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2004 Forester XT - 20G 5MT
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Discussion Starter #1
So the FXT had completed a 180, going rear passenger side into the ditch. With the Rear end now floating on top of 3 feet of snow, and the front drivers tire sitting on the gravel road, and the pass. front just off the road... Ok, No problem... This is why I bought a Subaru (how many times do you only have one wheel traction? Up here... Lots... so every other AWD was out.) Anyway I put the clutch in and put it into first.... vsssssssss... WHAT??? I only have the rear drivers side and the front passenger side getting power? I thought maybe there has to be a little resistance on all of the tires... (then i remembered a youtube video were it showed that the Subaru could be on rollers and have one tire with grip and move...) Either way I then tried to lock the rear end by pulling the e-brake. This caused the front to budge then make a gear like grinding noise, and not spinning the wheels, but definitely having power on the front. I then decided that i was fed up with my scooby. I then got out, grabbed my shovel, and scooped some rocks and dirt to under the front passenger tire that was free spinning before. and tried again... still it would not budge without the e-brake.... I got out again and after shovelling out 3 feet of snow from under the FXT, the rear tires dropped onto the snow. I got back into the car and away it went. It climbed out of the ditch.... I am curious if there is a fault with the Forester AWD system or, if it is a fault in the differential that would cause it not to perform as advertised...

Now for the record this is a 04FXT 5MT with about 65k,mi. on it...(warranty until 80k) I don't know what to think other then it is hitting the dealership for a check over of the differentials... Any help on this is, would be great....

P.S. I almost had to get pulled out by my dads Rav4 (which would have been just embarrassing, cause i was bugging him on how much he gets stuck)
 

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2010 FXT Limited 4EAT Sport Shift
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thexad-
I can't think of a single vehicle that would get out of the fix you got yourself into...get stuck a few more times, and I'm guessing you'll soon get a handle on the problem.
-Quicksilver

So the FXT had completed a 180, going rear passenger side into the ditch. With the Rear end now floating on top of 3 feet of snow, and the front drivers tire sitting on the gravel road, and the pass. front just off the road... Ok, No problem... This is why I bought a Subaru (how many times do you only have one wheel traction? Up here... Lots... so every other AWD was out.) Anyway I put the clutch in and put it into first.... vsssssssss... WHAT??? I only have the rear drivers side and the front passenger side getting power? I thought maybe there has to be a little resistance on all of the tires... (then i remembered a youtube video were it showed that the Subaru could be on rollers and have one tire with grip and move...) Either way I then tried to lock the rear end by pulling the e-brake. This caused the front to budge then make a gear like grinding noise, and not spinning the wheels, but definitely having power on the front. I then decided that i was fed up with my scooby. I then got out, grabbed my shovel, and scooped some rocks and dirt to under the front passenger tire that was free spinning before. and tried again... still it would not budge without the e-brake.... I got out again and after shovelling out 3 feet of snow from under the FXT, the rear tires dropped onto the snow. I got back into the car and away it went. It climbed out of the ditch.... I am curious if there is a fault with the Forester AWD system or, if it is a fault in the differential that would cause it not to perform as advertised...

Now for the record this is a 04FXT 5MT with about 65k,mi. on it...(warranty until 80k) I don't know what to think other then it is hitting the dealership for a check over of the differentials... Any help on this is, would be great....

P.S. I almost had to get pulled out by my dads Rav4 (which would have been just embarrassing, cause i was bugging him on how much he gets stuck)
 

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04 XT 5mt
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96 Posts
Sounds like the undercarriage was stuck on top of the snow due to the deep snow/not enough ground clearance on the Forester. Doesn't matter what kind of AWD system you have if the whole underside of your car is caught in packed snow.
 

