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Subaru Forester Transmission Questions

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  • Mileage on clutch - that's the "unknown". The car has 167k on it so sounds like she should be getting ready to get clutch #3. The fact that it passed the "4th gear test" seemed promising though. Any other signs of impending doom we should watch for or could it just give out at any time??? :mad:
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,567
    I recommend, as a start, that you replace the transmission fluid in order to ascertain the condition of the fluid that is currently in there. That can tell you quite a bit about the condition of the gears inside.
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    On any new-used car I do a complete 30k or 60k on it. Including replacing all fluids etc. This will give you a good baseline.

    -mike
    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • Thanks for the advice guys- will let you know how it goes. Discovering it shifts great when cold, only gets really bad after driving alot, especially if using reverse alot. We'll see. -J
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Great advice and I will repeat it...

    ESTABLISH A BASELINE ON ALL FLUIDS WHEN YOU BUY A USED CAR.

    I bought an 8 year old Miata, and the seller gave me receipts for a 30k service that was just done.

    Changed the oil anyway - it was clear.

    Change the gear box/front diff oil - it was good.

    Flushed the brake fluid - it was still yellow.

    Then I went to change the rear diff - looked like melted chocolate! Yikes! The stuff was nasty, way WAAAAAY beyond the point where it should have been changed.

    You never know, even with written receipts, you just never know how old those fluids are.

    The clutch was hydraulic (brake fluid) and when I went to bleed that system it was also way past-due (brown). It ended up ruining the clutch slave cylinder, which I had to replace.

    Do not trust the first owner or even shop receipts.
  • fafordfaford Posts: 2
    The dealer tells me that the shudder in my wheel when I turn sharp left or right go forward or back is the result of the transfer clutch. They want to do an overhaul for about $2000. That is a lot of money!! Is that a fair price?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,567
    That transfer clutch is buried in the transaxle housing, so there is a lot of labor involved just to access it, let alone replace it. I am not sure if the price is fair, but transmission rebuilds are usually in that ball park, and that is essentially what is required here.
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • Is this necessary? We have an '06 Subaru Forester with about 32k miles, and every time I take it to the dealer for service they try to convince me to do a transmission fluid flush for about $200. I said, "If the service chart does not call for it, I'm not doing it," and the service manager told me they "strongly recommend" it, even though the manufacturer does not call for it.

    Is this just a way of generating service center profit, or is it legit?

    Thanks.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,567
    Unless you burned the fluid (it will have a brownish color and smell "burnt") or are changing to a different fluid, such as changing to synthetic, etc., there is no reason to flush the fluid. Regular changes (drain/fill) are necessary, but your service schedule should specify the recommended intervals.

    It definitely generates profit for the service center....
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • What is the cost to replace a clutch on a 2002 Forester?
  • I am looking for non-dealer repair shops for my Subaru in S.E. Michigan.
  • " Unless you burned the fluid... there is no reason to flush the fluid. Regular changes (drain/fill) are necessary, but your service schedule should specify the recommended intervals."

    There is no interval in the manuals, just check and change if needed. Draining only removes 4 of the 10 quarts, so flushing is the only way to change the fluid. Flushing is done with the engine running and a special automatic pumping system made by BG Co. This is the only way to remove particles and deposits caught in the torque converter, valve body, filter screen and other automatic transmission components. You can see the flushing units toward the bottom of this page:
    http://www.bgprod.com/products/transmission.html

    This equipment is an expensive investment for the dealer, the flushing fluid is reused but has a life and a cost, and Subaru ATF is $7 a quart. The dealer charges about $200 for the service, of which perhaps half is for the flush and ATF fluids, and half is for labor and equipment amortization. It is not an unfair price.

    If you have an XT or pull a trailer, I would do the flush at the 30K service or anytime sooner that it is suspected that the fluid has been overheated (especially if the AT Temp light comes on). Otherwise at the 60K service. I don't believe in waiting until a check every 30K finds bad fluid, as it could have been in there too long.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    At our shop we do the Diffy and Manul Transmission drain/fill at 30k intervals and most of our users go for the full Amsoil Synthetic Fluids.

    For the ATF we don't believe in the flush method. It can damage the fins in the torque converter. We do a drain and fill at 30k intervals which gets out about 3-4 quarts of the 10 in there. We also change the ATF Filter if it has one external (the recent subies use the same filter as the oil filter).

