Subaru Forester Transmission Questions

dankortedankorte Member Posts: 5
edited August 2014 in Subaru
Hello, all. I need your help in assessing the need for a transmission
servicing. My '01 Forester has 119k mostly highway miles on it and I need
to know whether or not it's a good investment to have this service done to
get the max life out of my car as possible. my questions are these:

A) what does this job consist of?
B) what is a fair price to pay for it? dealer quote was $140, but don't
know what all it entails...
C) any reason I shouldn't take it to my mechanic to perform versus taking it
to the dealer?

would love to hear your experiences-- thanks.



  • wcwilliamswcwilliams Member Posts: 11
    I have a forester, automatic, 2002 with 40,000 miles. I am beginning to notice a very slight whirring/grinding noise as I accelerate from first to second; lasts about 3-4 seconds. If I keep foot on accelerator, and continue at same speed, the noise goes away; if I take foot off accelerator, noise disappears, but then I can make it again if I apply gas, then it will stop on it's own after 3-4 seconds. As I continue to speed up and move into 3rd or even 4th gear, it doesn't happen.
    I live in a small town, so frequently take short trips; it's not ALL the time, but is happening frequently enough that I need to figure it out. Car had routine 30,000 maintenance, transmission fluid looks fine, gas mileage the same as always.
    Any thoughts? THANKS.
  • ozman62ozman62 Member Posts: 229
    Hmm, could it be a heat shield making the sound?
    HTH, Owen
  • kivakiva Member Posts: 1
    We had our local dealer replace the transmission in our 1998 Forester with a used one with 60,000 miles. The dealership apparently test drove the Sub with no problems. The dealership replaced the solenoid from our old transmission into the newer used one due to an error message. They test drove the car with no problem. We of course received a check engine light after a few miles. The dealership recommended doing a transmission flush since there was no way of knowing how long the used transmission had been sitting. Again the dealership test drove the
    vehicle about 15 miles with no problems. We picked up the vehicle and within three miles the check engine light came on again. The error code that was displayed was P0740 (Torque Converter Clutch). The place we purchased the used transmission has offered to send another one but of
    course at our expense to have the other pulled and replaced. The Forester appears to be driving just fine with the used transmission. Would appreciate any suggestions or ideas that we could pass along to our dealership.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    If it's an automatic then yes, I'd have the ATF flushed with one of those machines that forces new fluid in and vacuums old fluid out. At that mileage it's definitely due.

    Price sounds a tad high, but dealerships are like that. I've heard price quotes as low as $80, but to be fair that was a while ago.

    Jiffy Lube can even do it, but I'm not sure I'd trust them to. At the very least supervise.

  • dankortedankorte Member Posts: 5
    Thanks, AJ. yep, it's an automatic.

    I'll look around, I bet my mechanic will do it for cheaper than $140. Especially while I've already got the car with him for wheel bearing replacement.
  • applejfapplejf Member Posts: 40
    I am trying to decide between the Forester and the Honda Element. I will be getting the manual transmission in either case. When I drove the Forester, I liked everything about it except for the feel of the shifter. Felt just a little rubbery to me. Has anyone improved the feel of their Forester manual by something like a short-shift kit? Comments?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    There is a big aftermarket, and even an SPT (OE) kit that fits.

    I've had both. The SPT shifter is more direct, basically it removes a layer of rubber insulation, so will it fell less rubbery? Yes, that is exactly what it will do. It'll feel more metallic, in a way.

    Here are the shifters side by side, stock to SPT.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Bearings were a weak spot up until 2003. Ask for Legacy bearings, they fit right in and last longer.

  • growler5growler5 Member Posts: 67
    Did you try another Forester with manual ? Maybe you got a bum stick on the demo.

    Compared to all the other stickshifts on various makes of autos I've had over the years, the Subie ranks near the top.
  • applejfapplejf Member Posts: 40
    from Growler5: Did you try another Forester with manual ? Maybe you got a bum stick on the demo.

