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1995 legacy - transmission issue help?


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20 replies to this topic

#1 Boosted5speed

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 04:28 PM

Hey everyone, I have a 95 LSi auto with a transmission issue that apparently appeared overnight. About 4 months ago, the car was running/driving perfectly. I parked the car for the evening, and when I started it up the next day and attempted to drive off it appeared to be stuck in limp mode - the car only has third gear available.

Reverse works fine, but engages rapidly when you first move it in (no ~1.5second delay like normal, just a ridiculously fast engagement). Manually selecting 2nd feels the same as third, manually selecting first gear and the car goes doesnt want to move - stepping on the gas feels like the brakes are on, with the car still attempting to move.

The car does have a check engine light on, I haven't had the opportunity to grab an OBD-II scanner and check it out, but the check engine light was on for other emissions related issues before this occurred. I also didn't think limp home mode would make first gear feel like that. Can the limp home mode disable first gear to where it feels like that?

If anybody has any suggestions to figure what it might be that would be awesome - the transmission shops around here want more than it would cost to buy a used transmission just to diagnose the problem, and all seem bent on selling rebuilds.

#2 johnceggleston

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 04:41 PM

check the wire connections on the passenger side where the engine and trans meet. there should be 2 or 3 of them. make sure they are connected. the large one feeds the trans. also, try very tight turns to see if you have torque bind, you'll feel it and know it if you do. this is also a symptom of a 'disconnected' trans.

if not a wiring problem, maybe the TCU??

#3 OB99W

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 05:33 PM

[...]Reverse works fine, but engages rapidly when you first move it in (no ~1.5second delay like normal, just a ridiculously fast engagement). Manually selecting 2nd feels the same as third, manually selecting first gear and the car goes doesnt want to move - stepping on the gas feels like the brakes are on, with the car still attempting to move.
[...]

I'm not sure that it's the only possible cause, but see the first sentence on page 12 of: http://endwrench.com...004pdf/4EAT.pdf

Was the car parked where there might have been 'critters'? Chewed wires can lead to all kinds of problems.

Edited by OB99W, 22 February 2009 - 05:48 PM.


#4 Boosted5speed

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 06:17 PM

After using an obd-2 code reader, I have 0 sensor or transmission related faults at the moment, and no CEL =\. Going back outside to check the transmission wiring as suggested. thanks. Also, I saw that info in the 4eat pdf and was thinking that could be it also, only problem is finding a shop that can check it out/repair it for a reasonable cost. Wouldn't something like that also signal a transmission temp sensor warning as well?

#5 EVOthis

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 06:55 PM

How many miles are on the vehicle? Assuming you've checked the ATF level/condition?:)

#6 nipper

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 07:13 PM

Does your spedo work?


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#7 kirbykirb

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 07:44 PM

Pop the hood and look at the transmission bell housing, look a bit over the sticker which'd say TZ102z2...etc.

There should be a few harnessses, which if they've gotten unplugged will result in that kinda issue. I've had this happen to me after having a major transmission job so i know the pain you're kinda feelng. :eek:

If worse comes to worse, it could be an internal transmission issue..but until then..maker sure everything is up and tight!

#8 Boosted5speed

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 10:34 PM

~159,000ish miles, fluid/filter changed at the 135kish range - don't remember off the top of my head. Tranny fluid is clean and fairly red still, no burnt smell, no metal flakes in the fluid. And everything appears to still be plugged in fairly solidly :banana:. And yes, the speedometer works fine. Would limp home mode make the transmission feel like it has a transbrake or your brake torquing the car when you manually put it into first?

And THANK YOU! all for the help - its amazing how helpful Subaru owners are compared to some others - I tried posting in a maxima forum asking about timing issues and it took days before I recieved anywhere near this amount of replies.

#9 nipper

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 11:11 PM

i am not sure if i understand the issue.


The engine braking in 1st gear is normal.

Limp home mode is usually the car is stuck in 3rd gear and speed limited to 50 mph. The spedo is working so we can rule out dead VSS sensors. When both of them fail, the car wont shift and goes in limp mode.


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#10 Boosted5speed

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 11:28 PM

Let me try describing the issues a little better then :D

First off, the car has no warning lights active - No CEL codes, trans temp light is not on, but does illuminate as normal on startup.

Putting the car into reverse, engagement is very sudden - as soon as you put it into reverse it "jumps" into gear, doesnt take a second or two to build line pressure like normal. Putting the car into drive puts the vehicle into 3rd gear - wont accelerate to 50mph, no overdrive, no downshifting - engine feels like its bogging if you floor it. I do not "know" that the car is in limp home mode, but all the symptoms feel exactly like the ones described for being in limp/failsafe.

Manually downshifting through gears changes nothing, feels exactly the same. Manually putting the shift lever into 1st gear causes the car to not move - when you step on the gas, the car feels like it is fighting against a transbrake, or heavily applied brakes (aka trying to brake torque a rwd/fwd car to get the wheels to spin). Not describing normal engine braking when first is manually selected, more like its fighting against the brakes to even move (but the brakes are not engaged)

No codes showing, everything looks plugged in, fluid looks good, speedo works, engine feels normal, all the axles are solid, going to fwd only mode changes nothing in the feel. Dont notice any binding with sharp turns either. =\ I'm just kind of lost, and wish I had a 5speed at this point :rolleyes:

It sounds like the description of what happens when one of the shift solenoids fail, yet its not tossing any codes which I thought it would do.

#11 nipper

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 11:36 PM

I want you to do a simple test.

First check the fluid level and condition, does it smell burnt?

Do it exactly as i say. We call this a stall speed test.

