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Auto vs. Std transmission life?


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32 replies to this topic

#1 Distance Commuter

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 08:02 PM

I've seen some posts here re. Soobs with replaced trannys.

Should I kind of expect that an auto tranny could need replacement, maybe between 150-200 K miles?? I drive about 50K miles/year, which is why I'm asking. Mostly highway miles.

How about standard trannys? Do they need to be replaced too sometimes, or just the clutch? I'm not talking about beating up the tranny, just 'normal' driving.

Thanks folks.

#2 Gnuman

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 09:49 PM

I've seen some posts here re. Soobs with replaced trannys.

Should I kind of expect that an auto tranny could need replacement, maybe between 150-200 K miles?? I drive about 50K miles/year, which is why I'm asking. Mostly highway miles.

How about standard trannys? Do they need to be replaced too sometimes, or just the clutch? I'm not talking about beating up the tranny, just 'normal' driving.

Thanks folks.


With normal driving, either will last a good long time. The Auto Tranny (4EAT) needs to have the fluid changed on a regular basis, and both need to have the tires matching. Other than that, enjoy!

#3 Ranger83

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 07:19 AM

Most folks in your shoes get the manual, because their resale value isn't so great; they cost less to begin with; and get better mileage.

#4 Distance Commuter

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 07:32 AM

Most folks in your shoes get the manual, because their resale value isn't so great; they cost less to begin with; and get better mileage.


Yes - so, are there issues with the manual tranny sometimes? Or just drive it to 500 K miles with tranny still working?

#5 The Dude

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 08:13 AM

Yes - so, are there issues with the manual tranny sometimes? Or just drive it to 500 K miles with tranny still working?


No, the clutch usually wears out well before the tranny. Clutch life is highly variable. It depends on the where the car is driven (city or highway), and the skill of the driver. Some people manage 120,000 miles before the clutch goes, but I would say around 80,000 miles may be around average. It is not cheap to replace the clutch. The MT tranny will eventually wear out. At some point a MT will need a major rebuild or replacement, it is highly variable, but I'll guess at around 200,000 miles may be about average. On many MT trannies the synchros are the first to wear out. With worn synchros the tranny will shift very poorly.
I've owned both AT and MT cars. I like MTs, but I'll have to say that ATs have improved almost every year. They keep on getting more reliable, and there is virtually no gas mileage penalty left for buying an AT. AT's are better for towing and on snow.
The financial incentive for chosing a MT has narrowed or just about disappeared. Now it's largely a question of do you want the greater control of MT, or the greater convience of a AT?

#6 jmmctighe

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 10:12 AM

My 95 legacy 4EAT had 175K when traded. Standard fluid changes at required intervals is all that was done. I'd think the tire sizes and inflations have more to do with the differential than the auto tranny itself.

--
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#7 firstwagon

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 03:07 PM

I've seen some posts here re. Soobs with replaced trannys.

Should I kind of expect that an auto tranny could need replacement, maybe between 150-200 K miles?? I drive about 50K miles/year, which is why I'm asking. Mostly highway miles.

How about standard trannys? Do they need to be replaced too sometimes, or just the clutch? I'm not talking about beating up the tranny, just 'normal' driving.

Thanks folks.


If you drive mostly hwy, then go for the std. Clutch wear is almost zero when driving on the hwy. There is only wear when you change gears and that's only a problem is stop and go driving.

I've been driving for over 26 years and know countless people who have had to replace auto trannys. Cost can range from $1000 for a used one you change yourself to over $5000 at the dealer (my in-laws Volvo S60).

I don't know what it would cost to replace a std because I have never known one to go. I remember hearing about synchro wear on cars in the 1950's and 60's but not since. You would have to seriously abuse one to wear it out before the rest of the car.

Clutches for me last about 100,000 miles. Cost to change ranges from $100 to $500 depending on the brand of parts you choose and if you pay someone to do it.

#8 DerFahrer

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 05:01 PM

If it's all highway driving, you would have to be doing some really fancy driving when you were in town to get a clutch to last less than 100k. Both manual Soobs of mine had at least 110k miles on their original clutches, and my Legacy's clutch would have lasted longer had I not picked up the downshifting habit.

The autos are good too, just make sure you stay on top of ATF changes, and consider an auxiliary transmission cooler. A cool auto tranny is a happy auto tranny :)

#9 Chef

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 05:56 PM

Unless a MT is heavily abused, there should be no problems with it lasting the life of the engine. The clutch will wear, as it is designed for. Most of that wear occurs after starting in first from a stop as the clutch is ridden and from downshifting. However with the amount highway mileage you're doing, I suspect the clutch would last much longer than the "normal" life of a clutch.

Suabru transmissions are about as good as they come. I've got about 250 000 km on my AT (original to the car), and it seems fine yet. Some shifts arre a little harsher, but not excessively.

Personally I'd get an MT if it was mostly highway, better mileage, more freedom over your power band, and it's more fun.

#10 nipper

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 07:52 PM

On my first sooby clutch went out at 160K, and i atributed the hill-holder to the long life (i did alot of NYC driviing).My second sooby was 180K, again the hill holder. On my 98 Legacy the auto had 180k on it when the car got crunched. i have a 97 OBW with 182K on the auto its going on strong.
Matching tires is important, as the auto will tell you its not happy, and the manual dies a silent death. If you keep the tires matched, change the fluids as per the manual, both should last you the life of the car.
Average clutch life on all cars is 120K or better. If its your first stick shift it will be mutch less then that.

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#11 eventoday

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 10:04 PM

did the dude just say an automatic is better than a manual for driving in snow.

i will take a manual any day in mountains and snow

#12 DerFahrer

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 11:24 PM

I feel that the Subaru 4EAT AWD is actually superior to the 5MT AWD, as far as overall traction goes.

