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Imagine, Transmission failure @ 90,000 on 2000 L Wagon!!


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29 replies to this topic

#1 RJC

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 08:48 AM

My wife has a 2000 Legacy L Wagon she bought new (**Just made the last payment this month!) It has 92,000 miles and the transmission now has developed sever delay between gear changes (Reverse to Drive, Drive to Reverse). And now, the problem is so bad that when she is stopped at a light with the automatic transmission still in drive, the car will not move when she pushes on the gas pedal when the light changes to green. She has to keep pushing on the gas pedal several times before it finally catches gear.



She is the only owner and driver of the car. Just to emphasize her driving style, let me stress that in 30 years of driving she has never been in an accident and has NEVER had a speeding ticket, or any moving violations!! We changed the transmission fluid at 62,000 miles (transmission flush).



The dealer says there is a problem. I called Subaru USA to complain that this should not be happening under the circumstances. Spoke to the area factory representative. He says, "well, things happen". Imagine that response, "...things happen"? Basically Subaru's response is "...sorry, but....". This is her third Subaru. The factory rep told me yesterday that "Subaru has not had very many problems with customers of 2000 Legacys needing automatic transmission replacements. Then, I check here, and other sites and found that there are a significant number of 2000 legacy owners who have also complained of early transmission failures.



Just as I told the rep, there MUST be some design flaw with the transmission--a latent defect--that exists prior to the 60,000 mile warranty, but which does not manifest itself until a late date when the symptoms become noticeable to the average driver. In short, the defect is latent and exists early in the car's usage (maybe even at the time of manufacture!!), but the nature of the defect is such that it becomes apparent only after extended use (unless a transmission expert actually took apart the transmission say at 30,000 miles and could actually see the defect, it would not be noticed by the consumer).



I explained that to the rep. His response? "Well, it may actually be a latent defect, but I don't see how you could prove it".



Nothing like really caring about a loyal, three-time purchaser of your product!!



What more can I say, I think you know what I think, and how we fell about this. So much for the "rough and tough" image of the Subaru. And we didn't even drive it on dirt roads, over bumps and in the rough terrain--you know, like in the commercials that are made to express how rugged, tough, and well-built the Subaru vehicles really are. SURE!!!!



Have any of you had this transmission problem? Do you know whether many others have? (****PLEASE, no Subaru employees need reply, I am interested in honest, unbiased, replies from real Subaru owners/users)



Thanks

#2 WJM

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 08:55 AM

In reality, those failures are not common. It is rather uncommon to see any sort of SUBARU AT failure. For example: There are NONE of the VDC tranmission in the country...why? 1% failure rate. Yesterday was the FIRST one that we have ever seen fail.

I have owned MANY MANY old and new AT SUBARUs, and I have had ZERO problems.

However, there are thigns such as Murphy's Law, $hit happens, and there is alway the chance that something coudl the ever so slightly flawed.


My suggestion is to change the ATF, and add in this: Mopar LSD Additive Friction modifier, you can get it at any Dodge dealership, add in 2 bottles of it. Every once in a while we get a tranny that is slipping just a tad...we add this which runs about $6, and its gone for another 50k miles or more. I woudl HIGHLY recommend using this, along with SUBARU OE ATF.

Ive got a 1996 Outback with 192k miles, AT. Ive abused it to the max. Slip? no. Odd things? no. Just forward motion.

#3 RJC

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 09:19 AM

In reality, those failures are not common. It is rather uncommon to see any sort of SUBARU AT failure. For example: There are NONE of the VDC tranmission in the country...why? 1% failure rate. Yesterday was the FIRST one that we have ever seen fail.



Thanks for the advise. However, I do not know that I can agree, respectfully, with your statement that this is uncommon, as I've discovered many others who have also had transmission problems. I guess only subaru knows the real numbers, as it is the one that is contacted (usually) by the complaining consumers, like me and my wife.

