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



  • carteachcarteach Posts: 179
    Thanks for posting. I love the look and size of the Outback BUT all the comments here have scared me away.

    I'm going to be selling my Acura TL and need a car for dogs and grandkids. Have no idea what to even look at since nothing that I can afford has the configuration of the Outback.

    Know this isn't the forum for it, but any suggestions would be appreciated.
  • If they get mine to stop vibrating (although in your case it might put the kids to sleep) ..I would love the Outback. It's comfortable, has most of the stuff you want on a car. nearly 6 feet of flat cargo space that I use all the time in my job and LOVE it... My dogs love it too... I looked at every midsize SUV type out there in the mid $20K for over a year. Narrowed the search to Outback, CRV and Toyota Venza. Bought the Outback... now I wish I had gone for the Venza..or save enough for the 6 cylinder. I just don't think these new 4 cylinder are powerful enough to drive all day and run air conditioning etc. Aside from that I love the Outback.
  • missmyfordmissmyford Posts: 1
    I posted my complaint to NHTSA after brakes FAILED at very low speed and the car went thru a fence.
    Dealer did not provide me with data I requested.
    Subaru stone walled.
    If your brakes have failed at all or you have squishy non-responsive, slow brakes on your 2011 let NHTSA know.

    I haven't driven my car since November 2011 when the brakes failed. When I bought this new outback I didn't expect to get an undriveable, unsafe car and an ongoing hassle.

  • orchid7708orchid7708 Posts: 3
    We were given our car back and told nothing was wrong with it and everything was 'normal'. We were having concerns with our car jerking during braking, especially when the brakes were cold. They refuse to move forward until one of their technicians ride with us and can 'feel it' for themselves. My explanation isn't good enough. We will NEVER buy another Subaru again as well.
  • jti007jti007 Posts: 1
    I also bought a Legacy 3.6 R and my transmission 'clunked' almost every time I accelerated from a slowdown, such as a yield sign or whenever I changed lanes. I bought the car in northern Virginia and the service rep tried to tell me that the car needed to learn my driving habits! I found a dealership in Myrtle Beach, SC and they finally admitted there was a problem after driving it. The tech performed a "re-learn" of my transmission 4 days ago and this appears to have solved the problem. From reading the many posts on here about the transmission problems, I'm guessing that these vehicles may have left the assembly line needing re-programming of the transmissions. The tech said that the re-programming sets the transmission back to 'new status' and I should see a difference. Good luck to everyone having this problem.....
  • carteachcarteach Posts: 179
    I agree. It has everything I want in a car, but the complaints about the tranny and other systems on this board have me spooked. I also found the 2.5 to be sluggish when I went on the highway. Drove the 2013 Acura RDX. You get what you paid for when it comes to that. Just too pricey for me. Drove the CRV, felt it was small. Venza is not cheap. Frustrating that there aren't more choices.
  • I have a 2011 Outback 3.6R Limited. We have had trouble with the transmission "slamming into gear after slowing, and then accelerating - as in approaching a red light that then changes to green. The transmission leaked initially but stopping the leak did not stop the slamming. Subsequently, the Dealer reprogrammed the computer and the slamming has only occurred once since then. My wife drives the car and likes it otherwise. We still have very low mileage - less than 7000 miles - so I hope the transmission does not continue to have problems.
  • mlo55mlo55 Posts: 1
    At 3000 miles I brought in the car because the idle would drop and the engine would eventually die. The dealer tried reprogramming the control module, but after a week in the shop it was replaced. I've never been fully satisfied with their fix, the idle is still erratic and braking seems to be affected as well. I just dropped it off for its 7500 mile checkup and mentioned that I was still having the original problem with the idle and this time also mentioned the brakes. The dealer said the there is a known problem and is replacing the entire transmission. I've been driving a unsafe car with known issues and they didn't contact me. This is unacceptable and makes me wonder what else may be wrong with the vehicle. I'll be contacting Subaru of America for an explanation.
  • i also have a 2007 outback with 68000 miles with the same noise,took it to dealer,he test drove it and told me the noise was from inside transmission, told me i need a new transmission,$3890,called subaru and they are going to give me $1500 towards repair. still think 68000 miles is not enought to cause damage, bought car new but did not buy extended warrranty,
  • customervaluedcustomervalued Posts: 6
    edited September 2012
    I own a 2.5 premium btw.The jerking sensation I have with the vehicle presents itself during slow acceleration. Its very pronounce during stop and go traffic where the car doesnt pass 5 mph. It feels as if it is in the wrong gear then jerks as you apply gas. Its even more prevalent when the ac is on. Took it to the dealer and his response to me was that it was normal. Cvt are a little different he saids. Still they promised to test drive it just to make sure. He also commented that these cvts were "bulletproof"and hasnt seen one brought back for any reason. After a 2 hour diagnosis they realized that my transmission was indeed jerky. Their computer software couldnt find any problems so they kept my car for 2 days while they consulted with Subaru Tech. The end result. At 30000, my car is getting an entire new transmission. Now Im debating about purchasing an extended warranty just in case this comes up again. Will the basic 60000 drive train warranty cover this in the future, if I decide not to buy the extended warranty and this happens again? Anyhow, the transmission is on order but currently shows unavailable so the the dealer has no idea when its coming in. He did state that it was safe to drive. Lol
  • Get ahold of corporate and tell them of your issue and what you are having to go through. Tell them you want some sort of assurance that you will not have this issue again, they should give you that extended warranty. I would insist on it.
    After having the service bulletin applied to my 3.6, the jerking had stopped UNTIL last week. Again, the dealer has to feel it else you get nowhere. I was told 2 days ago at the dealer that the service bulletin cannot be applied more than once and that it has to be another issue even though it is doing the exact same thing it did before. We are very unhappy with our choice to purchase a Subaru.
  • Just like the other owners out there, I have the same annoying transmission issues. I am currently leasing a 2011 3.6r Legacy. Less than 2 weeks after driving it off the lot, I experienced the transmission clunk/harsh shift issue when slowing down and then trying to accelerate again. I am more than upset at myself for not doing more research on this car before I signed the lease. However, I got a great deal on it and the sales staff and the dealership were awesome and very welcoming. I have nothing against their service. The product is just not well designed.