Start the car. Set the parking brake. Stand on the brake pedal. Make sure the car is pointed away from everything. Put the car in drive. Floor the car untill peak engine RPM that is possibel is acheived. This may be as low as 2800 rpm or there abouts. Do this only once, never holding the max engine RPM for any length of time (you can hurt the transmission).

This will tell us if it is a Torque Converter problem or something else.

nipper

PS any questions about this test ask before you do it.

#12 Boosted5speed

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 11:41 PM

About 2500 rpm thereabouts on the tach. Fluid still looks good, smells like transmission fluid :D

#13 nipper

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 11:48 PM

About 2500 rpm thereabouts on the tach. Fluid still looks good, smells like transmission fluid :D

I wasnt hoping for that answer, you just made life complicated.

What I was doing was testing the one way clutch in the torque converter. If that (sprag) clutch goes bad,m the car wont be able to get out of its own way.

Sadly on modern automatics there isnt a hell of a lot that we can do over the net.

The transmission is obviously in safe mode. If there is no codes that kills my next suggestion, the map sensor. It sounds like to me you have an internal failure. May be time to take it to a professional (AAMCO is not a professional).

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#14 Boosted5speed

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 11:54 PM

Well, appreciate your help nipper - guess I need to start looking for a local transmission shop - though I wonder if it might just be easier to find a used working tranny cheap and swap it in, I can probably handle the R&R pretty easily.

Im kicking myself for not buying the 98 OBW tranny I saw on craigslist for 275.00 a couple weeks ago :-\

Bytw - I'm in Austin, Tx if anybody happens to be in the area and can recommend someone to take it to.

Edited by Boosted5speed, 22 February 2009 - 11:58 PM.


#15 nipper

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 11:59 PM

Well you can spare the expense of a shop and just find a transmission. I just dont want people spending mucho bucks on something that may or may not be condemmned because the car is not in my driveway to see for myself.

I just would prefer it to be seen by someone in person.


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#16 OB99W

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 07:17 AM

Putting the car into reverse, engagement is very sudden - [...]

As far as I know, the TCU doesn't control the trans when in reverse. That seems to suggest that a mechanical failure is more likely, based on your observation.


It sounds like the description of what happens when one of the shift solenoids fail, yet its not tossing any codes which I thought it would do.

Electrically-related (solenoids, sensors, wiring) trans problems can generate trouble codes, but mechanical problems (even if with the same components) typically don't.

#17 Boosted5speed

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 09:26 PM

Had another thought - will the auto's out of 2.2 impreza awd's work in my legacy, or are they different. Is there a faq or list of swappable transmissions for the legacy?


looking at http://www.northursa...trannychart.pdf - everything looks pretty similar except the impreza tranny has a slightly shorter 4th gear ratio, which wouldn't bother me all that much, should everything else just bolt up or would it need a different tcu, and if so can an impreza tcu even be used in a legacy.
Mainly just asking because I found a transmission out of a 95 impreza 2.2 liter awd for 300 bucks.

Edited by Boosted5speed, 23 February 2009 - 09:40 PM.


#18 johnceggleston

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 10:09 PM

Had another thought - will the auto's out of 2.2 impreza awd's work in my legacy, or are they different. Is there a faq or list of swappable transmissions for the legacy?


you can use any trans from a 2.2L legacy 94 - 98, straight swap no problems. usuallly no one talks about crossing over between impreza and legacy, but subaru is a relatively samall car company and it makes since that it would work. youjust need to do the research and make sure the final drive ratio is the same.

the part number on your trans is probably a TZ102ZAAAA or maybe .......ABAA, you should be able to use any trans that starts with TZ102Zx where the x is a letter. if the x position is a 2 then it's from a 2.5L car and has the wrong final drive ratio. the trans part number can be found on your cars ID tag 8under the hood, and on the bell housing at the starter.

again this is true for legacys, not sure about imprezas. i think 2.2L imprezas trans part number are something like TZ102ZA1AA.

have you looked here: www.car-part.com , sort your searchby distance.

Edited by johnceggleston, 23 February 2009 - 10:12 PM.


#19 Boosted5speed

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 11:58 AM

Yea the transmission I found from the impreza was the only one close by that was a reasonable price, which is why I was asking about interchange :banana:.

All the legacy transmissions out of 2.2 cars were quite expensive =[

Wow im being silly today - that transmission chart is for manual transmissions lol. Anybody happen to have something similar for the auto's?

Code for the tranny is a TZ102ZAAAA-C

Edited by Boosted5speed, 24 February 2009 - 12:47 PM.


#20 johnceggleston

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 12:27 PM

well if you look in an are that has a lot of subarus you can find one as cheap, but it will cost 150$ or more to ship it.

you can look for a subaru wrecked or blown engine and buy that, then maybe sell or scrap the rest. that's what i did, 400$ car used the trans, sold the engine, scrapped the car. but still you are located in the subaru desert.

it might make sense to have the dealer look at it.

let's say you find a 350$ trans and have it shipped for 175$. labor to install 550$. 1075$ is a lot, but if you drive it for 50k more miles it's a bargin. would you buy a 1000$ car knowing it was going to last 50k miles? plus, any other car is going to cost more than 1100$.

i came across these which may interest you:

http://austin.craigs...1035992454.html

http://dallas.craigs...1035691438.html

Edited by johnceggleston, 24 February 2009 - 01:21 PM.


#21 Boosted5speed

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 03:13 PM

I saw the dallas one, and was going to call and see what the code on the transmission was :D thank you for looking, appreciate the help - it such a pain to find subaru parts down here most of the time. =[ scratch that - the motor/tranny combo in dallas was out of a FWD legacy - for some reason I forgot they even made those.

Edited by Boosted5speed, 24 February 2009 - 03:15 PM.





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