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Discussion Starter #1
RE: my 2002 Outback Sport 4EAT - the manual recommends (for automatics) when using a temporary spare, to put the doughnut on the rear and put the car into FWD mode by putting a fuse into a specified plug in the engine-bay fusebox. [Yes, I read the entire manual, painful as it is, but I do that with every car I get]

My first question is WHICH fuse, the manual says put THE "spare" fuse in but the fusebox cover has one each of a 10,15,20 and 30 A fuses in there. I'll be asking SOA for the official answer on that, however.

My general question is: Would one expect better mileage by putting the car into FWD mode, and if so, why not do so when AWD is not needed? I bought the car for the AWD - but mainly for wintertime, not for spirited driving (have another car for that) or off-road (don't go there myself). The rest of the year, I'm only going to be driving it locally (I live one mile from my office), around town, grocery getting, etc.

Is it bad for the car to run it in FWD mode, is that for emergencies only? Might it be better long term for the AWD to engage it only when needed?

My guess is that if there was any benefit to switching it between AWD and FWD regularly, there'd be a button or lever in the cockpit to facilitate this. Any nuggets of wisdom from those in the know?

thanks,
-Peter
(I suppose I should make this part of my signature: Yes, I did search, but my terms of choice didn't come up with anything relevant)
 

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AWD or FWD

Peter,

I was wondering the same exact thing! I came up with this theory:
Use the 10 amp fuse since it is only acting as a "jumper" for the FWD mode. It's only purpose seems to be for opening a circuit to tell the system to go to FWD. I put it in FWD and drove it around and it was fine. I also wish I knew more about using FWD for most of the year. Although I am not a betting man, I'm sure the gas mileage would be better, but keep in mind that the car may rely on the rear wheels to "push" the car down the highway at cruising speed rather than have the car continually "pulled" by the front wheels. Thus the symmetry of AWD. I hope these theories helped.

Kurt
 

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This is an interesting point...I'm surprised this thread didn't draw out a lot of experts....I am curious what a more experienced subaru owner/technician thinks about this?
 

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I found out for a fact that you are supposed to use the 15 amp fuse. I believe that the info was on the My.Subaru web site.

Kurt
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'd forgotten about this thread... I never found an "official" answer but I didn't look THAT hard.

A co-worker of mine who is a serious gear-head (has several Audi Quattros - also used to have a Subaru) tells me that people have tried FWD but the mileage is basically unchanged - apparently it's the weight of the system, not the operation of it, that affects the mileage more.

I'm not complaining, even with my short trips, I still get 22ish around town but don't have any reliable highway data yet. I also haven't driven in any really bad weather or off road yet, so I'm still curious as to how the AWD is going to "feel" - there's another interesting current thread about the torque split (and what it is in forward vs. reverse).

I hope I never have to go into FWD mode to accommodate a temp spare...
 

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I did this as an experiment in fuel economy.

I did not realize enough benefit in cost savings to overcome the lack of traction turning through gravel corners. In fact we didn't realize any cost savings over a month of driving. I hated driving the car when it would "burn out" the front wheels on gravel when trying to cross an intersection. It was worth trying, however, just for the fun of it. Now you know too.
 

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I wouldn't have expected much difference in fuel economy since the 4EAT system runs basically FWD when traction is good anyway so all you are doing is "tieing the hands" of the system and preventing it driving the rear wheels when traction is not so good. :)
 
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