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2004 Forester 2.5 XS
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Shuddering/Juddering while Turning (torque bind, transfer duty solenoid, etc...)

Hello all,

I hate to be one of those people whose first post is to ask for help, but I'm afraid that's exactly what I'm going to have to do.

The vehicle in question is a 2004 Forester 2.5 XS with a 4-speed Automatic Transmission and roughly 60,000 miles.

Last Saturday I took the car to a local shop (who up until now have done fine work) for an oil change and the 60,000 mile service. The problem I've run in to did not exist, at all, prior to the service, and started immediately after the service. However, in two returns to the shop they are unable to determine the source of the problem.

Here's the problem. When moving forward or backward (no difference) and with the steering wheel turned anyway from halfway-to-lock to full lock (either direction) I get a shuddering/slipping/juddering sound and feeling (heavy vibration) from, it seems, the front wheels. The feeling gets worse the further you turn the steering wheel to lock. I would also describe the sensation as similar to that you get when you're about to stall a manual transmission car (sort of a bucking, jumping sensation).

The problem occurs at any speed at which you can do such a turn, forward or reverse, and whether you've just started driving or have been driving it for a while. It is consistent and quite noticeable.

My research on this board seems to culminate in this thread: ( "turning-full-lock-shuttering-shaking-normal-52872" ) and specifically the 5th post in the thread (by chillywilly).

Thus, I'm making a preliminary conclusion that it is differential related. The shop did indicate on their paperwork that they "replaced differential fluid" but with no other details (like which differential, with what type of fluid, etc...).

So, a bunch of questions:

1. Am I correct that this vehicle has an electronically-controlled (as opposed to viscous coupling) center differential and a limited-slip differential?

2. Based on the symptoms, what are the likely causes?

3. Does this sound potentially like a differential fluid issue? If so, should I replace with a specific one, or different ones for each differential? Would it be likely for a regular auto shop to use a "standard" fluid that would be incompatible for a Subaru vehicle?

4. Should I just go to the dealer?

5. Anyone know a good Subie mechanic in Chicagoland?

Thanks in advance, and again I apologize for my first post being a cry for help.
 

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04 Forester X, MT
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1,039 Posts
don't drive it anywhere until you check the front diff fluid level. i've never had AT. My MT has a dipstick but it's under hoses and stuff and hard to see if you don't know what to look for. check your owner's manual.

of course check the AT and engine oil levels too. check manual for proper procedure to check AT level. most cars have to be running and cycle through the gears before checking.

hopefully it's just a fluid level thing and caused no permanent damage.
 

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none none
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8,844 Posts
On the AT the front diff fluid fill tube/dipstick is on the pass side of the transmission and the trans fluid dipstick/fill tube is on the drivers side. I hope they didn't mix up some of the fluids, or put atf in the front diff or diff fluid in the trans!

Did they change the transmission fluid?
 

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2010 2.5X Manual
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315 Posts
This doesn't sound like classic torque bind to anyone else?

Or did the other thread (no link to it, just text) rule that out?


Effect of inserting a fuse into the FWD position?


Dave
 

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2004 Forester 2.5 XS
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3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So here's an update:

I took the Subie to a specialist and he's been working on it for the past two weeks trying to narrow down the likely cause.

One of the first things he did was put the fuse in the AWD position (or whatever), turning it to FWD-only. Fixed the problem completely. Before going the transfer duty solenoid route, though, he did a ton of other testing to try to rule out other (less expensive) causes, but in the end I gave him the go-ahead to replace the solenoid.

No (or not much) luck, but maybe a clue.

When replacing the solenoid, he kept the fluid the same, so as to not change two things at once (for the purpose of figuring out the problem). After the solenoid change, it seemed considerably better, with still some binding on tight turning.

So he then replaced the fluid completely and now the problem is back to being as bad as it was prior to the solenoid being replaced.

Does that indicate anything in particular to anyone?
 

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2004 Forester XT 4EAT
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35 Posts
I've got the same exact problem with my 04SXT/AT and it just seems to get worse and worse. All my fluids are good. So how do I go about doing this AWD to FWD fuse trick? I'd rather run FWD for now till I sort out the problem and do any more damage to the diff or what ever's binding.
 

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2004 Forester XT 4EAT
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35 Posts
Well that took all of 1 min. Just tossed a spare 20amp fuse in the "FWD" spot and holy torque steer Bat Man! Important thing is that I have the same results, the binding is gone.
 

