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Old 01-16-2004, 04:16 PM   #1
Tooth
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Default 85,000 miles: AT often will not engage in "D"

I've been to three (!) transmission shops this week and nobody can tell me what the problem is.

I've got a 1999 Legacy with 85,000 miles. Its an automatic transmission.

Never have any problems when the car is cold. But when the car is already warm and I start it up, it often won't go into gear when I shift into "Drive".

When this happens, I usually rev the engine for a little while (still in "D") until it slowly goes into gear. This doesn't happen every time, but it does happen regularly.

I did a "drain & fill" to see if that would help matters, but no dice.

Fluid level is perfect.

The best hypothesis any of the shops have come up with so far is a bad seal or valve body.

Any ideas?
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Old 01-16-2004, 06:58 PM   #2
Legacy777
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When it finally goes in......is it a jerk or more slowly engaging type of thing.

What happens if you just leave it in D and don't rev the engine?

How long do you rev the engine to get it to go in gear?

There was an issue with some of the early gen legacies where the AT fluid would drain out of the torque converter. Mine has a similar problem. Seems to be more pronounced when I put it in D then R. So it may be valve body or solenoid related. Not sure exactly what to tell you....could be something with the valve body, a seal, a solenoid, or the torque converter draining.
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Old 01-17-2004, 09:17 AM   #3
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My 90 Legacy did this a little, but mostly it would shudder through the tranny when coming to a stop pointing downhill. A bottle of Lubguard tranny additive fixed it, but probably a different problem...
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Old 01-17-2004, 03:14 PM   #4
d4d4d4d4
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Unhappy Probably already checked but.....

Are you sure your Tranny Fluid is full? Sounds to me like your fluid is low and having problems building pressure. Just fixed this same thing on my friend's car. He has an AT that was leaking oil, the oil got so low that his car would stall for 3-10 seconds before it would engage D. We put some fluid in, tightned up some leaky parts of the tranny, and it worked like new.

In your case, might be something other than oil level. I'm sure that's what the mechanics looked at first.
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Old 01-18-2004, 07:22 AM   #5
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i had this happen to my 2000 rs 4eat wouldnt go into drive unless I reved the engine didnt do it all the time though progressively got worse took it to dealership and got it replaced for free dont remember what the problem was though.
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Old 01-20-2004, 02:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by legacy777
When it finally goes in......is it a jerk or more slowly engaging type of thing.

What happens if you just leave it in D and don't rev the engine?

How long do you rev the engine to get it to go in gear?

When it finally goes into gear, I can feel it slowly starting to engage. Doesn't jerk when it finally goes into gear. In fact, sometimes I can feel it start to go into gear, pop out, and then start to engage again.

If I just leave it in D and don't rev the engine, it will never engage. When I first started having the problem, I didn't have to rev the engine...it would just hesiate for about 8 or 10 seconds before it went into gear.

I usually have to rev it at a consistent RPM for about 5 seconds or more before it starts to engage.
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Old 01-20-2004, 02:42 PM   #7
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Update: I took it to another tranny shop yesterday and we decided to drop the pan to see if there were any shavings present.

Unfortunately, we discovered some fine metal filings and what appeared to be a small chunk of brass in the pan.

Still no definite diagnosis at this point, but it seems that the next step is going to require dropping the tranny and getting inside it to find out what's going on.

Any further theories or ideas of what it could be?
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Old 01-20-2004, 05:06 PM   #8
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Hopefully it'll be ok, but if it's not I have a low mileage MY00 4EAT for sale. Good luck.
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Old 01-24-2004, 11:17 AM   #9
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Tooth-
Keep us posted. My mother has a MY00 Forester that has just started showing the exact same symptoms you mentioned. Fluid level's fine, etc....
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Old 01-29-2004, 02:20 PM   #10
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Update:

My car has been at the tranny shop for almost two weeks now, long story.

The diagnosis - seals were worn out, preventing good pressure, and the clutches were getting burnt up as a result.

I still haven't gotten a satisfactory answer about why this happened in the first place, but the mechanic suspects a problem with valve bodies may have played a role.

Still not clear if the valve bodies will need replacement.



Any thoughts on the diagnosis or other opinions about why this could have occured? What about the valve bodies?
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Old 01-29-2004, 05:30 PM   #11
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the valve body is really one piece....they probably have it out already to do the other work.....I would think it'd beneficial to have it looked at or rebuilt while it's out.....just my opinion.
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Old 02-02-2004, 01:14 PM   #12
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Well, the shop mechanic said they examined the valve body and indicated that everything looked okay, so they didn't replace it. They acted very unsure as to whether the valve body needed replaced.

Everything else was rebuilt.

At first, things seemed okay but now I've noticed that the tranny bucks between 2nd and 3rd.

Once the car has fully warmed up, it shifts smooth through all gears.

But when its cold, I consistently experience that jerk between 2nd and 3rd.

