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Discussion Starter #1
I have the opportunity to pick up an 05 outback 3.0r for cheap. Car is in great shape. Owner thinks the tranny (auto) is gone.
Apparently it'll move both directions if it's revved to about 3000 rpm. Fluid level is good and doesn't smell at all burnt.

Any chance it's something simple? I'm on the east coast of Canada, and there just aren't any transmissions anywhere around here.

No experience with subarus, but I've done all my own work forever. So if it did need to be replaced and I could find one, I wouldn't hesitate to tackle the job at all.
 

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fluid level checked while idling? easy mistake as it's the only fluid you must check that way.

check LKQ and car-part.com for some cost idea of worst-case, trans swap from a wreck.
 

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Yeah, fluid checked while idling.

I don't believe it's an axle popped out. Guy said he driving it, stopped at a red light, and just wouldn't go again. I'd think it would make noise if it was an axle, plus there's zero fluid under the car.

I wonder if it could be as easy as changing the fluid? I wouldn't think it would move at all if the tranny was gone, especially in both directions.

Would a tranny from another year work? Might make it possible to find one
 

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. . . I don't believe it's an axle popped out. Guy said he driving it, stopped at a red light, and just wouldn't go again. I'd think it would make noise if it was an axle, plus there's zero fluid under the car .. . .
Not necessarily. There's a number of discussions here dealing with axles that have pulled out by a small amount. The axle stub is still in the oil seal, so there's no oil leaking, but the splines on the axle stub are no longer engaged with the splines in the differential side gear. Compare the positions of the inner axle baffles on all four axles relative to the differential. The baffles should appear to be almost touching the side of the differential.

Also, there's been cases of the CV joint breaking inside the rubber boot. This allowed the axle to spin (the clamps on the boots were slack enough to allow the axle to turn inside the boot without twisting if it isn't already torn in two) with no power being transmitted to the wheel.

Of course, these might not be the problem, but these faults could lead to the same symptoms, and are probably worth checking, if for no other reason than to eliminate them from the list of possibilities. (Not unlike checking that the ATF is up to the proper level.)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the tips on the axles. That's something I never would have thought of. I'll try to come up with an excuse to have another look at it lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Where are the numbers on the transmission? I can use that as an excuse to have another look at it if they're somewhere they can be read on the car.
 

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if the trans fluid has a history of being in very bad condition, or. if someone has been confused about draining and re-filling fluids - I suppose there's a slim possibility some valves are gummy and fresh fluid changes and perhaps use of Trans-X on the final fill could help - but the other inspections suggested above need to be done.

there are magnets on the front diff and I think on the trans drain plugs - maybe look for anything bigger than sludge?
 

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Where are the numbers on the transmission? I can use that as an excuse to have another look at it if they're somewhere they can be read on the car.
See attached (although, on my 07 4AT, there's a single label on the right side of the transmission case itself, whereas the attached diagram shows two labels on the left side of the bell housing).
 

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Could possibly be shifter out of alignment also. Could also be a burnt forward drum if neglected or pumped-in coolant. Replaced a few transmissions due to trans cooler failing in radiator and the PO thought they could just replace the fluid.

For reference, an 05-06 LGT 5EAT is the same transmission. You can also grab a 5EAT from a JDM importer pretty cheap, as long as it's the same final drive.

Be aware, these are also the heaviest transmissions Subaru ever made. Don't think you can just "bear hug" it into place or use a 2x4 and a floor jack. These pigs are easily 100+ lbs over the 4EAT.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the info. Hoping to get a chance to have another look at it in the next day or 2. Might even see if I can scan the computer for any codes while I'm there.
 
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