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kguarnotta Sun Nov 01, 2020 3:19 pm

HI GUys,

I'm on the side of the road in my '86 triple knob Syncro with subaru 2.2 engine awaiting AAA tow.

I sprayed the underside today with some Rust-Veto (kind of like cosmoline) for winter rust protection. I got on the road towards Boston.

Shortly after gettign on highway - I heard a weird high pitch noise - I figured I got some of the rust veto on something that I should not have, and the noise would eventually go away. After about 60 miles - the noise didn't go way.

The noise was present when in gear, but not when in neutral (this should have tipped me off). I was getting a bit worried, and not sure what I should do. I was about half way between origin and destination. I figured I'd keep going.

Bad decision - soon I got a weird noise, saomething was not right. As the noises all seemed related to being in gear - I have a feeling it is a transmission issue, but I'm not sure.

So I'm waiting for AAA - and trying to think of what could have gone wrong, and if it is the transmission - as I think it might be - what are my options... ie my local mechanic doesn't have a guy off that rebuilds them nearby. Hopefully I am totally wrong - but if I need transmission work - what do you guys think the best options are for a syncro - powered by a subaru engine?

I've got 16" tires on it.

I live in a mountainous area (white mountains NH). Not Tahoe or Colorado style mountains, but mountains nonetheless

Sodo Sun Nov 01, 2020 7:00 pm

Look at the magnet when you can.

If there's noise, there will likely be long shards, strings.
As is the converse. If there are long shards, strings there will be noise soon.

Really best to rebuild a trans when it's still quiet.
By the magnet or the odometer.

I suppose you;ll be getting to know Matt Steedle.

kguarnotta Sun Nov 01, 2020 8:05 pm

thanks for the name. I'll check him out.

This transmission has probably less than 20,000 miles on it. It came with less than 3000, and I don't know the mileage I put on it off the top of my head, but I know it is not more than 20K. I've had it less than a year...

After towing to the shop - I couldn't even get it in reverse to back it off the flatbed tow truck.

I see there is a lot of info on transmissions - the existing one had a granny gear plus 4 other forward speeds, I don't know if that is technically called a 5 speed? I've read about subaru transmissions installed, ring and pinions and gear sizing - can someone point me to a basic intro to transmissions - as I have no idea what I should be looking for/ asking about etc. I'm a bit overwhlemed....

Then again - I could be totally wrong, and maybe it is something simpler...

Sodo Sun Nov 01, 2020 9:25 pm

A rebuilt trans often has many old parts in it, many that could be on their last leg at the time of rebuild.
And just about to start shedding metal bits into the oil, 20,000 miles later.
Which then ruins your trans. And SOONER if you're not paying attention to the rising contamination of your lubricant.

Some builders inspect the parts better than other builders, and they all have different standards of 'what's good enough' for another run.
A vanagon seller might send the trans off to the cheapest builder, then sell the van.

To make it last longer ya gotta watch your magnet, which means changing oil often to get that stuff out.
Or simply.....change oil evry 15,000 miles in a rebuild, and note if the magnet is getting cleaner - or dirtier.
Samba members have been discovering that the oil needs to be changed early & often while a rebuilt trans is bedding in.

The "5-speed"? is a 2wd trans. Syncro trans has an additional shaft and 6.03:1 granny reduction, kind of like a transfer case. It's a 'strap on'. Don't bust your aluminum transfer case. It's not an F-250. Use the names "Syncro" or "094-4wd" as on pg 35.93 of your Bentley.

I had major trouble with trans rebuilds lasting 15-20,000 miles from 2009-2016.
The builder pointed out 4 Syncro transaxles stacked up waiting for rebuild. I was impressed. Now I thinkof four sorry SOBs out there (5 counting me).

Do you know who rebuilt the trans you have before you got the van?

kguarnotta Mon Nov 02, 2020 6:46 am

I now understand I should have checked the oil, and done a swap earlier. I figured once a year might be ok - and I was coming up on a year of ownership.

I guess with a new tranny (rebuilt tranny) one should change it a few times right at the beginning - then on a longer interval. MY bad.

Nomenclature - I should just be referring to this as a syncro or 094-4wd transmission. Do all syncro transmissions have a granny gear?

I don't know for sure it is the tranny yet - but have a feeling it is. As I await some further diagnosis from my local mechanic - I'd like to learn as much as I can about what I should be looking for - and appreciate any and all input.

danfromsyr Mon Nov 02, 2020 6:58 am

YES, all Syncro have 4+G transaxles. not all have a locking differential.
to put the weight of the rarity of these, ~14,ooo Syncro were imported into the North american market (US&Canada)
they were not common in the 90s, and certainly less common now.
it's that transaxle that really makes them special. it's best that every syncro owner gets the transaxle PSA of treating it like a princess.
too many burned them up in the 2000's when they were ~$500 used transaxles.

kguarnotta wrote: Nomenclature - I should just be referring to this as a syncro or 094-4wd transmission. Do all syncro transmissions have a granny gear?

