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02 Forester S Auto
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20 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I have a problem with my Forester and I'm not exactly sure what's going on, so I'm hoping someone can help me out.

I'll try to explain it as best I can, bear with me.. When it's cold out (around 0 C or colder) and I first start driving, I drive slowly to the end of a street and then turn out onto a bigger road. The thing seems fine as I go down the first street, but once I get onto the main road and start accelerating up to 60, the thing will 'slip' or something the first time it shifts to second gear. Basically what happens is the trans will disengage and the engine will free rev (so I have to let off the gas) and then a second or two later it will finally go into second and power is restored to the wheels.

I don't know if that really counts as slipping since it doesn't seem to do it once it's actually into gear, it's just like it stays in neutral or something for a few seconds first. Once I've been driving for a few minutes the problem goes away and the transmission seems perfectly fine.

I hope that makes sense, I'm not really good with this sort of thing, so any help is much appreciated.
 

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Banned
2000 Forester L
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320 Posts
I don't have this problem but, when it is cold mine takes a second to shift into park after reversing. My Outback did the same thing, don't knw if it is normal or not though.
 

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2003 Forester X Auto
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955 Posts
Sounds like it's an automatic transmission you have, correct? If so, has the fluid been checked recently. Low fluid could cause the symptoms you describe. Has it ever been changed? How many Kilometers on your Forester. If you put the type,year, transmission, etc in your signature, it will help people to better answer your queries.
 

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Premium Member
2008 XS 4EAT
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9,878 Posts
+2 for checking and changing the transmission fluid, some shops have a system that will flush and clean the trans before refilling with fresh fluid. It's like driving something new, had it done on my old 99 Forester before I gave it to the girlfriend and it made a world of difference.

I'll make a bet that it's never been changed.

To add the info to your Signature, go into User CP, Edit Signature and add relevant info like year/model/transmission.
 

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02 Forester S Auto
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20 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Ok, thanks for the tip. It's a 2002 Forester S automatic. It has about 150k kilometers on it. When I bought it I noticed the trans fluid looked kind of purple and smelled burned. I drained as much as I could and refilled it, but I know I didn't get all of it, because the capacity in my book was a lot higher than the amount I got out. Maybe I should just book it in for a flush...
 

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2003 Forester X Auto
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955 Posts
It's supposed to be reddish pink in colour. However, it shouldn't have a burnt smell to it. I would definitely get it changed soon. I can't remember right off the top of my head but I think it's supposed to be changed at the 80K kilometer mark, and every 80K thereafter.
 

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02 Forester S Auto
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20 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Isn't it odd though that it's only giving me trouble the first time it shifts under load and then after that it seems to drive perfectly fine? I admit I haven't checked the trans fluid level in a few weeks, but last I checked it was filled up to the top.
 

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2003 Forester XS Auto
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1 Posts
Update?

Hi, do you have an update on what was wrong or what was done to fix the free revving trans?

My 2003 Forester XS Automatic 167,000 miles, is experiencing the same problem. When the engine is cold, below 30F out, the transmission will free rev between 2nd and 3rd for the first 1-3 shifts before the engine temp comes up to normal.

I took it into a trans shop. They said it could be a cracked or leaking third disk. Wanted $2500-$3200 to blindly rebuild the transmission. Told them no way. I need more answers before hand.

I've checked the transmission fluid. Color and smell seamed fine. Don't know the last time it was drained or flushed.

Thanks for the help.
 

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Registered
2007 2.5X 5mt
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943 Posts
Hi, do you have an update on what was wrong or what was done to fix the free revving trans?

My 2003 Forester XS Automatic 167,000 miles, is experiencing the same problem. When the engine is cold, below 30F out, the transmission will free rev between 2nd and 3rd for the first 1-3 shifts before the engine temp comes up to normal.

I took it into a trans shop. They said it could be a cracked or leaking third disk. Wanted $2500-$3200 to blindly rebuild the transmission. Told them no way. I need more answers before hand.

I've checked the transmission fluid. Color and smell seamed fine. Don't know the last time it was drained or flushed.

Thanks for the help.
For that money you could buy another 2003 fozz for part and part it out for things like a tranny.
 

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Registered
2000 Forester S
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106 Posts
Hi, do you have an update on what was wrong or what was done to fix the free revving trans?

My 2003 Forester XS Automatic 167,000 miles, is experiencing the same problem. When the engine is cold, below 30F out, the transmission will free rev between 2nd and 3rd for the first 1-3 shifts before the engine temp comes up to normal.

I took it into a trans shop. They said it could be a cracked or leaking third disk. Wanted $2500-$3200 to blindly rebuild the transmission. Told them no way. I need more answers before hand.

I've checked the transmission fluid. Color and smell seamed fine. Don't know the last time it was drained or flushed.

