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Premium Member
2008 JDM Outback 3.0R, 5EAT
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487 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
nice forum here and it's great to have our first subaru having wanted one for ages and can't wait to take it out of the city

recently picked up a H6 '07 outback (BP) with around 90k km at a good price and immediately replaced engine and flushed the transmission oil. it was imported to NZ from Japan around a year back and the odo history in both countries checks out.

i had the car pre purchase tested & driven by two mechanics who said it was good. although we did notice the 5EAT has poor shift timing and clunks between 2-3 and 3-2 in all modes, some days better than others.

everything else is smooth, working well and good condition for the age.

guess i took a risk buying the car but have read about the factory TCU learning reset and that there may be a software update for the controller.

we'll look this as soon as the VAG COM cable ordered arrives and play with FreeSSM. perhaps my hopes of a smooth 5EAT are too optimistic but will find out soon! otherwise i just have to get used to this or start saving for reconditioning

the other thing after owning it for a week is that it seems to drive heavier on the road once warmed up (30 minutes or so). this is hard to explain so will keep a track of symptoms or it could be the human needing to adapt to the new vehicle.

any tips appreciated by this newbie :)
 

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Registered
06 3.0R JDM facelift SI Drive-shift paddles. 87 Brumby EA81 (Brat) 4MT D/R
Joined
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609 Posts
Hi from the deep south - have a similar car an 06 facelift with SI Drive with 145K km ex Japan JDM that I've had for almost 2 years now (1st NZ owner)

Updated from a previous 01 manual D/R Outback.
Seduced by the extra power and silky smoothness of engine without the cam belt changing and headgasket issues with 2.5 as well as having SI Drive (paddle shift) VDC etc.

But miss the manual dual range as this is the 1st auto I've owned as auto was only choice for 3.0R Outback.

My trans hard shifts occassionaly too in those lower gears, particularly when manually shifting (with paddles in sports sharp mode)
- did the same as you replaced and flushed trans over a year ago. still hard shifts occassionaly but not as bad but an improvement overall.

Perhaps can try disconnecting battery briefly and reconnecting so that the TCU can relearn the way you drive it as well as doing the FreeSSM thing.

It took 2000 km of driving it to learn how to get the best out of it (power plus economy) by changing transmission modes with auto / manual shifting and having the display set in fuel consumption mode

What I've found best is under cruise for economy - continuous speed , flattish conditions - Auto in Intelligent mode.
( for slowing down - manually down shift in manual with paddles to assist braking)

For small rises (hill) manually downshift (paddles) in Auto then let trans upshift itself again.
to keep engine on the boil ie 2000 / 2500 rpm to maintain speed.

Find if don't do this auto consumes engine power and loose speed.
3.0R doesn't start developing reasonable torque until 2500 / 3000 rpm

(auto downshifting sluggish at best in Intelligent mode - guessing torque convertor locked up for economy etc - ie pressing accelerator and nothing much happening)

Using steering wheel sports sharp mode button - sports sharp in manual (paddles) for climbing hills overtaking etc
Don't use sports sharp mode in auto much as the thing goes crazy and wants to engage warp drive
by shift points way up the rev range.

Use sports mode for urban driving and while trans warming up.

Find it not bad economically too so long as use premium fuel as recommended.
Its just as good as my previous 2.5 manual most of the time apart from stop /start urban short running where it likes to drink it more.

Also if wondering what the blue light is for ( on lower left side of dash gauges )
its the trans / prep warm up light for Sport plus - which can't be used until it goes out.
This puzzled me 1st when getting car, as it had no info / manual . and Japanese in central display also.
.
 
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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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4,111 Posts
Do a Trans flush and fill with genuine SUBARU HP fluid. Spend the money to get the TCU reset at the dealer - Free SSM gives two options and using the wrong one leads to trouble. As you read here, I had the TCU reset done and it was worth it. Smooth as butter now.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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26,850 Posts
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Registered
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1,020 Posts
First check you dealer to see if any updates for the tranny. Next time is to have the car tune and we can see if we can reduce or utilised better shifting.

Please email me.
 

·
Registered
06 3.0R JDM facelift SI Drive-shift paddles. 87 Brumby EA81 (Brat) 4MT D/R
Joined
·
609 Posts
Do a Trans flush and fill with genuine SUBARU HP fluid. Spend the money to get the TCU reset at the dealer - Free SSM gives two options and using the wrong one leads to trouble. As you read here, I had the TCU reset done and it was worth it. Smooth as butter now.
Did my flush / replacement fluid with Penrite ATF FS (Australian) fully synthetic - recommended for & 5-6EATs (with a higher shear resistance / rating than Dextron 111 equivalents) which should be good enough.

Didn't consider going to the Subaru agents here and getting Subaru ATF and probably the outrageous price for it. Car stuff here in NZ costs 2- 3x more than it does in the US.

