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Old 02-08-2013, 09:53 AM   #1
isotopesope
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Default tires are binding when turning close to full lock

i drive a 08 wrx wagon, 53,xxx miles, manual transmission, z rated 225/45-17 continental extreme contact tires, stock suspension, rear adjustable whiteline 22mm sway bar, set to full soft, and rallitek endlinks front and rear.

about two months ago, my car started developing this tire binding/lurching effect when i was in or close to full lock, such as pulling in or out of a parking spot, and especially when doing a u turn on my street. it feels like when i have been in 4x4 and doing a tight turn on pavement in the toyota trucks i have owned. my street, where i park, has a pretty decent crown, and my house is in the middle of the block, with an upward incline to either direction. this happens in flat areas too, but seems more pronounced on even subtle inclines. my front tires are starting to show pretty rough wear on the outside edges.

so i took it into the dealership two weeks ago; they aligned it, rotated the tires, replaced the worn power steering pump belt, and replaced the power steering fluid. it helped a lot, but is still happening somewhat, and is starting to get pretty noticeable again.

could this be a drivetrain issue? failing wheel bearing? viscous coupler? a strut issue? no more mister nice guy? a crappy alignment? (hands free steering is pulling slightly) i plan to take back in, but was hoping for more ammo to give them...

any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:58 PM   #2
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bump.

i noticed it seems worse on cold mornings... anyone have any ideas or suggestions?
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:50 PM   #3
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bump.
anyone have any suggestions? hope to be making an appt with the dealership that looked at prior...
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Old 02-28-2013, 03:02 PM   #4
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Certainly sounds like a diff issue. How could the dealer not recognize that from your description?
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoapBox View Post
Certainly sounds like a diff issue. How could the dealer not recognize that from your description?
yeah, no kidding. the service rep i dealt with last time liked to talk more than listen. i have an appt for tomorrow, so i hope to get it nailed down. thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 03-01-2013, 05:27 PM   #6
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Mine is having the same problem. It started doing it about 2 days ago and I've had a few people check it out and they cant figure it out. It's way worse in the mornings when it's colder.

I'm taking it in to the dealership today, if they say anything different or fix it i'll let you know.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:17 PM   #7
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yeah, i think mine is worse in the cold mornings too. i took mine in again today, and they still can't get it to reproduce the problem. i even went back down there to drive it myself to try to demonstrate it, and of course it was acting fine. it does it all the time though!

let me know if they figure anything out for you. i'm headed down there to pick it up after they give it time to sit and try again. i'm at a loss for a cause or solution. maybe the viscous coupler?
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:18 AM   #8
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my power steering fluid reservoir was almost gone, i filled it up and its been fine, it will still do it if i straighten the wheel out when i park sometimes though. Im just watching for leaks and what not and if it keeps kinda doing it im going to take it back.
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supbrahwannahang View Post
my power steering fluid reservoir was almost gone, i filled it up and its been fine, it will still do it if i straighten the wheel out when i park sometimes though. Im just watching for leaks and what not and if it keeps kinda doing it im going to take it back.
hmm, interesting. when they changed my fluid, they said it was just super dirty, not low. they also said my belt was worn out. those changes helped, but it did come back.

i took it in on friday, and it OF COURSE would not do it while it was at the shop. they tried a few times, and i even went down there to drive it for the tech. no dice. i can't figure out why it is intermittent. maybe the cold weather brings it out...?
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:35 PM   #10
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Leave it at the dealer overnight and have them test drive it in the morning while it still cold maybe, since you said it seems more common when cold.

It certainly sounds like center diff issues from your explanation.

-Anthony
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:45 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Vaughn Performance View Post
Leave it at the dealer overnight and have them test drive it in the morning while it still cold maybe, since you said it seems more common when cold.

It certainly sounds like center diff issues from your explanation.

-Anthony
that's a good suggestion. i think i will try that next. it drove fine this morning and it sat all day saturday and sunday. it's been super nice for the past few days too. high 40s to low 50s in the day, and maybe high 20s at night? it was about 35 this morning, at 6:30am.

it's snowing now, and is supposed to get down to 12 tonight, so it really will be a good test tomorrow morning.
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Old 03-05-2013, 06:20 PM   #12
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Subscribed.

