Timing Belt "Kit" - Repair

Asked by Jan 23, 2017 at 11:29 AM about the 2009 Subaru Impreza 2.5i Hatchback

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I'm getting ready to replace my timing belt on my 2009 Subaru Impreza 2.5L -
I'm shopping around to different repair shops.  Sounds like most of them
recommend replacing the water pump and oil pump along with thermostat and
pully and tension adjustments when they are in there.  
When I called the Subaru Dealership, they said to replace on the second timing
belt (200,000)?  Anyone have a recommendation with this?  What should
REALLY be included in this "kit" service?  I don't want to
spend extra money if it's not necessary but also don't want to neglect
something that could be important to replace sooner than later?

5 Answers

74,525

I highly recommend using the full kit. If the water pump or an idler wheel fails then it will cost you as much in labor to replace as installing a new belt. The entire kit on Amazon is less than $200.

5,320

Many wrenches know that the Subie water pump is extremely rugged, so needn't be touched. The dealer's response is perhaps reasonable, except that if that 200k correlates with long age then why bother then, either?! The more prevalent issues surround the idler and tensioner pulleys. Wrenches can spin these and determine play to know whether to leave alone. But as mentioned, the whole kit is affordable, given retail labor charges. But if I were using a friendly mechanic who's charging 3-4 hours I'd suggest doing just the belt IF IT'S CRACKING and all else seems tight rather than filling the parts cart. This brings me back to your motivation: why are you changing the belt? Yes, you're getting nearer to the 10 yr mark where these can start to show age-related degradation (cracking), but since it's easy to inspect (remove the left front cover top screw and pull back an inch), I'd leave it alone unless it's contaminated with oil from a leaky seal (VERY rare from 2000+), has cracks, or of course is floppy from a blown adjuster (in which case it'll "flop" up and down at idle and clack while slapping its plastic case). In the 90's "front package jobs" that included t-belts and cam seals were needed often because of leaky cam seals contaminating the t-belt; they'd get done for $300-400, and repeated if the seals wept again. Now it's all about bearing fatigue, lost tensioner charge (it has its own internal hydraulic shock), or rubber fatigue (cracking). Here in the northeast the great majority of 2000-2004 Leg/OBs have corroded sufficiently to be replaced...many on original t-belts. The great majority of the 2006-2009 Leg/OB (and '06-11 Imps) I've sold have NOT needed t-belts. Indeed, if your '09 is still running on its original head gaskets I absolutely would NOT replace its t-belt because a service manual suggests that, as you'll be doing it all over again when the HGs leak next year! So be patient and do it only once, when it's "free" as part of the HG resealing. At THAT point it makes sense to get a new waterpump and pulleys as the rebuilder will want to add security to the bigger job. Note that the OEM oil pump and t-stat are also "golden", and shouldn't be touched unless leaking. So wait for the big one that'll cost ya $1.6k.

5,320

It's been interesting too see that this "front package" job has grown from $300 to even as high as $1000 just because owners' fears of interference-motor damage rules the service price landscape.

95

I would never recommend a thermostat, water pump, or oil pump with a timing belt service. It's just generally not needed, and many of the aftermarket water pumps will leak because they don't fit like the OEM fits. Timing belt every 100k is a good general rule. Three 10mm bolts hold the cover on over the timing belt on the drivers side. Pull that off and check for cracks if you're concerned about them. Short answer: When you decide to change out the timing belt, replace the hydraulic tensioner, and have whoever is doing it spin the bearings on the idler pulleys and replace them if needed. Leave the other stuff alone until you have a problem. I've seen many Subaru 2.5s with well over 200k on original oil pump/water pump/t-stat. Best of luck!

5,320

Welcome, VST. I haven't found the tensioner failure rate (either the pulley bearing or the inner shock oil seal) fail any more prevalently than the idlers; given the cost of the tensioner assy I wouldn't replace unless it's wet or noisy. Feeling good about the newest Volvos?

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