2010 Subaru Outback 2.5 Limited 66K - Timing chain or tensioner issue

Asked by Sep 10, 2017 at 08:05 AM about the Subaru Outback

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My Outback had an issue during acceleration when advancing onto highway -
both check engine and brake lights came on. Had car towed to my Subaru guy  
- stored history had a cylinder 2 and 4 misfire, nothing current. Plugs and coils
looked good. During test drive, noticed car had timing chain noise. Said it
could be a tensioner on the timing chain wearing causing the misfire. If timing
chain or tensioner issue will be very expensive to fix. I'm sole owner, have
maintained the car per Subaru standard. Of course it's no longer under
warranty. Looking for advice on whether to cut my losses now or something
else. Thanks for your input.

35 Answers

23,945

I own the same car as yours.... there's NO TIMING CHAIN, it has a timing belt. Could be a tensioner problem with the belt....I would have it towed to your mechanic or dealership and let them help you adjust it, especially since you are the original owner.... With only 66,000 miles...I would DEFINITELY keep your car...it has a lot of life left in it. Don't know why your Subaru guy couldn't figure this out... take your car to the dealer... they will get you back to normal fast... Finally, I wouldn't wait until you risk valve damage from having the system malfunction. Good luck.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
23,945

GuruD8DTX, you wrote. "Said it could be a tensioner on the timing chain wearing causing the misfire. If timing chain or tensioner issue will be very expensive to fix."........... This is baloney.....go to the dealership... right now.... Better yet, have your car towed there...... don't wait until you have bent valves....

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
92,555

If you want "very expensive" take it to a dealer. I doubt the tensioner is causing the misfire. There is an access hole for inspecting the belt.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
92,555

Just so you know a new timing belt, tensioner, water pump and idler wheels installed should be less than $1,000. The parts kit is a little over a hundred dollars.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Thanks for the great feedback, I really appreciate it.

23,945

My point is...it's NOT EXPENSIVE.... even at the dealership.... Look, regardless of mileage...it's the years that counts. Maybe you only need an adjustment on the tensioner.. but, what caused this problem in the first place. You need to know what caused this. By taking it to the dealership they will diagnose and figure out what went wrong. My Subaru Outback Limited has almost 85,000 miles, original timing belt, no problems..I think the fact that your car has a current problem with misfires means there's a deeper rooted problem and you should know why that occurred.... that's why I would take it to the dealership. Your mechanic should have been able to adjust or replace your tensioner... So, I would get a second opinion, that's all...You have a lot of money invested in your car, don't fool around with this.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Absolutely agree, making arrangements to get it in first thing Monday (tomorrow).

23,945

GuruD8DTX- Great, good luck.... let us know how it all turned out... Because my Subaru Outback Limited is 8 years old this month, I plan on getting the timing belt and the car serviced next year... regardless of mileage.... WHY? It's cheaper in the long run to keep things running smoothly...it's a maintenance thing..and I can schedule when this occurs rather than experience a breakdown on the road... I acquired the car about 3 1/2 years ago and it's been a great car so far.... just maintenance...I normally keep my cars to about 150,000 miles....once the car is paid for... maintenance is usually around $1,200 per year average.. some years may be more or less... much less expensive than buying a new car...

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
92,555

Your maintenance costs are absurd. I doubt I spent that much total while owning my 2003 Forester for 130,000 miles (205,000 total miles) excluding tires.. That is what happens when you go to dealers.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
6,620

Yeah, Grasshopper's blathering again...both for estimating costs and suggesting that a tensioner be "adjusted"! Whooboy....

92,555

I missed that one. Lol

23,945

Yes, I meant this......go ahead and laugh your heads off..... As for maintenance and repairs.... again, I said AVERAGE...... that's not every year..... some more some less. If you have only spent less than $1,200 in 130,000 miles.....that means you are changing your own oil, doing your own maintenance, etc. Listen, batteries have to be replaced every three to four years, brakes, belts, and other consumables, oil and other filters, transmission service, etc. I didn't get 19 years and 150,000 miles from my 1995 Honda Accord neglecting required service. That car worked perfectly when I sold it and I got top dollar.. I have known plenty of people who drive their cars into the ground and have them either donated or something.....If I own the car regardless of age or mileage, it's running in top condition. As such, if your belt tensioner is not adjusted correctly, components like the alternator, power steering pump and water pump will not function properly. ... If you wish to remove the serpentine belt, simply loosen one of the pulleys with a ratchet and socket, and slip the belt off with your hands.

