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Old 02-22-2013, 06:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default AWD troubles

Hi All,
I'm a new owner of a 1996 legacy outback, auto transmission. I'm having some issue that some of you may be able to help me out with. First off, My AWD is not working, only have power to the fronts. Under acceleration, and at highway cruising speeds, everything seems to be ok (other than awd not working) In situations where I am coasting for distances-particularly downhill, with no accelerator at all, my rpms will drop to around 1k, after a moment, it will jump up to 2k or 2.5k, and jerk like I'm trying to catch it in gear for a moment, and then drop back to 1k. It will do this repeatedly until I re-engage the accelerator, then all is well again. It also seems like if I am in top gear (60mph or more) It will not do it untill my speed drops to under 60mph. It also doesn't seem to do it at speeds under 30mph or so.
Someone had told me that it MAY be the trans clutch. I am completely unfamiliar with it. If it is, is this a job that I can tackle, or should I just take it to someone? I am fairly adept with tools, and do most of my repairs myself within reason. I have changed engines, replaced timing chains, replaced clutches and pressure plates, ect, but I am unsure of what this part is...
Any help would be awesome.
Thanks, Ron
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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does the transmission light flash 16 times at start up?
any check engine lights?
is the FWD light on in the dash?
does the FWD light work (the bulb can be blown or more likely removed)?
have you ever checked the fluid?
has the fluid ever been replaced?

is the rear driveshaft installed?
Are the rear axles in place between the rear diff and rear hubs?

could be that you have really bad torque bind and the rear driveshaft is removed.

could be in FWD mode (there's a fuse box by the passengers side strut tower where you can install a fuse to force it into FWD mode). that normally shows a FWD light on the dash, but folks can remove the bulb....and there's another way besides using the fuse too (that's why you need to answer those questions above...there's a few possibilities here).

the clutches could be hosed, Duty C solenoid hosed, or the hub/drum could be sheared due to torque bind.

usually 4WD problems are related to the Duty C solenoid or transfer clutches...but you have sort of abnormal symptoms (in a way...)...that stuff is all in the rear extension housing of the transmission and is easily done without removing the transmission - so yes you can do it yourself once you figure out what the problem is. though it is annoying working under the car, on the ground...
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input. No lights on/flashing.. Driveshafts are there. I did not check the fluid (duh!) and was unaware of the fwd fuse, I will check both towmorrow. I did put it up on jack stands in the garage, and the rear drivers side freewheeled with no effort. The passenger side freewheeled as well, buit with a SMALL amount of resistance.
I hope to get deeper involved with it this weekend, I have to wait and see how the weather is, I have my other toy in the garage, and I wont put her out in the rain/snow. If its clear out, I hope to getinto a little subaru lovin' Lol
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Old 02-23-2013, 01:37 AM   #4 (permalink)
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okay - no other symptoms - car runs and drives perfect?

low fluid wouldn't give AWD symptoms only but still good to check while you're digging into trans issues.

given the info you gave, right now it seems like:

1. FWD fuse is in place...but normally you'd get a FWD light on dash - so that's either not working or missing if this is the case.

2. AWD components are hosed
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Bad weather will be keeping me from doing much for now, but if the fuse is not there, which AWD components do we think would be the most likely to be "hosed"?? I appreciate all your input gary. By the way, I took notice you posted in the audio section with a few issues....If you ever need any more help in that dept, give me a shout, I was an installer a few years back, and am now currently a SQ competitor with meca....
Does anyone else have any input, or ideas??
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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FWD fuse is not in place. I discovered today that it is jumping back and forth from AWD off to on. I noticed that while coasting downhill today, it was not repeating the previously described issue. I pulled off into an area covered with snow and ice, and stopped the car. A jackrabbit start proved to me that it was indeed, in AWD mode. A short time later, I noticed the symptoms had returned, and pulled over again. This time the front wheels spun hard, and nothing from the rear.
Does this help with your suspected diagnosis????
Ron
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
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You could have an issue with the rear differential, rear axle, or the center diff control. Either of these will cause intermittent AWD functions.

Without a lit AT Temp light, there may or may not be transmission codes stored. Does the AT Temp light come on with the key on engine off?

That would be a place to start, see if there are codes stored in the TCM. Somewhere on this forum is direction on how to pull the codes. Otherwise, you would need a scan tool that can communicate with the TCM. There may also be codes stored in the ECM.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info. I've decided that it is ouside of my diagnostic capabilities, and made appt. to take it to a local guy that strictly works on/sells subarus. Hopefully I get made whole on the cheap!!
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