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Subaru Legacy/Outback Transmission Problems



  • jbjjc9jbjjc9 Posts: 3
    Hi, I found the binding is the clutch packs located in the extension housing at the rear of the tranny and the blinking light is telling you an electrical fault occurred the last time you ran the car. That is probably the duty C solenoid which operates the clutch pack and is located in the extension housing as well, not at the tranny pan. I just had mine replaced 2 days ago for $550 and the car works fine. Check out these photos and you will see the clutch pack lying down and the solenoid mounted just to the right with wires coming out. I hope this helps.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,795
    Very nice. Thanks for sharing; those photos are excellent. It looks like you did much more than just the center differential clutch pack and solenoid. Would you mind elaborating on the work for our benefit? Also, it looks like a few of the replacement parts (such as what looks like an internal drive shaft between the front and center differentials) are not the same between original and new. Did the new ones still work?
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • cosmic007cosmic007 Posts: 1
    it is leaking out of the breather in the front diff it is a 1994 legacy can someone help me asap
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,795
    What kind of fluid is it leaking? Gear oil or automatic transmission fluid? If it is ATF, there is a good chance that the internal driveshaft seal to the front differential blew.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • pupparentpupparent Posts: 3
    1992 Subaru Legacy , FWD, Automatic Trans.,
    I have a leak from the Gasket that goes in between the Transmission and the Differential.
    Appx. what kind of price should I be expecting a transmission shop to charge to have this gasket replaced?
    Could there be a reason why this gasket would have started leaking, besides it probably being the same age as the car?
    Any info. provided is appreciated, I really need my car fixed but I don't want to get taken advantage of or be screwed over.
    Thank You Everybody and Anybody!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,795
    I am not really sure, but the transaxle does have to be pulled from the car. Based on that, I would estimate somewhere between 6-8 hours of labor. I would guess shop rates in your area are at least $100 (since they seem to be everywhere!), so probably between $700 and $1000.

    Of course, the seal itself is probably a $20 part.... :sick:
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • pj43pj43 Posts: 9
    I want to thank you very much for your link with trans.back end removed.
    I finally had my 97 fixed, my mechanic went by your inst. the car works like a charm. No more blinking, no more biding in rev. no lunging forward when shutting off the engine. works great. pj43
  • I see this is an old post, however, I'm currently experiencing the same exact problem with my 2000 lgt wagon...I had to wait about 15 minutes before the transmission engaged tonight after work. The fluid is full and does not smell burnt or appear discolored. The transmission holds strong when in gear, just has technical difficulties engaging.

    Just wondering if you or anyone else have been able to find some kind of solution to this problem. I'm not all that familiar with the operations of a transmission, but a coworker suggested that their may be some sort of hydraulic hose clogged or pinched that engages the transmission?? Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

    Thank you!
  • My 2001 Subaru has been having a lot of issues as of late. Every time I try to accelerate while in reverse or making a turn with the car the rpms go through the roof. It then lurches thereafter making it quite dangerous to be driving out on the road.

    I took it to a transmission place after a mechanic recommended I take it there since they couldn't figure it out. The guy at Aamco said after testing my car the transmission was slipping and that the fluid in the transmission had a burnt smell and was not the color it should be. He said that it would cost around $600 just to look at it and then another $1000 for the soft parts and labor to get it fixed; however he said he doesn't know exactly what in the transmission is the problem.

    Being that the cost of the fixing is around 1/3 of the value of the subaru, is there anything else it could be or another solution to the issue so that I don't have to fork over that huge some of money? Any ideas or thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
  • After reading other posts it sounds like it could be a torque converter issue. Anyway this is just a little more info on the car. It has 78000 miles on it, and the car is jerking up until 30 mph. When going faster the car sounds and feels fine.
  • redrose1redrose1 Posts: 49
    My car is about a month old.
    When I accelerate after slowing down, the transmission seems to "slip" and then kick in, resulting in a jerk motion.
    When I coast, letting thecar slow down, somewhere between 10-20 MPH, I feel the car slow down as if there was a slight application of brake, then a slight surge forward as if brake reased then a slowing down again. Feels to me like transmission changing gears.

    Anyone else have this in their outback?
  • tgl3tgl3 Posts: 6
    I have the exact same issue. i sent this to my dealer:

    whenever i slow down, like approaching a red light, or approaching a turn,
    but don't have to come to a complete stop and can speed up again, when i
    give it the gas, the car revs like it is idling in neutral then jolts into
    gear. Do i need to bring it in? this doesn't feel "normal".