Also agree with you, probably should take car to dealer and get TCU reset to sort out occassional shifting issues.
 
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Reactions: DavidPeab

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Premium Member
2008 JDM Outback 3.0R, 5EAT
Joined
·
487 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Hi from the deep south - have a similar car an 06 facelift with SI Drive with 145K km ex Japan JDM that I've had for almost 2 years now (1st NZ owner)

Updated from a previous 01 manual D/R Outback.
Seduced by the extra power and silky smoothness of engine without the cam belt changing and headgasket issues with 2.5 as well as having SI Drive (paddle shift) VDC etc.

But miss the manual dual range as this is the 1st auto I've owned as auto was only choice for 3.0R Outback.

My trans hard shifts occassionaly too in those lower gears, particularly when manually shifting (with paddles in sports sharp mode)
- did the same as you replaced and flushed trans over a year ago. still hard shifts occassionaly but not as bad but an improvement overall.

Perhaps can try disconnecting battery briefly and reconnecting so that the TCU can relearn the way you drive it as well as doing the FreeSSM thing.

It took 2000 km of driving it to learn how to get the best out of it (power plus economy) by changing transmission modes with auto / manual shifting and having the display set in fuel consumption mode

What I've found best is under cruise for economy - continuous speed , flattish conditions - Auto in Intelligent mode.
( for slowing down - manually down shift in manual with paddles to assist braking)

For small rises (hill) manually downshift (paddles) in Auto then let trans upshift itself again.
to keep engine on the boil ie 2000 / 2500 rpm to maintain speed.

Find if don't do this auto consumes engine power and loose speed.
3.0R doesn't start developing reasonable torque until 2500 / 3000 rpm

(auto downshifting sluggish at best in Intelligent mode - guessing torque convertor locked up for economy etc - ie pressing accelerator and nothing much happening)

Using steering wheel sports sharp mode button - sports sharp in manual (paddles) for climbing hills overtaking etc
Don't use sports sharp mode in auto much as the thing goes crazy and wants to engage warp drive
by shift points way up the rev range.

Use sports mode for urban driving and while trans warming up.

Find it not bad economically too so long as use premium fuel as recommended.
Its just as good as my previous 2.5 manual most of the time apart from stop /start urban short running where it likes to drink it more.

Also if wondering what the blue light is for ( on lower left side of dash gauges )
its the trans / prep warm up light for Sport plus - which can't be used until it goes out.
This puzzled me 1st when getting car, as it had no info / manual . and Japanese in central display also.
.
Hi thanks for these tips sounds like our cars have similar behaviours tho mine prolly worse as it slams 2nd to 3rd almost every time. I hadn't thought about trying different uses of the wheel paddles in auto and manual. I was wondering about the blue light which makes sense now and will try a dealer tcu reset as you and DavidPeab suggested. Good to hear from the northern Wakatipu which I reckon one of the best places in nz, spent a few months in the area 15 years back
 

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Premium Member
2008 JDM Outback 3.0R, 5EAT
Joined
·
487 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
First check you dealer to see if any updates for the tranny. Next time is to have the car tune and we can see if we can reduce or utilised better shifting.

Please email me.
Hi, will do and I've ordered the tatrix cable. Our thoughts are with people affected by the hurricanes
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
Joined
·
26,850 Posts
Hi, will do and I've ordered the tatrix cable. Our thoughts are with people affected by the hurricanes
good news for west_minist.

barbados is way south of these particular nasty things.

 

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Premium Member
2008 JDM Outback 3.0R, 5EAT
Joined
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487 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the replies so Friday took the car to the local Subaru dealership.

I had them replace transmission oil and filter also front & rear diff oil. They used Castrol Transmax E and 80w-90 respectively. The car seems happier and doesn't roll so tight when warmed up. They checked for new software and installed an ECU update regarding oil pressure switch pattern. We also requested them to do the transmission relearn.

OK whilst it's been only a day or so WOW this is a big difference. The 2>3 and 3>2 changes are way smoother. Of course it's a ten year old vehicle and not perfect but it is a game changer. We read somewhere that some transmission relearns unlearn after a week or so but right now happy with the results.

Will see how this goes over the week and look forward to talking to Ed once the Tatrix cable arrives.
 

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Premium Member
2008 JDM Outback 3.0R, 5EAT
Joined
·
487 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Following up a year on - the 5EAT is good. This transmission is happy when the engine computer is happy.

My car has had timing issues because NZ fuel is lower octane than the JDM juice she is designed for and research has found my engine model to combust real lean straight out of the factory.

We figured this with the excellent RomRaider logging and tuning tools.

Anyways... the dealer software update made a big difference. Also when the engine's Ignition Advance Multiplier (IAM) drops below 1.00 my 5EAT gets grumpy with clunky shifts, especially on deceleration. Hope this helps somebody someday.

Also changed out the transmisison mount with new OEM which has made the ride a little smoother.
 
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