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2000 (2nd Gen) Outback wagon 2.5 manual Dual Range
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

My car is a 2000 Model Subaru outback (3rd Gen) - Manual (140,000km's~90,000 Miles)

I have a clunking noise when doing slow turns in either direction. It's pretty severe and noticable through the steering column. It doesn't even have to be full lock of the steering wheel before I hear/feel the clunking.
The problem occurs when the vehcile is warm or has been driven for about 20 mins.

I originally thought that is was the CV driveshafts but had a look underneath and the boots are all dry and nothing split or broken.
I took it to a Subaru Specialists close to where I live in Melbourne and after driving it he said it was the center differential. He provided a rough estimate of the cost of parts.

Center Diff $1400 (Aus)
Transfer Drive Gear $300 (Aus)
Transfer Driven Gear $700 (Aus)
3x Bearing Transfer $300 (Aus)

I confirmed the prices he quoted me with Subaru and they were spot on or very close so he seems to very honest.
He advised that it would be the center differ for sure so it's at least $1400 plus labour. The rest of the parts might need to be replaced aswell.

Has any one used this guy before? Got It Rex - Home
I would also like some opions about the fault diagnosis before I committ so does anyone else have any ideas?

Thanks in advanced!
 

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2000 (2nd Gen) Outback wagon 2.5 manual Dual Range
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79 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
OK I've done some more reading and it appears that Torque Binding is a problem with the Automatic transmission. So I'll forget that.

I managed to get a quote back from a U.S. supplier and boy it's 1/3 cheaper than what we pay here in OZ. At these prices I'd happily buy all the parts plus frieght.

Center Diff - 38913AA102 - $463.84
Transfer drive gear - 33113AA130 - $91.08
Transfer driven gear - 33128AA070 - $73.42

Bearings:806222060 - $12.76
806230150 - $18.50
806230130 - $15.55
806255010 - $30.68
$140 frieght

Can any of you guys in the U.S. vouch for http://www.subarupartsdepot.com/
Maybe offer alternatives?

I also found this artice which shows how to do it.
http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f89/center-diffs-how-replace-them-46979/
It seems like something I would attempt myself but my service manual makes reference to making measurements and selecting the correct adjustment washers (see transfer case and extension tear down diagram parts 27 and 30).

Most home mechanics (including the author of that article) and on other subaru forums who say they've done this don't mention anything about selecting the correct depth washers. Can anyone comment on this or offer their experience?

Bare in mind this is an 11year old car!

Many Thanks
 

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Registered
2000 (2nd Gen) Outback wagon 2.5 manual Dual Range
Joined
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79 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OK I've done some more reading and it appears that Torque Binding is a problem with the Automatic transmission. So I'll forget that.

I managed to get a quote back from a U.S. supplier and boy it's 1/3 cheaper than what we pay here in OZ. At these prices I'd happily buy all the parts plus frieght.

Center Diff - 38913AA102 - $463.84
Transfer drive gear - 33113AA130 - $91.08
Transfer driven gear - 33128AA070 - $73.42

Bearings:806222060 - $12.76
806230150 - $18.50
806230130 - $15.55
806255010 - $30.68
$140 frieght

Can any of you guys in the U.S. vouch for http://www.subarupartsdepot.com/
Maybe offer alternatives?

I also found this artice which shows how to do it.
http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f89/center-diffs-how-replace-them-46979/
It seems like something I would attempt myself but my service manual makes reference to making measurements and selecting the correct adjustment washers (see transfer case and extension tear down diagram parts 27 and 30).

Most home mechanics (including the author of that article) and on other subaru forums who say they've done this don't mention anything about selecting the correct depth washers. Can anyone comment on this or offer their experience?

Bare in mind this is an 11year old car!

Many Thanks
WOW can't anyone vouch for these people?
Or Does anyone have any alternates at all?
 

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2002 Outback Wagon 2.5L Auto Weather Package
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1,969 Posts
I think everyone is staying clear because you've basically settled on the first diagnosis you were offered, which is very expensive, and you'd be irate if it turned out it WAS the classic CV joint failure it certainly sounds like. Dry boots doesn't mean a CV joint hasn't failed - joints with broken boots tend to fail more easily because of lost lubrication and introduced contaminants. The joint can fail with a perfectly good boot on it, especially on an 11 year old car.

