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Well, you can ask your question here. I seem to receive a lot of questions for auto repair and I am only one person so please leave me as much information as possible. Vehicle year, make, model, engine size, automatic or manual transmission, drive train type and anything else you’re aware of. I understand if you don’t have answers to all of these just leave me what you know and your question will get answered more quickly and accurately. I tend to ignore questions like: How do I flush my transmission? I would need more information here, see. Thanks in advance.
Martin Hand

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This way other people can benefit from the question’s and advice. Question’s posted here are answered in the same manner as asking me directly. Neither method is going to be quicker and I would rather you post them unless you don’t want too and that is fine also. I know longer accept direct questions. Contact us directly for appointments only. Remember – please be specific as possible otherwise questions will not be answered.
Thanks Again 🙂


  • Mark says:

    Hi. I am looking at a 2006 Forester for my daughter and on test driving noticed a slight vibration or binding when taking off at low speed. This seems to be comig from the rear of the car.. Once moving it is not noticeable at all. It is an automatic. is there a common fault with this model that would give you an idea what it might be?
    Wondering if it might be the viscous coupling binding?? Any ideas and whether it is something that could be costly to repir?? Tanks 🙂

    • Martin Hand says:

      This would only be noticeable while turning in a tight radius. Viscous coupler does nothing while going straight only releases when front to rear wheel speeds are different.

  • Simon Venaglia says:

    Hi Martin, You are doing a great job!
    So I think I have this problem as shown in this article: I can not find any local Aust mechanics or persons that have even seen this problem & this is the only article I could find dealing with it online.
    I own a Australian Liberty GX 1995, 2.2L, AWD, Auto, EJ22E, which I think is very similar to the Legacy in USA/CANADA. In the above article it does not mention which model you are talking about, since I have a older car I’m a bit worried I’m going to pull apart my transmission & find it’s different or wont be able to get after market parts. Can I drive the car like this without any damage made?
    As below shows I am assuming I can find out if this is my problem by applying this tricky procedure, if so I really would like to know how. Can you help me please? Kind regards
    “To retrieve codes for the TCM on older models without a Subaru scanner is a tricky procedure but not that bad once you know it. If you need help in retrieving the diagnostic trouble codes for the TCM contact me for the procedure.”

  • Have 2007 Subaru Forester 2.5 L automatic with 90K miles. Just had head gaskets, timing belt, valve job, and every imaginable seal, gasket, belt and pulley replaced by very reputable auto repair and engine shop. I have blue exhaust smoke at startup for 1-2 seconds after sitting 2 or more hours. Intensity varies. On rare occasion none. My mechanic placed small clear filter inline between PCV valve and intake. Unusual consistent amount of oil going into intake. Has new PCV valve. Why the excessive amount of oil coming from PCV valve? Is this what is causing blue smoke at startup? How do I remedy this excessive oil coming from PCV valve? Thank you.

    • Martin Hand says:

      Sounds like the engine has excessive blow by and would need pistons removed and inspected for wear. Most likely can clean up pistons and replace the rings to correct the problem.

  • Edgar Gonzalez Campos says:

    Which of the following faults would be most likely to cause a high idle on a speed density (or non-MAF) fuel system?

  • Joe says:

    I live in Indiana I have a 2013 chevy spark bought new with 5 miles on it at time I now have 50,000
    a couple months ago I was driving and transmission would’nt go but 2o miles per hour drove for about 7 miles still not kicking in so pulled off street stopped car put in park turned car off and restarted put in drive drove fine with no complication tell it happened agin 2 weeks latter took to dealer to service they found no issues now that im at 50,000 miles they say its time for transmission
    flush but on my owners manual it don’t require flush just transmission fluid and filter change at
    72,000 with only 50,000 is it to soon and what do you suggest failure could of been and is a transmission and filter change the same as a flush dealership says its same

    • Martin Hand says:

      Sounds like there is some type of electrical failure. I wouldn’t think the transmission is failing but you never know. I would have the pan removed and filter changed and inspect for excessive metal or friction material. This will give you an idea of what’s going on with the transmission. I wouldn’t expect the fluid exchange to fix the problem.

  • steve Jenkins says:

    Is there anyway to disable fwd on 03 subaru outback 2.5. 5speed. Trans

  • Ben says:

    Hello Martin,
    I Live in Japan and have a 2003 A/T Subaru Forester 2.0 XT Model:SG5B55T Transmission no:TZ1B5LBYAA
    My problem is it only drives in 2nd gear. I have taken to the Subaru dealer and they have checked the car and told me it has a P0758 error (Shift Solenoid B) and said the car is in safety mode.
    They gave me a quote to fix it and said we have to replace the Valve Body assembly, very expensive. I have read on some forums that you can just replace the one solenoid thats playing up.
    do you know if this is true for this model.
    Thanks for you Help

    • Martin Hand says:

      Yes second gear only is failsafe mode. I would try replacing the solenoid only first if it’s even available. Some solenoids are dynamically tuned to the valve body and have to be replaced as a complete unit so you may still need the valve body. This is more common on European models with automatic transmission.

