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subaru transmission problems

135

Comments

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,645
    if for some reason the transmission is very low on fluid, that could affect shifting.

    That was my primary thought as well.
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • wolfdougwolfdoug Posts: 4
    I have a '99 Forester that I purchased recently. Lately I find that the automatic transmission has been shifting harshly (mostly from second to third) . The trans pulls fine and downshifts O.K. too. The car doesn't have this problem always - or maybe it's less @ times.

    Any advice?
  • wolfdougwolfdoug Posts: 4
    The transmission is full, though I don't know when It was changed. Could old fliud do that? Also the owner's manual says to use Dextron III fluid but I see postings that say to use another type of fluid ( Castrol Transmax J ). Will that help?
  • lonnys1lonnys1 Posts: 3
    93 Subaru Impreza automatic transmission will not shift from 1st to 2nd when cold. Will shift fine when engine warms up. What could be causing this? Fluid level is fine and no leaks.
  • bigfrank3bigfrank3 Posts: 426
    While not Subaru-specific my experience is that when this occurs it is because of the trans filter needing replacing. As the filter gets "used" and partially restrictive the hydraulic pressure to initiate the shift is lacking. As the fluid gets hot it flows better through the filter. In my opinion changing the fluid and filter would be a good first step. The key to it most likely not being something else is the fact that it works fine when warmed up.
  • frbock1frbock1 Posts: 1
    Same thing happened to me at 105k. My 4 speed auto started making noise when shifting from 2nd to 3rd.
    The cure is to replace the transmission.
    2004 Forester XT.
  • Mine's not making noise - just shifting a little hard (when cold,mostly). I will try a transmission service first. - Soon.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    "... this occurs it is because of the trans filter needing replacing. As the filter gets "used" and partially restrictive the hydraulic pressure to initiate the shift is lacking..."

    This does not help his 2007 Forester, but Subaru eliminated the transmission filter on the 2008 models, beginning in mid-year 2007. For 2008 they blanked off the filter opening with a wide threaded plug, and for 2009 the opening was cast closed.

    It does seem amazing that the transmission could generate enough debris to clog the big filter and affect shifting. Now there is no filtering at all. Since the AT filter was "lifetime", perhaps there is really too little stuff to be worth filtering, too little stuff to ever clog the filter, and no real need for the filter.

    I guess between Jiffy Lube mistaking the AT filter for the oil filter, and the shifting problems you attribute to the AT filter, Subaru decided it only caused trouble.
  • bigfrank3bigfrank3 Posts: 426
    That's interesting. I wonder if they went to an internal filter as other manufacturers? I have pulled down many trans pans (not Subaru) and every one of them had lots of crap in the bottom and on the filter/screen. They weren't all high mileage either.

    The friction caused by clutches and bands causes a lot of stuff to sluff off into the fluid. The passages and orifices for the hydraulic fluid are quite small and it doesn't take much to cause issues. A single fiber between a check-ball and its seat would cause problems. I find it really hard to believe that they wouldn't use SOME filter somewhere, and Subaru should not be immune to the reality of wear and the issues it causes.
  • > ... I wonder if they went to an internal filter as other manufacturers?
    > I have pulled down many trans pans (not Subaru) and every one of them
    > had lots of crap in the bottom and on the filter/screen.

    No doubt the Subaru transmission always has had an internal screen like other cars. But the unique discontinued external pleated paper filter was much finer.
  • I have a 2001 forester and seems to be stuck in gear. The shirfter still moves like it should but when it is in neutral the trans. is still in gear. It acts like it is in 3rd gear or higher. When I shift to reverse it won't move at all. Does anyone know what the problem is?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The linkage is mechanical so something must have broken.

    I had a short shift kit installed on my 98 Forester so I was able to get a good look at it. It is the 13th item shown on this page, for reference:

    http://subaruproparts.com/index.php?cPath=1_24_37_48
  • I had an interesting thing happen when I was going to pull the transmission. Since it was stuck in 3rd gear I drove it off the trailer in my shop. While driving it off the trailer it popped out of gear, so I put it in 1st and drove it on in. I dropped the oil hoping to find something stuck to the magnet in the drain plug. I found nothing so I put the Amzoil severe gear oil back in it and drove it up and down the road with no problems. So it either had nothing wrong or will do it again after some time. I don't know. I will be glad if I don't have to pull the transmission though.
  • 'Had a similar thing happen some years ago to a different brand and it turned out to be a bad synchronizer. 'Hope you have better luck
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Let's hope it was suspended in the oil and came out when you drained it.
  • A syncro is a large machined brass or bronze cone, so could not come out in the oil. Syncros fail by becoming worn, which puts microscopic particles or even flakes in the oil, which appear in the drain oil as a golden sheen. However, draining the oil with this material in it does not get it all out, or make the worn syncros work better.

    The OP did not report any material in his drain oil, which he put back in. That and the fact that his transmission spontaneously began to into gear again point away from syncros and more toward either external linkage or internal gear shims, bushings, etc.
  • mcm62mcm62 Posts: 3
    Hello. I am about to change my Impreza for a new Forester XT 2010… I am undecided between the manual and the automatic.
    I have heard the manual does not take good advantage of the torque available while the automatic does. But also heard the 4 speed automatic it’s an outdated transmission and does not offer good power ratios specially downhill.
    Any recommendations?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    For 2009+ the XT only comes with a manual. So I guess your decision is easy.

    You can get an X base or Premium with a 5 speed manual, though, but that's not the turbo.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,645
    For 2009+ the XT only comes with a manual. So I guess your decision is easy.

