Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Subaru Legacy/Outback Transmission Problems



  • I do have an oil leak at the rear of the engine. It drips right onto the exhaust & really stinks up the garage after I shut it down. It looks like a rear main seal but I hope it is just valve cover gaskets. The acceleration seems to flatten out at times, on long moderate accels it doesn't pull evenly. I'm going to look into this during the week, any ideas?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,152
    That leak sounds like valve cover gaskets. Honestly, I have not heard of any rear main leaks... not even on mine and I would venture to guess my car has leaked more oil than any dozen other Subarus combined. However, since replacing the head gaskets (unrelated problem) at 192.5K, I have had zero oil leaks (almost 30K miles now), so I am hoping those days are behind me. The oil dripping onto the exhaust was so bad before I fixed it the first time (144K) that I would have to shut off my defroster or it would fill the cabin with smoke. :blush: The dealership from which I purchased the car overfilled the oil by about 1.5 quarts and it blew the gaskets/seals all to pieces. I noticed the overfill within about 100 miles, but within another month it was leaking 1/2 quart every tank (~250 miles). That was at 84K miles. By 144K when I finally fixed it, it was around 3 quarts per 250 miles. All 4 cam seals, the valve cover gaskets, and the oil temperature sending unit were all leaking profusely. The crank seals were fine though - in fact, I never have replaced the rear main on it.

    As for acceleration, mine does not pull real strong between ~35 and 50 mph unless I intentionally hold gears longer and accelerate aggressively, but I think this more a function of the gearing and shift points than it is a "problem" with something in the drivetrain. This engine can rev high with no problems though - max torque is achieved at 5500 RPM if I recall correctly, though I rarely take it that high as I am used to old vehicles like my '69 Chevy C20 (307) and there would be pieces of iron all over the highway if I tried that. :D
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • 1996 outback I changed my driver head light and had to remove my battery to do so. I put everything back togeather and the light works fine but my blinkers go on and off intermitinly with a cliching sound my radio blinks also. I cleaned the crossion of the battery and cleaned both tremonals. also the blinker on my dash are not on. dose anyone have an idea. thanks
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,152
    Do you have the optional remote door locks / alarm? If so, that is it. There should be a reset button located on the left kick panel a up under the dash (behind the hood release area). The owner's manual should also mention the reset steps... I think!
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I have Legacy GT 01 with 85K, sometimes it is hard to shift into 1st, 2nd or reverse gear (or simply impossible), although clutch pedal is fully pushed. What is possible source for that problem? What needs to be fixed to eliminate it?
    *Car has customized rims and low-profile tires
  • from the day we purchased our wagon, the doors randomly lock on their own, sometimes leaving keys inside or even in the ignition. subaru service turned the lock-out prevention from on to off but the problem has continued. anyone else have this problem or a solution? thanks.
  • Not sure about the 96, but the 98 and newer ones that i own require that when the battery is disconnected and the parking lights start flashing, you can turn them off by simply cycling the door locks with the remote. HOWEVER, that flashing is an indication that the computer has lost its memory. The procedure is to start the car (no AC, lights, defrosters etc.) and allow it to reach operating temperature (i typically allow the fans to turn on at least once) WITHOUT touching the throttle or anything else for that matter!!! When the fans turn on, the computer should be happy and you can then turn the car off (again, without touching anything else mentioned above!). The car is ready to drive normally now when restarted.
    I believe eventually the car will re-learn itself if this procedure is not followed, but not exactly sure. Easy to do and I recommend it anytime the battery is disconnected long enough to start the lights flashing.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,152
    That is why I find this situation strange. I have a '96 and I have never had a "flashing light" situation. And, there have been plenty of times when I have had it apart long enough to reset the ECU - the two times I had the engine pulled not withstanding.

