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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm having some really weird issues that I can't figure out. First of all, starting at 40 all the way through 70mph, the car vibrates. It feels more pronounced under the seat but you feel it in the wheel as well. It started about a month or so ago. I had tried rotating the tires but there was no change. My tires were still good but being winter, I decided to go ahead and get some snow treads. Took them to a Chevy dealer (near work) to have them mounted and balanced while I was at work. It seemed weird that it took almost 3 hours for them to do it but oh well. So, I get the car back and it's still doing it. Again (even though they're brand new), I rotated the tires. Still no change. Now I understand the deal with Road Force Balancing tires but at the moment I don't know if that's what was done. Since the cost was $70 and not the normal $50 I've paid in the past, I almost want to think they did RFB them. I'll call tomorrow to verify. Anyway, I took the car to a Subaru dealer today asking if this might be the transmission problem I've heard of (car hasn't stalled out but does sometimes go to almost stall when pulling up to a stoplight). They looked everything over and dismissed the transmission question completely and pointed the finger at the tire balance. My car has 47k miles and this just started maybe 300 miles ago. Any ideas what might cause this? The snow tires were done 4 days ago and I haven't ever hit anything that might cause me to think of a bent wheel (but you'd think the Chevy dealer would have noticed a bent wheel when doing the tires.

Both Technicians that drove my car acknowledged that there is excessive vibration but they still point the finger at the tires. Old tires just recently started doing it. New tires do it too? not to mention the issue doesn't move when you rotate the tires? I really don't think it's a tire thing but I don't really know much about the TSB's that were issued for steering components and such. I'm fairly certain this has never been performed but they also said with the car up, they saw nothing wrong. I have however recieved the notice that the warranty was extended for the "drivetrain" to 10 years or 100k miles. Why would Subaru issue that if there wasn't something going on?

Please anyone that's had to have a transmission replaced (10 or 11 Outback) let me know if I'm crazy or not.
 

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I have a vibration issue when im sitting still. At 18-2000 rpms i feel this quivering or shaking almost like a missing in the engine. it also happens when im taking off. any ideas? I have had the nock sensor replaced...no help
 

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How many miles are on these cars?

What are the RPMs when this is happening, are they low, is the car stumbling, or does it just feel like that?
@wth

Vibrations at rest, in gear usually points to CV shafts. However, recently CV shaft vibrations have been traced to a degraded CVT mount.

@Jimmie Reed

Vibration under acceleration can either be driveshaft or CV shafts. Since its didn't help, it doesn't point to tires any more. I wonder the condition of the transmission mount (vs a whole transmission)

I have expanded my transmission mount production to cover the CVT mounts.

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...6-subaru-specialty-products-tdck-cke-ssp.html

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...01-cvt-transmission-mount-insert-cke-ssp.html

It's possible there may be a simple soultion to the vibrations you both are feeling.
 

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2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited
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Does the vibration change with your speed? Is it worse at particular speed ranges? Like 45 and 70 are terrible?

I'm super picky about tire balancing and sometimes it takes a few trips back to let them know you're serious - even if they have to replace a brand new tire. Take them back and tell them they are not balanced to your liking.

It could be something else too, assuming the vibration it exactly the same with the snow tires on it now.

One last idea, you could have a blown strut. I've seen many nice cars driving with their tire bouncing up and down like a high speed basket ball. You could have someone drive the car on a somewhat bumpy road in the speed range you know the problem exists and observe.
 

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Your car is similar to ours, a 2011 Outback 2.5 CVT with 51k. I'll just tell you we've had to do the following, but it runs like new now.
1)3rd set of all seasons (General Altimax, great tire)
2) fuel pump assembly (we were having the almost stalling, rough running, poor mpg, till this)
3) 3rd set of plugs, filters
4) motor mounts, trans mount, center mount (got rid of the vibrations, noises, driveline slop)
5) about to do Tie rod assemblies, the inners are shot (gets rid of looseness in steering wheel)
Our dealer refused to recognize the mount failures(vibrations, clunks) or the fuel pump(rough running , stalling issues) problems. I thought fine, fix it myself, which it did. Good luck.
Regards
 

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If the techs are fully convinced it is tire balance, try making a deal with the service writer. Let them rebalance the tires. If it fixes the problem, you pay for the work. If it doesn't fix it, you don't pay. At least that will get you past the tire balance and onto a real diagnosis.
 

