Subaru Differential Binding


The Tappet Brothers correctly identified the problem with torque binding on a Subaru this past weekend. Since I own a '96 Legacy, I know of this problem. Even a worn tire will cause clicking on this AWD car.

But, the owner could remove the AWD fuse on the engine firewall and drive in Front Wheel Drive mode forever and a day, getting it fixed when she could afford it. It’s possible a change of gear oil would have helped as well.

Lots of people that own Subarus are greatful for the site for info.


Inserting a fuse, not removing it, disables the AWD system on Subarus. I also own a '96 Legacy, and have had this problem.

Automatic transmission Subarus have a transfer valve and clutch pack, which wear out eventually, and need to be replaced. When the clutch pack and transfer valve are worn, the AWD system will bind up in tight turns.

It’s not an inexpensive repair, but it’s worth the money to have the AWD system working correctly. After all, what’s a Subaru without a fully functional AWD system?


Oops, that’s right, my mistake, you do insert the fuse.

Maybe she doesn’t need the AWD. I’m in Southern Georgia now, not sure if I’ll really be able to utilize it myself.


This measure only works on automatic Subaru AWD.

Fortunately the problem is very rare on manual transmission Subaru AWD’s.