Thanks for the help.
You can get a lot of different answers on something like this, but here is what I would do:

- Make sure ATF is at correct level - not low OR high. See your owner's manual for how to check (likely warm, idling, in park).
- If it is overfilled, you need to get some out, which is a pain - shouldn't be the case - come back if it is...
- Add a can of Seafoam Transtune or Trans-X
- In next couple of days, go to Subaru dealer and get 9 quarts of Subaru HP ATF (be prepared to spend about $8 a quart)
- Drain ATF via drain plug, and add 2 quarts of your new ATF - get car level and add from 3rd quart until you get correct reading on dipstick
- Drive a day or two as normal
- Repeat drain/fill as above
- Drive a day or two as normal
- Repeat drain/fill as above

Hopefully, your Forester will be shifting like new at this point. If not, seek out a tranny shop you trust and consider a rebuild.

If you want to save a few bucks, you could sub Valvoline MaxLife for the Subaru HP, but some claim the HP is miracle ATF for Subies.

Good luck,
Wally
 

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06 Forester
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115 Posts
It's a common problem. My 06 has been doing this for years and was checked under warranty and dealer said it's normal. It's been like that ever since and no further problems have developed because of this.
the car has 115K miles on it and the problem started around 50k.

I just learned to live with it.
 

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2004 Forester XT 4EAT
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1,268 Posts
- In next couple of days, go to Subaru dealer and get 9 quarts of Subaru HP ATF (be prepared to spend about $8 a quart)

Wally
Wally,
Is this for ALL YEARS?

I read that the Owner's manual for my '04 XT:
��Recommended fluid
“Dexron III” Type Automatic Transmission Fluid
And I read the '05 Owner's manual (on MySubaru.com):
“Dexron III” Type Automatic Transmission Fluid
And the '06 OM:
Use one of the following types of automatic
transmission fluid.
Genuine Subaru Automatic Transmission
Fluid Type-HP
IDEMITSU ATF HP
Castrol Transmax J
Pennzoil ATF-J*
I'm just checking if you know that Subaru is now recommending their "Type-HP" older (<'06) cars too?

Thanks,
Td
 

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2002 Forester XT 2.0 LPG Auto
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241 Posts
I'm just checking if you know that Subaru is now recommending their "Type-HP" older (<'06) cars too?

Thanks,
Td
My dealership (in the UK) have only ever used the HP stuff in ALL their automatic transmissions for years now. They don't even stock the standard stuff and say they never had an issue and it only makes things better...
 

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Registered
2000 Forester S
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106 Posts
Wally,
Is this for ALL YEARS?

I read that the Owner's manual for my '04 XT:


And I read the '05 Owner's manual (on MySubaru.com):


And the '06 OM:


I'm just checking if you know that Subaru is now recommending their "Type-HP" older (<'06) cars too?

Thanks,
Td
Check out:

http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f89/possible-problem-4eat-77934/

Check out good dog's reply in particular...

I used it in my '02 OBW and there was a noticeable difference in shifting smoothness, etc.

Good luck,
Wally
 

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Administrator
2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
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30,106 Posts
I can attest to my 04 XT shifting better with the Subaru ATF-HP. You might also try some Trans-X additive... another miracle potion for aging 4EAT transmissions.
 

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Registered
2004 Forester XT 4EAT
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1,268 Posts
Please report back and let us know if it fixes it...
If you're referring to me vs. the OP - Zig - here's my update.

1. Cleaned the MAF - no difference.
2. Installed AMSOIL Synthetic Multi-Vehicle Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF). - No difference.
3. Added a 15oz bottle of the Trans-X additive - as noted by Pleiad7 - and it's a bit better, maybe.

I chose the $$ Amsoil vs. the ATF-HP due to a few posts on other sites that it didn't help much - esp. when cold, which is my main issue. I have a 7 minute commute and the car just starts to warm up when I get to work.

I've noticed that on longer drives the 4EAT's shifting DOES improve once it's fully warmed up. Specifically the 2nd>>3rd shift isn't as harsh or 'clunky'.

So, overall I should have just stayed w/the cheap ATF I put in when I replaced all the fluids last fall.

This is for my 2004 FXT, so may not be applicable to the newer models that specifically state to use the Subaru ATF-HP in their Owner's Manual. My manual states to just use the Dexron III, and so did Subaru tech support when I emailed them.

To: [email protected]
Subject: (SR #:1-1898631887) Service Related

Hi, SHOULD I use the Subaru Type-HP ATF fluid in my 2004 Forester XT or the Dexron III?

Hello:

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. Congratulations on the purchase of your 2004 Forester. I hope that you are enjoying it.

Per page 11-29 in the 2004 Forester owner's manual, you should use Dexron III type ATF.

Thank you for the opportunity to be of service. Have a nice day.

Sincerely,

John J. Mergen
Subaru of America, Inc.
Customer/Dealer Services Department
1-800-SUBARU3 (1-800-782-2783)
Service Request #1-1898631887
Thanks
Td
 

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Registered
2000 Forester S
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106 Posts
So...maybe time to try the ATF-HP?

But, with that short cold-start commute, I don't know. Maybe that is just going to be the nature of the beast...

Good luck,
Wally
 

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Registered
2004 Forester XT 4EAT
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1,268 Posts
Based on what I've read the ATF-HP is no better, so not going to try it 'til either trans dies or it's time to replace the fluid.

Thanks,
Td
 
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