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How to tell if AWD kicks in on 03 OBW automatic transmission?


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18 replies to this topic

#1 danz75

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Posted 28 December 2004 - 09:20 PM

I just switched jobs and relocated to Washington State. Had my autos shipped which included an 03 OBW. Prior to the shipping, I made sure that the shipper knew that it was an AWD and that the car cannot under any circumstances be towed with 2 wheels off the ground. Since the cars were shipped from Ohio, the shipper informed me that it would be loaded onto a auto carrier and all 4 wheels would be off the ground.
Got the cars today and the exterior looked good. Drove it around and didn't really feel anything different. However after a while, I became aware of a low hum sound that seems to be coming from the rear. It is not very obvious but having owned the car for a long time, it stood out to me. I tried doing the turning the car thing to see if the AWD will bind up but it did not do that. Other than drive to a snowy area, is there anyway to test and see if the AWD is fine and that the rear differential has not been damaged?
Knowing that the car has been transferred a local flat bed truck that transported the car to Columbus to load it up the auto carrier and then offloaded in Tacoma and transported by another flat bed to Everett, something could have happened in between that I don't know about.
Maybe the car hasn't been driven for awhile and the car just needs warmed up?... but like they say, every car owner knows the sound that their own car makes and can tell the differences. Am I on the right track here?
Any suggestions?

#2 SevenSisters

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Posted 28 December 2004 - 10:47 PM

Drive it onto some grass, wet the grass down, and tie the 'ru to a tree. Take up any slack and give it a little gas. You'll be able to see if two wheels turn. Dirt or some other slippery surface may work too.

#3 83projectbrat

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Posted 28 December 2004 - 10:55 PM

orrrr..... the easy way is to get on a gravel road or mud of some sort, and floor it. see if you take off like a banshee and/or go sliding sideways then you know your in awd :)

#4 felipe01forester

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Posted 28 December 2004 - 11:54 PM

I can usually tell if the AWD is working on my Forester by going up a hill at about 20 in 2nd gear, then gunning it. If the car stutters, meaning the power is being shifted quickly back and forth between the wheels, then the AWD is working. And since it hasn't been doing anything different ever since I got it, then it must be working. Also, I got bogged down one time, and the shifting of the power was slow enough that I could see the back wheels turn when I accelerated, then see the front wheels kick in, then see the back wheels and the front wheels trading off with each other. Pretty cool.

#5 cookie

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Posted 29 December 2004 - 12:22 PM

at the airport for a couple of weeks. When I get back in I hear all kinds of stuff that sounds new to me. Test it for sure, but this is a fairly normal reaction to getting back in your car. I used to run Airport parking at SFO and folks would call up and swear thier car had been driven becuse it sounded different.

#6 danz75

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Posted 29 December 2004 - 01:25 PM

Well, I'm going drive into the mountains today just to test and see if the AWD is working. I have to findout because if there's anything wrong, I can still lodge my complain with the shippers (hopefully)...but I'm really hoping that nothing's wrong cause there's always going to be problems when you have to tear something up and replace parts.

THanks for the advice...

#7 mtsmiths

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Posted 29 December 2004 - 01:32 PM

Whyn't you go to a tire store, put it on the lift and put it in gear? Not as much fun, but you could then get an 'expert opinion' statement that the AWD system has failed, to use against the shipper if you need it.

#8 The Dude

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Posted 29 December 2004 - 04:48 PM

Actually there's an easy way. Those other suggestions seem like a lot of work to me. The AT is locked into AWD in first and second gears. Therefore, it's very, very difficult to "chirp" the tires or lay a patch when doing a "jack rabbit" start from a dead stop. Put a fuse in the AWD holder and do a couple of "jack rabbit" starts. You'll be able to tell the difference between AWD and 2WD in a heartbeat.

#9 simbey1982

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Posted 29 December 2004 - 05:02 PM

... You'll be able to tell the difference between AWD and 2WD in a heartbeat.


i Agree

#10 Skip

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Posted 29 December 2004 - 05:46 PM

or

use the sissors jack to jack the front driverside wheel off the ground.

start engine, engage a gear
and

see if it will drive
off the jack

#11 Ranger83

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Posted 30 December 2004 - 02:56 PM

Did you check the mileage before and after? Did it change?

