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1990 Legacy Auto transmission problem


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24 replies to this topic

#1 duallegacy

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Posted 03 September 2003 - 09:53 AM

I have a 1990 Subaru Legacy LS which I replaced the auto transmission with a Type B - 1993 auto transmission and changed over the rear end to match the transmission gear ratio. I installed the transmission myself and put everything back together. I started the car up everthing worked fine, I took the car up and down the road(1/2 mile up and back) the tranmission shift perfect through all gears no noise or anything. I got back home sut car off, let it set for a 10 min or so, checked for leaks, etc. - didn't see any. Started the car back up let it idle for about 5-10 min while I check for leaks, etc. Then all of sudden there was a pop like a back fire(but not) and the car shut down completely. The car was hard to turn over, I tried a couple of times then it started ran fine, except the transmission did nothing. I looked, for leaks didn't see any. Is the pump or torx coverter blown? What would cause it to stop like it did? Help, real frustrated....

#2 ScoobySchmitty

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Posted 03 September 2003 - 10:05 PM

Damn, now THIS is a puzzle. :-\ I have NEVER heard of a tranny just blowing, in NEUTRAL no less! First off, I would locate your nearest trans shop, and see if they have dealt with Subaru transmissions before. Explain the problem, and see if you can ferret out possible causes. If they are a good shop, their tech's might give you a few things to look for, to find out what the problem is. Hopefully they are not a bunch of money-grubbing jerkwads waiting for you to give up and tow your Scoob in just to tell you it's broken for $90. Keep posting on the site, maybe someone else will have some info. Sorry I can't help you more in this respect, I've got the 5 speed. Good Luck!

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#3 duallegacy

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 08:53 AM

Thanks for responding, I needed to hear from someone. My brother knows a Subaru mechanic and he going to ask him his what he thinks! But seems real weard. I may have to anti up and bring it to him. In all my years of subaru's (15+ subarus, 14 or so years of having at least 1 subaru, more often 2-3) I have never brought any of my cars to a mechanic for anything! So I was hoping to keep that going......

:banana:

#4 duane b

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 01:15 PM

"In all my years of subaru's (15+ subarus, 14 or so years of having at least 1 subaru, more often 2-3) I have never brought any of my cars to a mechanic for anything!"


Well, now that you own a Legacy autotrans, that'll surely change! Not to dog on Subaru but I haven't been too impressed with their autotransmissions. It doesn't seem like too many people know how to work on them, even Subaru service! Seems like the number one solution is "REPLACE IT!$$$!" Good luck!

#5 hearnmike

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 08:23 PM

Bingo my friend - I also have a 1990 auto 4by wagon and it has acted funny ever since I bought it with 160K. First it started making noises and slipping between first and second. Put in magic Lucas treatment and like a miracle it just started getting better and better but always had a slight jerk into second. Well that was the good times as a buzz with a slight whine built up untill it is now louder and going to go. I am just like you and never take anything in.
My philosophy is I will either break it, fix it or part it out. Wish I could add to any hope for the fix but just telling you my end here. Going to dump mine and go back to old subbies and trucks. Mines for sale now but good luck and hope you find the silver bullet. Lots of good ideas come on this site. Mike

#6 blackbart

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 08:45 PM

Did it sound like a shaft broke? Imput shaft or the reduction drive shaft?

#7 tunered

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 10:02 PM

check this. http://surrealmirage...baru/trans.html

#8 grossgary

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 10:22 PM

make sure the flexplate is spinning. that's what the torque converter is bolted to. possible the bolts sheared (unlikely, but who knows?) did you install all the torque converter bolts properly...what is it, four of them i think?

did you properly seat the input shaft of the torque converter when installing the torque converter? it typically takes awhile and is a little frustrating/time consuming to get it to seat the last 1/4 inch. if you don't seat it that final 1/4 inch it will ride on top of the oil pump rotor and not actually seat in it, then when you bolt things up tyipcally the oil pump rotor breaks. maybe yours somehow made it past the first start up? never heard of that happening before, but the biggest mistake made with auto trans installs of the 4EAT's is not seating that last 1/4 inch properly. has to be lined up just right to slide the last 1/4 inch. if you had trouble getting the trans bellhousing and engine to meet flush without torquing the bolts down then this is probably your problem.

#9 Meandvls

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 08:35 PM

Oh man..I found this forum in an effort to try and figure out what the problem is with my 90 legacy awd wagon with auto tranny. Reading this post sounds real similar to my problem.

My son was driving it and said he heard/felt a pop and then it would not do anything in forward or reverse. I was always suspect of the transmission so I decided to just replace it. I found a person parting out her subby sedan (93 I think) with 104k mi. and purchased the tranny for an awesome price of $130. I remove the old trans and installed the used one I had purchased. After putting new ATF and gear oil in to the proper levels, replacing engine oil and filter, and installing new spark plug wires (someone took one of the wires) I fired up the engine and warmed it up. I back out of the driveway and drove it about 1/2 mi down the road, turned around and head back home. About half way back I felt a pop and then nothing...no forward or reverse..same as with the tranny I just replaced. I pushed it back home and parked it.

Any ideas on the problem? It is too much of a coincidence to have 2 trannys do the same thing.

#10 blackbart

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 09:00 PM

FWD or AWD?