    So here I am over a year into the lease and I have only 11,000 miles on the car. I don't drive much anymore, my friends hate riding in the car because it's extremely uncomfortable and you almost get whiplash when the transmission does engage again. The fact that any modern automaker could produce such a crap product and overlook this enormous issue is amazing to me.

    I brought the car into the dealership recently and printed off the service bulletins I found on other forums ahead of time. They dismissed the issue, refused to look at what I had found online, and told me that it's a NORMAL problem. They stated there are no codes in the TCM or ECU and that everything is fine. They did not do the TCM re-flash that others have said were successful and they gave me a free car wash and sent me on my way. The day prior to the appointment with the dealership, I called SOA and filed a formal complaint. The dealership stated that SOA had followed up with them the day of my appointment and that my “file” was now heavily documented regarding the issue.

    So now I have a little less than 2 years left on a lease for a car that I absolutely hate, a well-documented file, and a car that while nice to sit in treats you like you’re riding a bucking bronco at times. Driving this car is the most unpleasant experience I’ve ever had with a vehicle. For anyone out there wanting to get into any of the Subaru products with this 5 speed automatic transmission I have one recommendation … run! Run far away! For a low to mid-$30,000 car, you can find a much higher quality product elsewhere that won’t leave you wondering if your transmission just fell out of the back end every time you try to accelerate.

    I only wish there was a way for me to get out of the lease and wash my hands of Subaru.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,148
    Wait, I read this:

    I brought the car into the dealership recently and printed off the service bulletins I found on other forums ahead of time. They dismissed the issue, refused to look at what I had found online, and told me that it's a NORMAL problem. They stated there are no codes in the TCM or ECU and that everything is fine. They did not do the TCM re-flash that others have said were successful and they gave me a free car wash and sent me on my way.

