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Transmission Flush


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22 replies to this topic

#1 Dave Goughnour

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 09:50 PM

Hey folks,

97 OBW 135k. Read all the threads concerning AWD problems. My rear wheels aren't getting power. Before I drop the drive shaft,exhaust and check for a stuck duty solenoid I want to flush the Tranny (Nipper). I've been told flushing can cause other problems. I've never changed the Tranny fluid. Dealer CHANGED the fluid when I first complained about the AWD (129k). Should I flush or just go ahead and check the Solenoid? After 6k have I killed the clutch pack?

Great advice in all the topics. You guy's are the heat. :)

#2 Chef

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 10:11 PM

I had mine flushed recently, hasn't seemed to help the torque bind issue. However, mine is also accompanied by the flashing power light (16 times) indicating it is probably the solenoid c.

Your post isn't clear - you haven't changed the tranny fluid since you've owned the vehicle - when was that?

Regardless, flushing the tranny will almost certainly NOT fix your problem. It must either be a faulty solenoid, a destroyed clutch pack, a driveshaft issue, or a rear diff problem. Test to see if the solenoid is working first. Most likely you'll need to replace the clutches and solenoid.

Good luck


Hey folks,

97 OBW 135k. Read all the threads concerning AWD problems. My rear wheels aren't getting power. Before I drop the drive shaft,exhaust and check for a stuck duty solenoid I want to flush the Tranny (Nipper). I've been told flushing can cause other problems. I've never changed the Tranny fluid. Dealer CHANGED the fluid when I first complained about the AWD (129k). Should I flush or just go ahead and check the Solenoid? After 6k have I killed the clutch pack?

Great advice in all the topics. You guy's are the heat. :)



#3 Dave Goughnour

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 10:33 PM

Chef,


Sorry, bought the car new. I've put all the miles on it. I have no mechanical noise. Fishing to see if anyone else has flushed their Tranny and how things worked out. It's among the cheapest things to try first. By the way no codes or check engine light. Interesting thread back several pages talks about the solenoid, but I'm checking everything easiest to hardest. Thanks for the input.

#4 nipper

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 02:10 AM

Hey folks,

97 OBW 135k. Read all the threads concerning AWD problems. My rear wheels aren't getting power. Before I drop the drive shaft,exhaust and check for a stuck duty solenoid I want to flush the Tranny (Nipper). I've been told flushing can cause other problems. I've never changed the Tranny fluid. Dealer CHANGED the fluid when I first complained about the AWD (129k). Should I flush or just go ahead and check the Solenoid? After 6k have I killed the clutch pack?

Great advice in all the topics. You guy's are the heat. :)



If the solenoid is sick, it will usually trip a code. My 97 OB had torque bind and at 180K with slightly burnt fluid i took a deep breath and had the fluid flushed. 200 miles later all is well, and the car is even shifing better. i was all set to pay for a used tranny , but figured ill risk the 100.00 fix.
Also there is a thread here for adding a switch to manually control the AWD that tells you how to test the solenoid for function without tering the car apart. i would try that too.


nipper

#5 Lawsonmh15

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 12:54 PM

Hey folks,

97 OBW 135k. Read all the threads concerning AWD problems. My rear wheels aren't getting power. Before I drop the drive shaft,exhaust and check for a stuck duty solenoid I want to flush the Tranny (Nipper). I've been told flushing can cause other problems. I've never changed the Tranny fluid. Dealer CHANGED the fluid when I first complained about the AWD (129k). Should I flush or just go ahead and check the Solenoid? After 6k have I killed the clutch pack?

Great advice in all the topics. You guy's are the heat. :)


1. Check the FWD override fuse found behind your passenger side strut tower mount.

2. Check the tranny ground point. Located DIRECTLY behind your 2nd resonator air intake. (2 bolts, 2 clamps, Very Easy. It's the Airbox connected DIRECTLY to the throttle body, center of compartment). Inspect ALL other grounds as well. There was a recent thread where a guy was experiencing TB issues, had a buddy look it over and found that Particular ground was loose. However, if your Chassis isn't properly grounded, regardless of whether or not the tranny ground is solid, NONE of your electrics will be properly ground. This only affects devices utilizing a - rail.

3. If all else fails, and you need to do some work, let me know. I have the FSM pages for ALL major tranny work, INCLUDING a FULL SERVICE.

Lastly, did you replace the exterior tranny filter with the change? If not, I'd recommend getting the $12 Spin-on OE replacement from the dealer. Whoever changed the fluid should NOT have any problem throwing it on for free.

