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Subaru Legacy/Outback Transmission Problems



  • vpekulasvpekulas Posts: 14
  • kerrypkerryp Posts: 4
    Thanks again Mike - I'll go to Kragen's to get the stuff you recommended and have the guys there show me where it goes. It's kind of depressing though, to think my car is ready to die and I've only put 80K miles on the thing and I take care of it too. Phooey! Thanks a bunch,
  • untill i get a new centre prop bearing is it ok to drive the legacy awd in 2wd having removed the rear prop section ?
    thanks :)
  • jprinzojprinzo Posts: 2
    I am considering an 05 to 07 Outback, probably 4 cylinder, manual. I like the fact that it mixes ruggedness and economy in a sporty wagon. In doing research I've heard horrible things about Subies which undermine all common knowledge about Japanese cars. One friend purchased an '05 WRX new, took it home and the engine died. The engine was replaced under warranty. Next his tranny went at 45,000 miles. Two neighbors each own a 99-00 Forester and Legacy sedan. The Legacy sedan needed a tranny at 42,000 miles and the Forester at 25,000! I thought Subaru's were indestructible and on par with Toyota and Honda. Are these problems fixed in later models? Is the AWD tranny just too much for the car? Are Subie enthusiasts blindly supporting pieces of crap because they like the looks like VW fans do? I have an 88 LandCruiser which has had no problems at all and drove a Mazda Protege 5 for 4 years and put 85,000 miles on it without even having to replace the clutch. The stories are worse than American cars which I didn't think possible. You could buy an AMC Pacer or a Gremlin and not have the tranny go in 25k. BTW, these people baby their cars as well. Also, I've noticed tons of negative posts and huge problems with relatively low mileage Subies. This is unacceptable in the 21st century. They are obviously not assembled in Japan. If you look at Lexus, Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Nissan etc boards, there are relatively few posts about problems under 150k. Any thoughts?
  • cmccartcmccart Posts: 9
    I have a '95 Subaru Legacy Wagon that we bought new that has 160k miles on it. Had to replace the clutch under warranty within a few months of purchasing the car. Not wure why...maybe it was built on a Monday. :P We have replaced the clutch two additional times at about 70k miles each time, but apparently Subaru changed the clutch style in 2001 and the newer models are better. We have never had any transmission or any other issues and we have not been very good at keeping to the maintenance schedules. It just keeps running and running and we have driven it everywhere with 3 kids and a dog. I would like to get a more economical vehicle now that I commute, but I don't want to give up my Subie! :blush:
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    I am on my 6th subaru and have never had a tranny/engine failure, two I have had for 90K+ and one for 140K. My first and only Toyota, an 06 Sienna, needed a new tranny at 42K, so much for my experience with Toyotas! Its just luck of the draw. The AWD is the least likely area in a Subaru to go wrong. Have never had a problem of any sort with the AWD in my Subes. I can diss my WRXs clutch, Legacys a/c but the AWD (and they have several different systems depending on model, tranny type) are bullet proof. All Foresters come from Japan and IIRC even the engines on US assembled cars(Legacy/Outback/Tribeca) come from Japan. Most Subaru trannys, at least the auto ones are Jatco products which also are supplied to Nissan. FWIW I had a 92 Legacy L sedan made in the US and a 92 Legacy LS wagon made in Japan and the US one had fewer problems and fewer recalls. CRs reliability surveys do show Subarus on par with Toyotas and Hondas.
  • carol2008carol2008 Posts: 9
    Well it's been 5 months now and we still have this problem. The Dealer apparently has not heard anything from Subaru -- or they would have called us right? -- We have found out one thing and that's if we do not let the car idle down when we start it, you can count on the engine racing. This is what we do. We turn the key and let all the controls adjust, then we start it. Then we wait about 3 minutes or so for the engine to idle down, then we put it in gear and go. We've come to 'live' with the problem since we figured out how to stop it most of the time. -- We just bought a 08 Nissan Frontier - Absolutely wonderful truck! I think I've got my husband convinced that we should swap vehicals ! i just wanted to update you all. ~ Carol
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    The dealer isn't going to call you ever. If you don't stay on top of them, they'll assume all is well.