    Not too long after reading this:

    I got a great deal on it and the sales staff and the dealership were awesome and very welcoming. I have nothing against their service.

    While I can certainly understand your frustration with the car's transmission performance, I have to question your evaluation of what constitutes "awesome" with regard to a dealership's service.... :confuse:
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • The dealer experience was really good where I purchased the vehicle from regarding the sales process. I should have been more descriptive in that part of my review. The dealership that recently serviced the vehicle (I have since moved to a different state) was nice but didn't solve the problem .

    Unfortunately, they have a product that lets them down. I got a good deal on the car so the sting of having this transmission issue isn't as bad.

    Basically, the sales process was great, the product that was sold is not great, and the dealership I went to recently dismissed the issue.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,148
    I see. That makes more sense! :blush:

    It's rather unbelievable that the dealership was so willing to dismiss the issue even if you didn't buy (lease) there since it pretty much guarantees that you're not likely to buy something from them in the future!

    If they haven't even applied the service bulletins on what is a fairly well-documented issue, I have a hard time believing that they can call it "normal" with a straight face. You might try elevating it with Subaru directly and expressing your insistence that the software updates be applied.

    Often times "hard shifting" is a software mapping issue rather than a design flaw with the hardware. This transmission has been around a while, and the issue is not universal amongst applications.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I had a problem like that leading up to my needing an entirely new transmission now. In the postmortem of the transmission it was found that the gear oil in the front diff was low. You might want to check that. It might not be your solution but apparently most mechs in Jamaica didnt even know it was there to begin with!
  • I have a second appointment with another dealership that SOA set up for me this weekend. I'll run that by them. Thank you. The first appointment resulted in the service department telling me one thing and then SOA another when SOA followed up with them. My service invoice stated that the tech recreated my issue and that the problem was normal and the transmission was engineered to react the way it did. Yet the dealership told SOA they couldn't recreate the issue and that nothing was wrong. The second dealership seemed a little more knowledgeable on the phone and were willing to listen to what I had to say. They also knew about and are reasearching the service bulletin that is out there for this fix. Wish me luck.
  • winter2winter2 Posts: 1,801
    Purchased a 2013 OB Premium on 10/27. My first car with a CVT. Interesting indeed. Tried a 2012 and I did not like the "rubber band" sensation when accelerating. The 2013 CVT is a second gen version. Much less of the "rubber band" sensation. Does moan a bit but only with acceleration otherwise very quiet. No experience with the vibration yet that others have complained about. Has about 300 miles on it.
  • edc5edc5 Posts: 1
    I am having a problem adjusting the kickdown cable after it was removed. Going up hill the car lose power and does not change right. On Flat roads runs fine. Is there a way to adjust the kickdown cable? Because before it was removed going up hills were fine.
  • I have an early 2012 Outback 3.6R LTD and it has the same problems; took the dealership they reprogrammed and it appears to be fixed but I suspect this problem will start again ... the car appears to be running "heavy/sluggish" after 500 miles of driving after the reprogramming and that is what happened after the first 500.
  • I bought a 2012 3.6R Legacy in April and had to take the car in for service after two weeks of driving. Experienced the same trans problems referenced in some of the other posts, jerking into drive after slowing down and rounding a corner. They re programmed the software and problem went away. Now that it is cold and I back out of the driveway and then put it into drive it feels like I'm going to lose the transmission. It makes an extreme clunk. Took it to the dealer and he said I had to warm up the car for 3-4 minutes before backing up. Tried that it and still clunks pretty bad. It doesn't do that all day after the first time but I'm headed back to the dealer. I bought a Subaru becomes of the "reliability reports". Should have looked at this forum first.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,148
    I've had two separate automatic Subaru vehicles over the years, both Outbacks, and never had "clunking" issues during cold spells. Cold here is down to -55 degrees F, so a loud clunk isn't "normal," and certainly isn't doing your transmission's parts any favors.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • My 2010 Outback clunks sometimes going into reverse...but I live in high temps. So hot or cold doesn't matter. :(
  • Does anyone have a solution for this problem? This topic never got a complete answer. I have the same issue on my 2007 Outback. I'm about 800 miles short of 100k. Torque converter??

