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2001 Forester Automatic
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I think the transmission on my daughters 2001 Forester automatic

My daughters Forester just started making a horrendous clicking noise when it the wheels rotate. I put the car up on 4 jack stands, and when it's in gear, the front drivers wheel/hub/axle rotates, but the passenger side does not, also the rear driveshaft is not turning. I can manually rotate the passenger side wheel/hub.

The major clunking noise, I assume is a totally broken transmission. (just to be clear, engine on, in gear, brakes on, no noise, it's only when the axle is turning).

I assume the differential broke. I haven't drained the transmission fluid yet to verify whether there are chunks. But fluid on the dipstick seems very clean.

What should my expected behavior be when the car is on jackstands? I would expect both front tires to rotate, unless there is a lot of friction in one hub. I would also expect slippage to be detected between the front and rear and for it to power the rear driveshaft, but I don't think that's the issue.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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733 Posts
Sounds like broken right front CV joint, replace the entire front right CV driveshaft. You may have more than one bad CV joint and/or other issues. Is the driveshaft to the rear connected and not broken at the u-joints? Be very careful running the car while on jackstands, especially in gear!
 

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2001 Forester Automatic
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Discussion Starter #3
hmmm... I'll remove it and inspect. That doesn't makes sense because the inner part of the driveshaft (on the right side) doesn't rotate when the left is rotating, so it's definitely not the CV joint binding when the cluck is occuring. (but, I will remove it and verify).

The car was securely on jack stands and the wheels were rotating at idle speed, so I felt pretty safe. The sound seems like it's coming more from the left side. I replaced the left front with a known good spare because the boot was split and I had an extra sitting around.
 

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2001 Forester
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697 Posts
FYI, since it's an automatic, the front differential and transmission have separate fluid and different fluid. The transmission fluid is Dexron II. The front differential uses regular gear oil.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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Stecz, I've done similar running tests in the past on lifts (not stands), definitely gotta respect the moving parts, just a friendly reminder. I would leave all four wheels on stands, engine off, tranny in neutral, e-brake off and then with a couple helpers, rotate wheels individually and look to see whats' going on. That should help narrow down a bit more where the problem is.
 

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2001 Forester Automatic
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Discussion Starter #6
FYI, since it's an automatic, the front differential and transmission have separate fluid and different fluid. The transmission fluid is Dexron II. The front differential uses regular gear oil.
well shoot. I always thought the little dipstick on the other side was the transfer case going to the rear. Learn something new everyday. Are the diff and transmission separate housings?
My plan was to get a junkyard transmission and swap it in.
 

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2001 Forester Automatic
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Discussion Starter #7
I guess that explains why the transmission fluid looks so good even though things are so bad.
 

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2001 Forester Automatic
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Discussion Starter #9
@stecz, The transmission and diff are not in separate housing. Same housing, just separate chambers/compartment.
That's what I meant... thanks for verification.

Ok, so I pulled by halfshafts and when I put It in gear, the noise is still there, although much less, presumably because less friction from not driving the axles, hubs, etc.

I guess I'm pulling the transmission so I can collect to the tools I need for an afternoon at the pick and pull....

thanks.
Any hints on removing the transmission as easily as possible as welcome.
 

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2001 Forester Automatic
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Discussion Starter #10
if I turn the stub on the transmission, it smoothly turns the other side, so I assume the ring gear broke. (?).

I checked the fluid level in the diff and it's fine. I didn't drain it, but looking at the dipstick, the fluid appears overall clear, but seems to have grit in it.

Also, ever since I bought this forester, almost 7 years ago, it's driven ok, but when it's wet, it feels like it has 1 wheel drive (lots of tire spin and torque steer), so I'm assuming that's it's always had a a problem with the diff.
 

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2001 Forester
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Sounds like the front differential is toast. Torque steer is not normal for any Subaru due to equal length front axles. Sorry no suggestions on getting the transmission out, never had to do that. Just label all wires and fluid lines. You'll need to pull the drive shaft off. Also inspect for oil leaks on the rear of the engine. Good luck.
 

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2001 Forester Automatic
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Discussion Starter #12
Well this was kind of a mistake... I pulled the transmission and got it out of the car, but I don't see anyway possible to get to the junkyard, pull a transmission and get it onto my trailer to get it home. That sucker is heavy. I'm used to manuals, I've never had trouble benchpressing them into position.
 
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