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Discussion Starter #1
I'm having some issues with my 2012 Outback 3.6 5AT slushbox, and unfortunately it's been acting sort of weird for quite some time.
:frown2:
I used to have the CLUNK/shock when coasting in traffic, and then getting back on the throttle. Very intermittent.

Also, it downshifts by itself in D when coasting (off throttle decel). But it is somewhat intermittent, doesn't do it all the time. This car qill quickly decelerate and it is noticeable when it does it.

I took it to Subaru somewhere around 50K miles while still under warranty, and drove with a Tech to try to dupe the problem. It didn't really happen for the tech, and they told me it was fine. I knew about the TSB for the 2010-11 models and the clunking, but they said I had the latest software (but I dont even really think they checked that). I brought it all up but they said it was fine and sent me on my way.

Changed the ATF around 57k miles.

Now at 63K miles and juuuuuuuuust outside that 5yr/60k powertrain warranty, it is still doing the downshift thing (especially now that I moved up north, and it happens a lot more in the snow for some reason)....

But what is worse, is it seems to slip a bit on the 2-3 upshift when you are on the throttle a bit. Even at low throttle, the 2-3 shift is delayed a little bit and there is a more noticeable shock when it makes/finishes the shift. It is not as clean and buttery as it used to be. When you are hardder on the gas, the RPMs clearly jump up as it starts to make the shift, indicating the clutch plates are slipping.

I took it to a shop to have the ATF changed again, and pull the pan to look at the magnet/etc. They said it was fine, albeit they sort of noticed the 2-3 shift slip/shock a little bit too, but they said it was intermittent. It isn't intermittent, it's just worse with more throttle.

It does this whether warm/cold, and there are no DTCs to my knowledge (I will check again tonight but there hasn't been any Svc lights or anything). The AT Oil Temp light does not blink or stay on after starting the car.

I'm very particular, and this isn't my first rodeo. I have an appointment set up with Subaru but it's 2 weeks for now, and I'm wondering if I need to start conversations with SOA regarding the fact that I believe there have been latent defects in the trans, and I'm not really keen to stick around and find out they want $4k for a full trans rebuild/replacement. I would really like to keep this car, but would want Subaru to help on this trans since it is still so new and should not be having these problems. But if it's just a solenoid or something in the valve body that doesn't require a full trans R&R, I may keep this car. Otherwise I will get rid of this thing and really hate Subie for it, which would be unfortunate considering this one is Subaru #7, I also have #8 at home, and my Dad has #9 Subaru in our family. My dad has had Subaru's since 1968.... I've personally had two that have each gone over 200K miles, albeit did go through one 4AT in one but that was when I was younger and beat the snot out of them (and it was FWD so didn't have to distribute all the power like the AWD).

This was supposed to be a long-term car, bought in very nice condition with 43K and frankly would be really disappointed if the trans is a goner and it's only a matter of time.

Anyone dealt with SOA with trans problems? Anyone else seeing anything with their 3.6 5AT ?

At a minimum, it would be great if they would fully diagnose the car on their dime (i.e. drive it, stall test, line pressure test, check all the electrical/data stuff they can with the computer - including hidden TCM codes, and do the Learning Mode for the trans). To me, that's not a lot of labor for a dealership.

If there is a hydro-mechanical problem that requires R&R, then that's a real big heart attack I'm not willing to have and would be leaning very hard for SOA to eat this one. At 63K miles and with known customer issues that Subaru was made aware of, one would think SOA would want to step up.
 

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You might check the following:
1) check for DTC's (hook up to OBD)
- if no codes show up, possibly disconnect the battery per the factory procedure to reboot the system.
2) check fluid level in the trans (this really matters to how the trans will behave). Hopefully they used the correct ATF.
3) at 60k, you probably need mounts in the car. You might check them. I just replaced ours at 50k and they were shot. Bad mounts can create much of the situation your describing.
I tried to complain about many of the aspects I've had to deal with on our car under warranty with zero results. Ended up fixing our own issues myself, sadly. Sorry to hear, hope it works out for you.
Regards
 

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The 5EAT is pretty much bulletproof. Unless neglected without fluid.

Bangs and clunks, I'd be looking at your trans mount as well.

TQ issues I suppose can't be ruled out, but again ... this unit is the best d*mn slush box I have ever owned. I own (2) and would never take an alternative for where I live.
 

