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Guest Message by DevFuse

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95 legacy auto transmission awd advice needed

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8 replies to this topic

#1 wvlegacy


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Posted 22 December 2011 - 03:42 PM

95 legacy 235,000 miles automatic transmission AWD

I am in an unfamiliar situation and I am looking for advice.

I lost reverse earlier this week. I am continuing to use the car out of necessity and avoiding situations that call for potentially using reverse.

The local mechanics have diagnosed the need for a new transmission at cost $700 parts $450 labor.

Now what? Consider a limited budget. Best move fix it? look for a better deal? Junk it? part it out? I like the car and am considering buying another. In this scenario is there a particular year I should be targeting?

#2 davebugs


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Posted 22 December 2011 - 03:51 PM

Welcome to the USMB

Transmission issues really are rare.

In this case a junk trans is probably how I'd go. Make sure it's outta the same car (gear ratio) or you'll need the rearend too.

look at car-part.com to see what this tranny goes for in your area and what that's recyller's warranty is.

#3 johnceggleston


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Posted 22 December 2011 - 04:19 PM

where in WV?

once reverse goes it is just a matter of time before another gear goes. but i drove my 95 w/ no reverse for several months. you just have to plan ahead when parking.

i would replace the trans. and keep driving it. nine times out of ten repairing the car you own is cheaper than replacing it. plus you know this car's history and it has at least some new parts.

how does it run other than no reverse?
how long have you had it?
any recent service?

i have a auto trans out of a 95 impreza, same trans, same final drive ratio, 100k miles, it will bolt right in, $250 cash. i'm in VA near VT, and i could meet you. unless you are in the far end of the state.

swapping a trans is not an impossible task if you have someplace to work out of the weather and some jack stands. maybe rent a trans jack if one is available.

but for $450 in labor i would consider letting them do it if for no other reason than a quick turn around. it would take me all weekend to do it, probably more.

#4 Mike104


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Posted 22 December 2011 - 04:54 PM

While I understand $1150 is steep, think about it this way. How many new car payments is that (probably less than 3) or could you buy another car for $1150?

John gives some good advise to consider.

#5 idosubaru


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Posted 22 December 2011 - 04:57 PM

subaru auto trans are robust enough that used is a good option. if you otherwise like the car another trans is a decent option if you like the vehicle otherwise.

personally i'd want a complete timing belt kit installed given the mileage if you're going to want it to actually last you another reliable 60,000 miles. the kits are cheap on ebay for your year vehicle and not hard to install.

because they don't fail often they're also cheap - $700 in parts is way too high. i would be looking around the $200-$400 range, $700 is way too high.

a friend of mine in charleston, WV has either a 96 or 98 auto trans from an EJ22 legacy that should fit yours that he doesn't have a need for.

#6 wvlegacy


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Posted 22 December 2011 - 05:02 PM

Hi John,

Thanks for responding. I live in the New River Gorge area and can usually find a reason to multi-task a trip down towards the Blacksburg area, so this might work out just fine.

I will get back to you in a few days while I confirm the labor estimate if I were to bring in my own transmission and then thoroughly check out the health of the rest of the car. And then run things through with my wife. I know that she has been unhappy with some cosmetic problems on the vehicle for some time and I suspect that she has been secretly happy with the recent failed transmission. She certainly has been remarkably proactive in assembling craigslist leads on used legacies.


#7 wvlegacy


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Posted 22 December 2011 - 05:10 PM

Thanks everyone for responding with helpful advice.

Gary, I would be interesting in following up with your friend as Charleston is just over them hills.

another question for all of you involves the practicality of doing the labor myself. I am not completely against the idea and am always keen to invest in tools. But my experience level is limited to layman.

#8 Fairtax4me



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Posted 22 December 2011 - 05:18 PM

Ahh you're in western Virginia not West Virginia.
A used transmission is probably the best route. It sounds like the shop is quoting you to replace the transmission with a used one. Going in just to fix reverse is kinda pointless because chances are the trans will just quit soon after anyway.

#9 idosubaru


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Posted 22 December 2011 - 07:08 PM

i didn't see Johns offer until you replied - i wasn't trying to get in the way of that. his trans might be a better fit, i might even prefer it honestly as my friend never heard this one run. but the engine was overheated so that almost guarantees the transmission was fine.

i'll get in touch and get the details and let him know this thread is here, he is an uncommon visitor here but a member.

call around, particularly favor transmission shops. i had a local shop in maryland - ironically they were known to be typically expensive because they were large, had been around for decades and did good work - but they would only charge $150 labor to install your used transmission. if you're set up for it and do it every day it's actually fairly simple and can be done in a couple-few hours.

call around and you might get a more reasonable price.

that being said - it's kind of annoying to do yourself with a few tricky parts that good equipment and experience make the difference between 5 minutes and 3 hours to work through. working on your back, wrestling it out, separating the engine/trans (see the current thread with someone stuck on theres as a real world right now example), if you have any rust to deal with - though on engine swaps the only big issue is the exhaust nuts - which just come out attached to the studs as a "bolt", so no big deal. exhaust is usually rusted and annoying....but that can be repaired and an exhaust shop can weld on new flanges to your converter, etc.

the huge positive with doing it yourself is you can replace the seals that should be replaced while it's in there - i mean a shop can do that to but price goes up much quicker for cheap seals. get a metal separator plate, reseal that (easy, only a few minutes), and a new torque converter seal is not a bad idea - though i have never seen one leak.

be advised to know exactly how to install the torque converter - not fully seating it is a common mistake and hoses the transmission. there's a great write up here - i think by john even detailing how to do that.

if you don't mind working under a car, being on your back, wiggling and working at it - you can do it yourself. time is helpful - if it can be down for a couple days while you get a part or ask questions here you're much better off than needing to finish it in one weekend to get to work when stores are closed and time is limited.

you can use an engine lift to install - roll the trans around under the car - get the front of the car up high enough to do that - then pass chains through the engine bay and around the transmission to pull it up and through with an engine lift.

my buddy with the trans has an engine lift - maybe he'd rent it to you, or let you borrow it with a refundable downpayment until you return it? i'd do that if you were in morgantown.

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