Good luck, I'm hoping that it's something stupid.

#6 Commuter

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 01:04 PM

You never changed the transmission fluid? hmmmm

I'm not a fan of flushes personally. They can stir up the gunk and cause more problems. With an 8 to 9 yo tranny that has never been changed, I think there is a good possibility of this happening. You could try changing the fluid again. If the mechanic only did a drain and refill, you will have only changed out about 4L of the 10L capacity. Therefore, there is still 6L of old original stuff in there. Do another drain and fill and only 36% of the original fluid with be left. Do it a third time and only 22% of the original will be left. You might want to consider synthetic for the last go around. All of this would probably still be less than the charge for a flush.

There are good posts here from Alias20035 (I think was the name) about the 96 and 97 Outbacks and the issues with clutch packs. You are right at the typical milage where they fail. I managed to get to ~400,000 km (~250k miles) before I had to change mine out.

No external tranny filter on a 97 that I know of.

Good luck.

Commuter

#7 Andyjo

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 01:26 PM

When i hear 'flush' the transmission i think what i did, i changed the fluid 3-4 times, because you won't get all the fluid out bu just doing it once. You've gotta' drain the sucker, plug it, fill er' up, drive around for a bit, do it again, etc.. until the fluid in there is all nice & red.
As for testing yout duty solenoid C, check out this thread, i wrote it a while ago, it's for locking up the center clutch pack, but it shows how to test the solenoid resistance, it should be in the 9-13 ohms range
http://www.ultimates...ead.php?t=50263

Hope it helps! and maybe you could cut the power to the solenoid, and try to lock it up... it may be stuck in the open position (FWD), and not giving power to your rear end there.

#8 Lawsonmh15

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 01:28 PM


No external tranny filter on a 97 that I know of.

Good luck.

Commuter


I have one on my 99. What year did they start using the external tranny filter???

If they didn't on the 97's I can see why they are so apt to bind. WAY TOO MUCH HEAT. I know the filter may seem like it would provide only nominal cooling, but you consider that in 4th gear doing 80MPH, with it's placement, it providing a good bit of cooling.

Without a DOUBT... If I owned one without, I would drop the $35 on a tranny cooler.

#9 nipper

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 02:19 PM

97 didnt have an external filter. i think 99 was when it started for the external filter. my 98 did not have one.

As far as the flush, there are many people on this list that have done them on high milage auto trannies with no issue. Just make sure they dont use a chemical flush, just a straight tranny flush .Look at it this way. If you don't do the flush, your on your way to a major tranny repair (either a swap or a replacement of the clutch pack). with it you may save yourself all that heartach by having it profesionally flushed for 100.00 or there abouts.
The binding really has nothing to do with heat, just has to do with lack of maintanece on the tranny (fluid changes) or the luck of the draw. In 1997 1/2 they changed the design of the valve assembly to rid themselves of the mechanical cause for torquebind (the valve seat would erode over time i do beleive). By flushing the tranny you clear up alot of the gum.
250,000 miles on any auto tranny is damn good, and i wouldnt blame the design for a failure at that mileage.
When i first started looking for a replacemnt for my totaled 98, i came across a 97 OBW with high mileage (180k) that made me a bit nervous. Car was the original owner, but they never serviced the tranny, and it had torquebind. After doing extensive research here and other places, i was comforted in finding out that the newer auto trannies had a very low failure rate, and when they did fail, they had very high mileage on them. It seems like subaru trannies are far more robust then other manufactures trannies. i would be truly leary of recomending a flush on ford or chevy, or even toyota with the same mileage for the reasons cited, but the subaru seems to be able to handel it, and apreciates it.
i only found one failure on this list after a flush, and after readin the entire thread, the tranny already had started slipping before the flush, so the damage was already done. The flush may buy you some time, or it may cure the problem.

nipper

#10 Dave Goughnour

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 08:33 PM

Great info folks. With all that and what you all have posted in past threads here's my plan of attack this week-end. Too my knowledge I haven't experienced any binding. Unless by binding you mean the tranny takes a little longer to shift when it's cold.

1. Fuse
2. Ground
3. Solenoid resistance
4. Internal filter change and me performing the flush
5. Machine flush
6. A few vacation day's and visual on the clutch pack and solenoid (replace
if needed)

If I forgot anything let me know. Otherwise I'll let ya know Monday. :) Thanks again.