#13 Meeky Moose

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 07:19 AM

if you abuse the 4eat (like not change the fluid and filter at least every 30k) it will leave you sitting in traffic somewhere with around 140k on it..

now if you change it like you should. they will last over 200k..
example = we all know how bad an svx trans is.. my svx i used to have had roughly 230k on it... Original auto trans.. it was serviced every 20-30k.. thats all..

now a manual trans will take a beating for longer.. (except a wrx trans)
but the clutch will go on you regardless.. they all wear out..

#14 TedZ

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 09:56 AM

I hope my 1996 Legacy wagon doesn't see this thread. 247,000 miles, original clutch (doesn't slip, but not much left) and original MT (synchros fair but doesn't chirp or grind a bit).

Both could let me down i'm sure but i take it everywhere with confidence!!

Ted

#15 dpoppeli

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 08:58 PM

Yikes, replaced a 99 Forester clutch at about 65,000 miles. We inherited the car from my mother-in-law... she probably ought to be driving an automatic but I think she sort of likes the European image associated with a stickshift. I did it in the rest of the way hauling firewood and a log-splitter up and down the hill in back of our house.

#16 archemitis

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 09:12 AM

mcbrat ran a tranny that i pulled out of a car with 255k miles on it, he put it in his offroad vehicle, and im sure beat the crap out of it...
i think a subaru manual tranny with normal use will run to 300k no problem.

the only problem i've had with a standard tranny is... i've burnt out the cv axle bearing, where the splined shaft goes through, but that was from abuse, and broken motor mounts.
yes, im talking ea82 stuff, not ej, but the trannies are about the same internals.

go manual for longevity, and better mileage

#17 cookie

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 11:57 AM

At about 90,000 miles my 99 Forester 5 MT started whineing. I figured it was just a matter of time before it died, but I had the oil changed in all of the drivetrain. Immeadiately the whine in the tranny stopped and has not been back for 35,000 miles. Frankly I am a bit surprised as it seems that if I keep the oil changed in the old beast it should last as long as the engine.

#18 powderhound

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 12:28 PM

I have 150K on my MT and clutch...2nd gear will no longer engage without some force and the clutch is shuddering in first...but everything still goes. My dad has 175K on his 92 MT and clutch...it too crunches 2nd and 3rd but the clutch feels new. I'm not sure why people are replacing clutches with less than 100K b/c I have beat the snot out of mine (hauling firewood, driving it like an F1 car, climbing mountains, etc) either they can't drive a clutch or they are driving it not properly adjusted...speaking of which I think I'll go dial mine out a bit and see if I can't get rid of that 1st gear shudder.

#19 dpoppeli

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 01:14 PM

I may be wrong but I don't believe clutches have "manual" adjustments anymore.

I have seen my mother-in-law drive... from a stop she will rev the engine very high and very very slowly release the clutch.... it's almost comical. I'm not sure about her method in higher gears but this alone probably does most of the damage.

#20 cookie

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 01:17 PM

There was also a period where Subaru tried a new organic lining. At the best it chattered like mad and at the worst it failed early. mine was slipping at about 80,000 miles and still amanged to chatter. None of the new ones have any adjustment so a new clutch is the only remedy.

#21 mtsmiths

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 01:42 PM

'78 4-WD, bought witrh 120,000, sold 180,000, still running on the clutch it came with.

'87 GL-10 5-spd No. 1, bought with 80,000, sold with 165,000, still running on the clutch IT came with.

'87 GL-10 5-spd No. 2, bought with 130,000, sold with 212,000 ... ditto

'00 Legacy A/T, bought with 99,850 (in Nov. 2001), currently 175,000, no problems.

Treat 'em right and they will keep on keepin' on.

:lol:

#22 Distance Commuter

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 02:36 PM

'78 4-WD, bought witrh 120,000, sold 180,000, still running on the clutch it came with.
'87 GL-10 5-spd No. 1, bought with 80,000, sold with 165,000, still running on the clutch IT came with.
'87 GL-10 5-spd No. 2, bought with 130,000, sold with 212,000 ... ditto
'00 Legacy A/T, bought with 99,850 (in Nov. 2001), currently 175,000, no problems.

Treat 'em right and they will keep on keepin' on.
:lol:


Looks good. As do the other comments posted in this thread.
Glad to read that generally, they'll keep on keepin' on.
Stick or "slush bucket", seems that either is good.
I may well end up with a stick due to lower prices - harder to sell (good for the buyer), and the fact that the highway driving I do doesn't use up the clutch.:)

#23 powderhound

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 03:56 PM

Why are we saying that a 5sp is harder to sell? I know here in madison that the dealers used lot is full of autos and anytime a manual comes in it is gone just as fast. It seems to me that subaru is a brand that attracts those of us who prefer to shift for ourselves.

#24 LuckyStrike

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 09:37 PM

Where do you guys recommend taking the car to have the auto tranny fluid fushed?

#25 Distance Commuter

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 10:27 PM

Where do you guys recommend taking the car to have the auto tranny fluid fushed?


Can you flush a Subie auto tranny easily in a driveway?? For our non-Subarus with auto tranny, the procedure is

0) Car & engine should be cold, so volume of fluid removed is known.
1) Pull plug at bottom of tranny fluid pan, drain what comes out (1-2 qt.), reinsert plug.
2) Replace the 1-2 qt.
3) Disconnect one fluid cooling line at radiator
4) Idle the motor to remove 2 qt.
5) Add 2 qt. new fluid
Repeat 4 & 5 till you've put in a total of 15 qt. (assuming system capacity of 10 qt).
6) Reconnect the tranny fluid line.

Can you do this on a Subie?

Way less expensive than a commercial tranny flush, and nearly as fast, if you count the time spent driving and waiting at the shop.




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