  • Simon Holland-Brown says:

    Hi Martin and Team, I am based in the UK and have a 2004 JDM Legacy GT Spec B. The problem I have is this: when driving at 90 mph for 5 minutes or so, I suddenly get a juddering from the nearside of the car. When it first happened I thought it was a tyre about to blow but they are all fine. I then thought it must be a wheel bearing – mechanic tets drove and agreed. Wheel bearing replaced but the problem still persists. I’ve had all the wheels balanced and tyres checked and they’re all fine. Other specialists here think possibly brake calliper issue but I wonder whether it could be the AWD system about to fail – in particular, failure of the viscous clutch drum as the “chatter or vibration” you refer to sounds similar. However, this only happens on mine after 5 minutes at high speed and not under lateral load/cornering. Your help hugely appreciated – happy to pay for one on one advice – perhaps a WhatsApp call would be best to avoid horrendous international call charges. Thanks, Simon

    • Martin Hand says:

      I wouldn’t suspect anything wrong with the AWD system. The transfer clutch only releases while turning and the front to rear wheel speeds are different. I would check all drivetrain components, brake calipers free and not hanging up and make sure the tires are good. A vibration like what you’re explaining points to a tire problem. CV axles or driveline could cause vibrations but usually noticed at low speeds also.

      • Simon Holland-Brown says:

        Martin, thank you for your advice. I thought a tyre problem initially but have had them checked out and wheels balanced at the same time. I think it must be a brake caliper issue – test drive with a local mechanic on Monday; I will report back.

        • Simon Holland-Brown says:

          Martin, it turns out it was a a problem with the gearbox – there was no oil in it! The odd thing is the gearbox wasn’t leaking at all – the mechanic tells me that over time the gearbox will lose it’s oil naturally, does this sound right to you?

  • Palmer says:

    I have a 2006 Subaru ll bean forester , I’ve been told by a mechanic that my rear main bearing is leaking. About how much should it cost to repair?


    Hallow, i have an impreza which looses power when accelerating. it is so serious that the vehicle stalls on the road while the engine is still running, and power light comes on… i have service the gearbox but in vain. the engine is perfect. please help me out.

  • My usual repair center where I took my 2008 Ford Escape for minor repairs told me I should get a transmission flush before 100,00 miles on it. It had 95,000 miles on it when I had it done. I had absolutely no problems with it to begin with. The tranny only lasted 600 miles and died. The owner told me they do NOT replace the filter. They should right? I need answers. Thanks,Sheila

    • Martin Hand says:

      If the transmission is not closed case I would request to drop the pan and inspect for excessive metal or clutch material. Replace the filter and check if the old filter was restricted or plugged. If filter is plugged then there was something failing before the transmission flush was performed. If it’s closed case then you cannot access the filter without removing transmission.

  • Cassandra says:

    I have a 2006 hyundai sonata and on christmas day it wouldn’t go in reverse.But i have never had a transmission flush since i had the car.So do i need a new transmission.I took it to a shop they told me 2,000 for a transmission i need help on what i need to do

    • Martin Hand says:

      Too late for transmission service at this point. The transmission will need repaired. $2000.00 for a rebuild sounds correct for pricing. Costs may change after it’s taken apart so ask for a worse case scenario price just to be sure.

  • Bill Brasier says:

    I read your piece on Subaru Oil Consumption Problem & Repair. (and made a donation) It’s consistent with what I’ve heard/read from other experts although your repair price is better and I didn’t know about the piston oil drain holes.

    My 2010 2.5 Outback has 151,000 on it. Oil consumption increased from negligible to 1qt/750 miles rapidly around 92,000 miles. After doing simple things myself like PCV valve, mechanics agreed this car exhibits the classic oil control ring issue. At 98,000 miles the head gasket was replaced (no ring work). At 135,000 the oil burning killed the catalytic converter which was replaced under warranty (PZEV vehicle). As a protective measure I then bought a very low mileage cat from the junkyard, put it on the car and store the new one in my garage.

    Recently, oil consumption jumped to almost 1 quart at every gas fillup. (At same time my driving habit changed – far LESS long highway trips, MORE short trips.)

    Performance-wise, the motor runs great. I do not NOTICE any loss of power from the new motor. I have no recent compression #s.

    So, my question for you. Is there any good reason to do the piston ring service you describe in the article (and possible exhaust valve service) now or should I just keep driving and stay diligent on the oil level? Is there any significance to the recent jump in oil usage?

