A Reflection: DIY Timing Belt 2006 WRX
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This is a discussion on A Reflection: DIY Timing Belt 2006 WRX within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; So I conquered my timing belt today. I'd like to say it was fun, I'd like to say it went ...

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    A Reflection: DIY Timing Belt 2006 WRX

    So I conquered my timing belt today. I'd like to say it was fun, I'd like to say it went smoothly, but I'd be lying. I decided to make this thread, because everyone I read seemed to be missing a couple steps.

    First off there are some pretty rockstar threads out there for doing this.

    I primarily used this one:

    Timing Belt and Water Pump Replacement

    It is probably the best one I found on the webz. Nasioc has some decent ones, but none this good. Also Youtube has some good videos.

    I also used this thread for reference on the cam seals/ crank seal:

    Cam seals, crank seal: Replacement? How?

    Here's the thread where I asked questions before I got started:

    Its timing belt time 2006 wrx...

    Some tools that are helpful:

    Beyond the standard socket set and hand tools, I recommend these if you have the means:

    * Company23 cam lock tool.

    Camlock Tool

    This tool locks the drivers side cams in place and keeps them from moving to make your life easier. Having done this once on a bugeye without it, it is worth every penney.

    * Company23 crank pulley tool.

    Crank Pulley Tool

    There are all manners of ways people try and get the crank pulley off. Buy this. I didn't have it, I woulda paid twice as much to have it today let me tell you.

    * An inspection mirror to insure that your marks are perfect on the sides of the cam pulleys.

    * Plenty of LED flash lights.

    Lets talk about removing the crank pulley and crank bolt shall we:

    I knew removing the crank pulley was gonna be a bear. I have done timing belts in all different makes and models and had the crank bolt come off as easy as holdin the crank pulley with one hand and using a ratchet with the other, all the way to bouncing off of the end of a 8' cheater bar. One thing is certain, each one is its own animal. That being said, every thread I read seemed to glance over removing the crank bolt and left out steps.

    * you need to plan ahead.
    * use plenty of PB blaster

    I recommend the crank pulley spanner above. Would have taken 5 min instead of the 2 hours it took me.

    Other ways I read while trying to figure it out:

    * Using an impact (more on this in a minute)
    * using two 3/8 extensions and a prybar to lock the pulley while taking the bolt off with a breaker bar
    ------this wil only work with 2 people and a not so stubborn bolt.
    * frame lock method/starter bump (I don't recommend this one you'll have to search it yourself.)
    * using heat (not an option on the Subi as the crank pulley is rubber coated?
    * putting the car in 5th gear, weight on the wheels and using a cheater pipe on a breaker bar (will get most, but didn't work for me)

    How I did it:

    I used an impact gun. But one thing the above DIY doesn't tell you but I remembered from the bugeye I did, You will need to move your AC condenser out of the way to fit an impact on the crank bolt. On an 06-07 that requires removing the two small grill pieces on either side of the grill. That gets you access to the top condenser bolts. You can see the bolt hole in the center of each grill below. You are probably gonna break some of the grill tabs taking them out....I did

    pics:

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    After you undo the top two bolts that hold the condenser in place, you will need to undo the little feet too. Then you can position it out of the way to get your clearance for an impact.

    Also to rewind a smidge, also not mentioned in any DIY's I found, was the necessity to undo the Power Steering hose at the pump. There is phsyically no way my radiator/fans would have come out without taking this hose off:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Now If you are unlucky like me, not just any impact gun will do. I have a newish 350 ft-lb Kobalt impact and the crank bolt laughed at it.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    So after scouring the web and calling around for an hour, and repeatedly soaking the bolt in PB Blaster and trying it with my Kobalt impact, I decided to go to home depot and drop $109 on their 800ft-lb impact. I got lucky, it worked. I have helped people do timing belts before where no manner of impact no matter how strong will work. At $49 that crank pulley tool looks pretty darn good when you have to drop $109 on a second impact. FWIW I bought this one: 1/2 in. Impact Wrench 800 ft.-lbs.-H4480 at The Home Depot

    Here it is posing for a shot:

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    VICTORY!

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    Some other notes:

    When putting the timing belt back on; the instructions that come with the comapny23 cam tool say to put the hyd tensioner on first, then the belt, then the idlers. The DIY thread at the top says to put the idlers on and the tensioner last.

    * What I think works best is too put the tensioner on and leave it loose, put all the idlers on except the bottom left one. Get the belt all squared away and your marks set, then with a buddy holding the belt in place, quickly install that bottom pass side idler. Boom you're in business.

    Also not mentioned anywhere, when you remove the AVCS cap to install the Camlock tool, some oil comes out. Kinda freaked me out at first.

    The Gates kit I bought came with a thermostat gasket, but Rallysportdirect didn't list it on there so I wasted $4.

    The two big idlers in the gates kit are identical although the ones on your car are different. The OD of the OEM ones is the same but the bearings look different. Gates just gives you two of the beefier looking type. This is on purpose although it did cause me a moment of pause and examination.

