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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi, I am a new user and this is my first post to the forum, this is my first Outback and I really like the car. I know this topic is covered a lot but not in the Gen 5 Outback’s I have been reading the last few days and a lot sounds like mine however I am in a unique situation I am well past my warranty and my car never got the letter for trans extended warranty. I have used this car hard, towed with it and consistently had 500-800lbs of gear in the car for long distances. I have a 2016 2.5i limited with 145k miles on it, has driven great up until now. I have all the sudden noticed extreme acceleration hesitation when accelerating from a stop, it feels like its hunting for gears and the programmed “Shifts” are hard like its slamming in to gear. If feels as if something is clogged, or the friction discs are slipping if this even has them in the transmission.

Yesterday I cleaned the MAF, removed the throttle body and cleaned it. I installed a new PCV valve my first in 145k miles and I put seafoam in the intake. While I was in there, I cleaned up a couple ground wire connections as well as the battery terminals (I had a bad acid problem going on). The car is noticeably better but there is still slight hesitation, stuttering and hard shifting. I am not as worried now about pulling out into traffic as before I almost got into an accident because it bogged down so bad.
I do all my maintenance myself ever since the warranty has been done even all oil changes. I have narrowed it down to a few things now I believe and this is where I need help before I pull the trigger on some expensive repairs. I believe it could be one of a few things:
  • Torque converter failure
  • Valve body solenoid failure
  • Transmission failure
  • Fuel filter clogged (I would replace whole fuel pump unit as preventative maintenance at this mileage)
  • Throttle position sensor
  • Clogged catalytic converter? (I have replaced the stock manifold twice due to cracks)
  • Some sort of vacuum leak (I have no CEL on so doubtful)
I have no engine lights on what so ever so I have nothing to read with my scanner. I have a few options the local dealerships have the updated torque converter in stock at $661. The fuel pump is $300-450 for the whole unit. My local salvage yard has used transmissions for $695 with 56k miles (discounted because they have so many in stock now ha-ha). Otherwise I can remove the valve body and test the solenoids and order what might be needed but again I don’t have any codes.

Before I get called out for changing fluids and such, I had all fluids and I mean all fluids changed at 100k (Trans, Diffs, Brake, Coolant, Oil) by the dealer. Since it is a highway warrior and work vehicle, I was planning on doing full fluid changes every 100k when I do spark plugs. As far as other maintenance I have had all the common problems with these Outback’s you can think of, cracked exhaust manifolds, both CV axles, rear wheel bearing you name it. I will include my detailed list of my repairs if anyone is just curious to see what the cost of ownership is on an Outback that is used and abused.

I need some good ideas out of the experienced guys here since it seems I might be blazing a new trail here having such higher miles on a Gen 5. If it is torque converter it is looking like I will have to pull engine out as easiest route which at that point I need to compile a list of preventative maintenance while I have it out such as water pump and possibly removing fuel injectors to send out for cleaning and flow testing. Sorry for such a long first post but I feel like I am in new waters here and this could be what a lot of you guys are in store for down the road. I have only seen 1 outback with more miles at 180k a while back but I think it was a Gen 4. Let me know what you guys think I have attached a few photos of my maintenance record as well as my car. I appreciate your time and help.

493874
 

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2016 Outback 3.6R Black/Black
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You might try an idle relearn. I was having some hesitation/surging problems after my transmission was replaced and that seems to have fix the problem. I found the procedure on Youtube.
 

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Start with the easy and cheaper things first.

At 145,000 miles the first thing I would be doing is the fuel filter as this is a “maintenance item” and is fairly cheap and easy to do (and often overlooked).

If cleaning the battery terminals, earths, throttle body etc made such a major difference I would also be checking the rest of the earth points and looking for any corrosion and cleaning where necessary.

DTC’s (diagnostic trouble codes) have “pending” codes as well as ”set” and “old” codes. Pending codes do not display a CEL (check engine light) but they can help diagnose a problem so if you have a code reader it may be worth connecting it to see if there are any pending codes. Also check the transmission control unit for pending codes.

Seagrass
 
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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I ordered the fuel pump assembly and all required gaskets. Since I have to remove the whole fuel pump to get to the filter I will just replace the whole unit I don't think this job will take me more than an hour or two this way. I did put my scanner on the car and received P0300 random misfire and P0171 system too lean bank 1 both of which I believe came from when I had vacuum lines off while adding the seafoam. Cleared the codes and took the car out for a 20 min drive of mixed freeway and city roads and the acceleration getting bogged down is still very much there no codes came back after the drive. Debating on ordering the valve body as well to have it on hand or I can just test the solenoids.... decisions decisions. I wanted to add that problem occurs in Drive and Manual mode of the transmission it doesn't matter happens all the time. When I replace the pump I will take a pics to help anyone else that may want to take on the job.

Update: after some more research it looks like I have a TR580 transmission so the body control valve assembly is on the top of the transmission. So it seems it would require a trans drop to get it out... FML just my luck.
 
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It would almost seem that this is an engine related issue then, if it is consistently bogging down in manual. Following this thread. Do you notice a loss of power overall? Almost like it’s not getting spark or fuel. Interesting to see what this ends up being...
 

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... it looks like I have a TR580 transmission so the body control valve assembly is on the top of the transmission. So it seems it would require a trans drop to get it out...
FWIW, the procedure in the Factory Service Manual is done from the top, although I wouldn't want to attempt it myself. If you're going to be doing work like this on the car, you really should spend the $35 and download a legal copy of the full FSM from the Subaru Technical Information System (STIS).

