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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About to take my 07 Tribeca into a Transmission Shop at the advice of a mechanic, and I wanted to get an idea of what type of job I might be looking at so I have some context when speaking with the new shop.

A week ago, driving our Tribeca, CEL illuminated (along with sport light, traction control etc... - systems which all get shut down when the CEL comes on). Car seemed to be stuck in a higher gear, and acceleration was sluggish.

Anyways, got it to the shop and after a few days they cleared the trouble codes, charged the battery (which they said was low, and a possible culprit). They said to drive it for a few days and bring it back in a week and let them hook the computer back up to see if anything comes back.

Here are the codes that they cleared: P0700 (TCM), P0741 (Torque Converter Clutch), and P0768 (Shift solenoid D).

Over the weekend - three days to be exact - the car had no issues. Shifted fine, accelerated fine. Got in to run an errand, and the CEL came back on. I took it back to the shop, and it's the same codes coming back with the suggestion to take it to a Transmission specialist.

Anyone have any insight into what I'm about to walk into? On the surface, since the car ran fine for several days - I don't think there is any major mechanical issues present. Could replacing the Shift Solenoid and TCC be actual issues? If so, from a parts perspective I would think that the price for the job would be much more reasonable compared to full-on transmission rebuild. Anyone have any idea on what typical pricing might be?

Thanks in advance! All comments welcome!
 

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The most consistent issue I have heard of is the valve body having issues which would include all the solenoids, including the ones to lockup the TC. I would price the repair and a used transmission and do whichever was cheaper.

How many miles? Have you changed the fluid?
 

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Agreed on Subaru ATF-HP... if not an FSM recommended alternative.

Also, transmission fluid is a great solvent... to the extent that any of your problems are being caused by carbon or lacquer buildup, a few drain/fills may actually do you some good. The 4EAT on my Forester was experiencing some pretty bad torque binding-like symptoms that vanished after a can of Seafoam-Trans and three drain/fills over 1,000 miles. I don't know enough about the mechanicals of the valve body to know whether it can be fouled by buildup in the same way, but heck, at $4-5/qt and 4-5 qts per drain/fill, it may be worth a try.
 

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Moving off topic - 'compatible' is tough to define. Only subaru knows all the materials in the transmission. Wasn't there an issue with syncros in the 5 speed getting eaten by suppose ably compatible aftermarket synthetic gear oil that was eating the copper (or something similar?)
 

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Kind of a vague comparison there...amsoil is a well known and respected oil in the Subie community. Again nothing is wrong with the subaru hp, it is a great fluid. But it isn't the only fluid that works well in the 5eat, and the amsoil has proven itself.

Royal purple, causes issues in the 5eat that I have read for sure.

If you want to use that line of logic for using subaru HP, then you should also be using Subaru 5w 30 synthetic and no other for the engine...only subaru knows for sure the exact metal content of their bearings and bearing surfaces better safe than sorry ;)
 

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Motor oil is a bit of a different animal because of the API/ILSAC/JASO standards involved... the FSM and user's manual clearly state that you can use any oil that meets the OEM standard. Brake fluid is the same way... anything that meets the DOT standard is fine, regardless of mfg.

ATF and coolant are different, however. There is no standard for ATF because it acts as both a lubricant and a hydraulic fluid... so while an aftermarket fluid might meet OEM specs for lubricating/viscosity, it may not meet specs for the hydraulics (or vice versa). Further, due to the chemical complexity of ATF (relative to standard motor oil), ATF's also contain a blend of anti-corrosion agents and friction modifiers that are specifically designed for the transmission's design, components & materials. All of this is not to say you can't find an A/M alternative, but meeting four sets of specifications (lubrication, hydraulics, anti-corrosion and friction modifiers) is a lot more difficult than meeting one or two specifications.

Coolant, while it performs a single function like motor oil and brake fluid, is formulated with anti-corrosion agents designed to be compatible (or not incompatible) with the radiator/engine materials (as most of us know, water and different metals don't play well together). So finding an truly compatible aftermarket alternative is a bit easier because you simply have to ensure that the A/M version has the same anti-corrosion properties as the OEM; otherwise, it's just a question of adjusting the blend to protect over the proper range of temperatures.
 

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Motor oil is a bit of a different animal because of the API/ILSAC/JASO standards involved... the FSM and user's manual clearly state that you can use any oil that meets the OEM standard. Brake fluid is the same way... anything that meets the DOT standard is fine, regardless of mfg.

ATF and coolant are different, however. There is no standard for ATF because it acts as both a lubricant and a hydraulic fluid... so while an aftermarket fluid might meet OEM specs for lubricating/viscosity, it may not meet specs for the hydraulics (or vice versa). Further, due to the chemical complexity of ATF (relative to standard motor oil), ATF's also contain a blend of anti-corrosion agents and friction modifiers that are specifically designed for the transmission's design, components & materials. All of this is not to say you can't find an A/M alternative, but meeting four sets of specifications (lubrication, hydraulics, anti-corrosion and friction modifiers) is a lot more difficult than meeting one or two specifications.

Coolant, while it performs a single function like motor oil and brake fluid, is formulated with anti-corrosion agents designed to be compatible (or not incompatible) with the radiator/engine materials (as most of us know, water and different metals don't play well together). So finding an truly compatible aftermarket alternative is a bit easier because you simply have to ensure that the A/M version has the same anti-corrosion properties as the OEM; otherwise, it's just a question of adjusting the blend to protect over the proper range of temperatures.

So what you are saying is that as long as an ATF specifically meets the requirements for Subaru HP, like amsoil does, it is just as good or better than oem. And on the same note, if you ask Subaru which oils meet their specs they only recommend their brand, since it is the only oil they test in their engines. :naughty:
 

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Actually, that's not true. I've attached the FSM recommended fluids.

Engine oil says anything with the star they show, no mention of Subaru specific.

Transmission fluid has Subaru listed as recommended and these as alternatives:
IDEMITSU: APOLLOIL ATF HP
CASTROL: TRANSMAX J
Pennzoil QuakerState: Pennzoil
ATF-J

Coolant ONLY lists Subaru.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Update - Transmission specialist in town here (30 years exp and a bunch of local awards over the years), was able to replace just the Solenoid. He did tell me that a bunch of mechanics were replacing the entire valve bodies, but he didn't understand why. He was able to get the solenoid for $150. Subaru's are a rarity in our parts - everyone one I talk to comments that they "don't see a lot of subarus around here."

It's my first time dealing with this shop, but he seems pretty legit. Labor, plus transmission flush, part, and taxes came out to $750. We just got the car back today, so I'll update everyone in a couple weeks!

I appreciate everyone's input ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
In a couple months, I'm going to get the same shop to get me a quote on some tires.

When I do that, I'm planning on asking him where he got the solenoid from exactly in case it can help other Subaru owners in the future. If he can give me any info, I'll post it here as well.
 

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Actually, that's not true. I've attached the FSM recommended fluids.

Engine oil says anything with the star they show, no mention of Subaru specific.

Transmission fluid has Subaru listed as recommended and these as alternatives:
IDEMITSU: APOLLOIL ATF HP
CASTROL: TRANSMAX J
Pennzoil QuakerState: Pennzoil
ATF-J

Coolant ONLY lists Subaru.
I imagine that those are the oem manufacturers for the subaru hp, it would be silly for them not to be recommended. But that doesn't exclude all other fluids that also meet the specs from working just fine.
 
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