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2013 Outback Limited
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just a bought 2013 outback 2.5 limited with cvt, and there are a couple of issues that I never experienced with my forester. When starting up a cold engine, the idle is initially quite rough and the car shakes a little( some folks have said this can be somewhat normal, so I'm ok with this quirk). Secondly, after letting the car warm up and driving at slow speed down my street (15-20 mph), the car lurches like it's shifting up and down over and over. Once the car is at operating temp, this goes away. Is this just a weird CVT thing or do I need to get it checked out by the dealer?
 

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2013 Subaru Outback Premium 2.5i All-Weather+Moonroof Venetian Red Pearl W/ Ivory Coth
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We just purchased a 2013 2.5 as well. Ours idles a little rough at time of ignition. Its not really rough as the tach is steady it just feels like a vibration to me. After a minute and when it settles into its warmed idle it is smooth and extremely quiet. I was going to ask our dealer about it. I do know that some cars they recommend warming up, but not sure about Subarus. Our dealer told us to "make a list" of any things that concern us and this was one of them. About the lurching I am finding the CVT is awesome on the highway and in any case where you are steadily accellerating, but navigating parking lots or stop and go it definityely takes getting used to as it sometimes feels like you are driving a jallopy. We have never owned a Subaru before and also had not heard the accelleration "train whistle" sound of the engine until I looked it up and found it was a signature of the 4 cyl boxer engine
 

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2011 OB 2.5i Prem CVT HK/AWP, Ruby Red Pearl
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With the 2.5/CVT, shift right after you fire it up to drop the idle. Just as with any car/engine (and the EPA), you don’t have to wait for the blue light before you drive off - just don’t gun it for the next mile.
Engine/MPG algorithm… RPM changes at low speed to account for demand/load = lurch. It’s ‘unlike your mom’s normal AT’.
 

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2004 Toyota Sienna, miss my eyesight. Life moves on.
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The only thing I'm still getting used to is how peppy it is off the line. Everynow and then I'm not smooth with the new CVT programming. At speed though I notice no jerkyness compared to driving my 11 which I became used to.
 

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Above the speed of torque converter lockup (5-10 mph), the CVT acts like a manual transmission to save fuel. This might explain the jerkiness.
Mine revs and runs a bit rough at start up. The PCM mapping requires high revs and a rich mixture to light off the cats quickly to reduce emissions.
 

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2012 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited
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961 Posts
I read that the DOHC 2.5 chain-driven is a bit rougher than the older belt-driven engine. Forester owners have complained about this.
 

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2012 3.6R Limited Pearl White Satin
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186 Posts
My 3.6 did lurched twice when I turned on the A/C. I don't know how to reproduce it consistently, so I haven't brought it to the dealer yet.
 

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2016 Outback Premium, 2.5L, CVT, Eyesight, SR, Nav
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5 Posts
Owned my 2013 OB for about a month and also notice lurching at cold start-up. Problem goes away as engine/CVT warms up. Have not yet mentioned to dealer but neighbor has same complaint. Using manual CVT mode seems to help but not eliminate completely. If this is a generic problem, I hope that Subaru will have a solution soon.
 

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2016 Tungsten Outback 3.6R w/Eyesight. My 6th Subaru.
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I have now owned my 2013 for one month.
Initially, I felt this lurching and was bothered by it.
I now treat the accelerator more gently when starting out cold.
Either I have gotten used to it or its symptoms have lessened.
Perhaps it is the nature of the beast.
 

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2004 Toyota Sienna, miss my eyesight. Life moves on.
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Owned my 2013 OB for about a month and also notice lurching at cold start-up. Problem goes away as engine/CVT warms up. Have not yet mentioned to dealer but neighbor has same complaint. Using manual CVT mode seems to help but not eliminate completely. If this is a generic problem, I hope that Subaru will have a solution soon.
Don't hold your breath. If every car does it then its normal and they won't likely change anything. Don't worry about it, I find that just a touch more throttle smoothes it out. I don't think the car wants to putt along cold. 2500 RPM works for me and if that hurts the motor/cvt then there is a bigger problem. It also revs quicker and easier cold than it does warm. The car revs to 2500 RPM more quickly cold than it does warm as part of the programming. My Legacy revved more cold as well when accelerating.
 

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2012 Outback 2.5i Limited
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92 Posts
Yes I've noticed with my '12 when I first got it, but I don't notice it as much anymore. Either it wears off as you break it in or you get used to it....
 

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2007 Chrysler 300C built 5.7
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396 Posts
In all the time I've spent driving 2013 Outbacks, I have yet to notice this lurching in any of the vehicles I've driven.
Then again, the high lift cam in my 300C makes the car feel like you're sitting on an old washing machine at low/no speed lol. Parking lot speed requires a careful foot too since there's a fine line between coasting and GO; very twitchy car so odds are I'm just used to this.
Either way, with such a high occurrence rate, seems like it's pretty normal. May even go away as the powertrain breaks in.
 