    Anyway, considering no response thus far from the original poster, all must be well.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • ENGINE lights and more... Yes, my 75 year-old mom had the same oil leak problem on her '96 Subaru Leg. Outback Wagon and at 120K they pulled the valve covers off and did a gasket job--due to wierdness of when oil is checked, 50% of the time it looks low, 50% looks normal. I admit I did
    that--and yes--car was level! AND I'm a trained machinist! Am I human? Does being a cave-man count? far as the "check engine" light goes, she's had the same problem for years--the car will stall or sputter a bit then the light comes on and the car runs fine until the light goes off. 6 months ago she paid (without family knowing) $275.00 to have the light checked out and a crankshaft sensor replaced. Light comes on again 3 weeks ago, she takes it in--always to the dealer, they tell her "oh hey now its got 123K on it, you need all the valve shims checked and adjusted" (ain't they they hydraulic--wink wink??) and "the check engine light isn't the same thing it was 6 months ago, so its not covered under warranty--it's too technical for you to understand." All without family knowlege again... BTW car has been nicely cared for--will cruise easily at 90+++... I finally find out 2 hours after she says yes to a $1,400.00 estimate after they talk her into doing 4 more jobs, including tire rotation, a new key, blah blah... So I call, the guy says "oh yeah well we didn't do the valve shims 6 months ago when we had the valve covers off cuz nobody thought of it." So I also look at ALL the bills for last 9 years--looks like she's paid thousands for recalls. WTF??) All she wanted was her $4.95 oil change with her little coupon. One question is--in CA, would it be OK to ask them if they are commiting elder abuse without being sued for hurting someone's feelings?? So as I write this they called--the guy says "ohhh yeah those valves ARE hydraulic." I want to see a naked head and check with own eyes before I blow a gasket!! Hey Happy New Year and Good luck to all!!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,152
    ???? !!!!! :mad:

    That is unbe... well, nevermind, I have come to believe quite a bit to be possible. :blush:

    Push it - perhaps contact SOA (800SUBARU3) and report it to them first, maybe talk to legal counsel if you can get a free consultation to find out what else you can do. Maybe chew out some higher-up at the dealership in a public place for taking advantage of their customers..... and definitely convince your mother to find a new shop or find one for her.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I own a 1998 Subaru Legacy Outback. When I bought it (used) the airflow control panel buttons are not lit at night. I just assumed it was normal but now I"m wondering if there should be lights under there? There are lights on the radio controls and the gauges all light up. If there are supposed to be lights in there, is there an easy way for me to fix it or is it dealer only? If someone has done this before could you please let me know or e-mail me Thanks!
  • I own a 1998 Subaru Legacy Outback. When I bought it (used) the airflow control panel buttons are not lit at night. I just assumed it was normal but now I"m wondering if there should be lights under there? There are lights on the radio controls and the gauges all light up. If there are supposed to be lights in there, is there an easy way for me to fix it or is it dealer only? If someone has done this before could you please let me know or e-mail me Thanks!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,152
    They are supposed to be lit but tend to be the first set of lights to go out. Somewhat difficult to replace, but doable. Some owners here have done it (though not I - I preferred to just memorize their location and not worry about illumination). At 220K on my car, none of the lights worked except the defroster, 1/2 of the radio, and all but the fuel gauge's backlight on the instrument cluster.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Thanks for the answer- Does anyone have directions as to how to fix the lights, if I get up the ambition???
  • I just changed the same bulbs on my '96. Start by releasing the temp. cable on the rt lower side of dash at the heater box, then unscrew the bezel around the radio & heat controls, the screws are behind the cup holder. Now remove the heater control & unscrew the bulbs. there is a cover that needs to be removed also on the back of the control head to gain access to the bulbs. It sounds harder than it is, it didn't take more than 15-20 minutes. Is the hazard switch supposed to light up? I think I have a bulb out there too.
  • trying to replace the Automatic Transmission filter on a 1997 outback and having a hard time getting the filter out to replace.
    am i supposed to remove more that the pan?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    It may be a spin-on type.

  • there are two metal tubes the restrict how much the filter can move, hence why i cant remove it. im not sure one is for the dipstick, but to remove the filter it looks i may have to remove at least one of the tubes. what i am unsure about is how to properly remove them. would the shop manual cover something as specific as thant?

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I rarely delvue into the AT as they are costly if you mess them up. Rather have someone else responsible for it.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,152
    The Haynes manual for those years should cover it (<$20 to purchase, I think). I would look it up to tell you, but left the manual in my '96. :blush: My apologies!
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Lock/unlock a few cycles with your keyless. Should fix it.

