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 have a 99 L wagon and the speedometer operates some of the time. There is apx. 90K miles and this problem has just started to show up. Does any body know if the speedo is mechanical or electronic and has seen this problem???
  • On slippery surfaces, the drive to the rear wheels jumps in and out with a strong
    jolt, causing the tires to break traction and provide little overall traction to propell
    the vehicle. This can be duplicated with the car on a lift and all wheels free to rotate. On a slippery upgrade, if approached at 20 MPH or greater, the all wheel drive will stay engaged. Any ideas about what's causing the drive to the rear to be intermittant?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    What kind of tires, how many miles, what condition? My guess is that this is the #1 reason for the in-out motion.

  • Mike,
    Tires are matched set of Michelin, all in good shape. Perhaps I should have mentioned that this problem is not new. It existed last winter, and I put up with it, but now that winter is here and my slippery hills have returned so has the problem.
    Also bear in mind that the condition can be duplicated on a lift with all 4 wheels off the ground. My wife has an identical Subaru that behaves perfectly.
    Thanks for the thought, but I still need help.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Then the next thing would be the center diffy/clutch packs. That's what senses the slippage between the front and rear axles. They aren't terribly complicated systems so if the tires aren't it, then it's got to be the center diffy/ clutch packs.

  • Mike, I tend to agree, but what makes them intermittant at low speed and then stay locked in at 20 MPH and higher?
  • :cry: Him if anyone has experienced this problem, please help.
    My Subaru Outback 2000 drives just great (recently overhauled tranny), but every time I have to stop at red light and wait, the whole car shakes badly, feels like it's coming from engine area (obviously). Thought it was timing belt, replaced, problem persisits. Replaced CV shafts, no good luck there, have no idea where it's coming from, BUT if I shift to Neutral, shaking stops. Any ideas?
  • Hey Martin,
    I had the same exactly the same prblem with my 2000 Outback. It wouldn't engage when put in drive and so on. Whoever told you it was bad seals was right. I had my tranny completely overhauled and now it's just perfect, I know it's a lot of money, but your only other option is trade in. If you decide to do overhaul and live in southern Florida, find Ray's Transmission in West Palm Beach (use yellow pages or email me later, i'll find his business card), he's really good.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,913
    It probably has something to do with the torque converter, which allows the engine to run with the transmission engaged. It stops when you shift to neutral because the gears are no longer engaged. It would also stop if you shifted to park. My '96 Outback did this for a long time. My wife never worried about it; she would just sit there with the car vibrating. I simply shifted the transmission to neutral at every light, then engaged it as I was preparing to move forward again. It never became worse, but was always there. The transmission had 220,000 miles on it at the end.

    If this is a new development since the transmission work, perhaps something is not lined up quite right between the engine and transmission. It is remotely possible that the torque converter is not installed quite correctly into the transmission. If it is not mechanical, then it must be a sensor. Something like this seems mechanical to me, though.

    Please let us know if you find out more on it!
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    Did your rpms at idle change since the tranny work?

    Does turning on the a/c cause the vibration to stop? If yes, it's just the idle speed causing the vibration.

  • My 99 Legacy has many miles on it,like to the tune of 160,000. While driving I thought the clutch was slipping so it was brought into a garage to be checked. Sure enough they felt the clutch was going so a new clutch was installed along with turning the flywheel and new throw out bearing.The car seemed to drive fine for about a week and then it started slipping again.It was brought back and a new flywheel installed and another new pressure plate and so on. Well the problem still persists.It is very evident in 1st thru 4th gear and reverse, but when in 5th gear it drives fine even when bogged down. Now I wonder if it could be something else,so I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions as to what may be causing this.It also seems that the all wheel drive is not working as it should.Appreciate any help. :sick:
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Seen this a lot of times. Most likely the master and/or slave cylinder for the clutch.

  • I thought of that too, but wouldn't you know the clutch is cable operated and not hydraulic. Now I am wondering about the center differential clutch pack. I guess it comes down to whether the car is worth putting any more hard earned cash into it.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Hmm it has a cable? That is odd, I was pretty sure by 99 it had gone to hydrolic by then.

