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1993 Legacy Wagon 200k - Keep or sell?

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I've got a '93 Legacy wagon that just crossed 200,000 miles. According to the maintenance records from the previous owner, I'm due for a timing belt at about 210,000 (which I will hit in about 6 months). My local mechanic quoted me anywhere from $600 to $1200 for this, depending on what is needed once he gets inside (water pump, sprockets, etc.).


The only other anticipated future repair is to replace the power steering pump, as it is making noise. That should be about $300. Tires and brakes are good and should give me at least another 10,000-20,000 miles.


The question: should I sink up to $1,200 into this thing? Will it keep running to 300,000? Or should I unload it for about $1,000 and buy something else?


Thoughts? Opinions? Thanks!!

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How's it run now? Good? If it does, keep it.


Step 1 - Go to a junk yard, get a hydraulic tensioner for your timing. Pick up a power steering pump off of the top of another Legacy while you're there. Now if you're cheap like me you'll also look and see if there's any newly acquired Legacy's that you can get the idler pulleys from if they're still in good working order. All in all it should be about $40 for the power steering pump and $30 (high number) for the hydraulic timing tensioner and the pulleys.


Step 2 - Buy water pump, timing belt, idler pulleys (assuming none at the junk yard will work), front main seal.


Step 3 - Take off power steering pump and drain out the auto trans fluid that's in there. Take your new power steering pump and put it on the car. Fill it full of Isopropyl Alcohol and take a drill and spin the pulley on the front of it and it will clean out the entire system for you. Use an entire bottle and allow it to dry overnight. This is super easy and will save you about $260. Also it'd make it easier to sell if you decide not to do this next part and at least you'll have a 30 day warranty on the part like most junk yards offer.


Step 4 - Remove your radiator fans, alternator, crank pulley, timing belt, idler pulleys, hydraulic tensioner. The trick to the hydraulic tensioner is to slowly...slooooowly compress them with a big bench vise up at Autozone and make sure the piston moves back straight and isnt bending. You're going to want to line up the holes on the tensioner piston with the body of the tensioner. If it collapses all the way it'll be fine. Take an allen wrench and stick it through the holes that you lined up. Even if you forget this part you'll remember it afterwards. Also, when you stick the allen wrench in make sure the part that sticks off the side is on the top side so you can still pull it out.


After that it's just regular timing procedure.


Also, with your water pump you can get one from Autozone for $70 that comes with a gasket and you put a small bit of red RTV silicone around it and put it on there with a new thermostat and let it dry overnight.


I know you probably wont end up doing all of this, but to be honest it's pretty easy. Also, with your car being a non-interference engine you dont have to worry about the timing belt breaking while you're driving since it wont screw anything up in your engine. Also, the same applies to when you're installing the timing belt. If you screw up dont worry about it. If you start it and it wont start you messed up the timing so you just go back and try it again.


I know all of this sounds scary, but it's not actually that hard. I know I missed some small steps, but I dont feel like wasting my entire break time if you're not gonna try this stuff haha Just let us know what you decide. It'd be a good chance to get some experience working on cars though.

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Many thanks for this info!


It's running fine otherwise. It shifts hard sometimes and squeaks a little when shifting sometimes, but that behavior has not gotten worse in the 50,000 miles / 3 years I've had it.


I may actually do the power steering pump myself - it sounds easy enough. I don't have the guts (or time, or tools) to do the rest of it, though. Many thanks for the walkthrough!!


You mentioned that this engine is non-interference, and that if the timing belt breaks, it won't mess up the engine. I know the OPPOSITE is true for Honda timing belts, right? Could you elaborate a bit? If I let the belt go all the way to breaking, would the car just stop?


Thanks so much!

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That's good to hear. The trans seems natural for a vehicle that old.


The power steering pump is pretty easy :D


Yes. The 2.2l engine before the year 97 is non-interference. If the timing belt breaks or the tensioner goes to crap it wont hurt the valves or anything. And yeah, the opposite is true for Honda. I know this is at least the 2.2. The 2.5's are a different story.


Yeah, if the belt broke or jumped a few teeth the car just stops. The latter has happened to me before.

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