    I haven't yet, but perhaps I should. I also haven't tried the XT version, and the dealer does have one with manual. Let's see, I'm retired, I have no action items for today, the sun's out...........
  • selvarajbselvarajb Member Posts: 5
    My 2006 forester has a huge shifting problem. At 10,20 and 40 mph, the forester essentially drops a good 2 or 3 mph and revvs up 5 mph throwing me forward. If the traffic is moving at 20 mph, I am essentially screwed. I get home with a sore back and neck pain. The dealer says thats how it is. Am I the only guy experiencing this or does Subaru suck so much?
  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247
    Year, please! Automatic, Stick? is it a Turbo? :confuse:
  • selvarajbselvarajb Member Posts: 5
    2006, Brand New, Automatic. And No, it is not a Turbo.
  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247
    Well, I have never experienced anything remotely like what you posted about. I have a '06 Forester X, now with over 15,000 miles.

    I recall people posting in these forums about a slight hesitation, but nothing so jerky as to be compared to whiplash. I think you should take it to another dealer. ;)
  • moscowmommoscowmom Member Posts: 4
    My 2006 Forester LL Bean, automatic, 7000 miles, has been shifting the same way since I bought it. Dealer has reset the computer twice with no change. Says that's the way it's supposed to be. Had a Subaru Legacy for 11 years and loved it. I've had this car for 10 months and hate it. Figure it's gonna cost me about $7K to get out of this mess. :mad:
  • selvarajbselvarajb Member Posts: 5
    Exactly my sentiments. I just hate this car. I'd rather drive my wife's 2001 Kia Sephia than this piece of junk. I have back pain and neck pain. I need to talk to an attorney os something.
  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247
    Yes, that seems to be the new American way. :(
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I've driven one and it didn't feel anything like that, shifts were very smooth, in fact.

    Call 800-SUBARU3 and ask them to help your dealer diagnose the problem, it's not normal by any means.

  • patvizinapatvizina Member Posts: 16
    I was "sold" the 70000 or 5 yr extended service warranty with my Forester last night. Now I am thinking it isn't worth the addition to my monthly payment etc. What has been the maintenance history with this vehicle?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I have one and think it's nice to have the piece of mind. You get OE parts and service, roadside assistance for the entire 5 years, and better resale value if you sell it with a little bit of warranty left.

    The price does sound a bit high, though.

  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247
    Other, third party warranty companies, in business for 25 or more years, rated more than safe by Best Company, which guarantee OEM parts, etc., would have sold that to you, with 100,000 miles, for about 1500 or so....

    On the main Edmunds site, they have links to extended warranties. Check it out HERE . :)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    That's what Warranty Gold customer thought a year before it went out of business. And they were rated highly and even advertised right here on Edmunds.

    Nobody will stand behind their warranty like the manufacturer. 3rd parties are actually selling insurance policies, not warranties, legally.

  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247
    Juice, is this some kind of crusade of yours :confuse:

    Are you in any way associated with a dealership or sales of such manufacturer warranties? Did you know WarrantyDirect is the company behind some manufacturers warranty plans?

    The company you often site for failing wasn't in business even close to 25 years, and wasn't nearly as highly rated as the company ( I sited, nor were their warranties ones that actually exceeded what the dealers offered.

    I have already posted, many times, what is good for you, or me, isn't always good for another. Give it a rest.....please? :)

    Information about WarrantyDirect:

    The Company

    Warranty Direct is the consumer division of Interstate National Dealer Services, one of the largest independent automobile warranty providers in the US. We are not just another web site selling automobile warranties. You can buy from us with complete confidence. We are a 26 year old company that has received numerous distinctions of its financial stability including being named a Forbes Magazine Top 200 Company three times and being featured in Fortune Small Business Magazine. We are also Dun & Bradstreet verified . When looking at extended warranty companies, this financial stability is of the utmost importance. It's important to know that we handle our own claims, we never send you off to an unknown third party. Our experience is unmatched with nearly 2 million plans sold, assets in excess of $165 million and over $500 million in paid claims.

