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I AM experiencing what I believe to be transmission issues with my 2015 Outback. It is the 3.6, automatic model. We have reported the issues to the dealer 3 times now and each time they say it is ‘not reproducable’. I have just left my car at the dealer to be looked at again and they told me they might need me to come and ‘drive the car’ so that they can see what is going on. Basically they implied both my husband and I were making this up and that if they couldn’t reproduce the problem then it doesn’t exist. I commute 30+ miles several days a week and if my car transmission blows up when I am on the freeway, I will definitely hold Suburu accountable (assuming I live to tell the tale :)). I have also written to ‘Head office’ but haven’t heard back yet. I’m hoping they won’t ‘fob us off’ the way the local dealer appears to be doing.

The problems we have seen are as follows:
1. When starting the car from cold, for example, leaving the garage and then stopping with foot on break for a moment, the whole car can issue a really loud ‘clunk’ and shudder as if it’s trying to leap forward. The noise is easily audible from outside the car too so it’s loud!
2. On slight uphill slopes when driving under 10 miles an hour, the car can hesitate multiple times as if the transmission is slipping
3. When in stop/go traffic and accelerating from near standstill, car can hesitate as if transmission is slipping or not engaging
4. These issues are intermittent but on a bad day can happen many, many times, and on a good day, not at all.

My first Suburu Outback lasted over 200,000 almost trouble-free miles and it’s still being driven by its new owner! This current Outback has about 40,000 miles on it and has been ‘playing up’ for the last 6 months. When I come to think of it, from the first moment we owned it, we noticed that reversing out of our driveway (slight gradient), we would hear a clunk and have to wrestle a bit to get the car into reverse gear -it almost felt ‘sticky’. Perhaps this was indicative of what was to come?

There is ZERO doubt in my mind that Suburu knows it has a real issue and by offering an extended warranty is trying to make it sound like a positive. Interestingly enough, we have NOT received a letter about our 2015 model. I am worried now that because of the letters going out, the local dealer will have an even stronger inclination to ignore us in case we are ‘trying to take advantage’ of the ‘extended warranty’. It is so sad to me that a brand I have historically loved so much has come to this. It’s annoying and disappointing to have issues with a newish car, and then have a dealer treat you like a liar and ignore your genuine concerns. What would possess a normal person to go out of their way to put their car in the shop multiple times, be left without transport and lose their free time if they didn’t HAVE to do it? Nothing would make me happier than having a super reliable car that never went to the shop for anything other than a service. I get no joy out of having to waste time over and over again.

I think Suburu should have come clean and owned up to their being a problem and offered to put it right.

If we get any joy on this our 4th attempt, I will post and let people know.
If you drive with light throttle the dealer will probably never be able to replicate the problem you are having.

My experience when driving with a Tech or service adviser is that they nearly always drive “spiritedly” (foot to floor).

I once owned a new 2006 Liberty/Legacy 2.5 manual which would often stall when letting out the clutch. The dealer could never replicate the problem but once they allowed me to show them the problem they called out the Subaru Australia technical team and after further investigation they increased the idle speed from 600 RPM to 750 RPM (from memory) and they then rolled out this change to ALL 2006 manual transmission Liberty/Legacy’s in Australia.

Hopefully they will clearly see the problem you are experiencing when they go for a drive with you.

I do also agree with the previous poster that some of the symptoms you are describing are typical CVT behaviour under light throttle. I owned a Honda Civic Hybrid CVT and it also exhibited the same symptoms under light throttle.

Seagrass
 

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The problems we have seen are as follows:
1. When starting the car from cold, for example, leaving the garage and then stopping with foot on break for a moment, the whole car can issue a really loud ‘clunk’ and shudder as if it’s trying to leap forward. The noise is easily audible from outside the car too so it’s loud!
2. On slight uphill slopes when driving under 10 miles an hour, the car can hesitate multiple times as if the transmission is slipping
3. When in stop/go traffic and accelerating from near standstill, car can hesitate as if transmission is slipping or not engaging
4. These issues are intermittent but on a bad day can happen many, many times, and on a good day, not at all.
I would attempt to capture the problems on video on your cell phone. The cold clunk should be easy to do in your own driveway. The other problems might be trickier to capture, but you should be able to do on a bad day by starting video in situations when the slippage is likely to occur. Once you have video, you can show it to the dealer, and if necessary use it as documentation for Subaru as a warranty issue.
 