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Your car is similar to ours, a 2011 Outback 2.5 CVT with 51k. I'll just tell you we've had to do the following, but it runs like new now.
1)3rd set of all seasons (General Altimax, great tire)
2) fuel pump assembly (we were having the almost stalling, rough running, poor mpg, till this)
3) 3rd set of plugs, filters
4) motor mounts, trans mount, center mount (got rid of the vibrations, noises, driveline slop)
5) about to do Tie rod assemblies, the inners are shot (gets rid of looseness in steering wheel)
Our dealer refused to recognize the mount failures(vibrations, clunks) or the fuel pump(rough running , stalling issues) problems. I thought fine, fix it myself, which it did. Good luck.
Regards
I have an '11 with 125k - I've only had for about 10k miles but I'm curious why you've gone through 3 sets of the Altimax already? I'm running the same tire on 2 cars and the shop seems to have trouble getting them perfectly balanced.
 

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I have an '11 with 125k - I've only had for about 10k miles but I'm curious why you've gone through 3 sets of the Altimax already? I'm running the same tire on 2 cars and the shop seems to have trouble getting them perfectly balanced.
The 1st set of all seasons on the car were Continentals which were dreadful and thankfully wore out fast. The 2nd set of all season's were Yokohama, which were OK but noisy. On the wear question, I believe it to a couple of factors:
1) lots of parking lot driving, turning on spot
2) dealer keeps under inflating the tires at oil service to 30-32 psi which I think is far too low(should be more like 38+).
3) The bad inner tie rod ends have probably not helped the previous two tires sets. We'll see what happens after the new tie rod end install. These inner ends were showing signs of wear at about 25-30k to which the dealer denied there was an issue. Again, I'm just going to fix the issue myself.
4) Coming from a German car point of view, the lower control arm bushings on these cars are too soft and prone to wear way too fast. The bushing should be solid rubber, or of a much harder compound. I suspect we(meaning I), will be replacing control arms in the near future. It will probably be the best car that gets traded to the dealer, maintenance wise.
Balancing the tires does not seem to be an issue with our local dealer, thankfully. Having said that, at 50k, our alloys look like day one. Hope this answers your questions.
Regards
 

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The 1st set of all seasons on the car were Continentals which were dreadful and thankfully wore out fast. The 2nd set of all season's were Yokohama, which were OK but noisy. On the wear question, I believe it to a couple of factors:
1) lots of parking lot driving, turning on spot
2) dealer keeps under inflating the tires at oil service to 30-32 psi which I think is far too low(should be more like 38+).
3) The bad inner tie rod ends have probably not helped the previous two tires sets. We'll see what happens after the new tie rod end install. These inner ends were showing signs of wear at about 25-30k to which the dealer denied there was an issue. Again, I'm just going to fix the issue myself.
4) Coming from a German car point of view, the lower control arm bushings on these cars are too soft and prone to wear way too fast. The bushing should be solid rubber, or of a much harder compound. I suspect we(meaning I), will be replacing control arms in the near future. It will probably be the best car that gets traded to the dealer, maintenance wise.
Balancing the tires does not seem to be an issue with our local dealer, thankfully. Having said that, at 50k, our alloys look like day one. Hope this answers your questions.
Regards
Oh, I thought you'd gone through 3 pairs of generals!

I think that pressure is fine - check your drivers door or drivers door frame for recommended pressure. 32 is pretty normal and has a good ride.

I just replaced the whole control arm with all new bushings included and it feels way better! I agree, I think solid rubber could be more durable but maybe harsher ride because it can't flex as much?
 

