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Discussion Starter #1
OK guys, I am in a bind here. My tires are long over due for replacement but thanks to a head gasket repair and buying this car, and being laid off from my job its not in the budget til tax returns come in. Unfortunately last night I discovered something has cut deep into my passenger side front tire, and I know it has to be replaced and can't be plugged due to location of the slash. At most I can afford two new tires, and I know that everything says replace all four because of the awd system and the the possible damage to the limited slip diffs due to different wheel diameters. In an ideal world I could afford 4, but I can't, and need this car up and rolling again before the next blizzard hits us in Indiana.

Here is my confusion, and please correct me if I am wrong, the are two limited slip diffs in the 98 4eat, one for the front, and one for the back. Will having different diameter front tires vs the back tires cause damage? If each set has its own diff then how will it damage the diff? I could see a different diameter on a side (passanger front and rear being larger then drivers side front and rear) causing a problem, but am unclear about how different diameters between the axels will be an issue.

Advice or information I am missing is greatly appreciated. Someone please help me figure out a way to not be driving my wife's Dodge neon. :)
 

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Yes - Limited slip diff simply reduces wheel spin left to right side on slick surfaces. Remember Dukes of Hazard one rear wheel always smoked and burned rubber while the other kinda sorta didn't? Limited slip diffs try to even up the power so both tires get power not just the one easiest to spin.

The issue with tires not sized within the tolerance of the AWD system is that front to back the AWD system loads up with front tires turning at a different rate than the rears - this heats up the clutch pack and wears the clutch set that is designed to send power to all 4 wheels.

Your best option is to get the same model and brand tire used with similar tread to what you have on the tires your keeping.

Or get a set of 4 used tires all with the same tread wear.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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wow, this is an insane number of tire threads recently.

Wanna save money over buying two tires - go get a used tire similar in tread depth to yours. That is all you need - the same size tire with similar tread depth - and you're done. Ebay is a great source, check carefully, don't buy the cheapest one, and buy one that's clearly measured, or call locally. Then you're right where you were before this tire blew out which apparently didn't bother you too much. Or buy two used tires that match and are the same tread as the rears or slightly larger (within Subaru's 1/4" circumference or whatever measurement), as the fronts will wear down faster.

Actually your vehicle doesn't even have a limited slip differential so this has nothing to do with those. Strictly speaking there is no issue that can happen in your vehicle side to side when looking at the front and back independently. You can run completely different (this is for illustration purposes only) size wheels/tires on the front or back with no affect to your front or rear differential.

The transmission is driving the front and rear differentials and it is those that need to be turning at the same rate. The 4WD mechanisms in the rear extension housing of the trans (clutch plates and Duty C solenoid) provide similar function as a differential.
 

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2004 Outback Wagon, 2.5, 4EAT, All weather package.
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Check Craigslist for used tires. You might luck out and score a deal on four decent ones.
 

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2003 LL Bean Outback H6 and 2019 Outback Base
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subiesailor is correct....................you need to get FOUR tires at the same time. I struggled with this for about 2 weeks. I bought a 2003 H6 ll bean. It had 2 newer tires and the other two were worn out. I tried to find 2 new tires to match the other two but could not. And even if I did, it wouldn't be the same. I know its a lot of money, but getting all four will save potential , expensive repairs in the long run. many tire shops have their own credit card to defer payment.
 

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2012 Outback 2.5 i Premium
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474 Posts
Check your local tire shops as well. They may have the tire you need with similar tread wear.

On the flip side, you can always try financing some new rubber. If you're waiting on your tax return to cover the cost of tires you should check and see if anybody offers one year no interest financing or something along those lines that you can pay off when you have the cash without having to pay interest.

Best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I appreciate all the responces. Credit is not an option due to lack of employer currently. I called around and found nothing that would match up. I checked craigslist, but only managed to find one set of used that would work, but its a 2.5 hour drive away, at almost $3.50 a gallon, seller wants $150 for them, and the tire shops want $50-100 to mount and balance them on my rims... so they would end up costing me more then a cheap set of brand new tires mounted and balanced from the local shops. Kinda looks like at this point my outback is down for the count for a few months... sigh.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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any shop in your area shave tires?



my absolute last-ditch approach would be to run a new tire underinflated.
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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If you're in a pinch find a used tire that's close- very, very close to the one you lost. Hang it, drive on a strict(er) budget and put a proper new set on with the first paycheck from the next gig.

Well, that's what I'd do if I had to, anyway.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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do what he just said - install the FWD fuse and install any 15" (or 16", whatever you have) tire that is close. you can drive the car indefinitely like that.
 
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