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1999 Legasy Outback Transmission Won't Shift To any forward Gear


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16 replies to this topic

#1 Mike33

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 08:12 PM

For a long time had a hesitation problem, now it refuses to shift at all into D321. Reverse has always worked fine. Though it hesitated,initialy, once it activated, it shifted perfectly with no sliping or rughness threw all gears,untill I took it out of gear,then the hesitation would come back. I unpluged it and it will shift then ,safe mode I guess you call it, so I'm guessing its' a servo problem. Am I right?, and how would I pull up the trans codes to find which servo would be causing the trouble. I have an OBDII reader, however the At Temp light is not flashing any trouble codes. :confused: It has stumped the only 2 Transmission Shops in my area. Is it nesessary to have Subaru run their diagnostic to find the problem? The closest dealer to me is nearly 100 miles away. Is it OK to run in safe mode "unpluged" if it becomes nesessary to take it to the dealership? :popcorn: Any helpfull ideas' would be apreciated

#2 nipper

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 11:40 PM

You may have the bad internal seal. DId ti always have a hesitation or did it happen suddenly?

Look up transmission delay.

As long as the car shifts through all the gears, you should be able to drive it, just dont beat on it.


nipper

#3 McDave

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 07:30 AM

The low/forward clutch was a poor design and has likely torn up the seal. The clutch will need to be replaced with the updated version from Subaru along with all seals. In other words, light overhaul time. Sorry.

#4 Rooster2

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 09:04 AM

Had similiar problem with my Leggie 99 OBW with A/T. Car became more and more hesitant to shift from R to any of the forward gears. Sometimes I had to wait 10 to 15 seconds or longer to get car to shift from R to D. Trany worked fine once I got it engaged in Drive.

I got lucky and fixed the problem by draining trany fluid, and replacing with Amsol synthetic ATF (about 5 quarts), and one can of Trans X brand ATF additive. I also replaced the external ATF screw on filter that looks exactly like an oil filter, but it is not. Replacement filter must be specific for an automatic transmisson. I was amazed that these fluid changes cured the problem nearly instantaneously. That has been 6 months ago with no return of the shifting problem.

Amsol products aren't well retailed, so difficult to find and purchase. However, I would think that any manufacturer's synthetic ATF would do as well.

It's a cheap fix with total cost of less then $50. If your ATF is really dark in color, and smells burnt, you may want to change the fluid with regular ATF a couple of times, before adding the synthetic ATF and Trans X. Only about half of the ATF will drain from the trany at any one time, the rest remains in the trany torque converter, so a couple of changes are needed to drain most of the bad ATF. There is a drain plug bolt on the bottom of the trany pan that makes it easy to drain the ATF. Replace ATF by pouring it into the tube that holds the AT fluid dip stick. It is as simple an operation as draining oil from the pan in an oil change, and an easy diy job.

Hope this helps, Larry (Rooster2)

#5 Mike33

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 05:34 PM

You may have the bad internal seal. DId ti always have a hesitation or did it happen suddenly?

Look up transmission delay.

As long as the car shifts through all the gears, you should be able to drive it, just dont beat on it.


nipper

We've been fighting the hesitation problem for nearly 2 years, wanted to get it paid off before we woeried about posible overhaul. The worst thing is not knowing when it's going to totaly refuse to activate. Like now, it dosen't want to activate at all. Before it only happened when it was warm.

#6 Mike33

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 05:43 PM

Had similiar problem with my Leggie 99 OBW with A/T. Car became more and more hesitant to shift from R to any of the forward gears. Sometimes I had to wait 10 to 15 seconds or longer to get car to shift from R to D. Trany worked fine once I got it engaged in Drive.

I got lucky and fixed the problem by draining trany fluid, and replacing with Amsol synthetic ATF (about 5 quarts), and one can of Trans X brand ATF additive. I also replaced the external ATF screw on filter that looks exactly like an oil filter, but it is not. Replacement filter must be specific for an automatic transmisson. I was amazed that these fluid changes cured the problem nearly instantaneously. That has been 6 months ago with no return of the shifting problem.

Amsol products aren't well retailed, so difficult to find and purchase. However, I would think that any manufacturer's synthetic ATF would do as well.

It's a cheap fix with total cost of less then $50. If your ATF is really dark in color, and smells burnt, you may want to change the fluid with regular ATF a couple of times, before adding the synthetic ATF and Trans X. Only about half of the ATF will drain from the trany at any one time, the rest remains in the trany torque converter, so a couple of changes are needed to drain most of the bad ATF. There is a drain plug bolt on the bottom of the trany pan that makes it easy to drain the ATF. Replace ATF by pouring it into the tube that holds the AT fluid dip stick. It is as simple an operation as draining oil from the pan in an oil change, and an easy diy job.

