How To: Subaru Timing Belt Install (SOHC)

There will come a time with your SOHC Subaru where you will need to replace the old Subaru Timing Belt. This usually happens every 105K miles, or in my case, when the idler pulley decides to grenade itself, either way, the Subaru timing belt install is a very simple procedure and RallySport Direct is here to walk you through installing a Gates Timing Belt Kit on your SOHC Subaru.

Now on to the Subaru Timing Belt Kit Install

Time for install: 1-2 hours

Difficulty: 3 out of 5


  1. First we want to remove the negative battery cable, this is easily done with a 10mm wrench.

Battery cable


2. Now remove the accessory belt covers, on this Subaru we use a 10mm and 12mm socket

Accessory belt cover


3. Remove the coolant overflow bottle to access the front timing belt cover, this is secure with 2 10mm bolts. Carefully set this aside to avoid spilling any coolant.

Coolant overflow bottle


With the belt cover and coolant overflow removed, we can focus on the accessory belts.

Accessory Belts


4. To remove the alternator/power steering belt, loosen the tensioner lock bolt and turn the adjustment bolt on top counter-clockwise.

Power steering belt tensioner


5. The A/C belt tensioner lock nut us a bit tricky to get to, but once loose, you can spin the adjustment bolt counter-clockwise just like the other belt.

A/C Belt Tensioner


6. Remove the crank pulley. This is possibly the hardest part of the whole job, however using a long breaker bar, or a “cheater bar” it makes it much easier. Have someone sit in your Subaru, put it in 5th gear with the clutch out and stomp on the brakes. While they are holding the brakes, use a 22mm socket to break the main crank bolt free, do note this will take quite a bit of force.

Crank Pulley Removal

7. Before we can take the timing belt cover off, we have to remove the A/C tensioner bracket, there are 2 12mm bolts holding it on.

A/C Tensioner Bracket

A/C Tensioner Bracket Removed


8. Remove the timing belt cover. Simply follow all along the plastic timing belt cover removing all 10mm bolts. Once all the bolts are removed you can take the cover off to expose the timing belt and pullies.


9. Remove pullies and timing belt. There are 3 pullies and one tensioner in total. 2 smooth pullies, 1 gear pulley and the single tensioner with a smooth pulley. These can all be removed using a 14mm socket.

Old Timing Belt Pulley Removal


10. With the full timing belt and components removed, grab your new Gates Timing Belt Kit and do a quick inspection for any defects before installation.

Gates Timing Belt Kit


11. Install all of the new pullies and tensioner, but make sure to leave the pin in the tensioner! Be sure to use the supplied blue loctite on the threads of the bolts.

12. Inspect the new Timing Belt, you will see a dotted line and 2 solid lines clearly marked on the belt and we will need to make sure those are lined up with the crank gear and cam gears.

With the crank gear, you will see a small marking on the front of the gear itself, make sure that is pointing up towards the marking on the cam position sensor(pretty much straight up) and set the dotted line down so the dotted portion lines up exactly with the marking on the gear. The arrows will point to the left side(drivers side) of the vehicle which ensures you have the correct belt orientation.

Crank Gear Markings

The drive side cam gear will have a pink dot with a marked line, place that in the upright position, and we want to make sure the solid white line on the belt lines up with the pink dot/line marking.

Drives Side Cam Gear


The passenger side cam gear will have a white marking with a small line, make sure those are pointed straight up, and line the solid white line on the belt with the marking on the cam gear.

Passenger Side Cam Gear


13. Now loop the lower portion of the belt through the pullies, being careful not to move the belt off the markings on the crank and cam gears.

Gates Timing Belt Kit Installed


14. Before you pull the pin in the tensioner, double and triple check to make sure the marking on the belt are lined up with the markings on the crank and cam gears. Once confirmed you can pull the pin.


15. The last step before reassembly is to check the clearance between the timing belt and the timing belt guide, and luckily Gates has included a tool for this. Loosen the 2 10mm bolts on the belt guide, slide the red plastic spacer in between the timing belt and the guide, then tighten the 2 10mm bolts and remove the spacer.

Gates Timing Belt Spacer


16. With the spacing set, we can now put everything back together in reverse order. Use the tip for the crank pulley removal to help with the install as well, have a friend put the car in 5th gear with the brakes pressed, this will allow you to torque down the pulley with minimal fuss.


Start your car and be proud you just saved yourself hundreds of dollars!


We hope that this Subaru timing belt install has been helpful, please feel free to leave your comments below in the comments.


To Purchase a Gates Timing Belt Kit Click Here!

To Learn More About Gates Click Here!

Prefer a video install guide? Check this out




Although we do highly encourage having fun and doing your own installations. RallySport Direct is not responsible for any damages, injuries, or mishaps that may occur during the installation of the products. Items being installed may be intended for off road use only and is recommended to check local laws for further information. Also installation of any items portrayed may affect, void or violate terms in warranty coverage on your vehicle. We recommend reviewing your warranty or consulting with your local dealership.

Leave a comment

Please be polite. We appreciate that. Your email address will not be published and required fields are marked