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CVT Issues

I have noticed my 2013 OB 2.5 base model has a cvt groan/whistle when cold and big lag coming out of reverse to drive.
Had the world engine last year, still waiting on the Takata recall!
Are the above descriptions the start of the CVT going south? I also have gotten the letter!
 

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To add to my post. After replacing the Torque converter, the dealership stil observed issues. Our car is now getting a new transmission under warranty.
 

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Being a loyal Subaru owner since the Loyale wagon I had a new experience with my current vehicle. My 2012 Outback left me stranded on the highway. After being towed to the nearest Subaru dealer 166 miles away, waiting 24 hours for it to looked at in an unfamiliar town, I was told it was the transmission. Since it had 119K miles the extended warranty didn't apply. I was told the good news was they were cutting the diagnostic fee in half. Cost of transmission work, replacing timing belt, and cost of time/boarding in a town 450 miles from home force an expense decision. Despite my loss of confidence in Subaru, yet being stuck at the dealership, I purchased a 2018 Outback. Now reading some posts I'm nervous again.
 

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Being a loyal Subaru owner since the Loyale wagon I had a new experience with my current vehicle. My 2012 Outback left me stranded on the highway. After being towed to the nearest Subaru dealer 166 miles away, waiting 24 hours for it to looked at in an unfamiliar town, I was told it was the transmission. Since it had 119K miles the extended warranty didn't apply. I was told the good news was they were cutting the diagnostic fee in half. Cost of transmission work, replacing timing belt, and cost of time/boarding in a town 450 miles from home force an expense decision. Despite my loss of confidence in Subaru, yet being stuck at the dealership, I purchased a 2018 Outback. Now reading some posts I'm nervous again.
Perhaps Subaru has gotten better at making CVTs in the six years between your 2012 and 2018 Outbacks.
 

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Shortly after selling my 2011 and getting a 2018, I received a letter that the transmission warranty on my new 2018 will be extended to 100k. Sweet!
 

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I had my transmission replaced on my 2012 Outback under the extended warranty recently. I do not think that it is "shifting" properly now (I know it is a CVT and doesn't shift) I do not like the way is feels anymore. When first started for the day or after a couple of days parked the car shutters when first accelerating from a stop. Are there any adjustments that can be made? I have not yet returned to the dealership (they suck) I need more info before I go back and get lied to. I was a service adviser and shop manager for 13 years prior to the introduction of the CVT so I am not familiar with them.
Has anyone else experienced this after the trans was replaced? I am worried about long term. I have 97K on my 2012 Outback so the extended warranty is only good till 100K and the dealer says its a 1 year warranty.
We just bought my wife a new Ascent and have not yet sold her Honda Pilot. I am debating on what car I should keep as I have lost faith in my Outback.
Any help is welcome, Thank you in advance.
 

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CVT failed!

2012 outback...103k...CVT just failed! I’m having the dealer check to see if Subaru will cover the repairs under warranty but I am feeling like that’s a long shot. Facing a 1800 repair...this should be a recall!!! My first and last Subaru I’ll ever buy. I bought this car based on the brand reliability....boy did I get burned.:frown2:
 

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2012 outback...103k...CVT just failed! I’m having the dealer check to see if Subaru will cover the repairs under warranty but I am feeling like that’s a long shot. Facing a 1800 repair...this should be a recall!!! My first and last Subaru I’ll ever buy. I bought this car based on the brand reliability....boy did I get burned.:frown2:
It just the way it is! It is always been a thorn in my side when an individual sign onto a Forum for just one an only post, to make a complaint to condemned a brand, without knowing a full history of the vehicle.

Laughing at oneself and with others is good for the Soul!
 

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It just the way it is! It is always been a thorn in my side when an individual sign onto a Forum for just one an only post, to make a complaint to condemned a brand, without knowing a full history of the vehicle.

