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Gates Australia Spacer Tool Invention Now Patented


Apr 27, 2015

The Gates Spacer Tool was invented, developed and produced in Australia and is sold locally and all over the world. The innovative tool has now received a patent for its design.

A local Gates Australia product specialist, Scott Johnson, in 2012 invented the now patented Timing Belt Spacer Tool and has now received a plaque to congratulate him on all his dedication and hard work to develop and invent a solution that has resolved frustrations for many mechanics around the world. The Gates Spacer Tool was invented, developed and produced in Australia and is sold locally and all over the world. The innovative tool has now received a patent for its design.

Scott Johnson identified a common cause of premature timing system failures in popular Subaru applications and developed a tool to prevent these failures. Unless special care is taken to ensure that the correct clearance is achieved between the timing belt and guide plate, this failure mode will occur. The patented Spacer Tool was the first tool in the Australian market, and the world, which helps solve the Subaru clearance issue on manual transmission engines.

With over 200,000 Subaru vehicles on road across Australia and New Zealand that can be effected, it is very important that all automotive technicians are aware of this issue, and are armed with the correct protocols to ensure they can avoid any unnecessary complications.

A large number of Subaru models (particularly with manual transmission) are fitted with a timing belt guide plate which is located directly above the crank shaft pulley. The purpose of the guide plate is to prevent belt ‘tooth jump’, and as such, is positioned very close to the timing belt.

Upon installation, the rotation of the bolts which secure the guide plate to the engine naturally forces the guide plate down towards the belt. If the guide plate is installed too close to the belt or if the bolts on the guide plate aren't tightened correctly, the plate can make contact with the timing belt cover (see diagram below). Any contact between the guide plate and belt, and/or an incorrect clearance between the timing belt and guide plate, will cause friction and generate excessive heat. This extreme heat will compromise the bearing’s lubricant and lead to bearing seizure/failure.

To avoid the problem the correct clearance needs to be achieved consistently across the FULL arc of the guide plate. 

Given the complexity and the limited space in the engine bay of this vehicle, it is extremely difficult to achieve the correct clearance through visual inspection (unless the engine is removed from the vehicle).  As such, Gates created an innovative and specifically designed gauge to help automotive technicians achieve the correct clearances required. This gauge is called ‘The Gates Timing Belt Spacer Tool’.

The Spacer Tool specifically designed to assist the automotive technician achieve correct and even clearance between the timing belt and guide plate in the affected Subaru applications. Further, the tool is accurate, safe and easy to remove upon completion of the job. 

The Gates Australia team is extremely proud of this patent, and congratulates Scott Johnson.

To learn more about the Subaru clearance issue and the spacer tool visit www.GatesAustralia.com.au/spacertool


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