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Transfer case & transmission

Turning wheel tightly causes a loud noise. Local mechanic says it’s the transfer case. Could replacing the transmission filter make a difference in the transfer case? How do I know if the transmission must be rebuilt? Also, for a few months I’ve noticed a hesitation when backing up.

1997 subaru legacy wagon.

Is this car all-wheel drive? AWD cars don’t have transfer cases (you find those on four-wheel drive vehicles…not quite the same setup as AWD), and even if you did it has absolutely no connection to a noise made from steering. Time for a new mechanic.

I’d bet the noise you hear is the power steering pump; they tend to make straining noises when turned all the way to the stops. How’s the PS fluid level and condition?

Time for a new mechanic!

As Budd stated, this AWD car does not have a transfer case. However, it does have a center differential and that could indeed be the source of the problem, especially if the car has been driven with mismatched tires. But, if your mechanic does not know the difference between a transfer case and a center differential…

I suggest that you seek out a mechanic who knows his way around Subarus–unlike your present mechanic.

Usually the symptom you describe means the clutch pack is failing or failed. You can test by inserting a FWD fuse(see section of manual on spare tire) and seeing if this behavior goes away. If it does your clutch pack failed. It does not mean the entire automatic tranny needs to be rebuilt.

Before spending any serious money, why not do an oil analysis?

You will learn if the oil is still good, the amount of wear of every component and, if anything is out of whack, the lab tech can specifically address it with a phone call.

Thanks, Budd. PS fluid next to nil. Will start with this.