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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hello, i have a 2002 subaru impreza outback sport. I just got it, and the tranny has 12thousand miles on it. Upon bringing it home, the atf light came on and the car began to shift hard. My guess is that it was starting to overheat because it doesnt shift hard upon driving startup, also fluid smells burnt but none in overflow tank or radiator. I really dont know the problem, but after looking under the hood, we felt that with just taking it for a little drive down the road, the radiator and hose gets really hot, too hot to the touch. Temp is normal on the gauge though in car. Then we looked down in front of the bumper grill, and seeing the ac condensor, all the fins were smashed in, almost rubbed in. It almost looked like someone was plowing snow with it haha and my hunch is thats what happened to the old tranny in it, it overheated because air isnt circulating through that and through the radiator, also triggering the fans to not run normally and to help cool the tranny fluid as well. Could this be right? what do you think
 

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i doubt that's what is happening. but rather than guess a whole scenario of possibilities let's focus on what we know for certain:

if the fluid smells burnt and it's shifting funny then the first thing you need to do it change the ATF.

next, let's check on what you think is some overheating:
1. the gauge isn't indicating any overheating so sounds good to me so far.
2. does it operate normal, gauge failure is possible but very rare. does it go up as the engine warms up and hold steady right around half way (maybe a hair below half way)?
 

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Is the AT Oil Temp warning light flashing, or on steady?

Can you more fully explain what you mean by "shift hard"?

If the cooling system were overheating, we would expect the radiator cooling fans to come on. If the air flow is restricted by the bent condenser fins, that would not cause the fans to run abnormally. In fact, they would come on even earlier.

The radiator hose normally does get hot, but measuring by touch is not very reliable. The coolant runs at close to 200 degrees F -- uncomfortable to most i would think. Also, it is hotter at the upper hose as this is where the hottest coolant is coming from the engine. The best way to verify the temperature is to use an infra-red thermometer at the crossover pipe itself. This is the pipe that goes across the top of the engine between the two heads, the right side of which goes to the upper radiator hose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Transmission overheat

Yes the temp gauge does go up normally, usually stays just below a hair. And what I mean by shifting hard is upon startup everything is fine. When I go about 10 miles or so it begins to to up shift hard when it needs to and downshift hard, especially when that atf light comes on then it's worse. The light comes on and flashes repeativly, but goes off after a few minutes of sitting upon startup again
 

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A flashing AT Oil Temp warning light is indicating that the on-board-diagnostics system has detected a fault -- often an open or short circuit, but it could be something else. It is not a case of the AT temperature being too high, which is indicated by a steady light (although, I guess if both faults are detected, only one would control the warning light.)

The key now is to find out what problem has been detected by reading the related codes (DTC) stored in the AT control module. A dealer would normally use the Subaru Select Monitor, but you can do it yourself. Attached is the procedure for the 2003, but it should be the same for your 2002.

The 2002 AT DTC is in the form of a two number code ranging from 11 to 93 (see attached list of DTC definitions). The definitions will provide the general area that the problem was detected, and additional troubleshooting might be necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Transmission overheating

Oh wow thanks guys, the tranny is actually out of an 03 that has around 12 thousand miles on it. Today I took it to the tranny shop and they are going to take care of it this week cause I had no clue what to really do, and the individual I bought it off of is helping me out. So hopefully all works out, will let you guys know.
 
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