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2000 Subaru Outback Limited, Manual Transmission
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713 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've asked a few questions on a car I'm looking to buy. I've been set on a manual since they are easier to work on and replace. I was told an automatic rebuild would be $1,400-$2,000.

My question is, what kind of life are people getting out of the automatics? I just don't want to be dropping $4k on a car then have to replace the tranny in the near future.
 

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Somebody Else's XT
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14,445 Posts
My experience is that the AWD components wear out before the trans itself does, and that goes for both the auto & manual. Thing is, the AWD parts are built into the trans, so when it goes you might as well swap for a good used trans.

The 4EAT is legendary for durability, with some well-maintained examples doing 400k miles before the rest of the car died around it. The 5EAT is on track to be about as good, but most aren't old enough to have proven it yet.

All it takes is somebody running a season on mismatched tires, or driving a week on a donut spare and you can toast the AWD in either auto or manual. Check the tires, search this board for 'torque bind' and drive the figure-8 tests to check it out.
 

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2005 Legacy 2.5i Wagon 4EAT; 2005 Forester XS 4EAT
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672 Posts
I believe my '01 H6 VDC is still on the original trans with 236,000 miles and going strong.
 

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22,802 Posts
MT 5spd in the Subaru runs about $1200-$1400 at the dealer for a full proper clutch job. The 5spd MT also commonly sees the throw out / release bearing failing before the clutch material is done.
 

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2004 Outback Wagon, Mystic Blue Pearl
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4,940 Posts
As has been said its the AWD components that are likely to lead you towards needing to work on your Subaru automatic. There are so few instances of automatic transmissions failing I struggle to think of any. As long as you are care with the AWD system (don't run mis-matched tires, replace all 4 at a time, don't tow the car on anything but a flat bed, etc.) the many other things will die before the tranny does.
 

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22,802 Posts
Obviously changing the front diff gear oil and AT fluid at decent intervals helps. One thing with Subarus is that many owners rarely do much maint if any. So the older Subarus even though their design is pretty **** good - may suffer from broken or worn out running gear due to a lack of gear oil or anything that resembles gear oil in the diff's or AT fluid that was last checked 3 presidents ago.
 

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2000 Subaru Outback Limited, Manual Transmission
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713 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I called a Subie mechanic in town who said the tranny should last just as long as the motor if things have been taken care of. He said the big thought was to make sure the head gaskets and other top end things have been replaced when they should be.

I have also heard mixed info on weather the ATX vs MTX gets better fuel economy. It's typically known a MTX will get better fuel economy, but I have heard that may not be the case with these cars.
 

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2012 limited, white, no moonroof or nav
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1,696 Posts
I have also heard mixed info on weather the ATX vs MTX gets better fuel economy. It's typically known a MTX will get better fuel economy, but I have heard that may not be the case with these cars.
There are too many variables to make a blanket statement, at least with newish cars. AT cars tend to have taller (Lower numerical) final drive ratios, which can help economy. And locking torque convertors removed most of the advantage of clutch over conventional torque convertors.

Technique is much more important when using a MT, as opposed to an AT. I have always preferred MT, but found the CVT in the gen IV to be attractive enough that I chose it. Only the second AT vehicle I have owned, in 45 years of driving.
 

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2011 Tacoma TRD Sport Double Cab Long Box
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2,893 Posts
We've got a '98 OBW with about 240k miles on it with the original engine and tranny and they're still very solid, AWD system included.

Come to think of it, we've never had a Subaru with transmission issues of any kind (and I remember us having 8 different ones, 6 or 7 of which were automatics). I believe the old '91 Loyale Wagon (AT, push-button 4WD) that we had years ago was up in the high 300k range and was still going strong. Probably would still be going today if it weren't rear-ended and totaled.
 

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22,802 Posts
We've got a '98 OBW with about 240k miles on it with the original engine and tranny and they're still very solid, AWD system included.

