Subaru Legacy confusing first and second gear, cause?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Zorba, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. Zorba

    Zorba Diamond Member

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    I have a '99, Subaru Legacy L (non-turbo) with the 2.2 engine and 4 speed auto. The car has about 150K miles on it.

    This has happened a couple of times now, just started a few days ago, but it is really freaking me out. Both times it has happened, I have started the car and gone straight from park to drive. The car will take a ton of gas to get going and once I get to the point it would normally shift to second, it shifts down to first. If I stop, put the car in neutral then back to drive, it starts acting normal again. I can also shift through each gear with the shifter and it seems correct.

    I don't think I've ever had a car confuse gears before, but it makes me nervous to drive it, since it would be very hard to drive if my "fix" stops working.

    Any ideas what might be going on and how to fix it?
     
  2. who?

    who? Golden Member

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    Does this transmission start in 2nd when the lever is in the 2 position? Are you sure you're putting it in D and not 2?
     
  3. Zorba

    Zorba Diamond Member

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    Yes, I am putting it in D, not 2nd. I have checked that both times, to be sure.

    I haven't tried recently, but I believe if you try to start 2nd, it will normally start in First, then up-shift to second, but won't up-shift past 2nd, I know this true if you put it in 3rd. If I go down to 1st on the handle, it will start up in first correctly.
     
  4. who?

    who? Golden Member

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    Subaru's online manuals only go back to 2000 but in that model year the transmission holds in 2nd gear when the lever is in the 2 position so I think that it's lever position sensor is out of calibration.
     
  5. Zorba

    Zorba Diamond Member

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    You know, there is a good chance you're right. I've gotten into a bad habit on long drives of sticking my fingers part three shift seal and messing with a screw in there. Any idea how to adjust that?
     
  6. Zodiark1593

    Zodiark1593 Platinum Member

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    Could the Transmission Range Sensor be going bad?

    I thought it was that sensor in my car, as my tranny refused to shift into second and forth. Nope, tranny needs an overhaul. (got the bad news today actually)

    While it doesn't sound like your problem either, it's something worth considering.