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Hello fellow Subaru enthusiasts!

I have been experiencing automatic transmission problems for many years and the time has finally come that I can avoid fixing it any longer.  Since I acquired the car in 2011 there has been a intermittent problem with the duty-C selenoid, the transmission has been binding up around corners for a long time, but the car was given to me for free so I never took the time to replace the duty-C. I do not drive the car very far so I have gotten away with this for some time now.  When I do drive the car over 15 miles, the transmission heats up and starts to whine under load. After about 30 minutes of driving the scratching/grinding noise between gears is awful, its so loud I feel bad driving it. I have done 3 transmission flushes over the last 6 years, the first flush was because my transmission cooler line broke while driving 60 mph uphill and dumped all my fluid. While refilling the transmission fluid I accidentally over filled it, and drove it like that for at least 2 years. 

This summer I start a new job that is about 110 miles away and I know my car won't make it, not even once. I need to replace the transmission, one with less miles that does not have quite the abuse on it. I plan to remove a transmission from a matching year legacy when one appears in the junkyard and swap that. Once I find a replacement transmission I plan to bring it to a shop and have them test it before I go through the trouble of swapping it out, but I am wondering if anyone has done a project like this before? If so, were there any unexpected issues that came up? What gaskets should I purchase before so I can change them all before I install it? Is there an item number for a kit with all the gaskets? Even better, does anyone have a link to a similar situation that someone has already posted? 

Thanks for the help everyone!

1993 Legacy L, 4-EAT 
287,452 miles

-Mike

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1992
Transmission Assembly
Subaru Legacy
BLU,4SW,LS,2.2L,AT,AWD,FL 277,788   190142 $350 E-Z Auto Wrecking USA-WA(East-Wenatchee) E-mail 1-888-558-6767 / 1-509-884-5000 99

 

I just looked up your car on car-part.com and 3 pages of transmissions came up.  Make sure the trans code on your trans is the same and you are good to go.  This one seems pricey and higher in miles than in the midwest, but it may just be the market.  

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Hi,

'92-'94 Legacy were 3.90 FD ratio. That's the most important part.

However, if you replace the rear diff you can use any '90-'91  '95-'98 2.2 or 2.5 Legacy , Impreza, or Forester  Auto transmission. ..

 

>>Caveats: you'll need to change the pinion flange on the diff to match yours....different bolt spacing.

>>>Flex plate needs to match up, too.

The 'seating' of the Torque Converter is also very important - search on here, and there are are a couple of seals on input/output (?) shafts to replace.

Also, if buying one from a used parts yard, it may have been sitting on the shelf - for a long time and the internal seals may leak once installed- and the shop may not warranty that.

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While you’ve got the trans out, shove a new rear main seal on the back of the engine ;) 

And replace the oil/air separator plate if it’s plastic. 

Cheers 

Bennie

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On 5/1/2019 at 1:58 AM, el_freddo said:

While you’ve got the trans out, shove a new rear main seal on the back of the engine ;) 

And replace the oil/air separator plate if it’s plastic. 

Cheers 

Bennie

if it has the metal plate, reseal it at the very least.

 

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Hey thanks for all the advice everyone! I appreciate all the efforts you put into finding me a replacement transmissions and helpful tips. The past 3 days have been pretty crazy, I struggled with the torque converter to flex-plate bolts for a few hours after I rounded one. But once I got the old trans out it was fairly easy to put in the replacement one. I bought a used transmission from a Pick-N-Pull on memorial day for $75, I opted for the 13 month warranty since it had 207k miles on it. I cleaned up the outside as best I could and then removed the oil pan to check for shards of metal and the state of the trans fluid (see photos). I took the oil pan to the local Subaru dealership and asked an experienced technician his opinion on the amount of metal, he said it looked reasonable for transmissions with 200k on them. So I decided to go forward with the swap. I finished putting the car back together this morning, filled up the transmission and differential fluid, and started it up. I am getting the "POWER" light blinking 16 times and the car wont move in "D" or "3", but it drives fine in 1st and Reverse. When I have it in "2" it shifts from 1st to 2nd and drives okay as long as I am easy on the throttle. If i give it more than half throttle in "2" the trans shifts to a neutral state and then catches again in 2nd gear. The "manual" button does not change anything except keep it out of 1st as it should.  After doing a bit of research I believe it is either my "high clutch" is toast, or the solenoid controlling it is, or one of the other couple solenoids that control shifting is toast. Or it could be the clutch packs themselves, but I think that I would hear something, or see darker brown fluid in the pan.   