Please let me know what you find out as I'm having a similar issue.
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Old 03-23-2013, 07:55 AM   #13
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I would say it's the viscous coupler. I have an '03 and it was doing the exact same thing. I went to the dealership in Greenville, S.C. and they confirmed that it was in fact a bad viscous coupler. It was a 1200ish dollar repair. STI cars don't have this part but WRX's do. It's basically a center diff. I'm not a diff expert but I have some 4x4 experience and I had the same thoughts when I noticed it...when I had the steering wheel turned all the way one way or another it would kinda bump, like pulling in a tight parking space. Apparently it can get really bad after a while but mine never did. I kept the part if you wanna see it. Hope that helps a little.
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Old 03-23-2013, 09:40 AM   #14
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I'm only noticing it happens after a cold start. I brought it to the dealership and they couldn't reproduce it, even when I drove with the tech in the passenger seat. I have a 2012 impreza 2.0 CVT.
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:59 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SammyJankis View Post
I would say it's the viscous coupler. I have an '03 and it was doing the exact same thing. I went to the dealership in Greenville, S.C. and they confirmed that it was in fact a bad viscous coupler. It was a 1200ish dollar repair. STI cars don't have this part but WRX's do. It's basically a center diff. I'm not a diff expert but I have some 4x4 experience and I had the same thoughts when I noticed it...when I had the steering wheel turned all the way one way or another it would kinda bump, like pulling in a tight parking space. Apparently it can get really bad after a while but mine never did. I kept the part if you wanna see it. Hope that helps a little.
hmm, thanks. that's what i've been suspecting. since i can't reproduce it and i am trying to get it fixed using my extended warranty, they don't want to starting changing stuff without seeing the issue first hand. it definitely feels just like doing a tight turn in a 4x4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by abxex View Post
I'm only noticing it happens after a cold start. I brought it to the dealership and they couldn't reproduce it, even when I drove with the tech in the passenger seat. I have a 2012 impreza 2.0 CVT.
i've suspected the temperature, but haven't seen a direct correlation. also after sitting a few days it did it a bit, but then the next time it sat a few days it didn't do it at all. overall it's been better, but it has been getting warmer...

that's a bummer you're experiencing that on such a new car! my girlfriend has a 2012 impreza sport with the cvt and it works great. my previous 02 obs had 190k and it never had this happen... though i did fry the rear diff driving it 70 miles home on the stupid donut, with the correct pressure and not going over 55. i wish my full size spare fit better in my 08. grumble grumble grumble.
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Old 02-08-2019, 02:03 AM   #16
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Firstly, REEEEALLY sorry to raise such long-resting dead... but I'm a bit desperate.

I'm having basically the exact same symptoms, on the exact same car, at nearly the exact same mileage! (My commute is short. 58k right now.) I first noticed the behavior in winter, 2-3 years ago, not long after my extended warranty ran out. It's been slowly getting worse.

An independent Subie specialist with ~25 years experience identified it as the center diff immediately. That has now been replaced. And the problem is unchanged, which floored the guy. He went seriously above-&-beyond trying to troubleshoot it at his small shop, getting second opinions, swapping in front axles, and even soaking 2 hours of labor at the local Subaru stealership where they did NOT diagnose jack. They said some nonsense about needing to break in the new diff - me and the indie guy don't buy that one for a second. (He didn't charge me anything except for the original C-diff swap job!)

Isotope - did you ever find a solution?? It's driving me nuts!

Subaru is harping on my worn tires. I know they're low and need to be replaced, but I'm trying to put a few more miles on and then see about a treadwear warranty.... I don't think their grip, or possible lack, is related.. but I could be wrong. Seems weird, tho.

But I found something online tonight where owners of Porsches - a RWD model! - were having exactly the same descriptive problem, and they were told it's super common for high-performance cars, because the Ackermann geometry is calibrated for high-speed, high-G turns, and not parking lots, and they bind in front. And then the tire skips and shudders. (o.O)

But my car did NOT do this for at least the first 5 years and 30k miles. So... now I'm leaning towards getting the alignment checked right away. (It's probably due.) But I'm still confused about the mechanism behind the symptom, and why it's only when cold.