#11 97OBW

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 09:02 PM

how do you know their not getting power? if u have a working e-brake pull it at around 25, if the awd is working the tires should not skid, if it isent working, the rear tires should immediatley lock up

#12 Dave Goughnour

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 09:17 PM

When I smash the gas from a dead stop and the front wheels spin till I let off it on a wet road. Never used to do that. Both my kids have Subaru's, 2005 sport wagon and a 2003 wrx. Neither of those slip a bit. Thats a good test though. I'll try it, but I'm almost sure they aren't putting out.

#13 97OBW

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 06:53 PM

When I smash the gas from a dead stop and the front wheels spin till I let off it on a wet road. Never used to do that. Both my kids have Subaru's, 2005 sport wagon and a 2003 wrx. Neither of those slip a bit. Thats a good test though. I'll try it, but I'm almost sure they aren't putting out.


try it yet?

#14 Dave Goughnour

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 09:20 PM

I did. Rear wheels didn't lock up. Got me curious. From a dead stop on dry pavement I punched it. Front wheels spun pretty good. Who know's, I'm going on with the plan. What do ya think 97OBW?

#15 Dave Goughnour

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 09:34 PM

Hang on a second. Now that I've thought about this awhile, wouldn't the ABS keep the rear wheels from locking up? I'm not so sure that test can make a determination.

#16 97OBW

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 10:26 PM

Hang on a second. Now that I've thought about this awhile, wouldn't the ABS keep the rear wheels from locking up? I'm not so sure that test can make a determination.


not the e-brake

#17 97OBW

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 10:27 PM

I did. Rear wheels didn't lock up. Got me curious. From a dead stop on dry pavement I punched it. Front wheels spun pretty good. Who know's, I'm going on with the plan. What do ya think 97OBW?


if u have an auto it takes a couple of seconds for it the sense slippage andthe awd to transfer more power to the rear, if your tires didnt lock up during the e-brake test then your getting power to your rear wheels

#18 2X2KOB

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 10:21 AM

Adding a possibly relevant data point: Punching it in the 2000 OB on loose gravel results in no spin of the front wheels - it just GOES. This is a 4EAT.

#19 cookie

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 09:12 PM

As these atumatics get older wear on the clutch packs and seals is going to mean that the engagement point is going to get later and later until the clutches are totally worn out. At that point you will have no engagement at all. On later model autos I have driven in snow you could feel the rear drive come in. I imagine the older the car the faster the wheels will be turning when it engages.

#20 nipper

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 09:37 PM

i've felt it kick in at 65mph on the highway when a women in her suv deicded she wanted the space i was occuping. The road was dry and weather fair. i think the car went into save-my-rump roast mode. Thats why i tell people the AWD is far more active then people think it is, and that variable bias between 10-50% is handy to have.

nipper

#21 Dave Goughnour

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 08:32 PM

Sorry folks,


Rained all week-end, my steelers are in the super bowl, I drank too much. In other words I sat on the couch drinking and didn't touch the car. :) I let you know.

#22 2X2KOB

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 12:38 PM

Dave, you do anything with this yet, or are you still on the couch?

#23 bridorf

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 11:30 PM

Just thought I would chime in with my experience:
About two month ago I had to replace a CV boot and decided to drain all the gearboxes (1993 Legacy L AWD AT) - I have always changed fluids per Subaru schedule (170,000 miles on car) - after the work was performed (a few days passed) I got my first torque bind backing out of parking stall and on the subsequent start-up got a flashing power light. - Pulled a code for the Duty C Solenoid. Happened very infrequently at first then got worse over a few weeks. I work with an ex-Subaru mechanic and based on our discussion I pulled the rear housing to inspect everything - Subaru has an entirely updated transfer case housing that comes with cluth pack and solenoid assembly if the output shaft gaskets have worn grooves in the housing ('97 and earlier). Everything looked great so I replaced the solenoid and clutch pack (pretty worn and I was there) The other thing I noted while inside was the fairly deep grooves worn into the clutch drum and the drive gear it mates to from the clutch packs - I replaced the drive gear that mounts inside the trans. body and filed the clutch drum splines smooth. Went together perfectly (note: there are 4 options for the clutch pack pressure plate so measure it and get the correct one)
Everything worked great for a day or two and then same issue all over again - after some cussing I decided to check the wiring through the harness by putting in a jumper wire from the TCU to as close to the solenoid as possible - no change. I finally sourced a used TCU and swapped and so far everything has been great.
Hope this helps - and be prepared for any possibility. Electrical problems can be a nightmare. From what I read the solenoid is the more common failure followed by the worn housing (esp. on early models). Hope this is informative and any help I can give I would be glad to.




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