Car problem reports
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Most reported 1990 Subaru XT problems
A hydraulic lifter type noise may be noted, often worse at idle. This can be caused by air being drawn past the oil pump seal allowing aerated oil to reach the valve lifters. Replacing the oil pump seals generally will correct this issue.
Premature timing belt failure is not uncommon. The recommended service interval is 60K, but belt failures before that mileage have been noted. This 1.8L engine is considered "free-wheeling", therefore the chances of valve damage if the timing belt fails is minimal.