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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, so I went skiing today and my 2013 Outback CVT 2.5 got its front wheels stuck in a 6 inch or so icy wheel rut next to the ski lodge. The back wheels were not in a rut although they were on snow. When I tried to back up (parking space and couldn't move forward), I had little power and the car didn't move. So, I turned off the traction control and could only get my front tires to spin. Is this thing only Front Wheel Drive? I tried to rock it, but nothing but front wheel spin. It was acting just like a FWD car. After some experimenting and more front wheel spinning, I gave up and my amused buddies got out and pushed me out while saying things like, "My Forerunner...my Tundra...my Xterra...." Grrr....What the heck happened? Why didn't I have any power going to my rear wheels? I had plenty of weight over the back axle! Are these cars really AWD?
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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sounds bogus alright

wish there was a way to compare your car to another one but, if yours had a problem, seems like you would have a CEL or other warning light on.

Maybe take it in and see if the dealer can recover codes and test the AWD system.
 

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2002 Outback Wagon
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I remember a thread similar to this one but in that case power was cut to all wheels none of them would spin. This has to do with the VDC in situations like that it can and will cut power to wheels so I guess if it can cut power to all four wheels it cut owner to the back wheels. I also know that instead of the FWD/Limp home fuse in older OBs the VDC controls that as well, so it's also possible if you're throwing any codes VDC could put you in fwd mode. Buy a cheap code scanner and see what you get. Interesting case though.
 

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'14 3.6R Outback
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Yes the car is AWD so the rear wheels will spin and get power. It's possible in this situation the rear had good grip (didn't spin) but not enough power to pull yourself out of the ditch. Only 50% of the power can be sent rear.

You might have something broken. It would be worth having the car checked for free at the dealer.

It might be something to do with this:
http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...631-recent-video-gen-4-cvt-reverse-issue.html

This might be that "real world" example we were looking for.
 

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Sounds like something wasn't operating properly. When one front tire is spinning, one rear tire on the opposite side should also be spinning. If you have limited slip then both rears should spin.

Are you *absolutely positive* the rear tires weren't spinning?

When one front tire spins, the opposite side rear tire spins. So folks see the front drivers side spinning and the same side rear *not* spinning and think they're not spinning when in reality the passengers side rear was spinning. Just because one rear tire isn't spinning doesn't mean the other one isn't spinning...and that varies depending what kind of rear differential it has and if it's working properly...which one this new certainly should.
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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Yes the car is AWD so the rear wheels will spin and get power. It's possible in this situation the rear had good grip (didn't spin) but not enough power to pull yourself out of the ditch. Only 50% of the power can be sent rear.

You might have something broken. It would be worth having the car checked for free at the dealer.

It might be something to do with this:
http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...631-recent-video-gen-4-cvt-reverse-issue.html

This might be that "real world" example we were looking for.
yep, in that thread it 'seemed' the system was protecting the CVT by limiting power, maybe the same is happening here.

Bogus, what max RPMs did you see when trying to back out?
 

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If your fronts were spinning then powe was not your issu. Only similar fase ive seen on this forum 2011 he got video and Subaru took a look and found a faulty rear diff. Replacedd it and said owner reported awd was awesome what a dfference with a working system. Sounds exactly like your case.
 

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This is different from the longer thread dealing with inability to back up over an obstacle (curb, rock etc.) As was noted here, in those cases none of the wheels seemed to be working to any great extent. It wasn't a case of the fronts spinning.

If the fronts spin and the rears remain still there' a problem in the AWD control system. The fundamental objective of this system is to always have the drive shafts going to the front and rear differentials turning at the same speed. One or more front wheels spinning, and neither rear wheel moving, simply should not happen. (On the CVT, this is controlled by the multi-plate clutch which is supposed to "lock" the front and rear drives when a significant difference in speed is detected.)

As has been noted, it's important, however, to be sure there wasn't one rear wheel turning.

When one front tire is spinning, one rear tire on the opposite side should also be spinning . . . . . When one front tire spins, the opposite side rear tire spins.
Not that it can't happen, but I don't see why the opposite side should be spinning. The drives are balanced. The rear drive shaft powers the rear differential which drives the two rear axles. The front pinion drive shaft powers the front differential which drives the two front axles. There's nothing in the drive train that powers the wheels in an "X" manner. It's just as possible for the front and rear wheels on the same side to be spinning while the two on the other side are not. (Might be confused with the Subaru dual braking system in which the two separate brake hydraulic circuits work with opposite wheels front and rear.)

I also recall the case subiesailor mentioned. I don't think the actual problem in the differential was reported, but with these cars, if the AWD or the rear differential isn't working, it usually doesn't show up until the car is in the type of situation reported here, or, the car is up on a hoist with the engine running, and in gear, and only the front wheels can be made to turn.

The only other possibility is the relationship with the Traction Control. Perhaps in the 2013, turning it off also disables the AWD. Not likely to be intentionally programmed this way, but maybe that's what's actually happening in this one.

If the spinning wheel observation are correct, the car probably should be brought to the dealer. It might take some time and experimentation to get the symptoms to show up again, but once it does (especially in the likely absence of any trouble codes) the dealer should be able to address it.

Please keep us informed . . .
 

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2007 Outback XT Ltd
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BogusSubie, you picked the WRONG screen name. When you get your car fixed and discover how excellent it is in snow, you will be embarrassed by that name... ;)

I agree that there is something fundamentally wrong and your dealer should be able to diagnose it without much trouble.

Good luck. Endeavor to persevere. Welcome to the forums.....

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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I've had both our CVT's in some pretty deep heavy snow parked in etc. Never had only the fronts spin. All 4 will spin and the AWD system hunts a little for traction.

The case where the fellow had a broken rear diff his rears got zero power and the car was basically front wheel drive. At no point EVER is the AWD system turned off on the new subarus. So thats not the case here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks guys, I'll have the dealer look at it. I'm pretty sure the opposite rear wheel wasn't spinning, or I wouldn't be stuck; however, I'm not positive. If it was, it definitely was not spinning at the same rate as the front tire. I am used to a true 4wd system, so I might not be driving it right. Yes, it did seem like 2500 RPM was the max I could get out of the engine. BTW: our local ski area in Boise is Bogus Basin...thus BogusSubie. I wil report back.
 

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2007 Outback XT Ltd
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Bogus Basin is the name of our local ski area...maybe still the wrong pun.
LOL - I assumed immediately that you picked your name because your OB was bogus....

but it is a bit problematic for a user name here.....

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 
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