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Subaru Forester Timing belt

leslieo1leslieo1 Posts: 2
My mechanic has recommended changing the timing belt and the water pump as a preventative measure on my 1999 forester that has 90,000 miles . Is this a good recommendation and is $700 a reasonable price?


  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,674
    On older Foresters, such as yours, I think the timing belt gets replaced every 60K. On newer Foresters, it's every 105K. Yes, the water pump gets replaced at the same time. As to price, that may be a bit high. I'd call some Subaru dealers to see what they recommend/charge.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,504
    The cost of the parts needed for that work is about $250, so that quote includes ~$450 in labor. I would say the work itself is about 4-5 hours (for me, at least).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Actually, Bob, even my '98 called for inspection at 90k and replacement at 105k.

    It would be early, but not a bad idea if you plan to keep the vehicle.
  • leslieo1leslieo1 Posts: 2
    Thank you everyone for the answers to my questions! We called the dealership and they said replacement was due at 105,000 miles, but we decided to replace it anyway since my Mom is going to use the car for a couple of long trips. The dealership did the job for $400, and my Mom feels safe, a good bargin!

    Thanks again for the advice! :D
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yes, good deal, and peice of mind for your family.
  • my 2007 forester 2.0 automatic has 29600miles on it. about 600 miles earlier, i had preventive maintenance/servicing done which include the replacement of aircon and fan belts. i was driving along the highway doing 55- 65 mph when the engine suddenly stopped and i cant crank it anymore. i had it towed to the dealer. inspections by the mechanic showed frayed timing belt and one of the bearings on the pulleys got damaged. they said these are the parts to be replaced and job to be done:

    * IDLER CPL BELT # 2
    * BELT IDLER # 1
    my questions are:
    1. do you think the earlier replacements of the fan and aircon belts contributed to the premature fraying of the timing belt?
    2. timing belts need to be replaced around 100k miles, mine conked out at just 29k miles. what probably would have caused that problem? is it a basic defect on the engine? unfortunately, im already out of warranty and im looking to about 3500$ worth of expenses. 3. would it be better to continue with the repairs or just buy a new engine or replace it with a used one? thanks for the help
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,504
    1. No, I don't think the replacement of the accessory belts could have contributed to the timing belt failure.

    2. Most likely a manufacturing defect or a problem with alignment when the belt was originally installed. How are you out of warranty? The drivetrain has a 5 year / 60,000 mile warranty. Even if you purchased your 2007 model at the very beginning of the model run, it could not have come into service before January 25th, 2006....

    3. I would call 1-800-SUBARU3 and discuss the situation before doing anything else. This should be covered under warranty. Even if the car is out of warranty, there is a chance Subaru will help you out with this repair.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    That should all be covered under warranty.

    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Thank you everyone for the answers to my questions! We called the dealership and they said replacement was due at 105,000 miles, but we decided to replace it anyway since my Mom is going to use the car for a couple of long trips. The dealership did the job for $400, and my Mom feels safe, a good bargin!

    Thanks again for the advice!

    I'm sorry but I think the dealership took you for a ride. No dealership I know will replace what is necessary to be replaced for a timing belt for $400. The parts alone cost close to $400!

    When we do a timing belt job at our shop here is what we do:

    Timing Belt
    All Idler Pulleys
    Water Pump & Gasket
    T-stat & Gasket

    We charge $800 for the whole job and are considered fairly inexpensive. 2

    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • thank you for your reply. i wrote the dealer and got a call from them. they said it was caused by rust in the tensioner bearing which have caused the bearing to fail/ crumble and damage the tension belt, not the other way around. i was just wondering if bearings get rusted ( i am presuming theyre made of stainless steel, hence do not rust), besides, being inside the engine, i presume they are well lubricated for them to rust. that being the case, the dealer said it cant be covered by warranty for engine defects. instead they gave me a 15% discount. doesnt sound too consoling for me though.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,504
    Rust? That sounds like a defect to me! First of all, the whole timing system is on the front of the engine, under a plastic dust cover. The only way moisture (other than ambient humidity) could get in there is if you drive the thing through lakes on a regular basis or if the cover is not doing its job. I had a 2.5L engine on which I replaced the timing belt and pulleys (pulleys were still original) at 192,000 miles. While becoming worn, those pulleys were still as shiny as they day they were installed at the factory.

    In summary, that is BS. If the bearing failed due to rust, it was a warranty issue. Bypass the dealer and to straight to Subaru. If this were my car, I would be livid about it (but be nice, if not persistent, on the phone). 1-800-SUBARU3
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    If the idler pulleys are rusted then it's likely a result of the car being flooded or driving through deep water. We do timing belts quite often (2 or so a week) and the only time we've seen rusty idlers were on cars where the customer said it had been in some kind of deep water, even if it's just 1x it can cause them to rust like that.

    However if your car was never in a flood, I would contact SOA and get it covered. Something seems very fishy on that story.

    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,504
    Quite true, Mike. The original poster did not mention if the car was a used or new purchase, so a flood history is possible. I would think, however, that if the car was being driven through deep water, the heat of the engine would out that area very quickly unless the car was shut off immediately after.

    Once rust gets started, even the slightest bit of moisture can encourage it with fervor.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    We saw it on a friend's LGT and we said "hey was the car ever in a flood" and he said no, but then remembered when it was almost new, he said he had water up to the door sills and had to dry out his carpet. That's how the TB idler got rusty.

