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Old 04-14-2006, 12:29 PM   #1
Over-Draft
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Member#: 52212
Join Date: Jan 2004
Chapter/Region: MWSOC
Location: Madison WI
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2004 WRX 16g-4EAT
Plays well with traffic

Unhappy WRX 4EAT problem - what would you do?

So I bought a used valve body (presumed to be in good working order) which I had modified by IPT and installed by my local Suby dealership along with fresh Amsoil Universal ATF and filters. It seemed to work just fine for about the first 5 miles. But then the shift points began to rise when going into 2nd & 4th gear. I now have about 25 miles on it and the thing needs to see at least 3,500rpm to get into 2nd and it wonít go into 4th at all. It seems to just slip, almost like itís out of gear. (Perhaps it has shifted and the clutches arenít holding?) It also threw a CEL of P0732 - Gear 2 incorrect ratio.

I checked the fluid level of course and it was fine (didnít smell burnt either). I did a little research and the P0732 seems to indicate one (or both) of the following:

ē Clutch for specific gear slipping or malfunctioning
ē Solenoid valve for specific gear dirty or malfunctioning

After talking with the guys at both the dealership and at IPT yesterday (both of whom have been very understanding) it seems that this is far more serious than just a TCU learning thing. To me that the likely scenario is that:

ē The valve body has a solenoid problem (which it either had when I bought it or was introduced somewhere along the way during the shipping/modification/installation process).
ē And perhaps because it didnít hold pressure, there may now be damage to the clutch-pack as well Ė donít know.

Reasonable alternatives at this point would seem to be:

1) Have the dealership remove the modified valve body and clean/bench test the solenoids. Then have it reinstalled (depending on the results) and hope the clutch-packs are OK.
2) Just have them put the stock valve body back in and see if the problem goes away. If not, then I know the clutch-packs are also now in need of repair.
3) Ship the stock VB (which I know to be good) to IPT and have them modify that one. Then have it installed and hope the clutch-packs are still OK.
4) In addition to doing any of the above, have the dealership remove the transmission and inspect the clutch-packs.
5) Other??

I suppose the worse-case scenario is that the clutch-packs have been damaged. If thatís the case then Iíd need to decide whether or not to have the dealership perform a standard repair for that (while we also sort out the valve body issue) or just pursue a fully prepped tranny from IPT.

An IPT tranny for this car would be serious overkill at this point since Iím only putting down 230whp with my current engine mods and I never intend to put it on a track. Heck to tell the truth, I donít even drive it very hard. But Iím guessing Iíd probably be looking at nearly half the price of an IPT unit just to have the standard repair done and it wouldnít have any warranty because of my other mods anyway.

On the other hand the IPT tranny would give me peace of mind in terms of durability and should readily deliver the kind of performance/feel I was looking for and then some. It would also open up the possibility of upgrading from the 16g I have now or perhaps even an engine swap somewhere down the road without worrying about whether or not the tranny can take it. (Perhaps waaay down the road. Like after the divorce is final Ė or at least after the kids are out of college. )

Down-time with this car is not a particularly serious issue. At less than 9k miles for a 2004 WRX, you can see it doesnít get driven daily anyhow. The cash weíre talking about on the other hand is becoming pretty serious. The pessimist in me is thinking that no matter how this gets resolved, Iím looking at anywhere between 1Ė5 thousand dollars beyond what Iíve already spent. The money is important, but so is getting this issue behind me.

IPT wants me to send both valve bodies to them to try and determine if anything is wrong with the one they modified and perhaps to modify my stock one. I may very well do that. But that doesnít address the possibility that the clutches might now be bad.

My inclination at this point is to ask the dealership to clean & test the solenoids on the VB AND pull the tranny to inspect the clutches. Then make a decision based on the results of their diagnosis. That may be the most expensive option for diagnosing the damage but at least Iíd have concrete facts upon which to base a decision.

I know all anyone can offer are opinions and speculation, but -- ďWhat would you do?Ē

P.S. To those of you who have taken the time to read all the way through to the bottom of this, thank you for letting me ďthink-out-loudĒ.
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Old 04-15-2006, 01:16 PM   #2
Over-Draft
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Join Date: Jan 2004
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Location: Madison WI
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2004 WRX 16g-4EAT
Plays well with traffic

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Wow!!

