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Old 10-30-2010, 10:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Transmission hesitates in drive

Car is a 1999 Subaru Forester automatic, with mileage around 85,000. When the engine is running but the car is stopped, and then I give it gas to go forward, the car hesitates to move (does not engage the gear). This problem is the worst when I am going downhill and turning right. It sometimes happens on the level, but not as often and it hesitates for a shorter time. I have not had this happen when going in reverse.

My garage says the car is losing transmission fluid, and they've added more a couple of times. That does seem to help temporarily, but the problem comes back. They say the head gaskets need to be replaced to really fix this, which is an expensive job because they have to pull the engine. However it seems to me that if the problem is the head gaskets leaking, the hesitation would be more consistent. I'm wondering if there is tubing or something that could be leaking more when the wheels are turned to the right, but I don't know that much about how the transmission is set up. Anybody know what the problem is?
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You need to find out where its leaking and stop it, because the fluid needs to be full for the transmission to work properly. The head gaskets are a totally different problem and not related to the tranny.
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Old 10-30-2010, 02:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Not sure where you are in Oregon, it always helps to provide that kind of info in case someone can refer you to a good mechanic. I'd say sure you might have a problem with the transmission leaking, but I think you should get a second opinion based on your mechanics response.. If that was your mechanics response to change the head gaskets, you should also be experencing other symptoms like over heating, coolant leaks on the ground or internal leaks that could be seen in the radiator or dipstick. You'd also be able to see other symptoms related to head gasket leaks. Yes the engine might have to come out to better service the transmission but I think I would look for another opinion especially if your head gaskets are not leaking.

What I suggest you do is post this same info with an more accurate location in the Pacific Forum, asking for a reomendation to a Subaru specialist. It may be simple solution or not

Heres some from another request Looking for Portland mechanic
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Question Same problem...

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Originally Posted by meloha View Post
Car is a 1999 Subaru Forester automatic, with mileage around 85,000. When the engine is running but the car is stopped, and then I give it gas to go forward, the car hesitates to move (does not engage the gear). This problem is the worst when I am going downhill and turning right. It sometimes happens on the level, but not as often and it hesitates for a shorter time. I have not had this happen when going in reverse.
I have the same problem. Car has 127k on it and runs like a top, except that it sometimes hesitates to move when I shift to Drive. Sometimes a little extra gas will get it moving, other times a LOT of gas (revving to 3-4k) to get it to go, then it kicks in like a drag racer wanting to peel out! Hills and turns are no problem. No problem in Reverse gear. Fluid has been checked. Wondering if it might be a sticky valve in the tranny? If so, any additive recommended to fix this?
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Old 11-12-2010, 07:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Cool

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Originally Posted by efbjr View Post
I have the same problem. Car has 127k on it and runs like a top, except that it sometimes hesitates to move when I shift to Drive. Sometimes a little extra gas will get it moving, other times a LOT of gas (revving to 3-4k) to get it to go, then it kicks in like a drag racer wanting to peel out! Hills and turns are no problem. No problem in Reverse gear. Fluid has been checked. Wondering if it might be a sticky valve in the tranny? If so, any additive recommended to fix this?
Your first step should be to replace the transmission fluid and filter.
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Old 11-17-2010, 11:37 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Question Did that...

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Originally Posted by GEORGEROV View Post
Your first step should be to replace the transmission fluid and filter.
Bought the Forester Oct 4, from my mechanic. I trust the guy and know that he would not knowingly sell me a lemon. He had replaced the filter and fluid and completely checked out the vehicle. He is researching the problem and suspects that a sensor in the tranny may be the cause. I am trying to get some suggestions as to what else may be causing the problem.

Last edited by efbjr; 04-07-2014 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
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ive got the same prob, reverse is fine. when i select drive, 1, 2 3, i need to press the gas softly for it to engage. this takes a few seconds. sometimes if i keep my foot on the brake it kicks in sooner. i think this is a sensor problem but am going to do the oil and filter first.

gary!
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Some transmissions on Subarus are not serviceable, I am told ... but - replacing ATF, filter and adding some lubricating additives never hurts!
It helped on my 2006 X when I had some hesitation, while wheels were fully left or right...
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Question Linkage?

