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MY95 AT problem - Torque converter?


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13 replies to this topic

#1 lustreking

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 08:40 AM

I have a 95 Legacy with a 2.2 and AT. I do mostly city driving, so I don't know how long this has been happening, since it's really only noticeable at highway speeds.

It seems that it is revving too high at highway speed. It's around 2000 at 50 mph. I'm pretty sure it used to be maybe 1700 at that speed.

When I shift from D to 3, it does downshift, so I'm thinking that it might be that the torque converter isn't locking up.

Any thoughts?

Is there any way that I can tell, for sure, that it is the TC?

I should also add that it does seem to be shifting fine otherwise, and I don't have any stored trouble codes.

-Steve

#2 Bmm001

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 08:58 AM

My '95 Legacy AT is at about 2000 RPM at 50 MPH, and it's always been there. 2500 or so at 60.

If I'm cruising down the road at 50 or so and blip the gas pedal, the RPMs will drift up a few hundred. If that happens, as far as I know it's not locked. If they don't budge, it's locked. My car also seems more sensitive (too sensitive in my opinion) to the locking and unlocking compared to my dad's '97 Impreza AT.

Remember that it won't lock until the transmission is sufficiently warmed up. Does the condition you describe happen all the time, or just when you first start driving? In my experience it can take up to 15 minutes for it to warm up fully, depending on the ambient temperature, driving conditions, etc.

If it's colder yet, it won't shift into 4th gear so as to warm up the Catalytic Converter more quickly. I cringe as my car screams down the highway at 4500 RPM in the dead of winter because it won't shift into 4th right away.

One other thought: How many miles on the car/transmission? When was the last time the fluid has been changed?

Brian M.

#3 grossgary

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 09:22 AM

have you checked the ATF level?

if the ATF hasn't been changed recently it needs to be done, keeping in mind one drain and refill only gets a small percentage of the fluid out.

has the AT light ever blinked 16 times at start up?

any check engine lights?

how's the general engine condition....driveability, tune up?

#4 lustreking

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 09:29 AM

There are around 175k miles on the car. I just changed the ATF this weekend, and a couple thousand miles (maybe 2000) before that. Changing the fluid didn't improve things.

It does seem to have the problem whether the trans is warm or cold.

I don't have any CEL's and I haven't noticed the AT light do anything abnormal.

#5 McDave

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 11:06 AM

Is there any way that I can tell, for sure, that it is the TC?

At a steady highway cuising speed, engine fully warmed up, lightly touch the brake pedal. Don't press it enough to cause braking, just enough to say disengage the cruise control. Watch the tach, it should increase a couple hundred rpm, then drop back down when you let off the pedal.

Note: This has worked on every make of car that I've ever tried it on. Knowing that Subaru likes to do things differently though, I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't work on them. Someone will be along shortly, I'm sure to tell me if I'm wrong. ;)

#6 grossgary

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 11:20 AM

maybe some more knowledgable folks will know, but two drain and refills don't get much fluid out. at 175,000 it should have had many changes before now? another drain and refill is probably not a bad idea though i think it's a real crap shoot to fixing your issue.

do all of your tires match? i haven't seen TC lock up problems, but i have seen crazy shifting issues go away with new tires on AWD automatic subarus.

don't know if it's worth a shot but maybe disconnecting the TCU, or battery for that matter, for awhile to clear it would help?

be nice if someone who understood the lock up function could chime in...like which duty solenoid is the culprit, what engine info does the TCU look at - could it be engine related?

i think there are some engine sensors that may affect shifting, not sure if any affect lock up control?

#7 lustreking

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 11:25 AM

maybe some more knowledgable folks will know, but two drain and refills don't get much fluid out. at 175,000 it should have had many changes before now? another drain and refill is probably not a bad idea though i think it's a real crap shoot to fixing your issue.

do all of your tires match?


Those are just my most two recent changes. I do have another jug of ATF, so I'll probably change it again next weekend.

I'm actually getting all new tires today, so they will match perfectly. I had gotten a little lax on the rotations with the last set so there was a little binding on sharp slow turns.

#8 johnceggleston

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 11:31 AM

my 97 obw seems to lock up too soon. i live on a hill which i usually drive up in 3rd, but unless i'm accelerating up the hiil the trans / TC locks up almost imediately after it shifts up from 2nd. this usually then gives me a bit of a 'lugging' feeling. at 126K miles i just sort of figured a couple of the sensors were marginal. once my GT is back on the road, i plan on looking at the O2 and knock sensors.

who knows about torque converters????