    I told you what needs to be done to fix it. The ECU needs to be re-flashed at the dealer. I mis-flashed mine and it had the same effect, once I re-flashed it, it was fine.

    If your dealer won't do it, find one that will. If you want, e-mail me directly [email protected] and perhaps we can work on this together to get it resolved.


    PS: My best buddy has an 05 Frontier and he loves it. 75k miles on it.
  • HELP! Two maybe-related auto-trans problems.
    1) Lost drive to rear wheels.Same thing happened about 100,000 miles ago when the output adapter in the rear transmission extension case failed where it is welded onto a machined gear.(How does Subaru get this item to stay together in their rally cars?) .Replaced adaptor - all OK. Suspect same failure again as FWD and RWD have always fought in low speed turns, forwards and backwards. Symptom is shuddering/vibration felt in car. "They all do that, sir" is the response from most dealers. Never driven the car off road but it has excelled in many Winter seasons of snow and ice in S.E PA.
    2) Now, soon after loss of rear drive, there is no movement at all when R is selected. Fluid is clean and up to the mark; no warning lights and no stored fault codes in the TCU. Transmission behaves normally in any/all forward selections - bit of a thump going up into 2nd gear when fluid is cold.
    Engine is great after almost one quarter million miles. Leaks more oil from rear crank seal and front camshaft seals than it burns, which is not much.
  • Was your ac ever fixed? I have a 2007 Outback and the dealership where I got it is disgraceful. My ac cycles on and off and I have to keep it on 3 out of 4 to stay cool. Subaru says it is running w/in specs. It is also worse in hotter weather. My car also veers to the right a lot. Subaru says it drives straight, but the right front strut was already worn in under 10,000 miles enough to have to replace it. I have always heard great things about Subaru, but I will never buy another one.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,669
    You say they have always fought in turns? My '96 never did (had it 220,000 miles with never a hint of a transmission problem). Sounds like maybe the car has a problem with its center differential - a problem that has gone undiagnosed long enough to cause failure in other normally-reliable parts.

    I am not sure about the lack of reverse; is there any indication at all, when you shift, that something is happening within the transmission?
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • people with the tranny problem here...

    did they say it cause the failure?? it has to be some good explanation!

    did they fix it for free? I would be contacting corporate on this!
  • wibyerwibyer Posts: 3
    I am considiring purchasing a used 99 Outback that had it's transmission replaced last year. Should I expect other big problems from this car (90,000 miles)? I know the head gasket can go sometime soon too.....
  • fordfan_17fordfan_17 Posts: 175
    speaking from a transmission rebuilders point of veiw (aftermarket rebuilder) i see very few subaru's for trans repairs 1 maybe out of 150 cars..just my 2 cents worth
  • fordfan_17fordfan_17 Posts: 175
    your vehicle should have a 7 for the 11th digit of the VIN idetifying the trans as a 4spd box 4AT designation. Most AWD box fail due to simple problems people dont realize. running 1 tire a different size than the other 3 can cause a failure this happens more frequently in the AUTO 4X4 applications. your loss of reverse issue can be pin pointed however by looking at a clutch and band application chart and eliminating any clutch or band that is applied or holding in a forward gear. normally in most transmissions reverse is applied with the use of a band or drum specifically for reverse and the "DIRECT" clutch drum with todays transmission 5spd + that could be designated as 3rd or 4th gear
  • This light keeps blinking even though the transmission has been checked and it is okay. Any suggessions to get this sensor diabled?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,669
    Sounds like perhaps the sensor is already disabled.... ;)