Differentials are not that easy to install or set up, another reason nobody is likely to want to validate your decision for you - and then get blamed when you can't do it.
 

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05 black llbean wagon
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my mother had a 2000 legacy gt wagon that had the same problem. i ended up taking it to a subaru dealer and the said they would not replace just the center diff. they ended up changing the entire transmission, was pretty expensive. sounds like more that cv problem to me. especially since it doesn't make noise until after warming up. the subaru dealer told me that the center diff went bad because someone was beating on the car (spinning tires then hit dry pavement). i think that it could actually be more of a driving with a low front tire for an extend time.
 

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2005 OBW 2.5L, 1989 Subaru Justy, RIP Blu
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7,355 Posts
Hi guys,

My car is a 2000 Model Subaru outback (3rd Gen) - Manual (140,000km's~90,000 Miles)

I have a clunking noise when doing slow turns in either direction. It's pretty severe and noticable through the steering column. It doesn't even have to be full lock of the steering wheel before I hear/feel the clunking.
The problem occurs when the vehcile is warm or has been driven for about 20 mins.

I originally thought that is was the CV driveshafts but had a look underneath and the boots are all dry and nothing split or broken.
I took it to a Subaru Specialists close to where I live in Melbourne and after driving it he said it was the center differential. He provided a rough estimate of the cost of parts.

Center Diff $1400 (Aus)
Transfer Drive Gear $300 (Aus)
Transfer Driven Gear $700 (Aus)
3x Bearing Transfer $300 (Aus)

I confirmed the prices he quoted me with Subaru and they were spot on or very close so he seems to very honest.
He advised that it would be the center differ for sure so it's at least $1400 plus labour. The rest of the parts might need to be replaced aswell.

Has any one used this guy before? Got It Rex - Home
I would also like some opions about the fault diagnosis before I committ so does anyone else have any ideas?

Thanks in advanced!
This is Torque bind. In the center diff there is a viscous coupling Normally the differnce in axle speeds causes the fluid to heat up, you get awd, the axles match speed, no more AWD. (simply put).

WHat you are seeing is typical failure for a manula tranny (and they get torque bind too, it is not just autos). In a manual this usually is caused by driving on a underinflated tire or mis matched tires. Tires should be replaced in sets of four.
 

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2000 (2nd Gen) Outback wagon 2.5 manual Dual Range
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79 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just an update for anyone who is experiencing this problem and may want to consider doing it them self.

Considering the mechanic was an ex Subaru technician who now runs his own business dealing mainly with subaru's it was pretty hard to ignore his diagnosis.
I ended up not using him as he was not willing to use parts sourced from the US.
I went and ordered the Center Diff from subarupartsdepo and it arrived 9 business days later.

So I got set to work.
Basically here is the sequence I did things,

1)Jack up the car and place chassis stands underneath so all 4 wheels can spin freely.
2)Disconnect Negative Battery terminal and put car into neutral and release the hand brake.
3)Remove Exhaust heat shield from under the car (4 bolts and 2 nuts from memory)
4)unbolt 2 bolts (near rear catalytic converter) holding the front and rear exhaust togther, unhook 3 rubber gromets from rear exhaust and drop whole rear exhsust to the floor.
5)Remove the engines "Front under cover" (5 bolts and 2 screws, one under each wheel arch)
6)Remove Airbox and air filter to gain easier access to tranmission filler hole.
7)Disconnect the Exhaust oxygen sensor and unbolt exhaust manifold and drop the whole front exhaust to the floor (6 nuts).
8)Support Gear box with jack and block of wood
9)Remove rear and center gear box cross member (Leave front Gearbox cross member). 8 bolts and 4 nuts.
10)Remove Gearbox drain plug and drain gearbox oil.
11)Unbolt 4 bolts holding the Propeller shaft to rear diff.
12)Unbolt the center Prop shaft bearing (2 bolts) and slide the prop shaft off the Transfer case. Catch gearbox oil that will come out of the transfer case.
13)Use center punch to punch out pins holding shifter linkages (One pin is inside the other).
14)unbolt the shift bracket from the transfer case (3 bolts)
15)Unbolt the transfer case (9 bolts).
16)My Transfer case was stuck, so to get it off, I used a block of wood and placed it near the surface where it mated to the extension and struck it a couple of times. It eventually split and I caught the last of the gear box oil and out came center diff, trasfer drive gear, transfer driven gear and bearings.
17) I cleaned the surfaces of the extension case and transfer case with mineral turpentine and ran a bead of RTV silicone gasket, then put in the new Center Diff and gears back before closing the transfer case onto the extension.
18)Torque everything up to specifications in the manual.
19)Put everything back in the reverse order.
20)I waited 24hrs for the gasket to completely cure before filling with 75W90 (GL5) Gearbox oil. Almost 4 litres (3.7 US Quarts).

