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Subaru all wheel drive

I have a 2003 Subaru Baja purchased three years ago with 50,000 miles. It’s the first car I’ve owned with all wheel drive, and I’ve been very dissapointed with it. However, since driving another Subaru, I now realize that the all wheel drive is not working as it should. The front wheels are providing all the drive, the rear wheels seem to do nothing. I had the car looked at at the dealer two years ago, they told me the transmission was doing what it should and never went further with it. If I get stuck on an icy patch where the front wheels spin a lot, the transmission oil temperature light sometimes begins to flash. Other than this, the car seems to run and drive very well. Can someone tell me if this is going to be a really expensive repair, or is it something that can be fixed relatively inexpensively.

If it’s automatic, it’s electronically controlled and “could” be a relatively inexpensive part…If it’s manual, it may be a viscous coupling…my thought is that a “real” expensive problem would manifest itself in normal driving, That’s my take from older Sub. I had.
But listen to a real mechanic and other responses…but I do believe it’s worth looking into soon.

Since the background of a used car is always murky, I am going to offer a scenario that might be valid. If the previous owner had a flat tire at one point, he/she might have inserted the fuse that stops the AWD function and, in effect, converts the vehicle to FWD.

If you read your Owner’s Manual, you will see some text to the effect that the owner should disable the AWD while a mini-spare is mounted, and there should be a small graphic showing the location of the fuse box into which the owner inserts the appropriate fuse to do the disabling of the AWD. So, my theory is that it is possible that someone forgot to remove that fuse, thus leaving the AWD disabled.

If my fuse theory proves to be wrong, it is still possible that this is merely an electrical problem, rather than mechanical.

What VDCdriver said… that’s the first thing that popped into my head reading your post, and it would make sense if you’re not experiencing any other symptoms. It definitely wouldn’t be the first time someone forgot to remove the fuse that disables the AWD after getting a flat repaired.

Thanks for the insight. I would have thought your idea with the FWD fuse was correct except for the lack of the FWD warning light on the dash. I did check it out and found no fuse, but I think your probably right about it being some kind of electonic control problem, so I’ll have it checked out this week and see what we find.

The earlier years had a place to install a fuse and disable the AWD but I think that design went away some prior years before your model.

There may be some codes stored in the TCU that could shed some light to the problem. Hopefully this won’t cost you too much to fix but the trouble is within an area that usually runs pretty high in repair costs. I would love to have a Baha, I think they are great looking cars.