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2013 OB 2.5
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently own a 2013 2.5 that is a little over 4 years old and has experienced pinging almost right out of the gate starting at about 2,500 miles. It occurs mostly under load in higher temperatures. To date, SOA has been unable to fix or resolve this issue. You can read all about it in the following thread:

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...-engine-knocking-new-2013-2-5-base-model.html

This has left a very bad taste in my mouth re: consideration of a purchase of a new Subaru, but the vehicle currently has over 110k on it and am thinking about purchasing a new or used vehicle within the next 12 months.

I used to be an avid "Subaru loyalist", but the way in which SOA handled this has changed my outlook and I now simply "lump them in with the rest" and am wary of future purchases given my experience.

However, the reality of my situation is that I live in a very high altitude mountain town that receives a ton of snow and require AWD with sufficient clearance. So, I will consider an Outback as an option (among others); however, I don't want to find myself in the exact same position again and would like to find out if anybody has had issues with pinging / misfires in any Gen 5 model? It seems as if the issue lingered in some Gen 4 models, but not sure if they've solved the root issue or if it's still present to some extent?
 

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My '13 never pinged, even towing a trailer in the mountains. (2.5).
My '17 has not pinged either, and has even better mileage.
 

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2014 2.5i PZEV Tungsten Outback Limited W/Moonroof, Accessory Value Package A.
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I currently own a 2013 2.5 that is a little over 4 years old and has experienced pinging almost right out of the gate starting at about 2,500 miles. It occurs mostly under load in higher temperatures. To date, SOA has been unable to fix or resolve this issue. You can read all about it in the following thread:

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...-engine-knocking-new-2013-2-5-base-model.html

This has left a very bad taste in my mouth re: consideration of a purchase of a new Subaru, but the vehicle currently has over 110k on it and am thinking about purchasing a new or used vehicle within the next 12 months.

I used to be an avid "Subaru loyalist", but the way in which SOA handled this has changed my outlook and I now simply "lump them in with the rest" and am wary of future purchases given my experience.

However, the reality of my situation is that I live in a very high altitude mountain town that receives a ton of snow and require AWD with sufficient clearance. So, I will consider an Outback as an option (among others); however, I don't want to find myself in the exact same position again and would like to find out if anybody has had issues with pinging / misfires in any Gen 5 model? It seems as if the issue lingered in some Gen 4 models, but not sure if they've solved the root issue or if it's still present to some extent?
I assume you have tried different brands of gas and different octanes? My two 2014's have never had a problem with pinging, even driving in the mountains. I use 87 and occasionally 91. I find my gas mileage goes up about 2 mpg on the 91.

By the way had to look up where you live, never heard of the town you live in before. I thought I knew pretty well most towns in Colorado, but guess I am wrong now.
 

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2013 OB 2.5
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I assume you have tried different brands of gas and different octanes? My two 2014's have never had a problem with pinging, even driving in the mountains. I use 87 and occasionally 91. I find my gas mileage goes up about 2 mpg on the 91.

By the way had to look up where you live, never heard of the town you live in before. I thought I knew pretty well most towns in Colorado, but guess I am wrong now.
Earlier in the life of the vehicle, there was a big difference between 87 and 91 octane; with the latter being able to mute the pinging almost entirely. However, over the past year I've transitioned exclusively to 91 and while it still helps, it no longer provides the same degree of relief in so far as mitigate pinging. I have tried different brands of gas, and have found there to be little to no discernable difference. There only thing that helps mute the ping (while the vehicle is under load) at this point is colder weather (below 50 degrees).

The "zip code guy" on Pearl Street Mall in Boulder knew about Ophir :) Ophir Pass will connect with Silverton on the other side. It is close to 10k feet in elevation here & typically receives over 300" of snow in the winter (with lots of drifting). The vehicle handles exceptionally well in the snow with snow tires. So no complaints on this front ... which is one of the reasons I'd be willing to consider another Outback if I knew they had resolved the issue. There are clearly others in Gen 4 who have had similar experiences, both with the issue itself and SOA not rectifying the matter.
 

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Outback 1: 2015 2.5i Limited. Option 23, PP5, Hitch. Ice Silver. Outback 2: 2015 2.5i Limited, Option 23, PP5, Carbide Gray.
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Recently drove one of our Outbacks, 2.5i Limited, from Colorado Springs to Craig, CO. The I-70 Eisenhower Tunnel is a bit over 11,000 ft altitude and I seem to recall at one point on the drive we were at 12,000 ft. Absolutely no pinging anytime on the trip. The 2.5i had to struggle a bit to climb but still got the job done while moving us along at 50 mph or higher. Best part, we averaged 34 mpg for the round trip.
 