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I would take it to a transmission specialist and have them look at it, most tranny shops will do free diagnostics. I manage a transmission shop here in NC, I see these CVT's all of the time they are notorious for failing which can cause similar issues. If you do indeed have an issue, I would first contact a Subaru dealer because I know that they extended the warranty on these transmissions. If they don't cover it be prepared for a hefty repair bill because these units are not cheap by any means. The CVT was a terrible idea any company had putting in any vehicle lol and Nissan is by far the worst, I would never by a vehicle with one. I don't know a single shop that will touch them or service them other than remove and replace it with either a reman unit from the dealer (expensive) or a junkyard unit (basically asking to have to replace it again soon, and still expensive)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I talked to the Chevy dealer and they're going to RFB the tires for me @ discount. Once I have those numbers I'll call back the subaru dealer as they already told me they'd charge me full price just to check it. Silly question but at what mile mark should I have CVT transmission done? The Chevy dealer said that they do their CVT transmissions at 40k just to see how the wear is looking on the fluid they drain out. I almost wondered about the driveshaft but the subaru dealer assured me that everything underneath looked fine when they had it on the lift. Ill just be happy when i can prove the tires arent at fault. I do like the ideas everyone is giving me though. I do wonder about the mounts. It seems to torque a bit when you let off the gas sometimes at slower speeds. To be clear though, the wobble starts at about 35 to 40 mph and continues through 75, only going away (sometimes) in a right hand turn. Sometimes in a left turn, it feels worse. I don't really speed and the interstate limit is 70. Besides, I'm kinda afraid to go much faster with the way it vibrates. I love this car and I don't want this issue to cause extra damage to anything else.
 

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Transmission service should be done around every 30k - 50k miles, but high mileage vehicles that have never been serviced shouldn't do anything. Once you get over 100k it's best to have everything checked before doing anything bc you can do more harm than good. Chemicals in new fluid can break down the old clutch material or the natural dirt and grime that builds up over the years and send it through the transmission and tear it up. CVT's work a lot different than your typical transmission though, technically they don't change gears, hence "CVT" (continuously variable transmission). But you still can get torque converter vibration out of these CVT's that will resemble a bad tire or many other conditions.
 

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If you are talking about transmission FLUID change, the process is somewhat more complicated than most standard transmissions. The fluid from the factory is supposed to be a "lifetime" fluid meaning it doesn't ever need to be changed but most people who care about their vehicle agree this is inappropriate. Because the fluid is "lifetime", many dealers will tell you they don't recommend or don't do transmission fluid change/service.

I'd say a person could still stick to a 30k "drain and fill" interval. HOWEVER, be certain whoever is doing the fill procedure knows exactly what they are doing (likely a Subaru dealer for liability reasons). This CVT has a specific fill procedure where the vehicle has to be level, running and the transmission has to be somewhere around 100F to properly fill the transmission. It is also a pain in the butt to fill the transmission. If the vehicle is filled while off, your transmission will end up 1.5 quarts low and could very well be damaged.

Start with the easy, free checks first - see if you can spot the vibration from outside your vehicle or by yanking around on things underneath your car and finding something loose (like play in the driveshaft!). Then do the easy, cheaper stuff like a RFB. Don't assume the dealer checked anything or actually cares about fixing your problem. If they didn't "see" anything wrong, they probably weren't looking and don't care.

I just completely replaced all the fluid (like 13 quarts!) in my CVT at 117k miles and have experienced zero problems. Additionally, with the modern fluids and the fact that there is no suggested fluid change on the Subaru CVT within the warranty period leads me to believe they don't follow the same rules as a standard transmission. There are rules of thumb out there, as eye.of.bri mentioned, but unless the fluid is burnt, extremely contaminated or there appears to be significant wear I'd likely replace on a high mileage vehicle as discussed here and many other places on the internet:

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/66-problems-maintenance/469801-atf-flush-not.html

Because you're only at about 50k miles, you could think about a drain and fill sometime in the near future. A drain and fill on this vehicle will replace about 5.5 quarts of fluid.
 

