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Subaru Legacy/Outback Transmission Problems



  • When I try a fairly tight turn at slow speeds, the steering seems to hop or jump. Similar to my Ford 4x4 pickup when the 4x4 is engaged -- but normal for a pickup w/ a unsophisticated 4x4 system. I'm sure Subaru's should not do this.

    Anyone familar w/ this problem in an awd Subaru?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm thinking differential or CV joint. Wheel bearing failures were common so maybe that could be it.
  • Thanks. From your response, I'm thinking I may misunderstand awd in Subarus. Unlike my all-time 4x4 truck when hubs are locked, an awd Subaru should not have tacking problems when turning because little, if any power is going to the front wheels. I think this is right. So, I think you've both corrected my misunderstanding and offered some good ideas. Thanks again, Paul
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,267
    Power is still applied to all wheels, but the differentials (front, center, rear) contain clutch packs that absorb the speed differences between the two sides of the car. It is a smooth system, and you should not notice any of the "tire hop" often associated with other 4wd systems in tight turns. The only time I noticed any sort of tire hop with my '96 Outback was when I drove on extremely slick surfaces and had one tire with a *slightly* larger diameter than the others (A defective tire was replaced with about 16K miles on that set, resulting in a slightly larger diameter on the replaced tire). It made the car feel somewhat unstable on slick roads due to the slipping caused when the drive train released the tension every few seconds.

    I agree with juice that your car's problem is likely a differential, or perhaps a (very bad) CV joint on a front half shaft.
  • I have a 2000 Outback 160K just replaced the Transmission. I keep getting a code 1722. Trany seem to be ok but the speedometer sometimes sticks and the trany temp light comes on. I was told there was an issue with wiring contact under the spare tire that might cacuse the trany to go bad. Anyone have the same problem?
  • When you say differential, is this the front differential? So I use the right terms, there are front and reaar differentials and a center transfer case, right? In any event, what commonly goes wrong w/ a differential that could cause wheel hopping? There is fluid.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Any strange smell on the fluid?

    With manual trans cars it's combined with the gear oil. There is a yellow dip stick on the trans tunnel, which is also where you add gear oil.
  • Since I had my complete electrical system failure in January, I've replaced the fusible link, most fuses some relays, the alternator, battery, windshield wiper motor, the ignition coil, the ignitor, the heater control, the radio and the instrument cluster. My last problem is the air bag light coming on when there is a high electrical load. What triggers it is pressing the brake pedal. If there is no electrical load like the heater fan and headlights, pressing the brakes isn't enough to turn the light on. After I shut the engine down and start it up again the light will extinguish after the start cycle. Does anybody have a clue as to what is causing this problem?
    Rondo 320
  • mizmomizmo Posts: 1
    i had the same problem a little over a year ago with a 2000 outback. had to have the tranny re-built. now, after just over a year later the re-built tranny locked up and it is in the shop now. subaru has had tranny probles in the past also. i had an '82 gx coupe that had 2 trannies put in it. i like subarus but am alittle annoyed with this problem. it lowers the reliability rating in my book.
  • jckeyjckey Posts: 1
    I have a 04 Wagon with a H6, with an automatic transmission, it was jerking and missing, but not all the time. I had it into the dealer a couple times but no codes were showing. It also would start up in the morning and idle high, 2200 rpms and then drop down to 1800 rpms. It would drop down to around 900 rpms soon.
    Well, I took it back to the dealer today and they found a bad throttle positioning sensor. There was a bulletin 11-80-06 on the problem.
  • I have a 99 L wagon and the speedometer operates some of the time. There is apx. 90K miles and this problem has just started to show up. Does any body know if the speedo is mechanical or electronic and has seen this problem???
  • On slippery surfaces, the drive to the rear wheels jumps in and out with a strong
    jolt, causing the tires to break traction and provide little overall traction to propell
    the vehicle. This can be duplicated with the car on a lift and all wheels free to rotate. On a slippery upgrade, if approached at 20 MPH or greater, the all wheel drive will stay engaged. Any ideas about what's causing the drive to the rear to be intermittant?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    What kind of tires, how many miles, what condition? My guess is that this is the #1 reason for the in-out motion.

  • Mike,
    Tires are matched set of Michelin, all in good shape. Perhaps I should have mentioned that this problem is not new. It existed last winter, and I put up with it, but now that winter is here and my slippery hills have returned so has the problem.
    Also bear in mind that the condition can be duplicated on a lift with all 4 wheels off the ground. My wife has an identical Subaru that behaves perfectly.
    Thanks for the thought, but I still need help.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Then the next thing would be the center diffy/clutch packs. That's what senses the slippage between the front and rear axles. They aren't terribly complicated systems so if the tires aren't it, then it's got to be the center diffy/ clutch packs.

  • Mike, I tend to agree, but what makes them intermittant at low speed and then stay locked in at 20 MPH and higher?
  • :cry: Him if anyone has experienced this problem, please help.
    My Subaru Outback 2000 drives just great (recently overhauled tranny), but every time I have to stop at red light and wait, the whole car shakes badly, feels like it's coming from engine area (obviously). Thought it was timing belt, replaced, problem persisits. Replaced CV shafts, no good luck there, have no idea where it's coming from, BUT if I shift to Neutral, shaking stops. Any ideas?
  • Hey Martin,
    I had the same exactly the same prblem with my 2000 Outback. It wouldn't engage when put in drive and so on. Whoever told you it was bad seals was right. I had my tranny completely overhauled and now it's just perfect, I know it's a lot of money, but your only other option is trade in. If you decide to do overhaul and live in southern Florida, find Ray's Transmission in West Palm Beach (use yellow pages or email me later, i'll find his business card), he's really good.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,267
    It probably has something to do with the torque converter, which allows the engine to run with the transmission engaged. It stops when you shift to neutral because the gears are no longer engaged. It would also stop if you shifted to park. My '96 Outback did this for a long time. My wife never worried about it; she would just sit there with the car vibrating. I simply shifted the transmission to neutral at every light, then engaged it as I was preparing to move forward again. It never became worse, but was always there. The transmission had 220,000 miles on it at the end.

    If this is a new development since the transmission work, perhaps something is not lined up quite right between the engine and transmission. It is remotely possible that the torque converter is not installed quite correctly into the transmission. If it is not mechanical, then it must be a sensor. Something like this seems mechanical to me, though.

    Please let us know if you find out more on it!
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,334
    Did your rpms at idle change since the tranny work?

    Does turning on the a/c cause the vibration to stop? If yes, it's just the idle speed causing the vibration.

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