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George H.
George H., Subaru Certified Technician
Category: Subaru
Satisfied Customers: 18390
Experience:  ASE Master Tech 15 + Years
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Subaru Outback 2.5I Basic: Can transmission damage occur from

Customer Question

Can transmission damage occur from mismatched tires (205-55-16 matched with 225-60-26 on front axles) for 14,00 miles on a 2001 Outback, manual transmission?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Subaru
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.
Hello I will help you with your question,
Is that 14,000 miles?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes, 14,000 miles. sorry for the typo.
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.
Ok, that is what I thought.
Yes the transmission is damaged, that is 5.5 inch difference between the smaller and the larger tires so the mismatch would cause the transfer section of the transmission to overheat. As this is a manual transmission you will be better off replacing it with a used one you might find through car-part.com rather than trying to rebuild yours. The transfer portion is a sealed unit so it is expensive and the labor to go through the transmission is extra compared to just replacing it.
Please let me know if you have further questions
Thank you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The Subaru shop mechanic says that noise is the transmission bearings. The tire dealer who mounted the incorrect tire says that that would cause transfer case damage, not transmission damage. SUBARU says only what the owners manual says---- wrong tire will damage the drive train.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So the transfer case is inside of or part of the transmission (manual), correct? What do you think of the noise lessening (but not going away) after proper tires were mounted?
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.
I doubt it is the bearings but the silicone transfer clutch would be where the heat built up and that is INSIDE the transmission and IS transmission damage.
If the tire dealer says only the transfer section would be damaged let them know it is fine if they replace that, it still means replacing the transmission.
If you end up footing the bill do not try to rebuild yours, find a used trans with reasonable mileage through car-part.com and install that.
Please let me know how I can help you with your question
Thank you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
When I tried to print this out the first part (my question to you) is covered by the part about the rating system. Can you give me a response which includes my question. I need to demonstrate what my question was that you answered.
Expert:  George H. replied 1 year ago.
Can transmission damage occur from mismatched tires (205-55-16 matched with 225-60-26 on front axles) for 14,00 miles on a 2001 Outback, manual transmission?
Country: United States
Make: Subaru
Model: Outback 2.5I Basic
Year: 2001
Engine: 2.5 liter 4 cylinder
Already Tried:
Noise in transmission occurred and progressively worsened. When mismatched tire was noted, all tires were properly replaced. Noise slowly reduced to 1/2 as bad after correct tires were mounted. Have been told that the noise is the transmission bearings.
Your question. If you mouseover the "share" button at the bottom right of your question one of the options is to print.
Please let me know how I can help but mounting tires that are 5.5 inches different in circumference will damage the transmission and the transfer section in the transmission. Subaru says no more than 0.5" difference and preferably 3/8".
Please let me know how I can help
Thank you

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