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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All, long time lurker and first time poster!

Torque bind has been covered extensively on this forum so I apologise in advance for making another thread on it. However I haven't been able to find anyone else who has deal with the issue I have in a similar way.

I recently purchased a second-hand 2013 Impreza automatic with CVT from a used car dealer (all the fixes for issues like this are covered by the dealer under state law, and if it all goes belly up I'll get a refund and move on - still a pain though, and it's otherwise a good car). 61000km on the odo, around 37000 miles. It has a shudder when I turn, whether it's tight or not - the symptom feels like torque binding. It also sometimes has a bit of a lugging sensation when I'm going on a straight, as if it was a manual which needed to go down a gear.

I took it back to the dealer, who took it to a transmission shop. They replaced the transfer clutch and did a transmission service. However it's still got the issue. When the vehicle is cold it feels a little bit better than it was before the transfer clutch was replaced, but after driving for 20-30 minutes it doesn't feel any different to before it got this fix. The work was AU$1650 (around US$900) so I feel bad for the dealer but the money isn't my problem to deal with.

Would this still be an issue in the transmission? I recall a few weeks ago a friend and I tried pulling the fuse for the ABS control out and the shudder seemed to go away. Could it be in the module that controls the transfer clutch, or a speed sensor issue?

Thanks all for your insights. I'm taking it to Subaru for them to have another look at it, and if it looks like it'll set me back hundreds of dollars I'll take it to the dealer again. At this point though I'm not sure where the issue could be, and I'm interested to hear if anyone else has had a similar experience.
 

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It has a shudder when I turn, whether it's tight or not - the symptom feels like torque binding. It also sometimes has a bit of a lugging sensation when I'm going on a straight, as if it was a manual which needed to go down a gear.

. . .They replaced the transfer clutch and did a transmission service. However it's still got the issue. When the vehicle is cold it feels a little bit better than it was before the transfer clutch was replaced, but after driving for 20-30 minutes it doesn't feel any different to before it got this fix.
Are all four tires the exact same brand, model, size and remaining tread depth?
Has the 4-wheel alignment been checked?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Are all four tires the exact same brand, model, size and remaining tread depth?
Has the 4-wheel alignment been checked?
They weren’t when I bought the vehicle, there was one which didn’t match the others. I got all 4 replaced and got a wheel alignment, but this hasn’t made any difference. I’m not sure if there’s lasting damage which could have been done having mismatched tyres, but the sensation feels the same - it didn’t feel like it improved when I replaced the tyres.
 

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Has anyone scanned ALL the modules on the car to check for codes other than the engine?
I initially took the car to Subaru before I took it back to the dealer, they noted some old codes related to VDC and breaks. This is possibly related to us pulling out the fuse for the ABS - couldn’t say for sure, but Subaru didn’t pursue any of these codes further.
 

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It has a shudder when I turn, whether it's tight or not - the symptom feels like torque binding. It also sometimes has a bit of a lugging sensation when I'm going on a straight, . . .
When in those turning situations, what happens if, when the shuddering is apparent, the accelerator pedal is released and the car is able to continue to coast (but still in gear) through the turn? Does the shuddering disappear?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
When in those turning situations, what happens if, when the shuddering is apparent, the accelerator pedal is released and the car is able to continue to coast (but still in gear) through the turn? Does the shuddering disappear?
Good question, I hadn't tried this before. I tried this this morning, and found that it is much the same. When coasting through a turn, the shudder is the same as if having a little bit of acceleration through a turn.

(For what it's worth, I think I usually coast through a turn unless I'm on an upward incline - when I'm on a level surface I usually get enough go just by taking my foot off the break. It flies around corners when I give it any acceleration while turning.)

Another unrelated few tests: I've found that turning the steering wheel when stationary (either in park or drive with the break on) doesn't give any shudder. On the other hand, when I'm already moving and switch to neutral and turn, there's a shudder which feels the same as when I'm in drive or reverse and turn.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
When the car does this is the AC on or off?
The AC is almost always on, but I've checked just now with the AC off and found that the symptom is the same. I also pulled out my dash cam and turned the lights off, turned the radio off - trying to turn off as many electronics as possible.

