Subaru Legacy
Timing Belts and Chains

How do you replace a timing belt on a 19 95 Subaru legacy without knocking it out of time?

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Wiki User
September 12, 2011 8:47PM

If you don't have the proper Subaru tools, there is a way to do it. I did it on mine a couple of times already! First of all, your new belt will have 3 white lines on it. These lines MUST line up with the timing marks for the cam gears and crank gear. Once you have all of your timing marks lined up, take off the belt. Take the tension shock assy off and compress it in a vice VERY SLOWLY, so it won't get damaged. Find a relatively stiff wire or use a small drill bit to hold in the plunger once it is compressed. There should be a small hole at the end of the housing that will line up with the hole in the plunger, stick the wire or drill bit all the way through the housing and shock shaft to hold it in place. It should take about 15 to 20 minutes to compress it, as you can only move it very small increments at a time before it begins to get stiff. Don't force it, or you may blow out the seal! If it won't compress anymore, let it sit a couple of minutes, and crank down on it a little more until it becomes stiff again. You will be doing this quite a few times, that's why it takes 20 minutes! When you are finished pushing the shock back in, bolt it back onto the engine with it slid all the way to the left. Torque the bolts down to 17 ft lbs. Have the tension roller removed at this point, and ready at hand for when you get to this point with the belt, but have the pivot assembly for it bolted onto the engine. The bolt holding the roller on should take a 14mm socket, have that ready as well so you can loosely bolt the roller on while you hold the belt! Back to the belt. After you change all the rollers, and water pump, which I highly recomend you do, or you will have problems not too far down the road, line up the center white line on the new belt with the corresponding tooth in the gear that lines up with the pointer and mark on the motor. Make sure you have the belt going the right way for the white lines. There is a difference in distance between the center line and the lines for the cam gears. If you have a manual, it will say what the distance should be for PS and ds cam gear marks, if not, the PS length from crank mark to the head gear mark is 44 teeth on the belt, the ds length is 40.5. Once you have this figured out, what I do is get the belt wraped around the top half of the crank gear. You will notice that there are slots in the front of the crank gear. I take a pair of needle nose vice grips, and very gently clamp the belt to the gear roughly on the top and center so it cannot slip off of the gear. You only need enough clamp force to just hold it on, any more than that will damage the belt! Pull the belt as tight as you can by hand without moving the crank gear after you wrap it around the first tension pulley to your left as you are facing the motor. Now, here is where things get interesting as far as not knocking things out of time. It may take you a few tries before you perfect it. I know it did with me! You will need a socket that fits the cam gear bolt, and preferably a 1/2"drive breaker bar. Keeping the belt tight with one hand, VERY CAREFULLY with the wrench, rotate the PS cam gear CLOCKWISE !/2 a tooth. If you have the belt pulled as tight as allowable, you will be able to drop the teeth on it right into the gear teeth. MAKE SURE there is absolutely NO slack in the belt when you do this, or you'll have to start over! Keeping the belt tight with your left hand during and after you wrap it around the cam gear, take the breaker bar and turn the cam gear COUNTERCLOCKWISE back to where your timing marks line up again. If you did it right, the marks will line up perfect, and the belt will be nice and tight going to the cam gear. During all of this, DO NOT let go of the timing belt as you wrap it around gears and rollers, or you will have to start the process all over again, because chances are, the belt will slip a tooth on the cam gear if you do not keep the belt wraped tight enough around it! The first bottom roller you come to isn't much to worry about, so onto the gear toothed roller next to the water pump. Still keeping the belt tight in hand, wrap it in between this roller and the water pump pulley. Once you have the belt wraped between these two and ready to go around the ds cam gear, pull the belt as tight as you can, and keep it that way! Through all of this you will notice that all of the slack left should only end up where the tension roller and shock are! Now for the cam gear, do the same trick as you did on the PS. CAREFULLY rotate the cam gear 1/2 tooth CLOCKWISE, keeping the belt tight. Up to this point, if all has gone well, your crank gear white mark, and PS cam gear white mark should still line up perfect, and the belt should be tight with little to no slack all the way through! Now, wrap your belt around the ds cam gear. The belt teeth will drop right into the cam gear teeth. I usually have to push the belt in carefully using my fingers to guide and flatten the belt into the grooves until I have wraped the belt around the gear as much as I can. Holding the belt tight with your left hand after you wrap the ds cam gear, take your breaker bar and rotate the gear COUNTERCLOCKWISE 1/2 tooth. If all has gone well, your white timing belt mark will line up exactly with the marks on your cam gear and rear timing cover! Now, by this point you should have all of the slack where the tension shock is. Push down on the timing belt, remembering to still keep it tight with your hand so it won't slip off of the ds cam gear, and slide on the tension roller. Run the bolt through the tensioner and just snugg it by hand for the moment. Once that is accomplished, push the roller to the left with your hand. Take a pair of pliers and pull out the wire or drill bit in the tension shock. It will push against the pivot bracket for the tension roller. Now you can FINALLY let go of everything! All you need to do now is take the needlenose vice grips off of the crank gear, and torque the tension roller bolt down to 26 ft. lbs. All the other roller bolts will be this torque as well. If things went the way I have described to you, the car will fire right up, be in perfect time, and all you need to do is put it back together! I would suggest bolting on the harmonic balancer before you put anything else back together, start the car with the belt still exposed, and make sure it runs good, and the water pump has no leaks. If all sounds and looks good, you're ready to put it back together! WHEW!!!!!!