tensioners. When I pulled the pin on the new tensioner then, the piston expanded and exerted tension on the belt.

Recently, after rebuilding my engine (bad valve seals & rings), I re-used the same tensioner and belt (as there were only 10k on them). I compressed the piston in the tensioner with a C-clamp, slowly, and re-used the original pin. After getting the belt on, I pulled the pin on the tensioner and there was no expansion of the piston at all. There was still slack in the belt. So I pushed downward on the pulley and the piston came out with that coaxing, and held tension in the belt, even after rotating the crank a few times.

So what is up with that? It was essentially a brand new tensioner. Was it just too cold in my garage (40F) when I pulled the pin, causing the piston to stick in its cylinder a little?

I'm raising the point because I think I need to go back and re-set the timing belt as it may be off by 1-1.5 teeth. Since my rebuild (500 miles ago) the engine just runs different.... like it is working harder than it used to to go any equivalent speed. No check engine lights for a misfire or anything however. And I don't think its so rough that a spark plug wire isn't connected or something of that nature. I just remember it running a bit smoother before the rebuild, even though it was burning a ton of oil then, and isn't now.
 
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