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@stocker

All 13 qts? How’d you drain all of it? Some is locked in the torque converter and valve body. Unless you mean you did more than one drain and fill?
 

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@Pilot1226

The basic idea is to purge the existing fluid into a waste can in 2 quart increments. Each purge you must shut off the vehicle and pump 2 new quarts into the transmission fluid pan. During the purge, I also shifted the vehicle through the gears to hopefully flush some of that fluid as well. The following videos are what I followed:


Here is another video that is worth watching but I didn't like the idea of using a power pump:


Consecutive drain and fills may be sufficient if you stick to 30k intervals. However with less than half the fluid coming out with each drain and the fact that each consecutive drain and fill dumps both old and new fluid, if you are higher mileage I opted for a NON-POWER flush.
 

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@stocker

Right. Generally speaking, because of the law of diminishing returns, you're looking at an "average" mileage of whatever the current mileage is divided by 2.

So if you did these D&F's every 30k miles on a more conservative approach, and your car has 150k miles on it, you're looking at about fluid with an average age of 75k miles (because you can't get every drop of the 150, 120, 90k off of it...)

The benefit to doing it every 30k as opposed to less conservative intervals COULD be the reintroduction of the additives and detergents in the new, fresh fluid circulating. So while the older fluid might retain the viscosity and other specifications as we've seen in Blackstone reports, some of the "unknowns" in the fluid could be beneficial.

Perhaps there will be a training document distributed as time goes on and more and more people have the Subaru CVT's at higher ages. The only thing that caught my eye was the fact that Subaru Canada requires D&F at 60k mile intervals. 60k seems reasonable, and you're in for major maintenance anyway with the spark plugs among other things...

I'm sure we'll know more as time goes on.

The struggle right now is that if you have the 3.6R, you can't get the HT-CVT fluid except for in a large 5 or 10 gallon pail (whichever), so that's a problem if you want to stay with the OEM fluids. I remember the C-30 was like this too, and eventually they came out with quart-size bottles. Hopefully they'll do that again for the HTCVTF.

The way I look at it is even if your dealer charges $300 for the HT-CVTF Drain and Fill, you're still looking at an added expense of about $2700.00 over the course of 240,000 miles at a 30k interval (and half of this using a 60k interval), which is far less expensive than dealing with a transmission failure.

A few years ago when CVT issues started popping up, they wouldn't even replace the valve body. It was an all-or-nothing swap. Look how far we've come.

Also, it only takes one inattentive driver to make CVTF changes irrelevant. Something to think about.

I think I'll shoot for a 60k interval next time, since our northern friends are doing that, unless something changes by then. Ideally, sure, I'd like to do a non-power flush, maybe something to think about in the future if they make the quarts of HTCVTF available, something to do around 120k for "every other drain and fill".
 

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There should be some big name lubricant companies making a compatible fluid in quart sizes for an affordable price (Castrol, Amsoil. etc.). I can understand not wanting to "gamble" on a fluid though - I went through that conundrum myself.

I bought the vehicle at 117k miles and did a flush as soon as I understood how. I used Valvoline's product and haven't had any issues. My brother did the same on a '13 with Castrol's oil and liked the result (he was at 60k).

Drain and fill is certainly better than nothing and likely totally sufficient for a long life.
 

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There should be some big name lubricant companies making a compatible fluid in quart sizes for an affordable price (Castrol, Amsoil. etc.). I can understand not wanting to "gamble" on a fluid though - I went through that conundrum myself.

I bought the vehicle at 117k miles and did a flush as soon as I understood how. I used Valvoline's product and haven't had any issues. My brother did the same on a '13 with Castrol's oil and liked the result (he was at 60k).

Drain and fill is certainly better than nothing and likely totally sufficient for a long life.
Right. I’ve got to make sure in my circumstance for a 3.6 that the fluids meet or exceed specifications for high torque variants.
 
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