    We are NOT an Internet only company. We have a long 26 year track record of selling extended warranties through wholesale channels such as manufacturers, car dealers, banks and credit unions. Why pay the car dealer's markup when you can buy the same coverage direct?
    Many of the 50 states have licensing/registration requirements to make sure auto warranty companies are financially sound and/or properly insured. A growing number of states, including New York, Florida and California have very strict requirements when it comes to issuing licenses. Warranty Direct's ability to market in all states reflects our financial stability and claims history.

    Our commitment to Customer Service is unmatched. We are members in excellent standing of the Better Business Bureau and . Our reports show the fewest number of complaints in the industry and the most verified customer testimonials. We survey our customers every time a claim is filed and have a 99.4% Customer Satisfaction Rating .
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Nope, just a customer.

    We had a Warranty thread here on Edmunds, my advice for any would-be consumers is to find that and read through it carefully. There were a lot of horror stories from those with 3rd party warranties, including Warranty Gold customers that were left in the dust. Noone with an OE warranty had any such issues.

    WarrantyDirect was not mentioned, AFAIK, so I'm not familiar with them.

    Find that thread and you'll see where I'm coming from.

  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247
    Juice, I have read it before.

    Like so much on public forums, ( and you and I have both posted the same thoughts, I believe) it is full of half-baked info along with what it obviously true.

    Back in 1999, I bought a van. Econoline E-250, V-8, purty thing, empty in the back, but with carpet there, headliner, captains chairs in leather, all the bells and whistles up front. The fleet manager offered Ford's extended warranty for below their stated cost. I paid like $400 for 5 years, 100K miles. $50 deductable.

    I own several vehicles, as you might know. I couldn't keep the damn thing in brakes! Rotor problems, before the Ford standard warranty expired. Bearings as well. You name it, it happened. Including the corker. I had to fight every darn time I went to the dealer to get service under "their" warranty. A couple of times I had to find the service bulletin and shove it in their faces. I have owned several Fords, of all kinds, and always liked them, never had near the trouble with fit and finish GM gave me, never mechanical problems either, so I was puzzled.

    The "corker" was the pressure relief seals on the tranny. One day one of them gave. Spewed hot tranny fluid all over the underside, it caught fire! They refused to fix it, my insurance company investigated, said it was Ford's problem, many cases of that happening were documented. In the ten years, after getting my statement, and supposedly filing suit, I have never heard back from Progressive. I paid for a new tranny, sold it off.

    So, as you can see, having something issued supposedly by the manufacturer doesn't mean much. A simple web search will return thousands of cases of people being stiffed by Ford, Chrysler, GM, Toyota, Nissan on their in-house programs. In most cases, you are totally locked into taking it to one of their dealerships, or them towing it there. Too bad for you if you break down 200 miles from one.

    Check out the company I now use, and read it all, and you decide for yourself, but please don't keep posting over and over warnings based on a thread where nothing is verified, and you yourself say you know nothing about the company you are warning against. What you are failing to tell people is that manufacturers can be just as prone to deny coverage, if it will cost them money.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Subaru's program includes roadside assistance for the entire duration. It's been a while since I read it, but they'll tow 100 miles for free, IIRC.

    So you'd be half way home. :D

    I know a more than a few folks at Subaru and feel confident in the Subaru warranties, so I did not hesitate to get one. I realize not all consumers are in the same position as I am.


    PS I had a terrible time with Ford Credit so I've been there, in a different way, but I've been there.

    PPS To be fair, a neighbor with an F-250 did get a new tranny under his extended warranty from Ford. He uses it often. LOL
  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247
    "PPS To be fair, a neighbor with an F-250 did get a new tranny under his extended warranty from Ford. He uses it often." LOL


    I'd like to push Bill Ford down some stairs! :P
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    We can leverage the internet to fight back, at least. We know that people at SoA follow these boards, in the past officially but still now, albeit unofficially.

    Where the Ford threads any help?

    Ford Credit tried to screw me when I paid a loan down early. The fact that I wrote "for principal only" on the check was what saved me. But they fought me tooth and nail over a few bucks. No more Fords for me, I was done.