    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • thanks you for your immediate response guys. my forester was bought brand new, CBU( completely built up from Japan). I live in the Philippines but i have never been into a flood except when caught up in a rain while driving. the subaru happens to be a second car, we use it regularly and was never driven in a race car like manner, my wife prefers to drive it and we take it on long trips about 500 mi a few times a year. most of the time it is used around town. unfortunately for me the warranty here is 3yrs/ 60000 kms whichever comes first. it was just a month from the warranty and definitely far from the 60000km. given the stories of how subarus are sturdy and would last more than 5 years , this kind of damage is obviously quite premature. i am even wondering if the fan and ac belts frayed prematurely too, since i had it replaced when i saw frays in the belt around the 29.3k mi mileage.
  • My 2004 Forrester has 103K on it and the timing belt needs to be replaced. The local Subaru dealership is quoting $800 to replace the belt, tensioners and water pump. They do mention that it's rare that the pump and tensioners need to be replaced though. It would only cost $350 if it's just the belt.

    Another mechanic quoted $800-950 and that it would take 2 days to do the work!

    This quotes seem higher than what has been posted here. I would appreciate suggestions for a good mechanic in the Worcester, Massachusetts area.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,504
    The amount of extra work if the water pump and pulleys are replaced amounts to maybe another 30 minutes of time. When I purchased a full pulley and timing belt kit in 2005, it was about $400 versus $100 for the belt itself. A water pump is also about $100, so the numbers quoted by the dealer sound about right. I did not replace my pulleys or water pump when I first replaced the belt (or when I second replaced it!). The pulleys started making noise at around 150,000 miles, but lasted fine until I replaced the belt again at 192,000 miles and did the pulleys at the same time. The water pump, which was also original, failed at 177,000 miles. It happened at about 0200 on a Sunday morning with an ambient temperature of -20F (basically, I recommend preventative replacement versus waiting until it fails!).

    The second mechanic doesn't sound like a reliable source. I'd say maybe three hours to replace the belt is all the time needed, even for a weekend mechanic like me.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I spent over a grand to do all that stuff on my Miata, though to be fair it had a valve cover gasket that also needed replacement. Doesn't seem too bad to me.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    We charge $800 for the timing belt, tensioner, idlers, and water pump and t-stat. If you get a 90k or 120k service with it we charge 700.

    The belt rarely EVER goes. It's usually the tensioner or the idlers that seize up on you either way a failure is detrimental to the engine.

    Don't skimp on the timing belt or any associated part.

    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • forester5forester5 Posts: 4
    I bought a Subaru Forester Premium last week,The sale man told me from 2011 on ,the forester no longer need to replace the timing belt,because its use timing chain from now on.I bought the car with AWP plus #2 option for $26,755.00 OTD .I bought it at St,Paul MN.I think I paid too much for the car,what do you think ? What price ís about the right price ? Your input is appreciated.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,504
    Is there a sales tax, documentation fees, dealer fees? It is tough to know without those details.
  • forester5forester5 Posts: 4
    The $26,755.00 is OTD (Out The Door)price.That means all taxes,fees, license plate options(AWP)All Weather Package,Home-Link aut-dim mirror,rear bumper coverage,all weather floor mats..etc are included .
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,504
    I'm sorry, what I meant to say is that without knowing the amount of those extras, it is impossible to say whether the price of the car itself resulted in a "good deal."

    For example, I don't pay state taxes, so my OTD price on my last purchase was strictly the price of the car plus the documentation (DMV) fee of $130. An OTD price of $26,755 on that car for me would be a poor deal indeed. If you're paying a couple grand in taxes, though, it would be a substantially better deal. ;)
  • forester5forester5 Posts: 4
    The dealer paid $1619.31 sale tax,$456.00 Filing fee,$75.00 document fee,$120.00 personalize license plate fee, and $411.00 delivery fee. I mean all that tax and fees are included in $26,755.00 .I am not sure about the price because I do not planning to buy a SUBARU,I am research to buy a Honda Fit,or Honda Civic ,the one that can get up to 30MPG on gas,when I am in to check for price,they told me to file in my informations,they will send to some Edmunds's selected dealers and they will give me a I did,and they send to 04 or 05 Honda dealers around St.Paul/Minneapolis MN,After one day,none response,I sent out one more time,wait another day or two,and still none response.Then I go back surfing on the web again,I drop by SUBARU,gave them my informations,not just one but 06 of them response to me,I start to talk to them and end up bought one from them
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The Forester is a *lot* more car than a Civic or Fit.

    My mom is on her 2nd Fit, and we like it, don't get me wrong, but we're also on our 2nd Forester and it's twice the car. No comparison.

    I'd compare to a CR-V, which my brother owns. His wife owns a Forester, too, so they like both!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,504
    So, it looks like your price for the car itself was $24,074. I would have to look at the Edmunds pricing on it to know for sure, but I would say the car itself was a decent price. The fees that the dealer added: $456 "filing" and $411"delivery" cuts down the deal quite a bit, I think, but I also don't know all the details.

    Sales tax and documentation are unavoidable.

    In the end, if you're happy with the car, you did well enough! :shades:
  • My 2003 2.5 liter Legacy has only 35k miles on it but is obviously over 105 months old. No extended trips in hot weather or anytime. No issues. No noise. Use synthetic oil since break-in. Question - do I REALLY have to replace the timing belt?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited February 2013
    What sucks is that is an interference engine. So the only way to know for sure the full life of the belt would damage the engine.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,504
    edited February 2013
    I think what juice just said was that if your belt breaks, your engine is toast... so do you really want to take that chance!? If nothing else, I'd take the cover off the timing belt just to inspect it for now, but I wouldn't wait too long to replace it. If it looks good, maybe plan on 50K at your current rate of accumulation.
  • Hi,hav'nt been here for a long while, but my 02 forester needs new struts,and am curious if the bearing plates need to be replaced at the same time? Thanks for any help on this matter.
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