I’ve reached many assorted emotions while wrenching on my vehicles over the years. Fear, Confusion, Disillusionment, Joy, Peace, what have you. I think I’ve reached a new one: At this point I kind of just want to yell and kick things.

I’ve had my ‘05 Outback XT for about a year and a half now, and it’s been largely great. I did all the preventative maintenance mods, and apart from wear and tear items my long commute didn’t seem to phase it. For the past few months I’ve had a new job and a much shorter commute. Everything seemed good.

Long story short: about a week ago I started getting a whining noise from the 5 speed transmission that sounds like a bad bearing. Great. Not long after second gear starts getting sloppier and sloppier, with significant movement in the shifter. The last day I drove it you could get it to pop out of second gear by decelerating. Not good, but so far no grinding or noises besides the bearing sound. Wanting to spare worse damage I immediately rented a car and took one last drive to a very highly recommended transmission shop the next town over. On the phone they seemed very reassuring, they’d be happy to look at it, they probably could replace just the bearing and get it working again without needing a full replacement.

This morning I got the phone call from the owner of the shop.... he said he took a look at it and his shop won’t do it. “It’s a turbo model... I think it’s going to be a pain.... we don’t do many standards any more.” Ok, well fine. Wait, you won’t even quote me to drop in a replacement? Any advice on what the problem could be? Can you recommend any place else to take it? No?

I’m at a loss here. This is my only car shared between me and my wife, and while my commute is shorter these days it’s still 30 miles a day! Who do you call when the so called “transmission expert” in town won’t look at your transmission??? What do you at this point? My best plan now is to spend the few grand I have in savings on a second car and drive that while saving up to replace the trans myself. I’ve done a lot of backyard wrenching stopping short of engine or trans replacement and I’m pretty confident I could do it... but I know it wouldn’t be a weekend get it done and go back to work thing. I love cars but man, they tick me off sometimes when you least expect it.