Jump to content


Welcome to Ultimate Subaru Message Board, my lurker friend!

Welcome to Ultimate Subaru Message Board, an unparalleled Subaru community full of the greatest Subaru gurus and modders on the planet! We offer technical information and discussion about all things Subaru, the best and most popular all wheel drive vehicles ever created.

We offer all this information for free to everyone, even lurkers like you! All we ask in return is that you sign up and give back some of what you get out - without our awesome registered users none of this would be possible! Plus, you get way more great stuff as a member! Lurk to lose, participate to WIN*!
  • Say hello and join the conversation
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get automatic updates
  • Get your own profile and make new friends
  • Classifieds with all sorts of Subaru goodies
  • Photo hosting in our gallery
  • Meet other cool people with cool cars
Seriously, what are you waiting for? Make your life more fulfilling and join today! You and your Subaru won't regret it, we guarantee** it.

* The joy of participation and being generally awesome constitutes winning
** Not an actual guarantee, but seriously, you probably won't regret it!

Serving the Subaru Community since May 18th, 1998!

Guest Message by DevFuse
 

Photo
- - - - -

ea81 Auto tranny question...


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 Mr. Carb

Mr. Carb

    Weather Geek

  • Members
  • 896 posts
  • Shoreline, WA

Posted 05 November 2003 - 09:12 PM

Ok, I wanted to get some opinions of diffrent people, I keep hearing that the automatic trannys for ea81's were piles of ****. I hear they expload or die long before even 100k miles or somethin like that. Now is that just when they're Not maintained? or whats the deal? Anyone here have experience with ea81 auto's and how bad or good they really are? Helps me make a decision as to what I can find for a friend thats an automatic, thanks everyone!

#2 AKIRA

AKIRA

    USMB Reverend

  • Members
  • 618 posts
  • Jersey Shore (Central) PA

Posted 05 November 2003 - 10:13 PM

I think they are less reliable, but the main point is that they are SLOW! (the tranny sucks up an buttload of power). from a standing start in FWD you can floor it and the tires won't even slip, let alone squeal.

in conclusion, the EA81 autos suck because they aren't as reliable or as fast as a 4speed.

if your friend wants a auto, get a loyale or something, - just NOT anything with an EA81 automatic!

#3 Bratwerst

Bratwerst

    Subaru Fanatic!

  • Members
  • 376 posts
  • Tacoma, WA

Posted 05 November 2003 - 11:27 PM

I have varying(sp?) opinions on this - I'm going to be swapping out my EA-81 automatic from my brat because reverse seems to have bitten the dust, but it still goes fine in Drive. It has 180,000 miles that (by the condition of the rest of the car) were anything but 'babied' miles.

A friend whos had a buttload of soobs said the EA-81s are WAAAAY better than the EA-82 auto-trannies, and that overall for an import automatic, it wasn't that bad. I really just think its how lucky you are in finding a low-miles/well maintained one.

And as always - I said good stuff, but I'm also converting to 4spd:drunk:

- Erik Hosa - Tacoma, WA -

#4 GeneralDisorder

GeneralDisorder

    Elite Master of the Subaru

  • Members
  • 20,281 posts
  • Portland

Posted 06 November 2003 - 12:41 AM

I had an 84 turbo (EA81T) wagon that blew all it's forward gears going down the freeway. Got it for free cause of that. It had 192k on it when it bit the dust. I know someone who has an EA81 coupe that keeps eating governors - as in they last about a week. Saw a coupe at the JY the other day that had "Bad Trans" written on the windshield - it had 177k on it. And there's the power issue. Take an already weak engine (73 HP), and then lop off about 75% of it's HP lost through the torque converter, now you have a 2400 lb car that's powered with a 20 HP engine. Not good.

Better than the EA82 auto's? Don't know about that, but I can't imagine that's true. Neither were very good.

I think the main complaint with the automatics is that they seem very un-Subaru-like. They don't last anywhere near as long as the engine even when maintained. It's impressive to go over 200k with an auto. On the other hand, by then most of the manuals have syncro problems - but that is due to how they are driven. At least with a manual - even with syncro problems it will usually get you home. With autos there's no knowing when or where they will die.

GD

#5 Mr. Carb

Mr. Carb

    Weather Geek

  • Members
  • 896 posts
  • Shoreline, WA

Posted 06 November 2003 - 07:25 PM

well one thing you have to look at, is any auto in any car doesn't last as long as the engine does. I mean I have a Chrysler that has something alongs the line of 340k miles on it and I'm sure the tranny has been replaced once. New Dodge tranny's autos have to be replaced every 100k miles. So it sounds like the old ea81's maintained actually are somewhat reliable compared to most avrage even american auto trannys. Any other opinions would be cool, thanks for the input guys:-)

#6 AKIRA

AKIRA

    USMB Reverend

  • Members
  • 618 posts
  • Jersey Shore (Central) PA

Posted 06 November 2003 - 11:32 PM

most all subaru stuff lasts longer than american stuff, even our crappy auto trannys.

#7 AKIRA

AKIRA

    USMB Reverend

  • Members
  • 618 posts
  • Jersey Shore (Central) PA

Posted 06 November 2003 - 11:37 PM

I mean come on, how many cavaliers have you seen with 200,000 miles on them.

my dads van Burst into flames at 147,000 miles, literatly.

cover the odometer on my brat and most people driving would guess it has a quarter of its actual mileage.