Laughing at oneself and with others is good for the Soul!
Hmmm...well there is an obvious issue here, so at what time should I have joined the forum? I typically have better things to do than post in a forum unless I’m looking for some information on an issue I’m having. And yeah, I’m a little pissed off at the moment, so yeah I’m venting for sure. But if I could go back in time and know that I’d be faced with this issue regardless of how well the car performed otherwise, would I buy the car?Nope. So maybe someone may read through this forum that isn’t 3000+ poster (so impressive) and appreciate that Subaru has an issue that they may not want to sign up for. And maybe they might sign up too to share information on how they got through it. I can see you won’t be any help....”it is what it is” good one!
 

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Facing a 1800 repair...this should be a recall!!!
Actually, only $1800 to fix a CVT sounds like a pretty good deal for dealer work. Dunno, but I've seen $7-8K as CVT replacement cost.
 

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2012 outback...103k...CVT just failed! I’m having the dealer check to see if Subaru will cover the repairs under warranty but I am feeling like that’s a long shot. Facing a 1800 repair...this should be a recall!!! My first and last Subaru I’ll ever buy. I bought this car based on the brand reliability....boy did I get burned.:frown2:
You have an $1800 dealer price repair on a car with 100k miles? That sounds pretty cheap to me.

Did they say what specifically about the CVT failed? I've seen the torque converters be an issue in that era of Outback and the price would be within the range.

A new transmission is typically in the 8k range in price. 1800 seems like a steal.

I'm curious if Subaru is actually repairing the CVT now (at least to some degree) instead of going with replacements.
 

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2012 outback...103k...CVT just failed! I’m having the dealer check to see if Subaru will cover the repairs under warranty but I am feeling like that’s a long shot. Facing a 1800 repair...this should be a recall!!! My first and last Subaru I’ll ever buy. I bought this car based on the brand reliability....boy did I get burned.<img src="http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/images/SubaruOutback_2014/smilies/tango_face_sad.png" border="0" alt="" title="Frown" class="inlineimg" />
You have an $1800 dealer price repair on a car with 100k miles? That sounds pretty cheap to me.

Did they say what specifically about the CVT failed? I've seen the torque converters be an issue in that era of Outback and the price would be within the range.

A new transmission is typically in the 8k range in price. 1800 seems like a steal.

I'm curious if Subaru is actually repairing the CVT now (at least to some degree) instead of going with replacements.
Sorry I didn’t provide more detail here...they are telling me it’s the harness and the valve body that need to be replaced. So I am starting to gather that it is not only these components that have been problematic? People have the entire transmission fail? (Again, sorry for generalizing in my initial post) so now this makes me even more nervous. I make the repair and I could still be faced with the CVT failing in the future to to tune of 8k? Whoa
 

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Sorry I didn’t provide more detail here...they are telling me it’s the harness and the valve body that need to be replaced. So I am starting to gather that it is not only these components that have been problematic? People have the entire transmission fail? (Again, sorry for generalizing in my initial post) so now this makes me even more nervous. I make the repair and I could still be faced with the CVT failing in the future to to tune of 8k? Whoa
There are rare reports of the transmission failing (when number reported compared to number sold) but it seems Subaru wants to often replace the entire transmission (especially if it's still in warranty) and they just treat it as a black box. Which irritates me as I'm somewhere between a librarian and a mechanic on here.

If I had to guess what's happening here it's the torque converter clutch solenoid (Error Code would be P0700 and P2764) which is a cheap part to replace but it's integrated into the valve body on these Trans which means the whole valve body has to be replaced. There are write ups on it if that's what's happening.

Good example is here: https://mdhmotors.com/subaru-cvt-transmission-failure-valve-body-replacement/

So if it requires a valve body replacement I think they're about 1k from the dealer and makes the $1800 repair pretty accurate after labor.

As far as if the trans will fail you later I can't answer that as I can't tell the future. Lots of people have way more miles than that without issue. I've seen them over 300k.

Others have had a replacement as soon as 8k. There is a chance of failure on anything.

I play with these things as a hobby so I don't mind if something breaks. I actually wonder if I'm trying to break it at times.

I'm not sure of many vehicles that can go 100k+ without any failures. Even those vehicles that have done it are probably outliers as if something had a 0% chance of failure there would be no other cars on the road.

If you're handy and ambitious you could try changing the valve body yourself. I linked the write up. Or just swap the trans whole with a junkyard unit for a few hundred.

Just some thoughts. Keep us updated!
 

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