Subaru brakes apply by themselves in reverse

I test drove a 1997 Subaru Legacy wagon. The car is in good shape aside from a strange thing. I pulled up to a curb, turned the steering wheel all the way to the right, and put the car in reverse to back into a driveway to turn around. As the car moved back the brake slowly applied until it was fully engaged. I could not back up any further. My foot was nowhere near the brake. The parking brake handle was down (not applied). I put the car in drive and it moved forward with no hang up, accelerating just fine. Then I tried it in drive, braking at a slow speed with the wheel turned all the way to the left. The same thing happened. As I rolled forward (with the wheel cut all the way) the brake applied slowly until it was applied all the way, not letting me move any further forward. Put it in reverse and it rolled smoothly backward. Put it in drive and it moved fine. What the heck???

Did you remove this car from your list?

Don’t buy without a Subaru without a Subaru mechanic checking it out (applies to all makes,use a mechanic who specializes in the car you want checked out).

How do you know it was the brakes keeping the car from moving in reverse?

It sounds to me like a problem with the center differential, which is going to be an extremely expensive problem. I’d probably take it off my list, but definitely do not buy it without figuring out this problem.

I concur. This is a likely issue with the soldnoid pack (automatic AWD) or center differential(manual AWD and rarer issue) causing torque bind.

If this car interests you take it to a qualified Subaru shop and get an estimate. The clutch pack is not a big deal $500-$800 that be used in negotiation.