Subaru Outback Forums banner
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part of this month's Ride of the Month Challenge!

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
1999 2.2 Subaru Legacy Wagon L, 1999 2.5 Subaru Legacy Outback Wagon - both auto
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I bought this car (99' 2.5 4EAT, 90k miles at the time ~98k now) in March last year and noticed a couple issues with the transmission. There are no codes/warning lights showing on the dash. When the car is cold the 1-2 shift is very hard and clunks into 2nd very abruptly. If I am babying the car this problem is way more noticeable. If I start off aggressively (not typical, just trying to troubleshoot) the shift is much smoother. From what I have read this is fairly typical of this age/year 4EAT though I don't experience the same issue with my 2.2 with almost 240k miles. The problem goes away once the car is warmed up ~5-10 minutes depending how cold it is outside and I honestly don't mind it that much.

The second problem is the 2-3 shift. It seems to hold in second for a very long time (I have also read longer shifts are normal to warm the transmission up, though haven't ever noticed it on the 2.2) then when it shifts to 3rd the engine revs up to 3-3,500k before shifting, this happens pretty quickly but it definitely revs up and makes me uncomfortable to be doing damage to the transmission or engine. This problem is most noticeable when accelerating hard or uphill, the opposite of the 1-2 problem. Starting out on a downhill or flat grade and/or letting the car warm up for 5 minutes seem to make the engine race much less during that shift and this problem does mostly go away after ~10-15 minutes of driving but sometimes pops up unexpectedly.

Last year I changed the transmission fluid (3x through, driving shortly in between), used Valvoline maxlife, have read newer Subaru fluid can work very well. I also read that using trans-x can really help with these 4EATs and added a bottle of that as well. I also reset the ECU by unplugging the battery and pumping the brakes. I also checked the dropping resistor and do not remember the exact reading, but it was right about in the middle.

Sorry for the essay wanted to get as much information for you as possible...Now here's where some advice would be greatly appreciated. Should I....

keep driving the car and not worry about it since it is getting warmer and the problem will be less noticeable until the fall?

change the fluid again with subaru fluid and oem filter?

have my mechanic look at it now because I'm damaging parts of the transmission/engine?

wait till fall to have my mechanic look at it?

be checking/changing some solenoid/tps/etc?

just save up to replace the transmission and don't worry about it?

I am saving up to replace my roof which is in bad shape so I'd prefer to NOT have a ~$1k-?? repair bill, but I'd rather prevent further damage and a more expensive repair later. The car is in good shape otherwise and I plan on keeping it even if it ends up needing a new/used transmission. Thanks in advance, brian
 

·
Registered
1999 Outback Wagon Green 2.2 swap
Joined
·
50 Posts
Though I really can't answer any of your questions I can share some of my experience and what I was told by my mechanic.
Apparently there was an update made to the 4EAT in 1999. This update evidently has changed some of the shifting characteristics. I have noticed on mine that there is, what I consider, a long delay when shifting from park or reverse into drive. My mechanic told me that is a trait of the 99 update.
I just bought my car so I can't say how long this has taken place. I can say that my car has 160k on it and overall seems to be fine transmission wise. I have heard that the 4EAT is a very strong unit. I can't see anything outwardly obvious that points to my trans having been worked on at any point.
I can say that I too have noticed a slightly firmer 1-2 shift when trans is cold, and have at times seen the tach rise a little in the 2-3 or 3-4 shift. I don't remember exactly how high it has revved but I know it was around 3-3500. So that all sounds similar to yours. Not that it means everything is fine but mine has lasted to 160k and you are nowhere near that.
When I had the 2.2 swapped in my mechanic did a trans service and added the trans-x at that time, he too claimed it could help with the shifting delays. Since I only had the car for 2 days before the 2.5 popped I can't really comment on that.
Sorry for rambling on but I hope something here either helps or puts your mind a little bit at ease.
Keep us posted as to what you find out.
Todd
 

·
Registered
1999 2.2 Subaru Legacy Wagon L, 1999 2.5 Subaru Legacy Outback Wagon - both auto
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
thanks, Todd. I have heard and experienced the 4EAT is very robust as well. the 2.2 (also a '99) has almost 240k and never had any issues with the transmission, it shifts very well even when cold and never ever races/revs during a shift. Maybe that transmission did not get these "updates" as the build date was '98. My parents also have a older legacy wagon (92 or 93) with no issues.

