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Auto Tranny clutch binding


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22 replies to this topic

#1 91,93,94 Legacys

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 06:26 PM

I know this subject has been posted before, but I couldnt find it. Anyway, my 91 Legacy automatic tranny is experiencing the famous clutch binding. It may go months without it happening, and then it shows up. Just yesterday I went out to pick up a pizza and it happened. Funny thing is after coming out of the pizza joint and starting up the car, it was not binding. So it comes and goes. When it is happening and you stop put the car in park and shut off the ignition, the car jerks backwards. This only happens when its binding. I have 109k orig. miles on the tranny. Engine was replaced last year, after original engine was loosing antifreeze slowly, and I was told it had a cracked block. One morning my wife drove it to work, and she calls me on my cell and says the temp. guage is all the way up. I told her to pull over and shut the car off. She says Im gonna be late for work, and that she was only five minutes away. Sure enough the car just quit on her and stopped and would not restart. So I had the engine replaced with a 20k mile engine removed from an old mans legacy which he crashed weeks earlier. Engine runs stronger than the original engine. The weak link is the tranny in the 90, 91 and early 92 legacys. My 93 legacy auto tranny shifts smoother and has 218k orig. miles on it with no problems yet. Cross my fingers! So should I expect the tranny to break down soon. I have flushed the tranny and installed a new filter and Synthetic ATF, which only smoothed out the shifting. How much would it cost to have the clutch pack fixed or replaced. Thanks for your replies.

#2 Legacy777

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 08:30 PM

If you put a fuse in the FWD fuse holder does your problems go away?

Try that first, just to see if you can pin point it to the rear clutch packs.

#3 91,93,94 Legacys

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Posted 01 January 2004 - 05:04 PM

About a year or so ago my subaru mechanic at the time told me about the front fuse under the hood. What he told me turns out to be wrong. He told me the front fuse was to be used if you wanted to drive your car in front wheel drive only during the summer time, and to improve your gas mileage. So, not knowing, I let him put the fuse in, and I drove the car for a month or so, in FWD only. Then one day the car would not go faster than 10 mph, so I had to have it flatbedded home. I took the fuse out the next day, voila! it was fine and back in AWD. It did not bind when it was in FWD only. Now it only does it occasionally like I said. It may not happen for weeks or months, then it might happen several days in row, and sometimes comes and goes when shutting the car off and restarting it. You know when its binding cause you can feel it when turning, and when you shut off the ignition with the car in park, it jerks backwards. What do you suggest. :(

#4 Legacy777

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Posted 01 January 2004 - 08:55 PM

It's possible that leaving the fuse in all that time messed up the duty c solenoid.

That solenoid normally sees a pulsed signal. With the fuse in, it sees a constant 12v signal which closes the valve and gives you 100% to the front.

Unfortunately, to get at the duty c solenoid, you have to remove the rear extension housing, which isn't extremely difficult, but it is some work.

Here's some pics
http://www.main.expe...fer_system1.jpg
http://www.main.expe...fer_system2.jpg
http://www.main.expe...fer_system3.jpg

#5 duane b

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 01:34 PM

Just a couple of thoughts:

1. does it seem to do it more when it's cold out? does it clear up when the tranny is warm?

2. we had a slight torque bind problem that was cleared up with a tranny flush and new fluid.

3. check the air pressure and circumfrence of all of your tires. if the size is different in one of them you will get the binding problem.

good luck.

#6 91,93,94 Legacys

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 01:57 PM

Duane b, all four tires are the same brand and size, I havent checked the air pressure lately, but they all look similar. It does it whether its warm or cold. It had happened for several months, until just a week or two ago. I flushed the tranny and replaced the filter and went with the Amsoil Synthetic ATF 10 quarts. Then a month later I just drained out four quarts and refilled to make it even cleaner. A friend of mine recommended I do this a few times, so you can be sure everything is inside is clean and pure synthetic. It definitely shifts better than when I was using regular ATF and before the complete flush. I guess thats why it didint happen for several months. I guess I will check the tire air pressure and drain out four more quarts and refill. Maybe that will work. Tranny presently has 110k original miles. Thanks for your input and suggestions.

Dan!

#7 91,93,94 Legacys

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 02:01 PM

Duane b,

My last post first line was a mistake, it should read It has NOT happened in several months until recently.