Sorry again about the super-necro, but... anything you can add to this mystery? Thanks!!
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Old 02-08-2019, 03:40 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinwolf View Post
Firstly, REEEEALLY sorry to raise such long-resting dead... but I'm a bit desperate.

I'm having basically the exact same symptoms, on the exact same car, at nearly the exact same mileage! (My commute is short. 58k right now.) I first noticed the behavior in winter, 2-3 years ago, not long after my extended warranty ran out. It's been slowly getting worse.

An independent Subie specialist with ~25 years experience identified it as the center diff immediately. That has now been replaced. And the problem is unchanged, which floored the guy. He went seriously above-&-beyond trying to troubleshoot it at his small shop, getting second opinions, swapping in front axles, and even soaking 2 hours of labor at the local Subaru stealership where they did NOT diagnose jack. They said some nonsense about needing to break in the new diff - me and the indie guy don't buy that one for a second. (He didn't charge me anything except for the original C-diff swap job!)

Isotope - did you ever find a solution?? It's driving me nuts!

Subaru is harping on my worn tires. I know they're low and need to be replaced, but I'm trying to put a few more miles on and then see about a treadwear warranty.... I don't think their grip, or possible lack, is related.. but I could be wrong. Seems weird, tho.

But I found something online tonight where owners of Porsches - a RWD model! - were having exactly the same descriptive problem, and they were told it's super common for high-performance cars, because the Ackermann geometry is calibrated for high-speed, high-G turns, and not parking lots, and they bind in front. And then the tire skips and shudders. (o.O)

But my car did NOT do this for at least the first 5 years and 30k miles. So... now I'm leaning towards getting the alignment checked right away. (It's probably due.) But I'm still confused about the mechanism behind the symptom, and why it's only when cold.

Sorry again about the super-necro, but... anything you can add to this mystery? Thanks!!
It's more likely anti-ackerman geometry in the case of the Porsche. That may be what's going on with the subaru, (or it may be parallel steering). It could also be scrub radius magnifying the effect, due to fitting lower offset wheels than stock (wider track = greater difference in turning circles between the inside and outside tires).


This video explains it in great detail
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:37 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinwolf View Post
Isotope - did you ever find a solution?? It's driving me nuts!
i think it was mainly those Conti Extreme Contact all seasons. Conti ended up making two revised versions of them, due to complaints of the soft sidewalls.

while not an extreme fitment and within the correct fitment range, i do think the 225 tire width on the 7" wide stock wheel didn't help matters. i ended up putting some 205/50-17 Conti winter tires on the stock wheels and went to 225/45-17 Michelin PSS's on some 17x7.5 konig's. neither wheel/tire combo had the binding/lurching feeling I noticed with the old Extreme Contacts.
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:31 PM   #19
jamal
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Subarus have standard ackerman steering, and it seems very unlikely to me that any production car, including a 911, would have parallel or reverse ackerman.


Anyhow, if the center diff isn't the issue, maybe a CV joint is not happy about higher steering angles?

Last edited by jamal; 02-11-2019 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 02-27-2019, 10:33 PM   #20
Alpinwolf
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Talking Eureka!!

SOLVED the issue!

And it was tires. Same as Isotopesope, but I had been on Michelins. (More in a sec.)

But NOT because they were worn!

The Ackermann Effect is definitely at play. From the research I did on steering geometry, there's no way with a simple linkage to achieve perfect Ackermann steering bias throughout the full sweep of the steering. Even if it's as close to neutral as Subaru can get (which is desirable from a loose-surface performance standpoint), it won't hold true at the extremes.

I felt it only while going in a very tight turn, usually moreso while backing up, definitely only while the vehicle was cold, and had good grip. In good traction, it was a dramatic thunk once or twice per quarter-circle traveled. In slippery conditions, it was a multitude of small thunks, and I definitely felt it through both the steering wheel and the butt-dyno.

