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100% stock 93 fwd Impreza
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Discussion Starter #1
This is going to be a wall of text, I want to cover every detail as best as I can so I can get informed opinions. I apologize in advance and yes I did use the search function on here, legacycentral, and nasoic.
Shell 93 impreza L
Ecu and harness factory 93 ej18
Drivetrain 99 impreza Outback sport
MT5 and rear diff
Engine 95 NA ej22e single port
Has been lifted using forester control arm brackets struts and coils.
1998 legacy outback sport frame spacers, transmission mount steering u joint trailing arms and rear hubs
EGR was deleted, exhaust is a straight dump about 2 inches after the 2nd cat.
I did some spirited driving last night. Honestly I beat the hell out of the car. Hard turns, a lot of flicks, did not use the hand brake. Got home lifted the car off the ground to do my usual after care. I checked the cv axles, the front right was torn on the outter boot. Was replaced last night. Checked the tires 215/75r18s for punctures, leaks. Neither were present checked the center diff by rotating the front left all 4 moved accordingly as intended. Today I planned on going camping at a local lake (80 miles away from my house) had to run a few errands last one on the list was to pick up bait. If I had to guesstimate around 70 miles of driving before I noticed the symptoms.
After I’d purchased my bait I backed out of my parking spot and felt the car hop and make a popping noise parked got under it noticed nothing out of the ordinary. Assumed I ran over a freshly crushed chunk of wood. The hop and popping noise did not repeat itself continued driving towards the freeway 2 sharp turns the rest was a straight shot. when I entered the freeway minor right turn. 1 lane merge I felt the hop and heard the popping noise again. However I was unable to stop due to the traffic behind me. Abandoned the camping trip and decided to shoot straight to my moms house. (12 miles from where I was vs 45 miles to my house.) there’s a strict no abandonment policy in effect right now and I’m not about to have my bruty impounded. Less than 2 miles from my moms place the transmission starts shuddering and knocking under any form of load unless I coast. I depressed the clutch and revved the engine and heard no knocking and felt no shuddering. Shortly after this the car would lurch and jerk regardless of gear over 2000 rpms. I got to my moms place told her I have to leave the car there and that id be back with a flatbed tomorrow. I looked underneath the car and noticed that the transmission was bleeding gear oil from the tail shaft. I then lifted the car off of the ground (I always carry 4 jackstands a 2 ton jack and 2 full size rims and tires same brand spares) I rotated the front left tire first with my wife on the other side the front right tire spun in a counter direction to the front left. However the rear tires did not move. Same with the rears opposing rear tire spun counter fronts did not move.
I am leaning towards it being the center coupling has failed. But I’ve never had them knock/shudder and bang like this before. I’m stuck with a decision of buying a USED mt5 from a 96-00 impreza for 150$ as is or replacing the center coupling for 455$ with a new unit.
Is this a normal thing? or did my get it home mentality mess the trans up even worse? Any information or guidance is greatly appreciated. I am also debating on taking my coupling/tailshaft unit to a salvage yard tomorrow and matching the teeth on it to any other Subaru just to get the car moving and home.

‘98 RS, 911 Cab, CT6 TT, Escalade ESV
5,553 Posts
I had the same symptoms with a pop/clunk when turning out of a parking spot. It degraded the exact way you described where the car wouldnt move under load unless tapping the throttle and barely coasting. My axles were good and the transmission didnt leak so I assumed it was either the front or center differential. I ended up swapping out the trans and just junking it. I did drive that car hard as well, and it had a wrx swap 2000 miles beforehand which probably accelerated the issue.

if I was in your situation Id just put in a new trans. It was nice and easy and the car is back in action in one day.
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