AWD - Rear end gone. PLEASE HELP!

cjwvcjwv Member Posts: 8
edited February 2015 in Subaru
I have an AWD '96 Legacy. The rear end has a horrible grinding or loud roaring noise. My mechanic has told me the rear end is shot. Knowing that I am on a very limited income and can not afford to buy another car or replace the rear on this one, he has suggested that he can "remove the rear end" with a welder thereby making it solely a FWD. I am really nervous about this idea as I know very little about auto mechanics ("older" lady that spent all my time raising kids instead of cars on lifts! LOL) and want to know what the possible outcome of doing this would be.

Can this be done without ruining the car? Will it significantly reduce the "lifespan" of the engine? What effect would it have on the transmission? I'm at my wits end and would like input - aka a second opinion - before I let him do this. Totally scared of being without transportation before I can get another car.

Thanks in advance for any input / advice.

Comments

  • dcm61dcm61 Member Posts: 1,567
    Get a second opinion from another mechanic.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    edited February 2015
    Is this a manual shift or an automatic?
  • cjwvcjwv Member Posts: 8
    It's an automatic.
  • cjwvcjwv Member Posts: 8
    I keep thinking - if you remove the rear end I have 2 tires left. He laughed and said, No, they'll just turn when you're moving cause the front is where the power will be so it will be like just pulling the back end along. I wonder if that wouldn't cause extra "load" on the transmission.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I *think* people have done this by removing the rear half of the driveshaft and then inserting a fuse into the "FWD" fuse holder in the fuse box. But I'd want to check with Subaru experts before advising you to do anything.
  • cjwvcjwv Member Posts: 8
    Yes, he said we'd add the fuse so that it would be FWD.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,533
    I would install a used differential, these do not fail very often so it should be easy to find a good one reasonably. Even the FWD fuse idea. That's OK for a short period of time but the system wasn't designed to be run like that indefinitely and it will overheat the solenoid which will fail and result in needing a transmission repair.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You might check here for used parts: www.car-part.com

  • cjwvcjwv Member Posts: 8
    Thank you ♥
  • cjwvcjwv Member Posts: 8
    He also said that it would be fine to just leave it, it would just keep making the roaring noise but I could drive it that way. Is that right? What about changing out the bearings? I hate to sound stupid.... just don't know a lot about cars. Ask me to change the oil, add antifreeze, air filter...simple things, and I'm fine. But this is just way over my head.
  • dcm61dcm61 Member Posts: 1,567
    edited February 2015
    cjwv said:

    He also said that it would be fine to just leave it, it would just keep making the roaring noise but I could drive it that way. Is that right? What about changing out the bearings? I hate to sound stupid.... just don't know a lot about cars. Ask me to change the oil, add antifreeze, air filter...simple things, and I'm fine. But this is just way over my head.

    Have you changed the rear diff gear oil?

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,533
    cjwv said:

    He also said that it would be fine to just leave it, it would just keep making the roaring noise but I could drive it that way. Is that right? What about changing out the bearings? I hate to sound stupid.... just don't know a lot about cars. Ask me to change the oil, add antifreeze, air filter...simple things, and I'm fine. But this is just way over my head.

    For us, especially without hearing how noisy it is and possibly disassembling and inspecting it is all guesswork. If it is bad enough to warrant questioning here, then I would not be inclined to just leave it. A catastrophic failure could cause it to lock up and that at the least could strand you somewhere and at the worst cause you to risk losing control. Seek another opinion and get pricing on a used differential. By the way, again without hearing this one has to consider that this could be just a bad hub bearing instead of the differential. A bad hub bearing while somewhat similar in some of the noise that it would create would react to turns and will usually be louder turning one direction versus the other. Putting the fuse in for the Front Wheel Drive operation might quiet the noise if it is a ring an pinion clearance issue, and/or a pinion bearing. No change in the noise by doing any of those and the side bearings in the differential become more likely.

  • cjwvcjwv Member Posts: 8
    dcm61 said:

    cjwv said:

    He also said that it would be fine to just leave it, it would just keep making the roaring noise but I could drive it that way. Is that right? What about changing out the bearings? I hate to sound stupid.... just don't know a lot about cars. Ask me to change the oil, add antifreeze, air filter...simple things, and I'm fine. But this is just way over my head.

    Have you changed the rear diff gear oil?
    He added the fuse to make it FWD, and he said that he "added gear oil and driving it around to circulate it should help the noise" but driving it didn't change the sound. It is very loud and I do notice that it has a consistent or "rhythmic" (?) sound. He said it had no gear oil and it was shot. He thought about it a bit and put it up on the rack and had me put it in "D" - he was checking the wheel movement. That's when he said he could take the rear end out and just leave the fuse in so it stayed FWD and the back would basically just follow the front. Not sure I explained that correctly. >.<

  • cjwvcjwv Member Posts: 8

    cjwv said:


    For us, especially without hearing how noisy it is and possibly disassembling and inspecting it is all guesswork. If it is bad enough to warrant questioning here, then I would not be inclined to just leave it. A catastrophic failure could cause it to lock up and that at the least could strand you somewhere and at the worst cause you to risk losing control. Seek another opinion and get pricing on a used differential. By the way, again without hearing this one has to consider that this could be just a bad hub bearing instead of the differential.

    Thank you and I certainly understand that it's "guess work" on replies since you are unable to see or hear the noise. And I truly appreciate the time you are taking to respond. Thing is, I'm truly to get ideas so I know where to go with this. Recently divorced and extra money is a bit of a "luxury" on my end, especially with the heating bill. :) When spring gets here (IF EVER! LOL) then I'll have a little extra cash on hand to save up for a possible fix. Until then, I'm just trying to get around to work and shopping when needed.

    cjwv said:


    A bad hub bearing while somewhat similar in some of the noise that it would create would react to turns and will usually be louder turning one direction versus the other. Putting the fuse in for the Front Wheel Drive operation might quiet the noise if it is a ring an pinion clearance issue, and/or a pinion bearing. No change in the noise by doing any of those and the side bearings in the differential become more likely.

    The noise is rather consistent - it does seem to get a bit louder when I driving a little faster. Maybe before we start cutting out parts with a welder, it would be worthwhile to change out the bearings? It might be easier on the pocketbook to replace those since cutting OUT the read end seems pretty drastic and "undo-able" once it's done.


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