Hope this helps, Larry (Rooster2)

My transmission fluid is chrystal clear,can hardly see it to check fluid level,and filter is new subaru brand, that synthetic, is it thicker thann normal dexron 3, Ive been thinking of how to make the fluid thicker,cause I don't seem to have problems when cold:confused:

#7 McDave

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 05:43 PM

We've been fighting the hesitation problem for nearly 2 years, wanted to get it paid off before we woeried about posible overhaul. The worst thing is not knowing when it's going to totaly refuse to activate. Like now, it dosen't want to activate at all. Before it only happened when it was warm.


Put it in drive and rev it up some. CAUTION: Make sure there is nothing in front of the car like your garage as the car may jump into gear rather suddenly.

If it does go into gear and stays in gear and work normally as long as you don't put it back in neutral, then it needs the forward clutch as I mentioned in my other post.

The filter and flush is worth a shot. I've seen mention of a case where a bit of Seafoam took care of the problem too.

Edit: We posted at the same time. Don't worry about the filter and flush since yours is already good.

#8 Mike33

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 06:04 PM

Put it in drive and rev it up some. CAUTION: Make sure there is nothing in front of the car like your garage as the car may jump into gear rather suddenly.

If it does go into gear and stays in gear and work normally as long as you don't put it back in neutral, then it needs the forward clutch as I mentioned in my other post.

The filter and flush is worth a shot. I've seen mention of a case where a bit of Seafoam took care of the problem too.

Edit: We posted at the same time. Don't worry about the filter and flush since yours is already good.

The reving up idea dosen't work now, but unpluging transmission selinoid conector lets it shift, into what gear,I don't know,but if seals were out it shouldnt shift at all should it?:confused:

#9 nipper

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 06:21 PM

The reving up idea dosen't work now, but unpluging transmission selinoid conector lets it shift, into what gear,I don't know,but if seals were out it shouldnt shift at all should it?:confused:


No as its just one seal and i think its first gear. Limp home mode will usually put the car in a higher gear, either 2nd or 3rd so you can get home. You are also probably limited to 50 mph.

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#10 McDave

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 06:24 PM

The reving up idea dosen't work now, but unpluging transmission selinoid conector lets it shift, into what gear,I don't know,but if seals were out it shouldnt shift at all should it?:confused:

I saw that in your earlier post and have been thinking about it since. I found this info that lead me to believe that using a treatment like Seafoam may be worth a shot...

In the General Diagnostic Table of the manual, it gives the following possible problem areas for 'Excessive time lag when select lever is moved from N to D': 1)Control valve; 2)Low clutch; 3)Duty selonoid A; 4) Seal ring; 5)Front gasket transmission case.

The tech that posted that info rebuilt the tranny and didn't find anything wrong, though the rebuild did fix it. He concluded it must have been a sticking valve. Another tech did "cure" one with a half can of Seafoam.

Since your problem happened gradually, that would indicate a sticking valve, imo.

#11 Mike33

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 06:35 PM

No as its just one seal and i think its first gear. Limp home mode will usually put the car in a higher gear, either 2nd or 3rd so you can get home. You are also probably limited to 50 mph.

nipper

Thank's nipper for the comback, I should also tell you I've conected a volt meter to the red wire ,I belive it to be right one, and voltage was correct. I also checked ohm's on red wire , seemed to me it was shorted did not return 1-4 ohms as expected. Do you with this new information still think it is most likly the seals .I'm no pro by by a long shot so I may be reading this wrong, cuz I have no idea how things are wired internaly.:eek: Sorry for not including this earlier:-\

#12 Rooster2

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 07:53 PM

My transmission fluid is chrystal clear,can hardly see it to check fluid level,and filter is new subaru brand, that synthetic, is it thicker thann normal dexron 3, Ive been thinking of how to make the fluid thicker,cause I don't seem to have problems when cold:confused:


When pouring in the synthetic ATF, I did not notice that it was thicker (more viscous) then regular ATF. I too seemed to have more shifting problems when trany was warm/hot vs being cold. Thinking like you, that a thicker viscosity would help, I first added Lucas Trany additive. The stuff was super thick like STP. However, the thicker stuff did not fix the shifting problem for me.

Still recommend synthetic ATF plus Trans X. That fixed the problem for me. The alternative is to replace the trany with a used one. Cost of buying a new one, or repairing an existing one is expensive. Just my 2 cents worth of suggestions.

