Gates Timing Belt Kit - My Impressions
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This is a discussion on Gates Timing Belt Kit - My Impressions within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Several people have asked about the quality of the Gates timing belt kit. I've just installed this kit, and would ...

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Gates Timing Belt Kit - My Impressions

    Several people have asked about the quality of the Gates timing belt kit. I've just installed this kit, and would like to offer my impressions.

    First, thank you to:

    EJ257, azWRX06 and TOrque for helping me when I was trying to source parts.

    Trainrex and Donkey for their advice and help with the camshaft and crank seals. The sprockets would still be on the car without their advice.

    The Gates kit is available from various vendors and from what I can work out, there is more than one "kit" even for the same year and model. Some kits come with the water pump, others do not; I opted for one with the water pump.

    The kit arrived in a small box marked Gates with the kit part number. The box gives the origin for the major components. My kit contained a mix of components from JP, CN, and KR. The water pump initially worried me, as I saw green residue on the inside of the housing. I contacted Gates, who responded very quickly and efficiently (thanks guys!) that the residue is generated from attaching the three outlets. This makes sense, as is seemed to "stream" from the outlets that supply coolant to the oil cooler. The pump differed from the existing pump, installed by the dealer under warranty about four years ago, in that the impeller blades are "open" and not "housed" like on the old pump. The new pump's impeller looked like a prop; the old pump's impeller looked like the Honda VF500F's inboard ventilated front discs.

    The rollers and the toothed gear looked very similar; some were marked "Koyo" but I don't know if it's the same firm from which I've gotten a radiator to replace the horrific Calsonics that Subaru supplied twice (that failed twice...). One of the rollers had a "shallower" mount point, meaning the mounting bolt went into the motor about 1 mm more. Not an issue in my case.

    I am quite picky when it comes to parts. I am not an expert and my mechanical skills are rudimentary, but for what it's worth, the Gates kit IMO is very good and is quite OEM in quality. Incidentally, while removing the accessory belts, that were bought from a dealer, I noticed that one of them was marked Gates also.

    Having examined and installed the parts, I have no misgivings at this point. However, there is one exception; one part in the kit was nowhere near the quality of the rest, and in fact let the side down, so to speak: the water pump gasket. The Gates-supplied water pump gasket is IMO a bad choice. It's a shame, since the rest of the kit is very good. Buy the dealer's "Subaru" water pump and thermostat gaskets instead.

    Other than that IMO the Gates kit is a good value and -- I'm hoping -- will prove a good, reliable choice.

    Thanks again to all who helped me.

    SD
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    Moderator T0rque's Avatar
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    Registered User 06scoobyrex's Avatar
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    How long did the whole job take out of curiousity?
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    The Default One SeattleJeremy's Avatar
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    What is the replacement interval on the Gates belt?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 06scoobyrex View Post
    How long did the whole job take out of curiousity?
    Taking our time, over seven hours of actual work. We were very cautious and simply refused to rush. Someone that knows what they're doing could do it in five hours; someone that knows both what they're doing and why could do it in much less IMO. This is what we replaced:

    Timing belt.
    Water pump.
    Thermostat.
    Two hoses.
    All rollers.
    Timing belt tensioner.
    Four camshaft seals.
    The crank seal.

    Getting the cam sprockets off is a bit intimidating and getting the crank sprocket off was frustrating, and lots of time was spent on the seals themselves. Both removing the old seals and tapping in the new seals was tedious.

    Extra time was spent going to the dealer (tip: if changing the camshaft seals, buy six, not four; if changing the crank seal, buy two, not one) and the auto parts store (tip: o-ring picks are not made like they used to be; get a few extras; also, the bolts that hold the rollers are M8X1.25 and the manual says to blow air into the holes to clean them, but a chaser done carefully and correctly won't hurt either).

    Quote Originally Posted by SeattleJeremy
    What is the replacement interval on the Gates belt?
    I was wondering too. In the little pamphlet that comes with the kit, the labeling and language is Subaru-esque as if it were a Subaru dealer part, and in the info there it states 105,000 miles.
    Last edited by SD_GR; 11-29-2010 at 12:48 AM.
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    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    Good write-up, and I'm glad everything worked out for you

    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR
    Having examined and installed the parts, I have no misgivings at this point. However, there is one exception; one part in the kit was nowhere near the quality of the rest, and in fact let the side down, so to speak: the water pump gasket. The Gates-supplied water pump gasket is IMO a bad choice. It's a shame, since the rest of the kit is very good. Buy the dealer's "Subaru" water pump and thermostat gaskets instead.
    Thanks for the tip! I'll probably need to do my timing belt sometime in the next year and a half, so I'll keep this in mind...
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    Thanks for the write-up and review SD. I will be staring 105,000 miles in the face in about 1.5 years... perhaps I will consider this to the OEM replacement.

