There is a brake band adjustment that can be made, at least up to 1997 per the service manual
I make no guarantees beyond that, I know it is on phase 1 4EATs and was removed on phase 2 4EATs. So when ever Subaru made the switch to the phase 2 in the Forester, if it ever got a phase 1 in North America at all..... I have played with it on a 1997 OB. It is a PIA to get to. Straight down the firewall on the drivers side, Look for a 8mm and 17mm(?) jam nut on the transmission case.
Here are the drive symptoms/cause for adjustment from the manual.
1. BRAKE BAND
- If the following abnormal shifting conditions are noted in a road test, the brake band must be adjusted.
1. Too wide,----- Upshift from 1st directly to 3rd gear occurs.
2. Wide,---- Engine rpm increases abruptly while upshifting from 1st to 2nd gear or 3rd to 4th gear.
-----Time lag of at least one second occurs during kickdown operation from 3rd to 2nd gear.
3. Small,----- Braking” symptom occurs while upshifting from 2nd to 3rd gear.
4. Too small, -----Upshifts from 2nd to 4th gear and downshifts from 4th to 2nd gear occur repeatedly.
If you have the adjustment and choose to play with it. Be advised if you back the adjusting screw out too far, the bottom portion of the brake band may separate from the servo. You get to take your transmission apart to put it back together.