Turning off AWD - permanently


Asked by sspprror May 02, 2007 at 05:47 PM about the 1995 Subaru Impreza Outback

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My '95 Impreza wagon has a bad viscous coupler. Instead of replacing it, which is too big an investment for an old car I drive only for a 10-mi commute, my mechanic suggests I simply disable AWD - permanently. He looked at taking out a piece of main drive shaft to the rear, but that seems to put the front half of the transmission at risk. So he's planning to just take a piece out of one of the rear axles - the rear differential will never transmit power that way. Make sense?


19 Answers


Hi sspprror! Either way would do the job, but I'm concerned about damage elsewhere in the drive train. If your mechanic isn't at a Subaru dealer, you may want to take a hot cup of coffee to the service manager at your local dealer and pick his brain about the global implications of what you are contemplating. Good luck!

Tony Slusser

I don't think that will work... Time to buy a civic. :(

Donald Chau

Check your fuse box for a AWD slot that you can use to disable the system (normally used for temporary flat tire situations)... older Subies have this to prevent drivetrain damage while driving around in the temporary spare. Not sure if this applies to your model.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Derrick Tatro

mounted on the firewall on the passangers side there is a slot for a 20 amp fuse to dissable the awd clutch pack

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Noah Miwa

I don't think this is a good idea and it could damage the rest of your transmission. Just like how subarus are supposed to be towed on a flat bed because it can damage the tranny/diffs. The fuse thing in the engine bay will only work if you have an automatic transmission.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
Tom Kane

Since it has a viscous coupler, that means the fuse removal won't work. You have to replace the center differential (the viscous unit) with either a solid spool, or a unit that's welded. Either method would result in a RWD Impreza, but it might be possible to have it be FWD.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Adam Morgan

This is an old topic, but since it been brought up anyway, there is a kit that will convert an AWD subby 5 speed to a FWD. This would take load off the coupler and reduce shock load of trying to turn all 4 wheels. http://www.bremarauto.com/subaru_transaxle_conversion.htm With current exchange rates it's about $270 I use to have the install instruction somewhere, but can't seem to find 'em...

Derrick Tatro

So i take it you work for subaru, so you know that when installing the fuse in the slot that it will put power on both sides of the clutch pack dissabling it.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Ben Craig

If the car has an automatic transmission (which it seems to; as it has a viscous coupler), it will be fine permanently in FWD, with the AWD fuse out. Until the next snowstorm.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Kirt Lockwood

i know subarus and in 1995 it will not have a fuse for the AWD. that is only in subarus that are 1997 and newer

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Kirt Lockwood

i will not have a fuse since it is so old. that is only in subarus 1997 and newer. also auto trans doesn't have the viscous couplings the manuals. the way viscous couplings work is that there are a bunch of plates in a silicon fluid. when one set of tires slip the fluid heats up and the plates grab and even the car out. the auto use electronics to acheve the same thing.

Ben Craig

You are exactly right with viscous coupler... my bad. 1997 and earlier automatics don't use the electric differentials then? That I'll admit I didn't know, honestly i have very little experience with the GC's even. Well then Maybe removing driveshafts would be ok... I'd be much more tenative about it. I might suggest that, if you have not, you go to a more reliable / indepth Subaru source such as NASIOC. Good luck!

Tom Kane

there is no clutch pack in the viscous center differential.

Shawn McClung

my 92 subaru auto had a FWD fuse so its not too old. My 95 impreza manual does not have a fuse that will make it FWD so it must be an auto thing. Also my 92 was an SVX which may have had stuff other subies did not at that time.

Nick Eidemiller

The viscous center diff on average lasts 60-80k miles before it does not work how it should, it won't grab properly. My 93 legacy 5 spd had a front drive spindle strip strip out in the wheel hub and I lost a lot of the power out of the front end as a result untill it was fixed, you would have to get a limited slip or locked/welded center diff in order to run a awd subaru as a 2wd without regreting it in the long run, transmissions are dirt cheap now and an easy 2 hour job with a set of hand tools (I've already done one), you can also get a tranny if you spend the time to look from a fwd only legacy or impreza, not all subarus came from the factory with awd.


does putting a fuse in it make it front wheel drive only

Nick Eidemiller

only if it's an auto and it depends on the year.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Bridget Sowells

Yes putting the fuse in makes it front wheel drive only takingit out makes it all wheel drive I have a 95 Impreza 2.2 and I tried it in the fuse in makes it front wheel drive only and a light on the dash will se FWD in red letters

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Taking the rear drive shaft out is only a temp fix. I did it to mine and the drive train freaks out. I had a manual trans and i would be in 3rd gear before I got across the intersection, it acted like all of the clutchs were slipping as it was trying to apply power to the rear end.

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