Car seems to brake when turned sharply

subaru
outback

#1

When I turn my 2005 Subaru Outback sharply, especially when in reverse, it seems to brake without my touching the brake pedal. About the same time it started, the automatic transmission would give a slight jump when shifting into or out of neutral. Took it to one shop, they said I needed a new transmission, $3000 + $1500 to install. Took it to another shop, they fixed my differential for only $800. But they didn’t fix the seeming braking, and had no suggestion as to what was going on. The nearest dealer is 150 miles away and I haven’t been able to get there at the right time on a weekday. Any ideas?


#2

How many miles on your Outback, and how many times has the transmission fluid been changed?

It sounds like you’re having a problem with the AWD transfer valve and clutch, which is located in the rear of the transmission. When the valve wears the clutch does not disengage when it should, and the front and rear axles will “bind” on tight, slow turns.

You need a Subaru-savvy mechanic for this.

What did they “fix” in the differential for “only” $800? And which differential did they “fix?” For that much you could have had the transfer valve and clutch replaced. Sometimes a transmission fluid change will improve operation of the valve. Sometimes.

Try this: Insert a fuse into the FWD receptacle under the hood. The owner’s manual will help you find the receptacle. This will disengage the rear drive. If the “braking” feeling goes away with a fuse inserted, the problem is definitely the AWD transfer valve.

Post back and let us know what you discover.


#3

I believe that mcparadise is right on target with his diagnosis.
As to the cause, this car was likely run for an extended period of time with mismatched tires and/or tires that were not rotated on a consistent basis.

The one part of mcparadise’s post that might be confusing to the OP is the part about inserting the FWD fuse, in order to deactivate the AWD mechanism. If you have a 4-cylinder Outback, this is what you should do. However, if you have a six-cylinder Outback (which utilizes a totally different AWD mechanism), you cannot deactivate the AWD system by inserting a special fuse. There is no provision for this on Outbacks with the VTD AWD system.

In any event, you need to take the car to a mechanic who is very familiar with Subarus, not to a “generalist” who may work on these cars only a few times per year.


#4

If your tires are not matched in size/brand/model/treadwear your first step is to get four matched tires. Your tires should always be replaced in sets of four, not in pairs ever.

This will cause this very issue.

Ignore your local shops. It could be the differential but more likely is something called the clutch pack at the end of your transmission(assuming automatic). This repair typically runs between $600-$1000 dependent on local conditions.

If you have the owners manual see if it mentions a procedure for putting on a spare tire and inserting a fuse. If it does follow that and see if symptom disappears. If yes your clutch pack has failed.


#5

I keep forgetting about the 6-cylinder cars. Thanks for the reminder.