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2004 Outback LL Bean H6 3.0 Silver 175K
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92 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone. I've had this issue with clunky automatic shifting since I bought the car in May 2017, but I Thought I had remedied it with a transmission fluid change. It came back a month later, and since then I've wanted to make as many observations on the behavior as I can. Here's what I can say.

While in gear the car seems fine. I don't hear anything happening in the transmission before or after the clunky shifts. The clunky shifts also don't always happen with every shift. It's more likely to happen while my foot is down on the gas like on the highway or uphill and I can get the transmission to shift more smoothly by pulling my foot off the gas before the upshift. When downshifting automatically the car is always clunky, but most of the clunkiness is with 3rd gear with both automatic upshifts and downshifts. While shifting by hand, most shifts are much smoother, even with 3rd and having my foot down on the gas. I think every gear is shifting a bit harsher than it should. My fluids look fine all around the engine, and I used high-mileage fluid when I did the drain and fill. Unfortunately, the mechanic forgot to replace the filter, as I found it in the back of the car on my long drive back to college. As for whether its mechanical or electronic, I'm thinking it's more of an electronics issue as shifting by hand is smoother, and I've always felt as though the car was waiting a long time to upshift, but that might just be me.

What really worries me is this new behavior where the car will try to downshift, but only stay in gear for a moment before going right back to the previous gear, and this results in a huge jolt while driving. I'm sure it's also putting high amounts of strain on the transmission.

I'm not going to pretend to know exactly how the sun, planetary, and ring gears work in this transmission, but I am assuming that 3rd is 1:1, so does this mean that all locks are engaged and that's why it's so harsh shifting into 3rd? should I try changing the transmission fluid and filter a few more times in quick succession to solve this issue? thank you.
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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12,304 Posts
What fluid did you use?

Drain and fill or complete fluid transfer?

Condition of transmission mount?
 

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Registered
2004 Outback LL Bean H6 3.0 Silver 175K
Joined
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92 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
What fluid did you use?

Drain and fill or complete fluid transfer?

Condition of transmission mount?
I used Valvoline High mileage of the correct type (I double checked with the owners manual).

It was just a drain a fill. I don't really believe in power flushes, and I don't want to start a flame war on it haha.

I haven't checked the transmission mount recently, but I should bring up that the clunkiness can be intermittent. It has its good days and bad. This leads me away from issues like the mount that would cause consistent symptoms.

I hope I've answered your questions well.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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26,477 Posts
in a 2004 bean you can insert the front wheel drive fuse into the under the hood fuse box and shut the rears off to see if there is any change.

(and that also isolates more expensive problems if the clunk persists) see owner's manual on doing the FWD thing.
 
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Registered
2004 Outback LL Bean H6 3.0 Silver 175K
Joined
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92 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
in a 2004 bean you can insert the front wheel drive fuse into the under the hood fuse box and shut the rears off to see if there is any change.

(and that also isolates more expensive problems if the clunk persists) see owner's manual on doing the FWD thing.
Thank you for the tip! I'll give this a shot the next time I have to drive somewhere.
 
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