Distance-to-Empty Software Update - Page 2 - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #11 of 102 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 01:15 PM
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It's irksome to have to go to a dealer to get such a trivial matter resolved.
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It's not trivial.
Anything is easy for the person who doesn't actually have to do the work! The less you know, the easier it gets.

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I wonder if this update will change anything as far as the fuel mileage calculation displayed on the dash.
Not likely. Distance-to-Empty is calculated using the fuel level sensor(s), while the fuel economy display is derived from cumulative fuel delivery data in the ECM.


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post #12 of 102 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 01:50 PM
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Not likely. Distance-to-Empty is calculated using the fuel level sensor(s), while the fuel economy display is derived from cumulative fuel delivery data in the ECM.
That's what I am thinking. Although the distance to empty must also use the average mpg along with the fuel level to come up with the calculation. Before this update I always just figured the distance to empty was too high just because the avg miles per gallon was too optimistic.

My Scangauge gives me a MTE number that seems pretty realistic using data from the ECM and as far as I can tell it doesn't use tank fuel level at all. Hopefully Subaru has figured out how to use the same data to come up with a more accurate number.



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post #13 of 102 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 02:59 PM
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I wonder if this update will change anything as far as the fuel mileage calculation displayed on the dash. I already have an appointment to have that adjusted down 6%. A couple of days after I made that appointment this update showed up in the service campaigns and recalls section of MySubaru.com for my car. If this update changes the accuracy for the mileage calculation I hate to also be getting a second adjustment as well.

I will ask at the dealer but I'm not hopeful that they will know enough to give me a good answer.
I have -5% dialed into mine, and the dash calculation is virtually dead on. I'm expecting that setting to be wiped when I get the recall done, but who knows? Also, if the setting remains, it may now push the display back into inaccurate numbers, based on what the firmware update does to the overall MPG calculation.

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post #14 of 102 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 03:05 PM
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What I am hearing is that it's a BAD design.
I would expect that most vehicles with digital displays probably weren't designed for updates. Is that a poor design? Perhaps, but most likely is just something they didn't consider necessary. Could also be a cost saving decision as well.
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post #15 of 102 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 03:39 PM
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What I am hearing is that it's a BAD design.
Perhaps you should find a vehicle that doesn't have any built in software, then they won't have to impose on you for occasional software updates. A bicycle, for example, should fit your "no software updates" requirements just fine.
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post #16 of 102 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 03:56 PM
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What I am hearing is that it's a BAD design.
It could be but...

I have read elsewhere here from some who seem to have knowledge of the nature of the update that the microcontroller that must be updated is the same one that tracks the odometer reading. (I have no direct knowledge but it makes some sense.) It was said that that is why it took Subaru so long to develop the special tool to safely perform the re-flash update of the gauge cluster at the dealerships. I would expect some form of encryption or security protocol is used in that microcontroller because of its sensitive nature. It also explains why Subaru couldn't just send out new parts as soon as they had a firmware fix. That could essentially reset the odometer on every car serviced. They each had to be "updated in place".

I don't know about you but I don't want the ability to re-flash the Odometer reading available as a easy to use tool to be "released into the wild". Think of the chaos in the used car market if digital roll-backs were so simple to perform using a hacked version of a released set of update code.


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post #17 of 102 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 03:56 PM
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That's what I am thinking. Although the distance to empty must also use the average mpg along with the fuel level to come up with the calculation. Before this update I always just figured the distance to empty was too high just because the avg miles per gallon was too optimistic.

My Scangauge gives me a MTE number that seems pretty realistic using data from the ECM and as far as I can tell it doesn't use tank fuel level at all. Hopefully Subaru has figured out how to use the same data to come up with a more accurate number.
I had a DTE recall applied on my MY 2018, but I don't know if the recall for select MY '17 is exactly the same or not. What I can tell you is that the recall impacted both the DTE and the fuel gauge level/warning light level on mine.

My first tank from new, I ran it until the low fuel light came on and immediately refilled. It took just a hair over 18 gallons (in a supposedly-18.5 gallon tank). At that point I had around 70-80 miles estimated remaining. Based on tank capacity, there was no way I had enough fuel left to even approach the remaining estimated DTE.

After the recall, the low fuel light comes on after aprox 16 gallons used out of the tank, and usually a remaining DTE of around 50 (although it's hard to tell, as I have a mix of very short trips daily, and longer drives maybe once per week, so my mileage fluctuates from a low of around 22 up to around 29 actual measured MPG.

When I took the car in for the recall, it indicated just under a half a tank remaining. After the update, it was showing about a quarter.

The original recall notice from Subaru specifically mentioned running out of gas while the DTE showed remaining distance. But clearly more than just the DTE part of the system was impacted. If I had to guess, the DTE gauge doesn't keep a "running tally" of fuel used, but instead uses the fuel level sender to approximate how much of the tank is remaining, then multiplies by a time-weighted average mileage to get remaining distance. Otherwise how would it tell what the fuel level is, if you add gas but don't completely fill up? I'm betting that either something changed in the fuel level sender that changed the voltage detected at empty, or an incorrect value was set as the minimum fuel level in the cluster, causing the gauge to not read completely empty when the tank was empty. Then that carried through to the DTE calculation, causing it to over-estimate the remaining range by roughly 10%, based on my observations.

Could be worse. I have a 2006 Triumph motorcycle. The float used to detect fuel level is a little sticky, and doesn't always actually float. When I fill up, it continues to read the old value for ~ 10 miles or so, then it slowly increases to almost-full (it will only read "FULL" if I ride it for a bit after filling to jiggle the float back to the top, then turn the ignition off and back on). Then, as the tank drains, the top 1/2 of the scale drops slower than expected (corresponding to roughly 2/3 of the tank volume) then the bottom half goes very quick. And the DTE indication works off the indicated level, so I can run the tank almost dry, completely fill it, and then on restart it'll tell me I have 20 miles. Then, the fuel level increasing while adding distance messes the whole thing up, and it'll start telling me I have all kinds of range (as in 500-600 miles, when it'll be dry in about 200). The only thing I rely on is the trip odometer and the low fuel light, to determine when I need to stop for gas...
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post #18 of 102 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 05:16 PM
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The only thing I rely on is the trip odometer and the low fuel light, to determine when I need to stop for gas...
I don't use either one. I just look at the gauge. If it reads anywhere near 1/4 then I waited longer than normal to fill up.
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post #19 of 102 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 05:19 PM
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If it reads anywhere near 1/4 then I waited longer than normal to fill up.
... But to do that would take all the fun out of my dysfunction!
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post #20 of 102 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 06:20 PM
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I wish I was in a place where a free update to a distance to empty display and a trip to the dealer was my biggest complaints about life.
C'mon Brucey, cheer up!

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