  • I have a 1999 Outback with an automatic transmission that experiences a serious delay when shifting into drive or reverse- anywhere from 1.5 to 3 seconds. From what I've heard other Outback owners say, it sounds like a common problem due to failing seals in the transmission. It doesn't sound like normal wear as I'm hearing of many people who have this problem even at 30k. Transmission experts are telling me that the transmission needs to be replaced. Has anyone else had this problem, or have a better explaination for what's happening?
  • I also have a 99 legacy wagon (2.5 liter w/ around 140,000 miles). I am experiencing not only a delay in shifting from park to reverse, but the car will not shift out of park at all sometimes and it is a HUGE pain.
    I can hear the (Shift interlock) noise in the dash but the car will not go into gear. Another forum mentioned that i check the voltage on the sensor that has the but that is pressed in when the brake is not pressed. I would really like to know if the cable needs to be replaced or if something else is going on with the car as it seems as if several other people are having similar problems with the same model.
    Sadly, there is no recall for this problem, but only several people describing the same problem.
    If you discover how to fix this problem, I would be interested in the approach you took as it would greatly help me fix my ongoing problem. The car is in great shape, besides the oil leaks, and I intend on keeping it for a while.
    Any questions or ideas can be forwarded to my email as well.
  • My 99 outback is the 2.5 l w/ around 140,000 miles. When i start the car (i notice it is worse in the cold) i can not get the car to shift from park. I took it to the dealership and they claimed to have checked and drove it but could not "reproduce" my problem.
    I can hear the "shift interlock" or whatever it is that makes the clicking noise in the dash, but the car will not shift from park.
    Does the sensor (or black button/switch) on the brake, when you press the brake, have anything to do with this problem. I was able to change gears without the brake pressed later after the car finally was not stuck in park.

    Any information with this matter would be helpfull as it seems as if many other Subaru owners are experiencing the same problems.
    Maybe this should be added to the recall list. How would something of this nature become a recall?
  • tschofentschofen Posts: 2
    About a year ago, the transmission started to act up. When putting it into Drive, it started to hesitate before engaging. With a quick step on the gas it kicked in. It got so bad, that it didn't even want to engage at all at times for 10 minutes but eventually kicked in.

    A transmission shop looked at it, but at that time it would not happen (They kept it for a day) So we flushed the system and things worked fine. It's back again, but this time intermittently it just doesn't engage for a time. Putting it in rear works all the time.

    I called a transmission shop again and they tell me that in the last year they see this all the time on these Subarus to the tune of 2-3 a month. The say that some transmission seal is wearing off due to some bad design and it they need to take a part the the transmission to fix it ($1200 - $1600).

    The cars' been great up to this point. I noticed some other discussions around similar issues. Anybody have the same problem or has gone through this as well? Is there another approach?

  • I've been exchanging emails with a Subaru of America rep trying to find out what is causing this apparently common problem, but they seem to be too nervous about liability to say anything. They keep trying to send me to the dealership, but with all I've heard about the frequency of the issue, seems like they would have a pretty good idea of whats going on by now. Also the car has been serviced religiously at the dealership, and when they checked out the issue, they told us to come back if/when it ultimately failed and they'd replace the transmission........ From all I've heard, it does sound like a faulty seal, requiring a soft-parts transmission overhaul, not a new transmission. I took it to AAMCO but the manager there was drunk (!) and quoting me the MSRP of a new transmission which makes no sense as refurbished transmissions are typically used for this sort of thing. I have heard one person who replaced the transmission say that eventually the problem came back so maybe it is a faulty seal... It's also been suggested that it might be an issue with the rear differential. My personal diagnosis of my car's symptoms seem to indicate a compression issue, but I'm by no means an auto expert.

    Here's what one person told me:

    And here is another forum where people have been discussing the issue to a greater extent:
  • sec3707sec3707 Posts: 1
    My husband and I have a Subaru Legacy L Wagon (auto) that has a sticky transmission. The guy we bought it from told us about it beforehand - he and his mechanic said it'd been replaced and should be fine. At first it was, but then got worse. We took it to a different mechanic who showed us it was new, in good shape, the fluids were clean, etc. It should be fine, he said. I noticed your post because you said you'd had times where it wouldn't engage for up to 10 minutes. We've both had times where we'd sit a while (5-10 mins) before it'd engage. Today I sat in the thing for 15 mins, got out, got back in for another 10 and finally got it to engage in 3rd and then changed to D. It sucks. It's getting worse and we have no idea what to do, because everyone keeps saying it should be fine or it's been fixed. I've looked on the net and found plenty of people with similar problems, but nobody seems to have a clue what's causing it or what to do about it. Have you found any solutions?
  • I was reading last night on another subaru forum that all mid 90's subarus do indeed have lights behind those little heater guys. I always thought they were just stickers. come to find out that those bulbs usually blew early on. Why do some many people believe that most of this early subarus didn't have lights for the heater controls.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    They do have bulbs but I think they may also be cold-solidered ones which are a PITA to change.

Sign In or Register to comment.