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P.S. I almost had to get pulled out by my dads Rav4 (which would have been just embarrassing, cause i was bugging him on how much he gets stuck)
LOL! The cost of bragging and teasing people. :raspberry: Sort of like karma. :biggrin:
 

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1999 Forester
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52 Posts
i'm agreeing with the last two posts
idk why people think that just cause they have awd their car is like unstopable or something

if you get yourself in a situation
it's not your cars fault
 

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2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
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then i remembered a youtube video were it showed that the Subaru could be on rollers and have one tire with grip and move...
The video you're referring to showed off the capabilities of the VDC system, IIRC. Your 04 XT isn't equipped with that system, so one wheel traction is a no go...
 

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7:25
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooQRxlChvMw

"Although Subaru does not claim that if one wheel has traction the vehicle will move, let's see if we can validate that claim anyway."

Although don't you guys think it's sort of odd that the above video conflicts with what is said in this video below?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7dVFY5CxT0

Like how the first video says that "of course a vehicle can't move up a slope if all four wheels are on ice" which contradicts what is shown/said in the second video.
 

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2000 Forester
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Sounds like the undercarriage was stuck on top of the snow due to the deep snow/not enough ground clearance on the Forester. Doesn't matter what kind of AWD system you have if the whole underside of your car is caught in packed snow.
Kinda like you jacked your car up, leaving just one wheel touching. I don't even think a full locker situation would help, you'd probably just spin the contact wheel.
 

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Smooshed FOTY 2011
2005 Lifted 2.5 XT 5-Speed MT Dual-Range
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5,813 Posts
It's not just AWD vehicles that do the "diagonal spin" (front left and rear right, or front right and rear left spin) Most 4x4 trucks and SUV's do the exact same thing......that's why locking diff's were invented. If you were in the same situation with a standard Jeep or SUV without locking diffs, you would have had the SAME outcome, the diagonal spin. In fact, my buddy has a Jeep Cherokee that's lifted with HUGE tires and his does the exact same thing, diagonal spin and he needs to try a different approach (or not end up in that situation).

Now, the VDC system works BRILLIANTLY for the exact situation that you found yourself in, as it applied brakes to the wheels that are spinning so the others can gain traction. That's the "evolution" of AWD, and if I had that, off-roading would be much easier (though, I like the challenge not having VDC).

Now, being that I also have an 04, I can attest that I've been in the "diagonal spin" disappointment slum myself. When I first got mine, I thought it was unstoppable, until I got myself into a small rut and couldn't get out, but to be honest, it was my inexperience with the AWD that ultimately got me into the situation to begin with, and what couldn't get me out. Experience and understanding exactly what your car will do will come with time, and will better prepare you for future situations.

TIPS AND HINTS:

Now, reading the situation that you were in, the first thing you need to do if you do get the diagonal-spin is to try to either "spin" the car by flooring it and moving the steering wheel and hope the rear starts to slide out to the point where you can get more weight evenly on the 4-tires (or even 3). Also, rocking the car forward and reverse while moving the steering wheel from side to side can assist with this as well. If all else fails, try to stack your floor mats underneath the front tire that is spinning to try to gain traction. I've done this before in dirt and it worked fairly well. You might destroy your floor mats, but hey, they're floor mats.

Another device I carry with me is a 10,000-pound ratcheting strap. It's sort of a "manual" winch if you will. I've used this a couple of times to pull my car just slightly to the point where the tires gain traction and pulls itself out. They're cheap and help tremendously for that little extra "nudge" you sometimes need to get out. They also help when you need to keep one part of your car (either the front or the rear) in one place while the car tries to spin itself around. But again, it takes time and experience to master these techniques. I've been stuck many times, but luckily have gotten myself out every time. Once I do, I gain knowledge into what my car can and can't do. Just because it's AWD doesn't mean it's resilient, your tires have a big factor in how effective the AWD works as well.



Hope this helps.
 

