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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Thought this might interest a few people. Was searching for something else and ran across it on the internets (publicly accessible).

What Is It?

Beginning in February of 2022, the wirless network provider for STARLINK Safety & Security, is retiring their 3G network. Things move on. Any devices that require the 3G network to function, including Starlink System1 devices, will need to be upgraded.

Summary:
  • Complementary upgrade program for begins on March 18, 2021 (was March 10)
  • Email ONLY notifications to owners with an active STARLINK subscription will begin March 18, 2021 (was March 10)
  • Active STARLINK subscribers get a free upgrade, either a new Data Communication Module, or a firmware upgrade.
  • This is not a recall/service campaign, it's a solution to continue to support a provided service
  • Estimated 193247 active subscribers eligible for upgrade

Is This a Recall/Service Campaign?

No. "3G Network Retirement is occurring industry-wide and Subaru is providing a solution to support our active STARLINK subscribers who will be affected". There will be two Technical Service Bulletins issued just prior to the rollout of this update program (should be in the next two weeks). There are an estimated 193247 active subscribers eligible.


What Vehicles/Years are Affected?

• 2016-2018 Forester 2.5i Premium
• 2016-2018 Forester 2.5i Limited
• 2016-2018 Forester 2.5i Touring
• 2016-2018 Forester 2.0XT Premium
• 2016-2018 Forester 2.0XT Touring
• 2016-2018 Legacy 2.5i Premium
• 2016-2018 Legacy 2.5i Limited
• 2016-2018 Legacy 3.6R Limited
• 2017-2018 Legacy 2.5i Sport
• 2016-2018 Outback 2.5i Premium
• 2016-2018 Outback 2.5i Limited
• 2016-2018 Outback 3.6R Limited
• 2017-2018 Outback 2.5i Sport
• 2016-2018 Impreza 2.0i Limited
• 2016 Impreza 2.0i Sport Premium with Eyesight
• 2016 Impreza 2.0i Sport Limited
• 2017-2018 Impreza 2.0i Premium
• 2017-2018 Impreza 2.0i Sport
• 2016-2017 Crosstrek 2.0i Premium with
Eyesight
• 2016-2018 Crosstrek 2.0i Limited
• 2018 Crosstrek 2.0i Premium
• 2017 WRX 2.0T Premium with Harman Kardon
• 2017-2018 WRX 2.0T Limited
• 2017-2018 WRX 2.5T STi


Will I Get Notified?

If you have a current Starlink subscription, you will get an email notification. NO physical letters will be mailed out for this one (the notifications are sent by Subaru of America, and not Care Connect).

There are four notification periods as follows:
  • March 18, 2021: Customers with an active STARLINK subscription will be sent an email from Subaru of America, Inc. - this email content “Call to Action” will have a link to schedule service with your preferred retailer in MySubaru (if you have one listed) otherwise it will guide you to a "Find a Retailer" option. (was March 10 - see explanation in post #9)
  • August 2021: Reminder email
  • January 2022: Reminder email
  • February 1, 2022: an automatic subscription cancellation email will be sent to all customers that still have an active subscription, but have not completed the complimentary system update
Other notifications/information:
  • Subaru.com - FAQs landing page will be available by March 8, 2021
  • MySubaru - FAQs will be available by March 18, 2021 - App and Desktop
  • Retailer Websites - Landing Page will be available for use with customer-facing FAQs; more details will be posted on Subarunet when the page is active that will detail any retailer-required action if applicable, the Digital Performance Consultants (DPCs) will also be alerted.

If you schedule service, and they look up any applicable Technical Service Bulletins (TSB), this should show up after the middle of March when the TSBs are released. I wouldn't count on that as a notification. Watch for an email and/or be proactive and schedule a service appointment.


Does it Cost Anything?

Depends. If you have a current (active) starlink subscription, this is free to you.

If you don't have an active subscription, the guidance in the documentation indicates a customer may sign up for starlink and then have the complimentary upgrade performed at no cost to you:
  • "An active STARLINK Subscription is required prior to completing the complimentary update; if the customer is not an active subscriber and is interested in receiving the update/service, they have the option of enrolling in a STARLINK subscription first".
  • "Claim will be submitted as a Policy Adjustment; An active STARLINK Subscription is required prior to completing the complimentary update; if the customeris not an active subscriber and is interested in receiving the update/service, they have the option of enrolling in a STARLINK subscription first"
There is nothing explicit as to what happens after February 2022. Maybe if you subscribed to Starlink you'd get an upgrade at that point for free. But it isn't specified.

