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Discussion Starter #1
So I have been getting some stuff fixed up on my 08 OB Ltd in order to sell it and get best value on sale.

Just got HG/TB/WP @ 147k (only a couple weeks ago). Driving the other day things seemed great, car was normally accelerating and switching between all gears no problem. Got it up to 95 on the highway and it was smooth.

But the issue came when punching the gas and shooting the RPMs up over 4k. When the pedal is punched hard the engine revs but the car make a few noticeable jerky jolts and no power makes it to the wheels. Car keeps going and you can just keep cruising along normally. And again, everything seems to be in ship shape except when RPMs jump above the 4k threshold.

So:
-does this sound like a tranny issue?
-is there any chance that in the course of doing the HG/TB/WP that this got messed up by the mechanic?

Thoughts from those here would be very helpful.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What sort of maintenance has been done to the AT in the past?
None. I bought the car used @ 42k from a used car guy. The transmission had major issues while under warranty. After trying to fix everything else they put a new (used) transmission in to replace the one that was fritzy and it has been trucking along with no issues for the past 100k I have driven on it.
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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OK, so you now have 105k on that replacement AT - and that's well past the recommended service interval. So yes, it sounds like a transmission issue.

Since you are going to sell it, I would change the fluid as a minimum, see if that makes the behavior any better, and disclose to the buyer what you did.

No offense, but any buyer that's doing due diligence is going to look at the service history. This AT situation, as well as (I'm assuming here) having the timing belt go 43k beyond its recommended service interval, is going to say a lot about the vehicle's maintenance history - or lack thereof. You might want to consider just a trade-in - just sayin'..
 

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Discussion Starter #5
OK, so you now have 105k on that replacement AT - and that's well past the recommended service interval. So yes, it sounds like a transmission issue.

Since you are going to sell it, I would change the fluid as a minimum, see if that makes the behavior any better, and disclose to the buyer what you did.

No offense, but any buyer that's doing due diligence is going to look at the service history. This AT situation, as well as (I'm assuming here) having the timing belt go 43k beyond its recommended service interval, is going to say a lot about the vehicle's maintenance history - or lack thereof. You might want to consider just a trade-in - just sayin'..
Yup, point taken. This vehicle has been getting work done "as needed". I don't expect a kings ransom on it- but it has been relatively maintained and recorded.

Already purchased my replacement car. Mostly just want this one off my hands at this point. Trade in ain't happening.
 

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-does this sound like a tranny issue?
No. it could be, but more likely to just be an engine issue.

Have the OBD codes read and post the actual numbers here.
How old are the spark plugs and wires?
What brand are they - they need to be Subaru, NGK, or high quality. That engine is not forgiving on those parts.

-is there any chance that in the course of doing the HG/TB/WP that this got messed up by the mechanic?
yes. you could stop and ask them to check the timing marks/tensioner.

if the timing tensioner wasn't replaced - they can fail and a good time for them to fail is right after being compressed/decompressed during the timing belt install.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
No. it could be, but more likely to just be an engine issue.

Well, I won't pretend to be any type of expert in these things, but this doesn't FEEL like a transmission thing. Since the transmission has been able to shift through all gears no problem in any normal/consistent acceleration. Only on the "punch it up the hill" or "punch it for the pass on the straightaway" does this happen. And when I say punch it, I mean putting the pedal down.

Can post codes on Monday.
 

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OK, so you now have 105k on that replacement AT - and that's well past the recommended service interval. So yes, it sounds like a transmission issue.
There's little in his description that points to a diagnosis - engine is more likely with as you suggested, transmission a strong contender. AT fluid changes have a much weaker correlation to problems than that. It's typically not a big deal.

I'm not recommending it or suggesting it's a good idea, but Subaru transmissions are not routinely dying because they didn't have fluid changed by 100k. I know because many people don't care about owners manuals, forums, cars, and don't do it. I've seen lots of people/cars with 200k on the original fluid. Again - I don't recommend it but I'm seeing a nearly nonexistent 100k failure rate on people who just ignore it.