 

20190624_102853.jpg

20190624_102848_HDR.jpg

Edited by grimaceNMike

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I took apart my old transmission to cannibalize the solenoids from it., but I am having trouble Identifying each one. I have labeled each solenoid with yellow arrows 1-5. If anyone knows which is which and what the resistance through the good solenoids should be I would be very grateful. I plan to replace all of the solenoids inside the oil pan with my old solenoids because I did not have issues with shifting with my old transmission, just binding.  But if I could avoid opening the valve body area to access the rear 4 solenoids I would be happy as a guy who doesn't have to get transmission fluid all over his face, twice. 

 

 

 

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Edited by grimaceNMike
more questions

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1 hour ago, grimaceNMike said:

Hey thanks for all the advice everyone! I appreciate all the efforts you put into finding me a replacement transmissions and helpful tips. The past 3 days have been pretty crazy, I struggled with the torque converter to flex-plate bolts for a few hours after I rounded one. But once I got the old trans out it was fairly easy to put in the replacement one. I bought a used transmission from a Pick-N-Pull on memorial day for $75, I opted for the 13 month warranty since it had 207k miles on it. I cleaned up the outside as best I could and then removed the oil pan to check for shards of metal and the state of the trans fluid (see photos). I took the oil pan to the local Subaru dealership and asked an experienced technician his opinion on the amount of metal, he said it looked reasonable for transmissions with 200k on them. So I decided to go forward with the swap. I finished putting the car back together this morning, filled up the transmission and differential fluid, and started it up. I am getting the "POWER" light blinking 16 times and the car wont move in "D" or "3", but it drives fine in 1st and Reverse. When I have it in "2" it shifts from 1st to 2nd and drives okay as long as I am easy on the throttle. If i give it more than half throttle in "2" the trans shifts to a neutral state and then catches again in 2nd gear. The "manual" button does not change anything except keep it out of 1st as it should.  After doing a bit of research I believe it is either my "high clutch" is toast, or the solenoid controlling it is, or one of the other couple solenoids that control shifting is toast. Or it could be the clutch packs themselves, but I think that I would hear something, or see darker brown fluid in the pan.   

 

20190624_102853.jpg

20190624_102848_HDR.jpg

Take it back for the warranty.

It's junk

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What kind of junk?? Like lots-of-work junk that I can drive for the summer, or unfix-able junk?

If I cannot fix this issue, everyone in my life is insisting I donate the car to a yard, and I really don't want to buy another car.  

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If you paid for a warranty, use it.

Have the yard where you bought it get you another trans.

It's not working.  That means you get another one.

That's what warranties are for.

It's also why I pull the pan on engines and trans before accepting them from a yard.

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what he said ^^^^^

you paid for the warranty - now get your moneys worth.

I honestly can not believe that anyone told you that amount of metal shavings on the magnet was "ok" - there is no way in hell I would have even put that tranny in a car. that is just nasty looking.

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I will be pulling the junkyard transmission out sometime this summer and bring it to the junkyard for an exchange. For now the car drives and moves on its own so I can move it around to avoid getting towed here the city. Grandma donated her car for me to use in the meantime, so the "emergency" is over and I can replace the trans with a better option when it arrives. 

The reason I bought that transmission originally was because on Memorial day at the junkyard they charge half price for everything, so i saved about $70. A couple years ago there would always be 3-6 1st gen legacy's at each junkyard, I was spoiled with options! As soon as I was looking for a specific car (wrecked in the rear, 93-94, low miles) I couldn't find anything! This was the only 94 Legacy in any junkyard within 150 miles of me on Memorial Day, so I bought it as a placeholder of sorts. I thought it was junk, but after the Subaru technician said "normal wear and tear" I opted to throw it in and see. I'll be collecting an assortment of solenoids if anyone needs one in the future!