ANY Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) encountered during vehicle preparation are not covered under the complimentary upgrade. Those must be investigated/remediated prior to performing the upgrade. If your car has a warranty, they would be covered. If you don't have an active warranty, any work to troubleshoot and fix DTCs are billed as regular service items.
  • "If the Telematics LED is RED and Telematics a DTC(s) (other than B2A0E) is current: STOP THE UPGRADE PROCESS. The customer must be notified of this condition before any work begins. DTC repair is not included in the scope of work for this no-charge upgrade. The reprogramming service cannot be attempted until the Telematics system is DTC free and the Telematics LED is GREEN."

There is a backup battery that is NOT part of this upgrade service, and you might want that replaced depending on how old it is... that wouldn't be free (the backup battery is attached to the DCM module). You might get an upsell on paying to replace that little battery. Your choice. It isn't likely to be discounted because of this upgrade program, so maybe wait till it fails eventually.


Why Do I Need an Active Starlink Subscription to Get the Update?

Part of the verification process for the firmware upgrade is a functionality/usability test. The car has to have an active subscription to perform that test. This is tested in the vehicle preparation step (beginning) and after everything is complete (end). The guidance in the TSB explicitly states that this is a necessary condition to proceed with the upgrade.
  • "Unsubscribed vehicles are not included in this no-charge DCM reprogramming update. NEVER attempt this update on any unsubscribed vehicle."

Also, any vehicle that has had the upgrade would not be released until functionality has been verified, and you need an active subscription for that to occur.
  • "NEVER release the vehicle back to the customer until the GREEN Telematics LED is illuminated and the Telematics System passes all functional and operational checks. The only exception to this requirement would be an external concern affecting DCM operation which the customer has been informed of but elects not to correct prior to receiving this update."
  • "Any Technician or other retailer personnel who, despite service documentation and training to the contrary performs a DCM swap on a subscribed vehicle must NEVER release the vehicle back to the customer until proper operation of the Telematics system has been confirmed."

What Gets Fixed?

Depends on what is needed. You will either get a NEW Data Communications Module (DCM) or a software update to the DCM. There will be a specific TSB released for each of the two solutions.
  • TSB 15-279-21R Gen1 Telematics DCM Replacement for 3G Sunset, released March 31, 2021.
  • TSB 15-280-21R Gen1 Telematics Reprogramming for 3G Sunset, released April 01, 2021
The suggested duration for scheduling is 2 hours per the training material.


Why Does a Firmware Update Take So Long?

The firmware update is in 2 parts, each part has a disclaimer that it may take up to 60 minutes to complete. The amount of time allocated for a claims form for a firmware update that is successful is 1.9 hours. One that fails and has to have the physical DCM replaced is 2.3 hours.

The firmware update process is not a straightforward load one firmware and check version procedure.
  • There are two different firmwares for phase 1, depending on the version that is present on the existing DCM
  • Improper identification of the existing firmware and applying the incorrect first one results in an unusable DCM and it will need to be replaced.
  • Once the first firmware is successfully applied, a second one is applied. It can take just as long as the first one (up to 60 minutes).
  • The DCM is checked for basic functionality after the second firmware is successful - LED lights are GREEN and do not indicate a problem.
  • A call is placed to the STARLINK call center using the iButton. The call center operator is asked to confirm the VIN and the location of the vehicle. This is done at the beginning of the process, and again after the firmware updates have been applied.
A portion of the procedure is the vehicle preparation - the power supply they use when performing the flashwrite procedure needs to provide a stable 13.5v float charge, so that part might take a bit longer to stabilize if your battery is not in the best shape. Failure to maintain a stable voltage on the charger in power supply mode can result in a failure of the flashwrite procedure (and then the DCM gets replaced). Preparation time needs to be considered in how long something like this takes.

Each firmware flashwrite involves a cycle of checking the existing version, loading the proper file to write, performing the write process, moving the shifter from N to Park depending on the step - in neutral during the flashwrite, but the car has to be in park to power cycle the ignition, then has to be moved back to neutral for the next one, then cycling the ignition after waiting on prompts... lots of room for errors or problems.

