My ‘02 Subaru Outback died at a stoplight after having been jumped. Had a friend come and jump it again and left the cables on for longer and she runs fine. However, while stalled in the middle of the road in a hot car with a small baby I may have gotten a little aggressive with the gear shift when it locked up. It shifts into gear fine but at low speed particularly when breaking up to lights there’s a clicking ratcheting sound coming from the center front of the car. Any ideas to what I broke, how bad it is, and how to fix it?
That’s a weird symptom. If you have an automatic transmission, it’s possible I suppose the parking pawl got knackered. But that’s about all I can think of. If you broke the gearshift linkage – which is possible in this situation – some the gear selections wouldn’t work, but that’s not your symptom.
If you have an automatic you could try this. Find an empty parking lot that has a slight slope. Face the Outback downhill, then put it in P , foot on the brakes, parking brake off, engine off. It’s not moving, right? Now let your foot off the brake. The car should move slightly forward, then stop. Hear any weird sounds during that? Now shift to N. The car should begin to move. Hear any weird sounds as it begins to move?
Also verify this noise is only heard with the car moving, and not parked and idling, or rev’d and idling.
Parking pawl malfunction was my first thought too. Could be in your temporary happiness you dorked up the shift linkage/park pawl.
Thanks for the quick responses fellas. I’ll give it a shot when I get off work and update here
Parking pawl seems to operate as normal. Holds the vehicle on an incline. Noise is present moving in neutral and not during idle. I would describe it as a clicking or ratcheting, varying with vehicle speed.
Has either one of the front halfshafts been replaced? Those can be kind of touchy for someone who is not familiar with a quirk or two on them.
Note the stub axle sticking out below the yellow handle on the fluid dipstick. It is splined and can cause a clicking or ratcheting noise if there is an issue with them. Hopefully there won’t be a problem with the stub axles because replacement requires transmission disassembly. Problems are very rare with these but it does happen and especially if someone didn’t know about the quirk.