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jseabolt

Weird transmission issue after driving in snow

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2003 Subaru Baja, 5 speed.

 

So we get out first major (6") snowstorm in three years. So I am driving at around 30 to 40 mph in 3rd gear for about 5 miles or so. Not really going above 3000 rpms. Not anymore than I would be going at 70 mph in 5th gear.

 

So I come to a red light and try to gear down into 2nd. The shifter doesn't want to go into 2nd gear!! WTF!! Nor does it act like it want to go into 4th either.

 

So I drop off my passenger at a grocery store. While idling, I try put the car in 2nd gear and let out on the clutch and it just revs up. It feels like it's in a bind.

 

So after a few minutes of idling, I try to put the car into reverse. Now it seems to be OK and will go into 2nd and 4th without any binding.

 

What would cause this? I have driven this car in snow several times and never seen this happen. Is it even snow related? I thought I burned my transmission up somehow.

 

The only thing I can think of is snow had somehow got packed around the linkage preventing the shifter from going into the even gears. Is this even possible?

 

This was the real slushy snow by the way. 32 to 33F.

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I have the same thought as you, that snow & slush got packed into the shift linkage causing binding. I bet once things warmed up, and the slush melted, the problem went away.

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Yeah I used to get intermittent problems like that on the '96 auto I used to own. Sometimes it would suddenly slip while in gear without notice. My transmission had some torque bind issues as well.

 

I don't think it was specifically torque bind but had some similar symptoms. One of them was a really loud 'thunk' when shifting into Park after a drive. I think the problem was related to one of the solenoids. I was likely a electrical/electronic issue (I think a circuit was over-biased or something). Swapping TCUs didn't help.

 

I drove it for nearly 100,000 miles in that state...but towards the end the transmission really had enough.

 

Unusual symptoms like that can surely crop up after severe weather conditions regardless of the road (or what you learned in science class).

 

--Damien

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Yeah I used to get intermittent problems like that on the '96 auto I used to own. Sometimes it would suddenly slip while in gear without notice. My transmission had some torque bind issues as well.

 

I don't think it was specifically torque bind but had some similar symptoms. One of them was a really loud 'thunk' when shifting into Park after a drive. I think the problem was related to one of the solenoids. I was likely a electrical/electronic issue (I think a circuit was over-biased or something). Swapping TCUs didn't help.

 

I drove it for nearly 100,000 miles in that state...but towards the end the transmission really had enough.

 

Unusual symptoms like that can surely crop up after severe weather conditions regardless of the road (or what you learned in science class).

 

--Damien

 

My Baja is a 5 speed.

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i see this when the mainshaft retainer nut comes loose or mainshaft end berring go's were you spinning lots in the snow ?

 

Not really. Just driving about 30 miles per hour in 3rd gear for about 5 miles. But I was hitting a lot of slush.

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I have the same thought as you, that snow & slush got packed into the shift linkage causing binding. I bet once things warmed up, and the slush melted, the problem went away.

 

Yeah after it sat there idling in the parking lot for a couple of minutes I was about to put the car in reverse and was then able to shift it into 2nd and 4th. I let out in 2nd just to see if the clutch would catch this time and it did.

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So no one wants to suggest the transmission or motor mount. This sounds like it is linkage related, which could be a bad mount throwing the linkage out of wack

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So no one wants to suggest the transmission or motor mount. This sounds like it is linkage related, which could be a bad mount throwing the linkage out of wack

 

I've put about 200 miles on this car after this incident. Yesterday I was doing a lot of shifting through the mountains and experienced no shifting issues whatsoever. Everytime seems normal now.

 

It seems to be related to driving in slushy snow. I just can't see how snow could be thrown up until the engine compartment and accumulate and pack around on the shifter linkage. I've never had this happen before.

 

I am running the front splash shield.

 

Granted we don't get a lot of snow down here in the low lands of East Tennessee but this isn't the first time I've had to drive in snow like this in my Subaru.

 

I just can't remember if I had ever driven the car 20 miles at one time on the main highway through slush before.

 

Most of the time It's either been going to work just 8 miles or coming home from work driving through dry packed snow.

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Rule 1 about snow, it gets everywhere

Rule 2 about snow If there is a pathway someplace it will find it

Rule 3 SLush follows rules 1 and 2.

 

 

Cold metal parts, 20 miles exposed to water mist, it will and does happen and happens often. If you have a weak linkage or mount, this can just ne enough to throw things off. As your moving any heat soaking these parts get from anything does not occur, so they freeze. Not uncommon. It happens on other cars too at times.

 

The stuff will also accumilate in wheel wells and non-steallie wheels.

 

This stuff sinks boats all the time, so a car is nothing to it.

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Rule 1 about snow, it gets everywhere

Rule 2 about snow If there is a pathway someplace it will find it

Rule 3 SLush follows rules 1 and 2.

 

 

Cold metal parts, 20 miles exposed to water mist, it will and does happen and happens often. If you have a weak linkage or mount, this can just ne enough to throw things off. As your moving any heat soaking these parts get from anything does not occur, so they freeze. Not uncommon. It happens on other cars too at times.

 

The stuff will also accumilate in wheel wells and non-steallie wheels.

 

This stuff sinks boats all the time, so a car is nothing to it.

 

There's no slop in the shifter nor does the engine shake when revved up.

The gear shifter does shake a bit, moves just a hair if I let off the gas and I can feel some vibrations through the shifter. But it has done this since I bought it new.

The only reason I ever even paid attention to this was, I was reading a review some idiot from a car magazine wrote about the Baja when it first came out and he criticized the amount of vibration/shakiness in the gear shifter. Which is minimal to my other cars. If it were not for his remark, I would have never even checked to see if this was true.

He needs to ride in my Fiat 124 Spider. The engine and transmission mounts are in good shape but the gear shifter shakes like mad going down the road. Nothing compared to my Subaru.

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