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2001 Frester S Auto
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122 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all and thank you for having me. In my family we own a '09 Forester that I would like some input on.

I changed the timing belt several months ago with a kit form parts geek.com that included all idling pulleys, tensioner and belt and got a new H2O pump as well.

A few thousand miles into the new parts, there is a burning rubber smell that won't go away and then a noise developed. When cold, there would be a steady rattling that sounded a lot like an exhaust note. When warmed up it would go away. I took it apart again and the tensioner did not seem to be putting tension on the belt at all. It seemed like the guide over the crank gear was what was keeping it in place as there was a giant pile of rubber shavings on top of the guide. The backside of the belt seemed pretty shot too so I replaced the tensioner and belt with new units from Subaru of Santa Fe.

It is now a couple thousand mile out from the new new belt and tensioner, there have been some burning smells but the oil filter was leaking so that's what I thought it was. I changed the filter, no leak and the smell seemed to go away.

Now wifey is in Phoenix with the car and says it is making the rattling exhaust note type noise again when cold. I am not there to pull the timing belt cover and take a look but I am almost certain it will be the same problem.

So my question is: What the hell is going on?

I can see how maybe the first time I let crank guide rest on the belt when I tightened it up, the belt rubbed, heated, stretched, tensioner useless. But the second time I made sure that was not the case.

Am I getting bad tensioners? Am I doing something wrong?

I told her to just drive it home in a couple days as planned because she wants to take it to a dealership to get looked at. I say run it, if it blows, then we get a JDM motor and move on. Engine has 107k+ miles, the throw out bearing is making a bunch of noise so the engine has to come out soon anyway. If she goes to Subaru of Phoenix for service, she will walk out of there no less than $700-$1,000 poorer and still have the old motor. If we need to replace it, JDM might be $1,500 and low miles. :woohoo: Not that I'm rooting for that....

Thanks for any helpful thoughts or opinions.
 

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Premium Member
2019 Crosstrek 2018 Forester XT
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14,921 Posts
I recall that there is something special about adjusting the guide that is only installed on manual models. Also I believe Gates kits and OEM kits are good..others maybe not so much.

I know not enough detail here..you will get better answers.
 

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Registered
2001 Frester S Auto
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122 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok so no ideas. I know OEM parts are the way to go and I knew better.

It will be interesting to take a look at what is going on once I have it in front of me and that will happen tomorrow, I will post up what I find for future use.

For today, I am off to the garage to assemble my 1800cc air cooled VW motor for my daily driver '70 VW Baja.....which is the last air cooled motor I am going to build as the Baja is going to get a Subie transplant.

Can't touch a VW long block with any kind of performance for less than $2k and for that I can get a donor car and all needed conversion parts. Once the conversion is done, future engine replacements are very, very affordable. :rock:
 

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2001 Frester S Auto
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122 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So I start the car this morning to take the kiddo to school, wifey drove the truck (most assuredly a new dent or scratch will ensue) and before I could get out of the garage I mutter to myself, "She is smoking crack!"

So the rattling noise that led to the latest belt and tensioner change ended up being what seemed to be the tensioner, not pulling tension, would rattle around when cold. This is not what is going on now.

I think what she is hearing is the throw out bearing which I already knew was howling a bit when cold.

I will have to wait until she gets home to have her pin point the sound she is worried about but I don't think it is timing belt related.

Now I just need to get an engine hoist..........

That's one thing I can appreciate about an ACVW engine, is they are easily managed with a buddy, no lift needed.
 

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2001 Frester S Auto
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122 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hello again. I drove the Forester to work the other day and it is in fact making a clicking noise at idle, kinda sounds like a diesel running.

Today I broke into the timing cover and all was right in there. No rubber shavings and the tensioner was doing its job. It was for sure the first replacement tensioner I got that was the previous problem. I discovered this when I recompressed the new new tensioner and it had resistance, the first one did not when I pushed it back together.

So tensioner is working and I could even still read the print on the back side of the belt so that is not the problem. The lines printed on the belt were not lined up with the marks on the cam and crank gears but they themselves were still lined up. I took the belt off, put it on again then turned the motor and realized the printed lines are not supposed to line back up anyway.

I used a stethoscope to pinpoint where the noise is coming from and it is definitely coming from the top end of the driver's side head.

Where it my VW I would pull the valve cover and check valve gap, that is what it sounds like to me.

My question is, could the valve gap increase such that it would tick? Is that cam going flat? What should I be looking for to be the culprit?

I am going to do the clutch soon because that throw out bearing is getting......well unbearable. So what can I do to try and check this out while the motor is out for that?
 

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Premium Member
2007 XT Sport 5MT
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24,014 Posts
Higher mileage Subaru engines tend to develop ticking valve noises over time.
I'm not saying this is your issue, but there is a chance that it is.

Otherwise I'm not entirely sure what to suggest at this point in time.
 

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1998 Forester
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951 Posts
the guide over the crank pulley was put in to prevent manual transmission cars from jumping timing during shipping. We had one tech who removed them, but eventually had a car return twice for jumped timing- the driving patterns of one customer... Anyway, the guard should not touch the belt. I put the bolts in and use a small screwdriver to pull it away (up) from the belt as I tightened them I then look with a mirror to ensure there is visible clearance between the belt and guide.
Yes the valve CAN gap enough to cause ticking. Also on that model is a spring assy that is reset during head assembly, it resides on the intake valve assembly. I had a car come to me with a obnoxious sound, and I finally found the spring not clipped. I do not know if it came off on its own or someone else had not set it.
 

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2003 Forester XS auto
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640 Posts
OP, if you can do a timing belt job, you can adjust valve clearance.

Search these forums for gap specification and YouTube for a good idea of the techniques involved.

Bend your feeler gauges with two pieces of wood in a vice into an L shape. Straight feeler gauges won't work. Don't put a curve in the feeler gauges, they need to be dead straight to be accurate




Sent from AutoGuide.com App
 

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1998 Forester
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951 Posts
ok, if you crack the valve cover open to adjust the valves look at these points. The first picture shows the spring in the proper position; the second shows it unsprung. this will cause a nice ticking noise. Always check them, there are two on each side
 

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