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used transmissions are being listed for $200 and change. $500 to install at a local independent and you'll have this thing repaired for under $1,000. this is commonly done and subaru transmissions are robust enough that it's a great option. those are low prices for such new cars - which suggests demand is low and failure rates are low. if they're failing at a high rate, the prices are much higher and supply is tight. happens all the time.
Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market
ebay

be prepared to ask and document the appointments before warranty. if you feel like you're getting no traction - i would politely ask if there's anyone else to include in this conversation like another rep or manager or service adviser...etc - that's a nice way of asking and gives them input - who to choose, yes, etc, creates a working dialogue rather than demands and emotions. it's possible to be consistent and pursuant without being negative and demanding. approaches like that are good for the soul and work well IME.

remember - every manufacturer has earlier major failures - all of them. it's unfortunate and terribly annoying you have to deal with this for sure and I don't blame you for writing off a particular brand at all - but i find it helpful to stay logical and not jump to unhelpful anecdotal assumptions and perceptions. more people are probably jumping *too* subaru for these same issues at other manufacturers than leaving, so universally that mindset "Manufacturer X sucks and i'm leaving if you don't...." may not be as helpful as it feels. stick to the facts, pursue the *right* people and see where it goes.

if the TSB for the earlier models is the same exact symptoms i would be inclined to look into that TSB - what diagnosis, recommendations, and repair does it suggest?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I had been checking the ATF level pretty religiously, since I have to keep the engine oil level checked as it uses Mobil 1 synthetic (no surprise there) between 6K oil changes.

The strange thing is that the ATF dipstick read the same whether ice cold, or hot. That one threw me for a loop.

I'll check the trans mounts, but that would be something I wouldn't necessarily think would correlate with slipping during an upshift (noticeable jump in RPM).

The TSB for the clunking included was for new TCM software. And, it specifically lists a harsh 3-2 downshift. I just looked at it, and it's also for early production 2012 models, so maybe the dealer needs to check that again.

Only reason I consider leaving Subaru for good if this slushbox is toast, is that I've simply seen and experienced their quality go down over time. I've been in it so long, they simply have had a lot of bad problems over the years (2.5 head gaskets, 2.5 turbo banjo screens and piston ringlands, 5MT turbo bucking under light throttle, oil consumption, and a slew of fit/finish things). I normally keep cars a long time, but maybe I should just buy new cars and then dump them when the warranty goes up. A lot of other manufacturers are putting REALLY long warranties out there now.
 

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I had been checking the ATF level pretty religiously, since I have to keep the oil level checked as it uses Mobil 1 synthetic (no surprise there) between 6K changes.

The strange thing is that the ATF dipstick read the same whether ice cold, or hot. That one threw me for a loop.

I'll check the trans mounts, but that would be something I wouldn't necessarily think would correlate with slipping during an upshift (noticeable jump in RPM).

The TSB for the clunking included was for new TCM software. And, it specifically lists a harsh 3-2 downshift. I just looked at it, and it's also for early production 2012 models, so maybe the dealer needs to check that again.

Only reason I consider leaving Subaru for good if this slushbox is toast, is that I've simply seen and experienced their quality go down over time. I've been in it so long, they simply have had a lot of bad problems over the years (2.5 head gaskets, 2.5 turbo banjo screens and piston ringlands, 5MT turbo bucking under light throttle, oil consumption, and a slew of fit/finish things). I normally keep cars a long time, but maybe I should just buy new cars and then dump them when the warranty goes up. A lot of other manufacturers are putting REALLY long warranties out there now.
The Mobil 1 Syn ATF might be your issue. I love the stuff, but it does not like, or newer transmissions don't agree with the heavier weight of it (IE designed as a Dex III). With newer gearboxes, I stick with the factory(Subaru) or manufacturer fill. In newer gearboxes, I find M1 syn ATF to be clunky and make for abrupt or rough shift points.
Regards
 

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I had been checking the ATF level pretty religiously, since I have to keep the oil level checked as it uses Mobil 1 synthetic (no surprise there) between 6K changes.

The strange thing is that the ATF dipstick read the same whether ice cold, or hot. That one threw me for a loop.
Now ... you ARE checking this fluid with the car running ... Yes? The same reading hot or cold leads me to think the car is shut off.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
OBTW - I had to get a new battery last week since the Interstate MT-34 that I put in just about 23 months ago was starting to fail (would barely start the car after sitting for 5-10 days). So it has had a fresh reboot recently..... no change
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Negative, sorry. I kind of changed talking about fluids there. I am using Mobil 1 engine oil synthetic, which requires me to check the oil frequently between changes as it consumes some. If I keep the car, I'll probably try some other 5w-30 synthetic.

//BREAK//

Yes, I am checking the ATF with the engine running. Going through P-R-N-D then back to P and letting each gear lock in for a few seconds each. Then checking the dipstick. It was really strange that it would read the same whether bone cold, or hot.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
OBTW thanks everybody for the replies.

I certainly will be nice and friendly with the Subaru dealership here when they get to it, not just in general but also because they are the only one in this area (within 60 miles, let's say).I will say that when I called and set up the initial appointment for their tech to drive it, I told them about the issues prior to warranty expiration and he immediately said that since out of warranty he couldn't do anything.
 

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If nothing else, press SOA to require your dealership to install the latest/greatest transmission firmware even if the dealership whines that they have already done it some time ago so it is not necessary to do it again.