Another note: when I turn, I'll sometimes get a clack sound coming from somewhere in the left of the car, maybe the front left tyre maybe the back left. It doesn't always happen, and it can happen either in drive or reverse. Maybe this could be related to a deteriorating CV joint, but it only happens in the process of turning the steering wheel while in motion, and it doesn't seem to repeat at a regular interval (although I haven't completed the circle or tried doing figure 8s while checking for this sound).
 

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That discounts electrical load causing fluctuations in engine RPM.

These cars with CVTS do not experience torque binding like the ones with an automatic. At least not that I've seen.

What you've posted this far leads me to believe that you need to check the wheel bearingS. I understand it's low miles, but the age is a factor. And cars that tend to sit also have all the weight on one spot of the bearing for prolonged periods.

While the bearings are being checked I suggest you remove the wheels and look at the brakes. Particularly the wear difference, if any, between the inner and outer brake pads. See if a pad is wearing uneven top to bottom.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That discounts electrical load causing fluctuations in engine RPM.

These cars with CVTS do not experience torque binding like the ones with an automatic. At least not that I've seen.

What you've posted this far leads me to believe that you need to check the wheel bearingS. I understand it's low miles, but the age is a factor. And cars that tend to sit also have all the weight on one spot of the bearing for prolonged periods.

While the bearings are being checked I suggest you remove the wheels and look at the brakes. Particularly the wear difference, if any, between the inner and outer brake pads. See if a pad is wearing uneven top to bottom.
This is all really great advice, I appreciate your help! I'll try to check the wheel bearings myself. Can I do this as normal? - jack the car up, try to rock the wheels around, and spin the wheels in neutral and listen for any funny sounds?

I'll also mention this all to the bloke I'm taking this vehicle to. If it's a wheel bearing issue do you think this could also explain the periodic lugging sensation when I'm travelling on a flat straight? It's not a symptom I can predictably replicate, but it's got a very similar feeling to the binding sensation (which sounds like it's not binding at all) which leads me to believe it could be related.
 

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Spin the wheel with one hand and the other hand holding the spring. You'll feel it.

Bad bearings do create a binding. The heat expands the metal and creates friction. The friction in the bad bearing could be what you feel and it would be similar to a staffing brake. It's resistance the car has to work against.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Spin the wheel with one hand and the other hand holding the spring. You'll feel it.

Bad bearings do create a binding. The heat expands the metal and creates friction. The friction in the bad bearing could be what you feel and it would be similar to a staffing brake. It's resistance the car has to work against.
That's great, I'll try to do this in the next couple of days and will report back.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I did a bit more testing this afternoon and found that the shudder actually does go away when turning while I’m coasting in neutral. Do you think this means it’s still possibly related to the transmission?
 

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Not until you check the other components.

On throttle torque is delivered through the trans, diff, axles and then the wheel assembly, (bearing/hub). Anything in this line or connected to it is affected, including brakes and wheel.
 

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Not until you check the other components.

On throttle torque is delivered through the trans, diff, axles and then the wheel assembly, (bearing/hub). Anything in this line or connected to it is affected, including brakes and wheel.
Noted - I’ll take a look into your suggestions before getting too far ahead of myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Not until you check the other components.

On throttle torque is delivered through the trans, diff, axles and then the wheel assembly, (bearing/hub). Anything in this line or connected to it is affected, including brakes and wheel.
I tried jacking each of the wheels on my car up, rocking them back and forth, and spinning them with my hand on the spring to see what it felt like. I did this after a little bit of driving this morning, so it wasn’t totally cold (I did a few circles and could feel the rumble so I figured it was time to check this out). I didn’t get my hands all the way to 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock when checking to see if the tires rocked up and down (I was using a spare tire jack and didn’t trust it not to give and for a tire to crush my hand - something that ended up being a fair concern) but it was pretty close.

