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Subaru B9 Tribeca Transmisson Problems



  • I purchased a used 2008 Tribeca with 5K miles in February 2009. I have had the transmission replaced twice. The dealer tried to get a brand new transmission for the second replacement but was told by Subaru America that they needed to replace it with a 're-manufactured' version - because they 'stand-behind' their product. With the third transmission now in use for about 2 months, it is beginning to rough shift again, high rev w/no motion, pause before kicking in...and the list goes on. The first replacement was worse than the original, the second replacement began leaking pie-sized puddles of transmission fluid - the clamps are apparently a slip-on model that have since been replaced with 'screw-on' versions.

    While thankful that I have an extended warranty and have not experienced any direct expense, at 11K miles the dealer has had it longer than I have in the past 9 months it seems. I have always been a volkswagen owner but this past winter got tired of inneffective driving ability in the snow. So I bought this beautiful Tribeca. It has been nothing but a disappointment and while the dealer has been very nice to work with, it isn't fixing the issue.

    Apparently, there are very real design flaws with this vehicle's transmission and Subaru will need to take steps to do the right thing by me and by all of you who are in the same fix. I am considering a :mad: lawsuit if I cannot get resolution to my satisfaction.
  • It seems then, that mine is not an isolated incidence.
    Keep us posted "mukilteome", as will I.
    The new Outback has probably the same engine and five speed automatic transmission as the Tribeca.....I wonder if it will fair any better?
    My dealer is about to take mine back and keep it "until it is fixed". We shall see how they do.
    The CAMVP advocate group here in BC would go to bat for a buy back by Subaru.
    Calculations but the buyback at about $33,000 CAN. I paid 40k for it new. :sick: :lemon:
  • My 07 has ~90K miles, purchased with 4K. Recently experienced a couple of odd shifts in normal, I use the sport but can't say I noticed anything significant with the "manual "shifting. Also started noticing what seemed to be the engine missing during accel eration but thought I'd have it addressed at the next service. A Friday night in the rain with groceries and kids in the car ABS, CEL, Sport, Cruise and Traction Control lights lit up while I was on the freeway in a construction zone with no shoulders. When I parked it, it was leaking black transmisison fluid. Towed to the dealer, apparently the torque converter threw metal into the transmission.

    Thankfully the replacement was covered under the extended warranty. Reading this forum I see there's been a couple issues with torque converters and/or transmissions. I'm feeling like this might be an isolated problem. I love my Beca, love that I have the three nostril grill, but I'm a little worried about it's future safety. I drive ~90mi RT for a commute and kids who go places. My 2000 Outback has 209K miles and has been a great car. I can't have a car that is a possible liability and could leave me on the freeway. Winters in Washington can be a wet mess.

