Subaru Outback Forums banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
don't have a Subie yet, but planning on it
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am seriously looking at a 1998 Outback, but it is an automatic. I can't find the Outback I would really like in a manual (color, features, price). I understand that each transmission type is mated to a Subaru of different AWD system types. Can anyone guide me as to which way is better? I have heard that AWD with the auto trans is a great setup, but that Subaru auto trans are not the best built. I also understand they make good manual trans, but the AWD system is simple, but not as efficient. Now, all these are what sound more like rumors, so I need help from some Subaru experts as to whether the Subaru with the auto trans I am looking at would be worth getting.
 

·
Registered
2006 Silver OB 2.5i MT
Joined
·
1,045 Posts
From what I here, they're both good. Personally, I like to have total control over the engine and therefore prefer the standard, even if the AWD is not quite as advanced as with the auto. Also, the dry days generally far outnumber the snow days, so of course a standard is more "fun" to drive then.
 

·
Registered
don't have a Subie yet, but planning on it
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
My biggest concern is that with a more sophisticated system means greater maintainance needs. Is it your experience owners of Outbacks with auto trans having to spend more time having the transmission worked on as opposed to standard trans? I am wondering if that's why the predicted reliability for Subaru automatic transmissions are lower than the standard because of the complexity of the transmission/AWD system. The 'Ru I am looking at is somewhat high in miles and so I am concerned if older 'Rus require more frequent transmission repairs or not, especially the automatics.
 

·
Registered
2006 Silver OB 2.5i MT
Joined
·
1,045 Posts
I don't claim to have any Subaru experience, but I tend to think standards in general are better in the longer term (easier to diagnose, fix, cheaper? etc.) if you're going to keep the car a long time. Sounds like your concerns might have made up your mind?

what's the mileage on it?
 

·
Registered
don't have a Subie yet, but planning on it
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
80k. My Volvo is an automatic and I like it fine. But I like how you can control the engine with a standard. I don't really care, I just want something that works and will not spend more time in the shop than being driven. The trans on my Volvo has been nearly flawless since I've have had it. And it has 220K. I guess I am spoiled for that and since this 'Ru with an automatic has everything else I want, I wasn't sure if I should pass on it simply because of the transmission type. I really can't afford to own a car that will have tranmission problems, especially a Subaru. So that's my dilema.
 

·
SubaruOutback.org Founder
2018 Outback Limited 2.5L - 105,000+ miles
Joined
·
5,122 Posts
Well as far as maintainence goes you should know that Subaru's AWD systems are complex in operation although very simplistic in a mechanical sense. The AWD systems on Subarus with automatic transmissions are primarily computer controlled whereas AWD with a manual is about 90% controlled by mechanical function with little computer interation. Historically Subaru's auto trannies have had a less than spectacular record, thats not to say that they are bad and/or fall apart but that they shift rough or slow, etc. They are all heavy duty transmissions as they have to standup to an AWD system so they won't quite behave as nicely as one on a standard FWD or RWD car would.

As far as long term reliability, any manual tranny will have an advantage although both are really built quite well so I don't think you'd have to worry too much either way ;)
 

·
Registered
02 OB sport, 2.5, 5MT, WRX seats/catback/rear bar, Hellas, Home Despot CAI and roof rack
Joined
·
1,572 Posts
the diff in AWD systems is this:

on M/T, the torque split is constant 50/50 front to rear. on A/T for last few years, it's normally split 90% front/10% rear, so it's essentially a front wheel drive car until the front wheels start to slip. once that occurs, computer sends more torque to rear wheels. this is called the 4EAT system, not sure what year it came in.

this means the M/T is waay better for the loonies who like to corner hard and do controlled sliding, while the auto is prob better for most folks, and probably better in extremely low tractions situations like snow. i had to go 600 miles to get a manual trans car.

meaning no offense, but i lived with a 240 for years, and if you're happy with it despite the slushiness (unless you've spent lot of $ at IPD), you'll be perfectly happy with the OB auto. works way better than the one in 240, too, IMHO.

from what i've seen on this board, i don;'t think the autos have an especially short longevity, altho if they do crap, i could see expensive to fix. at 80K, you should have at least another 70K before you see major motor/trans problems assuming car was maintained.

if you like the car, get it and don't sweat when the trans might crap. :)
 

·
Registered
2013 XV Crosstrek
Joined
·
665 Posts
Being my first Subaru that I've owned, I believe the '05 Outback 2.5XT autos have a 40/60 fr/re torque split (unless wheelspin is detected of course). I don't know anything about older Subarus though.

Jay
 

·
Registered
'04 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport H-4 4EAT Platinum Silver Metallic
Joined
·
195 Posts
Jay H said:
I believe the '05 Outback 2.5XT autos have a 40/60 fr/re torque split (unless wheelspin is detected of course).
It's no doubt confusing.