23,945

Finally, I don't work on my cars, period.....I have al the work professionally done by a mechanic or dealership.....

92,555

Don't give mechanical advice and don't repeat stupid things once you have been notified that they are not possible. Provide a link showing how to "adjust" a timing belt tensioner Mark. BTW- the timing belt does not drive the power steering or the alternator which shows a complete ignorance of Subaru's. The water pump is driven by the timing belt, not the serpentine belt.

92,555

You know Mark getting a 150K out of a car these days is not an accomplishment to boast about. 200 - 300k is worth mentioning but not really extraordinary.

6,620

Grasshopper, you've once again hopped off the prairie of good reasoning and landed on "fake" information. Then again I dare not suggest you attempt a serpentine path either!

23,945

https://itstillruns.com/adjust-belt-tensioner-5091204.html

23,945

Just posted a link for you to read...hey, I don't work on my cars...

92,555

That is for a serpentine belt Mark. Geez.

23,945

Look, again, you handle things your way...I guess you do a lot of mechanical work on your cars....as for higher mileage....Im not keeping any car longer than 15 or 20 years anymore.... seems like more problems develop after the 15th year..... And, I'd rather have newer safety features.... On costs...it does cost money to keep cars going...... You think that Subaru is expensive...try Mercedes Benz????

23,945

Check the timing-belt tension with a spring balance with an L-shaped hook. Pull the belt to align with the marker on the pump intake pipe. Slacken the securing bolts and move the belt tensioner as required to adjust the tension.

23,945

Direct quote from the internet.... maybe they are WRONG???

92,555

That might do for some cars Mark but not the Subaru in question. My Jag had a built in adjuster, all you needed was a special tool to rotate it and take up the timing chain slack.

92,555

Direct quote from the internet.... maybe they are WRONG??? A little knowledge helps filter out erroneous and non-applicable information. Save your self embarrassment and don't tell people how to repair their cars.

23,945

For the record, I advised this person to bring the car to the dealership...if you recall.... look at my earlier posts... I didn't say anything about doing this myself and I always advise people NOT to attempt things out of their comfort zone..... I'm perfectly fine paying for professional services and have a great deal of respect for mechanics.....

6,620

No, Grasshopper...the internet is ALWAYS correct. You're like a bad concierge pretending to be a plumber. Please stay behind the desk and limit yourself to restaurant recommendations.

23,945

Again , I originally advised the original poster to bring the car to the dealership ...

92,555

So all answers to all repair questions are "take it to your dealership"? Essentially what you get with cheap repair manuals! LOL

6,620

C'mon, Grasshopper. You're again sounding like a SOA shill.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
23,945

The "Karate Kid" must be your favorite movie...... Sure, if you really think I'm a shill, OK... I really don't care.... my car runs great and just because I like to keep it running smoothly from either the dealership or my independent mechanic is strictly my concern. I know you can easily fix your own cars and others in your area.. I'm sure you're a fine mechanic. I'm NOT, but, I really appreciate people who know how to fix them. Look, follow your own maintenance schedules.... I know what I've done and I rarely get stranded. Then again, there's always the AAA. You're all thinking I'm doing "unnecessary repairs"... think again... I'm just taking care of business and keeping my cars on the road.

6,620

Individuals vary in the value they put on leveraging risk vs cost. Some are willing (and able) to overpay for the last bit of assurance (lack of fear) they're at minimal risk. Usually yoga or especially meditation is much cheaper, Grasshopper...and more fruitful in the longterm.

23,945

Sure, mediation won't restart your car..... good luck with that.

92,555

Meditation will help you deal with the stress. Mediation might help you help you pay off the dealers astronomical repair bills.

6,620

Who said anything about mediation, Grasshopper?

23,945

Spell check on my tablet.... sorry.....

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