2/3 Shift Flare Subaru Outback 1999

After experiencing a problem with 2nd to 3rd shift flare on my 1999 Legacy Outback for a few years now, I finally broke down and took it in to my mechanic. The problem is temperature dependent, and seems to only really be an issue during the colder months of the year in the first half hour or so after starting the engine.

A check of the transmission fluid revealed the level and condition are both good; there are no fault codes. My mechanic is suggesting that the problem is internal, and is recommending an overhaul. After making a few calls and getting quotes in the $2200 and up range, GULP, I thought I’d check in here and see if there is anything else that I might look into before I commit to an overhaul.

Anyone have any ideas, tips, or recommendations?


I am not that versant with the 1999 Subaru AT transmission. From what I know the 2-3 shift used to be accomplished with 2nd band release and 3rd clutch engagement. Adjustment of the 2nd band might help. A transmission mechanic familiar with Subaru transmissions might know if there is an adjustment for the 2nd band. It could be a different pin length which could be changed with a pan drop and/or a valve body removal. While you are there, change the filter; check the pan for metal debris; and check the magnet for ferrous particles.

In any case, I would have a transmission technician do a line pressure check, especiallly during the 2-3 transition. If there is a pressure drop during the transition or low pressure while in 3rd, you are probably looking at a rebuild.

By the way, how many miles on this Subaru? Hope that helps. Get back to us if you think we can help further.