    And he said i should bring it in. which i did. the gave me a loaner and kept it 2 days. after which they said they drove 2 other new 3.6 R at they dealership and they all did that, so the told me it was "normal".

    If i feather the accelerator just right, then it doesn't do it. But that isn't necessary on other cars ive owned. Hopefully if more are having the issue we can get better follow up from subaru. (other than this, i really like the car though)
  • I have a 2011 3.6R outback as well and my car is doing the same thing. I've never noticed this on any of the 3 subarus I've owned and I do not think this is normal. I've already been to the dealer twice with the vibration issue which was modified with stabilizer kit and a new steering wheel. Anyway, I plan on taking it back to the dealer because this 'dragging' I'm experiencing when I'm coasting after I take my foot off of the accelerator should not be happening. I already have a case file with subaru. I'll just add this as number 4 to the list.
  • I have the same issue with my 2011 3.6R. Having it slam into gear can be very disconcerting and it can't be good for the transmission.

    I also have a rattling sound coming from somewhere in the front right area of the car. I've noticed that a small areal of the dashboard plastic, right next to the windshield, seems to be slightly higher than it should be, so this could be the cause. Anyone else come across this?

    I am planning on raising these issues with my dealer when i bring it in for my first oil change.
  • kel9kel9 Posts: 1
    My Legacy is an automatic with the manual shift option. During the hot months in Florida, the car under-performed often and felt like it would stall when slowing to a stop and upon accelerating, too. Had it in a few times and the dealership said there were no "updates" available, but they had a few similar comments by other drivers. I took it in again yesterday and had a major ordeal! The tech deprogrammed the ignition key and when he got it reprogrammed, then the car completely quit on him when he drove it. Now they are ordering a new computer for the car. I don't know yet if the stall scare was due to needing a new computer or what. I want to know - if the computer is replaced does that mean it's bascially a new car system? Or, could there still be engine or transmission issues that caused my original concern? Thanks for any input!
  • my 1998 legacy outback front wheel spins and squeals when you pull out of a parking lot and when you floor the gas the car acts like it grabs a gear and the car goes a little side to side and its a auto trans the wheel are not binding that i know of its has a jdm trans and eng hope the front and rear gears have the same raito
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,795
    Sounds like a bad differential or clutch pack that is not allowing the wheels to spin at different speeds without binding.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • 1999 Subaru Legacy 2.5 Automatic 180,00 miles

    I can force into overdrive by: 1) Manually shifting into Neutral 2) Then, manually shift into 3 gear (which is the gear the trans is actual in) 3) And then manually shift into Overdrive. But, transmission will shift down out of OD as soon as any load is applied to the engine.

    Replaced: All Valve Body with Solenoids, TCM, TPS, and O.H, Kit. Still will won't up shift into OD.

    No codes or any other problems.
  • Our 2000 wagon with 80,000 miles has a trans harness o ring leak. Dealer's fix is to seal the leak for $200 rather than replace as was recommended in posting #361. Any comments on this fix?
    Also, my Outback 2006 wagon is scheduled for its first transmission fluid replacement and the dealer told me that Subaru does not recommend a flush; just a drain and fill. Any comments on why not to flush?
  • have 92 legacy awd 4 speed auto 135000 miles shifts hard from 1st to 2nd .not as bad in other gears fluid level seems ok
  • Well.. My car is 13 years old (1997 Legacy Gt 2.5L) with 81,000 miles on it and it does that exact same thing. Not that it has much comparison other than the same type of car just a few years difference.
  • *Also replaced: ECM, MAP sensor, and MAF sensor - NO EFFECT.

    **In addition to above problem: Transmission will Shift fine if using Cruise Control.

    So logically the problem has to do with the wiring - possibly a new Wiring Harness is needed, OR possibly there is a bad Ground (there are several).

    I dont know enough about the circuitry between: how the transmission works using Cruise Control VS not using using Cruise Control.
  • rhincarhinca Posts: 1
    I am yet another frustrated Subaru owner experiencing the same transmission problem. I have a 2008 Outback automatic... for the last few months it has been lurching when it changes gears, especially when I let off the accelerator slightly. Sometimes it makes such a loud noise that everyone in the car jumps! Of course it does this intermittently (cant figure out a temperature correlation) and under different circumstances. I've taken it to the dealer 3 times (its there right now) Each time, they check it with the computer, make some adjustment, and the problem subsides for about 2 weeks. Today, they've told me that once again they've "fixed" the problem according to the computer, and that the print out reads everything is "normal." I put in a ticket with the Subaru headquarters, and am waiting for various managers to talk to other managers. I was delighted to find this thread (very validating). My 2008 Outback has never done this, and there is no way it is "normal." I will post an outcome if I get something tangible!
  • I used to love Subaru's but, .....My wife bought a new Outback 2011 with the 3.6 engine and immediately experienced the same "clunking" transmission issue. Major intermittent hard shifting when slowing down and then accelerating, usually at a light that turns green or when rounding a corner. Very annoying and potentially a safety issue if someone's close in front of you and it bucks badly. Since it's intermittent, it can really surprise you.

