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4EAT Dipstick Being Pushed Out...


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32 replies to this topic

#1 eulogious

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 11:41 AM

Hello, on my 1990 subaru loyale turbo wagon my tranny is pushing the dipstick out and spewing some, not a lot, of ATF out the dipstick after driving if for a bit. I am curious to what might be causing this. My first gut reaction is that the tranny is overfull, which is causing the fluid to come out the dipstick. But when I check the fluid (with the car running and in park) it says that it's on the 'low' mark, and in no way overfilled. But once it gets to the low mark, it really doesn't spew any more fluid out that I can really tell. What would cause this? I am kinda at a loss on that. If I apply the "KISS" (keep it simple stupid) principle, the first thing that I can think of is the wrong dipstick, too short for example, would give me the "low" reading, but the tranny would actually be "full". Then when I add more fluid to it, it spews it out because there is too much, obviously. So on that note, does any one know how long is the diptsick is supposed to be for an AE82? This way I can rule out the previous owners putting in the wrong dipstick, since I just picked up the wagon a week ago.

Other than the fluid coming out the dipstick, the tranny seems fine. No slipping, shifts into drive/reverse quickly, no obvious clunking, smooth shifts for the most part, shifting into 2nd is a tiny bit rougher that the other gears, but I only picked up on it when I noticed the dipstick sticking out and notice the fluid in the engine compartment, so it wasn't that noticable, but that's it. If there is something else that I should be checking/looking for, any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!

#2 Ricearu

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 11:49 AM

make sure it stays full or you will kill it, the modulator may be leaking boost into the trans. I am not sure if these transmissions have a vent in the top and if they do, yours is probably clogged.

KEEP THAT TRANS TOPPED OFF WITH FLUID NO MATTER WHAT!!

#3 eulogious

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 11:52 AM

That's what I have been doing, because I am afraid of blowing it! I have a qt in my car as I speak :) How would I go about checking the vent on the top? Or if I even have one?

edit: I just realized that while I was doing a test drive and checking the dipstick on the drive, it wasn't pushed out when I was driving around on the side streets, but after I got back from my freeway run where I was pushing the car a little harder than usual, that's when the dipstick popped out, after using more boost more often.

Ricearu, you mentioned the modulator leaking boost into the tranny, what/where is this modulator? I am new to subie turbos :) And how would I go about checking this also. Seems like you might have pointed me in a good direction!?!?!?

Edited by eulogious, 29 September 2009 - 12:12 PM.
Just thought of something


#4 bheinen74

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 12:33 PM

o ring needs replaced on the dipstick top portion near handle.
its old, smashed and loose.

#5 eulogious

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 12:36 PM

o ring needs replaced on the dipstick top portion near handle.
its old, smashed and loose.


Could it be that easy? Seriously? That would be freakin' sweet. I hate to ask a stupid question, but where would I get the O ring? The dealer, or an auto parts store? Thanks for the quick response!

#6 bheinen74

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 12:51 PM

if you find this to be the Oring, i would say a hardware store, autoparts store, or tractor supply place. Get something "oil, ATF, gas resistant". should be about 25cents cheap.

#7 eulogious

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 12:56 PM

Well, I will try this first. I want to eliminate anything else that it could be before I go diving into the tranny it's self :) You got anymore simple things for me to try out?

#8 bheinen74

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 01:11 PM

also on the top side of tranny, near the firewall area above it, there should be a couple short vacuum hoses, short like 5" breathers. All they are is vent pressure breathers make sure they are not clogged..... use some compressed air to blow a little air thru them to check.

#9 grossgary

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 01:19 PM

yes - replace the oring or seal at the top. or just get another one from another car, junk yard, etc.

#10 Ricearu

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 07:05 PM

also on the top side of tranny, near the firewall area above it, there should be a couple short vacuum hoses, short like 5" breathers. All they are is vent pressure breathers make sure they are not clogged..... use some compressed air to blow a little air thru them to check.


What he said. :lol: I have NO particular experience with subaru auto transmissions, but I am ASE certified in automatic transmissions. I HATE THEM. My cars are standards :grin:

#11 Gloyale

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 07:20 PM

There should be a one way check valve on that vacuum line to the trans.

Check that it's there and operating.

If not you're turbo is blowing into the trans when the boost hits.

