2011 & 2013 Subaru Shift to First Gear with no driver action - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums

SubaruOutback.org is the premier Subaru Outback Forum on the internet. Registered Users do not see the above ads.
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old 03-23-2013, 09:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 3
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default 2011 & 2013 Subaru Shift to First Gear with no driver action

Greetings All. I'm new on the Forum. I'm on my 5th Subaru. I had a 2011 Outback which was shifting into 1st on its own, with no driver input. I am 1000% certain I was not accidently touching the paddle shifters. It always happened at a particular stop sign near my home. The stop is on a medium grade hill, as you continue you bear left. At first I didn't realize what was happening, then I noticed that the "D" on the dashboard was changing to a "1". I took it to the dealer and they couldn't replicate the problem. They believe I am hitting the paddle shifter but I know I am not. I traded the car in for a 2013...had the mechanic come out and assure me that the CVT was completely different on the new model. Well, guess what. At the same stop sign, with less than 1000 miles on the car, it happended again at the exact same spot. I called the dealer and they still believe I am hitting the paddle shifter. This is very frustrating. I never use the paddle shifters and I drive with my hands towards the top of the steering wheel.
Has anyone else had this problem? I'm not sure what to do now. I am thinking of getting a helmet cam and fastening it to the headrest pointing at the dash so the next time it happens they will see where my hands are on the wheel and see the "D" turn to a "1"! Can anyone shed some light on this? Again...I am 1000% certain I am not touching the paddle shifters.
SubaruWoman is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 03-24-2013, 08:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Eastern ON Canada
Car: 07 OBW 2.5i D-4AT
Posts: 9,450
Feedback Score: 5 reviews
Default

I certainly don't read every post, but I don't recall anyone reporting this same symptom.

If it happened on one car, I could think of some possible problems. For example, the paddles probably make use of the "clockspring" connector to connect the rotating paddle switches (on the steering wheel) to the fixed wiring of the car. A defect in the connector could possibly simulate the use of a paddle just as the steering wheel is being turned. But it would be very unlikely that the exact same issue would appear on two cars, two years apart.

Another possibility is that the gear shift lever "M" position switch is malfunctioning. If the transmission control module thinks the gear lever is in the "M" position, then it would turn on the gear position indicator, and with the car stopped, this would have the transmission in the "1" gear position. But again, it's not likely to happen on two different cars, and always at the same stop sign.

Is there any possibility that the gear lever is accidentally being bumped to the "M" position? Do you have a coffee cup in the cup holder that you might be reaching for at the same time? Or, is there anything hanging on the lever that could cause it to move?

Also, is there any possibility that while operating the brake and turning at the same time (sort of unique to that particular hilly corner), one of the paddles, which are on the back of the steering wheel, is being contacted by the top of your leg? (I don't have paddle shifters and don't know if this is even possible, but thought I should ask just in case.)
plain OM is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-24-2013, 09:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
Registered User
 
outbackpacker3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Michigan
Car: 2002 H4 Outback Wagon
Posts: 298
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default

This sounds too specific to be a glitch and the fact that it happened with both cars at the same spot with some regularity adds weight to that.

Could it have had something to do with electronic stability control or the vehicle dynamics control systems? Detail on the weather and road conditions would help with that also maybe the CVT finds 1st gear to be the most efficient gear although that doesn't seem right that it can shift on its own more detail on the speed RPMs and amount of throttle used would help there.
outbackpacker3 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-24-2013, 10:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
Registered User
 
1 Lucky Texan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: behind the Krell Metal door
Car: 03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
Posts: 7,491
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default

Quote:
It always happened at a particular stop sign near my home.
Take the mechanic or service writer for a test drive and let them experience this same intersection.
__________________
Time Flies Like an Arrow,
Fruit Flies Like a Banana!
1 Lucky Texan is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-24-2013, 12:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
Registered User
 
147_Grain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Car: 2013 Outback 3.6L Limited with EyeSight
Posts: 199
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default

Sounds like something is causing the tranny to unexpectedly shift into manual mode. Dealer might need to check the TCM for codes and reflash with the learning control procedure.
147_Grain is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-24-2013, 09:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 3
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default Thanks!

