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Subaru Legacy Transmissions: Overview, Problems, Fluids

On this blog, we’ve written extensively about the Subaru Legacy and its various features. Today we’re going to take a deeper dive into the transmissions of the Legacy. Let’s start with a quick answer:

Subaru has used many different models of transmissions for the Legacy throughout its seven generations. While some transmissions overlap across several generations, some transmissions were confined only to a couple of generations. The transmissions include 4- and 5-speed automatic and 5- and 6-speed manual transmissions, along with CVT.

Let us acknowledge here that the above description is not a whole picture of transmissions used in the Subaru Legacy. It only reflects a simplistic overview. Thus, we will discuss transmissions with more details that went inside the Subaru Legacy. For this purpose, we will see different models of transmissions that go inside it throughout its seven generations. Moreover, we will find out the cost of replacing them and how long they last. Additionally, we will go through the problems that often emerge during the lifetime of those transmissions. So, let us jump straight into it.

Also read: Subaru Legacy Towing Capacity: Can It Tow A Trailer, Boat, Or Jet Ski?

What Transmissions Has The Subaru Legacy Used?

First Generation (1989–1994)

  • 4-speed 4EAT automatic
  • 5-speed manual
  • 5-speed manual with dual-range

Second Generation (1993–1999)

  • 4-speed 4EAT automatic
  • 5-speed manual

Third Generation (1998–2004)

  • 4-speed 4EAT automatic
  • 5-speed manual
  • 6-speed manual

Fourth Generation (2003–2009)

  • 4-speed 4EAT automatic
  • 5-speed automatic
  • 5-speed manual
  • 6-speed manual

Fifth Generation (2009–2014)

  • TR690 Lineartronic CVT
  • 5-speed 5EAT automatic
  • 6-speed TY856 manual 

Sixth Generation (2014–2019)

  • 8-speed Lineartronic CVT
  • 6-speed manual

Seventh Generation (2019–Present)

  • Simulated 8-speed Lineartronic CVT

How Long Does A Subaru Legacy Transmission Last?

On average, you can expect a Subaru Legacy transmission to last between 200,000 and 300,000 miles. But again, a lot of factors can play a role in raising or reducing the average estimates. The bottom line is that fixing any problems right away and keeping fluids topped up can assure you the transmission runs seamlessly.

Also read: How Many Miles Can A Subaru Legacy Last? (Answered)

How Much Does A Subaru Legacy Transmission Cost?

Are you looking to change the transmission inside your Subaru Legacy? For your ease, we provide you with the prices of different transmissions. Take a look below for it, and it will help you make up your mind accordingly.

  • 4-speed 4EAT automatic: $1,995.00 (SPPrecision)
  • TR690 Lineartronic CVT: $2,160.00 (Maktrans)
  • 5-speed 5EAT automatic: $4,313.46 (GoPowertrain)
  • 6-speed TY856 manual: $3,200.00 (Guesstimate)

Also read: The Types Of Gas A Subaru Legacy Takes (Explained)

Common Subaru Legacy Transmission Problems

Let us see through common problems regarding transmissions that Subaru Legacy drivers face while driving. We will go through them individually.


  • The 4EAT transmission may become prone to shaking and shuddering when a driver accelerates from a standstill.
  • Another problem associated with the transmission is overheating. A driver can often notice the problem by looking at a warning light. 
  • Clogged oil coolers can prevent the cooling of transmission. You can verify it by looking over the transmission fluid inside the return line.
  • A faulty pressure control solenoid can cause the transmission fluid to lose pressure. Consequently, overheating happens because the flow through the oil cooler becomes slow. The issue can also create gear changes rough and delayed.


  • The TR690 transmission can begin shuddering when a driver slows down a car.
  • It can also knock and jerk, provided that the engine is idling.
  • It can also cause hesitation in the combination of shaking on some occasions.
  • Interestingly, the problems usually start to occur after it runs 60,000 miles.


  • A driver may sense an abrupt feel of the forward movement of a car when the 5EAT transmission makes the switch. It occurs when a driver shifts from second gear into third gear.
  • The transmission can also overheat when a car starts. It, sometimes, happens in the middle of driving as well.
  • Moreover, when accelerating from a stall, a driver can feel sensations of shuddering and shaking.


  • The TY856 transmission is susceptible to gear crunching when a driver changes to a higher gear. Worn and tear components usually cause the problem. The problem also leads to the corroding of shifting fork pads.
  • On top of it, component wear and tear also leads to the gear selection spinning out of gear. On some occasions, the problem occurs because of improper gear set alignment after overhaul.
  • Gear breakage is also another issue with the TY856 transmission. Nevertheless, it takes place on rare occasions since it is overall robust.

Also read: The Exact Bolt Pattern Of A Subaru Legacy

Differences Between Transmissions

The 4EAT is an automatic transmission. It contains a lock-up torque converter, and so it locks up in all forward gears, except for the first gear. Its design of shift quadrant is according to the four forward speeds. Essentially, the 4EAT transmission shifts through all four gears with the selector in D. Put the selector in the 2nd position, the 4EAT transmission shifts through the first and second. With the selector in the 3rd position, it shifts through first, second, and third.

The TR690 transmission uses two hydraulically operated pulleys fastened by a metal chain. It is overall a robust transmission since its metal is sturdy. The transmission also emits relatively lower noise.

The 5EAT is considered an electronically controlled 5-speed automatic transmission. It embraces an external spin-on filter and torque converter. These spin-on filters impede clutch material shredding to pave its way to plug up the cooler. Hence, it is an essential element when it comes to overheating prevention.

The TY856 is one of the robust 6-speed manual transmissions offered by Subaru. Therefore, its reliability has made it popular among car enthusiasts.

Transmission Fluids And The Subaru Legacy

Taking good care of the transmission by overcoming the problems straight away is a first step to guarantee the smooth running of the transmission. As far as the transmission fluid is concerned, car manufacturers suggest changing it every 45,000 miles. However, different transmissions may require different transmission fluids. It is a bad idea to fill up the transmission with any random transmission fluid. For your convenience, we provide you with the source that will help you find the transmission fluid for your transmission.