Transmission - 1999 Subaru Legacy Outback

I just had a transmission replaced on our 1999 Subaru Legacy Outback. They gave us a 90-day warranty. When we shift from park to drive, the transmission takes approximately 2-4 seconds to engage. The transmission shop owner said that this is normal on Subaru. Could anyone give me feedback on this–our first transmission never did this. Please help!!

This may seem simple, but check your fluid level. Read your manual on how to properly do it (i.e., engine running, transmission warm, etc.)

Check the fluid level first. This is not normal.
You state the transmission was replaced. Replaced with what; new, rebuilt, used? It makes a difference.

It is not “normal” but there does seen to be a fair number of Subarus with the problem. First step is as previously noted, check the fluid. Do you have a CEL (Check engine light?)

No, it is not normal for any car to do this, including Subarus. Neither of my Subarus does this, and the older of the 2 (now owned by my brother) is a '97 Outback with something over 150k on the odometer. The transmission has been serviced every 30k, and it still engages promptly and shifts properly. So, I can tell you that something is definitely amiss with that replacement trans.

The tranny shop owner is clearly trying to buy time for himself until your 90 day warranty expires. Go back there and demand (politely but firmly) that this be taken care of now, rather than allowing the warranty to run out.

Thanks for your replies. They replaced the used transmission with a used transmission with supposedly less miles.

I agree with VDC driver; it’s a stall attempt to get the vehicle past the 90 day guarantee.
If the shop procured the transaxle from a salvage then most salvage yards will guarantee them for 90 days. The problem is that they do not guarantee the labor involved. This puts the shop on the spot by having to change it again and they don’t want to do it for nothing. If the shop made this guarantee to you in writing then they’re going to have to stand behind it.

Just for hoots, set the park brake firmly. Place the transaxle in DRIVE (not overdrive), hold the foot brake down, and depress the accelerator pedal very quickly. The engine should stall out at around 1900 RPMs. Wait a few minutes and perform this test in 2nd gear. Repeat process in 1st gear. The engine should stall out at around 1900 in all gears. Do this test ONLY once.

This is referred to as a converter stall test. If the engine does not stall out and revs well over 2000 RPM then the clutch packs are slipping and this means the trans needs a rebuild, low mileage or not.
Hope that helps.