1993 Subaru Impreza transmission question.

We got the car used.
All wheel drive normal Subaru vehicle.
the shift lever on the console has a thumb button on the left side below the main handle that turns on and off an orange dash light that says “manual”…

We don’t have an reference to it in / on the paper work we have, I have Google’d to no avail. (not too good at that anyway) I have tested in the dry, in the gravel, in the snow & ice. Not seeing any big change in how it goes and stops or where it changes gears left to it’s own devices.
Selecting the4 gears with the lever apparently works the same with the light on or off.

What is this for?

What is it doing?

If it is not doing what it is supposed to, what am I missing out on?

Can someone ‘splain’ me please…

The “manual” button locks the shift points. No matter how much or how little you step on the gas pedal it will shift at the same revs when in manual mode


"An enhanced version of the original 4EAT was introduced with the 1990 model year Legacy. Although similar in design to the original 4EAT, the shift quadrant is dif- ferent. The Legacy 4EAT has a seven position quadrant: P-R-N-D-3-2-1. The 1- HOLD button has been deleted and a manual button was added. Subaru vehicles equipped with the manual button included:

• 1990-94 Legacy
• 1993-94 Impreza
• 1992-97 SVX

When the selector is in 3rd range with the manual switch “ON,” the transmis- sion will start in 2nd gear and shift to 3rd. In 2nd range manual, the transmission starts and stays in 2nd gear, but will upshift to 3rd gear at 6500 RPM to prevent damage to the engine. In 1st range manual the transmission stays in 1st gear and also will upshift to second at 6500 RPM to prevent damage to the engine.

Additionally, on AWD vehicles, the TCU applies a more aggressive AWD map when the selector is in the 1st position, manual switch “ON” or “OFF.” These changes result in improved driveability on low friction road surfaces. The TCU monitors various engine and vehicle inputs, i.e., throttle position and vehicle speed, etc. It also controls the electronic shift solenoids in the transmission. Refer to the appropriate model year Subaru service manual, section 6-3, for the location of the TCU."

How does this differ from selecting 3, 2 or 1 with the manual switch “OFF”?

Well, it doesn’t shift into first gear. If a low gear is selected when the switch is off, I’m not sure if it would upshift to protect the engine, or just cut the fuel/ignition if you exceed this rpm.

Lots of good info guys… thanks…