I have used this car hard, towed with it and consistently had 500-800lbs of gear in the car for long distances.
In which case you probably should have been replacing the CVT fluid every 25,000 miles or so and replacing the front and rear differential fluid every 15,000 miles, per the Subaru maintenance schedule.
 

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'19 Outback Premium; EcoHitch, 19mm RSB, & Orsini vinyl design (see avatar)
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Update: after some more research it looks like I have a TR580 transmission so the body control valve assembly is on the top of the transmission. So it seems it would require a trans drop to get it out... FML just my luck.
Maybe this will help even thought it's a 2013. (As you probably know, Subaru keeps using many designs for a long time, spanning multiple generations, so a Gen4 top-mount valve body is likely the same as Gen5.) Eric O. at South Main Auto recently posted this video of replacing a top-mount valve body. Easy access; no dropping trans.

HYOH, but as ammcinnis said, it's a good idea to have the FSM if you don't already have it.
 
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at 145K i would be running some carbon cleaner through that motor also prolly time to change a PCV vvalve as well

"Update: after some more research it looks like I have a TR580 transmission so the body control valve assembly is on the top of the transmission. So it seems it would require a trans drop to get it out... FML just my luck."

Negative you can do that job with the trans in the car as seen here
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
This is why I made this post because these are things I did not know, it is really nice the valve body can come out the top. I will definitely download the service manual since I have just been wingin' it with my experience from all the DIY car repairs I have done over the years. I just replaced the PCV valve the other day when I ran seafoam through the system I was thinking about getting some injector cleaner and I only run premium 93 octane fuel in this car which helps with carbon build up. I am waiting on the fuel pump at the moment from the dealer I will keep everyone posted about how that goes and the outcome otherwise this weekend I may order the valve body.

Jburner it truly feels like somethings clogged but doesn't feel like the misfire. Like either slipping or lack of fuel or something it also "shifts really hard" which is weird cause that's programmed in from what I have read since these don't really shift. Once the car is up to speed it seems ok aside from sometimes a small studder here and there. Its like the acceleration just stops at 2k rpms and goes extremely slow until 30-40mph.

Tried to pull any codes again today after driving it back and forth to work but nothing showing and my scanner can't pull TCM codes.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
NGK iridium plugs part number 93482 supposed to be the OEM plugs.

I am going to flush the whole CVT system and get fresh fluid in there since the dealer only did a pan drop when they changed the fluid kind of pisses me off. How many out there change the filter in the transmission is it recommended? I want to at least do this before trying the valve body and when I flush the fluid I will send a sample off for testing any recommendation on where to send it?
 

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Filter is not worth replacing. Pulling the pan means you will have to put new gasket maker on it. It’s not much of a filter, it’s more like a strainer.
 

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Filter is not worth replacing. Pulling the pan means you will have to put new gasket maker on it. It’s not much of a filter, it’s more like a strainer.
As mentioned, the accessable one is more of a strainer (2m19s in vid linked below). There is a more classic filter. It is replaceable. You're not going to want to do it...it requires dismantling the entire CVT (@2m38s in vid).

From MRT Performance, Down Under:

 

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Discussion Starter #14
Update:

Replaced the fuel pump assembly today, the old fuel filter connected to the bottom of the fuel pump was pretty nasty. However that did not fix the problem still bogs down/hesitates and stutters. So I removed the cover for the valve body on the transmission and tested all the solenoids... All tested within range specified in FSM. So its back to the drawing board I think I will probably send it into the Subaru dealer to have them try to diagnose the problem not sure where to go from here. How would I check to see if a catalytic converter is clogged maybe the secondary one or does that require special equipment?
 

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not the best method to test, but you can use a vacuum gauge on the intake manifold to look for exhaust restrictions... the car should hold a steady vacuum from idle up to just under 3000 rpm. if the vacuum drops more than 10-20% then it's a good indication of an exhaust restriction (it's how I figured out the catalytic converter was plugged up in a 1986 ranger I owned back in the 90s).

 

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You can check for a plugged cat by measuring the exhaust backpressure by removing a pre-cat oxygen sensor and connecting a pressure gauge.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Update:

Just got a phone call from the dealer and was told the aftermarket catalytic converter was clogged causing the horrible hesitation. They had to drive the vehicle with the scanner and used a temp gun and was told it was 300 degrees hotter than it should have been. It just so happened that a recall was issued for the exhaust manifold cracking on 2015-2016 Outback's and Legacy's however they didn't want to cover it at first because I had already replaced my cracked manifold with an aftermarket one. Subaru agreed to cover the clogged aftermarket manifold with a factory one as long as they could have the aftermarket one to send back to Subaru??? I agreed but questioning why they want the manifold, I hope it is to contact Walker because that's what I wanted to do. For future reference do not buy the Walker aftermarket manifold the first one I had cracked and the second one clogged after 8-9k miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Been driving the car for a week now and it drives like a new car. It runs as good as when I bought the car, I'm sure the new fuel pump, PCV valve, Throttle body cleaning, MAF cleaning and seafoam help with that. The dealer ended up replacing the first and secondary catalytic converters. They claim the aftermarket cat took out the secondary which I doubt, I think its the other way around and the secondary was going bad and took out the aftermarket but in the end its fixed and runs and drives great. So as I said before if your car is not covered under the recall for the exhaust manifold/primary cat make sure you buy the factory manifold, I just don't trust aftermarket for this part anymore.
 
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