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2015 Legacy 3.6R ES, 2014 Forester Touring ES, 2005 Jeep Liberty Limited
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That is why most of my friends in the mountains buy 3.6 Outbacks or Forester XT( most popular) or wish they bought one. They would tease me about the Foz since it is a 2.5. Their point of view is if you live here all year long I would regret having NA. They just smile when I take my 3.6.
 

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May seem obvious. Have you tried any of the fuel or combustion chamber cleaners? The best cleaners do help with performance by cleaning out crap. Chevron concentrate, Gumout Regain or Redline Sl-1 are good cleaners. The best ones have PEA (polyetheramine) in them. Use top tier fuels also helps.
 

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2016 Tungsten Outback 2.5l Premium w/ES, OP 14, PP #4
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Typically octane requirements are less at higher elevations. Does it ping more at lower elevation? Much of New Mexico, as we head east from Arizona, regular grade gas is 86 RON. I use top tier regular grade gas and never heard a pip on 86 as we travelled thru NM's higher elevations.
Also intuitively I'd think cooler, more dense air, would increase the tendency to ping whereas your experience is opposite.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
May seem obvious. Have you tried any of the fuel or combustion chamber cleaners? The best cleaners do help with performance by cleaning out crap. Chevron concentrate, Gumout Regain or Redline Sl-1 are good cleaners. The best ones have PEA (polyetheramine) in them. Use top tier fuels also helps.
I have not tried any cleaners or additives since Subaru did not recommend the usage of such and I didn't want to stray from the "official parameters" of accepted maintenance / service protocols ... especially early on (the issue first surfaced at about 2,600 miles) due to warranty concerns.

Perhaps it might make sense at this stage of the game, but not knowing the nuances of the mechanics, I am generally concerned about developing a dependence ... akin to "rebound headaches" by taking ibuprofin regularly for headaches.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Typically octane requirements are less at higher elevations. Does it ping more at lower elevation? Much of New Mexico, as we head east from Arizona, regular grade gas is 86 RON. I use top tier regular grade gas and never heard a pip on 86 as we travelled thru NM's higher elevations.
Also intuitively I'd think cooler, more dense air, would increase the tendency to ping whereas your experience is opposite.
It does ping at more moderate elevations: recently was in Denver and clearly heard pinging. It's difficult to recall precisely how it manifests at even lower elevations, but I do recall it showing it's face in both Las Vegas and Scottsdale. I've found the biggest environmental factor is outside temperature (heat). Also, load - in terms of weight in the vehicle and/or incline of terrain.

Again, I'm not well versed in the nuances of the mechanics, so I don't have any intiution as to what would be most "likely", but do have a good ear and know what I hear. I did receive a private messgae from someone on this forum a while back who lives in the LA area:


Oh, and one more thing. I've noticed that extremely low humidity and hot weather cause the knocking to be far more pronounced... while high humidity and below-60 temps seem to make it go away. Here in drought-stricken Southern California, we often have days with 15 percent humidity... it's not unusual for it to be in the single digits, all year around.
 

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I have not tried any cleaners or additives since Subaru did not recommend the usage of such and I didn't want to stray from the "official parameters" of accepted maintenance / service protocols ... especially early on (the issue first surfaced at about 2,600 miles) due to warranty concerns.

Perhaps it might make sense at this stage of the game, but not knowing the nuances of the mechanics, I am generally concerned about developing a dependence ... akin to "rebound headaches" by taking ibuprofin regularly for headaches.
I am starting to wonder if your particular 2013,..and all like it do not accept being at 9695 feet above sea level. like not enough oxygen there to run that engine, vs. the turbo or the H6 cars.

and how is subaru supposed to know that you are putting additives and octane boosters in,?
I mean on your old thread the person that worked for Hberger at the time suggested pumping higher octane in long ago....I mean that is not cheapo regular gas.

you live in a particularly odd situation, subaru corp probably does not have a prescribed response of any-kind for you. (other then maybe, selling you a turbo or a H6 next time).

_____

and on your bod,...do you feel better at lower altitude? people do change as time goes by,

I wonder how many people in your neighborhood would benefit on supplemental oxygen.

as a example. Mount Fuji is 12,388 feet tall, and they rent hand held oxygen bottles with the attached mask, on the path up the hill for a reason. (and its not just, weak or infirm people climbing the mountain, its headaches etc for everyone).
and a old proverb:
" a wise man climbs mount fuji once in his lifetime, a fool does it again"

 
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It does ping at more moderate elevations: recently was in Denver and clearly heard pinging. It's difficult to recall precisely how it manifests at even lower elevations, but I do recall it showing it's face in both Las Vegas and Scottsdale. I've found the biggest environmental factor is outside temperature (heat). Also, load - in terms of weight in the vehicle and/or incline of terrain.

