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From what I understand, the 4EAT will shift power from all 4 wheels in 2nd gear ---> to 90% front wheels in 3rd gear.
This is not correct, but is widely circulated, repeated and believed to be true. The AWD clutch is, essentially, continuously variable, and is controlled according to a number of parameters, including gear, speed, throttle, engine load etc. In 1st gear, and somewhat in 2nd, the clutch control responds at a more rapid rate to some of these parameters than in the higher gears, but neither 1st nor 2nd will necessarily set a full-time, 100% engagement of the clutch.

How did you come to the conclusion that it's the AWD? Did you insert the AWD disabling fuse to see what happens with it in (and the AWD not active)?

Perhaps a more detailed description of what is happening would be helpful. How we think of a "bounce" and what you're experiencing might differ in as many ways as there are readers here.
 

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Probably a good idea to try inserting the AWD fuse (which should disable the AWD making the car FWD) and see if the symptom changes/disappears. This might help identify, or eliminate, the AWD system as a cause.

Incidentally, the 2005+ has the updated 4EAT Phase II transmission in which the AWD system default (failsafe) is FWD rather than full AWD as on previous versions. (This applies when there is a fault in the control system, such as an open connection between the transmission control module and the AWD solenoid.)

A question: Do any of the instrument panel warning lights, especially "AT Oil Temp", "AWD", or "Sport", not light up when the key is turned to ON but the engine is not started, stay lit after the engine starts, or flash at any time?

Also, when you feel the stutter, is there any corresponding movement of the tachometer, such as a momentary drop (other than is normal when shifting to a higher gear)?

Checking the ATF level on the dipstick is a good idea, but other than the fluid being burned (bad smell) or very contaminated (looks black like used engine oil), the dipstick test won't provide an idea of ATF "quality". You would have to draw out, or drain, some to have a better look.

As others have occasionally found, a flush of the ATF sometimes can do wonders (if it appears the cause is in the tranny, but not the AWD). The simplest way is to drain the pan, refill, drive for a short while, and repeat, and do this three times (i.e. three drains and three refills). In some cases a clutch piston or valve is sticking (can lead to poor engagement when shifting) and the fresh fluid is able to clear away whatever is causing the binding. (See http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...n-fluid-easy.html?highlight=changing+ATF+easy).
 
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