#13 chadwick35/04

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 08:36 PM

For a long time had a hesitation problem, now it refuses to shift at all into D321. Reverse has always worked fine. Though it hesitated,initialy, once it activated, it shifted perfectly with no sliping or rughness threw all gears,untill I took it out of gear,then the hesitation would come back. I unpluged it and it will shift then ,safe mode I guess you call it, so I'm guessing its' a servo problem. Am I right?, and how would I pull up the trans codes to find which servo would be causing the trouble. I have an OBDII reader, however the At Temp light is not flashing any trouble codes. :confused: It has stumped the only 2 Transmission Shops in my area. Is it nesessary to have Subaru run their diagnostic to find the problem? The closest dealer to me is nearly 100 miles away. Is it OK to run in safe mode "unpluged" if it becomes nesessary to take it to the dealership? :popcorn: Any helpfull ideas' would be apreciated

Hi there I had the same problem with my 99 outback and had found the same issue occuring and at that time is was under warranty, and they had to replace the transmission. The problem had started when I was driving up the driveway it would hesitate and when I drove uphills and downhills it had a hard time shifting into gears, the technician did duplicate it. So I did get a reman transmission, the transmission fluid and filter were fine to, I had them done also but it did not help. I am not sure how you are going to take care of the problem without having to rebuild or just replace it, but if you go through a dealer thats great, I did but when my transmission was replaced the transfer clutches started to bind in that one so they had to replace it again so I went through 3 of them, good times, thank god for warranty at that time. I don't know but 1999 seemed to be a rough year for outbacks with transmission issues and speedometer problems. Keep in touch andf let us know what you do.

#14 Mike33

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 12:23 PM

I saw that in your earlier post and have been thinking about it since. I found this info that lead me to believe that using a treatment like Seafoam may be worth a shot...

In the General Diagnostic Table of the manual, it gives the following possible problem areas for 'Excessive time lag when select lever is moved from N to D': 1)Control valve; 2)Low clutch; 3)Duty selonoid A; 4) Seal ring; 5)Front gasket transmission case.

The tech that posted that info rebuilt the tranny and didn't find anything wrong, though the rebuild did fix it. He concluded it must have been a sticking valve. Another tech did "cure" one with a half can of Seafoam.

Since your problem happened gradually, that would indicate a sticking valve, imo.

The car would not shift into any forward gear, unless I unpluged the transmission servo plug, then it would shift right away,no hesitation, drove it back and forth in my yard a couple dozen times, never failed to shift immediatly,and without hesitation. Next day I got some seaFoam as you mentioned and put in about half the can, and still with the transmission unpluged, I drove it forward and reaverse in my yard,about a dozen times, till it completely warmed up. Thinking this would lubricate whatever was sticking that activates the transmission. I then pluged in the Transmission harness, and " IT SHIFTED!!!!!!!:headbang: ", Drove Back and forth in yard at least a couple dozen times. Never failed to shift at all. Is it fixed now":rolleyes: , I don't know, but the Seafoam aperantly got it to activate. I'm wondering if I dare leave the seafoam in it for any length of time?

#15 McDave

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 01:35 PM

IT SHIFTED!!!!!!!:headbang: ", Drove Back and forth in yard at least a couple dozen times. Never failed to shift at all. Is it fixed now":rolleyes: , I don't know, but the Seafoam aperantly got it to activate. I'm wondering if I dare leave the seafoam in it for any length of time?

Good deal! If it were mine I would probably give it another day or two to make sure it's going to continue to act normal, then just do a basic drain and refill. Then after say 500 miles go ahead and do a filter and fluid change. Maybe sooner if the fluid gets dark and/or sticky.

(I'm not fond of snake oil treatments so after positive results I always try to minimize the chances of them doing future damage)

#16 johnceggleston

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 01:39 PM

Next day I got some seaFoam as you mentioned and put in about half the can, ........ and " IT SHIFTED!!!!!!!:headbang: ",.....the Seafoam aperantly got it to activate.



this begs the question, would this process help with a dirty duty c and torque bind. usually the first fix is change the ATF. maybe it should be, add 1/2 can of seafoam, driveand then change ATF.

#17 nipper

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 02:44 PM

this begs the question, would this process help with a dirty duty c and torque bind. usually the first fix is change the ATF. maybe it should be, add 1/2 can of seafoam, driveand then change ATF.


you never want to put any kind of cleaner or solvent in a transmission. You can remove the years of gum that is holding it together. As long as you change the fluid, it will be self cleaning.


Not all gum is bad. The clutches in your transmission are held together with glues. After all those miles putting in a chemical cleanser is just begging for problems.

(lucas LSD additive is not a cleaning solvent so that is ok).

nipper




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