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Forester Wheels Bind in a Turn


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19 replies to this topic

#1 LanceGillette

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 09:08 PM

When making a sharp turn such as for parking, there is apparently something binding and the 1998 Forester will stop rolling. You have to give it some gas to proceed. Tire wear appears normal, I replaced the front axles about three years ago and the cv boots are still intact, cv joints are not making any noise. The car tracks down the road nice and straight and does not pull to the side. Could this be just a case where an alignment is needed? Since I don't notice any unusual tire wear, this possibility didn't come to mind. Is there something else that could be causing this problem?

#2 NoahDL88

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 09:23 PM

If its an automatic, it could be torque bind. There is a solenoid that controls it and with age it starts to stick if you, or the previous owner did not keep up on their maintenance of their transmission. I'd recommend at transmission flush and if your fluid is really dirty do it again in another month or so.

Its fairly simple to do it yourself, much cheaper too.

#3 LanceGillette

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 09:40 PM

If its an automatic, it could be torque bind. There is a solenoid that controls it and with age it starts to stick if you, or the previous owner did not keep up on their maintenance of their transmission. I'd recommend at transmission flush and if your fluid is really dirty do it again in another month or so.

Its fairly simple to do it yourself, much cheaper too.


It is a manual five speed transmission.

#4 Twitch de la Brat

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 10:46 PM

Now, does it only slow down at slow speeds, or at all speeds?
If it seems to dog at all speeds, check your tire pressures all the way around
first.
If any are low, then air them up appropriately, I believe Subaru recommends
27-32 psi per tire.

Then do donuts on gravel, as you can listen and see if you have any wheel
not slipping enough.
If you do have an issue with a tire not slipping enough, it could be torque bind.

I'm not sure, but I believe those transmissions have a clutch pack that runs
the AWD.
I'll try to find a wiring diagram to confirm this.
If it does have a clutch pack that runs the center diff, get ready to order a
duty C solenoid or clutch packs.
They should run somewhere between $100-$150 from the dealer, or you may
get lucky and find it at an aftermarket dealer for less.

But if its like the early EJ 5spd with the viscous center diff, I would be looking
for a used center diff, as they rarely fail.
Junkyards are the best option for this, either a U-pull-it or a They-pull-it,
just have to make sure they have what you need.

I'm not sure if you can swap a viscous center diff into a clutch pack style
transmission.
It would be a good time to investigate, as you have to pull the tail housing
off the transmission anyway, if it is a bad center diff.

Twitch

#5 LanceGillette

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 11:23 PM

Now, does it only slow down at slow speeds, or at all speeds?
If it seems to dog at all speeds, check your tire pressures all the way around
first.
If any are low, then air them up appropriately, I believe Subaru recommends
27-32 psi per tire.
Twitch


I check the tire pressure regulary so that is not the problem. It dogs at low speeds only when making sharp turns.

#6 Fairtax4me

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 12:44 AM

Is this a problem that has come about recently? It will become progressively more difficult for the car to roll forward on it's own as the wheels are turned.
Do you have to give it gas to keep the engine from stalling?

#7 LanceGillette

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 09:26 AM

Is this a problem that has come about recently? It will become progressively more difficult for the car to roll forward on it's own as the wheels are turned.
Do you have to give it gas to keep the engine from stalling?


I rarely drive this car, but I first noticed it quite some time ago and then forgot about it since I rarely drive it. So it is not a recent problem. I think it is necessary to give a bit of gas to keep the engine from stalling.

#8 LanceGillette

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 09:50 AM

I noticed a similar thread from someone with a 99 Forester and manual transmission. One person said this:

"I own a 90 Lagacy AWD 5/m with 210k I don't think the viscous coupling has ever been changed. When making slow tight turns (ie, turning in to a parking space) my car shudders a little, this is normal. If the viscous coupling unit went out you would have either no drive (unit is not coupling) or vary notisable binding (unit is locked up). A quick way to tell if the unit is locked up is to jack up one tire and try to turn it . If it turns with some resistance your OK if not The unit is locked up. Good luck"

The guy with the forester jacked up a rear wheel and it would not turn compared to another Subaru that would turn.

I just jacked up a back wheel on my Forester and it does turn with some resistance. Then I jacked up a front wheel and repeated the test and the wheel turns with resistance regardless of whether the steering wheel is turned to the left or right. I do think this binding issue happens mostly when the car has been driven a distance.

Edited by LanceGillette, 01 June 2010 - 10:06 AM.
additional information


#9 LanceGillette

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 10:51 AM

I took the car out for a test drive to see if the problem shows up when the car is cold. The car rolled freely around sharp corners. So I drove it about 7-8 miles and still the problem did not show up. So it seems the car needs to be driven quite thoroughly and the viscous coupling unit needs to be thoroughly warmed up before the binding starts. A few months ago we made a 300 mile trip and when we stopped for gas I noticed it distinctly as the engine stalled while making a sharp turn and the car stopped rolling.