Example - the on screen prompt for the Subaru Select Monitor says to have the vehicle in PARK, but for this one it MUST be in NEUTRAL. The TSB instructions are explicit on this at the beginning of those sections:

"Ensure the Midtronics GR8 / Midtronics DCA-8000 in Power Supply Mode is connected to the vehicle, the parking brake is engaged, ignition is in the “ON” position, the engine OFF, the shift selector in NEUTRAL and the wheels blocked. The reason this must be done is to ensure the power supplied to the DCM is not turned off. If this step is not performed, the CAN will power down the DCM during the reflash and the reflashing will fail resulting in irreparable damage to the DCM"​

If all that takes a little longer than you think it should, but the process is being followed, not sure I'd complain about that.

The functionality testing section after a successful flashwrite should go quickly - if there are communication errors, then they just move the vehicle and press the iButton again.


What if I Don't Upgrade?

If you don't have an active subscription, nothing happens. Later, if you wanted to get STARLINK services, you'd have to upgrade the DCM.

If you have an active subscription and ignore all the emails, your subscription will be canceled in February 2022 and any remaining time would be given back to you as a pro-rated refund.


Online FAQs/Customer Care:

These will be available online at Subaru.com starting March 8, 2021. On MySubaru (desktop/app) beginning March 18, 2021.

The following groups should already have FAQ sheets/resources available if you contact them with basic questions or to schedule service: Customer Advocacy, STARLINK Customer Care, and Shift Digital (Service Concierge).

Currently, in this post is most of what they know... until people start getting replacements and common questions are answered and posted in updated FAQs by Subaru, you know what they know.


Other:

I attached a PDF output of a spreadsheet linked in the training material - give you an idea of how many active Starlink subscribers are potentially impacted at each retailer... maybe see how busy your retailer is likely to be with this.


Revision History:
Mar 11, 2021 - updated notification area (added locations where FAQs may be posted at some point). Corrected release dates per post #9.
Mar 18, 2021 - TSB numbers added , detail to some sections.
Mar 24, 2021 - TSB number/date updated. Clarification text on complimentary for active subscribers only.
Mar 25, 2021 - TSB number/date updated. 15-279-21 date changed from 3/18 yet no R prefix added.
Apr 01, 2021 - TSB number/date update. 4th revision on 15-280-21R (released april 01)
Apr 12, 2021 - TSB 15-280-21R (May 25, 2021 revision) is attached. WQZ-61R attached because the TSB references it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I didn’t even notice that!

The part number for the DCM is the same for the touring, so I bet it’s a misprint.
 

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2016 Outback Premium 2.5 CVT w/EyeSight+SRVD
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Very interesting information. Everything I had read before indicated that STARLINK telematics already used 4G LTE on the AT&T network.

Do be aware that 3G won't just disappear overnight in Feb 2022. 3G service is already slowly degrading as the major carriers remove 3G capability from their towers in order to make room for 5G support. Verizon, for one, began decommissioning their 3G infrastructure more than 18 months ago, and their network was pretty much devoid of any remaining 3G service by the end of 2020.

Also ... from one of the documents posted above: If you are a STARLINK subscriber and a warning light illuminates on your dash, STARLINK telematics will automatically send a "service lead" to your favorite Subaru dealer. Hmmm ... I didn't know that, and I'm not sure I like it. Why should I pay for a system designed, in part, to generate service business for the dealer network?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Maybe the update is to prevent any 3G comminucation? The documentation I've seen before indicated that it was 4G as you said, but in some circumstances might use 3G (like if only one antenna was available). Dunno.

the service lead process was some streamlined "get a problem to resolution a lot faster than waiting for a call from a customer with a complaint"... in part, studies on how many contacts to the dealer were by phone, how many were routed correctly the first time, wait times on hold, and so on... a bunch of metrics. It was customer focused on those metrics, and had examples of what successful dealers did to make sure those notifications were handled efficiently.

The side benefit is the extra service call business for a service department.

The phone in process - red is bad, yellow is less than ideal, green is good. And then the starlink service lead process.