No offense, but any buyer that's doing due diligence is going to look at the service history. This AT situation, as well as (I'm assuming here) having the timing belt go 43k beyond its recommended service interval, is going to say a lot about the vehicle's maintenance history - or lack thereof. You might want to consider just a trade-in - just sayin'..
Not even close to reality - the car will easily sell for thousands more than trade in value. I've recently sold 3 friends vehicles at no charge for twice the trade in value, they didn't have impeccable maintenance records, 2 had long many years of unknown history before my friends bought them.

He lost maybe 15% of buyers, still has a huge market to sell to and will sell quickly if he's priced lower than most of the local used car Subaru's which also have minimal maintenance/records since that's the norm on 10 year old Subaru's I see.

Again - I'm not recommending it - but it's not a big deal and it's not far that from average.
 

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Well, I won't pretend to be any type of expert in these things, but this doesn't FEEL like a transmission thing.
It's pretty normal for people to think transmission issue when it's not, that's why I pretty much read right through the title and description as such and suggested it's probably the engine.

no check engine lights?
spark plugs and wires are unknown?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yes, there is a check engine light, but I have had a long time coming and going p0420. So I can't be sure of anything regarding what this issue triggered in the OBD until I get my buddy to plug a computer and read the most recent code.

Plugs and wires have never given me any issues, and as such remain likely whatever was in there at the time I purchased it.
 

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Plugs and wires have never given me any issues, and as such remain likely whatever was in there at the time I purchased it.
Then those are highly suspect. Use NGK plugs and NGK wires if you replace.

Normally they give a "cylinder misfire" code, but they can degrade and cause issues without tripping the CEL as well, though uncommon.
 

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There's little in his description that points to a diagnosis [of AT] - engine is more likely with as you suggested, transmission a strong contender.
I was going by one statement in particular that OP offered in describing the symptoms: "When the pedal is punched hard the engine revs but the car make a few noticeable jerky jolts and no power makes it to the wheels." That, to me, said transmission.

I'm not recommending it or suggesting it's a good idea, but Subaru transmissions are not routinely dying because they didn't have fluid changed by 100k.
Correct, they aren't dying. But that's not what the OP complained about; it's a vague shifting pattern under heavy acceleration that doesn't have the crispness that it once did. Quite a different matter.

The car will easily sell for thousands more than trade in value.
On this point, I'll have to admit you're probably correct - having witnessed even on this blog some of the common dramas experienced with used car purchases where due-diligence was skipped.
 

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That, to me, said transmission.
right - given what you pointed out, and indirectly addressed earlier - the first thing i'd suggest (personally I'd just change it) is check the transmission fluid.

it's free and easy - I could go pop a hood and pull the dipstick with my eyes closed.

dark, smelling burnt, or low are what you're looking for.
 

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It could be a vacuum issue. One of the best buys I ever made was a Ford F-350 duellie diesel. Guy said it needed a transmission. Lied about changing out the engine! Would drive fine under normal acceleration but the transmission would turn loose if you put your foot in it. I got it home...looked under it and it had a top quality rebuilt tranny already in it. Turns out the engine he put in was a different year and the modulator on the throttle which controlled the vacuum to the transmission was wrong. Diesels have a vacuum pump for the accessories etc. Cost me $50 to replace the modulator and had a perfectly good truck after that!
 

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Agreed with reading the codes. A elusive p0420 can be many things.

Your main complaint is drivabilty. And I also agree the engine could be the problem. The ECU has many inputs it reads, and if something is wrong, the car may not be happy. The symptoms could be masked by "transmission suspicions" . The ECU my be directing the TCU based on the inputs received by the ECU.

The typical ... check condition and level of fluid are step one along with codes.

I would suggest logging data next.
 

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. . . But the issue came when punching the gas and shooting the RPMs up over 4k. When the pedal is punched hard the engine revs but the car make a few noticeable jerky jolts and no power makes it to the wheels. Car keeps going and you can just keep cruising along normally. And again, everything seems to be in ship shape except when RPMs jump above the 4k threshold. . . .
Are you saying that the engine itself won't run much above 4k? Or does it go up to 5 or even 6000 rpm but the car speed just doesn't follow?

Depending on clarification of the symptoms, logging of data from the engine and/or transmission, as @traildogck suggested, could help narrow down the cause(s).
 
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