Did my 96 Subaru Legacy timing belt break?

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855
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Ozark Mountains
Lent my 96 Subaru Legacy wagon with 138,000 miles on it to a gal friend today while her car was being worked on. While she was driving home she said the car just stopped and all the dash warning lights came on. It's a 2.2 L 4 cyl automatic. Now it turns over faster then usual but won't start. As far as I can tell from records and talking to the last owner the belt was not changed, at least by him and he had owned it for several years. I believe it is a non-interference engine. Is it the belt probably? Any way to tell for sure? Thanks a ton, guys.
 
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3,947
Location
Ohio
A lot of motors give you a view of the valvetrain when you open the oil fill cap. If the Subaru is like that, then you would be able to see cams spinning and other signs of valvetrain activity when cranking.
 
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583
Location
Virginia
Subarus dont give you a view of the valvetrain from the oil cap. Its cranking fast because it has no compression since the cams arent turning. Its a sign of a broken timing belt. Ive had it happen.
 
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72
Location
pa
yea, the Sohc subaru motors are non-interference iirc... ...so, the valves shouldn't be bent but if it is the original belt was still there that is way to long to go on it.
 
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17,501
Location
Clovis, CA
Originally Posted By: callbay
Now it turns over faster then usual but won't start.
It turns over faster because the starter motor is not having to turn the camshafts or open the valves anymore. All it has to do now is turn the crankshaft and pistons over.
 
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2,191
Location
VA
Originally Posted By: jc1112
yea, the Sohc subaru motors are non-interference iirc... ...so, the valves shouldn't be bent but if it is the original belt was still there that is way to long to go on it.
Unfortunately this is not accurate. I have a SOHC 2.5 sitting out front with a broken belt and in neex of a valve job. Mine broke about 5k miles after the belt was changed due to a bad (although new) idler pulley. You have about a 1-2% chance of not having caused other internal damage.
 
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Sequim, WA
The 1996 and earlier 2.2 is non-interference. 1997+ engines are interference. The 1996 2.5 is valve to valve interference. The 1997+ are interference. Ed
 
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Location
Elderly County, Florida
So far in life, I've only had one timing belt break on an interference engine. It was loud when it happened and when I tried to restart the engine, it was locked tight as a drum because of all the broken stuff in the engine. I'm sure others will chime in, but I would guess if it's turning over with no "broken part" noise, (banging and clanging), no internal damage was done. If it is in fact the timing belt, the reason the engine is turning over so fast is that the valves are open at various stages of intake and exhaust and you have no compression. It would be similar to removing all your spark plugs and running the starter.
 
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3,103
Location
Cincinnati
Originally Posted By: GreeCguy
I'm sure others will chime in, but I would guess if it's turning over with no "broken part" noise, (banging and clanging), no internal damage was done.
Chiming in! The above is not always correct. My belt broke in my Civic due to a failure of the tensioner, which was replaced with the belt. It spun very fast when cranking with no bad noises, yet my valves were all bent. Got a free top-end to the engine from my mechanic and he went back to Honda for a refund as those parts were OEM.
 
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14,816
Location
Central NY
What a stupid, unacceptable, third world cost cutting measure. If Subaru had spent another $30 to manufacture the car - it would still be running fine ... without the owner(s) have to drop $1000 every 60/90K miles. Just stupid.
 
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26,115
Location
MA, Mittelfranken.de
+1 on the belt and no the pistons didn't hit valves. As others have posted the 96 2.2 was not an interference engine. If you do this yourself Aisin makes a very good kit with the double bearing idlers, Aisin water pump, a new OE tensioner and Mitsuboshi belt.
 
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288
Location
Detroit, MI
yeah, the '96 ej22 was the last of the subaru motors to be non-interference. All of the ej25's were interference. Should be a relatively easy fix.
 
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16,240
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N.H, U.S.A.
Originally Posted By: Miller88
What a stupid, unacceptable, third world cost cutting measure. If Subaru had spent another $30 to manufacture the car - it would still be running fine ... without the owner(s) have to drop $1000 every 60/90K miles. Just stupid.
Uh, No. Timing belts are superior to chain in OHC applications and I prefer them. Had TONSDof issues with TCT and engine failure with various chain engines - including my pricey 98 BMW 3.2L M roadster that had the guides fall apart at 68K due to oil incompatibility (or poor polymer choices in the design - depending on your perspective).
 
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14,816
Location
Central NY
Originally Posted By: ARCOgraphite
Originally Posted By: Miller88
What a stupid, unacceptable, third world cost cutting measure. If Subaru had spent another $30 to manufacture the car - it would still be running fine ... without the owner(s) have to drop $1000 every 60/90K miles. Just stupid.
Uh, No. Timing belts are superior to chain in OHC applications and I prefer them. Had TONSDof issues with TCT and engine failure with various chain engines - including my pricey 98 BMW 3.2L M roadster that had the guides fall apart at 68K due to oil incompatibility (or poor polymer choices in the design - depending on your perspective).
We can agree to disagree there.
 
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14,816
Location
Central NY
Originally Posted By: Trav
+1 on the belt and no the pistons didn't hit valves. As others have posted the 96 2.2 was not an interference engine. If you do this yourself Aisin makes a very good kit with the double bearing idlers, Aisin water pump, a new OE tensioner and Mitsuboshi belt.
The Japanese heavy industries are always interesting. A timing belt job for a Subaru (Fiji) has compontents made by Mitsubishi (another Japanese industry giant) and Aisin (Controlling interest by Toyota)
 
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