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2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
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I've got the same exact problem with my 04SXT/AT and it just seems to get worse and worse. All my fluids are good. So how do I go about doing this AWD to FWD fuse trick? I'd rather run FWD for now till I sort out the problem and do any more damage to the diff or what ever's binding.
1. Open the fuse box under the hood (near the driver side strut tower).
2. Insert spare fuse into slot labeled FWD.
3. Don't drive it like that for too long - not only will you get horrible front wheel spin, but this feature is really only designed to be used for temporary or diagnostic purposes.
 

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2004 Forester XT 4EAT
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35 Posts
I fixed it!!!!!!

HELL YEAH!!:woohoo: Fluid/filter change fixed it right up. I let the trans drain from the plug, when it quit I took off the filter (NAPA) and another QT or more drained out. I damn sure wasn't gonna reuse the NAPA filter after reading all the horror stories of after market VS OEM filters. So before I left for the stealership I started draining the front and rear diffs. Both magnetic plugs had a lot (A LOT!) of clutch material/metal mud. The rear actually had small metal shavings. I felt the gears through the drain hole and they feel fine from what I can tell, no scarring.

So I get back home with my $40 filter, 2 Gal of Advanced Auto Dex III and 3QT of Advanced GL-5 80-90 gear oil. I filled everything to their proper level, which is obvious for the diffs but harder to tell for the trans due to the ridiculous dip stick. I started with 3.5 qt as advertised (w/o filter). With the FWD fuse pulled I went for a quick drive around the block to warm up the trans. BINDING WAS GONE! But trans wasn't happy so she got babied back home. After a few runs and 1/2qt refills it took about 5qt total until the rattling was gone. Dip stick still not reading right.

I'll wait another week and change all the fluids again. Seems to have a much more even WOT pull (20-70 2nd gear) where it used to feel like it was holding back then let go and hold then let go........ Shifts are crisper too of course.

Good luck, sorry for thread jacking. Hope this helps someone
 

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2004 forester xt at
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81 Posts
i got the same problem
got even worst after putting a new rack and pinion rebuild and front jdm axle
not only this but while trying to put back the ball joint they make the cv boot on the right side falling apart no more grease this car already making going nuts with the repair
and i just got few month ago.

seem like the pinion or the hose suction are leaking bcuz every time the lvl of the fluid need to be refill when i turn the wheel full lock on park i turn left and right side full lock, mid lock huge grinding sound and steering vibration beside that the car run fine few toc toc over bump ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

at first i though changing the rack ay fix that issue but its not worst with are build one
the car is not align since i want to fix the control arm and pinion which as been replace
now but i got axle to be fix now :(

automatic 200000km
i may have to try fluid change but at that point maybe its as some engine mouth and transmission not well leveled each time the transmission shift i heard a toc sound but if i drive it manually i rarely hear it.
 

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2006 Forester LL Bean automatic
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4 Posts
Shudder here, too

Looks like a trip to the Subaruguru is in order for a transmission fluid/filter check and change. Is this an emergency fix, or will driving (city driving) on it for a couple weeks be ok? Also if there's anyone in the LA area, there seems to be a Subaru shop in North Hollywood (subieindependant.com) that has good reviews. Anyone had first hand experience?
 

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I had the same issue with my car it was torque binding i added some tran fluid treatment that was a type of lubricant and the sound went away and hasnt returned in 50000 miles. i forget the name of the treatment. Search for torque binding i found the stuff to use on the internet somewhere.
 

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2005 Forester XT AT
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2 Posts
So I’m having a similar problem but I’m hoping it will be fixed with a net transfer solenoid and clutches (parts on order). I also have an added problem or shuddering while going straight. It changes with speed and is a constant wom wom wom sound. (Not sure how to describe it) I was thinking driveshaft support bearing at first. Unless the transfer clutch could also be acting up intermittently in a straight line...maybe... I literally just bought this car yesterday $900 and this is it’s only problem. It’s a 2005 forester XT AT
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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@Fitzy245 welcome to the forum from Oregon!

Have you perused at this thread?
Also... please complete your "Public Profile"! Not completing your Public Profile could result in your thread(s) being closed... locked!
Bobby...

['07 FSXT Member Journal] ['03 X Member Journal]
 
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