#12 eulogious

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 11:35 PM

:lol: Ya, auto's aren't my favorite, but it came with the car and the rest of the car was too nice to pass up, and the turbo makes the auto seem bearable. I will check the vent hoses, replace the oring on the dipstick, and check the one way valve. I will let you all know in the morning what my progress is, and if all the simple suggestions fix my problem. Thanks all so far with the advice! Keep'em coming!

PS. I work graveyard so I am on here at weird hours, so that's why I post at strange times... :|

#13 presslab

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 08:53 AM

The 4EAT doesn't have any vacuum hoses or a modulator because it is computer controlled.

It's likely your vent hose is clogged. There is a funny shaped hose, kind of like a 'W', that is at the top of the trans near the engine. First remove the dipstick. Then pull one end of the hose off and blow into it, and then put that side back on and pull off the other side and blow into it. It should not have any blockages on either side.

#14 Gloyale

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 09:06 AM

The 4EAT doesn't have any vacuum hoses or a modulator because it is computer controlled.

It's likely your vent hose is clogged. There is a funny shaped hose, kind of like a 'W', that is at the top of the trans near the engine. First remove the dipstick. Then pull one end of the hose off and blow into it, and then put that side back on and pull off the other side and blow into it. It should not have any blockages on either side.


Hmmm....title says 4EAT. But I did not think that Loyale Turbos had the 4EAT.

eulogious, is this truely a Fulltime 4wd 4spd auto? or do you have a button to engage or disengage 4wd?

#15 eulogious

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 10:32 AM

Hmmm....title says 4EAT. But I did not think that Loyale Turbos had the 4EAT.

eulogious, is this truely a Fulltime 4wd 4spd auto? or do you have a button to engage or disengage 4wd?


It's a 4EAT 4spd Fulltime 4WD tranny for sure. I don't have any buttons to push, or levers to pull to activate the 4wd. If I recall from my research before I bought the car, 1990 was the first year of the computer controlled 4WD tranny in the subarus.

Edited by eulogious, 30 September 2009 - 10:39 AM.


#16 eulogious

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 10:38 AM

The 4EAT doesn't have any vacuum hoses or a modulator because it is computer controlled.

It's likely your vent hose is clogged. There is a funny shaped hose, kind of like a 'W', that is at the top of the trans near the engine. First remove the dipstick. Then pull one end of the hose off and blow into it, and then put that side back on and pull off the other side and blow into it. It should not have any blockages on either side.


That would be why I couldn't find any vacuum hoses coming off the tranny :) you mention a "W" shape hose... all I could find was a "V" shaped hose. Actually it's two hoses coming from both sides of the tranny that are connected the a t connector that then goes off somewhere. These were on the top of the tranny under the spare tire near where the engine mounts to the tranny. I am going to go try blow through those lines now and see what happens since those hoses were all that I could find coming off of the tranny. I looked for over a half hour trying to find the vacuum hose that went to the vacuum diaphragm on the tranny...

Edited by eulogious, 30 September 2009 - 10:40 AM.


#17 bheinen74

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 10:46 AM

just vent hoses that go to the atmosphere, not hooked to anything but tranny...

#18 eulogious

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 11:04 AM

Ok, the driver side is clogged. On the passenger side, when I blow into it, fluid comes out the dipstick, but on the driver side, pressure/air just backs up and blows back in my mouth when I stop blowing, and no fluid comes out the dipstick. The hoses are connected to the engine, but there are NO other hoses in the area connected to the tranny at all especially on top, so ya. How do I unclog it? I hope I don't need a tranny flush, not that it's bad, but it cost about 250 bucks...

#19 presslab

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 11:43 AM

Ok, the driver side is clogged. On the passenger side, when I blow into it, fluid comes out the dipstick, but on the driver side, pressure/air just backs up and blows back in my mouth when I stop blowing, and no fluid comes out the dipstick. The hoses are connected to the engine, but there are NO other hoses in the area connected to the tranny at all especially on top, so ya. How do I unclog it? I hope I don't need a tranny flush, not that it's bad, but it cost about 250 bucks...


Mine doesn't have a tee that connects to the engine, but it is an '88 (the first year for 4EAT ;) ). If you want, you can just leave the vent hoses off. If you don't go in deep water it shouldn't be a problem; you might see a bit of ATF where the vent nipple is but it won't be much.

Not sure why the other side is clogged but if only the tranny side has problems (the dipstick popping out) leaving the hoses off should fix it.

