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Old 06-18-2012, 10:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default cruising RPM question

Bought my first subaru last week. It's a 1999 outback, 5 speed. Cruising at 60 mph in 5th I am turning 3000 rpms. Does that sound normal? Just seemed a little high to me.
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Old 06-18-2012, 11:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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No. She will hum along all day quite nicely at that RPM or even higher if the road allows it. There are 80 mph speed limits in parts of my state. My subie purrs while running at speed. People who are used to AT's are always a bit surprised by the higher cruising RPM's of MT vehicles.
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I thought the same when I got my 2002 OBW Manual... made me wish for a 6th gear! What tirolerpeter said is reassuring, thanks
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Old 06-19-2012, 09:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mihogan View Post
I thought the same when I got my 2002 OBW Manual... made me wish for a 6th gear! What tirolerpeter said is reassuring, thanks
While my 08 2.5i OBWagon has a 5sp MT I am not that enamoured of the current 6sp MT's Subaru is using. Apparently, 1st gear is not a "stump puller" so it requires excessive clutch slippage in some situations (e.g., off road). Also, 6th gear is only useful if running in 6th keeps you inside the max torque band. A too early upshift to 6th gear could actually cost you extra fuel if you are below 3K rpm and trying to maintain a steady speed.

As I previously mentioned, I live in a high speed limit area. Now, there would be an excellent use of a 6th gear.
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Old 06-19-2012, 09:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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3000 rpm @ 60 mph sounds just slightly high; most 5-speed
manuals that I've owned run about 22-24 mph per 1000 rpm.

Adding a sixth gear may or may not reduce cruising rpm. For
example, my Miata's 6th gear is shorter than the Gen4 OB's
5th gear (21.2 mph per 1000 rpm vs. 22.4 mph per 1000).
The OB's 6th gear is a ridiculously tall 26.6 mph per 1000 --
and the OB CVT's top gear is an insane 37.8 mph per 1000.

IMO, 3000-ish at highway speeds is a good thing -- far better
throttle response than a sluggish 2000 rpm wimp.

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Old 06-19-2012, 12:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tirolerpeter View Post
While my 08 2.5i OBWagon has a 5sp MT I am not that enamoured of the current 6sp MT's Subaru is using. Apparently, 1st gear is not a "stump puller" so it requires excessive clutch slippage in some situations (e.g., off road). Also, 6th gear is only useful if running in 6th keeps you inside the max torque band. A too early upshift to 6th gear could actually cost you extra fuel if you are below 3K rpm and trying to maintain a steady speed.

As I previously mentioned, I live in a high speed limit area. Now, there would be an excellent use of a 6th gear.
I have a 2-week old 2012 OB with 6MT.
At about 75mph in 5th gear, the engine is revving at about 3200 RPM. Drop into 6th and it's about 2500 / 2600 RPM (approximate).
My other car has a 5 MT and it runs about 3200 RPM at 70 mph in top gear, so 6th on the Outback is very nice.
There are roads within 2 miles of my home that are 80 MPH Speed Limit.
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Old 06-20-2012, 11:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm glad you mentioned this topic. I always thought my 2003 5MT cruising rpm was high and could've used a 6th gear.

My 2002 5MT Civic cruised at 2600 rpm for 60 mph, but that gearing must have been fine for its weight, since it weighs a good half ton less than an Outback wagon.
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Old 06-20-2012, 04:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I arrived at it the opposite way- I noticed the low cruise RPMs in my '06 auto coming from a '98 5spd.
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Old 06-20-2012, 05:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Before I got my shiny new 2012 MT Outback I had a 1984 Subaru Brat with a 4 speed manual. That thing was screaming at 70mph. Much less trying to maintain that on a hill with its slightly over 80HP and having to upshift to 3rd. I think I might have managed 80 full throttle going downhill with a tailwind.

I would agree with one of the previous posters though, I wish 1st on the new 6 speed was more of a granny gear. Though, I'm OK with 6th. It's just really not that usable below about 55-60.
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Old 06-20-2012, 06:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The 4EAT is MUCH lower. IIRC, I'm running about 2300 at 65.

I do remember that the '97 OB with the 5MT (only manual Subaru I've driven extensively enough to have much experience with) was a little high, though. Can't remember exactly, but 3k in 5th at 65 sounds like it might be about right.
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