    -mike
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,567
    What is the process you perform when first switching the fluid to synthetic? I did a "flush" method on my Caravan's transmission at home (which was a little awkward/messy) when I first switched it from the ATF +4 it specified to Amsoil U-ATF, but that was because I wanted all of the old stuff out. For regular maintenance, I would only drop the pan, replace the filter, and refill the fluid lost.
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • "... we don't believe in the flush method. It can damage the fins in the torque converter. We do a drain and fill at 30k intervals which gets out about 3-4 quarts of the 10 in there. We also change the ATF Filter if it has one external (the recent subies use the same filter as the oil filter). "

    Many dealers of all kinds of cars use the BG Co. flushing equipment, and dealers that don't have simply been unwilling to invest in the equipment. Flushing cannot damage fins that handle the torque of the motor.

    If the ATF needs changing, a drain and refill of 4 out of the 10 quarts serves no purpose. Changing requires a flush.

    The ATF filter is not the same as the oil filter. They are different filters, stenciled with Engine and ATF. The fact that they look identical to you led to many ATF filters being mistakenly removed by Jiffy Lubes, etc. For that reason, and for all the problems it caused to transmissions, Subaru deleted the ATF filter from all recent Foresters.
  • "What is the process you perform when first switching the fluid to synthetic?... I would only drop the pan, replace the filter, and refill the fluid lost."

    If you want to replace all the fluid, dropping the pan does no more than removing the drain plug. More than half the ATF remains in the transmission. To replace all the fluid, you must flush with the flushing equipment. The flushing equipment uses the engine running and the transmission operating, to remove all the old fluid.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,567
    I know.... that is why I flushed my ATF when I wanted to change to a different fluid. But, for the Caravan transmission anyway, the filter (inside the pan) is what needs replacing on a regular basis, not the fluid. Flushing just wastes an extra couple gallons of otherwise usable ATF.

    In the post you referenced, I was asking Mike what his shop did when they first switched out the fluid to synthetic, as I would think a flush to be necessary at that point.

    I am not opposed to flushing in any way. ;)
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • "... for the Caravan transmission anyway, the filter (inside the pan) is what needs replacing on a regular basis, not the fluid. Flushing just wastes an extra couple gallons of otherwise usable ATF."

    Unlike the Caravan, the Foresters don't have an internal filter, just an internal screen.
    The pre-2008 Forester AT has an external spin-on filter, but it is lifetime with no replacement schedule. The later Forester AT does not have any filter, retaining only the internal screen that is cleaned if the pan is removed for major service.
  • I have a 2001 forester and it seems to be stuck in gear. The shifter still moves like it should. When shifter is in neutral the tranny is still in gear. It seems to be a higher gear like 3rd or higher. When in I shift to reverse it wont move at all. I have the car up in the air and everything with the linkage looks fine. Has anyone ever had this problem? And if so what is wrong?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Here's a pic of the similar SPT shift kit linkage:

    http://subaruproparts.com/product_info.php?cPath=1_24_37_48&products_id=318

    I bet it was physically damaged. Did you run over anything recently? Or an accident perhaps?
  • milkman22milkman22 Posts: 2
    I have a 2000 Subaru Legacy GT.

    Automatic.

    Very infrequently my car has been unable to engage/move when in Drive or any lower gears. However it has no problem engaging/moving when in Reverse.
    The problem has gotten worse this past week where i will see this happening more often. However just last week i did not have any engage problems at all.
    This happened to me once at 60k miles. I took it in, they flushed and refilled the Transmission fluid. I did not see the problem again up until recently, around 90-100k miles.
    Is this a transmission problem? Is it too late for a simple fix/repair. I noticed the transmission fluid is a Brownish color. Level is good.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,567
    "Brownish" color is definitely a bad sign. You might start with another flush and see how the car responds afterward. Do you drive this car hard or use it for towing? Under normal conditions, the fluid will typically last a lot longer than 30-40,000 miles unless there is a mechanical problem the is complicating things....
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'd do the same, especially since it helped last time.
  • rxburn, did you ever get your problem fixed? I have the same problem. It gets unstuck if we push the car backwards. It has happened twice. First time they said it needed a new clutch. That was done and a month later it happened again.
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