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5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi here's what I've got going on with my Subaru:

Outback 09, 90k miles, manual, base

When pulling out of a parking space in reverse (with the wheels barely turned) the front end of the car seemed to lock up after rolling a few feet. Literally it felt as if something bound up, stopped the car, whatever bound up broke, and then the car was free. After that was a distinct clank coming from the front end.

I figured it was a CV/axle and took it home. Upon taking it to the mechanic (next time driving), the clank became a faint click.

To my surprise Mechanic looked at axles and determined nothing was wrong as he could not hear, feel, nor diagnose the click as it is now hard to hear. Whatever broke has worn itself down to almost nothing.

I could still hear and feel the click when I took the car home; there's also a faint metal on metal sound that sounds like a high frequency tone that occurs if the car is driven over 25.

Here are some additional characteristics using the posted guide!

A. When does the sound happen?

_ When engine is running —Not when stand still
_ When transmission is in some particular gear —All Gears + N
_ When turning —Any direction of wheel
_ On throttle —Both throttle + coasting
_ When braking —Yes

B. Where does the sound come from?

_ Drivetrain
Front end

C. Does the sound vary with some condition?

_ Engine/transmission rpm dependent —No
_ Wheel rpm dependent —Yes
_ Air speed/direction dependent —No
_ Varies according to some other condition —Has been getting less and less noisy

D. Is there a vibration associated with the noise?

_ Feel it through the floorpan or seat —Can feel a clicking through shifter, more so when shifting or in neutral
_ Feel it through the steering wheel —No
_ Feel it through a pedal —faintly

E. Does it affect drive-ability? how? —No

Any ideas?

Premium Member
(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
19,405 Posts
it does seem like either a drivetrain problem, or some broken components in the little parking brake drum.

might be worth pulling the plugs on the tranny to look for chunks on the magnet.

06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
5,967 Posts
Could be something inside one of the CV joints/boots. Foreign object in the front diff, perhaps.

Did someone replace a CV boot clamp with a hose clamp and the extra bit flaps around and sometimes hangs up on something?

Bad wheel bearing?

Premium Member
01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
18,164 Posts
A few questions:

What change is effected when you apply the brake?

Is the AWD working?

Do any warning lights illuminate?

Does the sound remain consistent? From slow to expressway speed?

Do you hear any humming at high speeds?

Has this event effected the steering and overall handling?

Have you looked at the inner fender cover to see if the tire is hitting anywhere? Mud guard?

I may have more later.

5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies,

to answer cardoc's questions:

braking doesn't effect the clicking
AWD seems to be functioning fine
No Dash lights
Sound is constant, at high speeds the clicking is so fast it becomes unnoticeable
There is a hum at high speeds (high frequency resonance.. scary sound but faint)
Have looked all under the car but don't have a lift. It's definitely internal to something.

Considering all that ^ and I spoke again, and drove it with another mechanic, i've determined it's something in the transmission.

I know nothing about trans but sounds like a daunting task to operate on..
I realized I'm still under a powertrain warranty—im hoping that'll cover anything serious..

Seems a bit bad for a '09 car with 90k but I was the second owner..

5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just wanted to update this for future searches. The binding up and snapping mechanical failure was a little gasket disk thing in the transmission. This piece sheared in half and then spit itself into the gears. After driving maybe 50 miles on the car afterwards that little piece of metal slowly ground itself up, taking with it a few teeth on each gear. yowzers. By the time I got it to the dealer 3rd gear was beginning to slip/grind.

Was about a 5000$ job to replace most of the tranny.

Good news is that I had bought a powertrain warranty up to 100k and the car was at 93k. Foof. buy a warranty. Subaru said this was a random part failure and not due to an externality.

Bad news is they found the catalytic all broken up and starting to clog, now car barely accelerates. lovely.
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