Most of the threads I read about these issues did not have a conclusive fix (or there was a solenoid throwing a code) other than the trans-x which did not work for me.

When it gets warm I'll do another trans drain/fill and use the Subaru fluid and new oem filter.
 

·
Registered
1999 Outback Wagon Green 2.2 swap
Joined
·
50 Posts
Post your results when that time comes, I am very interested to see. If I come up with anything concrete I will do the same.
 

·
Registered
1993 Legacy LSi with still functioning Air Suspension, 1999 Outback 2.5L 5MT lab Rat
Joined
·
191 Posts
My 1st step would be to inspect the axles are they OE? I have had some issues with worn OE axles (very high mileage) causing shift shock, mostly in lower gears, tends to ease when warming decreases wear by expansion. I have also had some poorly remanufactured axles (read CHEAP) cause both shift shock as well as strong idle vibration in gear, this vibration eases when placed in Nuetral or Park. I would also inspect the rear transmisson mount, make sure it is not separated or bent. There is a stud that should be straight in the center of the trans support, and the cushions should be solidly mounted to both the trans side as well as the support side. Broken rubber can also cause excessive "shift shock" In other words it may not be the transmission at all. Also for diagnostic purposes the trans in your 2.2L and 2.5; Outback are fundamentally the same, with the exception of the Ring and Pinion, as long as they are both Automatics. The Gen II 4EAT is used in Both Cars, with a 4.11 R&P in the Legacy, and a 4.44 R&P in the Outback.
 

·
Registered
1999 2.2 Subaru Legacy Wagon L, 1999 2.5 Subaru Legacy Outback Wagon - both auto
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
awesome!

this explains so many things! so glad you found it and thank you for posting as it basically alleviates my concerns above.

"4. 2nd to 3rd shift flare after vehicle is parked. Symptom After a vehicle is parked and it sits typically overnight, when it is started and the transmission upshifts into 3rd gear for the first time, the RPMs may flare slightly. This can be an intermittent condition depending on how the vehicle is positioned when parked, temperature of the transmission when parked, and ambient temperature.
Mechanism The shift flare occurs because the hydraulic circuit for high clutch in the transmission occasionally drains. When the transmission upshifts for the first time into 3rd gear, the hydraulic circuit must fill before it will apply the high clutch. The time needed to fill the circuit slightly delays the applying of the clutch causing the RPMs to rise slightly. The transmission will function normally for the rest of the driving cycle.
Recommendation Explain to the customer how and why they are experiencing this symptom. Also, make sure they understand it is not causing any damage or excessive wear to their transmission or vehicle."
 

·
Registered
1999 2.2 Subaru Legacy Wagon L, 1999 2.5 Subaru Legacy Outback Wagon - both auto
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
thank you

My 1st step would be to inspect the axles are they OE? I have had some issues with worn OE axles (very high mileage) causing shift shock, mostly in lower gears, tends to ease when warming decreases wear by expansion. I have also had some poorly remanufactured axles (read CHEAP) cause both shift shock as well as strong idle vibration in gear, this vibration eases when placed in Nuetral or Park. I would also inspect the rear transmisson mount, make sure it is not separated or bent. There is a stud that should be straight in the center of the trans support, and the cushions should be solidly mounted to both the trans side as well as the support side. Broken rubber can also cause excessive "shift shock" In other words it may not be the transmission at all.
Thank you, Joe, for this information. I believe the axles are OEM, mileage is nearing 100k, and I am aware of the aftermarket axle issues (though I haven't had issue with EMPI 805521 on my legacy wagon). I am still planning to change out the fluid/ filter this spring and at that time will inspect the transmission mounts and axles.

Also for diagnostic purposes the trans in your 2.2L and 2.5; Outback are fundamentally the same, with the exception of the Ring and Pinion, as long as they are both Automatics. The Gen II 4EAT is used in Both Cars, with a 4.11 R&P in the Legacy, and a 4.44 R&P in the Outback.
Just for curiosity sake, does this mean that the 2.2 could be put in the 2.5 and vice versa by using the same transmission and swapping the ring and pinion? They are both automatics.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top