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2006 Outback 2.5i
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22 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, wish this was a positive post but being this is the "Problems and Maintenance" forum there problem isn't too many happy stories. Thought I'd share my experience this past weekend and if any of you have heard of this happening on a Gen 3 Outback before, please do share.

This past weekend my wife and I were out running some errands trying to get some last minute necessities before baby comes in the next couple weeks. While on our way home the transmission started to act funny, slipping not wanting to engage in gear. As soon as I noticed this I pulled off the divided four lane we were driving on, at the time there were no lights on the dash.

Once I got the car to safety and shut it off I hopped out and had a look only to see a large pool of transmission fluid under the car along with a distinct trail that we left on our way into the lot. Knowing that we weren't going to be going any further I called USAA to get a tow to have the car taken to our mechanic. Being that they are closed on the weekends it would have to wait until this morning to see what had failed.

At this point the diagnosis is front pump seal failure. The transmission was going to have to come down and if anything else was evident they were going to give me a call. Didn't hear anything so I am assuming that nothing else popped up.

I fully expect things to go wrong and need replacing throughout a cars lifetime, but 74k seems very premature to me. I do plan on contacting Subaru and letting them know about the issue, but am not expecting anything out of them.

For those that are wondering the only transmission service it has had was at 60k when I did a drain and fill with the Subaru spec fluid. We are the second owners, we bought the car at 50k from a Subaru employee in Indiana. So I can't speak to anything prior to my ownership but being that it was under warranty at that point I would assume anything suspicious would have shown up on the carfax we had.

Feel free to share thoughts and opinions. My biggest fear at this point is there will be other significant transmission problems down the road.
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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15,815 Posts
I have seen the rubber hoses for the transmission cooler feed/return get hard, crack and leak. A pump seal does seem odd for a 4EAT, especially the diagnosis with the transmission still in the car since you can's see a pump seal leak from underneath. Front shaft seal would leak and allow for fluid to leak out at the front case housing. And if that is the leak, the seal is cheap and the labor is R&R trans and an extra 20 minutes to change the seal, and cost of fluid.

Attached is a pic of a breakdown of the front housing with Torque Converter. Item 14 is the oil seal that would allow for a leak into the front case.

The other pic shows the oil pump breakdown, which is behind the front case and unseen unless the transmission is taken down and disassembled partially.
 

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Premium Member
01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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15,815 Posts
And to follow up on that; if the shop you have it at says its the pump seal, you may want to rethink having them repair it. It's apparent they don't know how a Subaru transmission is assembled. On regular transmissions the pump mounts behind the torque converter and is driven by the TC and the pump seal is directly behind the TC. Not so with a Subaru.
 

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2006 Outback 2.5i
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22 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, talked to the mechanic this morning. It is not the pump seal, unfortunately. Apparently there is bushing or bearing on the input shaft that failed and became seized to the torque converter, this is how I understood it when it was explained to me. I was told the appropriate repair would be to replace the transmission as doing anything else could potentially be considered a band-aid of a fix. I am going to visually see the damage this afternoon and take pictures for my records.

In all honesty I am quite disappointed in my experience with Subaru. We did call Subaru and they said they would be willing to review the case after the repair was made by the dealership which would be $4,600. I don't really see a point in going that route when the repair will be significantly less where we are at and the warranty for the repair will be exactly the same between the two (12 months/unlimited miles).
 

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The old 4eat is about as bullet proof and boring as they come. I would get a second shops view on this. Never heard of this type of failure before and the 4eat is a beast regarding durability. So my caution flags are up on this one. Could be a very odd failure but - VERY ODD always means have a second set of eyes look at it.
 

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2006 Outback 2.5i
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22 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I wouldn't mind getting a second opinion, but seems like it could be a gamble being that every place shop the car goes I will have to pay to have the transmission removed and looked at. Could work out in my favor if I get lucky and it's not as major as what is being diagnosed or could go against me in having to pay extra labor and towing fees to confirm what is already being seen.
 

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Premium Member
01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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15,815 Posts
Let me remind you of post #3 above.

Maybe he doesn't know that the TC comes out with the shaft attached to it and he believes a bushing to be seized.

Get your car out of that shop!!!!! Take it out in pieces if you have to.

Sent PM
 

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2006 Outback 2.5i
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22 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well after taking the advice of those on the forum my wife and I decided to have the car towed to the local dealership. The initial good news was it was believed to be a damaged seal. Total was about $550 and a couple days to order the seal, have it shipped and then installed. Car was projected to be ready this morning.

When the mechanics at the dealership began reassembly this morning they discovered that the bushing the first mechanic diagnosed as a failure did indeed fail and that the entire transmission would have to be replaced. At this point the transmission as been ordered and should be in by weeks end.

On the bright side, SOA has offered to chip in $500 towards the $3500 bill. In my very biased opinion they should be chipping in more as warranty or not this should not have happened. Like I said though that is my biased opinion, others looking from the outside may see it differently.
 
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