    The Gates kit also came with this really cool gauge for reinstalling the little belt guides everywhere. Super useful piece of plastic.

    Buy some extra hose clamps. I changed my Rad hoses while doing this and the Gates hoses are thicker and wouldnt work with my spring hose clamps. This necessitated an 11th hour run to Autozone before they closed. I was not amused. Then the damn worm clamps leaked on the lower Rad hose and necessitated retightening 3 times to get a good seal.

    I hate worm drive and they are not all created equally, I prefer T-bolt. Although I am not sure that a T-bolt would have worked on the lower Rad hose, Rad side. In any event www.mcmaster.com is an excellent source for hose clamps of all types.
    http://www.mcmaster.com/#worm-drive-clamps/=ljo5g3
    http://www.mcmaster.com/#t-bolt-hose-clamps/=ljo5jc

    I also bought a Motorad Fail safe thermostat at the recommendation of "Donkey" on here. 7294-170 IIRC. While the stock thermostat looks all "beef cake!" the hole that coolant flows through is pretty small when compared to the Motorad. I noticed this morning that my car came up to operating temp pretty quickly, not sure if the thermostat is why.


    Food for thought:

    Below are some pics of my adventure. While my belt was fine still, my small idler had some bad wear. Also my T-stat housing was corroded all to hell. Oh yeah, my HYD tensioner was leaking bad too.

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    Here is the Gates tool they give you for setting the timing belt guide install distance.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by 06wrx4me; 02-26-2013 at 06:39 AM.
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    Good news, everyone! xxxxxxxAnub1s's Avatar
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    Bummer about the crank bolt, mine came out with a strong arm and a 18" breaker bar.

    I wish I had that camlock tool, but thankfully I had a buddy to help me, we got everything on no problem. Sucked that we had to take everything off again though, because the waterpump gasket didn't stay put when we put the bolts on. Which brings me to my main suggestion to anyone coming across this: use a couple dabs of RTV to keep it in place. Subaru says not to use it, but screw them, you don't want to take that stuff apart again and a couple of dabs won't hurt anything.

    Also, good point about your spring clamps, but I would recommend changing them to worm clamps regardless. I reused the old spring clamps on my lower radiator hose. I went for a drive to make sure everything was good after I was done, stopped to get some food, and blew 2 gallons of stinky green **** all over the drive through pavement. Fun times.

    Glad it all worked out for you man.
    Last edited by xxxxxxxAnub1s; 02-19-2013 at 02:10 AM.
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    Registered User wrx650's Avatar
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    A Reflection: DIY Timing Belt 2006 WRX

    I enjoyed reading this (I lol'd at the victory pic). Would you take it to a shop to have it done next time? It sounds like it was quite a task.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Anub1s View Post
    Sucked that we had to take everything off again though, because the waterpump gasket didn't stay put when we put the bolts on. Which brings me to my main suggestion to anyone coming across this: use a couple dabs of RTV to keep it in place. Subaru says not to use it, but screw them, you don't want to take that stuff apart again and a couple of dabs won't hurt anything.

    Also, good point about your spring clamps, but I would recommend changing them to worm clamps regardless. I reused the old spring clamps on my lower radiator hose. I went for a drive to make sure everything was good after I was done, stopped to get some food, and blew 2 gallons of stinky green **** all over the drive through pavement. Fun times.
    Yeah the water pump gasket required 2 people. Having had to take everything back apart again on other cars, I wanted to make sure it was right. So I was underneath the car making sure everything lined up and putting in the bottom bolts, while my buddy was putting in the top bolts. Then I made sure to torque it correctly. 8.7 ft-lbs BTW, starting on the middle right side bolt working counter clockwise around. The manual says to torque it 2x in this sequence. I did it 5X just to be sure. I did NOT want to take it all apart again.

    I would have preferred T bolt clamps, but I could not get a definitive OD on the rad hose ahead of time to order some. Otherwise I would have bought some from McMaster-Carr.

    I am always very skeptical **** is gonna buff out, when doing a job like this, so I ran my car in my garage for 20min before taking it for a drive. That lower hose did not leak until min 15 or so, then it started dripping pretty good. So I re-tightened and went for a drive. It was dripping when I got back, so I tightened it again....and repeat 1 more time. There was nothing on the ground this morning in the garage, and no shenanigans on the way to work. I popped the hood and flash lighted undernieth and everything seemed GTG. A little coolant smell, but hopefully just residual.


    Quote Originally Posted by wrx650 View Post
    I enjoyed reading this (I lol'd at the victory pic). Would you take it to a shop to have it done next time? It sounds like it was quite a task.
    As I hit on in one of the linked threads above:

    I asked the dealer how much it would be. It is $480 just to have the belt replaced. That doesn't include idlers, tensioner, water pump, rad hoses, Aux belts, seals, clamps, coolant (they will reuse your old stuff no ****), T stat & gasket. For $480 you get just the belt. When I inquired as too how much it would cost to do the rest of the service, I got a sly smile and a quote of around $1000.

