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RallyKeith

2008 Impreza 2.5i Damage to Automatic when run low on fluid

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One of best friends has a 2008 Impreza 2.5i automatic that started stalling when he came to a stop. He took it to a subaru dealer who told him one of the lines corroded and started leaking until it "ran out of fluid." They told him $700 minimum to fix it.

 

I have almost no experience with automatics so my question is, what kind of damage was done and is the transmission toast at this point? As a point of reference, used transmissions for this car are super plentiful and it looks like I can easily get one with around 100k on it for around $200, so replacing the transmission is most likely the route I would take if I get the car from him.

 

Thanks,

Keith 

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folks swap in transmissions often. just confirm the final rive ratio is the same as stock. (must match FD of rear diff)

 

LKQ and car-part.com are some comon sources

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folks swap in transmissions often. just confirm the final rive ratio is the same as stock. (must match FD of rear diff)

 

LKQ and car-part.com are some comon sources

 

Long time. I'm not on this board (or any for that matter) much anymore. I used to be a lot back in the early 2000's. Nice to get a reply from one of the "old timers" I've always trusted!

 

Turns out it was never "out of fluid," just that the lines are corroded and leaking along with two other things which actually explain the stalling. One being a dirty throttle body which is a legitimate issue on these drive by wire throttles, and an air filter that is so dirty and blocked up with leaves I'm surprised it ran at all. 

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lines to the cooler in the radiator? - thise might not be pricey to replace. Still, kinda wonder how much of the remaining lifespan of the trans was sacrificed when it lost the fluid.

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lines to the cooler in the radiator? - thise might not be pricey to replace. Still, kinda wonder how much of the remaining lifespan of the trans was sacrificed when it lost the fluid.

 

This is apparently a fairly common thing. I was able to talk to a friend who is a master mechanic at my local subaru dealership and has been there for over 25 years. He said they see this more than you'd think and so far if they replace the lines, fill it up, and it either drives fine or it's obviously shot. He didn't know of any with this repair that immediately drove fine but had come back in the near future with a shot transmission, but only time will tell. The lines were only $65, and of course it takes a special High Performance Dexron III that is hard to come buy but the dealer sells it by the quart for $6.50. Considering it drove onto the trailer last night with out any issues or signs of anything I may just get lucky. Only time will tell.

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You might want to drop the trans pan in 50 miles, wipe out any silver film from inside the pan, refill trans again (you'll still have fluid in the torque converter, which is probably rough right now from being run low and it'll mix with fresh fluid being adding now) then see how well it goes from there. Don't forget to fill with engine running, and put shifter through the gears (D, R, N, 3, 2, 1, etc.) several times, check stick (still running) and add more, run through gears again. Keep doing that until trans stick line. It's completely different than checking oil.

 

You are aware Dex III has been superseded with DexronVI or even V, right? Dexron III when it was in GM trans would be burnt by 80k miles and countless GM trans needed rebuilt by then. My 95' Legacy uses it in the power steering IIRC and it won't even remain stable in there after a certain time (when fluid is bad in PS pump, steering effort gets harder and mimics rack failure). Dexron V and VI is also easier to get as it's the modern revision.

 

FWIW, I had an old Ford with a C3 trans that leaked (forget how/where) and once low, it would roll backwards on hills and couldn't hold position when running and in drive, and eventually would go into higher RPM before moving. Once fluid was added, it'd move again, so don't count that trans out yet. Trans shop would love to rebuild/replace as that's their bread and butter but it makes you starve ;)

Edited by Bushwick

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The $700 price tag is highly suspect.   Unless it's shop time (which will be way more than actual) $700 is high for a line replacement and insanely low for any trans repair/replacement/damage.

 

Replace the line and drive on - Subaru's generally survive compromised/low fluid events like this, I wouldn't expect any issues.  A super anal person could drain existing fluid in the trans or ATF cooler and have it tested at those oil testing labs.  Or just glance at it yourself. Though if you're finding ATF hard to come by that wont' sound palatable. 

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the original stalling problem might be related to a clogged/gummed up throttle body. 

 

Agreed. These electronic drive by wire throttle bodies are much more sensitive to being dirty since there is no idle control valve. If the throttle body is too dirty the electronics can't get fine enough adjustment. 

 

The $700 price tag is highly suspect.   Unless it's shop time (which will be way more than actual) $700 is high for a line replacement and insanely low for any trans repair/replacement/damage.

 

Replace the line and drive on - Subaru's generally survive compromised/low fluid events like this, I wouldn't expect any issues.  A super anal person could drain existing fluid in the trans or ATF cooler and have it tested at those oil testing labs.  Or just glance at it yourself. Though if you're finding ATF hard to come by that wont' sound palatable. 

 

The $700 was replacing the trans lines and refilling, replacing the air filter, cleaning the throttle body, replacing "corroded" battery terminals, and replacing 2 burned out marker light bulbs. 

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