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Discussion Starter #1
My wife has an 03 Outback with the 2.5 N/A, I know it's not a Forester, but I figure you won't mind...

At around 85K miles we had the dreaded head gasket failure and at the time I told the shop to go ahead and put a new t-belt on it so I wouldn't need to worry about it at 105K.

That was probably bad planning on my part because I didn't have them change the idlers, tensioner, or waterpump, just the belt.

So now she has 130K on it. Should I be worried ??

Thanks !!
 

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2003 Forester XS, MT
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28 Posts
If you are going to do the job you should just do it all at once. I found idler pulley #1 and also the AC belt pulley were both shot. I found a good deal on a kit that included everything minus the AC belt pulley on ebay and payed 400 or so for all the parts.

For reference take a look at this video it will at least show you all the pulleys that need to be replaced. The water pump is pretty easy once you have the timing belt off.

 

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2014 Impreza Ltd CVT
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3,319 Posts
If you are worried, depending on the amount of worry, you can:
1) Replace the pulleys, tensioner, water pump and belt now.
2) Replace the pulleys and tensioner at 150K if you are not as worried, but concerned.
3) Wait until 190K and replace the water pump, all pulleys, tensioner and belt.

From my own experiences, I would suggest doing it at 150K.

The water pump on the 2.5L SOHC has been better than previous models and I replace it at the 2nd timing belt change. I haven't seen a failure in that time.

Unless it is bouncing and clanking, the tensioner is doing it's job. There are 2 parts to it. I have never seen the pulley bearing fail, but others have. The tensioning cylinder usually fails just after belt replacement. Due more to improper and rushed compression of the piston.

I have yet to see one of the smooth pulleys fail. I have heard of others having them fail, but they have the LEAST resistance on them.

Now the COGGED PULLEY next to the water pump. This has the MOST tension on it of all the belt components. In most of the belts I do, I find this pulley to feel gritty when turned, or noisy. I make it a point to always replace this one. There are many reports of this pulley failing.

These are my experiences working on quite a few Subaru's, and owning an EJxx engine since 1990.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just to follow up I called my dealer and asked specifically what he replaced at 85K. He tapped on the keyboard and replied that they only changed the belt.

So I asked when he recommended that I do the service since the tensioner and idlers weren't replaced. He replied that they never replaced those components and Subaru doesn't recommend replacing them. He told me I was good until 190K.

Geesh, I KNOW that's not right !!
 

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2001 SOLD!
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1,413 Posts
Relax, My dealer told me likewise. Put it this way, they are honest and that is a rare occasion at dealership.
 
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