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Old 11-15-2012, 11:35 AM   #1
FuJi K
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So some of you may have experienced the center differential falling apart due to the center diff cir-clip failing. I've seen this in a handful of Subarus locally from Outbacks, 2.5RSs, to WRXs.

This applies to any phase 2 5spd. When the cir-clip fails, it allows the differential to start falling apart. The back end will back out of the differential and the transfer gear will even start rubbing on it. The bearings at the end will even start failing as well.

I've had this happen on my sisters' '00 Outback transmission. We replaced it with a '02 2.5RS transmission to lower the rpms with its longer 5th gear, and this transmission seems to have the same symptoms now and the car can't even move.

The phase 1 transmission has a thick c-clip that holds the center differential together. I don't think I'm going to see it ever coming off. Come to think of it i have never seen this happen aside from them losing their limited slip capabilities or seizing up becoming 50:50 lock.

What I'm suggesting is Subaru just making a replacement c-clip to replace the cir-clip on their phase 2 5spd center differentials. The center differential isn't serviceable, only replaceable. The unit cost over $600 and if you include labor depending if the shop is going to drop the transmission or just lower the back end of the transmission, your looking at over $1000 altogether.

Where/who do I complain to and who will complain with me?
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:56 PM   #2
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How would you recommend redesigning the circlip? The groove in the casing is is only so big, you couldn't make the clip thicker.

& how would you recommend that Subaru implement such an undertaking? Most dealerships charge close to 1k just to just replace the diff bearings, so should they eat the expense to replace this part?

Bottom line is it ain't gonna happen. I've had 1 fail @ 115k and another last 220k. If the majority outlast the warranty then a recall is unlikely.

There is some debate about whether the circlip fails first or if it fails because the internals or xfer bearings are failing. A little wobble creates a lot of friction... There is also some belief that these are more prone to failure if the bearings have been swapped out & the spacers weren't resized properly.

Can anyone prove their center diff failed without abuse or other extenuating circumstances?
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Old 11-19-2012, 01:41 PM   #3
FuJi K
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Having a thicker clip is going to be better than the current one.
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:27 PM   #4
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My center diff in my 02 WRX did this to me. The cir-clip came off and destroyed my transfer gears. Had to replace both the center diff and transfer unit. The car ran fine but sounded horrible.

The damage:



Last edited by Ryan314; 11-19-2012 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:29 PM   #5
FuJi K
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Thank you Subaru, i wished you did this from the start.

2010 LGT 6spd cable tranny center diff

Last edited by FuJi K; 07-08-2013 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 07-08-2013, 08:07 AM   #6
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Interesting, was that the original diff in that trans or was it a replacement? That could suggest new-ish phase2 center diffs will have the c-clip rather than the cir-clip. That c-clip looks like it is the same groove thickness as the cir-clips used prior.
I have not bought one of these in a long while. Has anyone bought one thorugh service parts lately....what design clip was installed? I would imagine that a change like this would be released as "use up current parts first".
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:39 AM   #7
FuJi K
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That is the original differential. We'll know a few days if this works. Locating an older phase 2 diff.
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Old 07-29-2013, 12:10 AM   #8
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Hey guys same happened to me on my Forester last week! Tried reversing car wouldn'T move game more gas (felt like I was driving over a bump) and then something made a noise and car started to rattle underneath in the transmission's tail when decelerating mostly.

Opened up the rear cover (PITA shifter linkage for those who've done it) and found the CIRCLIP hanging loose in the gears, everything looking 'OK' with 1 broken gear tooth and a couple others damaged a little, nothing to bad in my opinion if I could just reassemble and get the circlip back in I think I can drive this beater for another while what do you all think?

Can I get a replacement circlip, fit it and clean up, regasket and have some UPTIME while I find a transmission for it?

I've notice steering wheel binding, would this indicate a bad center diff which would relate to the circlip popping off if it seized? (Wild guess)

THanks boys
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Old 07-29-2013, 01:24 AM   #9
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Steering binding is probably the U joints in the coupler between the steering column and the rack. Spray some penetrating oil on the upper and lower joint in the engine bay and see if it loosens up. The AWD is likely not binding because when the clip pops out of the diff the viscous coupler usually stops functioning. How chipped is the tooth? If one tooth is completely broken it will quickly shred all the other ones.
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Old 07-29-2013, 03:04 AM   #10
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How do you find out if you have a phase 2 tranny in your car?
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:28 AM   #11
FuJi K
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Phase 2 trannys are '99+. Subaru doesn't sell the clip for phase 2 center diffs, including the 6spd cable tranny. You have to replace the whole center diff.
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Old 07-29-2013, 02:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FuJi K View Post
Phase 2 trannys are '99+. Subaru doesn't sell the clip for phase 2 center diffs, including the 6spd cable tranny. You have to replace the whole center diff.
I misread. No clip to replace sux!

