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Discussion Starter #1
1999 Subaru Legacy Outback 2.5
295,000 miles

symptoms: for about 3 or 4 years, my car does two things I cannot figure out.

1. when cruising up a particular long hill, medium grade, it lurches just slightly, but ongoing.
2. when traveling I'd say 25 mph or slower, if I punch it, it bogs for about one thousand one one thousand two, them bam! it takes off.

Additional information: Bought car in 2010 with 170k on it. 2.5 L with head gaskets done twice before I bought it. No hesitation until after about 2015. Trans was slipping and slipping so I replaced it with Japanese 60k used trans program. Sometime after, I noticed that if I was at low speed and needed to accelerate as fast as possible, when I mashed it to the floor, it would just bog down and hardly move, maybe even decrease speed, as if it was a carb car loading up with fuel, then wham, it would come alive and launch as if everything was normal.

I have just very recently replaced the entire engine when a head gasket went. New engine runs like a dream and everything is well. Except, still has the uphill lurching issue (only on certain hills) and the massive hesitation when I punch it at lower speeds.

Please, anyone, help me if you can.... I am out of ideas. Big thanks in advance. Mike
 

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2002 Pair: 3.0 VDC Wag & 2.5 Limited Sedan
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same symptoms I had from my later 2002 H4 car.

Front o2 sensor, = swap for a new Denso branded one. (others do not mirror subaru's spec).

if you continue to drive you might get a flashing check engine from multiple misfires / and or a p0130 code.
(things you can grab as they are happening, but may not save)

I wrote a couple of big posts on it over the years. (with computer logs)

edit: and welcome, @18spline :)
 

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'03 outback limited, '01 Outback Limited, '01 Legacy L wagon, '96 Legacy Brighton wagon
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Does the engine rev up first before the "bam" that you describe? If so, it a common problem for which, as far as I know, there is no cure.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Does the engine rev up first before the "bam" that you describe? If so, it a common problem for which, as far as I know, there is no cure.
No. When I pull out of my driveway onto the main road, it's a 90 degree turn, so it's under 5mph. Then I mash the gas and it just falls on its face for 2 or so seconds then lights up as if it finally got the message it's time to go fast! Normally, I would let this issue go because no big deal right? Just adjust your driving habits. But, I have had it almost get me in trouble a few times trying to get out of the way quickly or maybe I pulled onto a street and misjudged how fast a car is coming up behind me. So, the issue, while annoying, is also a safety one. I want to drive a car that responsed quickly to throttle input, at all times.
 

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2014 Subaru Outback 2.5 Premium
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thank you! Now that I have the 200k motor with the $3k head gasket job transplanted, my new goal is 400k miles (old goal was 300k).
I dont see any reason you wouldn't hit that now. you seem willing to do the maintenance. Keep us updated on how it goes I love seeing Subarus with high mileage
 

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I am suspecting that it is a problem with the transmission control unit. If it is a 4EAT auto transmission they “learn” driving habits and sometimes this needs to be reset by the dealer.

In another scenario, I had a new 2000 Legacy with a 4EAT transmission and at one particular set of lights where I turned right and then started going up a long hill, if I let the transmission shift up to second it would “bog down” if I “mashed the pedal”. In the end at that set of lights I used to change to manual shift and operate the gear change. Subaru could not resolve that particular problem of early up-shifting in that instance (and I do not really expect them to be able to fix it)

Seagrass
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I am suspecting that it is a problem with the transmission control unit. If it is a 4EAT auto transmission they “learn” driving habits and sometimes this needs to be reset by the dealer.

In another scenario, I had a new 2000 Legacy with a 4EAT transmission and at one particular set of lights where I turned right and then started going up a long hill, if I let the transmission shift up to second it would “bog down” if I “mashed the pedal”. In the end at that set of lights I used to change to manual shift and operate the gear change. Subaru could not resolve that particular problem of early up-shifting in that instance (and I do not really expect them to be able to fix it)

Seagrass
Thanks for the reply. How long would it bog down when you mashed it if you just kept it mashed? The time on mine is very consistent. Now, one thing I didn't mention... was that if I spend 'one one thousand' easing into a fully mashed throttle I get the acceleration I would expect.

