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xbeerd

'02 Outback, 4EAT, delayed power to rear wheels?

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i am not sure what to search for on this and what i did search for didnt seem to find the right stuff. 

 

whats happening is that when driving in the snow, i'll give the car gas, and the front wheels will spin and then a few seconds later the power is transferred to the rear end and it drives as usual.    I also have noticed when backing out of a parking spot (while turning) i feel like i drag a front wheel (front wheel)

 

what is a cause/remedy of this?   i had a small fluid leak (up at the hose connection at the radiator) but i topped off the fluid and it seems no change to the issue.    would this be a Duty C solenoid?  

 

 

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How many miles and is this a Limited model?

 

Does the rear seem to clunk in after the delay and is the delay REALLY a few seconds (that's a long time) as you say or a lot shorter?

 

The reason I ask is that I have a 2001 OB Ltd that has always seemed to have a delay in the rear wheel engagement when compared to our older 95, 97 and 99 Subarus. I was convinced there was something going on whenever I accelerated hard in snow it would seem to be slower to respond in the rear. I finally tracked it down to the limited slip rear that was standard on the Limited models in 2001 models. it's a viscous clutch system, not a true closed differential gearing setup. The rear has a slight delay in working compared to a true limited slip closed rear. It made it seem as if the rear wasn't working but the limited slip would kind of clunk and the I could tell the rear was "locked" and spinning both rear wheels.

 

Test the front wheel drag by putting a fuse in the FWD plug under the hood to disable the AWD and see it it changes the problem.

Edited by Suzam

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Have you recently put in a trans or had some trans work done?

 

Did this problem start suddenly?

 

FWD fuse test is 1st thing to try, as said.

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its not a limited, and its the original untouched trans, 162k in it,  when we got the car a few years ago i had a tranny fluid change. (that was like in 2009 or so)

 

i honestly dont know if this is a new problem, my wife normally drives the car and i just recently started driving it this winter as of the first of the year.  she wouldnt notice this happening as she is pretty oblivious to car problems :/

 

it made the clunk sound, then i added some fluid and the clunk went away but still felt like a delay.

 

 

i'll try the FWD fuse and see if that makes a difference.

Edited by xbeerd

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 I totally missed that it is a 2002. The limited slip rear came standard on all Outback models starting 2002 not just the LTD model, so my remarks do apply.

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so, since im not well versed in transmission terms.. however i do have a partially disassembled trans from a 2005 Impreza RS 4eat on the floor in my garage, would this be the pack of stacked plates (like a motorcycle clutch) in the rear section of the transmission?   is all that is required a replacement of those plates? or is there something else more involved?

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The clutchpack you see is indeed the transfer clutch.

 

Delayed engagement could be the solenoid, a sticky transfer valve, or a grooved clutch basket. Less likely to be the solenoid.

 

Does the ATF temp light flash when you turn the key on?

 

If the valve is sticky or crapped up, running the engine and putting in/removing the FWD fuse a bunch of times might free it up. Not sure anyone has ever seen that valve stick, but who knows. It's finicky enough it even has it's own little screen filter.

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"I also have noticed when backing out of a parking spot (while turning) i feel like i drag a front wheel (front wheel)"

 

just to be certain, are all the tires the same? same model and same wear-level?

What he (^^^) said.

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hi guys, sorry to fall off the earth. 

 

tires are all the same and i havent noticed any abnormal wearing of any of them more than another.

 

the ATF light comes on and goes off like normal when i start the car.  and doesnt come back on at all.

 

where is that screen filter?  is it easy to access thru the bottom pan? or need the tail section removed?

 

i have yet to try the fwd switch checks as its been quite a busy/crazy winter

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i remember hearing about cleaning a little screen when i was having issues with my last outbacks trans, but never knew what they were talkin about.

 

last cars trans was blinking a code 16 (or 31?) i cant recall but the car got T-boned before i had a chance to investigate it further.

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That screen is indeed bolted to the valve body and can be accessed by removing the pan. Not too much to it, tho. Transmissions don't generate a lot of sludge and the screen doesn't trap anything - it just keeps the big pieces from getting into the pump. From there fluid flow eventually puts it thru the spin on filter. The point is that the magnet in the bottom of the pan catches most of the iron filings, and the rest floats around in the pan. 

 

Since there isn't any carbon buildup or junk from the intake system getting flushed past the rings like the engine, the trans stays pretty clean. Dexron being 60% detergent keeps a lot of stuff in suspension and won't let it accumulate. 

 

There is a TSB on delayed shifting on the Phase II 4EAT and it was an engineering choice to improve mileage, It's not a tightly valved transmission that instantly responds to control, more like a polite "I'm getting to it." and it's noticeable if you switch from a Detroit make back and forth. Same for downshifting under power - the trans computer gets into economy mode and it will take a two-count getting around to it. You have to drive it in third for awhile to improve the downshift, or do it manually with a poke at the accelerator pedal. All known symptoms of it being Subaru, not so much a symptom of it being a malfunction.

 

The line pressure has something to do with it, when the solenoid or dropping resistor fail, you can count on it shifting a lot harder and with no finesse. That is another way to test for the source of the problem - disconnect the resistor and you should experience it going to limp mode, hard early shifts, stuck in 2 or 3rd, with a constantly flashing AT TEMP light and throw a P0748 code, at least in a 99.  If the trans mechanically fails, none of the sensors "see" it and you get limp mode with no codes. 

 

No need to ask how I know. Anyway, if your lag is more than normal, it might be hard to assess over the internet. You could add a can of transmission cleaner to see if it sharpens up the shifting action, cheap solution first. If it does nothing, then varnish or sludge isn't likely the culprit. 

 

I have three Subaru AWD vehicles in the yard, 98,99,01, they all seem to shift the same, just a bit of lag and certainly less sharp than a 03 Caravan. It has the least mileage, which is another factor - transmissions with a lot of miles just run a bit softer and less crisp. The newer one I've installed seems to have it a little better than the older with 220k on it when it failed. 

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The last one I fixed with this problem the oring that seals the tail shaft housing to trans had fallen out of place when trans was rebuilt also if that oring is old and flatend out

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Yeah, if that big flat o-ring is leaking, that could delay the AWD kicking in.

 

The screen filter I was talking about is shoved into a passage behind the AWD valve.

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well, i might have an answer to one of my issues, the cv started clickin pretty good the other day.

 

i agree its hard to diagnose somethign over the internet if it isnt a standard problem.

 

its definately not in gimp mode. i definately know how fun that is to drive in.

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I would start with a full tranny flush, as that can work wonders in a subaru transmission.

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yeah, thats one of the things on my list of things to do once it gets to a reasonable temperature.  getting tired of this cold rump roast weather.

 

EDIT:  you in NY, probably are getting just as bent about weather as i am!

Edited by xbeerd

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