    Correct that to read "For 2009+ the XT only comes with an automatic." ;)
    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
    Ha ha, fingers faster than my brains today, good catch. ;)
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    edited March 2010
    "... for a new Forester XT 2010… I am undecided between the manual and the automatic. I have heard the manual does not take good advantage of the torque available while the automatic does. But also heard the 4 speed automatic it’s an outdated transmission and does not offer good power ratios specially downhill.
    Any recommendations?"


    For very slow speed off-road, the manual does not have a low range like some 4WDs do. The automatic works better in these situations as it avoids abuse of the clutch. Serious off-road drivers prefer the automatic.

    The automatic with only 4-speeds is poorly matched to the torque of the engine for performance driving. The automatic downshifts at the least demand for power, and would do much better if it's ratios were spread over 5 gears. However the automatic is a very good match for the higher-torque turbo engine, as it does not need to downshift except when floored.
  • pfrommerpfrommer Posts: 1
    I've been having the same problem with my 99 Subaru Forester transmission for the past two summers . It only happens in the summer after the car has warmed up for a while. When I take it out of Drive (parking, etc.) and then want to resume going forward I have to sit there and rev the engine until the transmission catches. This leaves a smell of burning rubber.

    At my mechanic's suggestion I had him flush it too. That didn't work and he said I'd have to get a new transmission or get rid of the car. He said a fix or a new transmission was not practical because the replacement would eventually have the same problem..

    Has anyone found a solution? I was thinking about putting some thicker fluid in the transmission. What do you think about that? I don't have much to loose. Tnx, Karl
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    "... with my 99 Subaru Forester transmission... When I take it out of Drive (parking, etc.) and then want to resume going forward I have to sit there and rev the engine until the transmission catches. This leaves a smell of burning rubber. At my mechanic's suggestion I had him flush it too. That didn't work and he said I'd have to get a new transmission or get rid of the car. He said a fix or a new transmission was not practical because the replacement would eventually have the same problem..."

    While it is true that a rebuilt or remanufactured transmission will indeed fail eventually, that failure is many years and hundreds of thousands of miles down the road. If the rest of your Forester is good and you want to keep it, then it is practical and cost effective to repair or replace the transmission. The best transmission with the longest warranty is a remanufactured one from Subaru.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds like it could use a rebuild.

    It'll probably cost you what 6 car payments would cost, though, and you'll probably keep it a lot longer than 6 months!
  • quincy3quincy3 Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Forester 2.5x with 151,000 miles. Yesterday my car started slipping into neutral while driving until it would not go into gear at all. It seemed to be leaking fluid as well. Today the mechanic said that the transmission pump inside the transmission went out. He recommends putting in a replacement transmissions rather than replacing the pump due to the mileage and not knowing if there was damage. Does this sound like a reasonable diagnosis and method of repair?
    Thanks for any help or suggestions.
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    edited June 2010
    Unless the transmission shop is very good, and you are willing to pay for them to find and repair all the damage that high miles and low fluid might have caused, an exchange for a remanufactured transmission is best.
  • First off,I get in my friends forester and back out of driveway(facing up hill) and come to a complete stop and pull it into drive and release the brake pedal and apply no throttle and the unit starts rolling backwards.So I apply throttle and it seems to engage and slip momentarily before it grabs a hold and in a lunging fashion lurch forward(as you would expect when you engage drive @ 2800rpm's)it acts as if it could not engage or it slipped momentarily...So I start a new procedure unique to this vehicle of two footing it when I back out and am ready to go forward: back out pull down into drive left foot on brake,right on gas and gently make sure it is pulling forward before disengaging the brake...I can live with that,so can she...

    So we are heading to ride K-1 electric go carts from hell and I hop on the 210 with the unit in "D" and apply a little more throttle to merge w traffic and next thing it acts as if I went WOT spins up to 5K plus RPM and does not find a gear until I take foot off gas and re apply....

    I am very hesitant to recreat this scenario as it just plain does not seem healthy and or long term...

    Help...Any thoughts,suggestions,links,people with similar issues?

    Thanks for any replies!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,645
    Have you checked the fluid level or condition? It sounds like the system does not have adequate hydraulic pressure, but the cause is difficult to guess without further investigation.
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    "... I get in my friends forester... and it seems to engage and slip momentarily before it grabs a hold and in a lunging fashion lurch forward... I hop on the 210 with the unit in "D" and apply a little more throttle to merge w traffic and next thing it acts as if I went WOT spins up to 5K plus RPM and does not find a gear until I take foot off gas and re apply...."
    Sounds like the transmission has lost a lot of fluid. Not good to drive it like that.
  • Just started problem. Subaru Outback 97 140,000 miles. Gearbox seems to change up but not down. If I go up the driveway in First it pulls OK but when I select 2nd gear it seems to go right to Top gear and engine rpm drops, will not pull. If I try to go up in D it seems to go right to top gear, same result. Engine runs great, accelerates and runs smoothly but cannot pull the car when in gear; it chugs and almost dies.
    On the flat it does not accelerate well, even if I try to change manually. It seems to go right to top gear. Can hold it in first, but cannot hold it in 2nd or 3rd gear.
    I have checked the fluid but it is hard to do; it does not show a positive level, but seems to be reading only the fluid in the filler pipe that is draining down, not a solid red fluid level like engine oil. I have put 3 quarts in already and it still does not show a solid color, although there is oil showing way above the top mark, with gaps in the oil as shown on the stick. I don't want to overfill it. No signs of any fluid leak externally and not long since I had it checked, but am not too confident in the shop that checked it, they screwed up a few things during the oil change and lube and could have missed this part.
    Do I check it when the engine is running?
    The car was bought used a month or two ago.
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