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Subaru B9 Tribeca Transmisson Problems



  • Further to my last post regarding my 2008 Tribeca with a transmission torque converter lock-up problem that behaves exactly like a "missfire".......
    I now have 13000 km on the car and still have the same problem....might even be a bit worse! When in 5th gear, either in Sport mode or Drive, and doing about 2000-2200 rpm, and under load as in climbing a slight grade or gentle acceleration to pass another vehicle, the car behaves exactly like a "missfire". Some times it will do it once or twice and sometimes many more times in rapid succession.
    I have had it to the dealer about five times for this problem, and each time they tell me it is the computer and the torque converter not locking up, or locking up intermittently. They advise there is no cure for the problem and they all do it.
    The district technical representative had a look at it and said the same thing. Said I had a very " light foot " on the accelerator. Said his Legacy did the same. No cure for the problem, but if Subaru came up with a cure they would let me know!! How nice of them!!
    Having owned many different AWD vehicles and having heard so many good things about Subaru, we decided on this Tribeca. This is my first and last Subaru!
    If this problem is so common, :mad: I do not know how so many people out driving Subarus can put up with this problem??!! :mad: :lemon:
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,268
    No, not common, not normal. What they are really saying is that the computer is not telling them anything and therefore they do not know where to start. Have you ridden with any of them to demonstrate the issue? Five times.... sounds like it is time for you to research the Lemon Law(s) in your state.
  • We have an '06 Tribeca. Had the same problem about 14 months ago. I was frustrated that they could not duplicate the problem; though it happened to me 6 times.
    It finally "misfired" again and I drove straight to the dealer and had them put in on the computer and take it for a drive (I drove & the mechanic rode holding the computer). It showed a misfire on all cylinders.
    When I shut the car off and restarted it to drive, the computer said no problems. In the past, after shutting it off, it would run fine for a day or a couple weeks and then "misfire" again.
    The problem wound up being trash in the fuel tank and the fuel pump was stopping up. It did seem to get worse when the tank was less than 1/4. When the car is shut off, the pump shuts off, the blockage falls down into the tank and "goes away" for another day.
    Oh yeah, the fuel pump, removing the fuel tank to drain/clean, and replacing the fuel filter is NOT covered by the warranty!! Try keeping more than 1/4 tank of fuel and see if that makes a difference.
    Hope that helps. There was a computer upgrade that was supposed to adjust the cold idle. That helped the cold idle, but not the misfire feeling. Good luck.
    We have not had any further problems since the cleaning. We love the Tribeca and would recommend the Subaru to anyone! We have been pleased with it and the kids love it (even though we didn't get the DVD/Nav system).
  • I just purchased a new 2008 Tribeca. My driveway has a slight incline. When I shift from Park to Reverse, I hear a clanking noise. When I am on a level surface the shifting is fine and there is no noise. When I discussed with the dealer's technicians, I was told this is normal, and to alleviate the noise to put on the emergency brake. I told the technician that the incline was very small and that I was really concerned. Especially when I have owned and rented many cars over a 20 year span. He again stated that this is normal for AWD Subaru's. Therefore I am inquiring if this is indeed "normal".
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I would hold the brake with your foot until the parking brake is set. That way the brake is holding the weight of the car, and not the transmission. This is a general recommendation I've heard, not Subaru-specific. Out of habit I do this will all my cars.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,268
    This is normal, especially on a more pronounced incline, but you might consider trying the same scenario in a different Tribeca (test drive?) to see what happens. If it is the same in the same car, I would say it is normal. It should not harm anything, but peace of mind counts for a lot.
  • My problem has not showed up on any computer checks. It has been isolated to the torque converter. Subaru called me a week or so ago and advised me that they were changing the torque converter for me as they have had a few of these problems.
    Let us hope this clears it.
    thanks for your response.
  • I have the same problem with shifting between 2nd and 3rd. When engine is warm, and driving it slowly/smooth acceleration it sounds like it takes longer to switch to 3rd and unusual quiet skipping sound... however, when driving in the morning or when engine is cold, it does a hard shift with a loud noise (kind of like the rpm were not right during the switch) and it sounds like it is not good for the transmission. I had it inspected by the dealer several times and last time they adjusted the computer, which didn't help at all... I am getting ready to call them again and have them look at it(maybe take i for a drive with a mechanic)
    If anyone had similar issues, please reply with results...


