I recently experienced that the gears shifted down automatically in my 2.5 Subaru Outback (automatic transmision) - this happened briefly on 3 occassions when the engine was not yet warm but thereafter the problem seemed to go away. I asked the agent to check the issue and his report back to me was to say that the presence of minute iron filings in the gearbox fluid which became apparent on draining the box indicates that the gearbox is badly damaged, that the iron filings cause the gearing down and other such problems and that the cost to repair or replace is an exorbitat figure. He suggests that we take out the gearbox and they will then be able to assess what the extent of the damage is.
Please advise on whether the presence of iron filings is in fact "terminal" and a major problem - I would guess that there would not be enough filings to melt into an object the size of a paper clip. HELP!