505108


505109
 

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I lost the smartphone/smart access app for my 2014 Ford F-150 on12/31/20 due to 2g retirement. That was a handy thing to have start/unlock/lock/locate etc... I thought my Touring used 4g already. The posts don't talk about any of the units being slipstreamed to 4g in production in the past though.
 

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Anyone gotten the 'call to action' email that allows you to schedule a service appointment? Of course my dealer knew nothing of it on the 10th when I was there for another concern.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
well, I guess the statement "you know what they know" should have been "you know what they may not know". The notifications are sent out by Subaru of America and not through the Care Connect like some other notifications.... so maybe the timing is a bit slower. I did not see the new TSBs released yet either, so something may be delayed.


Your dealer better get on it!

"Since customers will be receiving an email prompting them to schedule service, we need to make
this experience seamless for both the customer and retailer - so a customer can easily schedule
the applicable service and the retailer can properly manage their shop capacity"

I stumbled across this one when it was still really new... I guess I could have waited a bit before creating the post... but then it's more fun when you know a lot and the first people you speak with think you're crazy, then later find out you're not. So there's that.
 

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Thought this might interest a few people. Was searching for something else and ran across it on the internets (publicly accessible).

What Is It?

Beginning in February of 2022, the wirless network provider for STARLINK Safety & Security, is retiring their 3G network. Things move on. Any devices that require the 3G network to function, including Starlink System1 devices, will need to be upgraded.

Summary:
  • Complementary upgrade program begins on March 10, 2021.
  • Notifications via email ONLY will begin March 10, 2021
  • active STARLINK subscribers get a free upgrade, either a new Data Communication Module, or a firmware upgrade.
  • This is not a recall/service campaign, it's a solution to continue to support a provided service
  • Estimated 193247 active subscribers eligible for upgrade

Is This a Recall/Service Campaign?

No. "3G Network Retirement is occurring industry-wide and Subaru is providing a solution to support our active STARLINK subscribers who will be affected". There will be two Technical Service Bulletins issued just prior to the rollout of this update program (should be in the next two weeks). There are an estimated 193247 active subscribers eligible.


What Vehicles/Years are Affected?

• 2016-2018 Forester 2.5i Premium
• 2016-2018 Forester 2.5i Limited
• 2016-2018 Forester 2.5i Touring
• 2016-2018 Forester 2.0XT Premium
• 2016-2018 Forester 2.0XT Touring
• 2016-2018 Legacy 2.5i Premium
• 2016-2018 Legacy 2.5i Limited
• 2016-2018 Legacy 3.6R Limited
• 2017-2018 Legacy 2.5i Sport
• 2016-2018 Outback 2.5i Premium
• 2016-2018 Outback 2.5i Limited
• 2016-2018 Outback 3.6R Limited
• 2017-2018 Outback 2.5i Sport
• 2016-2018 Impreza 2.0i Limited
• 2016 Impreza 2.0i Sport Premium with Eyesight
• 2016 Impreza 2.0i Sport Limited
• 2017-2018 Impreza 2.0i Premium
• 2017-2018 Impreza 2.0i Sport
• 2016-2017 Crosstrek 2.0i Premium with
Eyesight
• 2016-2018 Crosstrek 2.0i Limited
• 2018 Crosstrek 2.0i Premium
• 2017 WRX 2.0T Premium with Harman Kardon
• 2017-2018 WRX 2.0T Limited
• 2017-2018 WRX 2.5T STi


Will I Get Notified?

If you have a current Starlink subscription, you will get an email notification. NO physical letters will be mailed out for this one (the notifications are sent by Subaru of America, and not Care Connect).

There are four notification periods as follows:
  • March 10, 2021: Customers with an active STARLINK subscription will be sent an email from Subaru of America, Inc. - this email content “Call to Action” will have a link to schedule service with your preferred retailer in MySubaru (if you have one listed) otherwise it will guide you to a "Find a Retailer" option.
  • August 2021: Reminder email
  • January 2022: Reminder email
  • February 1, 2022: an automatic subscription cancellation email will be sent to all customers that still have an active subscription, but have not completed the complimentary system update
Other notifications/information:
  • Subaru.com - FAQs landing page will be available by March 8, 2021
  • MySubaru - FAQs will be available by March 18, 2021 - App and Desktop
  • Retailer Websites - Landing Page will be available for use with customer-facing FAQs; more details will be posted on Subarunet when the page is active that will detail any retailer-required action if applicable, the Digital Performance Consultants (DPCs) will also be alerted.

