Subaru Legacy Forums

Subaru Legacy Forums (
-   Second Generation Legacy (1994 - 1998) (
-   -   1997 Legacy outback automatic won't shift to 4th gear. (

kbear 03-17-2013 08:22 PM

1997 Legacy outback automatic won't shift to 4th gear.
the sub has 200k miles, bought it used at 70k and never had any tranny service done. Noticed this winter that the awd was not working for a spell. Thought maybe the speed sensors were dirty so i went through the car wash and let the rocker panel jets do their thing and low and behold awd started working again. Now, two months later i took it on the freeway and it won't shift to fourth, 1,2, and 3rd seem to shift fine but i will not go into fourth gear. Changed the tranny oil and it was a nasty dark grey of course smelled burnt. Any recommendations on my next step?

Osei 03-18-2013 08:19 AM

Change oil again and add TransX Medic. Maybe it will help.
Make sure all the VSS units are clean and making good contact.


Kennyfvholla 03-18-2013 09:36 AM


kbear 03-29-2013 03:18 PM

checked vss (both)
I pulled the tranny speed sensor and it seems to being functioning properly but the second sensor on the transfer case is a little iffy. Is it supposed to be relatively solid with little or no play in the magnet area? It looks to have a wear spot on the very end and the magnet portion not only spins but moves in and out if gently pulled? i have chaged the tranny oil and added trans-x, but not shifting into fourth still? Any details on the condition of the transfer case speed sensor would be helpful.

Osei 03-29-2013 04:13 PM

Do a search for handshake method for reading tranny codes.
Perform and report codes.
Perhaps post in the tranny section, you may get more informed actions.


kbear 03-30-2013 11:19 AM

i will do that!

spooln30 04-04-2013 11:12 PM

Boy oh boy, ok when you don't change the trans fluid for extended periods of time the clutches will start to disintegrate and be left in the trans fluid. Now when you flush out the fluid you remove the gritty clutch material and can cause the trans to slip or not shift into gear. Basically that gritty crap was helping the grand perform as normal and removing it with fresh fluid problems can occur. Also by not changing the fluid you can get dirty particles inside the valve body ports and not allow the right amount of trans fluid to flow though thus causing it not to shift. Like said above put some TransX and hope for the best. I've used this product before and have had good luck.

johnegg 04-05-2013 01:53 AM

i suggest you start looking for a new trans.

130k miles with no fluid change, not good.
i did the same thing with a 95 lego. i bought it at 75k, reverse went out at 166k.
i drove it for a couple of months with no reverse while looking for a donor.

change the fluid again. read the trans codes and see what they say.
it may be something simple like a temp sensor, but i doubt it.

do you have a flashing AT Temp light (or Power light) at start up?
do you have a Check Engine Light?

kbear 04-06-2013 11:19 AM

Luck is on my side...
Changed the throttle positioning sensor and the suby now shifts into fourth! Slight braking effect when shifting from second to third but i think a band adjust will do the trick. Tranny pan seems a little pushed in and will change the tranny filter and oil again. There is no shuttering or other issues related to the drive train, time will tell. thanks for all of your feedback and suggestions, all really helpful.:lol:

kbear 04-16-2013 10:44 PM

changed the tranny filter. First, the solenoid b connector clip had fallen out of the retaining bracket and was resting on the pan, and secondly, the pan had been noticably pushed in in the middle, looked like ground clearance issue. So, of course i re-attached the solenoid plug in into the clip holder and hammered out the bottom of the pan and to my amazement all gears are working and shifting normally. It's coming on two weeks since i did the work and all is still functioning properly. Engine light still comes on but i think it's from a #3 cylinder misfire that i will need to focus on next. New plug first. Will clear codes and post my results, thanks. k hebert

Stang70Fastback 04-16-2013 11:13 PM

Heh. Quick question for anyone who might know (this is not directed at the OP): When the dealership replaced the center clutch pack, would they have had to drain the fluid? Same goes for a head-gasket job. Never done MAJOR mechanical work on either the engine or trans, so I dunno what would involve needing to drain the fluid. I ask only because if neither of those cases require draining the ATF, then I can pretty much guarantee the fluid in my tranny is the same fluid that was in there 150k miles ago, lol.

Osei 04-17-2013 06:08 AM

Can't comment on tranny work.
But on HG. You don't have to, for the oil has now drained down, but it is such a small part of the job, there is no reason why not.
If you pull the engine and want to turn it over on the stand, you'll have to.


johnegg 04-17-2013 07:33 AM

atf does drain when you replace the transfer clutch / duty c on an auto trans, but not all of it.

so i would plan on doing a ''drain and fill'' 3 times with driving in between each. this will replace most of your fluid.

idk about manual trans gear oil.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:12 PM.

vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise v2.6.3 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2018 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.