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Discussion Starter #1
I've spent weeks and thousands trying to deal with my '97 2.5L Legacy Outback's transmission issues. Changed the fluid. Replaced cracked mounts. Replaced all the solonoids. Still suffering from torque bind, so today I installed a fuse to put it in FWD mode. Can't imagine putting buying a $750 used transmission for this (and wish I hadn't done the brakes and CV boot).

Question: Can I drive it in FWD indefinitely? Or at least until January, by which point I might have the cash for a new XV Crosstrek?
 

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The same question is asked here regularly.

Some people have responded that they've driven for extended periods in FWD with no apparent impact, while others believe it should not be used continuously -- it's only for short-term movement of the car when, for example, using a temporary spare. I don't recall anyone actually reporting damage due to extended use but, then again, problems with the AWD transfer system might not show up until it's needed, and it doesn't work.

I presume that when the FWD fuse is inserted, the torque bind symptoms disappear. That would suggest the actual transfer clutch plates are not mechanically binding, and the problem is more likely the AWD transfer solenoid/transfer valve. These are in the tail section of the transmission (also encloses the transfer clutch), not in the valve body on the bottom where the other solenoids are located. Was the transfer solenoid replaced?
 

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I appreciate your pointing out how no one says, "I put my car in FWD and it left me stranded on the highway." That's a good observation.

Yes, with the FWD fuse inserted, the torque bind symptoms do disappear. And -- after several calls back-and-forth with the mechanic -- it seems that we did not replace that AWD transfer solenoid. Seems that might be worth trying before abandoning hope or buying a rebuilt/used transmission.
 

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I see no mention of having 4 identical tires, being sure they are in spec for matching diameter.
 

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I appreciate your pointing out how no one says, "I put my car in FWD and it left me stranded on the highway." That's a good observation.

Yes, with the FWD fuse inserted, the torque bind symptoms do disappear. And -- after several calls back-and-forth with the mechanic -- it seems that we did not replace that AWD transfer solenoid. Seems that might be worth trying before abandoning hope or buying a rebuilt/used transmission.
http://www.subarupartsforyou.com/cp_partdetail.php?partid=15667

Quite a bit cheaper I would say :)

I'm replacing mine soon myself! Really not that hard of a job if you have the right tools. Oh, and I was reading in my FSM the other day and noticed that while the AWD is fully engaged all the time when the duty-c (transfer solenoid) engaged, it won't actually hurt the transmission unless you decide to turn tight circles in a parking lot for hours on end. It's just the transmission applying brakes the front and rear diffs at the same time. Honestly, it's more annoying than anything...
 

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The torque that does develop in the drive train when turning can cause the transfer clutch drum to break the welds holding it on the reduction gear. (It's happened -- there's at least one thread here with photos.) That will make driving, even straight, rather unpleasant, and the fuse will not be of any use.
 

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Too bad this is not an option for the MT Outback's i've been suffering torque bind for about a year now. i tell passengers its a "Good noise"
... reminds me my diff is still working:D:D:D

sad part is im considering parting ways with the outback for the first time...
 

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Question: Can I drive it in FWD indefinitely? Or at least until January, by which point I might have the cash for a new XV Crosstrek?
i feel your frustration having gone through this learning process myself.

if the duty c is working and the fuse ''cures'' the binding, then you can drive the car with the fuse in as long as it lasts. if new, the fuse may last years, if old it may only last weeks. there is no way to estimate.

once the duty c fails, you can remove the rear section of the drive shaft and then you will really be in front drive mode. and you will be able to drive it for ever, or at least for 40k, thats how long i drove my 95 lego AWD before i sold it as FWD.

BUT BUT BUT BUT for a few hundred dollars, and a weekenf of labor you can fix it.

your choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks everyone for the feedback. I've ordered the duty C, and we'll see how that goes. Fortunately most of my day-to-day driving is around town, so being in FWD is fine.

My mechanic seems to think that using the FWD fuse, however, also disengages the overdrive along with the AWD, so I should do much freeway drving. Has anyone else heard that?
 

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It will not disengage overdrive. On my '98, I disconnected the fuse holder from the wiring harness and plugged a switch in between the fuse holder and the harness plug. The switch is mounted in the console. with the switch forward, the car is FWD. With it back, it is normal operation. I used the switch when making tight turns (parking) or when my son was driving. For us, a fluid change cleared up the binding. You could do a switch also then you are in and out at will. I was going to take the switch out, but haven't yet (been over a year now).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That switch idea is brilliant. In the end, I had a conversation with my mechanic that went, "Yes I know you changed five solenoids... but did you change THIS one specifically." Turned out no.

Got a new Duty C solenoid on Friday, and now my problems seems solved: AWD back engaged, no torque bind, and no flashing AT Oil light.

My sincere thanks to all of you who contribute to this forum. You've saved another Outback this week.
 

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Dumba$$ question in which I'm assuming ill be clowned for... But I would like to know, the plug under the hood on the passenger side, should NOT have a fuse inserted into it, correct? I'm new to Subaru's and have always wondered what that was for...

I have been told

It's to make it AWD
It's to make it FWD
It's to "active 4x4 mode" - Ha ha
It's not really used for anything and that I should remove it.

Just wondering, and assuming I've read the posts in this thread correctly?
It's to put the car in Front Wheel Drive only?

Sorry, in advance if this is a question that I should already know the answer to.
 
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