If you schedule service, and they look up any applicable Technical Service Bulletins (TSB), this should show up after the middle of March when the TSBs are released. I wouldn't count on that as a notification. Watch for an email and/or be proactive and schedule a service appointment.


Does it Cost Anything?

Depends. If you have a current (active) starlink subscription, this is free to you.

If you don't have an active subscription, the guidance in the documentation is not clear. The basic guidance is if you don't have a Starlink subscription you can subscribe and then get the upgrade free:
  • "An active STARLINK Subscription is required prior to completing the complimentary update; if the customer is not an active subscriber and is interested in receiving the update/service, they have the option of enrolling in a STARLINK subscription first".
  • "Claim will be submitted as a Policy Adjustment; An active STARLINK Subscription is required prior to completing the complimentary update; if the customeris not an active subscriber and is interested in receiving the update/service, they have the option of enrolling in a STARLINK subscription first"
I'm guessing this also means after February 2022, if you subscribed to Starlink you'd get an upgrade at that point.

There is a backup battery that is NOT part of this upgrade service, and you might want that replaced depending on how old it is... that wouldn't be free (the backup battery is attached to the DCM module). You might get an upsell on paying to replace that little battery. Your choice. It isn't likely to be discounted because of this upgrade program, so maybe wait till it fails eventually.


What Gets Fixed?

Depends on what is needed. I haven't seen the two TSBs yet (they have not been released, I don't know the numbers of them yet), but you will either get a NEW Data Communications Module (DCM) or a software update to the DCM. There will be a specific TSB released for each of the two solutions.

The suggested duration for scheduling is 2 hours.


What if I Don't Upgrade?

If you don't have an active subscription, nothing happens. Later, if you wanted to get STARLINK services, you'd have to upgrade the DCM.

If you have an active subscription and ignore all the emails, your subscription will be canceled in February 2022 and any remaining time would be given back to you as a pro-rated refund.


Online FAQs/Customer Care:

These will be available online at Subaru.com starting March 8, 2021. On MySubaru (desktop/app) beginning March 18, 2021.

The following groups should already have FAQ sheets/resources available if you contact them with basic questions or to schedule service: Customer Advocacy, STARLINK Customer Care, and Shift Digital (Service Concierge).

Currently, in this post is most of what they know... until people start getting replacements and common questions are answered and posted in updated FAQs by Subaru, you know what they know.


Other:

I attached a PDF output of a spreadsheet linked in the training material - give you an idea of how many active Starlink subscribers are potentially impacted at each retailer... maybe see how busy your retailer is likely to be with this.


Revision History:
Mar 11, 2021 - updated notification area (added locations where FAQs may be posted at some point)
Talked to my service department. The signup starting the 10th has been delayed to the 18th. An email and or notification via MySubaru will be sent out to be able to schedule the chanage.
Any idea were the DCM is located?
 

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Talked to my service department. The signup starting the 10th has been delayed to the 18th. An email and or notification via MySubaru will be sent out to be able to schedule the chanage.
Any idea were the DCM is located?
At least your place knows about it. Maybe I got a goober that knows nothing.
 
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Discussion Starter #19
not yet. I figure it will be publicly available after April 15th, and I always come back and update threads I started with recent information... so I'll update the first post and add the two TSBs that were released yesterday. I'll probably update the section about what the repair entails based on whatever is in those documents with any screenshots if the TSB has anything fun. I did update the first post with the TSB numbers and titles yesterday, and I may reorder them in the description... I updated the post as they showed up in the system, it was a few hours apart. :)
 

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It’s bolted underneath the headunit.

View attachment 505821
That's alot of ports. Seems kind of overkill for something as simple as a headunit that runs qnx if that's a harman gen 3/3.1..

Also why did subaru ditch harman as a hardware oem? From what I have experienced these harman units are much faster and smoother than the other starlink units. Supposedly the gen 2s ran some form of linux like debian, red hat, fedora or BSD . From what I can tell from the source code (haven't found any for the gen 3's)


While they're at it, they may as well install a whole PC In there. 🤣
 
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