The most difficult thing was working flat on my back. It was hard to get enough leverage in that position so breaker bar and some pipes to give the extra leverage is a must.

It must be noted that the clunking was a problem that was easily reproduced. Towards the final days before I started this job, I could easily get the problem to occur with in half an hour of driving. I've been driving the car around for a few days now and the clunking has gone away.
So it was definately the Center diff.

For all those Ozzies out there who run into this problem and find out that this part cost's $1400(AUS), from Subaru Australia, I would thoroughly recommend buying from http://www.subarupartsdepot.com at less than a 1/3rd of the price and doing it yourself. It took me the better part of the weekend to complete and a 1/3rd of that was running back and forth to get some tools, which I didn't have, from the local autoshop.

Many Thanks to Mario from Rexnet for his tips.
My 99 Sti Coupe Modifications Logbook - Rexnet Subaru Forums - Page 3

Many Thanks to the guys on rexnet who offered their experiences on purchasing goods from overseas. It really gave me the push to try buying from the USA.
http://www.rexnet.com.au/forum/index.php?/topic/144290-buying-parts-from-overseas/

and to nx24 for his article post on Center Diffs and How To Replace Them - Subaru Forester Owners Forum

Good luck!
 

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Premium Member
(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
Joined
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18,760 Posts
Just an update for anyone who is experiencing this problem and may want to consider doing it yourself.

Considering the mechanic was an ex Subaru technician who now runs his own business dealing mainly with subaru's it was pretty hard to ignore his diagnosis.
I ended up not using him as he was not willing to use parts sourced from the US.
I went and ordered the Center Diff from subarupartsdepo and it arrived 9 business days later.

So I got set to work.
Basically here is the sequence I did things,

1)Jack up the car and place chassis stands underneath so all 4 wheels can spin freely.
2)Disconnect Negative Battery terminal and put car into neutral and release the hand brake.
3)Remove Exhaust heat shield from under the car (4 bolts and 2 nuts from memory)
4)unbolt 2 bolts (near rear catalytic converter) holding the front and rear exhaust togther, unhook 3 rubber gromets from rear exhaust and drop whole rear exhsust to the floor.
5)Remove the engines "Front under cover" (5 bolts and 2 screws, one under each wheel arch)
6)Remove Airbox and air filter to gain easier access to tranmission filler hole.
7)Disconnect the Exhaust oxygen sensor and unbolt exhaust manifold and drop the whole front exhaust to the floor (6 nuts).
8)Support Gear box with jack and block of wood
9)Remove rear and center gear box cross member (Leave front Gearbox cross member). 8 bolts and 4 nuts.
10)Remove Gearbox drain plug and drain gearbox oil.
11)Unbolt 4 bolts holding the Propeller shaft to rear diff.
12)Unbolt the center Prop shaft bearing (2 bolts) and slide the prop shaft off the Transfer case. Catch gearbox oil that will come out of the transfer case.
13)Use center punch to punch out pins holding shifter linkages (One pin is inside the other).
14)unbolt the shift bracket from the transfer case (3 bolts)
15)Unbolt the transfer case (9 bolts).
16)My Transfer case was stuck, so to get it off, I used a block of wood and placed it near the surface where it mated to the extension and struck it a couple of times. It eventually split and I caught the last of the gear box oil and out came center diff, trasfer drive gear, transfer driven gear and bearings.
17) I cleaned the surfaces of the extension case and transfer case with mineral turpentine and ran a bead of RTV silicone gasket, then put in the new Center Diff and gears back before closing the transfer case onto the extension.
18)Torque everything up to specifications in the manual.
19)Put everything back in the reverse order.
20)I waited 24hrs for the gasket to completely cure before filling with 75W90 (GL5) Gearbox oil. Almost 4 litres (3.7 US Quarts).

