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06 X Auto
2006 Auto Auto
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Discussion Starter #1
Are Subie automatic transmissions always so slow to downshift?

Since this is my first Subie and AWD car, I'm not sure what to expect. My 06 seems in a hurry to get into 4th gear, when I accelerate to downshift, it bogs down and can take up to 2 seconds to repsond. Other cars I drive just downshift and go. Two seconds is scary when cars are approaching at 50 mph and you hope the car will accelerate. It does this worst in the morning when it's cold (50-65°F)

It will do this from a stop sometimes or when making a turn after slowing to about 10-20 then accelerating moderately hard out of the turn.

It almost feels like the car is trying to decide what gear and how much power to give to each end of the car but it's a dry road and with no wheel slippage. :think:

Now that I think about more, the worst times it's happened, I've been on a downhill slope like a freeway offramp or just a hilly road.
 
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I had a 95 legacy until earlier this week, and now I have a 2006 Forester. The legacy had the same problem, but I always assumed it was because of its age. However, when I test drove the Forester, I pulled onto the highway, stepped on the gas a bit, and nothing happened. So I prayed, and prayed, and then floored it, and then waited, and waited, and finally the car bucked and took off. So I think its a Subaru transmission thing.
 

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06 XT
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tyanni said:
I had a 95 legacy until earlier this week, and now I have a 2006 Forester. The legacy had the same problem, but I always assumed it was because of its age. However, when I test drove the Forester, I pulled onto the highway, stepped on the gas a bit, and nothing happened. So I prayed, and prayed, and then floored it, and then waited, and waited, and finally the car bucked and took off. So I think its a Subaru transmission thing.

I was told by the dealer that to make it down shift you have to tap the gas pedal and then get on the gas. Something about being a compromise for not having the sport shifter thing.
 

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German tech
MY16 Audi S3 Sedan DSG 6 speed
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I agree the auto is slow to shift down when in 4th - a momentary pause and with the turbo, it is annoying.

I either drive in Sportshift mode (when it works fine with no delay) or stay in 3rd around the city etc

This fly by wire is not good IMO.
 

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06 X Auto
2006 Auto Auto
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Discussion Starter #5
pityr said:
I was told by the dealer that to make it down shift you have to tap the gas pedal and then get on the gas. Something about being a compromise for not having the sport shifter thing.
Yeah, I've tried that and it seems to help. I've been playing with different things this week and tried that to try to prime the car to get ready for passing on the freeway. I also put it in 3rd before I need to pass so it only has to downshift one gear.

Before I bought this Forester, I test drove the new Civic. It delays too...drive by wire. Give me the old cable!
 

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German tech
MY16 Audi S3 Sedan DSG 6 speed
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I think the adaptive ECU is crock as well - not smart enough.

Subaru have overengineered the electrics. Don't even start on the HVAC
 

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2004 Forester XT PP
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If there were a short bus for transmissions, my 4EAT would be on it :wtfeyes
 

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this is v. disturbing given I'm waiting for my 06 auto to arrive.Is the sports shift the answer?(one of the reasons I ordered the auto)
Maximus
 

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MY16 Audi S3 Sedan DSG 6 speed
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MarkyD

Any suggestions to improve it ?

Surely if it is fly by wire the response issue could be fixed ?
 

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MY16 Audi S3 Sedan DSG 6 speed
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Maximus said:
this is v. disturbing given I'm waiting for my 06 auto to arrive.Is the sports shift the answer?(one of the reasons I ordered the auto)
Maximus
I wouldn't say it is terrible, just annoying.

You expect when you put the foot down, the throttle response to be there. It isn't.

This isn't a tubo lag thing as it is almost non existent in Sportshift.

It is on my list of things to talk about with the dealer for my 5,000km service
 

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Candy said:
I wouldn't say it is terrible, just annoying.

You expect when you put the foot down, the throttle response to be there. It isn't.

This isn't a tubo lag thing as it is almost non existent in Sportshift.

It is on my list of things to talk about with the dealer for my 5,000km service
So sports shift is the answer? ....having driven manuals for the last 2 decades I'm not adverse to using my left hand.
Maximus
 

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MY16 Audi S3 Sedan DSG 6 speed
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Maximus said:
So sports shift is the answer? ....having driven manuals for the last 2 decades I'm not adverse to using my left hand.
Maximus
I wouldn't say it is an answer Maximus, more a stop gap.

The 4EAT is known to not be the best. I put up with it as it suits my needs but I'm going to talk to subie at my 5,000km service to see if the issue can be resolved.

Some don't like the auto because it is slower than the MT - fast enough for me.

Remember if you are going to stay in Sportshift all the time, it might make sense to buy manual ($2,500-3,000 cheaper)
 

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2004 Forester XT PP
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Candy said:
MarkyD

Any suggestions to improve it ?