Come to think of it, we've never had a Subaru with transmission issues of any kind (and I remember us having 8 different ones, 6 or 7 of which were automatics). I believe the old '91 Loyale Wagon (AT, push-button 4WD) that we had years ago was up in the high 300k range and was still going strong. Probably would still be going today if it weren't rear-ended and totaled.
I've seen one 4spd AT cooked to failure. It was in a older Forester pushing 250K. Owner towed his 1700lb boat up to a lake at 8000ft in summer temps of 110degrees. He pretty much cooked everything including the 2.5. The following year he arrived driving a Dodge2500 diesel. LOL
 

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2011 Tacoma TRD Sport Double Cab Long Box
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2,893 Posts
I've seen one 4spd AT cooked to failure. It was in a older Forester pushing 250K. Owner towed his 1700lb boat up to a lake at 8000ft in summer temps of 110degrees. He pretty much cooked everything including the 2.5. The following year he arrived driving a Dodge2500 diesel. LOL
That's definitely a more appropriate vehicle choice for that. :)
 

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No doubt one year I had a friend tow my boat same boat as the one that cooked the Forester. The F250 diesel did 70mph on cruise control up the long climb that my Landcruiser will do 40mph towing the same boat. LOL I recall the F250 got a trip average of 18mpg that year. The LC got 13mpg. LOL
 

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2011 Tacoma TRD Sport Double Cab Long Box
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No doubt one year I had a friend tow my boat same boat as the one that cooked the Forester. The F250 diesel did 70mph on cruise control up the long climb that my Landcruiser will do 40mph towing the same boat. LOL I recall the F250 got a trip average of 18mpg that year. The LC got 13mpg. LOL
I've always been partial to the International T444E that was in the Fords up through the early 2000s. Don't know much about their new engines. Can't argue with the fuel economy of a diesel, that's for sure!

I can imagine the Land Cruiser's gas mileage isn't fantastic! Got a friend whose father has a Sequoia and that apparently gets mid teens in normal driving...but it's a big truck. I actually like it quite a bit, it's a limited and is very nice inside.
 

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I've always been partial to the International T444E that was in the Fords up through the early 2000s. Don't know much about their new engines. Can't argue with the fuel economy of a diesel, that's for sure!

I can imagine the Land Cruiser's gas mileage isn't fantastic! Got a friend whose father has a Sequoia and that apparently gets mid teens in normal driving...but it's a big truck. I actually like it quite a bit, it's a limited and is very nice inside.
93 LC strait 6 4.6L tractor engine slow - but will cruise all day long at 2500rpm add a huge radiator and you've got a 7 passenger tractor. LOL Not fast or efficient but nearly unstoppable. 12-14mpg - replaced it with a 07 Sequoia 4.7L V8 - way over powered 300hp soccer mom wagon 16mpg around town and will do 18mpg on road trips packed to the max even with a roof box and 16ft canoe strapped to the lid. 18mpg feels down right amazing after 14mpg with a tail wind.
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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My front diff went at just under 200k, all the AWD bits still worked fine.

Never towed anything large (under 500lbs total), fluid didn't get too old, fluid never got low, I think it was my 150,000 miles of full-throttle starts and runs and high-speed runs on the interstate that did it.
 

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2001 LL Bean Wagon
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13 Posts
The tranny on my H6 was cooked at around 90,000 miles. The rebuild was $3K:(. For three years after the rebuild the big bearing at the back of the tranny had to be replaced (paid for by the tranny shop). They finally figured out that somebody deleted the trans filter and I haven't had any tranny/bearing problems for a couple of years now. Sorry if I sound like I'm venting but a tranny should last longer than that!!!!
 

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2009 Legacy SE
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87 Posts
i have the same tranny but it has had work done to it it got a new cellanoed (sorry for spelling) 2,000 miles ago
 

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Meh.
I has wagons.
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12,325 Posts
The old 4EAT is about bullet proof if it gets serviced and not abused.

The 5EAT seems pretty good, although has a harder to find fluid spec. The 4EAT takes Dex III fluid, which you can find many places.

I have 122k and some change on Kaylee. If the trans doesn't make 200k or whenever she suffers a rust related structural failure (whichever comes first) I will be very surprised.
 
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