    But seriously, have you run a diagnostics check on the car? It might be something other than simply the transmission oil temperature. Those dummy lights don't tell you much, only that you need to hook the car to a code reader. The fact that this particular light is flashing means the error code is triggering in the transmission control unit (rather than the engine control unit).
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    The flashing usually indicates that one of the clutch packs or pressure solenoids is bad. Definitely have a dealer with the subaru specific computer check it out.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • -Started to jolt recently when reversing
    - Driving along and ocassionally when I put my foot on the gas the car doesn't speed up it just revs just from 2000-6000 while the car stays at the same speed :cry:

    Not sure what this mean driving back from T.O and going the normal 110 -120 and the car starts to heat up so I check the coolant and the car drank it all so I put more coolant in and wait an hour before driving anymore double check the coolant it was good so I continues on home , but then the car started to heat up again so I slowed down to 80 and the temputure went back to normal ?? I'm lost to why its ok at 80 but not 100

    Any help would be great Forgot to mention that a day after the car had heat issues the Check engine light came on and then went off again :sick:
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    If your trans is slipping then it will overheat the car because the trans slipping creates heat.

    You are cruising at 110-120 in a 1998 outback? Wow, that's pretty good.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • Ok thanks guess its time for the shop , and yes I can get better speed then that with ease she usually goes up to 160 , Shes not the normal subaru plus the new engine helps wasn't put in too long ago maybe 2 -3 years Its funny my 1998 subaru outback is faster then my friends 2006 toyota.
    Thank again
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Wait, 160 mph? I'm thinking you mean 160 kph, even a swapped out outback with an STi motor would have a hard time hitting 160, let alone sustaining it.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • Hi Mike, I wanted to tell you that today my husband took my subaru to the dealer with your message in hand. He told them he wanted this fixed and that this is what he wanted done. There was some reluctance, I believe the quote was "this is not from Subaru!" he told them, of couse not! My wife had to go on the internet to find out what the problem was since I can't get any resolve from you. So, they got the mechanic and he read your message and said, we just got an ECM update on this.
    He drove the car - and then he "performed re-flash for engine control module (ECM) for too high rpm when clutch is depressed." and -- she runs perfectly now. You were RIGHT ON!
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Glad I could be of help. We see a lot of weird stuff (and try a lot of weird stuff) on our subies at our shop so sometimes we get lucky in diagnosing things. Glad it is now resolved and you are a happy camper! I love when folks are happy with their Subarus, and I don't even work for them! haaaa.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587

    Nice call, mike. :shades:
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,669
    Absolutely, and thanks for letting us know that it worked, Carol!
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Mike,
    I was so excited to tell you that my car was fixed that I forgot one very important thing... THANK YOU !! THANK YOU!! ... We have told everyone about this (Edmunds) and advised them if they need help, here is the place to find it.

    Again, many thanks.
    ~Carol :)
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    No problem glad I could help!

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • I have a 2003 outback wagon with 120,000 miles. The engine was replaced 2 months ago due to a failed connecting rod bearing. Now 2 months later the transmission has failed. Does anyone have experience with trans failures as a result of engine replacement? I will see the disassembled trans tomorrow so I will have a better feel for what failed. I was only told a shaft by the dealer.
  • I'm having a terrible day! Our 2001 Outback with 150,000 miles, has been making a grinding sound when we shift into 1st or from 1st into 2nd. We thought probably a gear/transmission thing...we are definately not car mechanics can tell us anything. We've just moved here and don't know anyone to refer us to a good mechanic. Anyway, we took it to AAMCO in Manassas, Va.

    They just called and said it was probably the synchronizer and that to fix it the labor would be $1017.00. They couldn't say what the parts cost would be until they opened it up. We just had a new clutch installed last month--at a different shop. AAMCO told us that the flywheel should have been retooled when the clutch was done, but wasn't. AAMCO said they could do it for us while they had the car.

    Does their diagnosis of the grinding sound reasonable, and is the $1017 for labor sound reasonable. Could it be something else? We just had a new baby last week and this expense is the last thing we needed! We're going to have to borrow the money from my parents.

    Thank you--Lori
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