2006 Subaru Forester - Timing belt...timing

I hear that you have to change the timing belt around 125K?
That seems like it should last longer than that. Mine has 128K, no issues with anything–will I notice any difference in it, or does the belt just let loose?

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I believe your timing belt should be replaced at 105k miles. check your owner’s manual. replace it now. you are playing with fire every day you wait.
You will not notice a difference when you change it.
But you definitely will if you don’t. you will be walking. :wink: :rofl:


It doesn’t matter what you “hear”. The manufacturer gave you a maintenance schedule for a reason. If you have an interference engine and if you’re overdue based on time as I suspect, you’re risking thousands of dollars of engine damage.


The belt should be changed every 105,000 miles or 105 months (8.75 years). You’re WAY past the recommended change interval. I’d find an independent Subaru shop near you that has good reviews/recommendations. Call around for price quotes once you have a ‘short list’. Yours hasn’t had the head gaskets done, has it? They’d have replaced the belt at that time.


Any shop can replace the timing belt on a Subaru.

Some people think Subaru’s are special for some reason?

They’re not.


Yes, any good shop can do it. However, I’d rather have a mechanic that does them routinely. With a 2006 Forester, head gaskets could be just around the corner, and I’d definitely prefer a mechanic that’s familiar with Subarus in that case. This way I’d already have a shop identified.

I don’t know of other makes that have the history of frequent head gasket replacements that Subarus do.

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Heard stories where sometimes mechanics put on a timing belt on one tooth off. The the fuel econonmy and power is worse for years until the next timing belt change.

I think it’s something like if the valve timing is delayed then the engine will use less air at low speed but more air at high speed. If MAP is used to control the mixture then the mixture will be rich at low and lean at high speed.

Know how many head gaskets I’ve replaced on Subaru’s?

I can’t tell you. That’s how many I’ve replaced.

But I don’t consider myself a Subaru mechanic.

Just a mechanic.


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And if I knew the OP was near you I would send them to you, or someone near as good, in a second.


May seem that way to you, but it’s a rubber belt in a very harsh environment.
My Hondas from the 1980s called for a belt change every 60,000 miles, and at that mileage they looked like it was time (cracking etc.)

With Subaru it’s a rite of passage to stay securely on the road, a minor engine overhaul every 100K miles for the prudent.
There’s a list of things best replaced while the engine is out of the car and apart, including:
Belt tensioners, head gaskets, water pump, and more.
Don’t risk taking it apart again to replace a $25 part.

Your Forester is an interference engine. If the timing belt breaks, you probably will damage the valves and cylinders and destroy the engine. Get it done ASAP. BTW, the maintenance guide that came with the new car probably has this information in it. If you still have the maintenance guide, you might check this out. If the user’s manual/maintenance guide is gone, maybe you can download it from the Subaru website.

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Timing belts definitely annoy those of us w/timing belt equipped cars. But there’s an upside, the alternative is a car w/a timing chain, and those are much, much more expensive to replace. Suggest to bite the bullet, hire a well-recommended shop to do the job. If the belt were to break (let loose), your car will come to a stop and you’ll be stranded. Plus the repair at the point is likely to be very much more expensive. Another benefit of doing it now, you’ll get a new water pump and various other new gadgets, making your car even more reliable.

If you decide to take a chance and not replace it now, better odds if

  • you live in a mild climate
  • you are a mild-mannered driver
  • belt is within its age limit spec

You’ll notice right away when the belt breaks and the valves hit the pistons. Can you spell “new engine”?
Evolution - regardless of certain individuals may “think” - does exist. There were chains up until certain point, Then everybody jumped to the belt wagon but reputable manufacturers eventually realized the flaw and switched back to chains. Toyota, for example, has had chains on almost all of its engines in 2004.

With over 50 years of auto repair, I’ve seen 4 cyl’s, V6’s, and V8 engines bend valves when a timing chain failed.

And with different manufacturers.


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Yes, old detroit stuff, especially with in-block cam, chains stretched like crazy. I’ve never seen a single issue with Toyota though. 22R/22RE, 2,7, 4.0, Scion 1.5 all are bullet-proof.




I said there is A LOT of garbage on the road. That definitely includes bmw and - sadly - nissan. Especially after its alliance with the French. Same with Mazda/ford. It will take generations for Mazda to recover,

It is already a number of years past its change date.

The OP’s timing belt is already 5 years past its elapsed-time change schedule.

You won’t notice a thing until the belt breaks. Sometimes they slip…but usually they break. If this is an interference engine, you’ll end up paying THOUSANDS to get it repaired. Timing belts are critical component. Keeping it on longer then manufacturer recommendations is playing with fire. Yes, they can be expensive to replace. But the alternative is extremely costly.

Good Luck