#4 mtsmiths

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 09:29 AM

'00 Leg AT, 165,000 miles ... zero tranny (or any other) issues. '95 Leg AT, 135,000 miles ... ditto.

Not a Subaru employee, just an owner on my fourth and fifth (respectively) Subarus.

Sorry you had problems, but it's true, sometimes things just break. I'd try the fix suggested by WJM. In fact, I've printed it and putting it in my car file, just in case the issue comes up at higher mileage on either of ours.

BTW, better response in the 'New Generation" forum (where I'm sure this will be moved to).

#5 WJM

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 09:31 AM

While I agree with your statement....it really depends on where you research it.

For example....

If you hop on here and ask about the turbo EA82 cars...you will find that alot are still running and they have minor issues here and there...and sometimes you will find someone asking about blown head gaskets....

If you go come around here to Asheville NC and ask about the EA82 turbo cars...you will hear nothing but "Stay away form them! they blow head gaskets left and right!"

Get what I mean? I used to work at a 98% SUBARU only dealership in Asheville NC...60% of the cars on the road up here are SUBARUs. While we do stock reman automatic transmissions, very rarely do we sell them. On average, 30~50 SUBARUs come thru there daily.

#6 rweddy

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 10:06 AM


She is the only owner and driver of the car. Just to emphasize her driving style, let me stress that in 30 years of driving she has never been in an accident and has NEVER had a speeding ticket, or any moving violations!! We changed the transmission fluid at 62,000 miles (transmission flush).
Thanks


Actually this is WAY to long between changes. The fluid/filter should be changed every 36k. Who did the service?

I am asking this because a quickie shop or a less sophisticated ship will use machines that actually damage the tranny. The machines use high pressure to flush the system which in turn damages the transmission.

A high end or sophisticated shop uses the car’s transmission pump to flush the system this way the vehicles spec pressure will be used to flush the system.

#7 WJM

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 10:28 AM

Actually, now that i realise this, the ATF is changed every 15k miles, and the filter every 30k. tisk tisk tisk.

#8 pyromanic

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 11:11 AM

Yupper, I would never run an auto trans 60,000 on the same juice. Sorry, but that's asking for trouble. (I think)

On the other hand, around these parts, it is conventional wisdom that auto trans in general are inferior to manual as far as toughness and longevity are concerned.

(please note in the above the terms "conventional wisdom" and "around these parts", which is to say, it's just what lots and lots of different folks think. Of course, opinions vary.)

One things for sure, I don't like them. Never did. Wont trust them any farther than I can throw one.

#9 JohnnyB

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 11:11 AM

I'm going to repeat what the others have said, just hit 96k yesterday on my auto, no problems here. Still shifts fine, I have had my tranny fluid changed at 30k, 60k and 90k. Was the flush you did at 60k the first time the fluid was changed?

#10 outback_97

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 11:12 AM

http://www.cars101.c...aintenance.html

RJC: Sorry to hear about your problem... it must be very frustrating.

WJM: Where do you find the 15K change interval? The link above is info taken from Subaru's scheduled maintenance and there is no mention of that, even under "severe driving conditions". Just curious... I have done mine at 30K miles, but I don't even have a transmission fluid filter, at least not an external one that can be changed out like an oil filter. Do 2000 L's have this?

Steve

#11 Diesel

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 11:17 AM

It should be internal. I've never done this on a subie but its internal on all the other brands and easy to change. I've never changed a ford since a transmission swap usually happens befor its time to change the oil.
d.

#12 WJM

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 11:53 AM

Here at Prestige...they like to do it at 15k....as its a pretty mountianous region. MOST of the time....its done at 30k intervals.

#13 svxpert

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 02:37 PM

<<We changed the transmission fluid at 62,000 miles (transmission flush).>>

thats a long time between changes. when my SVX had a auto trans, i would change 4 quarts out every other oil change. i guess thats just piece of mind, but its only 1$ a quart for tranny fluid, compared to $$$$ for a tranny.