#12 JT95

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 03:45 PM

Did you check the mileage before and after? Did it change?


Now, there's a thinker. :brow:


I'd get my trusty floor jack out, put the car on four jack stands, and start her up.

#13 danz75

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 07:28 PM

Took my car into Smart Service to get it checked out. Turns out that the sound that I'm hearing is from both rear wheel bearings..with the right one being louder. Now, the car is an 03 and it's got 19000 mi on it. Why would wheel bearings fail on it? Could it have been caused by the transport company and what would have to be done to cause the problem?

AWD works fine. No leaks of anysort.
I'm hoping that the dealer will accept this under the powertrain warranty. Any thoughts.

#14 cookie

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Posted 13 January 2005 - 11:28 AM

not your transport company. These were probably going before and you were just used to the sound.
I am a bit mystified by the fact that Subarus seem to have quite a lot of wheel bearing problems, but perhaps when I drove a Mercedes for 17 years people did not drive them in tough conditions as much. But I never had a wheel bearing failure on my Jeeps either in spite of off road use.

#15 knelson

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Posted 13 January 2005 - 11:48 PM

Turns out that the sound that I'm hearing is from both rear wheel bearings..with the right one being louder. (snip...) Could it have been caused by the transport company and what would have to be done to cause the problem?

Yes, it could've been done by the transport company... in theory.

Not sure exactly how those car carriers secure their load (your car) to their carrier, but let say they hook to your car's frame or tow hooks and ratchet it down to the carrier. In other words, they could *possibly* load up the bearings more than just your car's weight. Now... as the car is crossing the country on the carrier, you wheel bearings are seeing some funky vibrations that wheel bearings normally are not supposed to see. In addition, they're not turning. In other words, they're just sitting there vibrating in the same spot, eventually wearing through the thin-film lubrication and you're getting metal to metal contact. These are all things that bearings really REALLY don't like.

Granted, car carriers transport calls all over the place, all the time... with no incident. But I'm just thinking out loud here. If your bearings were marginal to start with (as said earlier, Subaru rear wheel bearings seem problematic) this scenario might have pushed them over the edge.

Just a thought,
kurt

#16 cookie

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Posted 14 January 2005 - 12:07 AM

with very much load. The air suspension in most car carrier trucks tends to give the car a better ride than it gets on its own. I have had many vehicles transported and any usual problem would be a dent. After 30 years of transportation experience I have never heard of a car carrier damaged wheel bearing.
I would not wish to be the person who tries to file a claim like that. Your senario does sound plausible but would require a very sympathetic insurance person at the carrier.

#17 danz75

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Posted 14 January 2005 - 12:26 AM

That was precisely my thought. When I heard that noise, my first thought was maybe the AWD was damaged. Wheel bearings did come to mind but with only 19k mi, I didn't think that was possible...plus that was about 1-2 mi difference in mileage when the car was delivered. I know that the cars probably changed hands at min 3 times..local carrier to national carrier to local carrier again.
I am not going to try to claim that with the transport company but rather with the powertrain warranty cause since there has been no accidents, there is no possible way that the bearings could have been subject to un-natural stresses that would cause it to fail.
Well, I take the car in Monday and we'll see what happens.


with very much load. The air suspension in most car carrier trucks tends to give the car a better ride than it gets on its own. I have had many vehicles transported and any usual problem would be a dent. After 30 years of transportation experience I have never heard of a car carrier damaged wheel bearing.
I would not wish to be the person who tries to file a claim like that. Your senario does sound plausible but would require a very sympathetic insurance person at the carrier.



#18 knelson

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Posted 15 January 2005 - 12:54 AM

I would not wish to be the person who tries to file a claim like that. Your scenario does sound plausible but would require a very sympathetic insurance person at the carrier.


I agree 100%. I wouldn't even think of trying to make a claim based on the scenario I threw out. Even if you had the most sympathetic claims person around, I don't think you'd get anything but a blank stare followed by a brief snicker out of them!

I was just putting forth a possibility, and not trying to give someone ammo to file a false/unsupported claim.

-kurt

#19 cookie

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Posted 15 January 2005 - 05:49 PM

certainly should be covered by warranty.




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