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Old 07-09-2011, 01:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Car Hesitates to Shift When Shifted into Drive

This has been an ongoing problem for a while now. My 2000 Outback with an auto trans hesitates when you shift it into drive from a stand still. Increasing the RPM's seems to help it decide to shift into drive, but it takes anywhere from 5-60 seconds to get it to finally clunk into gear. Reverse works fine.
I should mention that I had the intercooler lines off while I was working on the engine, and they leaked while I had them off at the intercooler. Do I need to bleed the lines? I have checked the trans fluid and it is fine.
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Old 07-09-2011, 07:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Was the delayed shift into D there before the engine work when some ATF was lost, or only after?

I tend to doubt the loss would have caused this unless the level wasn't brought back up to normal. in any event, if there is air in the system, it should be expelled with some driving.

If the problem was present before the engine work, then it's probably a clutch seal that isn't holding. Not an uncommon problem, that's been reported here before. Some have had good results changing the ATF (three drain and fills with a bit of driving in between) and sometimes with adding in a transmission tuner-upper such as "TransX" which can cause the seals to swell. But this might not be a long term solution. (Try a search here for TransX; there should be a number of threads.)

How many miles on the tranny, and what's the maintenance history (e.g. fluid changes)?
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Old 07-09-2011, 09:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I bought the car with bent valves (as a result of a broken timing belt), so I rebuilt the engine. However, the symptoms didn't occur until perhaps months after I rebuilt the engine. It has just under 200k. I have driven 100 miles a day for ~ a year now like this. Perhaps I can try a fluid change, but I have heard bad reviews on the additives that cause the seals to sweal. IMHO, it just makes the problem worse. I am almost certain the tranny fluid has never been changed.
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:24 AM   #4 (permalink)
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In that many miles since the engine work any air pockets in the ATF that might have developed would have been expelled.

If the ATF has never been changed, the fluid must be in pretty poor condition. I don't think that alone is causing the delayed engagement because it would affect R as well. It's more likely a particular seal or a defective solenoid/valve (perhaps caused by the old fluid). A fluid change (three drain and refills) might correct a sticking valve problem, if that's what it is, but I wonder if it could also end up making things worse. A rebuild or replacement is more likely to be needed. Incidentally, there are threads here where the delayed engagement apparently deteriorated over time to the point where the transmission would eventually not go into gear at all -- something to watch for.
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Change the fluid

If that doesn't clear it up, put some additive in there ... there isn't anything in there that can "make it worse".

Does your engagement change at all if you shift in to 3 instead of D ? [wondering if the linkage is off just enough then eases it's way in to position]
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The same problem occurs when it is in a lower gear 1,2,3, or Drive.

It seems to be worse after backing up in reverse, followed by going foward.

My father always told me that if the fluid has never been changed on an old transmission, you shouldn't change it. The reason being, the old fluid has gunk in there that is keeping the trans alive, and changing the fluid removes it, thereby killing the transmission. I was hoping it was air in the lines or something easy, but it sounds like that is not the case.

There are so many other problems with the car, I think I will just drive it into the ground or pray that someone rear ends it or steals it. If someone wants my address, just let me know. Car bomb, whatever, just make this hunk of junk disappear. Even the thermometer in the mirror went out, after the radio, and the window switch, and the passenger window fell off its track or something, it has low oil pressure despite a new oil pump and oil sending unit....Good thing it has a car alarm, LOL.
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:21 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
My father always told me that if the fluid has never been changed on an old transmission, you shouldn't change it.
This is not your father's car and that is an old wives tale. Heck, it barely runs now and changing the fluid can only help ... ATs LOVE fresh fluid. 3-4 drain and fills is what is recommended ... less than $100 if you DIY and it may just work a miracle.

Changing Automatic Transmission Fluid (is easy)
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Old 07-12-2011, 06:32 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Less than $50 if you get the fluid in 5 gal jugs at Walmart ;]

If you were in CA, I'd make it disappear tomorrow ... Couple days worth of work and a few hundred bucks .... I'd make a few grand easy.
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:17 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Change the fluid 3 times. Add in some Trans-X or Lucas Trans additive.
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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OK, will do this weekend, barring any bad weather. Thanks for the advice, but if it kills my tranny I am going to push this thing off a cliff. Knowing this car, it will probably cause a forest fire and burn my house down, and take out a few endangered species too.

I've always fixed my own cars, and I have had many, and I have to say I have never had this many car problems with one car. I think I am going for a new world record.
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