Could the culprit still be the valve body?
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Old 02-02-2004, 08:40 PM   #13
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There's a diaphragm valve on the side of the trans, just above the oilpan gasket line. That conveys manifold vacuum info to the valve body via a short steel rod. Check that it's free to move. If it's clean and you really hate the shuttling, you can make a slightly shorter rod from a broken drill bit, a masonry nail or something similarly hard. That will lower all your shift points so it will be more likely to stay in 3rd rather than drop to passing gear all the time. If you wanted to go the other way and make the trans shift at higher revs, then make a slightly longer rod.
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Old 02-02-2004, 09:49 PM   #14
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The 2-3 shift uses the brake band. It sounds like they have it adjusted too tight. When it's too tight, the band does not let go and the tranny is effect in two gears at the same time and producing the bucking you're describing. When the trans warms up, the band expands and has the proper clearances. If they back off the adjuster just a tad, it'd probably help the bucking. It may make the 2-3 shift a little slower when warm though.....
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Old 02-02-2004, 11:22 PM   #15
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Ah, yes. I read his 'bucking' as shuttling, which is when the trans doesn't want to stay in one gear, but shifts up and down with every little change in throttle or load.
My bad.
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Old 02-04-2004, 09:42 AM   #16
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Thanks for the info!

I took the car back to the shop this morning to let them check it out again. We'll see what they come back with.
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Old 02-06-2004, 09:14 AM   #17
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Thanks for everyone's help so far...

Another update:

The mechanic's explaination of the bucking:

1) Could need some time for the valves to get seated properly.

2) Dirt or grime could be causing the valve to stick.

3) Valve body may need replaced.

He discounted the idea of the brake band being the reason for the bucking.

His only suggestion was to drive the car for another week and see if the bucking subsides. If it doesn't, he thinks the valve body is the problem and that it should be replaced.

But if the valve body was the problem initially, why didn't I experience the bucking until AFTER they had rebulit the rest of the tranny?

I'm starting to have serious doubts about these mechanics.

Any other ideas?
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Old 02-06-2004, 11:29 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tooth
1) Could need some time for the valves to get seated properly.
BS
Quote:
2) Dirt or grime could be causing the valve to stick.
If they had actually cleaned the valve body while they had the trans apart, they'd know if it was clean or not.
Quote:
3) Valve body may need replaced.
Maybe, but they usually outlast the trans. Again, if they'd had it apart while doing your plates and seals, they wouldn't be guessing, they'd know for sure.
Quote:
He discounted the idea of the brake band being the reason for the bucking.
No idea one way or the other, but it doesn't hurt to try a 1/4 turn either way.
Quote:
I'm starting to have serious doubts about these mechanics.
They are supposed to come back better then when they went in... better have a trans specialist look at it.

You know you could have dug up a good used tranny for what you paid to have yours 'repaired'?
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Old 02-06-2004, 01:02 PM   #19
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Yeah, I know they're bull****tin' me at this point.

The place that's been working on it is a transmission specialty shop. At least that's what it says on the sign out front of their place...

They already took apart the value body (when the rest of the tranny was being rebuilt) and said that it looked okay, so they decided there was no need to replace it.

I've already got about $1,600 in this repair and I'm getting pretty pissed off about how they don't seem interested in fixing this new problem that they created.

Beyond that, they don't seem to have any idea about what to do next except replace/rebuild the valve body (another $600 in parts).

Last edited by Tooth; 02-06-2004 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 02-06-2004, 01:18 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by mudshovel
i had this happen to my 2000 rs 4eat wouldnt go into drive unless I reved the engine didnt do it all the time though progressively got worse took it to dealership and got it replaced for free dont remember what the problem was though.
I had the same issue and the dealer tried to blame it on the tranny cooler. A guy who used to work as a Subaru mechanic said it was some design flaw w/ the tranny that rarely showed it's ugly head. Something about not being able to build up enough pressure.
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Old 02-06-2004, 04:04 PM   #21
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Well, I did a little research and it seems that the shop WAS shooting me straight about the brake band, because my tranny is a 2nd generation 4EAT, it has no band.

Detail:

http://www.transtarindustries.com/Fi...pdf/Subaru.pdf
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Old 02-07-2004, 01:57 AM   #22
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At this point I would probably rather put $600 into a used trans and take my chances there than let these guys learn to diagnose at your expense. They are learning this trade while you pay for their tuition and materials.
Simply put, if the valve body checks out okay, ie the springs are all good, check balls all present and correct, and the valves are clean and not scored.... the tranny works. If they don't know this from the rebuild, they probably didn't open it up at all.
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Old 02-13-2004, 03:50 PM   #23
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Well, I've called around to several transmission shops about the jerking between 2nd and 3rd, they all seem to agree that the valve body needs rebuilt.

However, in a new development:

I've recently experienced a "clunking" noise when making sharp right turns at low to medium speeds.

If I'm making a steady and winding right turn, I hear a continuous clunking/thumping sound that seems to be faster or slower based on the speed I'm traveling, which indicates a rotation. After I straighten the wheel, no clunking.

Doesn't make this noise any other time.

Sounds like the noise is coming from the back of the car.

Never noticed this sound until AFTER the tranny rebuild.

Could the culprit be tranny mounts or rear differential?
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Old 02-16-2004, 10:44 AM   #24
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Try putting the FWD fuse in and see if the noise goes away or not.

You should be able to then limit it to the trans or the rear AWD system & diff....depending on what type of response you get from inserting the fuse.
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