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EA81 vs EA71 Auto transmission questions


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12 replies to this topic

#1 SUBARU3

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Posted 20 January 2004 - 02:02 AM

Is there a big difference between the late 70s autos and the EA 81 autos? How do the Subaru autos compare to other imports of the same vintage?

Why does everybody bash the auto transmission cars/Subarus? Almost everyone I have seen in the salvage yards are WAY over 100K , most nearly 150 or more.

I have 4 manuals and 2 autos and they both are special in there own way. In big city traffic, the auto is nearly a requirement. (Unless you want to do frequent clutches)! The autos are far more complex, so you have to expect failure sooner than a manual. I also find it interesting that most people don't bother to ever change the fluid, but they still last well over 100K! How long would they last WITH PROPER maintence and maybe adding a cooler. (Heat is the #1 enemy to the auto trans).

Manuals are not cheap to rebuild either! Usually as much or more than an automatic! Try to rebuild a Subaru manual trans......I tried and carried the box of parts to the shop!!

However, manuals are nice too, fun to drive and better control, but I also find the automatic "a refreshing change" from the manuals.

When I was younger..(I'm 39), the manuals were the only thing I'd consider. I even "special" ordered a new Chevy truck once to get a manual! But I now appreciate the value of an automatic.

So with all the bashing of autos I see on this board, I had to take up in their defense. They are not a bad thing, just an option for those who desire it!

Just my 2 cents!


Todd

#2 GLCraig

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Posted 20 January 2004 - 02:30 AM

After tearing down at least 30 of the 3speed autos, I can tell you that the only real difference between the ea71, ea81 and ea82 versions is the casting for the bell housing, and the casting for the tail end were the rear mount goes on 2wd versions. There was a change in the metal screen at one point but I can't remember what year the change took place. From what I remember it was 50/50 split between bad ones and high mileage ones that the boss just wanted to scrap out because he got some low mileage ones imported from Japan.

Of the ones that failed, there wasn't really one common failure. I saw some with bad planetary sets, some with chewed-up reverse clutched because the brake band wasn't adjusted properly, some because they didn't bother changing the fluid and a couple because the front diff was toasted.

#3 SUBARU3

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Posted 20 January 2004 - 03:53 AM

Very interesting information! So what is the additional secret to keeping these transmissions in good working order? I do this:

1. Change complete fluid every 5K
2. Add an additional Hayden oil cooler

What's involved with keeping the bands in proper adjustment? I didn't like the sound of it when you said, " reverse band chewed up".

Todd

#4 Hondasucks

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Posted 20 January 2004 - 04:05 AM

15,000 is the accepted interval for automatic transmission service, 12-15,000.. Fluid and filter (and the best way is with a flush unit, since you don't get ALL the old fluid out with just dropping the pan.

#5 MilesFox

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Posted 20 January 2004 - 12:19 PM

Originally posted by GLCraigGT
There was a change in the metal screen at one point but I can't remember what year the change took place.


i remembered ordering a filter for my 83 turbo wagon, and the screen was a different shape. i had to bend a corner, and almost all of the bolts lined up. but i got it to fit anyway.

#6 VaporTrail

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Posted 20 January 2004 - 12:34 PM

the AT in my turbo brat seems pretty good yet. 144k miles. there's a 84 2wd wagon in town with an AT and well over 200k miles. (had 198k when I looked at it 2 years ago...)

yes, there are time when the AT feels good to drive.

in my past Chevy's, usually changed the ATF every 40k. I had a Dodge Grand caravan that the manual said change every 75k, but it's well known what crappy trans they had... I had it flushed changed every 15k, and it held up fine....

#7 SUBARU3

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Posted 20 January 2004 - 11:19 PM

So, what's involved in making sure the bands are adjusted correctly? Can this filter sceen be cleaned, or does it need to be replaced?

Todd

#8 SUBARU3

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 01:19 AM

Bump...

So is band/brake adjustment a big deal?

Todd

#9 bushbasher

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 02:28 AM

i think the only big reason people knock the ats is cause they suck power more than a mt.

#10 Myxalplyx

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 04:03 AM

SUBARU3,

I'm glad you brought this subject up. I LOVE automatics unlike most of the people here. I have not had an old school Subaru automatic except for my 1989 FWD Auto XT6. I had always wondered why most people seem to bash them as well.

I was hoping to own an early modelled Subaru automatic someday and try to have the valve body modified, synthetic or fresh tranny fluid and a nice size tranny cooler put on. So far, my XT6 has been a joy to drive with these modifications.

Heck, if I was rolling in $$$$, I'd even consider an upgraded torque converter on an older modelled turbo. Seems like it would be a lot of fun. :)

#11 torxxx

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 04:29 AM

wow someone who actually likes a AT

I never thought I'd hear someone say that

#12 SUBARU3

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 01:54 PM

Yes, I'm thrilled to have this automatic! I have always had standard Gen 1s.....(I have 3 others). This is a refreshing change!
I'm adding a cooler and "frequently" changing fluid.

Has anyone adjusted the bands?

Todd

#13 Myxalplyx

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Posted 30 April 2004 - 01:15 AM

Bump! Was doing research on autos tonight. Has anyone here adjusted the bands?




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