    One last question before giving up, did you happen to install an exedy clutch? I ask because some friends of mine did a full flywheel, clutch kit, Master/Slave cylinders, etc. on a 99 2.5RS and they are having similar issues. Through their research they read that the exedy clutchs have a small screw that needs to be removed on the pressure plate prior to installation (we/they had never heard of this) and are in the process of removing and re-installing it.

  • I will find out te brand of clutch plate used. It just strikes me as strange that if the car is in 5th gear it does not slip at all. I drove it and bogged it down in 5th to about 25 mph and it did not slip while picking up speed. It only happens in 1st through 4th and reverse. I would think if it was a screw that needed to be removed then it should happen in all gears. That is why I am leaning toward the center differential clutch pack, if it even has one of those. You know years ago an old car with high miles would nickel and dime you to death, well those nickels and dimes have greatly increased.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Perhaps it's the cable adjustment, although I highly think that you'd already have checked that out.

    I've had bad clutches that only slipped in the lower gears.

    I also highly doubt it's the center diffy.

    Here is another question. When it is slipping do you get the typical burnt clutch smell? I don't think you'd get that smell if it is the center diffy.

  • It does have a smell to it albeit not a burn't clutch smell. I am familiar with that odor. The garage that put the clutch in believe it is the transmission or something in there that is screwed up.It almost acts like the first 4 gears are spinning on the shaft they are attached to.The guys at the garage have done a lot of Subaru clutches and they are reputable.They even took it all apart and stuck in a new fly wheel and new pressure plate. Still does the same thing. :sick: I actually drove the car home the other night and it hardly made it up my driveway. Had to get a rolling start to make it up. :(
  • I recently bought a 96 subaru outback. I noticed my driver side headlight worked but the other one didn't, just a dull glow. And the driver side fog light was broken, i ordered a new one. So i spent the day replacing the lightbulbs, same type as the ones i took out. As i took out the bulbs the plastic thing that holds the wiring for the bulbs was completly melted. and fell apart when i took it off. So i went the atuo zone a and bought 2 new 3terminal headlight sockets. I wired them like when i found the old ones but now the lights wont even come on. Plz i need to get this fixed.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I wonder if you would need to use OE stuff for that.

    Did you try a junk yard? I would try to get the whole harness from them.
  • jfljfl Posts: 1,385
    1) make sure the bulbs are still good.
    2) check the headlight fuses
    3) verify that the wires are getting juice - I'm not sure what to do if you're not getting power to the plug.

    Btw, do your taillights work? If not, you'd need to check the switch too.
  • Hi Guys, I have a 2005 Subaru Outback, close to the first year of having this car, it presented transmission problems, the transmission slips, usually making a right or left turn. To make a long story short, the local dealer had changed the trans twice, its good for a while and then the problem comes back.It cant be the transmission because it was replaced twice. A regional manager from Subaru came to the dealer and we went for a test drive and believe it or not he said that it was a nomal condition and I have to give chance to the computer to respond, BS. I've been driving cars since I was 15 and never experienced anything like that so I said to the manager, its like me telling you to use a computer and not to hit the enter hit too fast otherwise the computer will fail, he did not say anything. I know he was covering the company. There is something wrong with this car. Any help will be appreciated it.
  • My Subaru Legacy outback has 79K miles. Last week "check engine" light came ON and I found the speedometer not working. Took to my garage where they changed' speed sensor' unit but Speedo still not working. Suggested I drive home and bring back for further check after New Year Holidays etc. Driving home (barely two miles) experienced loud metallic clanking noise and decided to have the car towed back to the garage with help from AAA.It appears the differential suffered a internal breakage and as per garage needs complete overhaul and rebuilding the transmission.I wonder if anyone can throw light on this failure and if similar failures have occurred in 1998 Subaru Legacy with less than 100K miles ?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    You can get a junkyard unit for about $600 and probably about $400 to have it installed. Thats the route I'd go.