    I tried to get her to return it immediately but we had a road trip vacation planned and she thought the dealer would take care of it. She's taken it in 3 times and they acknowledge the problem but claim it's normal with "this new transmission." Service Manager says the clutch pack locks up when it downshifts to protect the transmission?? and that causes the hard shift. Field Service Engineer says it's "normal." I've had 2 other 3.6 Outbacks and never experienced the issue. It's hard to believe Subaru would let this kind of driver experience out the door and then call it normal. I'm making a call to Customer Dealer Services about the issue tomorrow. You can reach them at 800-782-2873. Hopefully, someone at the corporate level will recognize this as the potential class action suit it could become and get this fixed before it metastasises and damages their enviable reputation.
  • Thanks for the post...I am having an identical problem with my 2008 Outback automatic as well. I was starting to think that I was imagining things or that this was normal...but there is NO WAY this is normal. I had mine in and service said there was a TSB for a computer "refresh" for a transmission shifting problem, but after getting it back, there was no difference. I don't have the loud noise you mention (yet) but it lurches when trying to shift at relatively low speeds and RPMs, mostly between 25 - 25 mph and around 1500 - 2200 rpms. Going from between 1st and 2nd it's clunky, and then races up to 3rd, then downshifts to 2nd again. Also when coming to a stop it seems to hold onto 2nd gear before it downshifts to 1st, not exactly safe.

    Ya know, one of the reasons I bought the Subaru because it was rated off the charts on CR, and a safe car..I hope this can be fixed and that I don't regret this decision.
  • I just replied to rhinca to say that I am having a very similar problem, and also wanted to let you know you also describe the issue we're seeing with a clunking transmission in our 2008 Outback automatic. The transmission sounds like it's not been re-engineered since between 2008 and 2011. : (

    I'm interested to know if you got a response from Customer Dealer Services or not. I may try the same tack and have put in a request to schedule to have the Outback looked at again because this is simply not acceptable. I'll try +18007822873 as well. Thanks for the post.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,795
    edited January 2011
    Your car and the 2011 have different transmissions. I have owned two Subaru Outbacks with the 4EAT that is in your car (one of which was also a 2008), and they were fairly smooth, so there is certainly nothing normal about the symptoms you describe.

    I suspect the issue is with the electronic control, but I would also inspect the transmission fluid to see whether there are signs of physical wear in the unit, such as a browning of the fluid (should be bright red). Either way, Subaru ought to see it fixed.

    Has the car done this since new? Have you driven any others to compare "normal" to the experience you have with your car? While the Outback and Legacy no longer use the 4EAT, the Forester and Impreza do.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • The symptoms may be identical but the dealership says the problem occurs with the redesigned transmission that came out with the 2011 model. I'm still trying to get ahold of Customer Dealer Services - The telephone number I gave earlier was incorrect - It should be 1-800-782-2783 - .... Reached them, told them I'd seen reports on line - they are escalating the issue... will keep you posted.
  • I agree. I have owned 2 previous Outbacks both 2006, and never experienced these sorts of issues. This new 2011, started clunking in the first several hundred miles. After 3 trips to the dealer, the Regional Service honcho reported it as "normal" for this new transmission. If so, they've really slipped up. I'm currently shepherding the issue through their escalation procedure.
  • molderbmolderb Posts: 7
    I also have a 2011 Outback Limited 3.6 The day I drove it home is had a very rough shift. Seems to happen when not completely stopped and begin to accelerate. Took it right back, they said they did some kind of flash on the memory but it did not totally fix the problem. It has been getting progressively worse. I would NOT let a pregnant woman or anyone with a neck or back problem ride in my car at this point. The second visit back to my dealer they said they would make some calls to Subaru. I get a call back from my dealer saying that Subaru is aware of this problem but there is no fix for it at this time. My husband and I are tying to find others with the same issue, trying to figure out what our next step is/ options.
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