Last edited by some dude; 08-01-2013 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 07-29-2013, 02:38 PM   #13
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Binding when the trans and diffs are hot and in slow turns is the center diff unit, it needs to be replace. I had to do this, you can find one from someone who has a busted 5spd. Thats what I did. Removal is super easy.

OEM 5spd center diff is $5xx.xx
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Old 07-30-2013, 01:16 AM   #14
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Hey guy I hope some one can help me out My WRX is making a weird noise it feels like something is rubbing and its coming out of a transmission or differential .
Every time I push the clutch it goes away
Hear is the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxJWDT_9-uE
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Old 07-31-2013, 05:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FuJi K View Post
Thank you Subaru, i wished you did this from the start.

2010 LGT 6spd cable tranny center diff
Is there a place to get that c-clip. I have an 04 WRX that the clip popped out but it didn't damage anything luckily. I am now in need of a clip but would like to get one like that. the other ring looks like it came out of a crackerjack box. Only other option i seen was welding the clip to the outer cup. Any suggestions..?
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:36 AM   #16
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How accessible is the clip? I.E. how much do you have to remove before you can see it etc.
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Old 08-03-2013, 04:15 PM   #17
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This is kind of a scary thread. Subscribed.
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:05 PM   #18
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This happened to me too, car made a loud bang and jerk on the highway then started binding after I pulled over
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Old 09-17-2013, 12:08 AM   #19
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Well first of all hello to everyone this is my first post every after lurking in the nasioc shadows for years. maybe my searching skills are sub par. my center diff is now failing me... i wouldnt say it should be recalled. Ill take all the blame for mine failing... so I seem not to be able to find a part number for a tail housing gasket. Is there one available or is just some RTV suitable?
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:21 PM   #20
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Thought it was worth posting a photo. I have not had to replace a failed center diff in awhile but recently one reared it's demise. Just received a new 38913AA102 5MT center diff and it arrived with a "happy" c-clip rather than the "sad" cir-clip.

Last edited by JarHarms; 03-14-2014 at 09:40 PM.
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Old 10-25-2013, 06:55 PM   #21
FuJi K
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JarHarms View Post
Thought it was worth posting a photo. I have not had to replace a failed center diff in awhile but recently one reared it's demise. Just received a new 38913AA102 5MT center diff and it arrived with a "happy" c-clip rather than the "sad" cir-clip.
I like that! The clip isn't the old version. I see it looks just like the one from that i saw from the '10 Legacy GT 6spd we had here in the shop. What model/year is that diff going into?
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Old 10-25-2013, 09:28 PM   #22
JarHarms
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2002 Forester 5MT, just a daily driver. The cir-clip claimed the driven and drive transfer gears so the repair was unfortunately a bit "costly". Pretty confident that this new c-clip will not experience the same failure mode. Although nothing is failure proof right. I heard that diffs were supposed to come out with this new c-clip and figured Subaru would release as "run through old stock first". So unless you are getting a center diff that is used or has been sitting on a dealer shelf awhile....it should look like this. I figured that some would like a photo confirmation that these are available now.
Before installing, I'm going to measure the grooves on both diffs to see if they are the same width(s).

Fuji, how has that welded cir-clip diff you posted awhile back been holding up? I was planning to TIG this if it came with the cir-clip but now I'm going to run as-is to see what happens.

Last edited by JarHarms; 10-25-2013 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 10-26-2013, 07:02 AM   #23
FuJi K
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So far that tranny with the welded clip has been doing fine. It has PPG straight cuts in it. The car sees a good amount of power running a MAP EF3 turbo. Easy 400whp car.
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Old 11-18-2013, 09:07 AM   #24
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Thanks for the update, glad to hear it's still running well.
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Old 11-28-2013, 02:38 PM   #25
Ryan314
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Just pulled the trans out of my 02 WRX. Center diff was shot and completely destroyed. It sent chucks of bearing metal into my gearbox. I'm pretty certain this was due to this issue.

I found a replacement trans from an 05 Saabaru with low miles. Does anyone know if this center diff has the same poor design? If so should I have my shop look into welding this cir clip?
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