    --- "ok, so i was driving my new-used 2007 Subaru outback 2.5i a good deal this past weekend and tried to localize whatever is going on with it a bit more. I had the ATF changed at the Subaru dealer here in asheville but the problem is still occurring. it seems to occur most at higher speeds (between 60-70 mph) and not necessarily during a shift but more when i'm changing speeds. and it feels like i'm driving over one of those strips along the road meant to wake you up if you fall asleep. it only lasts about a second and goes away. it also seems to happen more during inclines. oh and the ball bearings are all fine. any ideas?" ---
  • Ashevilleian I have the same rumbling issue that you describe in your post #370. Did you ever find out what the problem was? My initial thought was the torque converter as well.
  • I daughter lives in Colorado and she thinks that cars have different settings there because of altitude, temps, etc. than in Texas where it's hot & humid. My 2010 outback doesn't run well in Texas Summers.....but once we get dry & cold in the winter it runs great. Is there any truth to this? I believe the car came from a Cold area because when I bought it used it had snow tires on the car.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Vehicles sold new in high-altitude states do indeed have different settings for emissions and engine performance because of the thinner air. Your daughter has probably also noticed that gasoline octane is lower there - it's for the same reason.

    If you did indeed get an "altitude" car, you will notice a performance difference in Texas summer heat/humidity, as the engine was not expecting to run on such dense air.

    kcram - Pickups/Wagons/Vans+Minivans Host
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Could be exacerbated if you use lower octane fuel (from a fill up in CO) and then drive down to lower altitude and warmer weather.

    I'd fill up with better octane as soon as you can.
  • My 2008 Legacy GT has exactly the same symptoms (1-2 seconds of shudder when breaking torque converter lock-up). It has 57k on it and has progressively worsened over the last several months. I took it into a dealer today for a diagnosis which they told me would be chargeable if the final solution is not under warranty. At the end of the day I received a call and they told me that they updated the software on the trans and the problem is now resolved. I was very skeptical so I started asking more questions;
    -If it's software related why didn't I have the issue until a couple months ago?
    -What if the symptoms come back in 6 or 12 months, once the drivetrain is out of warranty?
    -Why would the reprogramming not be covered under the warranty (they told me the work would be chargeable because a software update is not considered a "drive train" component)?
    The person on the phone did not have answers and said they needed to talk to their warranty manager and they would call me back. In the meantime I came across this thread and knew this was not an isolated issue. I was prepared to battle it out...One hour later I got a call my surprise i was told that the tech took it for another test drive and that the issue was still present. I was told the tech will now replace the torque converter and it will be covered under warranty. The parts will be installed on Thursday. Obviously it's great news that they will deal with the issue properly, but now I'm suspicious.....will they really change the torque converter without further dispute? Im afraid they will implement some software workaround that hides the issue instead. Since I didn't get a loaner car I now have my car back for a couple still drives/shifts exactly the same as there a way that I could be sure they really change the torque converter?

    In any event I will post the result of this up coming event.
  • I bought an automatic 1995 Subaru Legacy about eight months ago. It has been running like a champ until about a week ago when the RPMs started jumping up while my foot was on the gas pedal. It did that a few times a day and then started doing it more and more. My check engine light came on during this time as well. Then, a couple of days ago, I noticed whitish smoke coming from the right and left sides of my car. Kind of by the front tires. This smoke seems to only appear while driving on the freeway at high speeds for a while. I also smell, what seems to be, transmission fluid burning. Since the smell and smoke have occurred, the RPMs have stopped jumping around. I have taken it to a mechanic and he did a thorough check on it. He cannot find anything wrong and the car runs like a champ when he drives it around. No RPMs jumpin' around, no smoke, no smell...He did a transmission flush on it and cleaned it out and I just picked it back up today. It drove perfectly until I got off the freeway by my house. I was stopped at a light and noticed the smoke again....I am thinking I might need a new tranny, but am hoping someone might have a better idea.
Sign In or Register to comment.