24hrs and not a single opinion? That's gotta' be a NASIOC first
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Old 06-27-2006, 09:41 AM   #3
Over-Draft
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Plays well with traffic

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Well itís been quite a saga (and admittedly quite a long time without an update) but for those of you who may have subscribed, or who just happen on to this some day while doing a search Ė hereís the poop:

I ended up having the dealership pull the VB out and bench test the solenoids. They checked out fine. So I shipped it back to IPT so they could look at it. Then I got a call from IPT saying the VB was damaged in shipping <see photo here>. They said they inspected it anyway and saw nothing wrong with the work they did but regardless, the VB was obviously no longer useable.

So I took a chance and sent my original VB to IPT. They modified that one (at no cost to me) and shipped it back. The dealership installed that one and while it solved the problems I originally encountered with 2nd and 4th gear, something new came up. Now when I first take off (when itís stone cold and been sitting for a few hours) it jerks several times in the first 10-15 feet. This only happens if I take off right away without letting it run at all and only when itís been sitting for several hours. It is easily avoided if I put it in gear for a few seconds without stepping on the gas or if I step on the gas VERY lightly for that first car length of so.

Numerous discussions with both the dealership and IPT have turned up a few possible causes but nothing definitive. They both feel that fluid is draining back somewhere (though they have differing views on where that might be) and it takes a few seconds for the tranny pump to build the pressure up so things are properly engaged. Itís only a minor annoyance that is easily avoided and since neither is taking responsibility, Iíve decided to simply live with it. (Theyíre both telling me that as long as I avoid it by letting the pressure build before taking off, thereís little chance that Iím doing any harm to the tranny.)

Other than that, the VB mod works exactly as expected. During ordinary driving, the shifts are noticeably crisper (both upward and downward) and the more torque thatís applied the firmer they become. Manually downshifting or simply nailing the throttle in drive at say 40-50mph could easily get rather addicting if youíre not careful.

The bottom line for this little adventure is that it works OK but it cost me far more than I anticipated. I did get a check back from UPS for the damaged VB but it was about $200 less than I had into it. I also had additional shipping costs to get the second VB modded, a second round of Amsoil, a second round of labor costs from the dealership, and I lost out on the opportunity to resell my original VB. All told this mod cost me about double what it should have. (On the upside, at least I donít appear to have damaged the tranny at all so I guess things couldíve been a lot worse.)

Would I do it again? Yep Ė in a heartbeat! I love the way it shifts now. (This hobby is really stupid isnít it?!?)

Would I use IPT again? Not sure - probably. But this post should still serve as a cautionary tale for those of you who canít afford to absorb any extra downtime or co$t. This is one of those mods that you really canít do yourself, will probably never undo, and youíre pretty much at the mercy of the technical expertise of others. You really have to be willing to trust them and be committed to seeing it though or you might just end up disappointed.
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Old 07-21-2006, 10:22 PM   #4
redaero
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Stumbled across this after a search. Great info...good to know your progress and things worked out. I have everything I need to take the car to the next level. Unfortunately, I need to find some downtime to get the VB upgraded.

Why do you question using IPT again? Level 10 and IPT are the vendors I'm considering for the VB upgrade.
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Old 07-22-2006, 04:32 PM   #5
PeteDucati
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: '04WRX-Axis ej257, IPT 4eat.
Vehicle:
CNC 'd heads, cams
DB18g/EWG - F/S $8K

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Quote:
Originally Posted by redaero
Level 10 and IPT are the vendors I'm considering for the VB upgrade.
Level 10 did me wrong - IPT is rebuilding my transmission now. Level 10 lied to me on several occasions.

Long story as short as possible....

Bought modified TC from Xcceleration.com - it was a brand new converter modified ($1500). I then had my valve body modified by Level 10 and added a trans cooler. The shifts didn't feel as crisp as I thought. I drove the car to Level 10 and had the owner, Pat, drive the car. He said it felt fine. Oh well. I slap on a 16g. Now that Xcceleration.com converter wasn't as loose as I wanted it to be. I couldn't brake torque my 16g past 2300rpm. Drove 1 hour to Level 10. Sam said he could modify a converter for me and it would be much looser - like a 3000rpm stall instead of the 2300rpm I had now. He told me he couldn't re-modify the converter that was in my car so I had to buy a used but virgin WRX converter ($300). Dropped the car off at Level 10 and rented a car from Enterprise for the day. Level 10 hands me a bill for ~$1,400 to modify my converter plus labor to install. Car can now be brake torqued to 2400rpm. It felt IDENTICAL to the other converter. Sam said the converter was made as loose as possible and there's nothing more that can be done. I now install an ej257 into my 2.0 WRX. Wow.. car feels great. Took the car to the track. the 1-2 shift is so sloppy I was quicker starting off in 2nd gear (12.98 vs 13.1x)! Drove 1 hour back to Level 10. Sam drove the car and said it felt fine. Blew the ej257. Took the converter to IPT while the motor was out. They were able to loosen my converter more (Sam was full of S). Took the car to the track with the new motor (cams, head work, EWG, etc). 1-2 shift REALLY sloppy, I never made a full pass due to high EGTs before the 1/8 mile. Dropped car off at IPT two weeks ago - 2nd and 3rd gear clutchs are completely shot. They're gonna loosen this converter even MORE since the cams, head work, headers, and td06h housing is eating my torque. Thanks again Level 10.

