Is driving my 96 AWD Subaru Outback in FWD bad?


#1

I have recently been experiencing some binding when making slow turns in my 96 AWD Subaru Outback. I’m pretty sure I know what the problem is (rear-transfer casing) but have discovered a quick fix. Under the hood is a fuse box labeled FWD. Inserting a 15amp fuse diasables the AWD and puts the car in Front Wheel Drive. The binding does not occur when FWD is on. Will keeping the car in this state harm anything? I have read conflicting reports and am interested in more opinions. Thanks.


#2

I’d be worried that simply ignoring this problem will end up making it worse. Have you had anyone look at it to be sure where this “binding” is happening at? I’m not sure how well an AWD system will react to being forced into FWD mode…


#3

Our 96 standard had a mechanical Torsen ctr diff…the autos have the electronic. My guess is that that’s yours. You’re still driving the rear diff with forward motion…A dealer will want you to “fix it”. I’d be interested to know what the real deal is…can you continue to drive as is with no ill affect. My guess is no as you can’t tow them…let us know.


#4

Your '96 Subaru must have an automatic transmission. I have a similar car, and had the same problem. My independent Subaru mechanic tells me that inserting a fuse will eliminate the binding problem temporarily, but it’s not a permanent solution.

Eventually you will have to replace the transfer valve and clutch pack in the rear of the transmission. It’s about a $700 job (at least that’s what it cost me), but after that the AWD system works as it should, and what’s the point of driving a Subaru these days if it’s not AWD?

I suggest you stop fooling around and fix the car.