    Cheers.
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    Administrator Trainrex's Avatar
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    w00t! Congrats on saving yourself a big pile of money! Good job m8!

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    Thanks again gents!
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    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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    Registered User oguitar's Avatar
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    I've had the kit on my car for about 7k miles now. No issues. This is a good kit. Can't go wrong with Gates. The water pump gasket was wimpy looking but so far it has held up.
    Life is like riding a bicycle in order to keep your balance you must keep moving.

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    Do you plan on checking the belt at 60K? I think that's part of the manual's recommendation anyway and I've never done it.

    My "Gates" water pump gasket arrived perfectly packaged with everything else, and it had already "failed" upon arrival, having a gash in it. Glad to hear yours is fine.

    I changed my belt a few thousand miles "late" and when I saw the condition of the belt, at least on looks alone, I almost -- almost! -- thought "what a shame to change this..." The Subaru belt, and so also the Gates belt without the Subaru labeling I suppose, is IMO a quality item. Seriously. Eight years and over 105,000 miles and it at least looked very good.

    Also, as daunting as the Subaru DOHC, two-headed arrangement seemed to me, I was just as impressed with how everything came apart, especially in the hands of a complete novice. Nothing was gorilla'd on, nothing was hard to access, and IMO the only questionable part of the process was the decision either by design or implemented in practice to leave off the bottom left roller, fit the belt, and then install that roller, as it's hard to get the roller's bolt on straight and easy to strip aluminium threads. Other than that, brilliant.

    Although the timing setup makes a Honda 4 look trivial, the manual is clear, the room to work is ample once the correct pieces are moved away, and my feeling is that a pro would be very comfortable.
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    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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    Administrator Trainrex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR View Post
    Do you plan on checking the belt at 60K? I think that's part of the manual's recommendation anyway and I've never done it.

    My "Gates" water pump gasket arrived perfectly packaged with everything else, and it had already "failed" upon arrival, having a gash in it. Glad to hear yours is fine.

    I changed my belt a few thousand miles "late" and when I saw the condition of the belt, at least on looks alone, I almost -- almost! -- thought "what a shame to change this..." The Subaru belt, and so also the Gates belt without the Subaru labeling I suppose, is IMO a quality item. Seriously. Eight years and over 105,000 miles and it at least looked very good.

    Also, as daunting as the Subaru DOHC, two-headed arrangement seemed to me, I was just as impressed with how everything came apart, especially in the hands of a complete novice. Nothing was gorilla'd on, nothing was hard to access, and IMO the only questionable part of the process was the decision either by design or implemented in practice to leave off the bottom left roller, fit the belt, and then install that roller, as it's hard to get the roller's bolt on straight and easy to strip aluminium threads. Other than that, brilliant.

    Although the timing setup makes a Honda 4 look trivial, the manual is clear, the room to work is ample once the correct pieces are moved away, and my feeling is that a pro would be very comfortable.
    I forgot to ask, how was the crank bolt?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trainrex View Post
    I forgot to ask, how was the crank bolt?
    Baffling!

    I spent a great deal of time staring at the old bolt spin, trying to visualize what was happening. The only logical explanation, as we discussed, was a deformed head that still retained a flat rear surface. I think this is what happened, but when I removed the bolt (easily, I might add; one person pressed the brake with the car in high gear, the other used a breaker bar with a good 22 mm socket on the end) it looked "normal." Now, how could a "normal" bolt seem like its head was "wobbling" by at least half a cm when spinning at 750 rpm, to at least three different and ostensibly rational people? I've no idea!

    In all the excitement, I did not look at the new bolt to see if it "wobbles" also. I will do that and post back though.

    I am in your debt.
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    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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    Administrator Trainrex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR View Post

    I am in your debt.
    Not at all.

    The first time I saw it on a car I was puzzled as well. After seeing it many times to different degrees (some worse than others), I realized it's quite normal.

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Alright, so I checked the new bolt.

    This bolt was installed after I made sure the crank pulley is seated correctly all the way back. I put a touch of oil on the threads of the new bolt, torqued it to 35, and then to 95 ft.lbs. (the closest reading to the spec on my wrench).

    It "wobbles" and in fact it may do so to a greater extent than the old bolt!

    Knowing that it's normal is priceless!
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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