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Smooshed FOTY 2011
2005 Lifted 2.5 XT 5-Speed MT Dual-Range
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Like how the first video says that "of course a vehicle can't move up a slope if all four wheels are on ice" which contradicts what is shown/said in the second video.
In the second video, the rollers are only on a small portion of the slope, so the cars can power through the rollers and either bounce off the bit at the bottom right before the rollers start, or the front tires catch the part right above the top rollers. It's only a simulated test to show how the power is shifted around, not if it can climb when all four wheels are on rollers. Each of those videos are obviously biased towards the Subaru, but they do show how the Subaru AWD system is smoother at shifting around the power and maintaining control to the driver instead of bucking side-to-side.
 

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In the second video, the rollers are only on a small portion of the slope, so the cars can power through the rollers and either bounce off the bit at the bottom right before the rollers start, or the front tires catch the part right above the top rollers. It's only a simulated test to show how the power is shifted around, not if it can climb when all four wheels are on rollers. Each of those videos are obviously biased towards the Subaru, but they do show how the Subaru AWD system is smoother at shifting around the power and maintaining control to the driver instead of bucking side-to-side.
I don't think you understand what I'm saying. The first video says "of course no car would be able to climb an icy slope with all four wheels on ice", which is contradicted by what is shown and said in the second video at 2:32. All four wheels of the Legacy were clearly only on the rollers on the slope trying to get up (regardless of how much area of slope consisted of rollers).

Edit: Let me clarify. I know they get a somewhat running start by the slope that doesn't have rollers or they reach the top after enough momentum and then they're set. What I'm trying to say is that it's so obvious after watching the two that the second video is misinforming their viewers. The second video is saying/showing that a vehicle can climb up an icy slope with all four wheels on ice if it has the right AWD which is obviously biased by that slope and their example is ONLY limited to that kind of situation. Yeah, sort of hard to explain. =P
 

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2004 Forester XT - 20G 5MT
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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the input and reply(s). It does make more sense now.... I knew the FXT was not unstoppable but i thought it could have done that... i was still impressed once the rear end was down, it pulled out.... I didn't think of that floor mat idea....I'll keep that in mind. I guess I won't need to take it in...
 

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TANSTAAFL
2010 2.5X Premium AFF 4EAT
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481 Posts
Sounds like the undercarriage was stuck on top of the snow due to the deep snow/not enough ground clearance on the Forester. Doesn't matter what kind of AWD system you have if the whole underside of your car is caught in packed snow.
Bingo.
 

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2008 2008 2.5i-2018 XT
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I have been stuck in more competent vehicles than the Forrester in my almost 50 years of driving. 70's vintage Chevy 4WD Trucks (owned by my company), '88Ranger 4WD, '94 Toyota 4WD.
 

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2FXT Forester XT Limiteds 20104EAT 20044EAT
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Stuck

Even my trusty 1968 LR88 Series II would be stuck if the chassis was parked on top of a snow bank on the turnpike cut in the Laurel Mountians. Time for the capstan winch or the shovel.... the winch is more fun. Looking out over Lake Ontario thinking about doing some Subee Snow Tricks later.
 

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2008 2.5x ll beaner
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HOw you'd get in the 180 spin anyway?? How fast were you going? Anyway, I see 4WD in the ditch all the time because they think they don't have to worry..I do goof around in the snow like most of us do but still think about NOT getting stuck also..in fact I was goofing off in my alley and almost slamed the rear into a tele pole..DOUGH!! didn't happen though but it made me recognize more..

Cheers~
 

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2004 STI 6MT (2005)
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Same thing happened to my except the front of the at was high centered in the burm... I tried shoveling for 15 min then had to get towed out by a very nice neighbor of mine -.- hmph... I don't like being stuck in a foz
 

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Fast & Dirty
2009 Forester XT 4 speed auto
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4,050 Posts
Great answer Blue Fox (post 9). I am on my second Subie (first with VDC) and I continue to learn more and more about the AWD system.

I also carry plenty of safety gear so I can hopefully get out of most situations without calling someone.

Thanks for the info.
 
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