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Old 02-12-2003, 04:25 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Default 96 Legacy Outback troubles

I am fairly new to Subaru ownership and would like to do my own work. While not claiming to be a professional mecahnic, I can follow instructions fairly well and am reasonably mechanically adept. I purchased a used Legacy Outback a year ago and it now has 125,000 plus miles on it and I have recently experienced an unnerving problem. I was attempting to park in a tight spot at a local mall, and as I turned the steering wheel sharply to the left, the car began to lug, like something was binding in the drive train. I immediately stopped the car, and when I let out the clutch, the car felt like the parking brake was on. Once I straightened out the steering wheel and backed up, it went away. There were no loud grinding sounds that alerted me to any one area, but I suspect that it may be the cv joints. Can someone help me pinpoint the problem? Thanks.
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Old 02-12-2003, 04:32 PM   #2
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It's usually not a major problem. You can actually sometimes alleviate the problem by doing tight figure-8's in an open parking lot.
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Old 02-12-2003, 05:24 PM   #3
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2001 Impreza 2.5RS


I'm not sure that the info in the other thread applies to a manual transmission. IIRC the Tech Service Bulletin applied to the 4EAT trannies. I suppose the same general principles apply, but I don't remember anybody with a 5 speed having the problem. Let us know what you find. I'm curious.

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Old 02-12-2003, 06:39 PM   #4
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Have you changed your fluids, recently? It sounds like you have a differential that's not working the way that it should be. I'd change all of your differentials, and your transmission fluid.
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Old 02-12-2003, 08:06 PM   #5
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Four Count 'em


Dont' think it's your CV joints. They would be clacking while turning under load and you'd definitely hear that.

Agree with Gavin,

1) Unless recent (w/in last 5K miles) change out your fluids, front, rear, middle (diff/diff/tranny).
2) Check to make sure of your rotational difference (tire size/front to rear does not exceed 1/4 inch). Your AWD system will sense the "slip" difference and try to compensate for it by shifting torque front to rear to compensate for the difference in tire size.
3) Check your alignment front and rear.
4) and last - can't emphasize this enough - make sure your air pressures front and rear are set to spec. Not sure about your MY96 but it's either in the owner's manual or in the driver's door pillar should have the proper tire pressure settings (F/R). This one change can make a ton off difference in how the AWD system operates.

Let us know what you find out, and what you did to resolve your
drive binding

Br, Dale
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Old 02-12-2003, 08:11 PM   #6
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Four Count 'em

Default Some Subaru.com information

Regarding the rotational difference front/rear impact on the Subaru AWD, here's what Subaru says about it...

"On All-Wheel Drive (AWD) vehicles, it is extremely important that the rolling or outer circumferences of the tires be within 1/4 inch of each other. This means that you must physically measure the size of the tire. This is best done with the weight of the vehicle off the tire and at the tread centerline. Also be certain that the tires are properly inflated since this can affect your readings.

If you need to replace just one tire, the same holds true. The measured difference in circumference between the replacement tire and the other tires on the vehicle cannot exceed 1/4 inch.

Depending on the vehicle mileage, it might be better to replace all four tires.

If the vehicle mileage is low and the tires have been rotated and driven at the proper inflation pressures, then you may be within the allowable 1/4-inch difference in circumference.

If the difference between the new/replacement tire and the current tires is within this 1/4-nch maximum, then the tire should be compatible. If it is not, then other tires will need to be replaced to conform to the 1/4-inch rule.

Exceeding this 1/4-inch difference in tire circumference can place unnecessary wear on drivetrain components, possibly causing them to wear out prematurely.

If your vehicle is AWD (All-Wheel Drive) with an automatic transmission and the temporary spare tire has been installed, put a spare fuse (15 amp) inside the FWD (Front-Wheel Drive) fuse holder (refer to your owner's manual for location). Confirm that the Front-Wheel Drive (FWD) warning light comes on before you drive the car. Installation of this fuse deactivates AWD to prevent possible damage to the drivetrain components that can result due to the use of the smaller temporary spare tire. After re-installing the conventional tire, remove the fuse from the FWD fuse holder to restore AWD operation.

For more information on tires and temporary spare tire usage, always consult your Subaru owner's manual."

Br, Dale
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