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Subaru Shifting

Q. I recently bought a 1991 Subaru Legacy Wagon, 2-WD with automatic transmission and 125,000 miles. From everything I've found the car is in good condition and has been well cared for. On a recent trip while cruising at about 78 mph with no warning it down shifted from over drive into passing gear and would not shift back up.

If I stop and start off again, it goes through the gears perfectly but soon down shifts again.

The fluid looks and smells good, and I've looked at wires for any problems, and other than that I'm not finding much information as to what else to look for. I know this model has and electric shift system. Also I'm not close to any Subaru dealers to have them check this out, and transmission shops want to rip you off ($1500. - $2200) to rebuild and I don't think it's that major of a problem. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Ralph

A. I believe you are correct, the problem is not a mechanical one. It is electrical. When the transmission control unit senses a problem it stores a DTC and goes into a fail safe mode. When you shut the car off, it resets the computer and works until it senses the problem again and returns to fail safe mode.

Since the transmission uses inputs from several different sensors including some engine sensors, suggesting a possible cause is difficult. The best thing to do is take it to a shop that is willing to diagnose the problem instead of throwing parts at it and hope it fixes it.

Additional Information provided courtesy of ALLDATA

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