Transmission and Differential - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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Transmission and Differential

At 123,000 miles the transmission failed in my 2003 Outback. I went to a shop and had it rebuilt ($2800). There was still a problem so it went back and was reserviced. That was six months ago and it seemed to be all right. Recently it developed a grinding noise so I took it back again. This time they said the transmission was fine but that it was the differential ($1500). I had it towed back to my house rather than put good money after potentially bad. I thought the differential was part of the transmission but I am told I am wrong and that the warranty on the transmission doesn't cover it. I don't know what to do. The car has had the head gasket and transmission fluid leak fixed and also the timing belt. The body is in good shape. What is my best option? Do I have it rebuilt, get a used one from the junkyard, replace it, or just cut my losses and sell it for parts? Help. Has anyone else had this problem and what did you do?

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 12:24 AM
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get it to a different shop.

ask for a shop recommendation in a new thread - hopefully someone will suggest a good mechanic near you that can take a look at the car and determine what MUST be done and what may need to be done soon. It;s quite possible it's time to bail-out of this car, but, you need good information.


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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 01:47 AM
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Are they saying front diff or rear diff? Front diff is a part of the transmission but can be changed although its not an easy job.
Rear diff is pretty easy to change and easy to find as its the same from 1996-2007(maybe even farther) in Outbacks and Foresters.
I would have recommended a used replacement transmission because it is a cheaper route,

Also I have had 4 Subaru's where the front diff has blown apart, I assume a piece got loose inside and got jammed into the lower case by the moving crown gear and blew the bottom case right out. In all cases I replaced the whole transmission (seeing as I already had good used transmissions). I looked into replacing the front diff's because the trannys were still good but never had to.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 08:23 AM
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FRONT or REAR differential?

1. Front: shop is likely responsible. It is *true* that the differential doesn't require any work during a trans rebuild - but it is part of the transmission as you said - and is unbolted from the transmission during a full disassembly. When reassembling the front diff - the ring and pinion backlash and bearing preload have to be set absolutely precisely or the front diff fails.

That needs repaired sooner rather than later, it can only gets worse and will fail.

Bearing would be the cheapest front diff repair ($100 in parts), new ring and pinion would be $800 in parts. Both very roughly $1,000 in labor.

If they won't warranty it then get a used transmission. That's how most people repair automatic transmissions anyway. Rebuilds are costly and the success rates aren't extraordinary by any stretch.

2. Rear differential is probably a mis-diagnosis of "torque bind". Subaru rear diff failure is nearly unheard of an frequently misdiagnosed. It ends up being torque bind. That means you need the Duty C solenoid or clutches in the clutch pack replaced. Shop isn't responsible for that.

If it's #2 make sure you're tires all match in size and tread depth, change your fluid (although that shouldn't matter since it has new fluid from the rebuild...).
Is the AT (transmission) light blinking 16 times at start up?
Is the check engine light on?
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 09:45 AM
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I think dianamdeluca should print this thread out and at least have a conversation with a new shop but, we're not there so - maybe too many variables for us to do much more than make educated guesses about various scenarios.

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