  • 1994 Subaru Legacy Sedan(auto) will not shift into 3rd or overdrive max out at 60mph
  • OK, here's the deal guys. I popped a head gasket at 136k. Since I had a tranny issue already with a delay in the 2-3 shift, I chose to replaced engine and trans as one unit. I now have a JDM engine and trans in my Legacy GT. Since it was installed I have noticed what feels like a severe torgue steer to the right under hard exceleration. It smooths out once I'm past about 30. I have even tried excelerating hard from then on, and didnt notice the problem. This problem is of course worse if it is slick out, and living in central IL, it stays slick in the winter. Any ideas?
  • My daughter drives our 95 Subaru Legacy wagon with automatic trans while away at college. She says when she shifts it into reverse it acts like it's in neutral and won't actually move backwards. It started doing this intermittently, now does it most of the time. It will properly go into reverse successfully once in a while....usually first thing in the morning when car has been sitting overnight. Seems to be worse after the car has been driven and warmed up. Any suggestions on what the problem is, how to fix, and cost to fix will be appreciated.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,913
    First thing to check is the fluid level; next, perhaps, is the shift interlock. If neither of those things, then it may be a problem with the transmission's internals (which means replace/rebuild the transmission). No problems with forward engagement at all?
    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 reply. No problems in forward gears, only reverse.

    Fluid is OK. I topped it off....still had the problem. Then has my mechanic drain and refill....still had the problem.

    What's the procedure for checking the shift interlock? Please advise.

    A friend suggested the transmissions bands were slipping and needed to be adjusted. Does this make sense....most of my experience is with manuals/clutches not automatics?
  • I have a 99 Legacy 5-speed manual with about 250,000km (155k mi). Bought the car at 140,000.
    As far as I can remember it was difficult to shift into 1st gear (and reverse) almost from the beginning. It's not really bad, but roughly every other time I need to wait a bit until it shifts. Sometimes it won't shift at all when the light turns green at an intersection, and I'm sitting there trying other gears or reverse to move the gears inside the transmission before it goes into 1st.
    My dad is a mechanic and we've always been driving manual. We have replaced the synchronizer on the 1st gear, but shortly after that the problem returned. We have tried several different brands of oil, from standard to Mobil1, AMSOil and currently I have Motul.
    We have even gone as far as modifying the clutch pedal to gain several mm of clutch travel, but to no avail. (The clutch has been replaced too along the way).

    The way I deal with it is try to shift into first while the car is still rolling a bit before coming to a full stop, and then shift back into neutral after the gears have been properly aligned.

    I tried a couple of new Outbacks recently and, while substantially better, they still don't have a precise shift feeling in the 1st gear. Did anyone notice this?
    I believe some car reviews pointed out the imprecise shift feeling in Subaru manual transmissions.

    Other than that the car is running well. I'm waiting for it to die so I can buy the Outback.
  • agwatagwat Posts: 1
    Hi All...I own a 2001 (AT) Outback with 110K miles. My wife drives the car and never lets me know when the car starts doing something funny. I jump in the drivers seat to head out on the road and then throw out the accusatory "WHAT IS THAT" after a few seconds of driving. Anyhow, the other day I jumped behind the wheel and noticed an audible (but not extremely loud) whine that increases with intensity as the car speeds up. Sounds similar to how many cars whine when you drive them in reverse. I threw the transmission into neutral and found that the sound persisted and was independent of engine speed. It sounded like a bad power steering pump (which doesn't follow my previous statement about engine speed, but I checked it anyhow) so I went home and removed the belt that drives the pump as well as the alternator and test drove it around the block, the noise was still there. I cant tell if the noise is coming from either side of the seems to be directly in the middle. I jacked up the car and checked the front end CV joints and they seem solid...but I did notice the the drive axles seemed to have play at the point where they insert into the differential. There was both axial as well as up and down much play is normal? This was more that a few thousandths...

    Any suggestions are appreciated,

    Andrew :)
Sign In or Register to comment.