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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings all. I'm new on the Forum. I'm on my 2nd Subaru. My 1999 Subaru Legacy Outback (112K miles) is very slow to engage when shifting from Park to Drive. There is no delay when shifting from Park to Reverse. When cold the delay in engine engagement from P to D is only brief; however, when the car is warm, the car sometimes does not engage at all until I lightly rev the engine. I checked the automatic transmission fluid level and it’s fine. What might be causing this? Thanks in advance for any advice!
 

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um, the fluid level was checked while idling right?

when was the fluid last changed?
 

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The fluid level was checked a few minutes after turning the car off after having driving it for 10-15 minutes. Sounds like I should repeat this check?

The ATF and filter were replaced in March 2012.
 

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The fluid level was checked a few minutes after turning the car off after having driving it for 10-15 minutes. Sounds like I should repeat this check?
definitely - you'll likely find you are low on fluid. Try to only add a pint or half pint at a go and check frequently. Idle the car, add, wait a minute for the fluid to drain down, then check. That dipstick is notoriously picky and you need to wait between readings. Good idea the hold your foot on the brake and shift through each gear, pausing for 5 seconds, then go to park and doublecheck the level while idling afterwards. Use the HOT markings if the car is at operating temp.
 

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Will do. Thanks for the tips.

Assuming low fluid is the issue, does it seem odd so much ATF has leaked out since March 2012?
 

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Will do. Thanks for the tips.

Assuming low fluid is the issue, does it seem odd so much ATF has leaked out since March 2012?
Your assuming it had the right amount of fluid put back in it back in March. Never assume such things ;-)

Get a good read on it with the car running while in park. Also just for kicks if you don't have an ideal flat spot - check it in two different places local gas station - friends house see if the reading is more or less the same.
 

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The fluid level was checked a few minutes after turning the car off after having driving it for 10-15 minutes.
Just to be clear on this, the ATF should be checked with the engine running, not after turning it off. After driving for 10 -15 miles to get the engine and transmission fully up to operating temperature, stop on a flat, level area, engine running, gear in Park. Pull the transmission dipstick, wipe it off, wait about 1 -30 seconds, then insert the dipstick, remove it, and read the level. It should be between the two marks for "Hot Full", or close to it and preferably not much above the Full marks.

If you check the level with the engine off, and it's at the Full mark, then it will be low when the engine is running.
 

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You should also cycle through all the gears (P,N,D, whatever else you have) pausing a fwe seconds at each.
 

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I hope your problem is just low fluid level. However, if that is not the case you should read the post by 'porcupine73' on this page. It discusses a known issue of a worn low clutch outer piston seal causing the problem you describe.

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...on-wont-go-print.html?perpage=78&pagenumber=2

I had asked a dealer how much to replace it along with the low clutch timing solenoid and was quoted about $200. Here is the ATRA Technical Bulletin that shows the parts and the problem clearly.

http://www.porcupine73.com/subaru/documents/atra-4eat-delayed-forward-engagement-bulletin-844a.pdf

Also - You can quickly tell if this is a seal problem by adding a can of Trans-X and then driving for a few minutes. If the problem goes away, it is most likely the seal mentioned above. Just make sure you add it to the transmission and not the front differential... ;-)

http://www.walmart.com/ip/K-W-Trans-X-Automatic-Transmission-Slip-Stop-and-Leak-Fix-15-oz/16767860
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks all!

The ATF fluid was slightly low. It needed just under a pint.

That said, I don't want to declare victory yet. I will have more time to test drive the car tomorrow to see if the delay in engine engagement repeats. Fingers crossed...
 
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