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Subaru Legacy/Outback Transmission Problems



  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    That was an old topic, but seems moons521 was the source in 2007. Hopefully, it's been fixed by now.. :blush:
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Hi! I have had the same issue with my 2011 Outback 3.6. It is in the shop right now for the 3rd time. When I come to a rolling stop then turn, or if something runs across the street and I need to slow down to almost a complete stop, then hit the gas, the car jerks forward. The 1st time the dealership wasn't sure what to do about it, so they did a computer reset. Didn't work. It gradually started doing it again. Started out minor and very infrequent to more often and harsher jerking after a month. I took it again and they completely wiped the computer and downloaded a new program onto it hoping that would fix it. Well.. 3 months later it's doing it again. I read up on colorado lemon laws and if the same problem persists after 4 attempts and cannot be fixed within a year, then you need to proceed with negotiating with subaru. I bring my car to Shortline Subaru in Aurora, Co and they have been great. They are actually ordering a computer monitor from Subaru that is going to record all data from my car, so they can see what is causing it and possibly how to fix it. I spoke with them about what will happen if they can't fix it and they didn't act surprised or defensive. I spoke to the service manager and neither one of us mentioned lemon law, but we both knew what each other was implying. My impression from the conversation was that Subaru is going to do everything they can to fix the problem before pursuing other avenues, but if it comes down being unfixable, Shortline is going to do the honorable thing.
  • Hi Diane,

    Luckily for me with my 2011 3.6R the transmission completely stopped working within 2 months of buying it and under 2,000 miles. It had been doing the jerk thing when you slow down on a ramp and then speed up and it made a huge clunking sound upon reverse. One day I could not reverse so I had it towed to the dealer who confirmed that I had no transmission. Subaru worked with the dealer and gave me a brand new car.
  • carteachcarteach Posts: 179
    I've been all set to buy the 3.6 Limited, but am getting gun shine reading all these posts. I was thinking of buying the 3.6 because of all the head gasket problems the 2.5 have.

    Are those of you who've had problems (3.6) sorry you got your car? I'm getting cold feet despite the fact that the Outback is the right car size wise for me.

    BTW... have a Legacy Outback ('95) with 218,000 miles on it and no transmission problems whatsoever.
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 694
    The Forester has almost the same interior passenger room as the Outback: 1/4 inch narrower, but 1/4 inch more fore and aft. The 2011 Forester 2.5i has the new engine designed to eliminate the head gasket problem. The Forester XT has a different, stronger cylinder block that also does not have the problem.

    You could save about $5,000 with the most expensive Forester over the 3.6 Limited. The Forester XT has in-town performance about the same as the 3.6.

    I went from a 2005 3.0 VDC six Outback to the 2010 Forester XT. The Forester's back seat spacing is better.
  • poodog13poodog13 Posts: 320
    Take a look at how many V6 engines Subaru sells in a year as a percentage of its cars and then ask yourself if buying one is a great idea.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Take a look at how many V6 engines Subaru sells in a year

    That would be exactly zero; definitely not a good idea to buy a V6 from Subaru.

    Hahaha; I jest. :P
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Six months ago I purchased an Outback 3.6 Ltd. because for the money I thought the car was a very good value. In my opinion the car is good looking, has AWD that is fantastic and the 3.6 engine was quick and smooth. Shortly after owning it I noticed it was very difficult to drive straight so I took it in to have the alignment checked, I was told it was out but they did not provide any details. I still felt like the car was a lot of work to drive but I thought I would just keep until the warranty was over then I would have someone else align the car to make it drive straight. In addition to this problem my wife and I both noticed transmission problems people have described as "lurching" or jerking. After discussing the problem we decided to take it in to be checked. After we picked the car up we were told that everything seemed to be fine and that it was operating as it should. It took the service writer 10-15 minutes of "BS" to finally admit there wasn't a fix at this point from Subaru. My wife and I could not believe we were having a problem with a brand new car. Finally we decided we would get rid of it losing both money and confidence in Subaru.

    Good luck to you and I hope you enjoy whatever you end up doing either keeping it or getting something new, life’s too short to be unhappy!

    Last week we bought a 2012 Toyota 4runner SR5 and life is good again!
  • almattialmatti Posts: 164
    Notwithstanding this transmission jerking issue I read here, which appears to affect the 3.6R models (Outbacks - Legacy too?), to correct poodog13, it is not a V-6 engine, but rather a Flat 6 similar to the 2.5 4 cylinder engine (Boxer design which Porche uses as well). The Tranny in the 3.6 is a 5 speed Auto Tranny, the 2.5i uses the CVT {I have a 2010 Legacy 2.5i}.

