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Troubleshooting 98 Outback


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8 replies to this topic

#1 bradktn

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 10:07 AM

Good morning! My name is Brad, and I inherited a 98 Outback automatic from my parents which I use to commute to work. I recently lent the car to a family member who took it on trip. While on the trip he had a flat and had to use the donut, and since then the car has made a loud clunk and jerked when turned hard in either direction. It does fine when traveling in a straight line. My thought is that the different size of the donut messed something up in either the rear or central differential. Any thoughts?

#2 Commuter

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 10:11 AM

If he didn't put the fuse in the FWD fuse holder under the hood, it is very likely that the center clutch pack has been damaged. It doesn't take much with these vehicles. Put the fuse in and see if your problem goes away. That will tell you. Expect about $1000 to fix.

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#3 frag

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 10:13 AM

If he drove on the doughnut at more than 50 miles an hour or/and for more than 50 or 80 miles (i dont exactly remember which), he might very well have ruined you center clutch pack and you are now suffering from "torque bind".
Dont pannic yet, cause maybe it's reversible. People here whose car have suffered from the same ailment will certainly tell you what you can try before getting into costly repairs.
Good luck.

#4 bradktn

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 10:42 AM

I was afraid of that. I assume the fuse referred to essentially turns the car in to a front wheel drive. I got both the owner's manual and a Chilton's on the car, but don't remember seeing reference made to this, though I did not read them straight through. Can I drive it as a front wheel drive with the fuse in for an extended period? Is the $1000 an estimate for having the work done? Is is something I could do myself?

#5 Commuter

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 01:11 PM

Frag is right. Do try fluid changes first. Changing the clutch pack is not really a DIY job IMO. Search on other posts regarding extended use of the FWD fuse (not that you'll get a consistent opinion).

The speed and distance for the donut spare is for both auto and manual (IIRC). That is basically a 'tire' thing. The manual uses a VC center differential, so it cannot be turned off. However, it is a bit more forgiving. The auto, you are suppose to put the fuse in as soon as you put the donut spare on the car. And the spare should go on the back only.

I didn't know this when I got my car. I found out about from this site. I couldn't believe that such an important item was buried at the tail end of the tire changing section in the manual! I did go thru the manual, but I only skimmed that section. D'OH! One would think there should be a big warning plaque right with the spare tire.

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#6 brus brother

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 06:04 PM

Hey Commuter,
That is a damn good idea about the notice attached to the donut spare.
Perhaps an idea that SOA would take under consideration. I didn't know the deal about donut preferably on rear only.
Thanks for the heads up.

Frag is right. Do try fluid changes first. Changing the clutch pack is not really a DIY job IMO. Search on other posts regarding extended use of the FWD fuse (not that you'll get a consistent opinion).

The speed and distance for the donut spare is for both auto and manual (IIRC). That is basically a 'tire' thing. The manual uses a VC center differential, so it cannot be turned off. However, it is a bit more forgiving. The auto, you are suppose to put the fuse in as soon as you put the donut spare on the car. And the spare should go on the back only.

I didn't know this when I got my car. I found out about from this site. I couldn't believe that such an important item was buried at the tail end of the tire changing section in the manual! I did go thru the manual, but I only skimmed that section. D'OH! One would think there should be a big warning plaque right with the spare tire.

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#7 [ evL ]

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 11:30 PM

I couldn't believe that such an important item was buried at the tail end of the tire changing section in the manual!


Good grief, I am glad I read this post before got a flat tire in my 98'...
I am going to find out more about this fuse deal tommorow.

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#8 Spazz698

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 05:08 AM

Oi, so if I get a flat on the front I have to change not one but two tires? Things I'm willing to do for my beloved subie. Good thing I read this now too, my car may be the most well maintained car I've ever owned but all the important factory paperwork is missing, like that notice.

#9 brus brother

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 07:24 AM

I am as lazy if not as unskilled as the rest but would it be so difficult to incorporate a dash or console mounted switch to achieve the same thing as inserting a fuse.
It would seem more user friendly than telling the average Joe or Jane that they have to start playing with fuses with images of sparks flying from 'neath the hood.
Hey Commuter, maybe you could add this to your letter to the suggestion box at SOA.




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