Dan

#8 4FOR4

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 04:03 PM

91,93,94Legacy,

I don't know all the symptoms of your problem but the binding while turning problem is something I recently had. It felt like binding, jumping in rear of car like it was in 4 wheel drive on a dry road.

The problem was some grooveds that develop in the reduction drive gear, caused by the drive plates pushing in while going straight. Then when its time to turn they don't slide smoothly, get hung up in the little grooves and cause the binding.

If You look at Legacy777's second picture, the parts I'm talking about are #15, the reduction drive gear, and #3 the drive plate.

They weren't very deep or noticable, but after I had the old one out I could get it to do it by trying to slide plates along reduction gear.

(Excellent info Legacy777, as always)

I don't know what other problems you're experiencing, the through the turn drag was what I noticed the most.


Hope this helps. By the way it was on the 98 Outback this happened, at 133,000 miles

#9 mike golin

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Posted 22 April 2004 - 09:04 PM

I have had good luck adding Lube- Gard ShudderFixx after changing the fluid . it works like the Positraction addative in rear diffs. its cheap and usually does the trick.

#10 friendly_jacek

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Posted 24 May 2004 - 05:20 PM

About a year or so ago my subaru mechanic at the time told me about the front fuse under the hood. What he told me turns out to be wrong. He told me the front fuse was to be used if you wanted to drive your car in front wheel drive only during the summer time, and to improve your gas mileage. So, not knowing, I let him put the fuse in, and I drove the car for a month or so, in FWD only. Then one day the car would not go faster than 10 mph, so I had to have it flatbedded home. I took the fuse out the next day, voila! it was fine and back in AWD. :(


There was a recent thread on the issue of FWD being great for fuel conservation. Also, I did some reasearch and found on other sub forums that mechanics in Colorado do frequently recommend FWD fuse in summer months.
Thus, I was curious about your experience. Do you still have these binding problems? Why do you think the car would not drive with FWD? Did you see any MPG difference?
Sorry for all these questions, just want to understand the issue before trying FWD in mine.
BTW, my MPG sucks, the best I have seen was 24 MPG Hwy with cruise (2000 legacy AT). City ranges 16-20.

#11 teppichkopf

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Posted 24 May 2004 - 05:42 PM

mikeg-


Where do you put your Lube-Gard ShudderFixx?
In the trans only?
Or rear diff?
Front diff?
Both?
Is that the stuff that comes in little tubes?

#12 simbey1982

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 07:49 PM

I had the same problem with my auto....i fixed it by swapping to an MT :brow:

but there are less drastic ways of doint this....find a TCU pinout guide and check the voltage going to the duty C solenoid...you may find it drops or spikes when you get the tourque bind...if so you are looking at two things

1. A bad Duty C solenoid
2. A bad TCU

You may find some folks on here or www.NASIOC.com that have some spare TCU's or solenoids...because they are pretty expensive new...

On the sucky end if you do not get voltage spikes or drops it could be an issue with your differential or tourque converter.

Also get an alignment done and make sure your tire pressure is up to spec

Hope this helps

Cory

#13 mike golin

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Posted 01 December 2004 - 06:54 PM

mikeg-


Where do you put your Lube-Gard ShudderFixx?
In the trans only?
Or rear diff?
Front diff?
Both?
Is that the stuff that comes in little tubes?


put the lube gard in the trans only. before you do that , check to see if the yellow power light on the dash goes off when you start the car ,or if it flashes a bunch of times . that is the computer check light for the trans. [like the check engine light for the engine ].
i have replaced a few duty solenoids for the 4wd clutch lately . they fail and the clutch goes to full pressure which chatters like a 4wd truck on dry pavement.

#14 richierich

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Posted 01 December 2004 - 08:20 PM

My father also does not recommend putting the fuse in, has seen some damaged when he worked at the dealership.

I use the Limited Slip additive and fresh ATF to vehicle with true torque bind. Fixed 80% of them completely. Based on what you said though, you might have a different problem with the tailshaft housing gears. Duty Synoloid C will usually produce a code if bad.

#15 simbey1982

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 01:03 PM

duty C solenoid wont neccesarily give an error code if it is just malfunctioning...

#16 Legacy777

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Posted 09 December 2004 - 09:06 AM

duty C solenoid wont neccesarily give an error code if it is just malfunctioning...


Sure it will, if the electrical portion is hosed and not giving the right feedback.

