Hard shifting confused transmission - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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Hard shifting confused transmission

I have had my 03 Outback limited 4 cyl with an automatic tranny for about a month. It has 83k miles. I've noticed that the transmission shifts a little hard sometimes and frequently seems confused about which gear to choose. Has anyone else noticed this? It very well may be the norm for the equipment. This is my first Subaru. I would very much appreciate any input on this issue. I still have 2 months on the drivetrain warranty from the dealership. Thanks.

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 10:38 PM
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Hi. Hm I think the 4eat phase II also has the line pressure solenoid 'helper' resistor; the phase I's sometimes you'd get harsh shifts and it was because that resistor had burned out. Could be many other things too.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 10:40 PM
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i'd say completely normal, as my automatic transmission also has a case of automaticdownsyndrome. It never knows which gear to choose, and going up hills it will shift into a higher gear instead of a lower gear, then shift down, then back up, then down two gears, then up again. sometimes it will slam into gear meaning it will jerk pretty hard. This usually happens with me if i only pause at a stop sign and try to accelerate hard but it stays in 2nd/3rd gear when i want it in first. Hope this helps. Oh btw, this is normal of any Subaru automatic transmission to my knowledge, my moms 07 Forrester does the same thing to me. I think they're trannies suck in general, just my opinion. The auto's computers suck, and the manuals clutches burn up fast.
Oh well, thats only one thing they didnt do right.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 11:17 PM
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only issue i notice with mine is when coming to a light and almost at a stop then the light changes and a hit the gas, there is a little hesitation and sometimes a harsh engagement.

i don't have the "gear hunting" issue described above. other than what i described, i think the trans shifts fine. when i push the gas, it downshifts and goes like any other auto i've driven.

i've owned quite a few auto cars and trucks. i've always changed the trans fluid and filter every 50k or less regardless of what the manufacturer says. my 3/4 T truck that i tow with ... every 10-15k . i've never had a failure in an automatic trans in all the cars i've had , i have grenaded a few transfer cases but, that was too much motor and traction ;].
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 11:22 PM
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The Subaru Auotmatic transmission is electronically controlled. The transmission control unit is trying to match your driving habits to the engines operating condition. If you just started your engine, it is cold and the transmission will act differently than a fully warmed up car. Engine load, vehicle speed, temperature, excellerater pedal response, all of these will effect the transmissions shifting charastics. If you drive gas on, gas off, brake on, brake off...this transmission is not for you. Don't expect the transmission to be soft like a Chrysler tranny.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 11:30 PM
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I've only ever driven my dads magnum and my moms 330xi but I can definitely say the subaru is much more harsh. I thought it was because it's 11 years old but maybe I could be wrong. I find that when I'm in first and just coming up to the speed of 2nd, if I let off on the gas it jerks into second but if I continue to accelerate, its very smooth. I would have thought it'd be the opposite.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 11:53 PM
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Not the smoothest trans I've driven, but I can't complain.

My .02c would be to do a trans fluid flush if you don't know how old it is. A how to is in the Do It Yourself section here on the forums. Basically a new fliter and 3-4 drain and fills will equal basically fresh new fluid.

Also, you might try and reset the ECU. Easiest way: disconnect the battery, press the brake pedal several times to kill any system charge left, or let it sit for a while. Reconnect battery and go for a drive under common conditions and route. The car will try to learn patterns to some extent.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-06-2009, 09:50 AM
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I've seen here a number of cases where wonky trans behavior was contributed to by a bad throttle-position sensor.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-06-2009, 04:15 PM
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I know it's obvious, but do check the trans fluid level. Low fluid causes odd shifts.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-06-2009, 05:30 PM
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Change the tranny fluid, as that will usually help the harshness of the shifts.

Remove the battery cable for 10-15 minutes. This will wipe out all the learned behaviors of the previous owner. After a month the car should have learnbed your habits, but lets try a reset anyway.


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