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Subaru Legacy/Outback Transmission Problems



  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    My guess is that it is originating with the rear differential. When was the last time differential fluids were changed? You might consider a drain/refill on both the front and rear.

    My '96 Outback had the same whine you describe for the last 70,000 miles I owned it. It slowly became more noticeable, but never caused any problems.
  • We have a 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5 - Man 5 speed. At about 1522 miles the engine began racing when applying the clutch. First gear is most noticable. Tach goes up to well past 2500. It will do this at other shifts but not all the time. It's intermittent. We brought it to the dealer and the Tech. test drove it and experienced the same. He agreed that this was not right. He called Techline but before he could even finish explaining the problem, he was told it's normal operation. ??
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    My dad is a mechanic and we've always been driving manual. We have replaced the synchronizer on the 1st gear, but shortly after that the problem returned. We have tried several different brands of oil, from standard to Mobil1, AMSOil and currently I have Motul.
    We have even gone as far as modifying the clutch pedal to gain several mm of clutch travel, but to no avail. (The clutch has been replaced too along the way).

    I'm assuming you used the proper fluid. I forget the designations but the subarus use a different kind than "std" gear lube. The Std. Gear lube will kill your synchros.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    OK, here's the deal guys. I popped a head gasket at 136k. Since I had a tranny issue already with a delay in the 2-3 shift, I chose to replaced engine and trans as one unit. I now have a JDM engine and trans in my Legacy GT. Since it was installed I have noticed what feels like a severe torgue steer to the right under hard exceleration. It smooths out once I'm past about 30. I have even tried excelerating hard from then on, and didnt notice the problem. This problem is of course worse if it is slick out, and living in central IL, it stays slick in the winter. Any ideas?

    Could be several things. First is the JDM gear ratio for the diffy the same as the USDM one? Another thing could be an issue with the front diffy (internal to the trans).

  • jfljfl Posts: 1,346
    I use Redline gear oil. They specifically recommend 75-90NS as being syncro friendly for manual trannys. Apparently, the regular GL-5 gear oils contain too much slip agents to allow the syncros to do their job.

    I do use their regular GL-5 in the rear diffy.
  • gtggtg Posts: 1
    My 2000 Outback Ltd has same issue. Subie refuses to say it as a common fault. I have been told it's a seal issue but requires full disassembly (IE Rebuild). Mine has been bad for 30,000 miles. Dealer denies it as a common issue BUT will not offer anything on a trade in, as a subie swap unit is 4K.

    Trans shops want to get you in & rip it apart B4 they tell you the price!

    problem is RANDOM & sometimes quite severe!
  • Hello,

    My friend has a 1995 Suburu Legacy Outback and her Alpine stereo stopped working the other morning. I just checked the fuse and it was intact, but I changed it anyway ... the new one also did not fix the problem. Does anyone have an idea what the issue could be? I think the stereo is about six years old (give or take) and it has not given her any problems until now. The other morning, it did not come on when she started the car. Then it worked and came in and out before dying for good.

    She recently had a new alternator put in, so I am not sure if that is related to the problem.

    Let me know what you think.

  • trcrtrcr Posts: 3
    I have an AWD 98 outback (90,000K) that is having problems in that after about 5 miles of no problems the engine dies....restarts and lurches forward sometimes dying again while moving and certainly when I stop. I had the head gaskets just replaced and believe the transmission is now bad. Any ideas or tips?
  • Mike,

    I was thinking the same thing about the gear ratio. Now that it has dryed out, I noticed it will chirp the inside front tire when turning from a stop. I'm thinking its an internal problem. I doubt I could get lucky enough that it just be from it sitting around for a while and things being "stuck" together. Guess I need to go through my old tranny and rebuild it to get ready. Thanks..

    Where's a good source for parts?

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Possible front LSD? Have you tried new synthetic fluid? Look for chunks? Let me know.


  • after about 5 miles of no problems the engine dies....restarts and lurches forward sometimes dying again while moving and certainly when I stop

    It sounds like an engine problem, since it's the engine that dies. Sounds kind of like a clogged fuel filter.
  • trcrtrcr Posts: 3
    Thanks. One thing I forgot to mention is that the ALT (auto, transmission fluid light) has been coming on.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    The AT Temp Light? That's the only indicator as far as I know that would effect the trans. If there is a bad solenoid it will blink on startup.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Dies after about 5 miles? That makes me think of the Mass Airflow Sensor. Especially if the car starts right back up. I had a problem with mine in that it would die at idle, about 5 miles into a drive (or about the time the engine warmed up). Started right back up most of the time. No codes, could not figure it out. A Subie die hard suggested I try the MAS, and I never had that problem afterward. I purchased a junkyard special as well. ;)

    I had no problems with the AT temp light though. If you just had the head gaskets replaced, I have to wonder if everything is hooked up properly. I would pop the hood and double-check all electrical connectors to make sure everything is seated properly.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    The alternator may be related to the problem, but it sounds to me like the radio just kicked the bucket. It does happen. Did she hear any metallic "thunk"s when it finally quit? If so, that would be the bucket falling over.... :P

    Did you check the connector on the back of the radio to make sure it is seated properly? How about the wires?
  • trcrtrcr Posts: 3
    Thanks. Yes the AT Temp light blinks when you start the engine. If a bad solenoid how much to repair?
  • hello. if you already got a response to this, my apologies. the tach revving up after driving some and then depressing the clutch is normal of all turbocharged vehicles. it's because a turbo will "spool" air while accelerating.. but before it is given the chance to release, if you were to step down on the clutch, the spooled air needing a place to go - some of it will shoot into the engine and some will go thru the diverter valve. but it's perfectly normal. and this is true for ALL turbocharged engines not just subarus.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Odd, I own several turbo cars including 2 subarus and none of mine rev when I depress the clutch, unless my foot is on the gas at the time.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • shabe1shabe1 Posts: 2
    I just bought a used 2005 Subaru Outback in October. It has almost 20,000 miles on it and the warranty is about to expire. I've noticed that since it has gotten cold the car revs high when I start it in the morning, or after it has been sitting for a long period of time. The RPM's go up to about 1500 or slightly higher, and I have to tap the gas peddle to get it to go down. If I don't tap the gas peddle and just put the car in reverse (automatic transmission) the car shakes a bit and makes a noise, almost like it's moaning and shuddering. It only lasts about 5-10 seconds and then it is fine. On three separate occasions when I didn't let the car warm up, but just jumped in and drove away, the car "jumped" or lurched when I was approaching a stop.

    I literally just picked up the car from a Subaru dealership for service. This was my second trip in for this problem in the last 2 weeks. The first time they updated something computer related, but I noticed no change. This time it isn't throwing any codes, so they don't know what to do. They said they have a call in to tech support, but it has been more than 24 hours with no response so I just picked up my car. Any thought or advice on this problem?
  • When it's cold outside it's quite normal for a car's engine to idle at a high RPM until the motor warms up. Usually the engine will idle down on its own once the motor warms up. If you want to knock the idle down prior to that, then you would tap the accelerator in order to accomplish the task.

    I just had the transmission replaced in my '95 Legacy. One of the things it was doing in the very least was what you describe as "shuddering." Have you checked the transmission fluid level? This is done on level ground after you have driven a couple of miles to warm up the transmission and allow the fluid to circulate through the transmission. It's also done with the transmission in "PARK" and the motor running.

    Though I'm not a mechanic I am a mechanic's daughter and have a tad bit of exposure to these things.

    Oh yeah, one more thought: If the engine is idling at a super high rate perhaps your garage needs to adjust the idle. This would best be done on a "cold" engine start-up.
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