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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When traveling down the road at 70 miles a hour in a automatic 2.5 Does it shift into 6 gear, or do you have to manual do it with the paddle, or is there something wrong with my transmission? Or is it the way it's done.
When I used the paddle RPM'S did drop, and the indicator when from 5th to 6th
 

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There is no 6th gear on CVT transmission - CVT transmission does not change gears like conventional automatic transmission; hence: continuous variable transmission = CVT....only in manual mode with steering column paddles it will show gears...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There is no 6th gear on CVT transmission - CVT transmission does not change gears like conventional automatic transmission; hence: continuous variable transmission = CVT....only in manual mode with steering column paddles it will show gears...
Mine came with a Lineartronic Continuouusly Varriable Transmission w/6-Speed Manual Mode, All I would like to know is do I have to run in manual mode to get the benefit of the 6 gear.
 

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short answer - no
 

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The CVT uses the optimal gear ratio for the speed and demand of the car. If revs dropped when you "manually" shifted to 6th, you were probably on an incline where a little lower gear could have helped maintain fuel efficiency.

In either mode, the car is capable of reaching the highest gear ratio when needed and takes advantage of "6th" gear.
 

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I am going to do my best to describe this but forgive me if it isn't a great explanation.

So the CVT (continuously variable transmission) looks like two pulleys with a belt connecting them together. Now in the Subaru CVT that belt is actually made of metal for added strength. Now think of the pulleys as if they were on a bicycle. There is the one up near your pedals where power comes into the transmission, lets call that the input pulley, and the one near your rear wheel, which we will call the output pulley. What is really cool about the CVT is that these two pulleys can change their diameter (I'm not going to try and describe this but there are videos on YouTube showing them in action). So when you are going slow or want the car to increase engine RPMs the input pulley is a small diameter and output pulley is a large diameter. This is just like having your bicycle chain on the small front chain ring and large rear chain ring, you pedal real fast and it's easy to pedal but the rear wheel doesn't move fast (mechanical advantage). Now back to the car... As you speed up and your engine's RPMs need to stay at the right point but your wheels keep increasing their speed. To make this happen the CVT makes that input pulley a larger diameter and the output pulley a smaller diameter. Looking at the bicycle example, it's like shifting to the larger chain ring in the front and smaller in the rear so your wheel moves faster in relation to your pedals. Where the bicycle example can't be used though is that CVTs don't have set diameters. Instead, the CVT can make the input and output pulleys any pair of diameters the computer sees fit within the minimum and maximum limits of that specific CVT. This lets the computer determine the "best" engine RPM for the given driving situation.

Here is a picture of the CVT in the limits.
Product Cylinder Font Metal Steel

To determine the best engine RPM your Subaru takes into account the vehicle speed, how far you are pressing on the gas pedal, and even the angle of your car (like if it's going up a hill).

Why is all this important to your question? When you put the transmission into "manual mode" it is still using the CVT pulley system. You are really just telling the computer that you will determine how big or small the pulleys are with the paddle shifters. Subaru has identified 6 present pulley diameters that the driver can select to alter engine speed with respect to vehicle speed. When you select "gear" 5 the computer just sets the input and output pulleys to certain diameters, where they stay until you select a different "gear". Now with all of this in mind the answer to your question is that in automatic mode the car's computer will determine when make the input pulley it's largest diameter and output pulley it's smallest diameter (this the gear called overdrive in regular automatics). This should be the same as when you select "gear" 6 in manual mode. So, you don't need to select "gear" 6 to get that tall gear because the computer will put it in that ratio if it determines conditions are right to do so.

Sorry this is long winded but hopefully it is understandable and doesn't have an error.
 

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There are six designations when using the paddels in manual or auto mode. 1-6. If you upshift in auto mode you can get it to read 6 the same as in manual but it will quickly change to D.
 

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Mine came with a Lineartronic Continuouusly Varriable Transmission w/6-Speed Manual Mode, All I would like to know is do I have to run in manual mode to get the benefit of the 6 gear.
Shadow your CVT operates like two different transmissions. When its in Auto mode the CVT uses a wide range of gear ratios which are not available in Manual Mode. Fair guess the top most ratio the CVT can use is probably much higher than the fixed 6th gear ratio in the manual mode. So if what your looking for is MAX economy leave it in Auto mode.

Manual Mode in the CVT simply are 6 pre set gear combos for which you can use if needed. The most common place to use Manual mode is during long down hill decents where holding a fixed gear ratio helps keep your speed in check. Yes I have even used 6th gear to help hold speed during a long decent.

By the way the lowest 1st gear ratio in Manual mode is lower than the standard ratio the CVT uses in its daily Automatic operation. The very simple reason for this is that when people manually select 1st gear its generally because they need the lowest possible ratio the car can give them for say hauling a boat up a boat ramp or crawling up a rough road etc.

Hope that helps your understanding of how it works
 

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By the way the lowest 1st gear ratio in Manual mode is lower than the standard ratio the CVT uses in its daily Automatic operation. The very simple reason for this is that when people manually select 1st gear its generally because they need the lowest possible ratio the car can give them for say hauling a boat up a boat ramp or crawling up a rough road etc.

Hope that helps your understanding of how it works
Now that I did not know. So the CVT in automatic mode will never select to have the ratio as low as it is when in the manual mode 1st gear? I will have to test this out on a steep hill with my trailer.
 

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Now that I did not know. So the CVT in automatic mode will never select to have the ratio as low as it is when in the manual mode 1st gear? I will have to test this out on a steep hill with my trailer.
Yep - even some of the fancy 5-7 speed AT's never use the actual 1st gear ratio in AT mode.