  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    We had a Warranty thread here on Edmunds ...

    Is this the one you had in mind?

    "Warranty Gold" Claims

    tidester, host
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    No, it was not specific to one company, but an overall discussion of extended warranties. Hasn't been active in a while, I believe.

  • bayview6bayview6 Member Posts: 141
    I'm not a believer in buying extended warranties. The Forester is a well engineered car and if it is well maintained there should not be any problems with it. Any problems that show up after the regular warranty expires could well be a subject of a recall.

    Maybe I've just been lucky so far.
  • bayview6bayview6 Member Posts: 141
    Take it to another dealer. My 2006 Forester shifts smoothly although I can sense the shift points. Call SoA if the other dealer says it normal. Obviously, the Forester would not be selling like hot cakes if it had the shifting problem you described.
  • kanoodlerkanoodler Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 forester that acts like a front wheel drive only in that when the front wheels slip the rear slam in. This happens more frequently when hard accelerating and of course on slippery surfaces.


  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Make sure the tires have even pressure and wear. Have you been rotating them?

  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    AT or MT? with that kicking in problem?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I'll bet it's the auto. Some people can actually feel it engage, though most don't.

    The VC on the manuals is pre-engaged, so you don't feel it.

  • logtraillogtrail Member Posts: 74
    On my older Forester a/t the transmission would downshift when going down a steep hill at approx 50mph. With my 06 this never happens, even on the same hill. The manual says that it will not downshift if mph is over 48. I don't really care about this, but was wondering if those of you with the a/t have the car downshifting to 3rd on a steep hill.
  • ponchofbponchofb Member Posts: 1
    Mine is an automatic with 68K. Yesterday morning we got 4" of snow here in SC and I couldn't get out of the driveway. I opened the door and looked back, the rear wheels wern't turning. I drove the Lumina to work (better tires) and started reading the past threads on the subject. I know the AWD was working properly at this time last year when I had it in the snow in WV. I checked to make sure there wasn't a fuse in the FWD slot in the fusebox. I don't think it could be worn out clutch pack due to the relative low mileage. I read in some threads about failing AWD silenoids or accuators but when I called a couple of dealerships and talked to the techs they didn't know of and couldn't find any part listed by those names. They said that it could possibly be a Valve AY Transfer CL (part # 31942AA103). Can anyone advise? I get by on a very modest salary and would like to try and fix this myself if I can get away with it. I'd rate myself as a moderately competant mechanic. I'm mostly concerned with getting a proper diagnosis. -John
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    If that's an L model there's an open rear diff. The back tire on the other side could have been spinning. Were you able to see both sides to make sure it wasn't?

  • downdraftdowndraft Member Posts: 3
    I may have a similar problem: 160,000 miles, Forester AWD, automatic. Wisconsin/Minnesota sub-zero, snow, icy roads. Driving this AM it started jerking to right and left...but noise, just pulling in short jerks either direction...pulled to side of road, stering wheel slight wobble on a off...checked axles and boots but slight rip in the boots suggested snow and crap may be in there...none...later, after creeping home 20 miles with flashers it subsided. Seems OK on clean roads...but suspect viscuous shaft can be turned by hand while on lift and rear wheels will rotate...What Goes???
  • downdraftdowndraft Member Posts: 3
    1998 Subaru Forester, 160,000 miles. I may have a similar problem: 160,000 miles, Forester AWD, automatic. Wisconsin/Minnesota sub-zero, snow, icy roads. Driving this AM it started jerking to right and left...but noise, just pulling in short jerks either direction...pulled to side of road, stering wheel slight wobble on a off...checked axles and boots but slight rip in the boots suggested snow and crap may be in there...none...later, after creeping home 20 miles with flashers it subsided. Seems OK on clean roads...but suspect viscuous shaft can be turned by hand while on lift and rear wheels will rotate...What Goes???
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    Ice/snow buildup on a rim?
    Loose strut top mount?
    tie-rod end?
    Ball joint?