#14 mwatt

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 03:34 PM

Thanks for the advise. However, I do not know that I can agree, respectfully, with your statement that this is uncommon, as I've discovered many others who have also had transmission problems. I guess only subaru knows the real numbers, as it is the one that is contacted (usually) by the complaining consumers, like me and my wife.


I would like to add to WJM's advice: in addition to changing the fluid, change that GD "no maintenance required" (that's what the owner's manual says) transmission filter as well.....

#15 mattocs

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 03:40 PM

You might have found a few others who also had problems with their tranny...but for the number of cars sold I am sure it is a very small percent.

#16 Novakaine

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 04:41 PM

I have 95 legacy AT, and I feel like my transmission is not at the best it could be. I get real close to 6k RPM sometimes, and i think i might be pushing the limits of my car a bit. Also , when the car is still a bit cool, it jerks a bit when it shifts.

Do you guys think i am headed for tranny problems? or is this sound okay? Also, what kind of ATF should I use? Is there a good sythetic fuild recommended, or shoudl i by fuild directly from the dealership? Do i have to change the pan gasket everytime as well?

#17 The Dude

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 05:16 PM

Would I be happy if the AT on my Forester had died at 90,000 miles? No, I think it's reasonable to expect about 150,000 miles relatively trouble free miles from a modern AT. However, I don't believe that Subarus have an abnormally high AT failure rate. If anything, Subaru AT's may be more reliable than average.

If you can find a AT servicer wth an outstanding reputation, that may be the best way to go. Most independent shops can service an AT for around a grand, depending on condition. A Subaru rebuilt AT, I believe, will run around four thousand greenbacks. That kind of money will buy a lot of beer.

#18 KStretch55

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 05:17 PM

I personally like ATs, maybe it's cuz' I'm a lazy driver or would rather have my girlfriends hand in mine, instead of a shifter. Who knows? LOL But, I know I hate changing clutches and other things that are built to wear out!!

My Dad was a Master mechanic and he always swore that a good AT, well maintained would last nearly forever and the thing that was hardest on them was flushing them. I've also heard this from many reputable transmission specialists. They all say if the fluid is clean, leave it alone. If you must change the filter, do so, but keep everything spotless. Not just clean, SPOTLESSLY clean. DO NOT flush them. Every one of them I've ever talked with is against flushing them, under most conditions. They all say that some varnishes, gunk and such get built up and trapped in nooks and crannies, as well as the filter. When you flush them it breaks this stuff loose and puts it back into the fluid stream and cause problems. Even worse is a shop that back flushes them!! That just puts everything the filter has trapped right back in the fluid. I've personally seen this attempted, too. I bought a used pick up several years ago and took it to a quicky lube type place. They asked if I wanted the tranny flushed, and at the time I thought well I don't know how it's been treated maybe it's not a bad idea. I watched them hook the machine up to it and asked a few questions and just before he started it I told him it seemed to me that it was hooked up backwards. He said nope, that's how their system works. I promptly asked him to disconnect it, paid for an oil change and left. Arguably, the best AT ever designed is the Ford C6, well maintained they are as bullet proof as an older gen Soobie. But, I really like my '92 Loyale AT, too. 176K and still motoring. You can tell me I'm nutz, my son does. He can't understand why I like the '92, when I could be driving the '91 Loyale MT!! (233K and still going).

My .02, have a great day.

Oh, I used to know a guy who had a 86 GM car that he bought new. We could never figure out why he had so much trouble with his AT. Until we asked him some history on it. He said he'd been taking it to the dealership and having the tranny serviced and the bands tightened every 30K, just like they had told him too. :banghead: Dad told him to have the bands tightened if/when they started slipping, not before!! Geez! Talk about causing your own problems. He never had a lick of trouble with it after that.

