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Old 03-07-2011, 10:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 2005 Auto Transmission Upshift Bang or Clunk

Hi All -

I've been searching and can't find a thread on this topic.

I've got @94k miles on an automatic. Just had the transmission serviced 900 miles ago.... BG flush and refill with BG automatic transmission fluid that claims to be compatible with the Subaru transmission fluid. Now I'm not so sure.

I experienced the problem the first time this past Saturday. Wife's car. She says "oh yeah, meant to tell you about that."

Cold start, less than a half mile, accelerating normally up to 35 mph. Experience a "bang" like hitting a 2-inch high pavement transition. Was eased off throttle at the point. Guess it's the torque converter locking up, but seems unlikely since car isn't warmed up and the speed is too low? Maybe shifting into high gear? Torque converter issue?

I don't know if it's related to the tranny flush or not. I've had things like this pop up after maintenance and not even be related to the maintenance done. Murphy likes to try to fool me this way.

Ideas?

Thanks,
- TC
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Old 03-07-2011, 11:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Your '05 takes Subaru HP fluid. The old Subaru fluid is just Dextron. If it Says Subaru but not HP then it is the wrong stuff.
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Old 03-07-2011, 11:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default BG claims it's drop-in replacement

I checked with the garage that provided the service and the BG manual claims that their synthetic fluid is a direct replacement for all Subaru tranny fluid.

Garage manager checking with his transmission guy to see if he's heard of any similar HARD upshifting issues on other Soobies.
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Old 03-07-2011, 02:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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When you say cold start, how cold are we talking? Even if the coolant is warm, the trans fluid takes much longer to heat up. When the temperature is below a certain point, it will shift with high line pressure causing a hard shift. Pay attention to the revs when it happens and try to determine which gear it's going into.

Is there a chance that you were accelerating and then let up on the gas right before it shifted? This will also cause a hard shift.

Make sure that their fluid is compatible with the HP fluid and not just the regular fluid. The reality is that if the fluid is JASO compliant, it should meet Subaru's specs. You could also look for an independent subaru shop in your area and ask them. I guarantee you they deal with a LOT of NA auto wagons there and can tell you how normal what you are experiencing is.
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Old 03-07-2011, 02:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Cold. First thing in the morning. 30 degrees F. I only drive it on the weekends. Happened around 30-35 mph as I backed off the accelerator since I was at desired speed, so assume it was upshifting. At first I thought I'd run over something invisible in the road. Wouldn't bug me if it hadn't 'hit' so hard.

Asked an independent shop and got the reply I expected... bring it in and we'll have a look at it. The only thing he mentioned that was typical for the Outback was a reflash of the computer (for $92!). Wouldn't expect that would help on a vehicle with 94,000 miles on the odo. I suspect it's some type of electronic gizmo that's causing the problem. Was hoping it wasn't unique and that somebody else here had experienced something similar.
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Old 03-07-2011, 03:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If it shifted right after you let up on the accelerator and it was cold, then it sounds like just a combination of high line pressure from cold temps and it began the shift before you let up on the gas. If it begins the shift under power, then it will shift harder as it thinks it will be loaded by the engine after the shift. It sounds like it might be nothing wrong except the right conditions for a hard shift. If it starts doing it under normal conditions, then you can be concerned. The fact is that a few random hard shifts will not hurt anything. I'd be more worried by slow shifts that allow clutch slippage.

Just make sure the right fluid is in there and don't worry too much unless it starts happening more frequently.
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Old 03-08-2011, 11:23 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I think Seabass is probably right. That and you may be a little extra sensitive because of the recent service. Most people pay extra attention to something recently serviced and tend to notice things that they didn't before. Might try getting it up to high gear before letting up to see if it acts differently.
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Old 06-10-2011, 09:16 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wagondude View Post
I think Seabass is probably right. That and you may be a little extra sensitive because of the recent service. Most people pay extra attention to something recently serviced and tend to notice things that they didn't before. Might try getting it up to high gear before letting up to see if it acts differently.
Wagondude. Thanks for the input. My apologies, but I found that amusing. Perhaps I wasn't clear. This was a "bang" not a sensitivity issue

I've driven many cars in the last 30+ years. Done many self repairs. This was not "a little harder" than normal. This was a slam that was more than just a hard shift. I put a shift kit in my '97 C5 Corvette which resulted in tail swinging 1-2 shifts... and that was "a little harder" in comparison.

The issue went away on its own after happening 4 or 5 times total. 3-4 times on my wife and once for me. The only thing I can imagine is that a valve was sticking, allowed pressure to build past design, and when it finally released, it resulted in an instantaneous actuation of the shift. The flush must have softened some varnish which resulted in the action and it finally cleaned itself out.

I've followed up on this post in the event someone else experiences the same problem. Had it continued I guess another flush would have been in order before pursuing other repair options.

Any future Soobies of ours will be getting regular tranny fluid changes beginning around 35,000 miles
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Old 06-13-2011, 09:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have experienced the cold hard shift. Other than letting the car warm up a bit and normal system maintenance twice now after 100K or so... Done nothing else to correct it. No issues since.

For me it was just that a hard shift feeling, but for sure big enough to take note. Well see if it keeps happening scenario.

Only conditions it reoccurred are winter cold with little to no warm up before first rolling it in reverse, then drive, the first shift would be harsh... I tend to have small throttle response during these conditions these days,
if at all.
My wife, not so much.

All goes away once the car warms up.

I'm gaining respect for all the sub assemblies we rely on after getting my re acquired 89 CRX running again. Bloody Vac leak and Coolant temp sensor fixed the **** thing. That was after replacing the TPS.

Even though a EFI system will keep the car drivable in a fat tune till complete warm up. These days, I don't feel good about driving till the motor has some heat. This is turn heats up the transmission by default.

Was it a condition where you just fired up the car and put it in gear during a cold morning? Sounds like it.
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