#20 eulogious

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 11:45 AM

Here is where the vent hoses connect to the engine. Is this my problem...
Attached File  IMG_0489.jpg   25.95K   19 downloads
Here is a zoomed out shot of where they attach
Attached File  IMG_0490.jpg   38.69K   16 downloads
Here is where they connect to the hose connecting to the engine
Attached File  IMG_0491.jpg   28.78K   11 downloads
And finally the driver and passenger vent hose locations that I found
Attached File  IMG_0492.jpg   33.19K   13 downloads
Attached File  IMG_0493.jpg   26.32K   11 downloads

Edited by eulogious, 30 September 2009 - 11:50 AM.


#21 eulogious

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 11:47 AM

Mine doesn't have a tee that connects to the engine, but it is an '88 (the first year for 4EAT ;) ). If you want, you can just leave the vent hoses off. If you don't go in deep water it shouldn't be a problem; you might see a bit of ATF where the vent nipple is but it won't be much.

Not sure why the other side is clogged but if only the tranny side has problems (the dipstick popping out) leaving the hoses off should fix it.


I guess I should have clarified myself a bit better, the hose isn't clogged, it's in the tranny that is. That's why I mention the tranny flush ;) I tried to stick some thin wire down the vent hole, but that didn't solve anything...

So I don't have to plug off where the hose is connecting to the engine? I don't want to cause any vacuum issues. I already have to deal with this :)

So '88 was the first year for the 4EAT, I was close :) Damn you google for telling me lies! :lol:

Edited by eulogious, 30 September 2009 - 11:55 AM.


#22 eulogious

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 02:48 PM

Ok, so I disconnected the hose from the motor and went on the same drive that I did yesterday, and the dipstick didn't get pushed out like it did yesterday!! :banana: But I don't want to be too excited yet, I have to put some more miles on it to make sure it's solved. There is a couple of things that I noticed when I disconnected the hose. First, the hose was about 2 size larger then the nipple it was connected to, hence the hose clamp on it :| Second, when I blew into the hose connected on the engine, air passed through, but it seemed like it was leaking out some where, not flowing freely like I excepted it to, so I think that it was leaking out by the hose clamp, but it was restricted enough to not let the tranny vent when it needed to, which caused the dipstick to get pushed out.

Also, it now shifts great from first to second. It used to make a slight "clunk" from first to second, but not anymore. I guess that's just an added benefit for having the transmission being able to breath correctly. I am just happy that it was a super easy fix, and I solve 2 problems at once :grin: Is it possible that having the tranny vent properly would cause the clunk to go away?

And finally, does anyone know what is supposed to be connected there, if anything at all?

Here's a few picks showing the location. I eneded up putting a cap over the nipple. That's the black thing in the picture.

How it was before:
Attached File  IMG_0495.jpg   25.58K   15 downloads

And now:
Attached File  IMG_0498.jpg   23.96K   39 downloads
Attached File  IMG_0499.jpg   38.59K   40 downloads

Edited by eulogious, 30 September 2009 - 03:20 PM.


#23 eulogious

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 01:32 PM

Anybody have any ideas on this?? I just want to make sure that nothing is going to get messed up. Any more ideas would be great! Thanks all for the help and support so far!

#24 keppelk

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 02:41 AM

Awesome how this thread got up to 12 posts before someone spotted 4EAT is electronic! lol

Always good to check out the FSMs to see what should be there, rather than what is there :) Looks like there should just be a short length of hose to allow venting without sucking in crud. IMO should cap any vacuum lines and run a short vent hose similar to the factory setup.

Attached File  4EAT.jpg   45.4K   7 downloads

Edited by keppelk, 02 October 2009 - 02:44 AM.


#25 Niku-Sama

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 03:22 AM

that "W" looking thing mensioned earlier is that hard plastic hose that runs just behind the intake where it goes into the throttle body, infact its clipped to the intake and its in your pics.

when you take it out its kinda W shaped but its like one leg is really long.

my car is the same as yours and all those vent hoses that were hooked up to that plastic hard line were clogged, i suggest taking some super clean and a screw driver and cleaning them out, pretty easy really. but you should just do em all and only do a few at a time so you can put it back together easily and make sure they are pretty dry before sticking em back on

my dipstick wasnt being pushed out but the car ran better over all. i did have one time where it did goop all over the ground but i was starting the engine and immedatly turning it off over and over testing a new starter i had put in and i think it farted it out.




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