Again, I'm not well versed in the nuances of the mechanics, so I don't have any intiution as to what would be most "likely", but do have a good ear and know what I hear. I did receive a private messgae from someone on this forum a while back who lives in the LA area:


Oh, and one more thing. I've noticed that extremely low humidity and hot weather cause the knocking to be far more pronounced... while high humidity and below-60 temps seem to make it go away. Here in drought-stricken Southern California, we often have days with 15 percent humidity... it's not unusual for it to be in the single digits, all year around.
Interesting. Cool moist days tend to make a car run a bit better, supposedly packs more air into the combustion chamber. Moisture tends to reduce pinging. I know back in the day if the timing was not set correctly a car would ping. Just thinking out loud. Is it possible a component that monitors timing advance has a problem? I know my 6-cylinder BMW has two knock sensors, Does Subaru?

BTW, Subaru does not really know if you use fuel additives. Never ever heard of a car developing a dependence on additives. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
eagleeye:

Outbacks are extremely popular in the Telluride area and there are several others in Ophir. Have spoken to some owners, but have not received a similar account of issue. Have only encountered others with similar experience on this site. I've wondered if there's an initial "learning imprint" related to how the computer contends with oxygen differentials over time, in particular in its "formative stages"? IOW, perhaps a long road trip to the coast at lower elevations very early on may have somehow conditioned the computer/vehicle to be initially "calibrated" a certain way & wasn't dynamic enough adjust to higher altitudes. So, maybe it is a sort of idiosyncratic development.

Guess I'm just a "rule follower" re: no additives. And yeah, gas is very expensive to begin with where I live ... let alone the cost of premium.

Unfortunately, in my opinion SOA has not been transparent on the issue and have yet to hear any sort of official explanation re: cause. On one hand, they've labeled it a "characteristic", yet have released at least 2 or 3 computer patches to address the issue. Why rewrite software to ostensibly "fix" something that is on the other hand being equated as being "normal"?

It's interesting you bring up how humans deal with high altitude ... since my dad (77) was recently visiting. He had some minor issues with his sinuses (but otherwise felt fine) and I told him to try my pulse oximeter just for laughs. Turns out he had consistent readings in the low 80's ... which I knew was not good, even though he had zero symptoms. So, he went to the ER to be safe and get checked out ... since he's also a type 1 diabetic. He did use supplemental oxygen overnight kept him in the mid 90's while on O2, but his average readings throughout the day without O2 were improved to upper 80's and low to mid 90's in Telluride proper (8750). So yeah, there is a definitely a Newtonian sort of cause / effect dynamic at play ... that is probably more rigidly defined or understood with respect to via motor vehicle mechanics. The really weird thing re: my dad's situation is that he experienced absolutely none of the symptoms related to "altitude sickness". Most people would've had headaches, nausea, swelling, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
^ But still doesn't explain the quote from the person in LA who had been experiencing issues too; however, I can't be sure of this person's vehicle's history ... such as whether or not he was the original owner and whether it had been used at higher altitudes?
 

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Is that a manual or automatic?
 

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the really telling thing on your old thread is the added pinging comes with summer time.

like when the barometric pressure goes down when the temps go up.

vs. say when all cars and typical old airplanes are happy running along at 40 degrees F in crisp dry air = high barometric pressure.

I wonder if @west_minist (the tuner) and has read of any tuner people writing some special tune for people at 9,500 feet (~3,000 meter) elevations with naturally aspirated engines. to alleviate such pinging,...outside of subaru corp thought.


@traildogck may have read something in his quest for more power at altitude,...vs. actually installing a supercharger on a N/A engine.
 

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I would disconnect the battery step on the brakes to clear memory.( Others can chime in for clearing memory) Wait about 15 minutes then reconnect the Battery and start driving again. This should reprogram PCM and see if that solves the issue. The only downside is the passenger window would have to be recalibrated.

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

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I drove Ophir pass last year in my Gen 5 H4 and didn't notice any pinging.

We also drove Cork Screw and California pass and climbed black bear. The car was severely down on power but I don't remember ever noticing any pinging/knocking.

The H6 schooled the H4 in those conditions too. The 6 never missed a beat.
 

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I don't know abut 5th gen cars. I know all other Subarus 3.6 included ping like crazy at times. Only 91* is readily available and the quality is very inconsistent. I log all the time logging FLK and Knock Sum. These machines like to ping out here.

@Brucey you weren't doing any logging and the pings would be masked off road by other noise for sure. I don't think you would know, I have had to try very hard to train my ear to hear it in my car. I would expect there to be more on the highway. However the rpm level the cvt tries to stay at it going to be lower and less like to ping also.
 
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