Thanks for the input everyone! Ill be posting more soon. :)

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Okay, so the warranty is about to run out on the junk transmission I got last year, I went to the yard today because a donor car finally showed up. But it does not look promising. I dropped the oil pan on the transmission and it smelled pretty terrible, not burnt, but almost putrid. It looked black to my eyes, but in the photos I do see some red. It looks slightly better than the current transmission that I have.
What are the chances of this thing working?? I hate to install another dead transmission, but I dont have many other options.
Also, what would a transmission in "good condition" from 1993 look like? 

245K miles on odometer

 

Thanks!

potential.png

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does it smell like diff fluid?

maybe someone made a mistake and put diff oil in the trans?

 

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There have been cases with a bad seal and the diff oil leaked into the tranny.

There are some synthetic tranny fluids that I think have a terrible odor.

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1. that ATF looks horrendous. maybe it's a deceptive photo but your description doesn't seem to suggest that.

2. you've driven the first transmission 1 year now, never came back with questions/comments, and didn't mention having any issues - how is it driving?  why replace it?

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Junk yard hints.  Look for cars that have been hit hard - in areas you don't care about.  At least you know it was on the road.

Look at the overall condition of the car, if it's in good condition you know the owner cared about it.

Clean fluids are a +

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1 hour ago, lmdew said:

Junk yard hints.  Look for cars that have been hit hard - in areas you don't care about. 

Best tip ever.  Older cars like this go to auction for next to nothing too, so it's not hard to find one with all good mechanicals.  

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you should be asking the Junk Yard to find you another tranny before that warranty you paid for runs out. That is what the warranty is for.. should have been done long ago.

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14 hours ago, idosubaru said:

1. that ATF looks horrendous. maybe it's a deceptive photo but your description doesn't seem to suggest that.
- It does look terrible, yes. But I am wondering if I flush it 2 or 3 times if there might be some life left in the transmission. 

2. you've driven the first transmission 1 year now, never came back with questions/comments, and didn't mention having any issues - how is it driving?  why replace it?
- I have not driven the car at all for about a year now. The car has been sitting in the street waiting for me to graduate until now. 
After I replaced the transmission last summer the transmission would not go into gear when I put it in "D" or "3". If I put it in "1" or "2" it would go into drive and shift between 1st and 2nd gear. Reverse works as well. I figured not going into "D" is why the donor car was in the junkyard and haven't done much to try and troubleshoot it. I did try and switch out the selenoid that I could reach on the bottom of the transmission after reading it might control the shifting, but it didn't change anything. So I wrote the whole project off and thought I would just donate the car. Now that I have a bunch of spare time I thought I would try again. 

9 hours ago, lmdew said:

Junk yard hints.  Look for cars that have been hit hard - in areas you don't care about.  At least you know it was on the road.
Yes, this is a very good strategy. This is what I wanted to do originally when I planned this. Unfortunately when I bought the transmission (during a 50% off sale) there was only one option in the area for the weeks leading up to that day. 
A follow up question for this would be does anyone know where I can find a transmission compatibility guide? Like does the sedan transmission fit in the wagon?? Does the 1992 or 1994 fit in the 93? I see so many varying numbers on the transmissions for those years. 

 

 

transdigits.png

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3 hours ago, heartless said:

you should be asking the Junk Yard to find you another tranny before that warranty you paid for runs out. That is what the warranty is for.. should have been done long ago.

This junkyard makes you do your own work, they will not pull parts for you. I asked them about replacing the dead transmission, and they said that I need to bring it in. Which means removing it from the car, which is not something I want to do unless I can find a replacement one first. I did not have time to put into this until this week, which is why I am addressing it now. 

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Another option is to get the current trans useable for the time being is to disconnect the electrical connector to the trans, this puts it in purely mechanical mode. Which is 3rd gear and "locked" 4WD..  I drove a rusted 80's 4EAT with trans issues like that for a year that wasn't worth fixing.  I wired in a switch to simply power the Duty C solenoid so I had either "locked" 4WD or FWD.  I put a lot of miles on it, did a few couple hour interstate trips at 4,000 RPM and it never had issues in a year and thousands of miles. It's slow starting out in 3rd gear but perfectly usable. I wouldn't want to need to drive it in dense, high traffic, congested areas and merge with traffic every day. 

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Search Subaru Transmission Codes you'll fine a list.  USMB or the web.

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