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2013 OB 2.5 CVT
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I have had my car for about a month. I find that you need a soft foot at start-up if you want to start out smooth.
 

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'13 OB 3.6R Ltd
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...

my '13 3.6r ltd does this lurch too. i called my dealer and they said if it's really bad i can bring the car in and they can reset some parameters in the ecu to adjust this behavior. i told him i can wait till my 3k mi service to address this. it's annoying, but, not dangerous.

yes, it really does require a soft foot when applying the throttle. but, when i'm in a rush here on our crazy surface streets of Los Angeles, this behavior rears its ugly head and can't be mitigated even with a soft foot.

this is another indicator of SOA definately not doing any testing in Los Angeles. this throttle behavior and the crummy shock valving would have become readily apparent if they tested here. Ford found this out when the developed the 2000 MY F150.
 

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2012 Subaru Outback 2.5i Prem w/AWP + Moonroof
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I noticed the same "lurching" in my 2012 Outback. One of the posters from this forum, OBnube, posted this: Don't know about #2 but the 2.5 CVT is known to "lurch" at times when moving very slowly and turning. It's the engine compensating for the power steering draw. You can repeat this: while standing still with brake applied slowly turn the wheel, you will feel the engine rev a bit from the load on PS. It's "normal".

Sure enough, he was right. I hate that it does that and further I hate that Subaru passes it off as nothing abnormal.
 

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I notice the same thing as well. I've had my 2013 for about a month, and for the first couple minutes that it runs, it feels like it chugs. It seems to lurch when I accelerate from stopping or when I turn soon after starting up the engine. I don't remember my 2012 doing it.
 

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2013 Outback Limited
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I guess I will talk to dealer at next service. What bugs me is when I have my wife in the car and she asks why the car is acting like that...I feel like an idiot saying that's apparently normal for a cold Subaru.

Azogumby...I notice the car slow down more than normal when making a turn sometimes, too. I just figure that is the whole engine rpm/CVT thing. It feels like I am downshifting a manual tranny.
 

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my '13 3.6r ltd does this lurch too. i called my dealer and they said if it's really bad i can bring the car in and they can reset some parameters in the ecu to adjust this behavior. i told him i can wait till my 3k mi service to address this. it's annoying, but, not dangerous.

yes, it really does require a soft foot when applying the throttle. but, when i'm in a rush here on our crazy surface streets of Los Angeles, this behavior rears its ugly head and can't be mitigated even with a soft foot.

this is another indicator of SOA definately not doing any testing in Los Angeles. this throttle behavior and the crummy shock valving would have become readily apparent if they tested here. Ford found this out when the developed the 2000 MY F150.
That is strange. My '13 3.6R runs butter smooth from start to stop, no matter whether I'm using AC or not. I'm not pushing the engine over 2K RPMs during its initial 1K miles break in. Will see how It will behave after that.
 

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2013 Limited w/EyeSight
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I have had my car for about a month. I find that you need a soft foot at start-up if you want to start out smooth.
(2) 4 cyl CVT in the family:

With each version of gen 4 in the family, one year and about 3500 miles difference on them......

The chain driven cam (my 2013) has a different sound but exhaust note and general characteristics are similar.

CVT and some throttle response seem slightly different. My 2013 requires a softer foot or getting up to speed faster from a stop. The opposite side of that is it doesn't race towards higher RPM when the earlier car seems to.

The 2013 car's programming (seems more fitting than saying gearing for CVT and modern engine) seems more optimized for getting up to speed on the busy avenue toward center of our metro area than the stop signs and 15 MPH driving between them in the first blocks from my home. I get that if it was the engineering goal.

Finally, consider things change and nothing is perfect. Every vehicle I've owned has had different characteristics and quirks.
 

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2013 OB 2.5 CVT
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128 Posts
The light foot at start from stop is to not get that overly fast start that sort of jerks you forward. Like if I had stepped on the gas to hard. For lack of a better term I would call it feathering the gas pedal. It is becoming a habit for me I no longer notice much anymore. Sort of the same thing starting smooth with a MT. The chugging when cold is different. I think I feel that but it is pretty mild. I thought it was my imagination at first. If I apply more gas I do not feel it. I have to be going a steady speed under 5mph when the engine is cold. As someone else wrote, it does feel exactly like a cold MT doing the same speed only on my MT(s) it was significantly more pronounced. I do not see it as a problem with my MT cars, I expect it I guess. Maybe because mine is not too pronounced on the OB it doesn't bother me. Could very well be that in other cars it is more pronounced. Having that feel of a direct drive is actually something I sort of like but I will watch it to see if it gets worse or better . . . or stays the same.
 
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