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Originally Posted by glbomber View Post
ive got the same prob, reverse is fine. when i select drive, 1, 2 3, i need to press the gas softly for it to engage. this takes a few seconds. sometimes if i keep my foot on the brake it kicks in sooner. i think this is a sensor problem but am going to do the oil and filter first.

gary!
Your car has the identical symptoms as my problem! I'm wondering if it might be due to a worn shift linkage? I noticed that I can shift without pushing in the button on the shift handle. I tried jiggling the shifter when in Drive, but it seemed to make the problem worse. Gotta get it up on the lift and take a good look!
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Old 12-11-2010, 02:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default tranny hesitates in drive

I have had this problem a number of times on my '01 Subaru Forester. I do a paper route-lots of stops, starts, etc. We changed the filter, fluid and added Lucas trans. additive. We did this 2 or 3 times and what a difference. Does not hesitate anymore. Since I put a lot of miles on my car we changed the fluid, filter and additive about every other oil change and have now cut down to 2 or 3 times a year. Sure worked wonders. (PS-we cross referenced the oil filter and can get one at Wal-Mart fairly cheap compared to auto parts stores.)
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Old 05-16-2011, 08:12 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Arrow Slowly improving tranny problem...

The tranny hesitation when shifting to DRIVE is getting a little better. The tranny filter and fluid were replaced, with a bottle of Lucas additive added. Very little improvement resulted.

I bought a bottle of BARS LEAKS Auto Transmission Repair additive but decided to call the 1-800 customer service number on the bottle. I asked the representative if he had ever heard of the Subaru tranny problem. He put me on hold and spoke to his supervisor, then came back and said that neither of them had heard of the problem, but that his supervisor recommended that RISLONE 4502 Transmission Fluid Stabilizer w/Stop Leak would be a better choice. The Bars company also owns the Rislone product line. (So...if they never heard of the Subaru tranny problem, how could they know which additive would be better to use? My BS detector was going off at this point! )

I swapped the BARS product for the RISLONE additive and noticed a slight improvement over the next few weeks. The tranny was shifting into DRIVE at a lower rpm, 1750rpm instead of 2250rpm.

Another post at this forum suggested holding the brake and shifting back and forth from REVERSE to DRIVE as a possible fix. I tried a modified approach by holding the shift in REVERSE (while holding the brake) for a few seconds, then shifting to DRIVE. This seems to be working as 5 out 6 times, the tranny slips into DRIVE much easier and at a lower rpm.

The next step, at the next oil change, is to put a bottle of TRANS-X Automatic Transmission Slip Stop & Leak Fix in the transmission. I read a couple of post where this stuff seemed to work better than other additives. I'll repost with the results ASAP.
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:00 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Thumbs up Tranny slippage update...

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Originally Posted by efbjr View Post
Another post at this forum suggested holding the brake and shifting back and forth from REVERSE to DRIVE as a possible fix. I tried a modified approach by holding the shift in REVERSE (while holding the brake) for a few seconds, then shifting to DRIVE. This seems to be working as 5 out 6 times, the tranny slips into DRIVE much easier and at a lower rpm.

The next step, at the next oil change, is to put a bottle of TRANS-X Automatic Transmission Slip Stop & Leak Fix in the transmission. I read a couple of post where this stuff seemed to work better than other additives. I'll repost with the results ASAP.
The problem has nearly resolved itself! The car goes into Drive with just a light touch of the gas pedal. I still hold it in Reverse for a couple of seconds before shifting to Drive. Haven't used the Trans-X, as yet. Next oil change I'll put some in and see if the problem goes away completely.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:27 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Judy00j View Post
(PS-we cross referenced the oil filter and can get one at Wal-Mart fairly cheap compared to auto parts stores.)
Not a good idea. The Subaru filter media is different. It allows for higher flow and less filtering. An engine oil filter could restrict flow. We have seen anecdotal evidence of that on this board.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:42 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Just use the OEM filter. It's only $30 and you change it once. Also, like others have said, the head gaskets have nothing to do with the transmission problem. You probably need to re-seal the transmission pan. Dropping the pan is a pretty simple job, and shouldn't be expensive at all. I think you also should have an internal filter, which you should replace while the pan is off.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:43 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I use WIX engine oil filters & they recommend the same filter for the transmission. That doesn't sound right to me. If I was going to change the ATF filter, I'd get a Subaru factory/OEM filter. They are expensive, but unlike engine oil filters, you're not going to be changing it that often.

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