Hard Shifting A/T - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-28-2009, 04:47 AM Thread Starter
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Question Hard Shifting A/T

First, let me introduce myself. I'm a long time gear head who has had way too many cars in the past. I am a service tech by trade, although not on cars. I am about to purchace my first Subaru today. But, I had one concern. The tranny shifts VERY firmly as it's going up through the gears, and in all gears. But it only does it on upshifts. It feels like a tranny i built years ago for a rod that had a shift kit and a 1800 stall touque converter. The odd part is that it shifts smoother the harder I push it. The shifts are hardest under light acceleration. Have you guys ever heard of this? I have found no other threads on this so far. I would like to buy the car, because it is a very good deal, but if this a sign of a $2000 fix, I'll walk.

1999 forester a/t 147000 miles
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-28-2009, 04:58 AM
adc
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Without knowing the history..I'd walk. Model years before 2003 are guaranteed to need a Head gasket and also has the timing belt/water pump/and associated parts for this 105K mile required pm been done?

Be careful what you wish for.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-28-2009, 05:03 AM Thread Starter
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I'm honestly not worried about the head gaskets, as i will do that myself for what seems to be about $400 in parts. All fluids look good. Car has not been detailed, so I don't think they're hiding anything. Trans fluid is very clean with no bad odor. No bubbles or oil in overflow tank. I have read that these take a special trans fluid. Is that true on a model this old? Could they have put dex3 in?
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-28-2009, 06:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgrote View Post
... The tranny shifts VERY firmly as it's going up through the gears, and in all gears. But it only does it on upshifts... The odd part is that it shifts smoother the harder I push it. The shifts are hardest under light acceleration.Trans fluid is very clean with no bad odor... I have read that these take a special trans fluid. Is that true on a model this old? Could they have put dex3 in?
You say firm and hard. That can be taken as quick and positive. Or it can be taken as clunky and jerky. If it seems problematic, it must be the latter.

The manual for my 2008, which is the same as a 2006, says to use Genuine Subaru Automatic Transmission Fluid Type-HP.

It also says:
"For optimum transmission performance,
only use the automatic transmission
fluid that is recommended and
provided by Subaru.
If the recommended automatic transmission
fluid is unavailable, Dexron III
may be temporarily used. If the Dexron
III is used continuously there will be a
noticeable increase in the vibration and
noise from the automatic transmission."

But I think for the 1999 model you are looking at, Dexron was OK.

Compare to our 2003 Buick, my 2008 Forester shifts more abruptly and less smoothly. But it still feels OK, so if you are suspicious of yours, there probably is a problem. It does have almost 150K miles and you don't know how it was treated or serviced.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-28-2009, 08:53 AM
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Autos up to 05 used dex3. I've found that mine does shift much better when you really get on it then when granny driving around town.

04xt/4eat, 16g, STI bits and bobs
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-28-2009, 09:29 AM
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I wish my Foz would shift more firmly. I have to use sport shift for that kind of firmness.

Mike Harrington, 2009 Forester XT, Black, Navi.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-28-2009, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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It's not clunky, just very firm/positive at low rpm, normal at high rpm. I have a feeling it's been rebuilt. The fluid looks brand new. I'm gonna get under it in a few minutes to check it out before i will strike a deal. I'll be able to tell if the tranny has been out. Can you pull the trans on these without pulling the motor? The motor's never been out. I can tell that from topside. I should be able to get it for about $2700.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-28-2009, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I am officially a Subby owner. $2675 I found that it will need some things. Leaking a bit of oil from where front axles come out of tranny. I don't think that will be too hard to fix.
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