Subaru, Lurching in slow tight turns

97 Outback, 143 K, auto. 2.2,
When in a tight turn in a parking lot or doing a U turn, the car lurches, like my p.u. does when in 4 wheel drive. Not as strongly, but it does not feel right. There is no CV joint noise, tires seem equally worn. The seller says it is tires, my experience with 5 different soobs says no and I never carefully match tire wear, ( I do not replace all 4)
If it is not tires, what might it be?

Sounds like the differential is slipping, but Soobs are not my area of expertise.

A CV joint with an odd wear pattern can cause lurching and make no noise at all although a differential, worn suspension component, or alignment issue could do the same thing.

From your post I gather this is a car you’re considering purchasing. If so, and not a done deal, you might consider backing away from it.

Might be worth it to do a visual on the CV boots? They may be original to the car. Are they all cracked and about to burst? Or already burst open? If so, maybe all that is needed to fix this is a CV boot replacement, maybe rebuild a CV joint, or just new drives shafts with new boots and new CV joints all around. Relatively inexpensive and common repairs. On a 97 with 143, some repair maintenance expense should be expected. If it is the CV joint, and not the transmission or the head gasket, then count yourself blessed.

I’m going to disagree with the previous responses.
I am fairly sure that the problem is the center differential, most likely as a result of running mis-matched tires.

If you buy this car, be prepared for some expensive repairs in the near future.

It does sound like the torque splitter (center differential).

I think what the seller means is that uneven tires have ruined the centre diff.

I imagine/agree it is the center differential, so how expensive will that be? Used parts, non dealer repair?
The car is $2500, obo.

The tires should be the same diameter via wear. It matters on any 4wd. Perhaps you’ve worn your diffs or clutch plates due to diff size tires.

If the assumption is made that the center differential is the cause of the problem, an accurate estimate is difficult to provide as there are so many factors which affect the price. Parts pricing and markup, shop labor rates, the process by which they do the job, and even the locale. Ball park could be a thousand and way on up; all depending.

You need to also take any seller claims about tires with a grain of salt. It could be that the seller has already been given the expensive bad news by a shop and is playing dumb about it for a potential buyer.

This is all information that I need to decide to make an offer (low), step away, take it to a mechanic, etc. I think the guy is trying to get as much from the car as he can, period. The guy he got it from said the lurching thing is from tires. I think he passing it along to lessen his losses.

Are these tires stock, the same size that the car came with? Sometimes owners – especially teenagers do this – put on non-standard tires for various reasons, for example to improve traction. Or they just like the way they look. I drive other people’s 4wd trucks from time to time, and some of them have the wheel wells cut out and huge tires installed. These trucks aren’t very fun to drive, they sort of squirm when you turn them, are generally difficult to turn, needing more force on the steering wheel, and they don’t track well even when going straight. They do offer advantages in snow and going up steep dirt roads though.

If the tires are oversized for the truck, the owner may be right, that it is the tires that are the cause of this lurching sensation.