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Auto Trans Power light 16 blinks and low idle

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Some help needed again...

1989 XT6, FWD, 4EAT automatic transmission.  When I start the engine, the Power indicator light on the dash blinks 16 times and the idle speed is very low.

I'll read deep into the FSMs and see about retrieving any codes, but I don't see any at the ECM in the trunk.  Maybe there is a clue in the transmission section.

I've investigated a bit and found that there may be a bad solenoid on the transmission.  Along with the 16 blinks, the engine idles very low.  Could this be a simple fix, add transmission fluid, or is this a sign of a bad solenoid, and which one, C?

Recently I've posted various sensor replacements, CTS, TPS, MAF and IACV, all of which are now working properly.  

I'm getting close to selling this temperamental beauty and look for a newer and more daily drivable Subaru, the wife needs a car soon.

Any help is appreciated! :banghead:

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Has it done it more than once? Maybe it’s fine and won’t do it again, if this is the first occurrence after all that other work,

But you probably tried multiple times...

the check engine light isn’t on?  If it is, read the codes which flash via the ECU LED (see below).  If not....

Check the engine memory codes via the read memory configuration.  In the trunk - under the rear shelf that holds the Speakers - You plug in either the black or green connectors in the trunk by the passenger side speaker. This puts it in read memory mode.  I forget which ones and what steps (plug in, turn key, etc). Once you do it right the green LED in he ECU (big box hanging under that same speaker) will flash any codes   Count the long and short flashes.

3 long flashes and 2 quick ones = code 32.  Does that make sense?

To get the Transmssion codes You have to do a crazy handshake to get the AT light to flash the codes. It’s awful.  

Open door shift close door turn key shift open door turn key sacrifice a butterfly and hole the light flashes the code.  

Ideally you get that code - it’s telling you something.

Check pan - if it’s dented then a solenoid and or wiring are likely damaged. There’s little clearance between the pan and wires\solenoids  


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Lol, I say the same thing to myself, every time I start it, "Maybe it's fine and won't do it again".  It seems to be playing hide and seek with me, fix one thing, something else happens.  

This tells me that the issues are all related, whether electrical. mechanical or a combination of both.

Yes, transmission code reading is the most bass ackwards process for this car.  I found something in the FSM, but your open the door, shut the door, kill a butterfly path seems like it will work just as well. :unsure:

I may take the car to a transmission mechanic and have it flushed completely, and re filled.  They can poke around at the solenoids and the torque converter while doing the fluid and filter change.  This will be the last coin that I throw at it.

I've never bottomed out, this car appears to sit low in the rear, it's FWD with the wheel wells full of 17" wheel.  The suspension is tight.

Busy day today, I'll try this weekend , looking at the code process and hopefully get something.


XT6 4EAT Trouble Code Reading .jpg

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1989 Subaru XT6h.jpg

1989 Subaru XT6k.jpg

1989 Subaru XT6l.jpg

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I performed the transmission code reading handshake, according to the chart above, found in the FSM.  No codes, that's a good thing.

So I did the obvious, checked the fluid level and noticed it was out of range when cold.  I added the one quart of fluid that I had in the garage.  

Just to bring everything I've done back to a fresh start, I cleared the memory of the ECU, again, per the FSM... connect the read memory and test mode connectors and start the engine.

Something good happened after a little warm up, RPMs climbed to close to normal.  

I'll let it sit for the day, pick up a few more quarts of transmission fluid and add until the cold mark is closer to the middle of the marks.

A crazy shot on the dark?  You tell me, but being a first generation ECU car, I would not be surprised,

Happy Labor Day! :drunk:

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Today I took Slater for a long drive with a few good full throttle runs on the highway.  The transmission is good, fluid level in range and with full throttle blips, the Power light on the dash comes on as it should, downshifts and takes of with a nice giddy up roar.  The H6 has a nice growl.

RPMs at idle were still low, around 500, but no stalling at idle or misfiring at any point, so it's drivable at this point.

So, I stopped trying to think too much and just took a close look at the throttle linkage at the throttle body cams.

Well, well, well, the linkage cam wasn't engaging the throttle body linkage enough to bring idle to the usual 750 RPMs.

Easy fix at the adjustable screws, not the throttle stop, do not touch that screw!

And it's now running perfectly! :burnout:

After I put a hundred or so miles on it, and everything is still good, Slater may be up for sale, needs of the family have determined the need for a more daily drivable and safer car for the wife.

I'll be looking for an old-school Outback sedan, 2004 H6 would be perfect.  There's an H4 beauty on eBay, ending tonight, but I'm not quite ready, can't have everything. :slobber:


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