    Hoping for an "isolated incident" opinion.
  • I think the 2007 had a different transmission, but likely similar components.
    Latest outback may have same engine and transmission as my 2008 Tribeca. It will be interesting to see how it fares.
  • First time poster. I just ( 8 days ago) purchased a 2009 Tribeca with 13K miles and experiencing a 'shuddering' at 40mph and ~1800rpm during a very a gentle acceleration. Had dealer check it out twice including reflashing the transmission module. No change. Returning to dealer on Wed Dec 16th and intend to take a technician on a drive. Love our new SUV however already regretting the purchase. Anyone else experienced a 'shudder' or 'rumble' at speeds between 30-50mph?
  • Sounds similar to my problem. See my prior postings.
    My problem comes in 5th gear, or locked up of torque converter (top gear) and at about 2000rpm. They have had my car in for about one and a half weeks this time. It has been in for this problem MANY, MANY times thus far! Great dealership, but the problem has eluded them. Car has had its third Torque converter!
    I have had a rumbling, especially when the car is cold, (even in summer) but I attributed that to the tires.
    Keep us posted.
  • Thanks for the fast reply. Should I continue the battle or demand a return/replace with say a 2010 Outback? We're moving from FL back to BC/Canada in Feb and wanted an AWD vehicle. So far not a good situation. Thoughts?
  • My 2008 Tribeca is basically a good car. Lots of room, reasonably comfortable, and safe.
    Had I my choice back, with all I have experienced, I would have selected another make for about the same money. I cannot comment on the new Outback, except that I beieive it likely has the same engine and transmission as the Tribeca. I do not know what its towing capacity is either if that is something you might intend to use it for. IF they can correct the problem for you, and I mean TRULY CORRECT it!! then I guess it would be a good car for you. (We have 30,000 km on ours, and although this problem has always been there, the car has otherwise been fault free!)
    Interesting, we moved from Florida to BC, Canada, where we reside now on Vancouver Is.
    Let me know how you make out......I guess if you have any doubts, getting them to take it back would be the safest way out.
  • Shudder seems to be gone! Here's an update. The morning that I dropped off my 2009 Tribeca to the dealer, we spent 20 minutes driving and duplicated the 'shudder' that occurred at 45mph and ~2K rpm at least 4 times. As suspected, the torque converter was slipping. Service tech confirmed ~100hp loss at gear change. Tech also mentioned that he has seen this before, turns out transmission fluids are 'contaminated' from the factory. They performed an entire tranny flush and another re-learn. With nearly a fully week and 100+ miles my Tribeca runs and shifts very smoothly. Hopefully it will stay this way. Happy Holidays everyone! David.
  • Hi I have a 2008 subaru bought from Rochester. After 3 months of use it started behave strange between gears 2 and 3 i.e. there the transmission would not take accelaration for a second and there would be an abrubt power surge (almost like the car got hit behind) . They reprogrammed the transmission and restarted learning process. The problem was gone for almost a year and now it resurrected but this time much less severe and infrequent. Since it does not happen all the time I did not bother taking it to the delaer in Ottawa since I know they will clain " problem not reproducible" . Any suggestions ?...
  • I would take it to them so that your complaint is documented, whether they find it or not.
    Best of luck.
    I still have the original transmission problem with mine. Have two emails and registered letter into Subaru Canada. No reply. I think they are ignoring me.
    The dealer that I last took it to identified the symptom, but was unable to repair. Subaru advised the mechanic that is was not repairable,,,,but they seem disinterested in doing anything about it.
    I am ready to take legal action, and make it very public.
    :mad: :lemon:
  • Update on my last post.
    One of our local dealers, who agreed there was a problem, kept the vehicle for about a month.
    Was very thorough and contacted Subaru Canada repeatedly as they walked the technician through all the possibilities that might be causing the sensation of slippage in 5th gear (drive or sport mode) at about 2000rpm,, that is, highway speed.
    Another torque converter was replaced, they found no improvement. Subaru made other suggestions, changing plugs, checking solenoids, replacing anti-knock sensors, etc.. The technician could not clear the problem. The dealer was advised by Subaru Canada that the problem could not be fixed.
    After repeated Calls to Subaru Canada and a registered letter, I have heard nothing back.
    I am not put off that easily. Keep posting your beefs! :lemon: :lemon: :mad:
  • Have spoken to SUBARU CUSTOMER SERVICE repeatedly over the past three weeks. Was advised about three weeks ago that they would definitely get back to
    me in a couple of days. Heard nothing and have called back every few days, with no contact made. They are ignoring me quite deliberately. Not even a phone response!
    SUBARU has lost me and any of my friends or acquaintances as customers.
    Have not given up working on them, though. :lemon: :lemon: :lemon: :lemon:
  • sglousglou Posts: 1
    My Wife's 08 Tribeca has, or should I say HAD the same shudder / vibration during trans shift under slight acceleration. After 3 visits to the dealer and demanding an explination I came across this forum. Needless to say I printed up all of the posts and highlighted all that pertained to our problem. The Service Manager read through it and went on Subaru's website to see if a Service Bulletin was issued.
    Sure enough, there it was in black and white. Subaru admits to a faulty Torque Converter and it was replaced 2 weeks ago. The wife is now happy as all of the sluggish shifting , shudder and vibration is gone ! THANK GOD we got the Extended Warrenty

    Here is the first page of that Subaru Service Bulletin:

    Subaru Service Bulletin Number: 16-74-09
    Date: 03/18/09

    Applicability: 2009 / 09 MY Legacy / Outback 2.5L Turbo, 5AT and 3.0L 5AT
    2008 / 09 MY Tribeca 3.6L, 5AT
    Subject: 5AT Torque Converter Shudder / Vibration

    If you encounter a vehicle that has a shudder/vibration which could be felt in 3rd, 4th and
    5th gear during slight acceleration, it may be caused by the transmission torque converter during lockup operation. A countermeasure was made to the final machining process of the sliding surface for the lock up clutch to provide stabilization and eliminate the shudder/ vibration.