A friend tried to film it for me from the side, because I was still stuck on the idea that it was driveline binding, since it felt so similar to driving a 4x4 truck on pavement. But looking at the face of the wheels, he could not pick up any rotational lurch, tho I had felt something distinctly.

Frustrated, after work, with an empty lot, I pushed my car around in tight circles, having only turned on the engine for the power steering. It was a lot harder to push than when going straight. And while leaning over my door looking at the front tire, I saw it lurch, laterally.

That got me thinking about alignment issues, and also how Ackermann geometry worked, and I just figured that something was misaligned. That still didn't explain the cold weather thing, tho.

But it did expand my Google-Fu, and I finally tripped over the thing I mentioned above about Porsches, and then a bit later, also about Corvettes. AND, about Merc AMG's. And someone referenced a TSB (source lost) from Mercedes saying that if people with the default summer tires complained about this behavior, to provide All-seasons at no charge.

And I found this TSB from GM about the Corvettes:
https://gm.oemdtc.com/4616/14-03-10-...rolet-corvette

...Which says among other things: "The condition is made worse in cooler temperatures. ... and has been confused with rear differential chatter," and "the condition is considered normal," and "The recommended Michelin Winter tires will reduce the noise but are not designed for warm weather handling."

This brought me back to my (then) current rubber: a set of Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 (not the 3+ that's available now).

I got to looking into my tire's treadwear warranty, and lifespan warranty (which is only 6 years), and what Michelin recommends about safety (inspect tires closely after 5 years; replace categorically after 10,) tire storage (don't leave tires on a flat-spot for a long time, as they'll break down faster than a tire on a car, due to polymer migration through the tire carcass via road use,) and realized that my tires - which had been FINE in the winter for at least 3 years - were now 5.8 years old.

They still gripped wonderfully in the dry, and rode fine in summer, but were about at the end of Michelin's age warranty, and had gone through plenty of thermal cycles, if not so many miles.

This was all starting to make sense.... and for reasons unrelated to the technical problem, I decided not to bother with any remaining warranty, and I bought winter Snow & Ice tires for my WRX.

And I got that Magic Carpet Ride feeling back immediately.

And the problem of the binding in tight turns was 100% gone.

Apparently my oldish All-Seasons had grown stiff with age, and would warm up after a couple miles and become flexible enough to absorb the deflection of the imperfect Ackermann at extreme wheel angles, but not when cold. These winter tires stay compliant in lower temps, and have enough flex for the tight turns.

That is the ONLY thing I changed, and the problem disappeared.

BTW, what I got was Cooper Discoverer True North, and they're fantastic up at Crater Lake N.P. If you can't see the full ratings, they're tops for winter tires on CR right now, and I can't disagree.

But I'm still not impressed with a dealership who can't explain, or maybe doesn't understand, the dynamics of the issue. The indie mech accepted the news as a neat learning experience, and he hadn't bought the big shop's lame explanation either.

So I guess the lesson is this:
-Have a good mechanic take a look, but consider if there might be a reason your tires may be significantly stiffening up in cold weather.

Anyway, I'm stoked that I understand the behavior now. I hope this helps someone else out there!
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Old 02-28-2019, 01:20 PM   #21
isotopesope
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nice! glad you figured it out!
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Old 08-18-2019, 11:04 PM   #22
jzesahn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinwolf View Post
SOLVED the issue!

And it was tires. Same as Isotopesope, but I had been on Michelins. (More in a sec.)

But NOT because they were worn!

The Ackermann Effect is definitely at play. From the research I did on steering geometry, there's no way with a simple linkage to achieve perfect Ackermann steering bias throughout the full sweep of the steering. Even if it's as close to neutral as Subaru can get (which is desirable from a loose-surface performance standpoint), it won't hold true at the extremes.

I felt it only while going in a very tight turn, usually moreso while backing up, definitely only while the vehicle was cold, and had good grip. In good traction, it was a dramatic thunk once or twice per quarter-circle traveled. In slippery conditions, it was a multitude of small thunks, and I definitely felt it through both the steering wheel and the butt-dyno.

