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auto trans 4wd problems


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8 replies to this topic

#1 jdemaris

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Posted 19 October 2003 - 09:56 PM

I've been driving 4wd Loyales for years and they've been great. Usually run then until they get so rusty the rear springs break though the wheel wells. I've got a dozen wagons up in my personal junkyard that all met that fate. Anyway, my question. All my Subaru 4wds were stick shift, but now I've got two automatic wagons - an 87 and a 93. Worst Subarus I've owned. Gutless, fuel mileage stinks, and the 4wd barely works in either. Have to revv it up to get any power to the rear wheels. I'm assuming the hydraulic clutch pack tends to burn out for the rear-drive in these automatic transmissions. Question is, can I access the clutch pack and replace it witout removing the transmission?
Also, about the fuel mileage. All my stick-shift wagons averaged around 22 m.p.g in cold weather with four deep lug studded snow tires in a mountainous area and would get up to 26 on the highway. These automatics I have now are awful. Cold weather, I average around 16-17 m.p.g. Seems rediculous. My big Chevy diesel Suburban does just as well. Anyone else experienced this? I can't figure where the fuel goes; what goes in must come out, right? No tank leaks, no visible exhaust smoke, no excess heat anywhere . . . where the heck does the gas go?

#2 ScoobieNoobie

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 02:04 PM

I have an 89 GL touring wagon with 4wd and 3spd auto. I can't answer your first question, but your mileage seems a bit low. I get about 23-24 on the combined cycle so 16-17 seems low to me. When was the last tune up?

You are right about the gutless comment though. I feel like I sometimes need to wait until the intersection is ENTIRELY clear before I'll pull out. That's OK, it's my wifes car and she likes it so I can't complain.

#3 jdemaris

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 08:58 PM

The 87 has been tuned as much as possible. New timing belts, plugs, several intial timing settings tried. Runs fine, spark plugs burn very clean, just bad on gas. Even took the carburetor of another 87 wagon I junked this spring due to rust and tried it on this car - as an experiment. The one I junked got 23-26 m.p.g. but was a 5 speed stick. This car still got the same lousy mileage it got with its original carb. It's kind of baffling, but I'm new to Subarus with automatics. Coming to the conclusion that I never want another.
The 4wd drive only working partially is a real problem, and not something I ever had to think about with standard shift. My 85 and 86s had 5 speeds and hi-low ranges, which I need around here. When I starting driving an 87 5 speed without the hi-lo, it got problematic. Going up a steep hill with a foot of snow, and then have to come to a stop for something, and then try to go again - barely had enough power to get going without slipping the clutch. Geared too high. So . . . since I was unable to find another with a hi-lo range, I decided to try automatic. Big mistake. Totally different drive system to the rear wheels. Best I can figure, with the automatic, it's pretty easy to be driving in 4wd and not realize it. With the sun shining, you can hardly see the indicator light on the dash. The hydraulic clutch pack slips enough that it's not real noticable, and easy to burn out. With a standard shift, if accidentally put into 4wd on pavement, you know it right away.
I was telling my postmaster about my automatic/4wd probems since she just got a 94 Loyale automatic 4wd wagon for mail delivery. She hasn't driven her's in the winter yet. I tried her car out on a wet field, and sure enough, her 4wd doesn't work either. So, that's three I found so far. It MUST be a common problem.

#4 subyfreak

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 02:21 AM

I feel your pain! I curently have a 87 auto 4wd that gets about 20mpg on a good day. Also snapped a front cv shaft and thought I would remove it and drive it in 4wd or rwd for a while. What a joke! The car would hardly move (slipping rear clutch). My old 5sp dual range was driven like that for years=fun doughnuts. Damn I miss my real 4wd suby. Good news is the auto version seems to hold up to LOTS of abuse to. Sorry this isn't much help just giving my 2 cents.

#5 86subaru

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 05:23 AM

my 88 turbo full time 4wd wagon gets 23 mpg city 25 hi , running the ac, as far as hp not to bad, it will out run my 88 spfi 5sp wagon

#6 nipper

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 09:01 AM

The pre 95 automatics were gutless wonders, but then again, so was all other 4 cylinder automatics of the period.
I went from a 88 to a 98 and man what a huge differnce, the 88 was a 5 sp d/r, the 98 an automatic.
The clutchpack has a design fault that subaru rectified, but i dont know what will bolt in, but i have been told its something you can do yourself, if you have the part.
Search on torque bind and you wil find refernces to it.

nipper

#7 zyewdall

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 09:50 AM

Why not take a 5 speed dual range out of one of the rusted ones, and replace the automatic?

#8 NorthWet

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 12:29 PM

... The clutchpack has a design fault that subaru rectified, but i dont know what will bolt in, but i have been told its something you can do yourself, if you have the part.
Search on torque bind and you wil find refernces to it.

nipper

I do not think that is relevant to his problem. Since he did not mention that they were Turbos, he almost certainly has the 3-speed automatic (aka 3AT). These are pushbutton-actuated 4WD, not AWD.

If it is the 3AT, there are common issues with them, most easily solved. Our SPFI sedan with a 3AT gets 30mpg in mostly 50-60MPH driving; out Turbo 3AT gets about 20mpg, but there is a tuneup issue involved.

#9 nipper

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 12:32 PM

Oh ok i didnt realize that, if its pushbutton then i would think its just a control issue and not a mechanical issue with the 4WD system itself.nipper




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