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2003 Subaru Outback transmission

I’ve got an '03 Outback (base, auto. trans.) that I absolutely love. Except:



At 20K mi. I began hearing a noise in the right front area of the engine compartment. Took it to dealer and they replaced a bunch of transmission parts.



After another 20K of happy motoring, I began to hear the noise again. Took it to dealer and they replaced the whole transmission, under warrantee but they didn’t extend the general 60K warrantee for the transmission.



We’re now a bit over the 55,000 mile mark and I’m beginning to worry that once the warrantee expires (60K) I will soon be faced with yet another major transmission problem and I’ll have to fork over thousands of $$ to get it running again.



How realistic is this concern? And if it is valid, would I be better off to just wait for the dreaded front-end noise to occur again and forgo my trip to Europe. Or should I get rid of the car a.s.a.p?



Oh, by the way, this car had needed zero other repairs beyond regular maintenance… not even brake adjustment.

The new transmission should have solved the problem. I wouldn’t worry about anything. Why are you assuming you will have a problem?

The original transmission was obviously defective. They tried to repair it, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the original defect, which is why they gave you a new transmission. The transmission in your Outback has only 15K miles on it, if I read your post correctly. It should last another 150,000 miles or more with little more than periodic fluid changes.

I suggest you stop worrying and continue to drive and enjoy your Subaru.

I think that your concerns are not valid. It sounds like there was a defect in the original transmission, and if it was replaced under warranty, the probability of this happening again is pretty insignificant.

However, you can help to ensure that the transmission remains trouble-free by having the fluid and filter changed every 30,000 miles. That is the plan that I have followed with all of my cars, including 2 Subaru Outbacks, and I have never had to have a transmission overhauled or replaced (with the exception of my God-awful '74 Volvo that defied all attempts to reseal it).

I can point with pride to the '97 Outback (now owned by my brother) that currently has something over 160,000 miles on the odometer, and its transmission has never had any attention other than a fluid and filter change every 30k. My '02 Outback, with 92,000 on the odometer has had 3 fluid and filter changes, but no other attention has been needed, and it works flawlessly.

A properly serviced transmission is much less likely to fail, no matter what make of car we are talking about, and my person experience with Subarus is proof positive of that philosophy. Just be sure that you don’t take the car to AAMCO, Lee Myles, Cottman, Mr. Transmission, or any other chain for the fluid and filter change. Transmissions have a curious habit of “needing” major repair work after they have been examined by those chains.

Thanks very much for your advice. It’s obviously a big relief to me.

My apologies if I sounded like Chicken Little, but there seemed to be a pattern emerging (20K, 40K… 60K?), and I’m ever-aware of Murphy’s Law.

Now my law will be: Preventive Maintenance.

Thanks again.

Without knowing what parts were replaced this post has a few things that puzzle me.
One is that someone would have to be pretty aurally astute to differentiate a transmission noise in the right front. On a transverse mounted engine with the transmission on the right side I could see it but I would have a near impossible time picking out a noise on a longtitudally mounted transaxle.

The other is that Subaru is notoriously cheap with their warranty policies and it could be a stretch seeing them replacing an entire unit under warranty. Their warranty policies state fix the unit unless it’s catastrophic.

I hope you’re not being yanked around here by the dealer feeding you a line of BS.
If there is a concern over this you might consider a call to the regional office and verify that SOA actually has warranty records on file about these repairs. Do not accuse the dealer of anything underhanded; just make it a polite inquiry.
If they don’t have records on file it might be a time to become impolite with the dealer.