  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    If you have a cracked boot on your CV, the grease is or will come out and dirt get in and your CV will be shot in short order. Make sure to get it replaced ASAP.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    We had that on our 626. The boot tore, grease leaked. Fix is ASAP, because ours leaked grease that shorted out the O2 sensor. That increased the cost of the repair.

    Also agree about the possibility of ice on the rim. If you can, clean it and wax the rims. If not at least scrape off the ice, and maybe spray a tiny bit of WD40 in the area (not on the tire, though).

  • downdraftdowndraft Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for input. All joints etc check out OK except boot cracked and needs replacement.

    However, why won't the rear wheels engage in All Wheel Drive, only fronts??
  • morsethmorseth Member Posts: 10
    Hello everyone,

    I just bought a new '07 Subaru Forester, automatic trans, 5 days ago. It's my first Subaru, so I was pretty excited about that.

    Unfortunately, I've noticed a strange sound while driving. The sound seems to be coming from under the car (wheels, drive train, etc), but I can't tell if it's from the front/rear or left/right. It's hard to explain, but the sound is kind of like a tapping/hammering noise. Almost like the sound of a very loud valve tap.

    It can only be heard at speeds between about 35Mph and 60Mph while accelerating and the RPM is held between 2300 and 3500. If I roll down the window at those speeds to try and pinpoint the noise, the wind washes out the sound.

    This noise is much more pronounced when accelerating up a hill in this RPM range. Letting off the accelerator makes the noise stop, and mashing the pedal to force a downshift makes the noise go away (higher RPMs make it hard to hear or completely gone). As the RPMs increase, the speed of the tapping increases too. While the noise is occuring, if I put the transmission in Neutral and rev the engine to those RPMs, I cannot hear the noise.

    I also noticed yesterday that when this tapping noise is occuring, steering the car affects it. If I steer/swerve quickly to the left, the tapping noise gets much faster and a little bit louder. If I swerve to the right, the tapping noise briefly disappears until I straighten out again. Making a very hard left turn (like at a stop sign) seems to increase the chances of the noise occuring when I hit that 35-60Mph speed range, while making sharp right turns sometimes eliminates the problem for just a little while.

    I'm afraid this could be one of those deals where the dealer service techs either won't hear it since it's intermittent, or will say it's "normal". If I can take it in for service with at least some idea of what the problem might be, that might be helpful. Anyone have any ideas? Wheel bearings, steering rack, differential?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    From the first half of your post I was thinking loose heat shield. It might only rattle at certain frequencies.

    For the 2nd half, I was thinking wheel bearing.

    Maybe at the first oil change have them inspect those areas. You can register a "customer says" call with 800-SUBARU3 so that if it ever gets worse you can prove you noticed it while it was still under the full warranty.
  • morsethmorseth Member Posts: 10
    Thanks for the quick feedback!

    I've owned cars with noisy/rattling heat shields before, and this doesn't sound too similar. I'm not ruling it out, but it doesn't seem like that would be it. It's really not a metallic rattling type sound. It's more of a tap or a knock, like a "piston slap" type noise. It only does it at certain speeds. Driving slowly at 15 Mph between 2300PRM and 3500RPM does not cause the noise.

    The sound is very rhythmic and repeatitive once it kicks in, not at all random in nature, like a baseball card in a bicycle tire. The faster the RPMs are, the faster the tap/knock is. Once it gets to about 3500 RPM, the taps get so fast and close together that I can't hear or perceive them anymore.

    It seems as if the noise is louder as the load on the engine increases. Going up a steep hill, the noise is very pronounced. On a flat stretch of road I can hear it, but the noise is much quieter.

    I think issue of swerving left and right making the sound worse and better is important to the diagnosis, I just haven't figured out the correlation yet.

  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    Could be a bad CV joint/axle assembly.

  • xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,297
    I am definitely leaning toward a wheel bearing, but yes, it could also be as Mike suggested. Increased torque on either of these is going to cause that rhythmic tapping noise if it is only beginning to go bad. The CV tends to be symptomatic only during turns early on, but that does not mean it always has to be this way.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
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