#19 Phillip

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 06:09 PM

My 1999 Outback Wagon required a transmission overhaul at 96,000. The trans shop said I got off cheap at $2,000. Additionally, the engine spun 2-rod bearings at 91,000 miles, resulting in a new short-block. My wife loves the car...too bad, it will be my last Subaru.

#20 brus brother

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 06:46 PM

My 2000 Legacy GT AT was replaced at 36K for delayed engagement as you describe. In fact, the tech drove it and gave the wink and nod to the service manager who ordered a reman tran on the spot.
Thank you very much for 100K extended warranty, they just replaced the reman trany at 76K when it started making noises.
This delayed engagment is a KNOWN ISSUE from what techs have told me. Something about a seal not holding pressure. Check the TSB with NHTSA. There may be a listing.... I think I found it.
Make : SUBARU Model : LEGACY Year : 2000 Manufacturer : SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. Service Bulletin Num : 166602 Date of Bulletin: MAR 15, 2003 NHTSA Item Number: 10001352 Component: POWER TRAIN Summary:
Posted Image TRANSMISSION CONTROL UNIT (TCU) CODE 45 AND ALL-WHEEL DRIVE HARSH ENGAGEMENT. *TT If this is not the same, identify your problem as "delayed engagement" and ask that they accomodate you.
Unfortunately, yours failed out of warranty.
See if SOA will share the cost with you the "loyal owner".

#21 Gnuman

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 10:51 PM

I have 95 legacy AT, and I feel like my transmission is not at the best it could be. I get real close to 6k RPM sometimes, and i think i might be pushing the limits of my car a bit. Also , when the car is still a bit cool, it jerks a bit when it shifts.

Do you guys think i am headed for tranny problems? or is this sound okay? Also, what kind of ATF should I use? Is there a good sythetic fuild recommended, or shoudl i by fuild directly from the dealership? Do i have to change the pan gasket everytime as well?


Unless it has changed since the 90-94 years (which I doubt), you use Dexron II ATF. Synth is at your descretion, but a lot more expensive. I have to research where the tranny filter is for your car, as I did not see one in the engine bay where they are for the 90-94 years. There is, however a drain plug on the drivers side bottom of the tranny that you can drain (part of) the tranny fluid out with and refill with fresh. I say "part of" because the Torque Converter does not drain this way (or at least not much). If you are shifting at 6K and you do not have the accelerator flored, then you already have tranny problems, and they need to be addressed. This could be a large indicator of why your milage is not what it perhaps should be. . .

#22 sregor13

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 12:23 AM

I am curious as to what the problem has been diagnosed as. Is it an electrical problem, a computer problem or, a mechanical problem with the tranny itself. Not sure if this is similar to the 4EAT Tranny and I know nothing about tranny's. Is it possible that is could be one of the Solenoids?

I know my 4EAT has at least one Duty Solenoid. Does anyone know what causes Trannies to shift late?

Also how is the tread on your tires? I am just wondering if this might be a problem with the Center Differential- not sure if your car has one. Mine does.

I have problems like the one you are having. Try putting it into FWD (should be a 15AMp Fuse under the hood) and seeing if anything changes. Everytime mine starts acting like yours is, I put it into FWD and it usually reset something in the tranny. I then put it back into AWD and it it runs fine for a while. This by far is no solution, but might help troubleshoot the actual cause.

I agree that if I can ever afford it I probably wont buy a newer Subaru. I have heard a lot of Negative Feedback from once Loyal Sube Fans.

As far as the rugged thing goes like we see in commercials I agree. I was driving down the street the other day behind a girl I know who was in a newer limited Outback. She hit a puddle on a residential street going 25MPH and the bottom mudgaurd or whatever the plastic thing is that covers the bottom of the car, fell of in the street in front of me. I was not surpised at all. I know she paid a lot for the car.

I just don't think they make things like they used to. That goes for all things. I just wonder how much Subaru pays Folks to put them together. Do they still have that done in Mexico? I tihnk they can afford to buy you a new tranny. If not then they deserve to lose your business. See what your Wife thinks of those new AWD VW Jetta Wagon's with the W8 Cyl engine 280HP Engine. Maybe you could trade it in before it gets worse. Good Luck!