If you have a wire toast the TCU should find that as well. If there is a mechanical issue it won't throw a code, but I'm not quite sure what mechanically would go wrong.

#17 simbey1982

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 03:28 PM

Just pointing out that mine didnt.....

#18 Rickiv

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Posted 17 December 2004 - 01:33 AM

I believe I'm experiencing the same thing (torque binding on a slow turn) on my 94 Legacy, which has 135K miles.

Question: If you install the FWD fuse and the symptoms go away, and stay away, is that an indication that the Duty Solenoid C is functioning properly?

After reading many postings on the subject, I'm convinced that I need to replace the clutch pack and/or possibly the whole extension case. I keep wondering why tire size is mentioned so often when its seems to be irrelevent to a torque bind during a turn. I can understand how it might contribute to clutch pack wear, but can't see how it would contribute to solving a binding chatter that occurs during a turn. (well, maybe if you were running 35's and blew one so had to put the spare on :))
Does anyone know of an online source for Subby parts? If you do, please email me at rickivie@aol.com There is only a quasi Subaru dealership in our town (It's actually a Chevy dealer who just started selling Subby's) and they had no idea what I was talking about when I asked for pricing on a transfer clutch pack, or even that a Subaru AWD transmission had something like that.

PS. My Mother-in-law was having the same problem with her 95 legacy, and her nephew (car salesman) convinced her to trade it in on a Toyota Camry. She has regret it every since.

#19 Legacy777

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Posted 17 December 2004 - 12:20 PM

If you're problems go away with the FWD fuse installed, the duty c solenoid is fine, and it's the extension housing/clutch packs.

Try changing the fluid and using the MT additive that has been talked about.

Tires will play a role in binding. If you have mis matched tire sizes, there can be a speed difference between the front and rear output shaft. The TCU detects this and tries to shift power around. Under normal straightline driving, the speed difference is not much, however can be great enough under turning conditions to cause problems.

check out www.subaruparts.com & www.1stsubaru.com

#20 Rickiv

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Posted 18 December 2004 - 12:05 AM

Makes sense with the tires, now that you explain it.

I'll try the fluid change first, as you suggest. Much easier than the rebuild, so it's worth a try. Can you purge the torque converter by discharging though the oil cooling line while you refill?

Thanks for the parts links. They were just the ticket!

#21 Legacy777

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Posted 18 December 2004 - 11:34 AM

Some people have undone the return line and ran the car to get all of the fluid out, and tried to keep adding fluid.

Personally, I wouldn't really bother. Just drain the fluid and refill.

#22 grossgary

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Posted 19 December 2004 - 01:28 AM

this is the first time i've read the "newer generation subaru" forum. i have an XT6 so im always in the older gen forum.

my XT6 AWD Auto has been doing this for a long time. the car will bind going around a turn. it will also shift at a higher RPM. and if i keep driving, it would never go away. if i turned the car off sometimes it goes away and sometimes it does not. i drained and refillled the tranny more than once and swapped in 3 different TCU's and none of that helped. but i did find a permanent way to get rid of this problem that works every single time on my car. as soon as i feel it binding which is generally not long after i start the car around the first turn here's how i get it to quit doing that. i turn the steering wheel all the way to the left or right, feel it binding, and turn the car off with the wheel all the way to the left or right. then start the car back up, straighten it out and that stupid freaking procedure fixes the problem EVERY time. don't ask me why, if i didn't see it and someone told me this i would add that to my list of stories not to believe. i'm a moderator at www.xt6.net and have been around many XT's and XT6's the past 10 years and i'm very familiar with this car...but i have no idea why it would do that. this past year it did it much more over the summer than now, it very rarely does it this winter. if it gets more often i'll try the fuse diagnosis and see how it reacts.

i've had mismatched tires cause binding before.

#23 Rickiv

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Posted 19 December 2004 - 11:33 PM

GREAT RESULTS!!...problem solved. I flushed 10 quarts through the tranny and added Lube-Gard Automatic Transmission Protectant. No one in town had Shutter-Fixx (small town), and after checking Lube-Gard's website it appears they recommend it rather that Shutter-Fixx when changing out the fluid. Same ingredients (LXE), but less concentrated.

Thanks so much for the advice. My 94 Legacy went from feeling like it had square tires when cornering to smooth and silky.

Great forum here!

Rick






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