  • I have a 2008 tribeca with about 3700 miles and it also suffers from a rough upshift, (2nd-3rd) at around 2500 rpm. I first thought it was contributed to a after-market trans cooler (the dealer said have it removed because it is not needed). Now that I see others are having the same or similar issues perhaps it is a design flaw.
    I am going to have the cooler removed but doubt if that solves the issue. I will keep you posted.
  • ccolt1ccolt1 Posts: 4
    Please update us on the problem once you have it worked on.I have a 2008 Tribeca with about 2400 miles and just started to notice every once and awhile it feels different between 2nd and 3rd.It feels like it is shifting hard into 3rd.Thanks
  • I have the same problem with mine, plus the fact that the torque converter will not say locked up and seems to slip, though the transmission will not shift down into fourth.
    They are putting a new tourque converter into mine....doubt that this will affect any of the rough shifts, though.
    Seems that from all the complaints I see, that there is a design fault with this transmission.
    I would be very surprised if removing the transmission cooler will improve the rough shift.....?
    Good luck.
    Have you noted any knocking from the front suspension? I have from day one. Also note that the steering stops cause a knock at full turn when turning full lock when doing slow maneuvers as with parking, etc.
  • I had the transmission cooler removed (it was a 3rd party model installed by U-Haul).
    Surprisingly the transmission now shifts very smoothly and the engine revs at a lower RPM during normal driving. I did not mention that my gas mileage has been terrible since the cooler was installed. The engine seemed to rev at 2500-3000 RPM at normal speed. It now is around 2000 RPM.
  • Oops I spoke too soon ! I noticed a little rough upshift today. It seems to occur on aggressive acceleration (not hard or drag racing) at 2500 rpm. If I "baby" it on acceleration there is no problem and it shifts very smoothly. I never noticed it before. I will test drive one some day to see if it is normal for this model. I hope not. My previous Toyota 4-Runners & Honda CRVs all shifted pretty smoothly.
  • dean7dean7 Posts: 32
    I have a 2008 and my transmission did exactly the same thing between 3rd and 4th gear. It sort of softly "slammed" into 4th gear. To make a long story short, the dealer erased the computer program and "reloaded" it. It solved the problem pretty much 98%. There is now a very, very slight rough shift from 2nd to 3rd, but very tolerable and not upon normal acceleration, only when driving real slow. Ask the dealer about this option.
  • dean7dean7 Posts: 32
    See my post above. Erasing the transmission computer program at the dealer and reloading it took care of the rough shift problem.
  • My torque converter was changed and I still have a problem akin to an engine miss when the engine is under load in 5th gear (example a slight hill, or gently accelerating to pass another vehicle).
    They are taking the car back again for more testing. I have had this problem since day one and now have 16,000 km on it.
    Hope the problem is found.
  • My dealer has reburned the transmission control computer twice. The third time I took it in, they "performed transmission bleed and calibration". The service rep said this was the next step after an unsuccessful result from the burn on the computer. It definitely has a different feel to it now, smoother on the shift and stronger torque right after the shift.

    I also described the feeling I got when I goosed it at a stop light. Most cars creep when you ease off the brake. The Tribeca wasn't doing this. Instead, it grabbed/slammed into first when I put down the pedal. That now seems to have gone away. I'll report back in a couple of weeks and let you know if this repair holds up.

    This forum helped me describe my problem to the service guys. Nice job!
  • Further to my last entry of Jan4 2009, I have had the torque converter changed and various issues apparently dealt with or read on the computer.
    The problem remains.....may even be worse!!
    At about 80 to 110 kph if accelerating or climbing a grade, the sensation is just like an engine misfire. A jerking sensation which I am told is due to the torque converter not locking up or the transmission not shifting down into fourth.
    My car now has 20,000 km on it and it has had this problem since I bought it!!
    Frequent visits to the dealer and a visit from the local Subaru representative, have not sorted it out, even for a short while.
    Would I buy another Subaru. Not likely, although the local dealer has done everything they know how to do.
    I have been reluctant to tow a small single axle trailer because of the matter. :lemon: :mad: :mad: :mad:
  • km888km888 Posts: 2
    My 2008 Tribeca has had the same issues since day one. It had 8,000 miles when I purchased it. I noticed that the transmission would slip sometimes when entering the freeway, or attempting to pass. Not everytime though. I also had the sharp jerk when starting from a complete stop. I took it in for service and when I went to pick it up, the jerking from a stop had been corrected, but they said that they couldn't duplicate the slipping I was describing. I had to take one of the techs on a drive. I stepped on it and the RPM's hit 6000, but the car didn't react, he agreed there was a problem and I left it. This is what's interesting.

    They claimed that there was goo on my brakes and that's why it jerked when took my foot off the brake, and at that point claimed to have only cleaned them and not touched the transmission.
    Then they said the machine they needed to use was in need of a part.
    Then the tech that knows how to use it was on vacation.
    They wanted to me to take it home and worry about it at a later date.
    Finally they told me that the transmission needed to be reprogrammed.
    It was okay for a little while, but not long enough.
    There is a constant drag, as though I left the parking brake partially on, my MPG drops to 12. It doesn't coast, even at an downward incline.
    I asked them if any of these issues are common with the Tribeca, they said I'm the only one who has these issues. Obviously, this is not true. I've had the car in four times, and everytime they call me and make me come down to take one of the techs for a ride. I am sick of dealing with this. I wish I had bought another Outback.
    Has anyone been successful with returning a Tribeca?
  • I am currently trying to get an advocate group to take up my cause with Subaru here in British Columbia, Canada.
    I know of no one who has returned a Subaru Tribeca.
    I must post again on the Car Reviews section.
    I will post here again when I know anything further. Good luck with your cause, and let us know how you do.
    :mad: :cry:
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