    ( Starting # )

    Legacy / Outback 2.5L Turbo Jan.9, 2009 316632
    Legacy / Outback 3.0L Feb 5, 2009 316978
    Tribeca 3.6L Feb. 18, 2009 317369



    2008 / 09 Legacy / Outback 2.5L Turbo 31100AB122 31100AB121 / 120
    2008 / 09 Legacy / Outback 3.0L 31100AB132 31100AB131 / 130
    2008 / 09 Tribeca 3.6L 31100AB142 31100AB141 / 140

    I hope this information will help others !
  • Thank you for your post.
    My problem is only present in 5th gear whether in sport (manual) mode or automatic mode.
    I have had 2 torque converters replaced with absolutely no improvement.
    I am present still fighting with Subaru over the issue 2 1/2 years after buying my car new. The problem was there at my 1000km scheduled visit.
    Most recently they have installed two separate monitors in the vehicle and I am still waiting for their final report.
    Subaru customer support service has mentioned replacing the vehicle, but I am still waiting. They do not respond to my calls.
    Draw your own conclusions. :confuse:
  • My 2007 Tribeca B9 Automatic has started shuddering as you accelerate. Any suggestions
  • Hate to say this. but Subaru will not help you. I spent three years trying to sort out a shuddering transmission on a 2008 Tribeca, while still under warranty, and they refused to help...going so far as to send me a letter stating that my case was closed. I sold it and bought a BMW X5.diesel. Expensive but light years ahead of the Tribeca. My Tribeca is still on the lot 4 months later.
    Subaru is prepared to take a hit on the Tribeca which has been a dismal failure when compared to their other vehicles. It is evident they will not spend any money or time to resolve issue with the Tribeca.
    Sorry I cannot be more positive. Good luck.
  • About a month ago my B9 Tribecca :mad: started to "chug" when I started it. The chugging would stop and I would drive, then the car started hesitating and seemed like it was losing power. Then the check engine light came on. I took it in to the Subaru dealer. They said put a bottle of gas booster in, and put in premium gas. Then bring the car back in for a re-check. I did that, the check engine light came on, car was chugging on start and hesitating again in a few days. I took it in again. They couldn't find anything wrong with it. Told me to do the same thing I did before.

    I have since tried a cleaner added to the gas, but that doesn't seem to help either, same problems exist. I did notice that the last two times when it has gone down to 1/4 tank, the engine light goes off, and the car runs better.

    Any ideas as to what is wrong with the car? This is very frustrating.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,246
    What was the code being recorded in the system? If you weren't given that information from the dealer, you might consider picking up a code reader (they cost $100 or less) and pulling it yourself the next time.

    I almost think it is a problem with the knock sensor.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I understand your frustration. Ours was very similar. We finally had to pull the fuel tank because it contained dirt/sediment that was clogging the fuel filter (sending unit in tank). After cleaning it out & replacing the filter, it has been fine. It doesn't take much sediment to cause problems in the fuel system. I found that I could shut the engine off for a minute or two and then it would run fine on restart. they said that would release the sediment from the sending unit & allow it to get "clean" fuel from the tank. We run premium 98% of the time; and try to limit the places we get fuel when possible. Hope that helps. BTW: it's not cheap to pull the tank, flush it, replace filter, and put it back together (approx. $2100 at the Dealer).
  • The dealer never mentioned the code. Can I just ask them for it? Shouldn't they have it in their documents? Also, stupid question, but what does the code tell you?
  • hmm...I'll check this out. I have an extended warranty, so hopefully it would be covered. I'll look into that.

    Interesting thing is, the last oil change showed some sediment in the old oil. Wondering if that is related.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,246
    It should be documented. The code tells you which sensor(s) was out of spec, which can give someone diagnosing the issue some clues as to what went wrong. For example, if a misfire was thrown, then you know it was a fuel, air, or timing issue (or combination of those), and that can help pinpoint the problem. Since this message is in a "transmission problem" thread, one might conclude that you suspect your transmission... yet it may have nothing to do with it.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,246
    Sediment? That's not good. Consider an oil analysis so that you know what is actually in there; that could tell you something as well. They are pretty cheap at $25. I send mine to a company called Blackstone Labs.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Thank you, will try that.
  • Just called dealer, only code was P0303 w/other cylinder misfires.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,246
    Okay, so have we established the number of miles on your car? If you're getting misfires, I would start with ensuring the health of the spark plug wires, the plugs themselves, and then the distributor. You can check resistance in the wires with a multimeter tool in the ohmmeter setting.

    If those things check out fine, and since you have already gone through the fuel system, I would consider replacing the knock sensor and see what happens. I had a knock sensor issue with my 1996 Outback, and it never registered in the computer. Yet, once replaced, it cleared up a whole array of issues (some serious, some just annoying). It was definitely the best money I ever spent on that car.
    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
    Isn't the Tribeca distributor-less?

    It may need an ignition coil instead.
  • 50k miles, not a lot.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,246
    :blush: Coil, distributor; they serve the same purpose!
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
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