My 2005 Subaru Outback wagon equipped with manual transmission is exhibiting some difficult to diagnose drivetrain issues that have been getting (slowly and progressively) worse. I’m planning on taking it into the shop next week, but I just thought I’d run my question past the Gurus first.
The car’s mileage is approaching 150K and I’ve had it since about 40K. Over the years I’ve replaced front axle and joint assemblies several times due to cracked boots, so I think the CVs should be fine. The car is due (overdue) to have its shocks and struts replaced as it’s getting a little bouncy and floaty at highway speeds.
Over the past 60K miles or so it’s started going through tires faster than it should (excessive wear and cupping on outside edges) seems to be worse on the left side.
This winter I noticed that the car began lurching, skipping, “crab-walking,” when I crank the steering wheel hard left or right and turn the car (getting into and out of parking spaces etc.) Mainly it does this on slick surfaces, but it will occasionally do it on hard/dry surfaces as well. My local mechanic changed the fluid in the viscous couplings (clutch-packs), but this hasn’t helped the situation.
The car also feels like the clutch for the transmission may be finally wearing out because it’s started “slipping” a bit in the last few weeks. Oddly, the clutch on this car has never felt strong in the time I’ve owned the car and occasionally would slip (once every couple of months, say) even when I first bought the car at 40K. Anyway, the other day it slipped/lurched about 10-12 times in one short trip of about 12 miles (roundtrip)–but then (just as strange) seemed fine again the next day on an equal length trip.
So, I guess my question is, do you think this clutch slipping and “settling-in” sensation I’m experiencing is in fact the clutch or perhaps something else in the drive train that is making the AWD couplings slip?
The car also has a tendency to pull a little to the left (from the rear of the car) at highway speeds when going over uneven or bumpy road surfaces. I was thinking that all AWD cars might do this with bad shocks, but it seems like there’s something bigger going on here.
So, that’s it. Lots of expensive problems, where to start? Looking forward to the communities thoughts/insights. I noticed someone else had posted about a car with similar symptoms that were cured by repairing a rear axle drifting problem.