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Old 07-12-2002, 02:14 AM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 21164
Join Date: Jul 2002
1998 Legacy Outback

Question Notchy Shifting

When shifting my 98 OB MT I sometimes have to use a lot of effort to get the shifter into the gear. When shifting from second to third, there's an audible clunk in the rear end somewhere. My clutch seems fine, so is this just an AWD thing? It seems to take more effort than it should to put the shifter in gear. 60% of the time, the shifter grinds before going into reverse, what’s the deal w/ that?
My car has the infamous popping out of first gear problem as well. When I talked to my Subaru mechanic about it, he pulled out a service bulletin on it, which said that basically something wasn't lined up correctly and the spacing was off (can't remember what parts of the transmission.) He said it shouldn't cause any other problems, and wasn't a big deal if I could live with it. Anyone else have these symptoms? It only grinds when going into reverse, otherwise, it kind of just clunks into gear instead of slipping in nicely. Should I change the transmission fluid? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


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Old 07-12-2002, 03:22 AM   #2
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 2609
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Roseville, Ca, USA
98 BK-GT White
'97 SVX Ebony Pearl


sam, Doesn't sound at all "normal" to me. If you're regularly grinding gears I'd recommend a fluid change as well as some practice double-clutching. As far as the grinding into reverse, try putting it in 1st B4 engaging reverse. Sounds like you have a lazy mechanic!! Or he knows you can't afford the repair!! JK! JK!!

Glenn O
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Old 07-12-2002, 04:01 AM   #3
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 12588
Join Date: Nov 2001
Chapter/Region: SCIC
Location: Down by the sea
Four Count 'em


Agree with Glenn - this doesn't sound normal.

The clunking may not be coming from the rear axle but, instead, may be coming from either your transmission mounts or your engine mounts or a combination of the two being worn out/failing. If it's the tranny mounts, then it could be causing your difficult shifting because the transmission is not setting in it's appointed place and may be tipped back more than usual, or tipped to the side more than usual, and it doesn't take much mis-alignment to have an effect on the driveability/shifting of the car. One other area to check is your shifter bushing itself. If it's worn/failing, then the shifter won't be positioning itself correctly to slot into the gates when shifting from one gear to the next.

To make your transition into reverse easier, push your clutch down and shift into first and then, without letting the clutch out, shift the car into reverse. That will hold the case gears in place while you make the transition from 1st to reverse and your reverse gear won't be turning idly while you're trying to engage it. If you do let the clutch out before you get the transmission shifted from 1st to reverse, then hold the clutch down for a few extra seconds before you try to put it into reverse. If it still won't go into reverse, barely ease the clutch out while attempting to put it into reverse. It may grind just a little bit, usually not a problem unless you "force" the tranny into reverse and you will often get a good thunk out of that. Hope this helps.

Br, Dale
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