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bendecker

96 legacy wagon auto - hard driving until FWD fuse installed

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Having sudden problems with my 1996 legacy  -- 240k miles and an auto transmission. I've searched all over the place and see a lot of issues with torque binding while turning (I did have that some many thousands of miles ago and it was the duty c solenoid), but this is different.  It "binds" just driving straight.

 

It started with backing out of parking space while turning, an odd clunk that sounded like it was coming from the rear, then the car was very hard to turn but -- and this is the part that has me puzzled -- very hard to simply drive straight. It's like the parking brake is on.

 

Also, when in gear and decelerating, it would make this hard-pumping, rhythmic "braking" pulse. It wasn't the brakes (hence the quotes), it was something in the drivetrain. But it felt like someone was pumping the brakes or popping it very quickly in and out of a lower gear.

 

I put a fuse into the FWD fuse holder and the problems went away.

 

Any ideas? My first guess is clutch plates. But, I've not seen anyone with trouble simply driving straight in all the  posts I've found.

 

Thanks for any help!

 

   -Ben

Edited by bendecker

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Well even if you live in nebraska, eventually you have to make a turn.

 

You may have an underinflated or mis matched tire, but yes you have torque bind. When it gets rather advanced even driving straight can be difficult on a paved surface.

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Have you checked or changed the fluid in the rear differential recently? Might check to see if its full of glitter.

 

Torque bind returning like that suggests the transfer drum has grooves worn into it from the clutch plates.

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first things first, change the trans fluid.

do a drain and fill 3 times with driving in between.

it only cost about $15 par gal for the AFT and it cannot hurt.

 

it might help.

 

but binding when going straight SHOULD not happen unless you have an odd tire.

the clunking does sound like something is hanging up.

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All tires are in good shape, all the same, and fully inflated. The odd thing is it came on so suddenly and so severely. Time to check the fluids for glitter...

Edited by bendecker

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is the drivetrain binding at all.....carrier bearing in the driveshaft...but i'd certainly expect noise if it was that bad.

 

sounds like something odd with the clutch/hub/drum set up in the rear extension housing but hopefully not....

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Given that the problem goes away completely when the FWD fuse in in place this ins't likely but it's worth it to pull the rear driveshaft and check the carrier bearing and the universal joints in it. If one fails, especially the front one, while driving, bad things happen.  VERY unlikely that this is all of the problem since the FWD fuse alters the symptoms but given how easy it is to pull the driveshaft and given how large a pain in the butt it is to do on the side fo the road, not to mention the damage caused if it let's go at speed, it's worth at least checking.

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I decided to take it to a mechanic. They just called to say they removed the FWD fuse and could not recreate the symptoms. Hmmmm..... I'm going to head down there in a couple of hours to take a test drive with them. The saga continues...

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I decided to take it to a mechanic. They just called to say they removed the FWD fuse and could not recreate the symptoms. Hmmmm..... I'm going to head down there in a couple of hours to take a test drive with them. The saga continues...

Given that torque bind symptoms and rear drivetrain symptoms can be rather intermittant, you can spend a lot of money chasing down the cause at a mechanic.   The part about it acting like the parking brake is on is definitely torque bind related, I had my 91 do that a couple of times, clang/clunk included.  Definitely do yourself a favor though and have the rear driveshaft checked, both universal joints and the carrier bearing. Like I said before, it's not likely to be the whole problem, but it can be contributing and the results of letting it go too far are very much not fun.

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I'll definitely give it the once-over (driveshaft, fluids, u-joints, etc.) as best I can. I drove it home and there were no signs of any problem at all. It drove like it always has. Weird...

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I'll definitely give it the once-over (driveshaft, fluids, u-joints, etc.) as best I can. I drove it home and there were no signs of any problem at all. It drove like it always has. Weird...

Only way to check the u-joints on the driveshaft is to remove it. Not hard at all to do though.

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