Jump to content

Welcome to Ultimate Subaru Message Board, my lurker friend!

Welcome to Ultimate Subaru Message Board, an unparalleled Subaru community full of the greatest Subaru gurus and modders on the planet! We offer technical information and discussion about all things Subaru, the best and most popular all wheel drive vehicles ever created.

We offer all this information for free to everyone, even lurkers like you! All we ask in return is that you sign up and give back some of what you get out - without our awesome registered users none of this would be possible! Plus, you get way more great stuff as a member! Lurk to lose, participate to WIN*!
  • Say hello and join the conversation
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get automatic updates
  • Get your own profile and make new friends
  • Classifieds with all sorts of Subaru goodies
  • Photo hosting in our gallery
  • Meet other cool people with cool cars
Seriously, what are you waiting for? Make your life more fulfilling and join today! You and your Subaru won't regret it, we guarantee** it.

* The joy of participation and being generally awesome constitutes winning
** Not an actual guarantee, but seriously, you probably won't regret it!

Serving the Subaru Community since May 18th, 1998!

Guest Message by DevFuse

- - - - -

1988 GL Wagon 4WD Issues

  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 skraft


    New User

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts
  • Rochester

Posted 14 February 2007 - 06:13 PM

Hello all,

I am a newbie, so if this topic has been discussed elsewhere, I'd appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction. I did some browsing but didn't find anything.


Anyhow, I have an '88 GL with 174k miles. It is running fine now, in 2WD. The snow is piling up and I want to be able to use 4WD - HI. I have tried to put it into 4WD mode with the car on a flat surface, engine running, in neutral, stopped. (Should I be using the clutch?) The dash acknowledges the change and shows me it is in 4WD. However, once I start moving, I hear all sorts of bad noises and feel some resistance driving. This was not encouraging, so I put the car back into 2WD. It was difficult to get it back into 2WD, and required me to put it into 4, then 2, and back a few times.

I got the car used, and I'm assuming 4WD was just not used for a long time, and that the parts are not lubricated, or something like this. Is this a common problem? Should I just stay in 2WD forever? If I run it in 4 for a mile or so will this go away (I'm a bit afraid to try this)? What should I do?

As a note, the transmission fluid was checked recently and was clean and full. Is there a separate fluid I should be checking?



#2 Prospeeder


    Subaru Fanatic!

  • Members
  • 487 posts

Posted 14 February 2007 - 07:15 PM

umm did you do it on dry pavemnt, or what, try doing it on like loose gravel or somthing to test, pavement puts ALOT of stress on the system and makes it near impossible to get out of 4WD because it all binds up on the dry pavment and makes noises and wont come out.

#3 Skip


    Flatuous Blather

  • Moderator
  • 8,991 posts
  • Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Posted 14 February 2007 - 07:28 PM

all four tires must be the same size

the same inflation psi
preferably the same manufact.

Have you checked this?

#4 zyewdall


    Subaru Master

  • Members
  • 2,136 posts
  • Ward, CO

Posted 14 February 2007 - 10:05 PM

I don't think that the subaru can loose lubrication when in 2wd. Unlike most 4wd's, the rear (equivalent to the front in most 4wds) driveline and differential still turn all the time -- no freewheeling hubs, so it would stay lubricated.

Make sure all the tires are the same, and don't put it in 4wd on pavement. If it gets stuck in 4wd (usually because I have to pull out onto a paved road while turning, but am turning from an icy road that I need it to be in 4 wheel drive in order to pull out), what I usually do is get my right wheels on an icy or gravel patch along the road while I'm coasting and pulse the brakes hard enough to momentarily skid one wheel while pushing the lever down. Usually goes right back into 2wd. If you take tight turns on pavement in 4wd, it can be a bear to get back in 2wd, and that's really not good for the drivetrain either.

I'd also look underneath and make sure everything looks okay - just to be sure. Usually you can feel the binding if in 4wd on pavement, but I've never heard noises.

#5 mikeshoup



  • Members
  • 2,196 posts
  • Edgewater, CO

Posted 14 February 2007 - 10:37 PM

As was said before, all four tires need to be the same circumference. That's tread wear, inflation pressure, sometimes even tread pattern can affect it.

Also, it should never be used on dry pavement. Will cause binding and bad things.

#6 old sub freak

old sub freak

    USMB is life!

  • Members
  • 310 posts
  • mt vernon,washington

Posted 14 February 2007 - 10:54 PM

i say amen on the tire size as well.i have bought a subaru wagon with a "bad"tranny.only to notice different size tires.i put on new tires all the same size and it fixed the bad tranny.as far shifting out of 4x4 just go in a straight line for a short time and it should pop right out.the differnt size or even tread style can make shifting in or out very hard. good luck,todd

#7 skraft


    New User

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts
  • Rochester

Posted 15 February 2007 - 03:37 PM

Thank you all for the prompt responses.

I'm curious why 4WD isn't for use all the time (e.g. on dry surfaces)? Luckily it's snowing like crazy here in Rochester, so it will be a great time to try all of your recommendations. I'll be sure to check the tires for their model consistency and pressure.

Let's hope I can get it back in 2-wheel afterwards!


#8 nvexplorer


    USMB is life!

  • Members
  • 199 posts
  • Reno

Posted 15 February 2007 - 03:52 PM

The reason for the 4wd not being happy when used on dry pavement is the system that Subaru uses. When 4wd is engages the same amount of power goes to the front and rear wheels. If you go around a corner in four wheel drive the rear diff will make up the turning difference for the rear wheels and the front will take care of the front likewise, but there is no center differential to make up the difference in distance traveled between the front and rear differentials on a part time 4wd system. A full time 4wd or awd system does have a center diff to allow the front and rear to travel different distances. Same goes for having different size tires on front and rear. One travels one distance and one travels a different difference putting mucho strain on the drivetrain.

4WD + dry pavement is similar to :Flame: +:banana: =:dead:

#9 Skip


    Flatuous Blather

  • Moderator
  • 8,991 posts
  • Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Posted 15 February 2007 - 03:56 PM

because there is no center differential.
Front set of wheels are locked in the same rotational
speed (angular velocity) as the rear.

Since when you go around a turn there is a difference in the
track the front and rear take, some slippage has to occur to prevent the binding of the center drive unit.

If it will not come out of 4wd, back the car up about twenty feet
or spin the wheels (after shifting to 2wd) on a very snowy section

#10 skraft


    New User

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts
  • Rochester

Posted 23 February 2007 - 06:29 PM

Big thanks guys. Tried it on the snow and it worked like a gem. Car drives just great in the snow, and shifts right back into 2WD with no problems.



0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users