Surely if it is fly by wire the response issue could be fixed ?
TUNING will improve it significantly.

For example, Pleiad7 (Silke) has the EXACT year and model I have (2004 XT PP Auto). I have taken a ride several times in hers, and her transmission shifts a LOT smoother and seems "smarter." I think it has to do with her ECUTEC tune as opposed to my off-the-shelf stage 2 accessport tune.
I will be getting a custom tune eventually, just waiting until I can make a trip to Dallas which is the closest AWD Dyno. (I'm going to have them throw in my VF34 and STi TMIC, too.)
 
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In my experience with Subarus - yes they are relatively sluggish to downshift, some models more than others. The olders models (92 SVX and 93 Legacy) seemed less prone to be that way, I always felt it was because they were simpler designs or were not "thinking" so much. I had a 01 H-6 Outback that felt like it was overthinking every shift. My 06 WRX feels improved in it's downshifting, at least during normal driving. When more agressive driving is called for, there's definitely more technique to it. Gotta really slam the accelerator, HARD...or do the manual shift.
Now that I think about it, every Subaru 4EAT I've had has required a little learning on my part. I have become the biological TCU. :shock:
I don't think about it anymore, but yes at first it's a little disturbing.:biggrin:
 

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2015 Forester XT Touring CVT
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yeah even with the cable system i still find that unless you mash the pedal it wont downshift for you. i had a valve body mod done on my maxima and it helped with downshifting but made the shifts much harder and crisper. then again the maxima has 171k miles and still hits every shift like it was new.
 

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2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
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MarkyD said:
TUNING will improve it significantly.

For example, Pleiad7 (Silke) has the EXACT year and model I have (2004 XT PP Auto). I have taken a ride several times in hers, and her transmission shifts a LOT smoother and seems "smarter." I think it has to do with her ECUTEC tune as opposed to my off-the-shelf stage 2 accessport tune.
I will be getting a custom tune eventually, just waiting until I can make a trip to Dallas which is the closest AWD Dyno. (I'm going to have them throw in my VF34 and STi TMIC, too.)
I think you're right, it seems to be related to the tune to a certain degree. On the other hand, there's also the factor of how you drive most of the time. For example, if I've done nothing except commuting to and from work all week in maximum fuel conservation mode, it can be very hard to get Subed to "wake up" for a quick passing or merging maneuver because the ECU/TCU has learned my granny mode. The double downshift is where this is quite noticeable. I learned very early on that it does no good to slam the pedal to the floor, because NOTHING will happen. "Rolling" onto the accelerator seems to produce much better results.

Another thing I do regularly to avoid the annoying lag is to manually downshift into third (or even second, depending on the situation) before accelerating or passing someone. That way you can avoid the double downshift most of the time and get much better response. There is a reason Subaru included ALL gear positions on the AT shifter - use them! If you know how to rev-match an auto and don't abuse this practice for harsh engine braking, it will not harm your transmission.

That being said, I'd have to say that the direct-control 4EAT in the 04+ FXT's is a vast improvement over the older Subaru AT's. I had a MY00 OBS whose tranny was pitiful in comparison in terms of lag and gear hunting.
 
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so it's not bad to shift manually in the automatic??? I thought that it wouldn;t be all that great for the ride, they should really come up with some sort of triptronic auto shift, that would be alittle bit more fun.
 

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98 Forester...what else
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dlroto said:
so it's not bad to shift manually in the automatic??? I thought that it wouldn;t be all that great for the ride, they should really come up with some sort of triptronic auto shift, that would be alittle bit more fun.
If you learn how to shift an automatic, things will be way too much fun!!

I simply downshift, and 'blip' the throttle, which rev matches pretty well (experience helps here), and it engages seamlessly, and you have all the power you want...(to the limit of your mods :Banane01: :Banane01: )
 

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You won't hurt it dlroto, it's just kind of awkward. If I'm at a busy intersection and I need to pull out into traffic, I shift it into first and then upshift once I've merged with traffic.

Pushing the pedal down gradually as Silke mentioned works better as it holds the gear you've got. Dropping the pedal makes it take a deep breath before it decides what it wants to do. This issue is pretty common amongst owners and it doesn't surprise me it affects other models as well since a subie is a subie is a subie for the most part (SVX and Tribeca excluded)...
 

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05's XT/GT
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I've have been looking for a solution to improve the shifting performance of the auto. I actually just contacted 2 companies to see if I can get a control module developed for the 4eat, below are links to their respective product pages. I'm particularly interested in the PCS controller from Powertrain Solutions, because I can mate it to the steering wheel shift buttons found on 05+ legacy GT or Outback XT steering wheels. It also allows adjustability of the shift points, etc.

Neither company has responded with a definitive answer, but I'll post the results from this "project" here.

http://www.powertraincontrolsolutions.com/content-4.html
http://www.levelten.com/computer_pts.htm
 
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