    I look at a Subaru forum -, I like to read the comments and various posts from the members. But I can't say I saw any complaints related to this problem. A big issue seems to be a car Shimmy issue which some members experience and others don't. From reading about that issue, I still have not been able to pinpoint from the posts whether the Shimmy afflicts both cars - 2.5 or 3.6 versions and/or cars with 16" or 17" wheels..
  • poodog13poodog13 Posts: 320
    Semantics as it relates to the crux of my earlier point, which is to say that as a general rule if the vast majority of the cars that a manufacturer makes falls under one powertrain configuration, you may want to stay away from the other small minority alternative.
  • desertnomaddesertnomad Posts: 1
    edited January 2012
    Our 2012 3.6R Outback is doing the same thing... slow down to about 10mph then accelerate and it lurches while finding a gear. Found this and am going to the dealer Friday:

    Service Bulletin # 11-104-11
    Pages: 1

    Bulletin Description: This is to announce that TCM reprogramming files are now available to rectify a harsh downshift on 3-2 downshift while slowing to 12-14 mph and then accelerating. Note: TCM reprogramming files were sent to all SDS users in the October 2011 SSMIII Update version

    The tech note (which I found on another forum) says this was applied to production cars starting: 10/17/2011 VIN C2217396 for the Outback and10/12/2011 VIN C2008348 for the Legacy).

    Hopefully that will fix it as it is rather discomforting and surely can't be good for the transmission in the long run.
  • My wife and I recently bought a brand new Subaru Outback with pretty much every option we could think of....Unfortunately, within a very short period of time, we began to experience a very significant "clunk" in the transmission when accelerating from a rolling stop. I can't tell you how our hearts sank as we looked at one another...Since then it has happened a number of times over the past few weeks, but due to our busy schedules and being out of town much of the time we have not yet had the opportunity to get it into the dealership. When I spoke to the service guy at Subaru, he claimed it was normal...I can honestly tell you having owned vehicles for 25 years...I have never felt this type of a clunk in a transmission downshift ever...

    Long story short...They said to bring it in and that they would check it out and make it right...Hopefully, I get a chance to get it in in the next couple of weeks...I'll let you know how it works out...This is our first Subaru, having recently changed from an Acura MDX...and thus far, I hate to say it...The vehicle has not lived up to its reputation.
  • tgl3tgl3 Posts: 6
    i had the same exact problem. i heard about "Service Bulletin # 11-104-11" on this thread. (it's an updated set of computer settings that they can flash onto your car's computer). it solved my problem completely. Ask you dealer if the flash ROM on Service Bulletin # 11-104-11 is appropriate for your car.
  • I have 3500 miles on my 2011 Legacy 3.6 automatic, I am having what I believe is a transmission issue. When slowing down, then accelerating the car feels like it is getting hit from behind! I have had cars before with transmission issues and thats what it felt like, but when I take to the dealer they say its fine and cant feel what I am talking about. From reading some of these posts I see some people have the same issue, but how can I get it fixed, when the dealer wont even help me? Thanks in advance
  • dinomandinoman Posts: 56
    We bought a 2012 3.6R limited 4 months ago. We first noticed the same transmission issue at 1500 miles. The dealer reset the computer and it was good for a few months. The car has 6000 miles on it and it just started doing it again. My wife and I are very busy, so we are going to trade it for something else. I'm done with Subaru forever...which is sad because we really love this car.
  • Are you satisfied now?
  • My friend, please do not purchase the Outback 3.6 Limited. This is my first and last. The transmission rots and what can you do when at best they have a temporary fix? They should have a recall on these and a major fix. I even commented on the tranny when I bought it and sales said they just have to be broken-in. I've never been less than thrilled with any new car I've bought, am sick that I ever bought a Subaru. It's hard to believe they can get away with it, act like they've never heard of it when you bring it in. I pointed out an article on it to them that described it perfectly and the manager of service made it out like the author didn't know what he was talking about. Mine's better for the moment, but I'll be expecting the return of the thunk. The transmission is as rough as can be even without it.
  • Hey subyturtle,

    I wish we could have been so lucky. How's the new one? I was reading that the 2012's are having the same issues with jerky trans.
  • Hi joeinco,

    Your reply had a profound impact on us. We decided that what you and your wife did was the smartest and most hassle-free decision, and decided to copy you.

    Just bought a silver 2012 4runner SR5 last night.

