This is the third time the dealership has removed and replaced the drive shaft in my 2001 subaru forester (manual transmission - 150K miles); I still have the same symptoms.
Somewhat over year ago, my car developed a notable clunking (that felt like someone with hard-toed boots was kicking the underside of the car right in the middle) whenever I started out in first gear, and especially obvious when starting out under torque conditions, such as at a slight incline or turning.
The dealer (this has been a dealer-maintained vehicle) diagnosed a failed drive shaft, which was pulled, rebuilt and replaced. The symptoms continued and the process was repeated (no charge to me the second time). Still, the symptoms remained. They seemed baffled and tightened someing - a bearing (?) which didn't seem to help. They wanted to wait until another 2001 forester showed up on their lot to compare it with mine - but this never came to be. Finally, the car developed a servere wobble (when starting out, and especially when turning), and then a scary wobble / vibration at higher speeds (40-60 mph). I took it back, wondering if perhaps it had been misdiagnosed to begin with. They tightend something and sent me on my way. But the wobble and vibration (and clunking) remained. Again, they pulled the drive shaft and replaced it with a new driveshaft. They explained it a failure of something to do with the U-joint.
The severity of the wobble is greatly diminished, but still there. The clunking is definitely still there (starting out in first gear, and accentuated by incline or turning), and the higher speed vibration seems to be abated at the moment.
Another subaru mechanic drove it with the severe wobble and, vibration and clunking and diagnosed it as a failure of the viscous coupler (about $1400 to repair). But since the drive shaft was still under warrenty, they suggested going back to the dealership.
The dealer has replaced drive shaft three times! I am wondering if the dealership misdiagnosed the problem to begin with. Or if the drive shaft problem caused or contributed to the failure of the viscous coupler (if that's what it is), or if these were two separate, but co-occurring problems.
The dealership is obviously tired of dealing me - but they never have fixed the original problem, it seems.
I'm not an aggressive driver and try to take really good care of the car - maintenance, etc.
Thank you thank you thank thank you thank you