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Discussion Starter #1
When it rains it pours...
Wife mentioned that car was suddenly revving on the highway and she had to put it in neutral then back to drive and would be OK. Happened a "couple" times.


Fluid was about 1 qt low so added Dex III. Drove the car on an extended trip (8hrs one way) w/o issue. Once home changed oil and added another 200 mL of fluid. Last night I was driving it and under moderate/hard acceleration it "popped" out of gear is the only way I could describe it. Rev'ed out like I was in neutral. Shifted to neutral and back to drive and it went right into gear no issue.


From park car goes into gear (forward and reverse) no problem and shifts feel sharp (normal, not hard). Tonight on the way home she says it happened again but she had to stop and put it in park to get it back into drive.


Any ideas? Solenoid of some type or just gummed up and new fluid dislodged some crap? Or something worse?


At the same time trying to diagnose P0420 code and the power steering is groaning (o-ring hopefully). Not a good day for this Subie house.
 

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It's an odd problem. All the more puzzling is that initially it would "reset" simply by going into N, but the latest case required going back to P. P and N are essentially the same -- the only difference is that in P the parking pawl is engaged. But the transmission controls and hydraulics are all at the same settings.

Are you checking the ATF properly? It should be checked with the ATF warmed up (usually after about 10 miles of driving), car level, gear in N or P, and, most importantly, engine running.

How long have you had the car? The initial finding that the transmission was one quart low is unusual unless it wasn't filled properly to begin with, there's a leak or as mentioned above, the reading wasn't done properly.

There's a chance, albeit small, that the inhibitor switch, which tells the transmission control module which gear position the lever is in, is binding such that when in D, the contact slips back to N. Very odd, but when the symptom appeared, I wonder what might have happened if instead of the lever being moved from D to N, it was moved to D3. In other words, testing to see if just re-positioning the lever was sufficient. The connection between the lever and the inhibitor switch is a cable. The switch is on the side of the transmission, and uses a set of levers. In addition to the cable, which could be malfunctioning, dirt and rust on the lever linkage can prevent proper movement of the inhibitor switch mechanism. It's just a guess at this point, trying to relate the symptom to a cause.

What maintenance has been done on the transmission; for example, has the ATF been changed? How many miles on the car?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi again Plain, thanks for taking the time. Car has 138K got it w/ 9K in 06. Maintenance on the trans is lacking but the fluid is nice and pink. I think there's a small leak which accounts for the low fluid.


The trans fluid was checked when hot, in park after shifting through the gears as suggested in the manual.


When I had it out last night I was able to reproduce the problem by putting load on the drive train either by accelerating on the hard side and once it got to 3800 rpm it would pop or if going up a hill it will do it at somewhat lower rpm. If I drive normally it's fine. Goes into gear w/o hesitation and the shifts feel good. Something pressure related it seems.
 

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M
. . . the fluid is nice and pink.
Based on? If it's the appearance on the dipstick, that's not conclusive. I can assure you that old fluid can appear nice and red/pink that way, but when drained out and put into a clear container (e.g. a pop or water bottle), it can look almost black. After 130,000 miles, I would be surprised if it were as red that way as it is on the dipstick.

I was able to reproduce the problem by putting load on the drive train either by accelerating on the hard side and once it got to 3800 rpm it would pop or if going up a hill it will do it at somewhat lower rpm.
What happens if, when it "breaks loose", instead of shifting, or stopping and shifting, the engine is allowed to come down to a lower rpm with the gear lever in D or D3, thereby reducing the pressure? Does it recover, or does the car have to be brought to a stop? When the symptom appears, does the engine seem to respond to the throttle as freely as when in neutral? Is there any ability of the engine to keep the car moving, or does the car just coast to a stop regardless of what rpm the engine is running at?

It's a strange symptom for the transmission itself to be exhibiting, especially if it requires the car to be brought to a stop, although I guess not impossible -- I just can't yet resolve what it could be. (Again, any difference if D3 is used?)

Interestingly, as an example of it's "enormous" usefulness, Romraider also can read transmission parameters. (Few, if any, generic or lower-cost aftermarket scanners have this capability.) Using these readouts, which include a number of gear selection solenoid signals, gear, input and output speed sensors, and various switch-type controls, it might be possible to identify what's happening in the transmission when the symptom appears. That could help narrow down where to look.

If you take the car to a shop, I hope you'll get back to us with the results.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You're right about the fluid condition, I'm sure if I drained it wouldn't look too pretty. Right or wrong I fall into that camp of leaving well enough alone with automatic transmissions. If I had been changing all along...but I dropped the ball on that.

When it breaks loose as you put it, it did recover (catch) by just letting off the gas. That's not what my wife told me, so the first time I had it happen I repeated by shifting out and back but when I had some time with it, I found it did catch if I let off.

