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Guest Message by DevFuse

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1999 Outback Automatic Transmission Failure

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28 replies to this topic

#26 Steves72


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Posted 25 March 2006 - 10:47 PM

Cold temp in 4EAT only affects 4th gear, ie AT will not shift to 4th on cold tranny. What you guys are describing is totally abnormal. I would check TPS, as this affects the shift points. I would change fluid (subaru AT is very sensitive to maintanance neglect), filter, and maybe try one of the friction modyfiers. Finely, maybe the TCU went crazy on you?

In my case that should not be necessary. The transmission was replaced by the dealer under warranty around 17 months ago. It was replaced when the car had 52,000 miles on the odometer. I have placed around 12,000 miles on the remanufactured transmission and the fluid level is correct and does not smell burnt.


#27 Steves72


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Posted 25 March 2006 - 10:54 PM

It seems that later '99 4EATs got new shift maps, including one called "Cold ATF". See: http://endwrench.com.../994EATInfo.pdf It would seem that the delayed upshift when cold was planned, perhaps to more rapidly warm the trans and engine, or avoid lugging a cold engine by keeping the revs up. However, mine seems to stay in that mode too long, and revert to it too readily. The behavior it exhibits has been there since new, continuing through filter and fluid change, and if my TCU is "crazy", it was "born" that way ;) .

Thanks for the suggestion Jacek, but the trans shifts are a lot more "correct" when things are fully warm, so throttle position sensing wouldn't seem to be the problem. I'm much more inclined to think that the trans temp sensor is "crazy", or that Subaru went overboard on the '99 4EAT "Cold ATF" map. But I'm open to other suggestions.

Interesting find. Are you certain that your TCU has the latest available maps for your car? I may ask the very same question the next time I am in the dealership.


#28 friendly_jacek


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Posted 26 March 2006 - 06:09 AM

The automatic transmission in my 2000 obw is the single biggest disappointment I have experienced with this, my first, Subaru. I purchased this car used at a Subaru dealer and the transmission was replaced about 60 days after I bought the car. I was very luckly to discover that the transmission was still under warranty. However, the remanufactured transmission still is a huge disapointment. In my 30+ years of driving, I have mostly had GM automatic transmissions, when I have had automatic cars. Those transmissions were always so much better then the slush box in my Subaru. I personally do not mind a manual transmission but my wife cannot drive a stick and this car had to be available for her when it was necessary.

Specifically, here are the various things the transmission does that drive me crazy. When it is cold out and the transmission is cold, the car almost refuses shift out of first. I can have the engine up to 4000rpm with light thottle and it will not shift up into second. This symptom disappears within two blocks of my house but it is not "right". When the transmission is cold upshifts are so slowwww that the rpms of the engine will often shoot up by around 300 to 400 when the transmission shifts between first and second. The engine speed increases around 100 or so rpms when it shifts from second to third. This too disappears once the transmission is warm. There is a short uphill run that I make every day on my way home from work. BY this point in my drive the car has reached its full operating temperature. I can feel the transmission downshift twice climbing that hill at 45mph. At the top of the hill I turn onto a side street that is flat and has a 35mph speed. It takes over a 1/4 mile for the transmission to finally upshift. It will take that long even if I take my foot off of the gas completely. It's like the computer cannot sense that the load has been removed. Once a week, I drive a fairly hilly road. None of the grades are very steep but there is a lot of up and downs for short stretches. The transmission lags at following the engine load. In short the auto transmision sucks!

If this one problem could be corrected, I would fell much more comfortable about driving this car out of the rebuilt transmissions' warranty period which expires in October of this year.


The problem with this thread is that 3 different people posted 3 different problems that resulted in a great deal of confusion.

Steve, if you do more searches and reading on AT, you will discover that the jumps in RPM during shifts (so called shift flares) are very abnormal. It means that one cluch pack is engaging too slow, after another one already released. This will result in cluch overheating and burnout. Your tranny will fail, it is just a question of time.
The possibilities include too low line pressure, clutch pack that is slipping, or TCU problems.

To me it sounds like the "remanufactured" transmission originated from a junk yard and was not remanufactured at all. Or maybe a mismach between tranny and TCU? Get it fixed ASAP before the warranty expires.

If you don't believe me, get a second opinion from a transmission shop.

#29 friendly_jacek


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Posted 26 March 2006 - 07:40 AM

It seems that we'll have to respectfully agree to disagree with each other for now. I'd already downloaded everything I could find online on the topic, including the EndWrench items you thoughtfully provided links for. Unfortunately, not one gives descriptions of the 7 shift maps that the '99 Phase 2 trans uses. Even the "4EAatPh2Win04.pdf" article is incomplete, since it neglects to mention the torque converter lockup inhibition that occurs in addition to the 4th gear lockout when cold.

Also, the same article lists "Faulty shifting when cold" as a consequence of ATF temperature sensor trouble (see "Self Diagnosis" table). It isn't specific as to what fault(s), unfortunately. I have read elsewhere (although I can't find anything quotable at the moment) that the delayed/raised shifts when cold are implemented to warm the engine and emissions-control systems (including the catalytic converter) faster in order to cut emissions. If indeed that is the case, I have no problem with it; I'd just like to be sure my trans isn't thinking things are colder than they really are.

look I didn't post just to argue with you but trying to help. I don't know why you are so defensive, but hey, its your car.
Let me try one more time before I give up.
The delayed/raised shifting you mention was indeed used in subaru AT in the past. It is called KDLH (kick down low hold) and is intended to make the engine warm-up quicker for emissions. The fact you failed to mention that it was used in old trannys without electronic control. I has not been used in more modern 4EAT.
See the phase1 description page 8:
The phase 2 dosn't mention it alltogether and there is no reason to consider that KDLH is used in gen 2. Again, my tranny doesn't have it.

"Faulty shifting when cold" sounds very vague. I would venture to say that you do have faulty shifting when cold.
Why dont you get a new temp sensor, put it in a thermos with warm water, wire it in to the TCU and see if shifting improves? Then you can also compare the resistance with the stock one.

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