Whenever my wife's 2006 Jaguar XK8's ZF 6HP26 transmission gets erratic between those 2/3 upshifts, clearing the transmission adaptation memory then performing the TSB re-adaptation procedure is exactly what fixes it. Only the dealership can perform this procedure successfully. We had it done in in July 2013 and again in April 2016, and it returned the transmission shifts in her car to perfect and normal shift patterns every time. Her vehicle is now approaching 114,000 miles.

Yeah, I know it is a different marque with a completely different transmission, but my point is two-fold:

1. It may be all that is necessary to restore your transmission to normal operation again.

2. It is a **** of a lot cheaper and easier for SOA to apply the latest version of firmware than it is to diagnose/repair/rebuild your transmission, and the dealership would be catching one huge break if this simple action indeed fixes your issue.

Good luck and keep us fellow 3.6R owners posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yeah, the Learning Procedure as outlined in the service manual isn't terribly involved. I really hope they'd do it regardless of how they feel about it after test driving it. Basically warm up the car, shut it off, lift the car and apply the parking brake, turn the key ON (not engine running), hook up the Subaru computer (Subaru Select Monitor is what the FSM calls it, but who knows there may be newer stuff that the dealers use) and go through the application to run the procedure.

Installing TCM software should be basically the same thing - use the Subaru computer and ensure the latest is installed for this make/model.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'm trying to get the dealership to do some of this on their own dime, considering it had been to the dealership already for transmission problems and I was told "it's fine" ---- now all of a sudden I get just past the magical 60,000 mile mark and it gets noticeably worse (with new problems, too).

I doubt that CVT reset procedure works. The battery was disconnected just about a week ago so it went through the full "learn" mode on the engine for sure (it took quite a while to start once the battery was back in, etc). The FSM doesn't mention any other way to do a learning mode other than the Subaru scan tool. Of course, perhaps that's not 100% true but, it has to be the best way if they put it in the FSM as this is what techs should use.
 

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The FSM doesn't mention any other way to do a learning mode other than the Subaru scan tool. Of course, perhaps that's not 100% true but, it has to be the best way if they put it in the FSM as this is what techs should use.
There are (2) free, opensource programs.

1) FreeSSm ... https://sourceforge.net/projects/freessm.berlios/

2) RomRaider ... RomRaider - Open Source ECU Tools | RomRaider / Download

You need a cheap cable and you can reset it yourself.

https://www.amazon.com/Version-Findway-Interface-diagnostic-Volkswagen/dp/B00871CJ1W/ref=sr_1_4?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1516640276&sr=1-4&keywords=vag-com
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If Subaru doesn't really help me and I keep the car, maybe I'd look into that. For the moment, I don't want to mess with it. I already looked at what I could through AutoEnginuity, but it didn't have those funtions (I'd probably have to buy the extended kit for Subaru - I have AE for my diesel truck).
 

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I recall that there was a batch of 5eats last year or two that had bad Torque converters it was discussed here in this forum. Try searching you might hit pay dirt.
 

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Roger, wilco.

Looks like Romraider does not list any of the 3.6 ECUs anyways, either
It works with them. I have know several members here. 2012, 2013, 2016 3.6Rs

Most of the XRT tuned cars these days are 3.6Rs. They have to run RR to log for tuning.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
So my appointment at the Subaru dealership came and went.

- They said they couldn't duplicate the problems, said everything was nominal/normal.
- They said my ATF was 1 qt low, so they topped it off
- no DTCs
- they said the TCM software was up to date

Then I got to go look at the car and drive it with the Tech, which was a good thing. The trans did the 2-3 slip upshift for sure, but said that was normal. Didn't really get the engine braking to happen, but it happened on the way over there plus it has done it since. He also said this is normal, helps slow the car down.( I have never had a stock vehicle do that as harsh, and the only way I can get my truck to do it is to switch to the Tow tune. Obviously a modified vehicle, OBTW has a very built transmission in it in addition to tuning.) I don't want a Subaru transmission doing my braking, that's what brakes are for. Brakes are cheap and easy, and are consumable parts in the lifetime of a vehicle. Transmission? Eh not so much.

Anyways, once I was nearing completion with the visit, of course since I was surprised that the transmission needed fluid, I went to check it myself. Did it several times, right when the car had just been running, and after about 5-10 minutes of it sitting off for a while. It was over-filled.

After showing them several times, they took it back and sucked some ATF out of it. The upside is that they ended up charging me half of what they planned, the downside is the over-filled ATF did not appear in the write-up on the invoice, either.

When I told them I wanted to at least let SOA know what was going on, they said sure but that SOA would end up calling the dealership, and they would say they cannot duplicate it and they assess the transmission to be normal.

What to do? Still get SOA informed? I'd rather have this thing documented, at least. But it may really hurt re-sale/trade.

Sadly I saw a different 3.6 locally for sale that if I could trade dollar-for-dollar, I may even just do that. I would love to at least test drive it and be able to do my own apples-to-apples comparison on the slushbox.
 
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