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2011 Subaru Outback Premium 2.5i
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Discussion Starter #1
Good evening,
My 2011 Subaru outback premium 2.5i with 153k miles on it has been having some transmission problems.
My transmission has been locking up, as in it will arbitrarily lock me in or out of various gears. We took it to the mechanic to get it looked at and they said the clutch hose connecting the cylinders was leaking big time and they fixed that and sent me on my way (with a bill obv. lol!) and it drove great for a few days but within a week its still got half of the issues we sent it in for. I feel like the leaking clutch hose was merely a symptom of a larger issue.

The original issue was that the car would not let me into gears and it would block me from shifting so they replaced the clutch hose and when it locks me out of gear it does just that, I cant move into any gear at all and I get stuck in neutral.

Its also been locking me in various gears intermittently especially when driving. When it locks me into gears it has so far been only the even-numbered gears (not reverse though... yet.) and it will block my upshift/downshift, keeping me in that gear like a wall was erected in between the gear and neutral until I do a number of things from putting it back into the stuck gear and making the car shutter by dropping the clutch (if it is moving) or something as simple as shaking the shifter and hoping for the best. I don't like dropping the clutch to free it but when I talked to the mechanic about this specific issue he seemed to think the safety mechanism that keeps you from moving two shift rods at the same time was interfering with the other rods safety mechanism so the car thinks its still in gear when I go to pull it out so shaking it loose seemed logically to be my best bet seeing as though it worked. Before this started happening, when I'm driving in a gear I can push it out of gear without using the clutch (I don't normally but mistakes happen) but when it locks me in I can't even do that, I'm totally locked out of neutral.
It's like playing Russian roulette with my gear changes because with every change there is a chance it won't let me and it is quite stressful especially when it does it when I need it to most. As an early twenties male I don't drive this car particularly aggressively, I mean worse than a grandma but a lot better than a racecar driver.

Before you ask, I have not noted any clutch slipping, but I've also never experienced definitive clutch slippage so I wouldn't really know.
 

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So two things
The clutch uses a small hydrologic cylinder to move the physical clutch. Way back in the day the hose on some would expand ie get stretchy and make it hard to shift because the clutch wasn’t getting fully released as a result of the cylinder not having as much travel due to hose flex reducing hydraulic pressure when you pressed the clutch. This was made obvious due to a really squishy clutch pedal that didn’t really fully return either. The fix was just a new cyclinder anc hose sold as one unit I recall it was a simple fix maybe $200 costly dealer repair.

Your other symptoms sorta point at worn out or bent shift linkages, pair that with the clutch not really being fully released and it would easily fit your description.

My guess the clutch cylinder issue cropped up and then getting rough with the shifter trying to force gear release etc bent the tired shift linkage. So it’s probably a two part issue.

Whens the last time the gear box and the rear diff got factory spec gear oil?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The mechanic replaced the hose when I took it last week, the petal seems fine and returns to normal height.
It was leaking clutch fluid first which led to extremely hard if not impossible shifting and I never tried to force it into gear except the very first time it happened and I was like WTF
Getting rough with it so it would release has been recent so that when it sticks in gear I have a backup plan
Also, I have only owned this car for 2 years and I never changed the trans fluid, my father seems to think it almost never needs to be changed on manuals for practically the life of the car.

Driving my car is my favourite thing, I love it to death and this has spoiled my enjoyment making me hesitant to go out so I'm ready to take it to the dealer to diagnose
What do you recommend? Trans rebuild? Do you have any price estimates? I can't seem to find any online but I bet its around $1500 at least.
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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I'm not certain that you need it yet, but if you do give up on your current transmission you should look into getting a good used unit from a crashed Outback. It will cost less and work better than a rebuild.

Manual transmission oil can last a very long time. Subaru manuals tend to shift better with ordinary petroleum gear oil- synthetic has been known to cause difficult shifts and slow synchronization. Have you confirmed that the level is correct?
 

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2010 2.5 CVT Limited
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Does the transmission appear to shift ok with the engine off?
If not, that would be symptomatic of the shifter and linkages. If it only exhibits the problems with the engine on, that would indicate to me something deeper in the gearbox or still a clutch release problem.

Also, have you tried pumping the clutch? Since it is hydraulic, pumping it like one might do with faulty brakes may build enough pressure to move the slave cylinder to release the clutch. If pumping the clutch pedal makes a difference then I would focus on the clutch area.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'll give pumping it a shot but even with the clutch engaged, I've always been able to pull the shifter out of gear if I do so choose, locking me in gear is definitely a new one and I can't seem to find much precedent on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Also the issue is intermittent so it shifts alright usually but it does it to me when im driving, so to catch it doing it when the car isnt on would be quite something
 

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At 153k, my guess is the pressure plate is shot. It's unusual for the clutch slave hose to actually go, as it's usually the slave seal. There is typically a window in the trans case to view the clutch assembly. Might be worth taking a look. With that mileage, the drive train mounts are probably shot as well making the shifting geometry completely off. I've already replaced all the mounts on our Outback with only 50k and it made a huge difference. You could try bleeding out the clutch slave again to see if things improve, but that hose is indicative of bigger issues. I've found on our stick cars(Porsche, Audi, BMW), with today's stop & go traffic, it's the plate that goes before the actual clutch disk(especially on Quattro's). Best of luck.
Regards
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Okay so I wanted to post an update, I took it into the dealer this morning for a trans inspection and they found gravel in the shift linkage which caused the intermittent shift issues with no pattern of how it occurs. Anyway, they removed the bits of gravel and it drives very smoothly now and only cost me $99 to fix.
I thought the hose thing was a symptom of a bigger issue too but it's driving well for now and ill watch the clutch fluid levels periodically and take it in again if there's any more issues.

Thank you all
 
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