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2001 Outback AT hard upshifts from 1st and loss of power at highway speed

I've perused the posts with similar symptoms and found a few suggestions (modulator, crank shaft sensor, fuel and vacuum systems, oxygen sensor, poor electrical grounding) to my problem, but would like to run the full symptoms past this forum before going visiting another garage.

Vehicle was recently purchased with about 110,000 miles.

This intermittent problem can either come on at low speeds (won't shift out of first until 3500+ rpms, then hard upshift) or high speeds (will temporarily lose power, with rpms dropping several hundred, then returning), but once one of these symptoms occurs, the other is sure to follow in a few minutes. Then, after parking vehicle, symptoms may not reappear for days if traveling only around town, but always do if going more than 25 or so miles.

Describing these symptoms, took to a Subaru dealer suspecting transmission-related problems. They flushed and assessed AT - finding no problems. However, found badly leaking valve gaskets covers, which they replaced, along with some other minor engine components, including some wiring. Day after receiving vehicle after this service, it wouldn't start - dead battery. Had it replaced and then symptoms resumed.

Second trip to dealer service ended in them throwing up their hands. They were not patient enough to replicate the symptoms. Does anybody have an idea?


  • I have the exact same problems with my 2001 outback-- did you ever figure out what it is? They want to replace my transmission, but really aren't sure that will fix the problem. Gear changing is very rough from first to second gear when going up hill and from 3rd to 4th just sometimes , not all of the time. Any ideas would be welcome. Has 110,000 miles on it, it's an H6
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