Oh.. I was running stock boost on the td04-13t before and after I did the torque converter, valve body and trans cooler. I don't beat on this car except during the 1/4 mile.
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Old 07-24-2006, 10:15 AM   #6
Over-Draft
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Join Date: Jan 2004
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Location: Madison WI
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2004 WRX 16g-4EAT
Plays well with traffic

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Quote:
Originally Posted by redaero
. . .Why do you question using IPT again? Level 10 and IPT are the vendors I'm considering for the VB upgrade.
Well, for a couple of reasons. For one thing, while they were always willing to spend a great deal of time on the phone and on E-mail with me, I never felt comfortable that I was getting the "whole story". Granted, I'm no mechanic and perhaps they just felt a lot of technical detail would be over my head. But I am something of a gearhead and I wasn't too happy hearing "Gee, we've never seen that symptom before" from a shop that specializes in transmission work. They've been in business for nearly 2 decades - you'd think they've seen just about everything.

And they seemed almost too quick to simply dismiss the work on first one and have me send them a second VB. Sure they were generous enough to offer to mod the second one without charging me for it. But that was after the first one had been sent back and "mysteriously" got damaged beyond repair. The UPS insurance covered it, but everyone who saw it (including me) scratched their heads and wondered out loud how that kind of damage could have happened when it was properly packaged and the box showed only minor damage. They seemed to be doing everything they could to look out for me, but the whole deal still left me feeling

As Pete demonstrates though, Level Ten has had both good and really bad comments from customers. On the other hand, the closest thing to negativity I've seen about IPT is my own post
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Old 08-10-2006, 10:53 AM   #7
transdude
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Over-Draft
Well, for a couple of reasons. For one thing, while they were always willing to spend a great deal of time on the phone and on E-mail with me, I never felt comfortable that I was getting the "whole story". Granted, I'm no mechanic and perhaps they just felt a lot of technical detail would be over my head. But I am something of a gearhead and I wasn't too happy hearing "Gee, we've never seen that symptom before" from a shop that specializes in transmission work. They've been in business for nearly 2 decades - you'd think they've seen just about everything.

And they seemed almost too quick to simply dismiss the work on first one and have me send them a second VB. Sure they were generous enough to offer to mod the second one without charging me for it. But that was after the first one had been sent back and "mysteriously" got damaged beyond repair. The UPS insurance covered it, but everyone who saw it (including me) scratched their heads and wondered out loud how that kind of damage could have happened when it was properly packaged and the box showed only minor damage. They seemed to be doing everything they could to look out for me, but the whole deal still left me feeling

As Pete demonstrates though, Level Ten has had both good and really bad comments from customers. On the other hand, the closest thing to negativity I've seen about IPT is my own post

I just stumbled across this post and feel that is pretty unfair to myself and to my company.

As I'm sure anyone who's reading this already knows, we have an excellent reputation for customer service- yet you were surprised that we were "almost too quick" to do whatever we could to straighten out the problem?

Also, you say that your valve body was "mysteriously" broken, with some type of insinuation of God knows what...

Give me a break. All I know is that we did everything possible to straighten out a problem that certainly looks like it had nothing to do with our workmanship, at least from where I'm standing.

I feel we were more than fair with you- be a little fair with us.

-John
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Old 08-10-2006, 12:09 PM   #8
Over-Draft
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Plays well with traffic

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I'm sorry you feel that way John. Perhaps it's an issue of context. That particular post was in response to a specific question about why I might question using IPT again.

Redaero wasn't asking why I would also consider using IPT again so my response to him didn't cover that. I think the entire thread though, when taken as a whole, is quite fair and it honestly represents my thoughts.

I started out thinking (and still do) that you guys are the best when it comes to knowing your way around the Subaru 4EAT and I don't think I've said anything here which contradicts that.

I understand that diagnosing issues from a thousand miles away can often make it impossible to draw precise conclusions. I have little doubt that if I had been able to actually bring the car in to IPT to have the work done there in the first place, you guys might very well have been able to nail down exactly what was going on.
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