I don't know for sure it is the tranny yet - but have a feeling it is. As I await some further diagnosis from my local mechanic - I'd like to learn as much as I can about what I should be looking for - and appreciate any and all input.

[email protected] Mon Nov 02, 2020 7:38 am

+1 for Matt Steedle. he's done about 5-6 transmissions for me for subaru builds. never had any issues and he's the only rebuilder that has a nice smooth shift (I have used a couple west coast guys before I found Matt)

I should note every trans I do the whole shifter assy gets rebuilt and properly adjusted, but Matt's seem to shift the best

kguarnotta Tue Nov 03, 2020 2:22 pm

Anyone know how to get in touch with MAtt Steedle? When I do a search, I can't find anything but facebook (which I can't see because I'm not a member) or instagram - and I don't know how to contact that way.

I also found a phone number - but it doesn't seem to connect to anyone.

gears Tue Nov 03, 2020 2:29 pm

Matt Steedle Transmissions
420 Kelley Drive
Unit C
West Berlin, NJ 08091

Phone # (856)-229-3456

kguarnotta Tue Nov 03, 2020 3:59 pm

thanks...

kguarnotta Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:41 am

Ok - my transmission is out - and has been shipped to the rebuilder. While up on the lift - my mechanice pulled the flywheel and clutch (recommended to replace these as well).
I've had it towed to my house - and sitting in my driveway while I await the tranny. I'm going to work on some other items while I wait (gas heater, brakes...and more).

Is it ok to start the engine with the transmission and flywheel removed? I may want to run the engine to test things out. Anything else you guys recommend I go to engine while transmission removed?

mikemtnbike Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:44 am

I don't have a syncro, or manual transmission, but I'm pretty sure you need the flywheel so the starter has something to engage with.

AndyBees Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:49 am

kguarnotta wrote: Is it ok to start the engine with the transmission and flywheel removed? I may want to run the engine to test things out. Anything else you guys recommend I go to engine while transmission removed?

You'll need the flywheel in place to start the engine unless there is some magic that I am not aware of...

kguarnotta Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:01 am

100% correct...my bad...thanks.
Seriously, I just carried the starter into my garage...as my co-worker says - It's a Monday.., ;)

It's a wonder they let me drive this thing...

Wildthings Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:20 am

You need a starter installed and a bellhousing to install it in, otherwise no problem. Do check there aren't any coolant or oil lines that might have been disconnected for some reason, the reason doesn't even need to make sense. :-(

Any Type 2 (gasoline) bellhousing from 1976-1991 will do.

I wonder if it is possible your rust treatment didn't somehow gum up your shifter, both sending vibrations into the body and making it hard to get into reverse. Stranger things have happened.

kguarnotta Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:34 am

Sorry - I did not post this update. When he got it to his shop, and up on the lift, I could see the rear most bushing that the shift rod slides through, had come loose, only lower bolt holding it on.

He also said front bushing was loose. Loc-tite these next time? HE said bushign were in good shape, just that the bolts holding them in place had loosened up.

After reconnecting properly - he said it still would not go into gear. He figured a ring and pinion issue...I have no clue, and don't understand how the shifter actually works - it is like a black box to me....

DuncanS Mon Nov 16, 2020 11:22 am

Call Matt immediately and get in queue. He had a 10 week lead time when he did mine a year ago. He doesn't use old parts, improves the 3/4 slider to beyond the state of the art and a bunch of other arcane improvements. Mine had an afro on the mag plug and sounded like sitting in the rear seat of a Greyhound bus. He still gave me a full core credit. FAS uses him. There isn't anything more you need to know.

Duncan

kguarnotta Wed Jan 06, 2021 1:09 pm

Latest update - Matt thinks he will be finished with my transmission soon.

The one I had was so trashed, he said it could not be rebuilt. He is building a new one for me - with a re-sleeved case. All new gears etc. I've asked him to tap for a temp sensor - I've got to figure out how to add this.

I was going to replace the flywheel and clutch at the same time- but new fly wheels are backordered due to covid. I found a local shop to resurface it, and will bring it by there in the next couple days. He says he has been doing this for over 50 years - so I'm sure he knows way more than me. Is there anything specially related to a subaru powered VW that he would need to know?

I'll still get a new clutch - I don't think those are backorderd....;) at least I hope not. Anything else I should be aware of or address at the same time as reinstalling transmission?

Hopefully I'll finish my gas heater and LiFePO battery install in the next week too.

4Gears4Tires Wed Jan 06, 2021 1:53 pm

A new one? Uh.. might I inquire what that cost?

If your shift linkage bushings aren't new, might as well replace them at this time.

kguarnotta Wed Jan 13, 2021 5:36 pm

I don't know final cost yet - but stupid amount of money...but hopefully smartly spent...

I am planning on adding a Transmission temperature gauge - and talked to matt about tapping for one right where the serial number usually is.

I am trying to determine size - and how I would even run a gauge. I saw this one - https://tinyurl.com/yykzhqf3 MaxTow Double Vision 260 F Transmission Temperature Gauge Kit

I like the way this changes brightness at night. I see I need to tap a 1/8" NPT. That seems to be the standard size... any thoughts, should this question be its' own thread?



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