    Im in it ~ $400 in parts + $109 for an impact and $49 for a cam tool, roughly $560.

    I could have afforded to drop it off at the dealer, but wasting almost $500 would have pissed me off. With the $1000 I saved on the clutch job and the $500 I saved on this job, I'm $500 more away from paying my Maxjax lift off in just two saved labor services.
    Last edited by 06wrx4me; 02-19-2013 at 07:10 AM.
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    Registered User wrx650's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 06wrx4me View Post
    Yeah the water pump gasket required 2 people. Having had to take everything back apart again, I wanted to make sure it was right. So I was underneath the car making sure everything lined up and putting in the bottom bolts, while my buddy was putting in the top bolts. Then I made sure to torque it correctly. 8.7 ft-lbs BTW, starting on the middle right side bolt working counter clockwise around. The manual says to torque it 2x in this sequence. I did it 5X just to be sure. I did NOT want to take it all apart again.

    I would have preferred T bolt clamps, but I could not get a definitive OD on the rad hose ahead of time to order some. Otherwise I would have bought some from McMaster-Carr




    As I hit on in one of the linked threads above:

    I asked the dealer how much it would be. It is $480 just to have the belt replaced. That doesn't include idlers, tensioner, water pump, rad hoses, Aux belts, seals, clamps, coolant (they will reuse your old stuff no ****), T stat & gasket. For $480 you get just the belt. When I inquired as too how much it would cost to do the rest of the service, I got a sly smile and a quote of around $1000.

    Im in it ~ $400 in parts + $109 for an impact and $49 for a cam tool, roughly $560.

    I could have afforded to drop it off at the dealer, but wasting almost $500 would have pissed me off. With the $1000 I saved on the clutch job and the $500 I saved on this job, I'm $500 more away from paying my Maxjax lift off in just two saved labor services.
    Good deal. What part of NorCal are you in?
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    Resident meany-rator 06wrx4me's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrx650 View Post
    Good deal. What part of NorCal are you in?
    Sacramento/Roseville.
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    Holyhell man....that crank nut tale is redonk. When I installed my lightened crank pully it took putting the car in 5th, a 1/2" drive socket, a 12" non-ratcheting 1/2" drive handle from harbor freight and a 30" piece of 3/4" steel pipe from home depot to use as a cheater bar....throw some weight behind it and boom, off it squeaked. Not that it was easy....still took me 10 minutes of pushing to break it loose, but only cost like $25 for all the tools needed.
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    Tools are ALWAYS a good investment. They very often pay for themselves with the first use and then you have them for further use anytime. And even additional cost for better quality pays for itself. . . I recently tiled my kitchen and used a borrowed wet table saw, I didn't see the need to buy one as I'm not planning on doing this job again in the foreseeable future. Otherwise I have no problem buying spacialty tools.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DemonWRX View Post
    Holyhell man....that crank nut tale is redonk. When I installed my lightened crank pully it took putting the car in 5th, a 1/2" drive socket, a 12" non-ratcheting 1/2" drive handle from harbor freight and a 30" piece of 3/4" steel pipe from home depot to use as a cheater bar....throw some weight behind it and boom, off it squeaked. Not that it was easy....still took me 10 minutes of pushing to break it loose, but only cost like $25 for all the tools needed.
    Same here but I opted for the 36" gas pipe. Harbor Freight breaker bar FTW!!
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    Resident meany-rator 06wrx4me's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donkey View Post
    Same here but I opted for the 36" gas pipe. Harbor Freight breaker bar FTW!!
    That was the same exact breaker bar that was on the pulley and was a no go. Great breaker bar BTW.
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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    A Reflection: DIY Timing Belt 2006 WRX

    I just had someone press the brake pedal and used a breaker on the nut, it came right off. I must have gotten lucky.
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    Resident meany-rator 06wrx4me's Avatar
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    Just a note on the timing belt service:

    When you get it done or do it yourself, spend the extra and replace the idlers. If you take it to the dealer they wont unless you ask them too.

    This weekend I finally had the chance to go back and closely inspect my idlers. The small one (pic in link in sig) that showed lots of roller surface wear, has flats spots on the ball bearings and was undoubtedly "chattering" causing the wear pattern. It would not have lived another 100k miles. While the other two idlers and Cog wheel still technically good and rolled smooth, all of them had bearing play and were audibly noisy when rotating. The worst being the lower left "red centered" one, with the best being the upper idler. Which now explains why Gates just sells you two of the upper one (its beefier).
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    While going through the mountains of car receipts I had in the garage, I can across this little gem. Even has torque specs.

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    I think idler G2 is the one I put in last, after the belt itself but before pulling the pin on the tensioner. Due to the angle and tension it is easy to cross thread that bolt.
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    Resident meany-rator 06wrx4me's Avatar
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    I put G3 in last.
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