Subaru Outback 2005: Limp Mode


Asked by GaryLB Jun 12, 2016 at 12:25 AM about the 2005 Subaru Outback 2.5 i Wagon

Question type: General

I have been battling a big boost upon acceleration at stoplights for approximately 6 months. Now twice I have gone into limp mode and the tech reads:
PO700 (Transmission) and PO731 (Gear 1). I just turned over 190,000 miles but only purchased it a year ago. Any thoughts as to what is the problem(s)? How costly SSS are we talking? Please "dumb" it down guys....I'm a scientist, not a mechanic! Thanks!

12 Answers


1 people found this helpful.

Sounds like lost pressure at front inner seal of tranny. Start by draining ATF and refilling with 3.5qts. Wait to circulate by shifting manually a few times, then check dipstick. If still dirty (black or gray) redrain and refill with 3.5 qts again. THEN add a bottle of transmission SEAL CONDITIONER to ATF and try to drive normallly. If you're lucky the front seal with expand and hold pressure, allowing normal launches and upshifts. Monitor and erase CELs as necessary along the way. If clean and conditioned ATF doesn't do the trick it's easier to chase a used 4EAT trans than to repair if me. Good luck.

1 people found this helpful.

Ern, check out the link I posted above, as there has been a lot of good discussion, and copy/paste your answer over there as well. He accidentally? asked twice. And you're right, it is the seal.


I did check it briefly. Seemed to be queries re other makes? Feel free to post my response as you wish. Have a good one.

1 people found this helpful.

odd.. well, either way, he'll get it since this is his question, too. Thinking about it now... what's the chance someone sold this car with conditioner in the trans and made it run "okay" and now it's worn off and the problem is back? I know, I know, I'm kind of blunt about it.. hoping it wasn't friend/family ;) It just seems odd that it would just all of a sudden appear based on my experience for 3.5 years of having to let mine warm up and drive super easy with no load until it's up to temp. And if I need to gear down, I do it manually with the gear changer, pull back on the throttle while it's hanging in the balance, engage, then gas. Cuz once mine is "engaged", it's good to go. I do get a weird scenario every once in a while when I come to a stop light where it doesn't register to change down gears and kind of stutters/grinds/binds?


for me? nope. no AT light. Gary, If I were you, I would look in junk yards or for your trans. You might also check where you can find a solid range of years you can pull from. I bought a trans from my JY last year for 175 bucks (I had to pull it) from an 04 Forester that was T-boned to put in my 03 because of my 03's issues. It has dirty fluid but I'm hoping it doesn't have a bad seal. I would price it out, too. Expensive rebuild and install charges, labor, etc. or just buy one from and have it installed? I was looking at prices on RA the other day for mine and it's like 1850 for my 03/04 which is/could be a lot cheaper than a shop. For your 05 i -- OH, same price. Check it out here:,2005,outback,2.5l+h 4,1430734,transmission- automatic,automatic+transmission+assembly,8556


weird.. RA says 2005 only for your trans. I would look on for you, but some of the stuff is very specific and you'll know more than me and you can actually look at the code on your trans (should be on the top of the trans, near the starter area) and other very specific stuff on your car. When I did my 2-3 drain and fills after getting the car, I also used Seafoam's TransTune to help clean the trans up a bit. It seemed to help shifting a good bit. You'll want to do the drain and fills, measure how much you take out, put back in the same amount. And I bought a bottle of conditioner but haven't put any in yet. Some people even drain&fill that 3.5-4qts ATF every oil change or every other. It's a bit of a reach to break that oil pan bolt free but if your'e capable of doing it verses shop fees, I'd totally do it. Also would like you to keep in touch with us on progress or research on that Gear 1 code.


and just in case you aren't aware of the dangers of working under a car.. seriously and sincerely be careful and use good judgment. for the drain and fill, I park on a front left decline? and slide/crawl up under the car.. no lifting. If you ever find you need to lift a car, try to keep 3 wheels on the ground. Use jack stands and wheel chocks. Or, of course, find a shop with integrity and reasonable prices. Keep in touch.


I just jack the LF up with a big floor jack...and assume my kids can find the cash if necessary.


hahaha yeah. Do you lower it back down to get more of the fluid or just leave it up / good enough? I've lifted mine for this, too, but just figured I'd put up a word of caution for anyone working under a car. I think I had to get out my breaker bar to crack it loose the first time. Unbelievably tight.


Only an additional cup comes out if level. If ATF was REALLY cruddy I'll drain it a bit longer and repeat anyway. I usually get them off with a normal half inch wrench, but often splash hot ATF on me near the friggin' drain pan. It's a job I hate, but perform religiously as it's critical to 4EAT lifespan.

1 people found this helpful.

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