#9 lustreking

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 12:40 PM

At a steady highway cuising speed, engine fully warmed up, lightly touch the brake pedal. Don't press it enough to cause braking, just enough to say disengage the cruise control. Watch the tach, it should increase a couple hundred rpm, then drop back down when you let off the pedal.

Nope, it didn't raise after coming out of cruise control


do all of your tires match? i haven't seen TC lock up problems, but i have seen crazy shifting issues go away with new tires on AWD automatic subarus.

don't know if it's worth a shot but maybe disconnecting the TCU, or battery for that matter, for awhile to clear it would help?

The new tires did cure the binding, but not the other problem.

Resetting the computer doesn't sound like a bad idea... It certainly can't hurt. I'll give it a shot tonight.


Anybody have any other ideas?

#10 nipper

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 01:17 PM

i'm just responding to this to get my foot in the door. i will post after the gym. i think one is a non issue, and the other is a real issue that needs more discussing.

FYI 2.2L auto holds 8.4 Qts (call it nine) and a 2.5L holds 10 qts. I just flushed Blu and used a case of tranny fluid and it made a huge differnce in how he shifted.

Someone respond to this so i get the email and dont forget :)


nipper

#11 NorthWet

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 01:38 PM

...FYI 2.2L auto holds 8.4 Qts (call it nine) and a 2.5L holds 10 qts. I just flushed Blu and used a case of tranny fluid and it made a huge differnce in how he shifted.

Someone respond to this so i get the email and dont forget :)


nipper

I usually use around 3 5-quart jugs of ATF during a flush before the fluid looks decently clean.

#12 johnceggleston

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 01:39 PM

FYI 2.2L auto holds 8.4 Qts (call it nine) and a 2.5L holds 10 qts. I just flushed Blu and used a case of tranny fluid and it made a huge differnce in how he shifted.


and the only difference is the torque converter, the 2.5s is larger.

#13 nipper

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 05:21 PM

I have a 95 Legacy with a 2.2 and AT. I do mostly city driving, so I don't know how long this has been happening, since it's really only noticeable at highway speeds.
It seems that it is revving too high at highway speed. It's around 2000 at 50 mph. I'm pretty sure it used to be maybe 1700 at that speed.
When I shift from D to 3, it does downshift, so I'm thinking that it might be that the torque converter isn't locking up.


-Steve


I'll attack these one at a time.

Your car is fine. Change the transmission fluid if it has not been done in 3 years/36K miles.

Subaru is a real 4 speed automatic with a lock up torque converter. The TC can lock up whenever the car decides its needs to, and not alwaysfor the same reason. The lock up TC will be very subtle on the tach when it occures. Now sometimes for reasons only know to subaru, it will hold 4th No Lock for longer then i think it should, what i do then is just take my foot off the gas and let it lock up.

It's extreemly rare for a sooby TC to fail where the mechanisim for the lockup in the TC will not work (excluding SVX). Usually thats a solenoid failure. The clutch in the TC is what is called a wet clutch. Wet clutches usually last beyond the life of the car, as it is literally soaked in fluid. the more common mode for a TC to fail is the sprag/one way clutch fails. When that happens the car can barely get out of its own way.

Watch your gas mileage, as that would go down dramatically if your car is not going into lock up. Get the fluid serviced, as dirty oil can delay upsifts.

nipper

#14 nipper

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 05:31 PM

my 97 obw seems to lock up too soon. i live on a hill which i usually drive up in 3rd, but unless i'm accelerating up the hiil the trans / TC locks up almost imediately after it shifts up from 2nd. this usually then gives me a bit of a 'lugging' feeling. at 126K miles i just sort of figured a couple of the sensors were marginal. once my GT is back on the road, i plan on looking at the O2 and knock sensors.

who knows about torque converters????


You my friend may have an issue. The tranny uses the speed sensor, TPS sensor, and MAP sensor to figure out whats going on, (there are others but these are the main ones for shift points). I am suspecting that your tranny can not read the manifold pressure. This would tell the tranny that it is under increasing load, and that it should down shift. It is also possible that you may need a tuneup (plugs pcv valve especially), as a baseline, since that does affect manifold vacum.

AURGH! i cant open my manuals on the laptop, otherwise i would look up the trouble tree for you. :banghead:



nipper




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