Not to mention the CVT will try to ramp up the ratio when in AT mode so for instance when hauling my boat up the boat ramp in AT mode - the cvt has tried to step up a ratio and nearly stalled the car before it noted its mistake and dropped back down right before the car stalled. When your in MT mode not only are you dropped all the way to the lowest ratio in 1st but it stays there till you say otherwise. So no oopsie wrong gear ratio mistake that nearly stalls the car as you haul your trailer up a steep climb etc.
 

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Now that I did not know. So the CVT in automatic mode will never select to have the ratio as low as it is when in the manual mode 1st gear? I will have to test this out on a steep hill with my trailer.
I recall someone also noting that the clutch pressure in the MT 1st and 2nd is also different than when its in AT mode meaning the AWD system is probably allocating power differently than it does in AT mode which would make perfect sense given if your off roading and in MT 1st or 2nd you would want a more agressive AWD power allocation than what you would have in AT mode just cruising around town.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank You for all the explanations that were posted...:29:
 

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Shadow your CVT operates like two different transmissions. When its in Auto mode the CVT uses a wide range of gear ratios which are not available in Manual Mode. Fair guess the top most ratio the CVT can use is probably much higher than the fixed 6th gear ratio in the manual mode. So if what your looking for is MAX economy leave it in Auto mode.
Actually, when in manual shift mode 1st is at the bottom of the CVT range and 6th is at the top of the range. If cars101 is to be believed that is: Subaru 2013 Outback research webpage- specs, options, colors, photos, and more
 

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Cars101 - has been full of mistakes every time I've used it. Yes 1st manual mode is the bottom ie lowest ratio the CVT is physically capable of. The manual selectable gears on a CVT are there to simulate a traditional transmission - nothing else - all CVT's have a much wider range between the bottom and top than the manually programed gear ratios they let you manually select. Also if you have ever driven any of the lower powered large cars either a true 6spd MT or even the CVT fixed gears you will find that 5th and 6th gear ratios are over drive gears that are generally only good if your on flat ground and no major head winds. In the case of the AT mode with the CVT you would be blown away just how much ratio management it does to maximize fuel burn and keep the engine in the proper power band. IT exceeds anything even the most prolific Manual Transmission shifter might try and do.
 

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Actually, when in manual shift mode 1st is at the bottom of the CVT range
and 6th is at the top of the range. If cars101 is to be believed that is:
Yep, but I wouldn't bet the house on it without seeing official specs
from Mother Soobie. Cars101 doesn't list the manual mode ratios
for 2012, but I'm quite sure that someone posted them here (in
an official-looking Subaru document) and they were as described
by soupysales -- with the a wider range in auto than in manual.

In any case, both the bottom and top ratios are ridiculously tall,
for either CVT mode and either model year. ...IMO, of course.

I started to browse euro-Soobie sites for reliable info, but rapidly
discovered that it's about to become even more complicated.
Subaru of Switzerland says their CVT-diesels will have a 7-speed
manual mode, and that Forester 2.0XT will have 8-speed paddles.

I suspect that the differences are purely software -- in which case,
the number of paddle-shifter steps and corresponding gear ratios
could be changed with nothing more than a quick reflash.

...an aftermarket opportunity?

Looby
 

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... with the CVT you would be blown away just how much ratio management
it does to maximize fuel burn and keep the engine in the proper power band.
I've been wondering about that. With CVT, there are an infinite number
of possible combinations of gear ratio and throttle opening for any given
(constant) speed. So, true mpg optimization would require full computer
control of both the transmission ratio and the throttle butterfly position.

I can see how that might be possible (and maybe even practical) when
cruise control is engaged, but how does optimization work when the
driver's foot is in charge of the TPS? Note that I'm only asking about
constant speed. Acceleration is an entirely different can of worms.

Looby
 

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I've been wondering about that. With CVT, there are an infinite number
of possible combinations of gear ratio and throttle opening for any given
(constant) speed. .......Looby
Layman here so be gentle... but could you explain how two interacting variables both with fixed parameters can derive infinite outcomes?
 

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I've been wondering about that. With CVT, there are an infinite number
of possible combinations of gear ratio and throttle opening for any given
(constant) speed. So, true mpg optimization would require full computer
control of both the transmission ratio and the throttle butterfly position.

I can see how that might be possible (and maybe even practical) when
cruise control is engaged, but how does optimization work when the
driver's foot is in charge of the TPS? Note that I'm only asking about
constant speed. Acceleration is an entirely different can of worms.

Looby
True but we have that throttle nanny between the foot and the throttle body. I'd bet there is way more logic happening than just driver says more power so open up the throttle more etc. Probably part of the cause for the complaints about a lazy throttle response in some of the driving situations. The Nanny is being a little picky about what its asking the throttle body to do vs what the driver is trying to do LOL. Oh for the days of that wire cable directly attached to the pedal and you could just thrash the **** out of the car regardless of what the systems were reporting to the ECU.
 

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Layman here so be gentle... but could you explain how two interacting
variables both with fixed parameters can derive infinite outcomes?
Simple example: My 6MT can go 30 mph in any gear -- 1st thru 6th.

Same aero drag & same rolling friction in each case -- so same HP
dissipated in each case -- but vastly different engine RPM & torque.

Lower RPMs with same HP in higher gears requires more torque,
and thus, a wider throttle opening -- for a heavier air+fuel charge.

Looby
 
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