I only rev'ed it once or twice immediately after I caused it to lose drive and it seemed to rev freely (i.e. I did not feel any forward motion). That said I wasn't pushing it too hard for fear of doing damage.

I did have it in 3rd with similar results so I guess it's not a gear selection/position sensor type thing. Seems more like a pressure or fluid starvation type thing. This could explain why it would not re-catch for the wife at first but did for me since I added fluid in between.

A fluid and filter change could be the ticket but I handed it off to a pro hoping to keep from doing serious damage or worse, stranding the wife. If the filter is badly clogged that could explain fluid starvation or maybe it's some type of pressure sensitive valve or solenoid.

When driving it over to the shop you would never know there's a problem, shifted perfect and pulled fine w/o slippage. I was going easy but not babying, just normal round town driving.

I will report back what the issue turns out to be. Just hope the guy thinks it through instead of throwing parts at it.
 

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Just hope the guy thinks it through instead of throwing parts at it.
I'm with you on that!

As I mentioned, the TCU can provide PIDs that could be useful in analyzing what's happening-- I've attached a page showing the typical PIDs, including the variables and switches. And these don't include two other measurements that can be made, namely the actual line pressure and the actual AWD clutch pressure, both using an external pressure gauge attached to the respective transmission port.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
As promised I wanted to post up how this issue finally ended up. My plan to get it early to keep cost down was a failure. According to shop the clutch packs were badly worn and most of the seals were showing signs of age. During their test drive he described the breakout revving as "flaring" indicating worn clutches. Ended up with a total rebuild including new torque converter.


Something to look for, there was a persistent leak aside from the main issue which was coming from the fluid lines. Fluid was dripping on the front driver's side cat. After re-clamping the problem seems to have gone away.
 

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2004 Subaru Outback (Base) |Seamist Green Pearl| soon to be Electric Green
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Not sure if this thread applies, didn't want to open a new one

04'base outback

1. Jolts into reverse when cold
(doesn't really happen when engine is warm)

I mean jolts feel it in the whole car, trying to avoid reversing just I don't have to feel the earthquake

2. Something similar into 3rd or 4th

Almost feels like transmission spins or something slips after it shifts into gear

Car runs great Otherwise

A minor squeak that I'm guessing is the power steering?

164 miles with recent engine swap
EJ25



Thanks in advance if anyone can advise or help
 

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transmission may respond well to 3 drain/fills. Perhaps add a bottle of Trans-X on the final fill.
 

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I've heard from various people that flushing the fluid sometimes

Creates more tranny problems...
Is this really my only option

Or just wait till I have extra cash to replace transmission.. Hopefully before it tanks
 

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I've heard from various people that flushing the fluid sometimes

Creates more tranny problems...
Is this really my only option

Or just wait till I have extra cash to replace transmission.. Hopefully before it tanks
People only say that when the fluid has never ever been replaced for the life of the car.
New fluid at 150k then it magically has problems..... Was going to have problems regardless because of lack of maintenance;)

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
 

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I've heard from various people that flushing the fluid sometimes

Creates more tranny problems...
Is this really my only option

Or just wait till I have extra cash to replace transmission.. Hopefully before it tanks
This was a problem 20 to 30 years ago but hardly ever a problem these days.

Do a drain and fill, more than once. You will be very surprised and pleased at how much better the transmission shifts and responds.

Seagrass
 
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This was a problem 20 to 30 years ago but hardly ever a problem these days.

Do a drain and fill, more than once. You will be very surprised and pleased at how much better the transmission shifts and responds.

Seagrass
Why was it a problem 20 years ago but no longer the case if I may ask?


I'm going to try it out when I have some time..

Any fluid recommended or just get whatever is on sale at autozone/Walmart?
 

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Why was it a problem 20 years ago but no longer the case if I may ask?


I'm going to try it out when I have some time..

Any fluid recommended or just get whatever is on sale at autozone/Walmart?
The transmissions of today use better lubricants and have better friction materials (that shed less material) and better filtration that catches a lot more contaminants.

The problem years ago was that sludge would build up in a transmission and a fluid change or flush might dislodge the sludge and then block small passageways in the transmission. I believe this problem has been all but eliminated with newer transmissions.

The main reason transmission fluid is changed these days is due to the fluid breakdown due to heat.

If you smell fresh transmission fluid it smells “sweet”. When transmission fluid “breaks down” due to heat it smells “bitter”. A simple “smell test” can often indicate if your transmission fluid needs changing.

Fresh transmission fluid makes the transmission shift smoother and quicker.

Use the recommended transmission fluid for your vehicle (not just the one on sale at Walmart, unless it is the recommended fluid)

Seagrass
 
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Valvoline MaxLife is fine. Remeber, level should be checked while idling and the distance from low to hi marks is only a few ounces - NOT a quart/liter like the engine oil dipstick.

do a search, trans fluid related posts are common.
 
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