#11 Meandvls

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 09:18 PM

Awd

#12 blackbart

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 09:40 PM

Awd

How are your CV joints? The trouble must be outside of your tranny(?). The auto should move with a broken drive shaft but the manuals don't. Anybody know if the autos will move with a broken CV?

#13 cookie

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 11:13 PM

It sounds like a high pressure seal popped. There are a few of them in there and on a 90 or so car they would be near 15 years old. You would have to carefully dissasemble one to find out.

#14 Meandvls

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 12:05 AM

If a high pressure seal has popped, what would be the cause? Why would it happen to 2 trannys in a row especially the the 2nd one within 1 mile?

As far as the CV's go, I'm pretty sure they are fine. I'm familiar with CV's going bad, although I've only had problems with CV's in the front...

Blackbart; remember, after replacing the tranny, the car went approx 3/4 mi before it quit again. If it was a broken CV that was the original problem, it wouldn't of moved after replacing the trans.

#15 tunered

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 12:48 AM

im betting on high pressure blowing seals,cant be the trans fault.might be a pressure line going to radiator mashed not letting fluid circulate causing pressure build up,maybe way off base but the odds of two trans doing the same thing is very high.i would double check everything.

#16 2.5GL

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 01:50 AM

Tap into your tranny cooler line (with a "T") and check for pressure with a gauge, or hook up to pump pressure port on side of pump housing (between diff and AT cases). Might want to check a book for which of the three or four screws is the one you need. if no pressure from either one...bad pump, or something before it, Torque conv. shaft, flex plate, ect.

#17 Meandvls

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 02:55 AM

Tap into your tranny cooler line (with a "T") and check for pressure with a gauge, or hook up to pump pressure port on side of pump housing (between diff and AT cases). Might want to check a book for which of the three or four screws is the one you need. if no pressure from either one...bad pump, or something before it, Torque conv. shaft, flex plate, ect.


I can try the tranny cooler line as those lines are easy to access..but (now I don't know much about auto trannys) doesn't the tranny have a gear style pump INSIDE the tranny and if so...how could the pump be bad on both trannys?

Also, remember, two trannys went bad back to back, the 2nd one after only about 3/4 mi after install...

#18 tunered

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 10:42 AM

remember this is only guesses never heard of this before. most people will agree that the trans might not be the cause, we are thinking something else wrong, maybe a plugged line or mashed line not letting fluid circulate.you are right about the pump and most likely they were fine.

#19 cookie

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 10:57 AM

Did you use the same torque converter?

#20 Meandvls

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 11:09 AM

Did you use the same torque converter?


I appreciate the replies! I agree about the potential outside cause. My first reaction to the pinched cooler lines would be that it is not the problem. There has been no recent damage to the vehicle and during the tranny swap I did not see any damage to the lines. I will have to look at them closer where they go into the radiator.

Yes, I used the same torque converter..:-\

#21 cookie

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 11:21 AM

the torque converter has a couple of seals that must hold pressure on most vehicles I have worked on. I've never had a Subaru automatic so most of these folks know more about them than I do. I think the closest thing to this would be a Toyota forklift for me.
I would lean toward trying a rebuilt torque converter. My automatic tranny place has a dyno where you can test it out of the car. anything like that near you?

#22 Meandvls

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 06:06 PM

the torque converter has a couple of seals that must hold pressure on most vehicles I have worked on. I've never had a Subaru automatic so most of these folks know more about them than I do. I think the closest thing to this would be a Toyota forklift for me.
I would lean toward trying a rebuilt torque converter. My automatic tranny place has a dyno where you can test it out of the car. anything like that near you?


I just spoke to my subaru mechanic (independant) and he hasn't heard of anything like this before either. His first suggestion was same as several of you have suggested, check to see if the pump is working via a gauge in one of the test holes. He also mentioned to pull one of the cooling hoses and see if the pump is pumping ANY fluid at all. One other item he mentioned is a tube that goes from the torque converter through the axle housing to the tranny. If the tube didn't get in the right place or was damaged during the R & R of the trannys then no pressure would be going between the TC and the tranny....

#23 cookie

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 06:17 PM

Yep, that would involve one of the seals I was talking about. He is right it would be easier to see if it is pumping by putting a guage in it and they usually have test holes.

#24 duallegacy

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 02:11 PM

Boy! Sounds like the same thing.... I took my transmission out and check everything and everything looked ok and put it back in hoping it was just the final alignmnet 1/4 inch like other people in the forum said. But nothing.. so there it sits and continues to..... Any luck with yours...



Oh man..I found this forum in an effort to try and figure out what the problem is with my 90 legacy awd wagon with auto tranny. Reading this post sounds real similar to my problem.

My son was driving it and said he heard/felt a pop and then it would not do anything in forward or reverse. I was always suspect of the transmission so I decided to just replace it. I found a person parting out her subby sedan (93 I think) with 104k mi. and purchased the tranny for an awesome price of $130. I remove the old trans and installed the used one I had purchased. After putting new ATF and gear oil in to the proper levels, replacing engine oil and filter, and installing new spark plug wires (someone took one of the wires) I fired up the engine and warmed it up. I back out of the driveway and drove it about 1/2 mi down the road, turned around and head back home. About half way back I felt a pop and then nothing...no forward or reverse..same as with the tranny I just replaced. I pushed it back home and parked it.

Any ideas on the problem? It is too much of a coincidence to have 2 trannys do the same thing.



#25 ericem

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 03:23 PM

Talk about bad luck, but when u accelerate was it like neutral? or grinding?




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