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Subaru 1996 Whining noise from transmission?

Hi there-

I have a Subaru Outback Impreza 1996 in which I just replaced the rear differential due to a FIRE in the area. I know, amazing. But probably not so amazing if you’re familiar with Subarus.

Anyways, there is still this whining noise that seems to be motion dependent. By that I mean to say that the noise continues even when I put the car into neutral (oh, and the car is Automatic). I took my mechanic for a ride this evening and he seems to think it might either be a transmission problem (clutch?) or the tires (uneven wear, old bearings, etc). He seems to think the noise is coming from the center front but I’m not convinced. It’s true that the tires are showing tread.

The thing to note is, there seems to be a tug on the car that wasn’t there before (that is, something seems to be slowing it down, holding it back!).

Any help would be much appreciated! I just paid over $1000 to get my rear differential replaced and so I’m hoping this sound isn’t still associated with that! Also the rack and pinion needs repair/replacement-- just putting that out there if it serves to connect anything… Since the car is getting old, I might want to get rid of it… Could it be beyond reasonable repair??



Check the final drive oil level on the transmission. (proper name, transaxle)
This is not the same as the transmission fluid. Whining and tugging are a symptom of little or no oil and usually precedes a catastrophic bang.

Little gear oil usually means someone has drained it by mistake or there is an internal seal leak.

Alright, I’ll check that. Thanks a lot.

oh, and I hope you understand it’s an all wheel drive (AWD). Is the transaxle fluid still relevant?

Yes, and I would advise the car not be driven until the final drive oil level is verified to be where it should be.

Maybe the pics will illustrate this a bit better. Note in the top pic you see a yellow object in the front middle of the transaxle. That is the final drive oil level dipstick.
Hypoid oil goes there; not transmission fluid.