2011 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Limited needs new Transmission - Fix or scrap

transmissions

#1

Car is 2011, 108,000 miles and the transmission died. No previous mechanical issues with car. 2 shops confirmed I need a new transmission. Best offer is $6200+ tax with a 50,000 mile warranty. KBB values the car at $5500. I’m not sure whether to fix it or scrap it and use the repair costs as a down payment toward another car. I have $1000 left to pay off the car and was really looking forward to having no payments.

Looking for advice, thanks!


#2

Have you thought of replacing the transmission with a used one from an auto recycler?

Tester


#3

To me the car is pretty new. I take it you have a CVT transmission. Since the vehicle isn’t that old, you should be able to find a good used unit and have it installed. A good shop can probable find one for you and check it out to the best of their ability before installation. I don’t know where you live but, some yards will warranty their transmission to work or a refund.


#4

If this is the CVT, I recommend that you talk with a Subaru dealer and see if there are any deals to be had through Subaru. If you are in California, ask them specifically if there is a secret warranty for the transmission, by law they have to reply truthfully.

If you don’t get any help from the dealer, then call the Subaru customer service number located in the owners manual and see if they will help off set some of the cost.

BTW, KBB puts the value of your car (2.5 liter 4 cylinder) between 8500 and 10500 depending on condition for a private sale. To buy an identical car from a dealer, it would be significantly higher.


#5

“If this is the CVT”

He does have the CVT.
Subaru’s “conventional” 5-speed automatic was available only with the altogether superior 3.6 liter six cylinder engine.


#6

There are several used CVTs for this in my area for about $1000 on car-parts.com. What would labor be? $1000? For $2000 I’d put in a used low-miles transmission.


#7

@dakaowen17
"2 shops confirmed I need a new transmission."

Whoa, Nellie!

What kind of "shops?"
Based on what specific failure as being the justification for a new transmission?

What are the symptoms?

I see a number of Subaru technical service bulletins pertaining to these CVT transmissions. Were the “shops” familiar with them?
CSA


#8

My feeling is that the car is too much of a late model with low miles to throw the towel in on.
You have not stated how often the transmission was serviced but it should be every 30k miles and especially so with a CVT.
That “lifetime” auto trans fluid recommendation is a horrible recommendation.

You also have not stated how the transmission (technically a transaxle…) died. It could have been the auto trans part of it or the final drive failing due to a botched engine oil change.


#9

When I said shops, I mean transmission shops. Good transmission shops have a scanner that will give specific information on the transmission their road testing. At that point with information in hand, a better judgement can be made as what to do.


#10

@Hiroshi
"When I said shops, I mean transmission shops. Good transmission shops have a scanner that will give specific information on the transmission their road testing. At that point with information in hand, a better judgement can be made as what to do."

But, you already said what to do yesterday. You said replace it, not check it out.
You said, “To me the car is pretty new. I take it you have a CVT transmission.
Since the vehicle isn’t that old, you should be able to find a good used unit and have it installed. A good shop can probable find one for you and check it out to the best of their ability before installation. I don’t know where you live but, some yards will warranty their transmission to work or a refund.”

This car very well could require a transmission, but without knowing anything about 2 shops that “confirmed” that, I’m not convinced. If a Wally-World shop tech and an Iffy-Lube tech both told you to replace your transmission, would you go ahead and do it or total out the car?

On the other hand, I’d be more likely to heed advice from a Subaru dealer transmission tech and an independent transmission shop tech, if and when I knew what the specific failure and symptoms or evidence for the recommendation were. This is an important decision here.

Am I missing something?
CSA


#11

Off topic but I’m missing something . I’m in the process of replacing the wiring harness on a jeep . Why does today’s automatic transmissions need 25 or 30 wires running to different plug connectors to operate properly ? I remember the days that automatic transmissions didn’t have any wires running to them & they shifted nice & smooth . Progress in reverse ?


#12

^
How is it progress in reverse since modern automatic transmissions are far more efficient in terms of both fuel economy and power transfer than the transmissions of yore?

If not for the way that the transmission communicates electronically with the ECM on modern cars, you would not be able to have the fuel economy and power that you enjoy with a modern car.


#13

Because they’re computer controlled to optimize efficiency.


#14

I suppose you’re correct but I remember years ago my dad had a 1963 ford fairlane with the little 260 V8 that got 26 miles to the gallon . Out of the 5 modern vehicles I own only 1 beats that .


#15

Re the number of wires: with proper interfaces, you should only need 4 wires, such as in USB. I suspect present designs are a patchwork of connections, with no one standing back and taking a fresh look.


#16

“I suppose you’re correct but I remember years ago my dad had a 1963 ford fairlane with the little 260 V8 that got 26 miles to the gallon . Out of the 5 modern vehicles I own only 1 beats that.”

Of course I’m correct.
Let me contrast your father’s '63 Fairlane V-8 with my 2011 Ouback (six cylinder):

Weight: Fairlane=3100 lbs Outback=3500 lbs
Displacement: Fairlane=260 c.i Outback=241 c.i.
Horsepower: Fairlane=164 Outback=256
Torque: Fairlane=258 Outback=247
0-60 acceleration: Fairlane=10.9 seconds Outback=7.1 seconds
Top Speed: Fairlane=103 Outback=110 (electronically governed)
MPG: Fairlane=14 mpg (estimated, overall) Outback=20 mpg, city/highway average

You may be correct about your father achieving 26 mpg with his Fairlane, but his figures were…not typical…and that figure is undoubtedly the maximum, rather than an average figure.
Over the past 5 years, I have been able to average 23.2 mpg, overall, and on a couple of occasions (on long trips) I have been able to eke-out 29 mpg with my Outback.

So, with a heavier vehicle with roughly similar displacement (but two fewer cylinders), I can accelerate much faster and consistently achieve better gas mileage (with the A/C running full-blast!), and at the same time be so much safer than somebody in a '60s vintage car that there is almost no comparison.

The science of electronics is the main reason why modern cars are so far superior to those of yesteryear, so…you may not like to encounter wires, but those wires are one of the prime reasons why a modern car is so much more efficient than a car from the '60s.


#17
I suppose you're correct but I remember years ago my dad had a 1963 ford fairlane with the little 260 V8 that got 26 miles to the gallon

Sorry…but cars in general get far better gas mileage then cars in the 60’s or 70’s. My 73 Vega gets worse gas mileage then my wifes Lexus. Lexus is heavier with almost triple the HP and torque and much better acceleration…and puts out less then 1/10th the amount of air pollution.


#18

Yup!
I find that many people use rose-colored glasses to view virtually everything from…The Good Old Days.

Recently, while clearing out a lot of old junk from a spare room, I found my gas mileage records from my '71 Charger. It had the smallest V-8 that they offered (the 318), and my typical gas mileage in combined city/highway driving was 13 mpg. The best mileage that I was ever able to get with that car (on a drive from NJ to Ohio) was 17 mpg.

Even the POS '74 Volvo that I bought (in the interest of fuel economy) to replace the Charger typically only delivered a combined city/highway figure of 17 mpg. The best that I was ever able to achieve with that car was 23 mpg, on a very long highway trip.


#19

The good old days - reminds me of our 1963 Oldsmobile 2 door hardtop that got 20 Miles to a gallon ( 8 in town and 12 on the highway )


#20

My father weekly drove from PA to WV & back , about a 5 hour 1 way drive & kept fuel mileage records so the 26 mpg was mainly trip mileage .
My last hot rod , a Z28 Camaro got about 11 mpg . 4 of my present vehicles get in the 18-22 mpg range & 1 gets about 30 .