    • Martin Hand says:

      It’s really hard to say at this point. If the headgaskets have not been done then I would say yes. It really depends on how long you plan on keeping the car. If you keep burning catalytic converters and have emissions regulations in your state then you’ll have to repair it. Other then that if you don’t run it out of oil it should be okay. Try an oil stabilizer like Lucas to reduce oil consumption. If you can find a good shop that will offer the service and keep it under $2000 then it may be worth the money. Vehicle will also run better and restore lost compression. Thank you for the donation.

    • Darius Moss says:

      I have a 2013 Outback (PZEV) with 120,000 miles that is also an oil burner. I notice that you mentioned your catalytic converter was replaced under warranty. Is there any criteria that needs to be met like under 8 yrs, 100K miles to qualify for the new catalytic converter? Also you probably know this already, the extended warranty as a result of the class action lawsuit just ended April 21, 2017 (I believe or April 27, 2017). It allowed vehicles over 100K miles to get the short block replacement under the extended warranty. My local subaru dealership told me I had to get my external oil leaks done ($2,000) in order to be considered for the short block replacement by the time I had the external leaks fixed it was past the expiration date. I bought it from a local Toyota dealership back in March 2017 so I did not know much about subarus but in the last couple months I have been on crash course. When I asked the subaru dealership about recalls and TSBs initially the oil burning never was mentioned even though my VIN showed that my car was in the lot of cars with possibly a faulty design that lead to oil burning. So the dealer was not upfront with information even .

  • Nate says:

    I drive a 97 Subaru Legacy GT and my all wheel drive is not working my to back tires do not want to spin from a dead stop they have no life just my 2 front ones and I’ve been sliding all over the place because they’re not giving me traction I’ve had many mechanic look at it my car does not make any obscene noises my fuses are fine the answer I’ve got the most this is probably or all-wheel drive solenoid and or your Vicious clutch drum. Is this a fair assumption does anybody else think that this might be the problem as well?

    • Martin Hand says:

      Most likely. You will have to take it apart to find out for sure. Make sure the FWD fuse is not installed, instrument cluster would show FWD lite. Also check for AT Oil Temp lite when you start the vehicle, may have diagnostic trouble codes to help you with your diagnosis.

  • walt says:

    I have a 2013 Impreza. I have been hearing, rarely, a “clunk” like sound from the left front. I heard this when I pull out after the car has been sitting overnight and if I turn a hard, slow left turn. The sound is not unlike the sound one would hear if they turn, either right or left, all the way to the turn stop. Otherwise the car is great and in alignment. It tracks perfectly on the freeway and the brakes feel and have checked out as good too.

    Any thoughts?

  • DENNI OMONDI says:

    Hi, my subaru impreza is mixing ATF oil with CC oil, then coming out though the breather..? please help.

  • Dana Bruce says:

    1999 MT 2.5 L touring outback wagon. There is the beginning of the sound of rocks in my MT. From your online advice, I need to replace some or all of the bearings and am intrigued in learning how.

    The online page for my local dealer:

    is very difficult to navigate without knowing what I’m looking for.

    1. I would like to know which bearings are likely the ones I need to replace.
    2. Do you sell them instead?
    3. If I find that this “is beyond me” what is the estimate for you to rebuild it?

    1. The viscous coupler (center differential is what I learned it as) was replaced 35K ago.
    2. I am in Grass Valley CA i.e. northern California.
    3. The clutch and throw out bearing were replaced 35K ago.
    4. 1999 MT tranny 2.5 L touring outback wagon

    • Martin Hand says:

      You’ll need to take it apart then you can pick out the bearings that need replaced. Probably replace all main and secondary shaft bearings, all transfer case bearings and differential bearings. We can rebuild it for about $1600-$1800 maybe less if already removed from vehicle.

  • herman says:

    I took it to joplin transmission to do a transmission flush and a filter replace but they inform me that while inspecting the transmission oil pan they found a spring and they would not preform the flush nor put new oil in it so I either had to pay them to take down the transmission and inspected…I had a bad feeling so I told them put new oil in it and I was gonna pick it up. They said no and was gonna put my old oil in it. So I pick up my truck and took it to a friend’s house drop the tranny pan down and replace filter… guess what shudder gone drives like new this is the reason why I can’t trust mechanic shops any more 🙁 it’s sucks that there are honest people out there but shops like those makes us not trust in shops anymore.. thanks though for the advice.

  • herman says:

    F150 08 awd 4×4 transmission shudder and goes away in got recommend getting a transmission flush filter replace and it should fix the problem what do you think.? Thanks

    • Martin Hand says:

      It would be worth trying, may or may not fix the problem. Use the correct fluid and possibly a shudder fix additive. I think Dr.Tranny or LubeGuard makes an additive.

  • Ken Bennett says:

    Is there an easy way to disconnect or deactivate the TPS system on 09 Forrester XT? It keeps randomly coming on, especially now with colder weather. I have verified all 4 tire pressures to be at spec.

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