    Like you, we lost confidence in Subaru. We didn't want to take a chance that it MIGHT get fixed. I don't think it will be long before "the cat is out of the bag" and when it is....nobody will get a good trade-in value because the dealerships won't be able to get rid of a defective car very easily. We got out while we had a good chance.

    FYI.... Just in case you weren't aware......If you purchased an extended warranty you can cancel it and get some money back for the unused portion of it. We had the cost of ours added to the loan when we bought the car, so we will see a refund check from the bank in about 6 weeks.

    Enjoy your 4runner! I know we are!
  • Well...yes, but only because we just traded it in and bought a 2012 4runner.

    The 3rd time I had it in the shop they downloaded the latest computer program and that was suppose to fix it, but actually made my car worse. The harsh jerking happened more frequently and also started harsh jerking during downshift. I was told to call 1800 SUBARU3 and start a claim. I did and their customer care department was great! They were in the process of trying to resolve the issue when we made the decision to buy a different car. We didn't want to deal with the problems anymore. We also were not comfortable with the uncertainty of it getting fixed. Even if they had chosen to give us a new car, I have been reading that some buyers of the 2012 OB 3.6 are having the same problems.

    Please take your complaints about your 2011 Outback and file a formal complaint with the National Highway and Transportation Safety Commission. If they see a trend they will open an investigation. Please pass on to everyone you know that's having a problem with the transmission and brakes like we are right now. Our dealership and Subaru just shafted us and said they won't replace anything because the car drives 'normal' for them. Something is wrong with these vehicles.
  • Hi Diane,

    They gave us another 2011. It's much better but still jerks from a rolling stop when you go to move forward again.
  • pa04pa04 Posts: 1
    I was just surfing the web and noticed this forum and decided that I have to share my experience too. I just got my first Subaru this past November and it was a 2012 3.6r Legacy. One week into owning it I notice the same jerking that you guys are speaking of. I took it in to the dealer and they told me that they hadn't heard of this issue on the 2012 yet. They kept the car over night and told me they would reprogram the tranny to fix the problem. It did fix the jerking for now but the car drives like crap. The shifts are long and sluggish now. I bought this car because the motor was powerful and fun to drive. Not anymore! What do you guys think I should do now?
  • marvinlee1marvinlee1 OregonPosts: 51
    My 2010 Legacy with the 3.6R engine has had no transmission problems. The engine does vibrate through the steering wheel at idle, and this seems to be a Subaru characteristic. It is the first car of 20 or so I've owned that makes the steering wheel vibrate.
  • Than heaveons there is someone out there like me - I bought my 2011 outback thinking this would be my retirement car for my home in the mountains, only to be put through the "ringer" regarding the brake problem. I have had so mary parts "replaced" to fix a problem that is apparently a factory problem (no one admits to it). I filed a complaint with Subaru, but really has not amounted to much, and "Corporate" did not admit anything - a new dealer closer to me just did (tonight as I picked up my car that has lived at my original dealership). How an they tell you that the various tones of clunking are NORMAL???????????? i AM SO DISAPPOINTED - I will file a complaint as you suggested.
  • I am totally disappointed with the gas mileage of my new 2012 Legacy Limited 3.6R. The best I can squeeze is 15.1 city. The display reads 16.9 average , however, the gallons used verses actual miles driven calculates to 15.1 Is this typical? Really regretting my first purchase of a Subaru!
    Where is the best place to file a complaint?
    Peter from Mass.

    Please mention any other problems you may be having because as you can see, there are many, especially with the transmission. Best luck to all of us is all we can say.
  • My new 2011 Legacy 3.6r trans jerked at every rolling stop, or anytime it had to downshift when travelling at low speeds; unless you really babied the gas pedal. At 7500 miles service I asked my dealer (Keene, NH) to do something about it. While they didn't admit anything up front, they test drove it, agreed to the problem, and "reset the trans programming to original factory setting" per the customer service person. This completely solved the problem and at 17000 miles it still has not come back. There was no charge. I love my Legacy (I'm a former Infinity, Audi and GM products owner); but I do still feel it has the touchiest gas pedal on start up of any car I've owned or rented. Ride, handling and performance in the snow is awesome....and love the bluetooth and the power. I'm a travelling salesman....average 26 mpg.
  • Thought I get the 3.6 Limited Outback with but these jerky tranny issues have me concerned. Thought there was one who had the computer reset and it worked.
    Any insight on CVT vs the 5 speed auto in the 3.6?
    Driving 2001 S-10 crew 4x4 and love it. 180500 miles
  • my 2010 shakes in idle and trys to die out. I've had it at dealer four times and contacted Subaru ...did you ever get an answer?
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