I've looked all over the forums for this particular problem, and haven't had much luck, so here we go. If this has been solved before, please link me. I have a '94 Subaru Legacy 2.2L Automatic.
I have been experiencing torque bind for the last few weeks, starting very rarely and now occurring at every hard turn. The symptoms are that there is a vibration at the back of the car when accelerating on tight turns, accompanied by a slight noise. It feels like the back tires are having a hard time getting power to accelerate. When I am going about 10 mph and coast around corners, I hear a distinct grinding noise from underneath the car. I did the fuse in the FWD box test, and problem still persists. I narrowed it down to a bad rear differential, bad Duty Solenoid C, or the transmission is about to fall out.
I backed the ol' girl up onto some ramps with a couple buddies, and started the process of drain and fill the rear differential. The fluid looked clean however, which to me ruled out the differential being the main issue, and filled it back up with the new fluid (drove it around, and still the same symptoms).
At this point, my buddy climbed under the car and started to muscle things around. He came to the idea that all of the issues may be due to a bad carrier bearing, also called a center bearing/bushing. From what I understand, it keeps the drive train stabilized and from moving around too much. He said there was a lot of play in the drive shaft, and there was very little room between the shaft and the exhaust below it. Here are some pictures.
Looking from the back of the car forward. The yellow circle is where we think the drive shaft might be scraping upon the exhaust.
Here is the picture from the front of the car looking towards the back.
Obviously if the center/carrier bearing is going out, it wouldn't be good. Here are my questions.
1) Would this bearing going out as it is cause the symptoms of torque lock as I have been experiencing?
2) How urgent is fixing this problem? It only makes the grinding noise/vibration around turns, and other then that seems to drive normal. However, there is pretty intense vibration at the steering wheel once I go over 60 mph, but I am not sure if that problem is due to this.
I am about to embark on a 13+ hour drive in two weeks, so if it is a big problem, I should fix it soon.
3) Where is a good place to find this part? I have been looking all over and car-parts and other sites don't even list this as a part to search for. Here is the only place on the internet I have been able to find so far:
Any sage advice would be highly appreciated. I can take pictures of any part of the car as needed.