The most difficult thing was working flat on my back. It was hard to get enough leverage in that position so breaker bar and some pipes to give the extra leverage is a must.

It must be noted that the clunking was a problem that was easily reproduced. Towards the final days before I started this job, I could easily get the problem to occur with in half an hour of drive. I've been driving the car around for a few days now and the clunking has gone away.
So it was definately the Center diff.

For all those Ozzies out there who run into this problem and find out that this part cost's $1400(AUS) or US for that matter, from Subaru Australia. I would thoroughly recommend buying from http://www.subarupartsdepot.com at less than a 1/3rd of the price and doing it yourself. It took me the better part of the weekend to complete and a 3rd of that was running back and forth to get some tools from the local autoshop which I didn't have.

Many Thanks to Marion from Rexnet for his tips.
My 99 Sti Coupe Modifications Logbook - Rexnet Subaru Forums - Page 3

Many Thanks to the guys on rexnet who offered their experiences on purchasing goods from overseas. It really gave me the push to try buying from the USA.
http://www.rexnet.com.au/forum/index.php?/topic/144290-buying-parts-from-overseas/

and to nx24 for his article post on Center Diffs and How To Replace Them - Subaru Forester Owners Forum

Good luck!

awesome post - glad your car is back on the road!
 

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2000 (2nd Gen) Outback wagon 2.5 manual Dual Range
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79 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think everyone is staying clear because you've basically settled on the first diagnosis you were offered, which is very expensive, and you'd be irate if it turned out it WAS the classic CV joint failure it certainly sounds like. Dry boots doesn't mean a CV joint hasn't failed - joints with broken boots tend to fail more easily because of lost lubrication and introduced contaminants. The joint can fail with a perfectly good boot on it, especially on an 11 year old car.

Differentials are not that easy to install or set up, another reason nobody is likely to want to validate your decision for you - and then get blamed when you can't do it.
It's been 6 months since I last posted here, but wanted wait this long to ensure everything was still in working order before I followed up with this last update. The car is still going with the replacement Center differential. I've checked regularly and no leaks with the Diff housing either. The clunking has not returned so it's definitely fixed. I'd just like to say that this is not a super difficult job at all. I do basic servicing on my car and with the right tools was able to do it first time.
I'm glad that I took the advice of an experienced Subaru mechanic who, after taking the car out for a drive, immediately told me that it it was definitely not a CV issue and that it was the diff. I would have been silly not to listen to him. Best of all, I saved my self a tone of money and learned something along they way! Hope this post helps the next person who come's across this issue. Good luck
 

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2021 Onyx XT, 04 Mazda Speed Miata 07 Suburban.
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287 Posts
Hi guys,

My car is a 2000 Model Subaru outback (3rd Gen) - Manual (140,000km's~90,000 Miles)

I have a clunking noise when doing slow turns in either direction. It's pretty severe and noticable through the steering column. It doesn't even have to be full lock of the steering wheel before I hear/feel the clunking.
The problem occurs when the vehcile is warm or has been driven for about 20 mins.

I originally thought that is was the CV driveshafts but had a look underneath and the boots are all dry and nothing split or broken.
I took it to a Subaru Specialists close to where I live in Melbourne and after driving it he said it was the center differential. He provided a rough estimate of the cost of parts.

Center Diff $1400 (Aus)
Transfer Drive Gear $300 (Aus)
Transfer Driven Gear $700 (Aus)
3x Bearing Transfer $300 (Aus)

I confirmed the prices he quoted me with Subaru and they were spot on or very close so he seems to very honest.
He advised that it would be the center differ for sure so it's at least $1400 plus labour. The rest of the parts might need to be replaced aswell.

Has any one used this guy before? Got It Rex - Home
I would also like some opions about the fault diagnosis before I committ so does anyone else have any ideas?

Thanks in advanced!
Did the noise occur all they time the car was turning? or only while you actually moved the steering wheel? On ours the noise only occurs as we turn the wheel. If we hold a constant diameter circle, the car is quite.
 

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2000 (2nd Gen) Outback wagon 2.5 manual Dual Range
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Did the noise occur all they time the car was turning? or only while you actually moved the steering wheel? On ours the noise only occurs as we turn the wheel. If we hold a constant diameter circle, the car is quite.
If I held it at a constant diameter the noise would still be there.
It didn't matter if I was holding it still or not. It was more noticable when the car was moving slowly. For example turning to park in a car park or turing to go up my driveway etc.
My New diff is still working great.
 

