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2003 Subaru Outback, 2.5L, 200k miles
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Discussion Starter #1
Good Morning,

We have a high mileage 2003 Outback with an AT. There is an increasingly loud whine coming from under/front of vehicle only when it is in gear. Pop the car into neutral at any speed and the noise stops. The mechanic that looked at it indicated that the noise was coming from the "transaxle."

My first question, which he could not answer, is whether I can replace just the transaxle and not the entire transmission...?

Secondly, whatever I need to replace, (Transaxle or Transmission/Transaxle assembly) does anyone have any suggestions for somewhere online to look...? I've done some research and tried several places with no luck, however, I was looking for the entire transmission. If I can get away with just the transaxle perhaps I can find one....

Thanks in advance for any responses....
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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have you checked the front diff's fluid level? That dipstick is on the other side from the transmission DS. (US pass side - might be covered in grime)

If you lost some of that fluid, say - from a bad seal - the front differential could easily be under-lubricated and noisy. (though, it's odd that in neutral the noise stops - still, diff and transmission could behave differently under load)

The front diff can be repaired or replaced separately but that may be impractical compared ot the cost of an entire tranny/diff unit.

maybe someone here could suggest a different mechanic near you that has good subaru experience. This has the possibility of being expensive and second opinions are probably worth the time/$ to acquire.
 

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'03 Outback H6-3.0 Black Granite Pearl, base model with cold weather package and cloth seats.
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Sounds like what I went thru about 3 months ago (at about 225k miles). Noise, under load going forward, from the front end of the tranny assembly, which is where the front diff is located. (Tranny assembly contains front diff, tranny, and center diff all in one.)

Ran the car while up on the rack and confirmed where the noise was coming from via mechanic's stethoscope.

Confirmed problem by changing diff fluid, and finding metal flakes/chunks on the magnetic drain plug. (not merely fine metal powder)

My solution was a Subaru-rebuilt tranny assembly, which comes with a warrantee. Part cost was about $2800, with about $1k in labor to replace. Done in two days--old one out and new one in.

Now I'm on my way to 400k miles...........!
 

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. . .loud whine coming from under/front of vehicle only when it is in gear. Pop the car into neutral at any speed and the noise stops.
Does the reference to going to neutral include when the car is stopped, or do you mean only when rolling causes the noise to stop? (In other words, is the noise present only when rolling, or also when stopped but in gear?)
 

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2003 Subaru Outback, 2.5L, 200k miles
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Discussion Starter #5
have you checked the front diff's fluid level? That dipstick is on the other side from the transmission DS. (US pass side - might be covered in grime)

If you lost some of that fluid, say - from a bad seal - the front differential could easily be under-lubricated and noisy. (though, it's odd that in neutral the noise stops - still, diff and transmission could behave differently under load)

The front diff can be repaired or replaced separately but that may be impractical compared ot the cost of an entire tranny/diff unit.

maybe someone here could suggest a different mechanic near you that has good subaru experience. This has the possibility of being expensive and second opinions are probably worth the time/$ to acquire.
I have checked the front diff fluid daily since the noise started. Changed it once as well. Even at 220k miles, I would like to keep the car, however, have not been able to locate a used transmission.
 

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Registered
2003 Subaru Outback, 2.5L, 200k miles
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21 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Sounds like what I went thru about 3 months ago (at about 225k miles). Noise, under load going forward, from the front end of the tranny assembly, which is where the front diff is located. (Tranny assembly contains front diff, tranny, and center diff all in one.)

Ran the car while up on the rack and confirmed where the noise was coming from via mechanic's stethoscope.

Confirmed problem by changing diff fluid, and finding metal flakes/chunks on the magnetic drain plug. (not merely fine metal powder)

My solution was a Subaru-rebuilt tranny assembly, which comes with a warrantee. Part cost was about $2800, with about $1k in labor to replace. Done in two days--old one out and new one in.

Now I'm on my way to 400k miles...........!
Your experience mirrors mine including the stethoscope. When I changed the fluid I had fine powder, not chunks tho. If I could get it repaired for $3800 I may, however, we also have an increasingly persistent head gasket issue. Already used the coolant conditioner which helped for awhile but it is getting worse.
 

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2003 Subaru Outback, 2.5L, 200k miles
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Discussion Starter #7
Does the reference to going to neutral include when the car is stopped, or do you mean only when rolling causes the noise to stop? (In other words, is the noise present only when rolling, or also when stopped but in gear?)
Only when rolling.
 

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01 Outback H6 VDC, 97 GT wgn w/ ej22, 98 OBW w/ej22
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have looked for a trans on Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market ? sort your search by distance, shipping will add at least $150? if you have to ship, sort by price and see if you can find a deal.

FYI: used part prices in VA get higher the closer you get to richmond and DC.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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have looked for a trans on Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market ? sort your search by distance, shipping will add at least $150? if you have to ship, sort by price and see if you can find a deal.

FYI: used part prices in VA get higher the closer you get to richmond and DC.
yep^^^

and, some of the parts listed on ebay are possibly local to you if you're in a larger municipla area. A guy here at work just had his Ford 1.9 liter Escort drop a valve seat. He found rebuilt heads on ebay and one of the better prices is from a town just east of his home.
 
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