December, 10, 2006 AT 7:56 PM

My fantastic 97 outback legacy wagon (which I just bought used in july with clean carfax and no problems) started whirring one day 200 miles from home. The sound got louder on acceleration. There was rubber and metal dust around the timing belt.
I had the car towed to a mechanic who found that the tensioner bolt had broken clean off, ripping a path in the timing cover, and tensioner was floating but engine had not seized up yet.
What could be the internal engine damage and how much to repair or replace with a used engine? Is it worth it for an older car with 140k miles on it?
I think it is an interference engine but not sure. Mechanic who looked at it only inspected timing belt assembly and did not open engine but thinks there is probably internal damage.
I had the timing belt changed only 10 weeks ago and it looks like the tensioner is new as well, though they didn't mention that they changed it at the time. Is this the mechanic's fault who did the job? If so how? What else could have caused the bolt to break?
Should I have a subaru dealership evaluate the damage and give me an estimate before I have the car towed back at my expense to the timing belt mechanic so he can look and maybe assume responsibility?
If not do I have a small claims case? : (


1 Answer



December, 20, 2006 AT 11:57 AM

Engine damage is far from a certainty, since it was loose and didn't break you probably maintained enough timing to spare any piston/valve contact.

Additionally if that occurs you typically hear it as a loud ticking/clacking and can easily be diagnosed by a big loss of compression due to bent or broken valves.

So get a compression or leakdown test performed (cheap) to double check that there wasnt any serious damage and get the timing belt fixed.

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