Transmission woes in a Subaru Forester

I am inhereting a 2000 Forester AT that has an issue with the transmission. It shifts perfectly into park, reverse and neutral, but when you go to shift it into drive, it just sits there. If you rev the engine, it seems to ‘prime the pump’ and, will then sort of drift into drive (or jump in, if you are still reving it). What the previous owner tells me is that, when he wanted to go into drive, he’d first put it into neutral, rev the engine 2 or 3 times, then put it into drive as the engine was slowing down. He said he had it down to a science, and was so used to this proceedure that he almost didn’t notice it, and said that it had done this ever since he got the car and hasn’t gotten any worse in that time.

Once you have it in gear, it works fine. But whenever you want to shift it from any gear into drive, you have to go through this proceedure.

What I want to know is what might be causing this? I didn’t spend anything on the car, so I could probably afford to fix it if it isn’t a transmission replacement or anything, but I’d love to have some idea what I might be dealing with. Thanks.

Why on earth would you buy a car with a known problem and worse an apathetic previous owner? At the very least check the transmission fluid level.

He didn’t buy it he inherited it.

Exactly, I inhereted it. Can’t beat the price, right? It had lots fewer miles than my current Legacy so I was thinking of fixing it up and driving it, but I may just trade them both on something newer.