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Background information

After recently having the torque converter rebuilt on my 2011, 3.6, 5 speed auto transmission (E-5AT) vehicle I thought I would reset the TCU (Transmission Control Unit) to complete the job.

This actually proved to be a mistake as once the TCU is cleared you need to run through an AT (auto transmission) relearn. Until you complete the relearn procedure the “AT Oil Temp” light flashes four times per second. The AT relearn requires SSM (Subaru Select Monitor, version 4 I believe) to run through a procedure with all four wheels off the ground.

What I did and what the result was.

I obtained FreeSSM and connected to my vehicle using a Windows 10 computer and the appropriate USB to OBD2 cable. Once connected I found the transmission module (TCU) in the software and cleared “Memory 2” which cleared the TCU of all learning information. This action resulted in the AT Oil Temp light flashing at a rate of 4 times per second.

I connected my Autel MD806 scanner as I suspected a DTC (Diagnostic Trouble Code) had been set for the TCU. There were no codes set BUT on further investigation of the TCU with the Autel scanner, I found that the “Transmission Relearn” had a status of “Not Completed”. When I consulted the FSM (Factory Service Manual) I discovered when the transmission relearn had a status of “not completed“ the AT Oil Temp light would flash four times per second BUT no CEL (Check Engine Light) or DTC would be set. The FSM went on to detail the AT relearn procedure which required the vehicle to have all four wheels raised off the ground (on a vehicle lift or on jack stands) and the requirement to have the vehicle connected to SSM to initiate the relearn procedure. I thought that FreeSSM was probably able to perform the relearn as it was able to clear “Memory 2“ but after checking through the FreeSSM software and over an hour of internet searching, I became very aware that I would need a trip to the local Subaru dealer OR I would need to find a local workshop with a suitable scanner that could perform the relearn function.

The attempted fix.

I contacted several local workshops and although some of them thought they may be able to perform the relearn none of the workshops had a scanner that could perform the function on this particular vehicle (2011, 3.6 with 5 speed auto transmission). One workshop confidently told me they could do the procedure but after over an hour of trying they confirmed they were not able to do it and as they had checked the auto trans codes and fluid level they would only charge me for an hours labour. I was not very happy as I had discussed the required procedure with them and had given them a copy of the procedure from the FSM.

I subsequently discussed the issue with Cardoc on this forum and he advised he had frequently done the AT Relearn procedure on 2010/2011 vehicles with CVT transmissions with his Autel MP808TS workshop scanner BUT he had never done a 2010/2011 vehicle with 5 speed auto transmission.

On this information I contacted Autel global tech support and Autel sales here in Australia and they both replied that I would need an Autel MS906x scanner to perform the AT Relearn even though Cardoc was successfully using an MP808TS unit. It is important to note at this time that the MP808 is now a superseded model, replaced by the MS906x model.

The way ahead.

Against the advice I had been given, I decided to purchase an Autel MP808 scanner (same unit that Cardoc has but without the TPMS functions) from a local eBay seller as it was considerably cheaper than an MS906x or MP808TS unit and the yearly software update cost was much cheaper than the other units. When the MP808 unit arrived I registered the unit on my Autel account and proceeded to install the latest updates.

Finally a fix

I connected the fully updated MP808 to my vehicle and went through the relevant menu items to select the make and model of my vehicle. I then selected the transmission menu and then the “AT Relearn” option. the MP808 advised the vehicle would need to be raised off the ground and certain functions turned off before proceeding. As the vehicle was already raised off the ground I made sure the other items were turned off and clicked the OK button to proceed. I was then advised the transmission temp needed to be between 60 and 90 degrees Celsius to proceed and to run the engine until the temp was achieved (which I did). Once the temp was achieved the MP808 advised to turn the engine off and engage the e-brake. Once this was done the MP808 advised to start the engine and when the idle was settled, to put my foot firmly on the brake pedal and move the transmission to Drive. After a while the MP808 advised to move the transmission to Reverse while keeping the foot firmly on the brake and then after a short period to move the transmission to Neutral, again keeping the foot firmly on the brake pedal. During this time the transmission made several moderately loud “Clunks” which was a little alarming. The MP808 then advised to turn the ignition off and the back on before advising the AT Relearn procedure had ended normally.

Summary

If you own a 2010/2011 (and maybe all of the Gen4 models) with 3.6 engine and 5 speed auto transmission and you have the TCU “Memory 2“ cleared, you will need to do an AT Relearn with some sort of scanner or have the dealer perform the procedure.

I should also mention that the vehicle drove OK while the AT Relearn status was “Not Completed” although some of the shifts were a bit average. I drove the vehicle about 50 miles in suburban traffic over several days before I could resolve the problem.

It is important to know that this is a different procedure to the Gen3, 4 speed auto transmission which I believe relearns while you drive the vehicle in normal use (at least the one I owned did)

I hope this write up will help others that find themselves with this problem.

Seagrass
 

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2020 Onyx
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Is the moral of the story to >NOT< reset the TCU (it's unnecessary?), or is it that you should reset the TCU but only if you have access to the SSM or another device capable of completing the TCU relearn?
 

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Outback 2011 3.6R Premium
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Is the moral of the story to >NOT< reset the TCU (it's unnecessary?), or is it that you should reset the TCU but only if you have access to the SSM or another device capable of completing the TCU relearn?
This is a really good question and I am unsure of the answer.

I have a good friend who tells me “I read too much” and in this case he is correct. I read that resetting the 5EAT TCU after major work is something that should be considered. Is it necessary, possibly not but I will wait and see what difference it makes to the transmission before I make a final decision about is it worthwhile.

It is important to note that the AT Relearn procedure is more or less a required procedure for the CVT transmissions after changing the valve body and other procedures.

Seagrass
 
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Super Moderator
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
After driving the vehicle for a few weeks I am fairly certain that the AT Relearn has made a noticeable difference to the behaviour of the transmission.

I am therefore going to suggest this is a worthwhile thing to do after replacing a torque converter.

Just make sure you know what to expect and how you will arrange to have the relearn done.

Seagrass
 
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