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Well back to the top. Read this and wanted to comment that this happened to my 04 OB Ltd when I had about 90K on it. Exact symptoms. Vehicle has to get fully warm...typically highway speeds for 1/2 to one hour. Then if , at slow speed, you turn hard to pull into a parking space ...you get a clunk..clunk..CLUNK... that is relative to your speed. That is, as you go slower, the clunk gets slower. It's a very serious -sounding noise. Not subtle.

So as a reminder folks, keep tires inflated to proper pressure, don't mismatch tires and do not run a donut tire for any sifnificant distance. Or this is what you can end up with. Cost us around $2000.

I think my cause was having unequal tire pressure for many miles. Pays to be dilligent with these vehicles.
 

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Premium Member
2005 3.0 R n totaled
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7,523 Posts
I had similar problem on my 2005 Forester. Got all these expensive repair solutions from several dealers as well as independent repair shops. One independent shop took the transmission and drive train completely apart and he could not find anything wrong. Finally, one honest Subaru service manager advised to flush and change the transmission fluid and add some special transmission lubrication additive. Google transmission lubricant additives in your country, That could cure the problem. It did for me....
Try that before doing anything else....it may work!

UPDATE: I guess, disregard the above since I was addressing my car that has automatic transmission... but, perhaps those, who have automatics and have similar problems may try the above method....CV joints are and were OK!
 

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It's been 6 months since I last posted here, but wanted wait this long to ensure everything was still in working order before I followed up with this last update. The car is still going with the replacement Center differential. I've checked regularly and no leaks with the Diff housing either. The clunking has not returned so it's definitely fixed. I'd just like to say that this is not a super difficult job at all. I do basic servicing on my car and with the right tools was able to do it first time.
I'm glad that I took the advice of an experienced Subaru mechanic who, after taking the car out for a drive, immediately told me that it it was definitely not a CV issue and that it was the diff. I would have been silly not to listen to him. Best of all, I saved my self a tone of money and learned something along they way! Hope this post helps the next person who come's across this issue. Good luck
Great job! I have a few questions:
1) What was your parts list from the supplier?
2) Did you buy all of these which were in your post #4 (10-17-2011, 05:55 AM)
Center Diff - 38913AA102 - $463.84
Transfer drive gear - 33113AA130 - $91.08
Transfer driven gear - 33128AA070 - $73.42

Bearings:806222060 - $12.76
806230150 - $18.50
806230130 - $15.55
806255010 - $30.68

I'm wondering if the gears and bearings are necessary. When you did this did they look worn and you wondered if you had needed to order the 2 gears and bearings but replaced them anyway?

Again, fantastic documentation! I have the courage now...
 

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It seems like something I would attempt myself but my service manual makes reference to making measurements and selecting the correct adjustment washers (see transfer case and extension tear down diagram parts 27 and 30).

Most home mechanics (including the author of that article) and on other subaru forums who say they've done this don't mention anything about selecting the correct depth washers. Can anyone comment on this or offer their experience?

Bare in mind this is an 11year old car!
Mine is also 11 years old with 141k miles.

17) I cleaned the surfaces of the extension case and transfer case with mineral turpentine and ran a bead of RTV silicone gasket, then put in the new Center Diff and gears back before closing the transfer case onto the extension.
18)Torque everything up to specifications in the manual.
19)Put everything back in the reverse order.
How did you handle the adjustment washer advice? You didn't mention it in your reassembly procedure. Thanks!
 

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Mine is also 11 years old with 141k miles.


How did you handle the adjustment washer advice? You didn't mention it in your reassembly procedure. Thanks!
Well I just replaced my center diff with a brand new one from ebay $510 USD (Subaru parts in Braintree MA had the best price, free shipping in USA). I shopped locally and on the forums for a good used one but to no avail, and the junkyard route just seemed to be a lot of work. It generally seems cheaper to just buy an entire used transmission for the center diff only. My gears and bearings were is great shape, so no washer adjustment seemed necessary. Clunk when hot on a tight turn is completely eliminated. Good used ones supposedly go for about $250 USD anyway so with all the labor a new one seemed a better bet. Mine came with the new style C clip, and not the circa 2003 spiral overlapping circlip. There's a thread on that topic. And this one.
 
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