The back wheels spun freely and didn’t rock back and forth. The front wheels didn’t seem to rock back and forth either, but they didn’t feel as solid as the back wheels (I could have been rocking them on the same plane on which they steer).

When rocking the front wheels back and forth on their axis, they seemed to have a little give ... like you’d spin it very freely and then it would catch onto the bearings and have a bit of resistance, if that makes sense. Almost like the sensation of backlash (eg Backlash (engineering) - Wikipedia). I’m not sure if that’s a normal sensation.

I found that, when spinning the front left wheel, it made a kind of ... soft ratcheting sound when it slowed down, like a push bike when you’re not pedalling. I don’t recall this sound on the front right wheel. It seemed to be more pronounced when the wheels were turned, but I could be imagining it. In any case, the car doesn’t have the shuddering sensation when going straight, whereas this sound was present whether the wheels were straight or turned.

For what it’s worth, when my friend and I did some checks on the car a couple of months ago now, we were most suspicious about the front left tire, as you could feel the shudder through that wheel with one of us holding our hand to it while the other slowly drives in a circle.

I also found that this clack sound when in the process of turning the wheels only appeared to be present when the front right tire was jacked up and not the left.

(I wanted to double check to see if this ratcheting sound was coming from the front right tire too, but my jack broke - I suppose they’re fairly limited in their use).

Does what I’ve described here sound like a wheel bearing issue on the front left wheel to you?
 

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I am going to have a “stab in the dark” at what is wrong/what happened to your Impreza.

Here in Australia a lot of “boy racers” buy Impreza’s and drive them like they had stolen them. One of the things that commonly happens is that the driver drives beyond their ability and then the vehicle “lets go” and drifts uncontrollably off the road hitting whatever is in its path.

A common outcome is one of the front wheels being smashed into a concrete curb which damages the wheel, blows the tire, damages the CV axle, wheel bearing and other front end components.

You need to get the vehicle properly assessed by a good Subaru dealer (most of them have seen this type of damage as it is quite common) and then take the list of needed repairs to the used car dealer you purchased the Impreza from so that they can arrange to have the repairs done.

It is quite likely that aftermarket parts (CV axle, and others) have been used to repair the Impreza and this may be causing the problems you have. If you need a genuine Subaru axle you may have trouble getting this provided by the selling dealer as I believe there is no need for a selling dealer to provide OEM parts when performing a warranty repair.

Seagrass
 

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I am going to have a “stab in the dark” at what is wrong/what happened to your Impreza.

Here in Australia a lot of “boy racers” buy Impreza’s and drive them like they had stolen them. One of the things that commonly happens is that the driver drives beyond their ability and then the vehicle “lets go” and drifts uncontrollably off the road hitting whatever is in its path.

A common outcome is one of the front wheels being smashed into a concrete curb which damages the wheel, blows the tire, damages the CV axle, wheel bearing and other front end components.

You need to get the vehicle properly assessed by a good Subaru dealer (most of them have seen this type of damage as it is quite common) and then take the list of needed repairs to the used car dealer you purchased the Impreza from so that they can arrange to have the repairs done.

It is quite likely that aftermarket parts (CV axle, and others) have been used to repair the Impreza and this may be causing the problems you have. If you need a genuine Subaru axle you may have trouble getting this provided by the selling dealer as I believe there is no need for a selling dealer to provide OEM parts when performing a warranty repair.

Seagrass
This is all good advice, thanks a lot. The vehicle went though the whole process of checking if any accidents had occurred and it looked clean - but I suppose this would only show accidents if the cops were called or an insurance claim was made. There’s no obvious cosmetic damage to the front of the vehicle and it drives very true - can’t discount this kind of accidental damage from someone who thought they were a better driver than they are though, it’s not a fancy car but it looks cool.

I’ll be taking it to Subaru on Monday morning and I’ll ask if they can spend a few hours looking, just so I can get my shopping list together for the dealer. Pain in the arse, but better than having this happen after having bought the car privately.
 
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