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Discussion Starter #1
I hope someone can help because I am very frustrated. I bought a 2013 Outback Labor Day weekend 2012 and it currently has 3500 miles. About 60% of the time, In automatic mode, it runs at inappropriately low gears. THere is a high pitched whining sound and it is consistently over 2100 rpms. If I switch it to manual mode, it will be in 3rd or 4th gear at 35-40 mph (even if I have been driving at that speed on level ground for minutes). WHen I manually put it into a proper gear, the whining goes away and the rpm's settle down to 1100 or so. If I put it back into Auto, it immediately jumps to over 2100 rpm's and goes back into a lower gear.
It does not seem to depend on if the engine is hot or cold, or if it is the first or 5th time I have driven it that day. After it "settles down" on its own (this is random), it seems to drive fine for a while, but then sometimes starts to run high again. The problem is that I have had it to the dealership 4 times now, and there are no problem codes coming up, no check engine lights, and it has not done this when they have driven it. I have videotaped the dashboard while it is doing this, on MANY occasions, with myself and other people driving the car. The dealership says that this doesn't matter and has told me that it must be the way I drive, that I must be accidentally hitting the toggle switches on the steering wheel that are used with the manual mode, that the CVT transmission is "different" and maybe I am not used to it, etc. Yesterday, they disengaged the manual mode to prove to me that this was the case. Of course, I pulled out of the parking lot and after letting the engine warm up, and the rpm's went to 2200 and the whining ensued, for 7 minutes, until it quieted down again. (Dealership was closed now). So, now, I don't even have the option to put it into Manual mode and shift to a proper gear. This is my third Outback in 14 years, and I never even thought about getting another car. I never had any problems with the others and love these cars. Help!
 

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2013 Outback 3.6R Limited w/SAP
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CVTs do not have gears and they do not shift. They also tend to have a whining noise to them in general.
 

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2005 3.0 R n totaled
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And remember, when you take the foot of the gas pedal, the fuel cuts off (you can see the vac gage go green all the way to the right side) and there is a "weird" sound there as well....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Maybe I am using the wrong terminology, but lets just say the numbers change from 3 to 4 to 5 to 6 on the display when it is in manual mode. That is what I am describing as changing gears. If what it is doing is normal, then why does it drive without the whining, and at a much lower RPM, at similar speeds, some of the time, and also seems to be responding normally? When it is not driving well, it strains to get above 40 mph and rpm's do not go down into a lower range over time at all. Should it drive at 2200 rpm's sometimes (not going uphill or anything) and 1200 other times, at the exact same speed? And shouldn't the RPM's be responding to the CVT as it adjusts to my speed?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It also does not whine at all when I take my foot off the gas pedal, the whining is only when I am using the gas pedal. It is exactly like when you drive a stick shift in the wrong gear and should be shifting.
 

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Sounds to me like your very confused as to how a CVT works. RPM vs gear ratio in AT mode is a combo of speed and throttle input. The CVT will run the car at higher RPM when the throttle is being pressed as speed ramps up the CVT ramps up the gear ratios. Manual mode simply lets you force higher gear ratios which are outside the optimum performance.
 

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At mode will not display gear ratio. Simply notes drive, reverse etc. The pre set manual gear ratios are only 6 pre set ratios out of the many ratios the CVT will use in AT mode.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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The CVT transmission works by changing the gear ratio between the input and output shafts without the use of traditional planetary gear sets. The ratio change is gradual between 3.525 and .558 to keep the engine rpm leveled out throughout speed. In other words, if you accelerate to a specific rpm, say 3k, the car will move, gain speed and the transmission will gradually change the ratio as you speed up. Its design prevents engine load changes that occur in planetary gear shifting and keeps the power and torque output of the engine constant.

In manual mode, it just sets the ratio at a predetermined and programmed "gear" for what you select and changes the ratio according to the up or down shift.

You'll get used to it. Part Explosion attached. The first time I saw this design before use in a production car, I thought, "****, runs with a rubber band.". :)
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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Try going to a dealership and pretend to test drive another car like yours.

If behaves differently/more quietly, than your car, take yours in for warranty work.
 

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'14 3.6R Outback
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Try going to a dealership and pretend to test drive another car like yours.

If behaves differently/more quietly, than your car, take yours in for warranty work.
This, +1.

It's the only way to know for sure.
 
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