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tamaz, Subaru master technician
Category: Subaru
Satisfied Customers: 1263
Experience:  Subaru certified,ASE Master technician,25 years experience
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1999 subaru outback. inhibitior switch
, yes I just

Customer Question

Customer: 1999 subaru outback. inhibitior switch
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: yes I just replaced the switch because the engine stopped engaging the transmision. my car would run just not move. Now when i move my shifter slowly in between drive and neutral and keep the rmps up it will engage so I believe I have just adjusted it wrong
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Subaru
Expert:  tamaz replied 1 year ago.

Hi,the inhibitor switch has dual purposes it signals the ecm that the transmission is in park or neutral to allow the vehicle to start it also will signal both the ecm and tcm on gear position so the proper shift controling is possible.The transmission is driven by fluid pressure, when you select the drive gear fluid pressure will push the forward clutch piston up so the clutches apply and vehicle will begin to move.This model year had many problems with the forward clutch piston seal leaking,it sounds like this is your problem,since you rev the engine your directing more pressure and in turn pushing the fluid so more pressure is applied making the transmission is engaged.the inhibitor switch needs to be adjusted properly , will the engine start while in park or neutral ?You may need to adjust the switch but this will not cure the problem your having,thanks.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The car will start in both N and P but no others. Transmission fluid is full and no signs of leaks. What about sticking, I have read that is also common in this vehicle. Would you recommend trying cfoam?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also with a forward clutch piston seal leak there would be signs. e.g. hesitation when shifting into D or R.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't know if I even have to rev the engine. It only made it easier to find the spot between gears when the engine would engage the tranny.
Expert:  tamaz replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the information,it sounds like the inhibitor switch is adjusted properly.The leak I'm speaking of is internal,from my past experience I have not found any sticking of the valves if that is what you are referring to.After disassembling the transmission I 've found the piston seal ripped meaning nothing like a cfoam will correct the problem not sure if it would help.Does this problem all the time or is it intermittent?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It was working fine. I drove home next morning went out to leave for work. Started just fine but went to put out onto gear and nothing. First time it has happened and with absolutely no precursor. No dash light. No warning at all.
Expert:  tamaz replied 1 year ago.

Understood,the absolute best way to make sure this is it is to have the transmission diagnosed at the dealer or a specialty shop.Usually if the inhibitor switch is malfunctioning you would get a check engine light and a no start condition this problem your having because it is mechanical will not give you any warning lights.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
i know but wouldn't a leak in the piston seal be less abrupt and show signs that this was the case again hesitation or slippage?
Expert:  tamaz replied 1 year ago.

It's the forward clutch ,so this is the piston that applies fluid pressure to get the car moving you feel the trans slipping when it is not yet fully applied.From my past experiences there are no warning signs,it is a rubber seal and due to age and mileage it wears.Again speaking from from what I've seen in the past that creates this type of concern ,without being at the car it's a little more difficult to diagnose but your description is very good and that's what my answer is based upon.Thanks