Thanks everyone for your replies. When I had the 2011 I took it back to the dealer and they checked for codes. Everything was normal. I know they think I'm crazy, and it seems like I'm the common denominator here, but I am absolutely certain I am not touching the paddle shifters or the shift lever. I don't drink coffee so there's nothing in the drink holder when this happens. I'm not a big person and my legs are nowhere near the steering wheel so I'm sure my leg isn't bumping the paddle shifter...and it's a very mild turn, not a sharp turn. It happens at the same place but it doesn't happen every time...it's very random. It's only happened once in the new car. With the 2011 when it happened it was mostly at that stop sign, but a few times it happened just after the stop sign (a slight uphill, gradual climb that evens out very quickly). It stays in first for about 5 to 10 seconds then shifts itself back to drive.
When it happened in the new car...weather was cold, maybe about 30 degrees, road was dry. From what I remember I wasn't giving the car very much gas starting out from the stop sign...just light pressure on the gas pedal. Don't know if it matters, but the radio and heater were both on. As I started to give it gas it immediately shifted to 1st, just for a few seconds then shifted back to drive. I couldn't believe it was happening...so disappointing. I love my Subaru's but this has me worried about the transmission on these cars.
I just purchased a small helmet camera and I'm going to figure out a way to mount it in the car directed at the steering wheel and the dashboard so I can record when the "D" turns to a "1" and I can take it to the dealer so they can see that my hands are nowhere near the paddle shifters. I'll keep everyone posted! But again, it's so random I don't know when it will happen again. I'd say with the 2011 it happend about 7 or 8 times over the last year.
SubaruWoman is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-25-2013, 12:01 AM   #7 (permalink)
Registered User
 
1 Lucky Texan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: behind the Krell Metal door
Car: 03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
Posts: 7,491
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default

has the transmission fluid level(s) been checked?
__________________
Time Flies Like an Arrow,
Fruit Flies Like a Banana!
1 Lucky Texan is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-25-2013, 12:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 17,162
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default

If the car is in D - then the driver input has been made for the AT to be put in gear and shift gears.

However if your turning and the AT is sent a signal from the paddle shifter wiring harness it will down shift of up shift based on the signal it was sent. If your not hitting the paddle then it would make sense that the wiring harness in the steering column has an issue and when your turning the wheel you have some type of short or malfunctioning electronic switch that is being triggered and sending the AT the signal that you have hit the paddle shifter and requested a lower gear.

#1 make sure your not hitting the paddle's - when it happens check it multiple times make sure your hand / hands are no where near the paddles. Then tell the dealer that when you turn the wheel with the AT in automatic mode it seems to be getting manual paddle requests to down shift that there could be a short or issue with the wiring harness in the steering column.
subiesailor is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-25-2013, 12:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
Registered User
 
1 Lucky Texan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: behind the Krell Metal door
Car: 03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
Posts: 7,491
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default

could your clothing or some large keyring 'decoration/charm' hit the paddle?

(I know, seems 'out there' but, seriously, I've seen some folks with huge items on their keyrings)
__________________
Time Flies Like an Arrow,
Fruit Flies Like a Banana!
1 Lucky Texan is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-25-2013, 01:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Eastern ON Canada
Car: 07 OBW 2.5i D-4AT
Posts: 9,450
Feedback Score: 5 reviews
Default

I notice that the transmission will apparently go into manual 1 (as indicated on the instrument panel), but stay there only for 5 - 10 seconds (while, I presume, the car is accelerating from the stop) and then revert back to the normal Drive type of operation (continuously variable in the CVT).

I understand that when gear lever is in D, if a paddle shifter is used, the transmission goes into the "manual mode" with the gear as indicated. But is it normal for the transmission to revert back to D after some time? I would have thought that once the paddle shifter is used, the transmission remains in manual mode, although it will override the paddle selection (gear) if the car's speed requires it. (It's that way with my 4EAT with manual "SportShift".) Could the fact that it reverts back to D be a clue? Is there perhaps a reason the transmission would go into manual 1 for a short while?

[EDIT: Found this in the FSM, which answers one of my questions: "When the paddle switch integrated in the steering wheel is operated during a travel at D range, the system enters the manual mode temporarily. This mode is cancelled automatically and the normal D range control is restored if no further paddle switch operation takes place and the accelerator pedal is depressed."]

(Again, I stop myself here because even if there could be something triggering a "paddle activation", why would it be on two separate cars, with the same driver, and to some extent at the same place? But it's brainstorming time . . .)

Last edited by plain OM; 03-25-2013 at 02:02 PM. Reason: add
plain OM is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:14 PM.



Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2
Copyright 2009-2010 SubaruOutback.org. All Rights Reserved.