Regarding your comment on the transmission "learning" driving habits... wouldn't that transmission's learned reactions to input be totally reset by the time it was installed into my car having traveled from Japan and sitting on a shelf for who knows how long waiting to be sold?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
1999 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5
295k


I blew a head gasket. Got a donor car/engine with 200k and a fresh head gasket job for $450. I paid a mobile Subaru mechanic to come out and pull the good engine and my engine and then install said good engine into my 295k car. Thing drove like a dream for 2 or 3 days. Then all of a sudden I started getting hard shifts (think, sometimes so hard it felt like someone hit the car in the back at about 10mph). All of the shifting points raised by a minimum of 1,000 RPM, then "wham" it would shift. Upon taking your foot off the gas, it would decelerate and stay "stuck" in that gear until a full stop. After a couple of days of that, it no longer would shift past 3rd gear. I went everywhere, called everyone, explained the symptoms to everyone. Nobody gave me anything that worked. Then, one day I had to get on the freeway and I thought, I'm going to take this thing to red line in 3rd just to see if it shifts into 4th. It did. And it was so incredibly violent, I thought I had to have done damage to the trans. So, back down to 3rd gear and 60mph at 4200 RPM. Then I decided to engage cruise control. Everything went to NORMAL. It shifted down and I cruised at 60mph at 2600 RPM. I found that with cruise control on and engaged it drove around town just fine and I used the cruise control lever as my throttle. This stumped veteran transmission shop owners. The car finally threw a code and I got two of them. Front bank o2 sensor and some 1st gear ratio problem code. Seasoned mechanics said that the o2 sensor probably got bumped during the engine swap and needed replacing. So, I pulled the o2 sensor out of the donor car and went about swapping it into my good car. But the cable wasn't long enough to reach the harness connector. While playing around with the wire in my good car, the male half of the connector fell right out of the female half as if it was hanging by a thread. I noticed that the plastic piece that locks the two ends of the connector was broken. So, I rammed the connector together and taped it. Disconnected the battery for 10 minutes. Fired it up, and yes, of course, drove like a dream.

So, don't waste weeks or spend money... if your car starts acting in any of the ways above, at least check the front bank o2 sensor wires and connection.

Has ANYONE? ever experienced something like this? Very curious why cruise control seemed to bypass the o2 connector issue?? Puzzled.
 

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'03 outback limited, '01 Outback Limited, '01 Legacy L wagon, '96 Legacy Brighton wagon
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Regarding your comment on the transmission "learning" driving habits... wouldn't that transmission's learned reactions to input be totally reset by the time it was installed into my car having traveled from Japan and sitting on a shelf for who knows how long waiting to be sold?

The ecu will only relearn shifting by driving the car.

Bogging down: Have you cleaned the MAF and throttle body? On top of that, you may also want t try putting can of Seafoam at the next fillup.
 

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...

So, don't waste weeks or spend money... if your car starts acting in any of the ways above, at least check the front bank o2 sensor wires and connection.

Has ANYONE? ever experienced something like this? Very curious why cruise control seemed to bypass the o2 connector issue?? Puzzled.
one problem with one car = one thread. (if not it mucks up the board.)

anyway. I did not think to check the cruise control function on mine, as any check engine light would just cancel that.
I suspect though in your driving the reaction of the cruise handle at the steering wheel accelerates a lot slower than your peddle input,...so it makes for easy going on the ECU . ....as its not making the car drop gears to speed up.
 

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one problem with one car = one thread. (if not it mucks up the board.)

anyway. I did not think to check the cruise control function on mine, as any check engine light would just cancel that.
I suspect though in your driving the reaction of the cruise handle at the steering wheel accelerates a lot slower than your peddle input,...so it makes for easy going on the ECU . ....as its not making the car drop gears to speed up.
I'm a newbie and I clearly messed up and tried to start a new thread with the hard shift problem but it somehow got added to this thread... I'll pick it up soon...
 

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I'm a newbie and I clearly messed up and tried to start a new thread with the hard shift problem but it somehow got added to this thread... I'll pick it up soon...
no I merged them. just keep with the one thread, for the one car. I can alter the title. (will give that more thought).

front o2 sensor controls brains of the entire car. = so if its bad or not reporting, or the wires were pinched, you get junk for the ECU / TCU to work with. (plus your mind / right foot).

if it continues to shift weird. swap trans fluid and front/ rear diff lubes, and inspect the trans cooler lines. (rust / pinching)
 
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