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Old 02-23-2008, 09:08 PM   #1
zzzzzzzz
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Unhappy Automatic transmission slipping after fluid change...

So this morning I just changed my AT tranny fluid, first time I believe after ~60k. This car has ~140k currently. So the oil smelled burnt and was very black. New oil is Valvoline ATF w/ Dex. Symptoms now is the transmission is slipping, trying to get into gear when in 1st and 2nd. If I drive it gingerly, it does not slip. After 2nd gear and into third and on the highway, all is fine. Any suggestions? Is my tranny toast? I didn't have any issues before the drain and replace. Also, I've resetted my computer with no help.
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Old 02-23-2008, 10:04 PM   #2
MasterKwan
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Well, most shops will tell you, if your tranny fluid is discolored or burned, don't change it. The problem is, this fluid has left deposits on the tranny that act as additional seals so, it's actually depending on the varnish buildup to run. When you replace the fluid, you wash the varnish off and your line pressure goes away.

I'd probably try on of those "trans medic" kinds of fluids which mostly contain seal swellers and see if it works. If it does, I'd sell the car or save money for a new tranny.

Most of the time you don't change the fluid after 100k miles unless the old fluid is perfect.
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Old 02-23-2008, 10:27 PM   #3
zzzzzzzz
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That's what I was afraid of. Unfortunately, I've only learned about this "don't change it if the car has so many miles" after I changed it. I'll try the trans stabilizer treatment and see if that helps. Any experience or know of one that actually worked on someone else's car?
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Old 02-23-2008, 10:32 PM   #4
MasterKwan
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It's cheaper than a new tranny so, you have nothing to lose. Since the tranny still sort of works, it's probably more likely to work than not. You're specifically looking for a trans-medic kind of thing. There's all sorts of snake oil out there. I'd look for something that mentions line pressure directly.
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Old 02-23-2008, 10:58 PM   #5
zzzzzzzz
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Just for thought, do you think it might be the type of tranny fluid I used as well? Should I drain and replace it with OEM fluid?
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:19 AM   #6
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I only use OEM fluid on my manual, for automatics, as long as it meets the spec it doesn't matter. The fact the old fluid was burned is all you need to know. It means you've probably had low level slipping for awhile now.
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:20 PM   #7
nardvark
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I used Valvoline Dex/Merc fluid (Dexron III compatible) when I changed mine. Only difference is that I got the high mileage stuff (MaxLife I think?), because I just rolled over 75k. It hasn't given me any problems, so I wouldn't blame the fluid.

Just a thought, just make sure you put enough fluid in. If you measured the fluid cold, or without the car running and having run through the gearshift positions, your reading would be high (I did this when I changed it the first time).
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:45 PM   #8
zzzzzzzz
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Wow, i suck. I hate to admit this, but it turns out I drained the tranny pan and over-filled where the differential dip is with tranny fluid!

Which means I drove about 10 miles or so w/ what ever small amount of tranny fluid I had left (~5 qts?). So this morning I drained the gear oil that was mixed w/ an overflow of ~4 qts of ATF, and re-filled with a qt of valvoline 80w-90 gear oil. Then after looking for 15 minutes for the tranny dip stick, I finally filled the tranny with some valvoline high mileage ATF stuff. All is working ok now. I should have never looked at instructions for a Forester when I'm doing the Legacy as the dip sticks are in different places! lol! So the question is, what harm have I done w/ having ATF in the differential? I think on the next motor oil change, I'll change the front differential again just to be sure.
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:54 PM   #9
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Haha dooh!

You probably didn't hurt the diff. Some manual cars use ATF in the transmission. High mileage fluids tend to have more seal sweller than normal fluid. Which means, once you start using it, you can't go back.
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:03 PM   #10
zzzzzzzz
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super dooh!
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:19 PM   #11
kpatler
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i was going to ask if you overfilled....and then got to the end of the thread.

DOH!!
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:57 PM   #12
nardvark
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Wow. Well, at least your tranny lived to tell the tale. I think the diff will be OK, it just needs basic lubrication. You could always drive it for a week, then drain and refill it with fresh fluid if you're real worried.

You could probably tell how much residual ATF is in there just by looking at the color as compared to some fresh gear oil. If you see any hint of pink in your diff, you might think about changing it again. If not, I wouldn't worry.
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Old 04-28-2008, 05:17 PM   #13
00-03 legacy gt
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Does anyone know where i can find a transmission dipstick for a 2000 subaru legacy
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Old 04-28-2008, 06:33 PM   #14
MasterKwan
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Sure....the dealer.
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Old 11-27-2008, 01:51 AM   #15
trevitino
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This helped a lot i'm just pissed i made the same mistake but i had never changed the fluid before and i lost my manual.
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