Barely moves at high RPM, no power, shifting but not properly

Tiny
ANOTHERCARPROBLEM
  • MEMBER
  • 1995 SUBARU LEGACY
  • 120,000 MILES
Auto transmission AWD but has fuse in to make it FrontWD.
Car has well under 120k miles and sat all winter, started right up. Drove 3 times and it got warm (not over heated) so I found an almost empty radiator that I filled immediately. Drove another time and heat guage never said it got warm. I fixed the leaking exhaust, then I noticed radiator and oil leak(s). So I always check oil and radiator fluid before driving this car.

After that I drove around for an afternoon, and on a big hill lost all power going up. Transmission seemed to be all over the place, and I was crawling up the hill at 5-6krpm, eventually coming to a stop and having to pull over. Pulled over and saw the radiator fans in front stopped working entirely, but the heat guage inside said temperature was OK. I had to pull over multiple times and turn the car off, let it cool down (heat guage said it was still cool but I say BS), then crawl another couple hundred feet up the hill and pull over again.

I immediately parked it and let it cool off for a couple days. It moves around now at high rpms but just barely, and the transmission seems to think its going down the highway when i'm goin 2-4 mph on flat pavement.

thermostat?
speed controller? Sensor?
transmission?
drive shaft?

PLEASE help! Thank you! I owned the car for less than 2weeks when this all happened.
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Sunday, April 28th, 2013 AT 3:43 PM

2 Replies

Tiny
FREEMBA
  • EXPERT
Check the transmission fluid with the engine warm. If the transmission fluid is low, you'll have a loss of power type problem and it could cause the engine to overheat.
When checking the fluid notice the color (should be RED) and smell it to see if it smells burned. Let me know the results.
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Sunday, April 28th, 2013 AT 4:22 PM
Tiny
ANOTHERCARPROBLEM
  • MEMBER
Thank you for the response. I haven't had time to work on it more until recently.
There was NO fluid in the AT. Dipstick is completely dry and colorless, so I couldnt smell it. It seems to have a large/total fluid leak.
I added 1 quart and it moved 10-15 feet in 1st gear no problem, same for reverse. It seems to shift better now. Also I shifted into 2nd, 3rd, D, let it idle a bit in each, but I did not want to drive in those gears for fear of the difficult shifting/ high rpm. I only moved around in 1st and Reverse.
My concern is running in each gear with too-little AT Fluid to "heat it up before checking the dipstick" as the owner manual says to do.

The manual also says to add 2qts or so when changing the ATF - so i'll add another quart, idle, idle in each gear, move around 10-20 feet in each gear. And then start looking for the leaks.
Suggestions?

I was told Head Gasket going or gone, could cause loss of power and I should check the oil for antifreeze. I checked the oil before running the car again (so it's been sitting a few months) - it looked normal Except for some bubbles at the bottom of the dipsticks. I checked it again after running/moving the car, and now it looks normal. Maybe a bit lighter in color than i'd expect but no foam/bubbles or separate liquid. Not a pro so any tips on being thorough hear would be appreciated.

Lastly, the temperature gauge went to about 50% and I never saw the radiator fan turn on. I dont want to overheat the car. I cannot figure out what would cause this, I assume a dead fan-motor? I will test the fan-motor and if it works/doesn't need replacing - I'm seriously considering hooking the fan to a separate circuit with a dedicated toggle switch near the radio. Is there something I'm overlooking that could be an easy fix before I alter the fan's wiring?
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Thursday, August 29th, 2013 AT 10:37 AM

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