#8 VaporTrail

VaporTrail

    Brattitude Adjustment

  • Administrator
  • 11,160 posts
  • Central Iowa

Posted 07 November 2003 - 12:11 AM

there's a 84 wagon 2wd AT in town with over 200k on it.
my 84 turbo brat with AT has 142k
I found a 1980 wagon in a yard with an AT with 116k on it.

With AT's, I go a bit overboard. I had a 90 Dodge Caravan with 84k on it. tranny had already been replaced once, most information digging I could find was that they kept going out every 15-30k after that.... and mine shifted funny as it was. I used it to tow lots of soobies, and I drove it a lot, so I had the tranny serviced/flushed every 15k miles. I put 42k on it before I sold it, and it was still going strong....

#9 SUBARU3

SUBARU3

    Moderator

  • Moderator
  • 2,734 posts
  • Dallas, Ft. Worth, Texas

Posted 07 November 2003 - 01:23 AM

My God...if the opinion is that bad on EA-81 autos powered with the 1800, what do you all think of 78 DL AUTOMATIC with the 1600???

I might not be able to get out of my own way??

On the good side, it's a fresh, clean, 23K, 1600 and the 78 DL was a bit lighter that the newer cars.

Todd

#10 GeneralDisorder

GeneralDisorder

    Elite Master of the Subaru

  • Members
  • 20,281 posts
  • Portland

Posted 07 November 2003 - 02:16 AM

You probably won't be able to get out of your own way... :rolleyes:

Still very cool that your have that 78 - restore it, and don't drive it much......

GD

#11 Mr. Carb

Mr. Carb

    Weather Geek

  • Members
  • 896 posts
  • Shoreline, WA

Posted 07 November 2003 - 02:39 AM

well if someone's gonna say they're better than any american auto tranny, then they must outlast old chrysler transmissions, and I know mine's got quite a bit of milliage on it and it's still going just fine, slips a little in 3rd when it goes up a hill, but thats because it doesn't down shift automatically. (it's not controlled by a computer) It performs the way it's suposed to from what everyone tells me. So I have to say, though it's not as long lasting as a Stick, it would work for a first car for someone, cause it would last em probably 2 years atleast. as long as it was taken care of previously. it's gonna be a chancy pick no matter what car you buy used thats an auto. Could be worse, she could get stuck with a early 90 ford, or a honda, and we all know how fast thoes cars die out.:headbang: Anyway thanks for the input, anymore would be apreciated as well, thanks

#12 Hondasucks

Hondasucks

    Subaru Technician

  • Members
  • 4,760 posts
  • Vancouver, WA

Posted 07 November 2003 - 03:21 AM

Automatics are generally ok, if you get one that has been maintained. IF it hasn't been, it will die. Here are some things to check if you look at an auto car:

First off, check the fluid, Pull the dipstick out, the fluid should be red. If it's brown, or smells really rank, it's burnt, which means either someone got it stuck and sat there rocking it back and forth, stalling the torque converter and generating a lot of heat, or something is slipping, generating a lot of heat. Either way, it's been abused. If it's reddish-brown in color, not a nice, bright red, it's probably just dirty and needs to be changed. Frothy fluid is a sign of overfilling, and milky foamy fluid is a sign of coolant in the transmission, caused by a corroded transmission cooler (It's part of the radiator)

Second thing to do is a stall test. Start up the car. Put it in drive range with your foot firmly planted on the brake. Mash the throttle to the floor and watch the tach. Don't hold it for longer than three seconds, and then let it idle for about 5-10 minutes to let teh fluid cool back down. The tach should go up to about 1500 RPM or so and stay there. If goes any higher, especially if it quickly revs to 3-4000 RPM, the transmission is slipping, and you'll want to stay away from it. Try this in D, 2, L and Reverse.

Another thing that goes out on these trannies is the seal between the transmission and the front differential. Pull the dipstick out of the front diff, and make sure it's not red, also make sure that the tranny fluid does not smell of gear oil. If eitehr one is the case, that seal is shot, and the differential is not long behind it.

Also drive it around, listen for strange noises, shift quality, etc. In second or third gear, flooring the throttle should cause the tranny to downshift. Mash the throttle from a standstill, and listen to the shift quality, should be firm and smooth, with no "flare" between gears.

White smoke from the tailpipe, can be a sign of a bad vacuum modulator, they're about 10 bucks. Mine had a bad one of these, if you kept the transaxle full, it would fill a city block with thick white smoke.

Bottom line is, automatics aren't that bad, but sticks are more reliable and get better gas mileage. Automatics ARE picky about maintenance though, if you aren't anal about changing the fluid and filter every 15,000 miles, it won't last past about 150,000.

#13 Mr. Carb

Mr. Carb

    Weather Geek

  • Members
  • 896 posts
  • Shoreline, WA

Posted 07 November 2003 - 03:25 AM

Thanks a bunch, I know about the burnt fluid thing, I burned fluid in my newport a couple of times. Woops.... it's still going strong, but thanks for the tips about the rev testing... I will do that and see what I get for results... and the gear oil dif thing info too, thanks a bunch:D




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users