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Whine coming from transmission on H6 Subaru Outback

I have a 2002 LL Bean outback with an automatic transmission and the H6 engine and 160k+ miles. Recently the transmission has been making a low pitched whine (sounds like bearings) when driving. The mechanic at the dealership told me I need a new transmission ($3700).

1) Is $3700 a reasonable cost or can a rebuilt transmission be gotten cheaper?

2) I recently had the timing chain replaced which required the engine be dropped out to get to it. Could this have caused the transmission problem?

  1. Go to an independent automatic transmission shop that has been in business for at least three years (NOT AAMCO, Lee Myles, Cottman, or any other chain operation). If you really do need a trans rebuild, the price at an independent shop will be far cheaper.

  2. This is unlikely to be connected.

Incidentally, are you the original owner? I ask because having to replace both a timing chain (which is rare) and a transmission could indicate that the car was abused and/or improperly maintained by a previous owner.

Questions first. (And don’t drive the car at this point)

Did the whine originate quickly or was it gradually over time?
History of oil changes, Quick Lube visits, etc.?

There’s a reason for the questions.