A friend tried to film it for me from the side, because I was still stuck on the idea that it was driveline binding, since it felt so similar to driving a 4x4 truck on pavement. But looking at the face of the wheels, he could not pick up any rotational lurch, tho I had felt something distinctly.

Frustrated, after work, with an empty lot, I pushed my car around in tight circles, having only turned on the engine for the power steering. It was a lot harder to push than when going straight. And while leaning over my door looking at the front tire, I saw it lurch, laterally.

That got me thinking about alignment issues, and also how Ackermann geometry worked, and I just figured that something was misaligned. That still didn't explain the cold weather thing, tho.

But it did expand my Google-Fu, and I finally tripped over the thing I mentioned above about Porsches, and then a bit later, also about Corvettes. AND, about Merc AMG's. And someone referenced a TSB (source lost) from Mercedes saying that if people with the default summer tires complained about this behavior, to provide All-seasons at no charge.

And I found this TSB from GM about the Corvettes:
https://gm.oemdtc.com/4616/14-03-10-...rolet-corvette

...Which says among other things: "The condition is made worse in cooler temperatures. ... and has been confused with rear differential chatter," and "the condition is considered normal," and "The recommended Michelin Winter tires will reduce the noise but are not designed for warm weather handling."

This brought me back to my (then) current rubber: a set of Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 (not the 3+ that's available now).

I got to looking into my tire's treadwear warranty, and lifespan warranty (which is only 6 years), and what Michelin recommends about safety (inspect tires closely after 5 years; replace categorically after 10,) tire storage (don't leave tires on a flat-spot for a long time, as they'll break down faster than a tire on a car, due to polymer migration through the tire carcass via road use,) and realized that my tires - which had been FINE in the winter for at least 3 years - were now 5.8 years old.

They still gripped wonderfully in the dry, and rode fine in summer, but were about at the end of Michelin's age warranty, and had gone through plenty of thermal cycles, if not so many miles.

This was all starting to make sense.... and for reasons unrelated to the technical problem, I decided not to bother with any remaining warranty, and I bought winter Snow & Ice tires for my WRX.

And I got that Magic Carpet Ride feeling back immediately.

And the problem of the binding in tight turns was 100% gone.

Apparently my oldish All-Seasons had grown stiff with age, and would warm up after a couple miles and become flexible enough to absorb the deflection of the imperfect Ackermann at extreme wheel angles, but not when cold. These winter tires stay compliant in lower temps, and have enough flex for the tight turns.

That is the ONLY thing I changed, and the problem disappeared.

BTW, what I got was Cooper Discoverer True North, and they're fantastic up at Crater Lake N.P. If you can't see the full ratings, they're tops for winter tires on CR right now, and I can't disagree.

But I'm still not impressed with a dealership who can't explain, or maybe doesn't understand, the dynamics of the issue. The indie mech accepted the news as a neat learning experience, and he hadn't bought the big shop's lame explanation either.

So I guess the lesson is this:
-Have a good mechanic take a look, but consider if there might be a reason your tires may be significantly stiffening up in cold weather.

Anyway, I'm stoked that I understand the behavior now. I hope this helps someone else out there!
Nice! Thank you so much. I too have been experiencing this in my 2009 Impreza with Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 rubber! It just started happening in the last few months and comes and goes. I also have a 4x4 and was comparing the symptoms to driving on dry pavement in 4WD. I spent most of yesterday searching online and going through my repair manual for possible clues. I even put a fuse in the FWD slot thinking it might be the "transfer clutch solenoid" that I've been finding that causes similar symptoms, but still had the issue after that.

Last edited by jzesahn; 07-24-2020 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 07-24-2020, 10:57 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by jzesahn View Post
Nice! Thank you so much. I too have been experiencing this in my 2009 Impreza with Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 rubber! It just started happening in the last few months and comes and goes. I also have a 4x4 and was comparing the symptoms to driving on dry pavement in 4WD. I spent most of yesterday searching online and going through my repair manual for possible clues. I even put a fuse in the FWD slot thinking it might be the "transfer clutch solenoid" that I've been finding that causes similar symptoms, but still had the issue after that.
Maybe it was a combination of new tires and changing the front and rear differential fluids, but problem solved for me, too!
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