#23 mwatt

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 11:09 AM

http://www.cars101.c...aintenance.html

RJC: Sorry to hear about your problem... it must be very frustrating.

WJM: Where do you find the 15K change interval? The link above is info taken from Subaru's scheduled maintenance and there is no mention of that, even under "severe driving conditions". Just curious... I have done mine at 30K miles, but I don't even have a transmission fluid filter, at least not an external one that can be changed out like an oil filter. Do 2000 L's have this?

Steve


Beginning model year 1999 the 4EAT has an external transmission fluid filter. It looks like a small engine oil filter, painted black with white lettering. It's located on the "driver's side" of the transmission, near the front, way up high, and cannot be easily seen unless you're up under the vehicle........

#24 outback_97

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 01:33 PM

mwatt: Cool, thanks!

I just thought of another suggestion for the original poster: On www.edmunds.com in the Town Hall Subaru forum, at one time SOA had a rep that would post and respond to customer problems. Her name was Patty IIRC. You could try checking that out and seeing if she can get you in touch with someone to help you out. Apologies if this info is out of date... I haven't frequented Edmunds in a long time... USMB and Nasioc are sooooo much better IMO.

Steve

#25 Nickatnite

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 10:44 AM

My wife has a 2000 Legacy L Wagon she bought new (**Just made the last payment this month!) It has 92,000 miles and the transmission now has developed sever delay between gear changes (Reverse to Drive, Drive to Reverse). And now, the problem is so bad that when she is stopped at a light with the automatic transmission still in drive, the car will not move when she pushes on the gas pedal when the light changes to green. She has to keep pushing on the gas pedal several times before it finally catches gear.



She is the only owner and driver of the car. Just to emphasize her driving style, let me stress that in 30 years of driving she has never been in an accident and has NEVER had a speeding ticket, or any moving violations!! We changed the transmission fluid at 62,000 miles (transmission flush).



The dealer says there is a problem. I called Subaru USA to complain that this should not be happening under the circumstances. Spoke to the area factory representative. He says, "well, things happen". Imagine that response, "...things happen"? Basically Subaru's response is "...sorry, but....". This is her third Subaru. The factory rep told me yesterday that "Subaru has not had very many problems with customers of 2000 Legacys needing automatic transmission replacements. Then, I check here, and other sites and found that there are a significant number of 2000 legacy owners who have also complained of early transmission failures.



Just as I told the rep, there MUST be some design flaw with the transmission--a latent defect--that exists prior to the 60,000 mile warranty, but which does not manifest itself until a late date when the symptoms become noticeable to the average driver. In short, the defect is latent and exists early in the car's usage (maybe even at the time of manufacture!!), but the nature of the defect is such that it becomes apparent only after extended use (unless a transmission expert actually took apart the transmission say at 30,000 miles and could actually see the defect, it would not be noticed by the consumer).



I explained that to the rep. His response? "Well, it may actually be a latent defect, but I don't see how you could prove it".



Nothing like really caring about a loyal, three-time purchaser of your product!!



What more can I say, I think you know what I think, and how we fell about this. So much for the "rough and tough" image of the Subaru. And we didn't even drive it on dirt roads, over bumps and in the rough terrain--you know, like in the commercials that are made to express how rugged, tough, and well-built the Subaru vehicles really are. SURE!!!!



Have any of you had this transmission problem? Do you know whether many others have? (****PLEASE, no Subaru employees need reply, I am interested in honest, unbiased, replies from real Subaru owners/users)



Thanks


Mine is doing the same thing - I just posted the problem. I think the tranny failure rate is higher than people think it is for the 1999, and even with changing your fluid etc. at 60,000 miles instead of sooner, a well built tranny should run well into the 100k range. I gueass I will be looking for a re-built one.

Nickatnite




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