#10 Twitch de la Brat

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 11:57 AM

Are all of your tires the same size and tread wear?
If you're running odd sized tires, your viscous coupler would be working while
you driving normally.

After a fair amount of driving with odd sized tires, the coupler will get hot and lock up the center diff.
That's the reason the car will stall out on low speed turns.
The center diff isn't allowing the tires to rotate at different speeds.

Twitch

#11 LanceGillette

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 12:23 PM

Are all of your tires the same size and tread wear?
If you're running odd sized tires, your viscous coupler would be working while
you driving normally.

After a fair amount of driving with odd sized tires, the coupler will get hot and lock up the center diff.
That's the reason the car will stall out on low speed turns.
The center diff isn't allowing the tires to rotate at different speeds.

Twitch


The tires are all the same size, same brand, and same mileage. But the tires are getting low on tread. We've put about 40,000 miles on them. The tread wear looks identical on all the tires.

#12 wally

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 10:11 AM

95% odds that it IS the viscous center diff. symptoms you describe match what i've already been through with my legacy. i removed the rear half of the rear driveshaft and have been driving the car in fwd for over 8 months now.

#13 wally

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 10:15 AM

Are all of your tires the same size and tread wear?
If you're running odd sized tires, your viscous coupler would be working while
you driving normally.

After a fair amount of driving with odd sized tires, the coupler will get hot and lock up the center diff.
That's the reason the car will stall out on low speed turns.
The center diff isn't allowing the tires to rotate at different speeds.

Twitch


the vcd has failed. it won't get better, only worse. eventually, it'll be locked even when cold. mine began failing at appx 185K, but i didn't pull the rear d/s until appx 230K (primarily because i didn't correctly diagnose the problem until that point).

#14 LanceGillette

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 10:56 AM

I emailed the symptoms to my mechanic and here is what he says:

"Common problem on tight turns when the rear clutch (a
coupler but not fluid) in the back of the transaxle gets used up. It
will squeak worse when it needs tending. Parts are expensive, about
3 hours labor. Back of trans comes off, new parts stuffed in
(carefully)."

#15 wally

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 11:18 AM

pretty sure that would be the viscous center diff, located in the rear of the transmission. and it has fluid, thus the "viscous" descriptor, although it's sealed.

#16 Twitch de la Brat

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 04:02 PM

I emailed the symptoms to my mechanic and here is what he says:

"Common problem on tight turns when the rear clutch (a
coupler but not fluid) in the back of the transaxle gets used up. It
will squeak worse when it needs tending. Parts are expensive, about
3 hours labor. Back of trans comes off, new parts stuffed in
(carefully)."


Ok, if he's a certified Subaru mechanic I would trust this info.
I wasn't sure if it was a viscous center diff or a clutch pack.
If he says its a clutch pack, then it may be your clutch plates or the duty C
solenoid causing the issue.

Its not too uncommon to see the clutch plates fail after 150k-200k mi, nor is
it uncommon to see the duty C solenoid bite the dust either.

So if you're going to do it your self, pull the tailshaft housing and inspect the
plates for excessive wear.
If they appear to be fine, I would definitely check out the duty C solenoid.

But if you're having a mechanic do it, I HIGHLY recommend taking it to a
certified Subaru mechanic or at least a Subaru specific mechanic.

Twitch

#17 Fairtax4me

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 05:44 PM

pretty sure that would be the viscous center diff, located in the rear of the transmission. and it has fluid, thus the "viscous" descriptor, although it's sealed.


I don't think the newer ones are viscous couplers anymore. I'm not sure that there is a solenoid or control unit for the center diff though. I believe it's a simple clutch and spring setup like a typical limited slip differential uses. It is probably sealed from the rest of the transmission like the viscous unit.

Reason why, with the old viscous units you could buy the viscous coupler separate from the rest of the differential and replace it by disassembling the unit. The new ones are one piece and are unserviceable.

#18 wally

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 07:30 AM

I don't think the newer ones are viscous couplers anymore. I'm not sure that there is a solenoid or control unit for the center diff though. I believe it's a simple clutch and spring setup like a typical limited slip differential uses. It is probably sealed from the rest of the transmission like the viscous unit.

Reason why, with the old viscous units you could buy the viscous coupler separate from the rest of the differential and replace it by disassembling the unit. The new ones are one piece and are unserviceable.


ok. not familiar with the specifics of a forester. i guessed that the unit would be the same as the 1st gen legacy, since the forester is a 98, rather than a 2003 or later. my bad.

#19 edrach

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 08:11 AM

It is a manual five speed transmission.

A manual can also have torque bind when the center differential starts to fail. I had the problem in our '99 Forester. I couldn't find a used, good center diff and ultimately wound up buying a new one (around $575 plus installation).

#20 Fairtax4me

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 12:17 PM

ok. not familiar with the specifics of a forester. i guessed that the unit would be the same as the 1st gen legacy, since the forester is a 98, rather than a 2003 or later. my bad.


I though the same thing but I've read several threads about issues with these newer units. And the mention of clutch packs has come up several times as well. I can't seem to find any pictures of what's inside of one though.




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