Even though I say my 2004 Impreza Outback Sport with the Auto has 45f/55r I only figured that from the Subaru website (can't find it again right now).
No one ever told me what it might really be, or I don't remember if so, nor is it written down anywhere in my paperwork. Unfortunately, the two salesmen at the dealership I talked to said it used the viscous coupler. Obviously not, since that is only what the manuals use (or do they?).

Well, whatever... I've been watching out for what people are saying it is, which is yet another reason I'm checking in here. :)

Ah ha, found one place I was reading about the AWD before (section 2.3.2):
http://www.subaru-global.com/about/awd/index.html
Except I don't see mention of the 45/55 I told of (just know I read that someplace!). However, it does talk of the MT's using 50/50 with a limited slip differential changing that (but to what? no idea); and AT's using Active Torque Split (again, no change said).

And then there's the Variable Torque Distribution doing 35/65 up to 50/50. Only thing that really says the change.

Too bad there's nothing said about Model Years or more about the front/rear ratios, otherwise I wouldn't still be confused.

{EDIT}
Back again. Just looked at the AWD descriptions at the my.subaru.com site and that tells a different story. VTD is 45/55 according to that site. ATS varies but they don't say how much, suggestive of more than it might be. I'd even think cptoversteer might be right about the 90/10. Just wish we had actual facts from Subaru to back that up. Heck, no one seems to know what the MT's AWD change to if wheel slippage occurs either, only that it does change from 50/50.
 

·
Registered
1998 Subaru Legacy Outback
Joined
·
959 Posts
About a year ago, I picked up a 1998 Outback Limited Auto-Trans and was always curious to know how the AWD system worked. From reading I found that the AT uses the 90f/10r ratio and upon slipping, it sends more to the back.

My question is this... is there a way to lock the front and rear at 50/50 with an Auto-Trans for the heavy duty conditions? Just about 2 days ago I went apple picking on this hill/mountain that have dirt roads. Well, it rained the night before, so everything was nice and muddy. Many cars were not able to make it up the dirt roads to get to the top, but this thing crawled up it like it was on paved road... :) But this left to thinking if there was a way to lock the split equally. I placed the Auto-Trans on the "1st Gear" setting and it seemed that the wheels were locked but there's no way of knowing.

Does anyone know about this?
 

·
Registered
06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
Joined
·
5,933 Posts
8kGoodENuff said:
About a year ago, I picked up a 1998 Outback Limited Auto-Trans and was always curious to know how the AWD system worked. From reading I found that the AT uses the 90f/10r ratio and upon slipping, it sends more to the back.

My question is this... is there a way to lock the front and rear at 50/50 with an Auto-Trans for the heavy duty conditions? Just about 2 days ago I went apple picking on this hill/mountain that have dirt roads. Well, it rained the night before, so everything was nice and muddy. Many cars were not able to make it up the dirt roads to get to the top, but this thing crawled up it like it was on paved road... :) But this left to thinking if there was a way to lock the split equally. I placed the Auto-Trans on the "1st Gear" setting and it seemed that the wheels were locked but there's no way of knowing.

Does anyone know about this?
On my '03 auto, putting it in 1, 2, or R sets the front-rear 'split' mechanism to 'minimum slippage' mode, that is, F-R as locked as the computer can make it.


Dave
 

·
Registered
1998 Subaru Legacy Outback
Joined
·
959 Posts
I wonder now if that's the same for the 98 models?!?!!? Can anyone verify?

That would be something great for the forward motion. I knew that for the reverse it did that, but I was unsure of the forward motion.

Thank You.

CNY_Dave said:


On my '03 auto, putting it in 1, 2, or R sets the front-rear 'split' mechanism to 'minimum slippage' mode, that is, F-R as locked as the computer can make it.


Dave
 

·
Registered
2005 Subaru Outback Sedan H6 3.0
Joined
·
48 Posts
8kGoodENuff said:
I wonder now if that's the same for the 98 models?!?!!? Can anyone verify?

That would be something great for the forward motion. I knew that for the reverse it did that, but I was unsure of the forward motion.

Thank You.

From what I researched about my 97, putting the car in 1,2 or R will set the awd computer to 50-50. However! It doesn't necessarily stay there. If the car needs more power up front (less slippage there) it'll move it there. Not really a bad thing in my opinion.

To the OP:
Subaru automatic transmissions aren't known for failure. If they weren't beat on they can last over 200K. The only exception is the 99's and 2000's which had some kind of gasket failure I believe.
 

·
Registered
1998 Subaru Legacy Outback
Joined
·
959 Posts
Jafaro said:


From what I researched about my 97, putting the car in 1,2 or R will set the awd computer to 50-50. However! It doesn't necessarily stay there. If the car needs more power up front (less slippage there) it'll move it there. Not really a bad thing in my opinion.

To the OP:
Subaru automatic transmissions aren't known for failure. If they weren't beat on they can last over 200K. The only exception is the 99's and 2000's which had some kind of gasket failure I believe.
Thanks Jafaro for you reply.

And no... I don't think that's a bad thing either... hehe.

BTW... Your signature says it all... haha.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top