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2019 3.6R Touring
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Discussion Starter #1
We just got our new 2018 3.6R Touring. It replaced our 2015 3.6R Limited. For the most part, I think many of the changes are improvements. The entire infotainment system works and sounds better. So far I have had none of the problems others have reported. Car Play has been useful and without glitches. Also, the new side mirrors and acoustic side glass have made the car a lot quieter. Maybe its the new tires helping, but at highway speeds, the car is super quiet. Its very easy to build speed without realizing it. I think my favorite new feature is the LED directional headlights. They are easily the best headlights I have ever experienced in any car.

The one negative I have is that I think 2018 does not handle as well as my 2015. The steering is much lighter, has less feel and seems, overall, less "tight". It also feels more floaty on the highway. Its like they took my 2015 Outback and merged it with a Lexus. Its all smoother and quieter but less connected. FYI - I have checked and balanced the air in the tires. I read that Subaru made revisions to improve the ride of the car. I think they went a little too far with that.

Lastly, I think I have a defective headliner. When driving over uneven surfaces, I get a sort of creaking/sticking noise from the headliner above the rear seats. When a press-up on the headliner, there is definitely space between the headliner and the roof and I feel what seems to be adhesive trying to stick to the roof. Did not have this on my 2017...had dash rattles instead. Anyone else notice this?
 

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2016 3.6 Limited with ES
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Can't help you with the headliner problem but for the handling issue our member traildog took on the task of making ugraded urethane front and rear sway bar bushings that will go a long way toward helping with the feeling you want.

He sells them in multiple hardnesses and I upgraded my car with the 19mm RWB and went with his 85d bushings.

I can tell you that it made the handling of my car so much better than it was before. It's much flatter in the corners, not blown around when passing big trucks and the car goes when you point it rather than doing that and then waiting for the car to catch up

Highly recommended. No one on the site who has purchased and installed them has expressed their regrets that I can recall.
 

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2017 Outback 3.6R Touring
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105 Posts
+1 on the 19mm RSB. Made a huge difference with my 2017 Touring. I don't see the headliner issue in my OB.
 

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2018 Outback Touring 3.6R
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Check you tire air pressures. Seems that not all dealers set them properly in the pre-delivery checks. Might be over-inflated, which could cause some drifting.
 

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2019 3.6R Touring
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Discussion Starter #5
Update - I finally got the car into the dealer to check the headliner last Friday. We did a test drive with a senior tech and he also heard the noise. They diagnosed the problem on Tuesday as a broken clip in the headliner. Since the car is brand new (400 miles) its deemed a factory defect and the regional Subaru rep has to inspect the car before it can be repaired. They will probably have the car through the end of this week. The dealer gave us a brand new (10 miles and plastic still covering the seats!) 18 Outback Premium as a loaner so we are not down a car. It does not have all the bells and whistles of our Touring, but its still a really nice car so I am not complaining. Its funny though as the loaner is white and covered with the dealer's name and number like a billboard. Also, I must say the lightness of the 4 cylinder banger compared to our 6 does make the car more nimble and a better handler around town.
 

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2018 Touring 3.6R
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Also, I must say the lightness of the 4 cylinder banger compared to our 6 does make the car more nimble and a better handler around town.
Does it handle worse with a passenger in the front seat? There's a 150# difference between the two cars so kind of hard to believe it would be noticeable. Particularly when they all handle pretty crappy in the scheme of things (see all tested data...they handle similar to Jeeps....). We put significant time on a rental 2.5 before buying our 3.6 and never felt one was better than the other from a handling perspective. Motortrend has them essentially identical....technically they have the 3.6 slightly better but real world it can't be measurable. Perhaps there really is something wrong with the suspension setup in your car.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
This is my second 3.6R, the first I had for 3 years on a lease. I really do think the 2.5 handles a little bit better. The front end is just lighter and it understeers less. 150 pounds is a lot, especially if most of it is hanging over the front axels. The car magazine's numbers might be the same for ultimate Gs or speed through a slalom, but those numbers measure the limits of a car's handling which have more to do with the tires and the traction/stability control algorithms. What's more important to me are the actual handling characteristics of a car in regular day to day driving. That being said, I may be more sensitive to handling characteristics than most. My wife does not feel a big difference. In the end, I still prefer the 3.6 to the 2.5, but less weight does have its virtues.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Update - I called Subaru corporate on Friday to facilitate communication between the regional rep and the dealer. There was already a large file on the matter. The cross braces on the underside of the roof were not properly affixed by the factory. This resulted in the roof flexing and the headliner making noises. Subaru engineers had to get the proper adhesive and instructions to the dealer and body shop to correct the condition. I am supposed to get the car back by Wednesday. We will see.....I told the dealer service rep to go over the car very carefully before returning it to me, including making sure that all the interior bits are properly reassembled and rattle free. Since this is factory production defect, I wonder how many cars might be affected.
 

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2007 2.5 L Obsidian Black Outback XTL
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I found a really interesting youtube on panel bonding adhesives and how car roofs are glued down (different adhesive). This also shows the "blobby" type of adhesive that attaches the door skins.

Ignore the first three minutes of marketing hyperbole, the rest of the video is pretty practical.

 

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2019 3.6R Touring
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Discussion Starter #10
I found a really interesting youtube on panel bonding adhesives and how car roofs are glued down (different adhesive). This also shows the "blobby" type of adhesive that attaches the door skins.

Ignore the first three minutes of marketing hyperbole, the rest of the video is pretty practical.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7pWRqAZIJM
That was interesting. Thanks. My car is supposedly repaired but the Subaru factory rep wants to inspect the car Monday. Will be over 2 weeks they have had my car. I am not happy about that and have already called Subaru corporate.
 

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Update - I called Subaru corporate on Friday to facilitate communication between the regional rep and the dealer. There was already a large file on the matter. The cross braces on the underside of the roof were not properly affixed by the factory. This resulted in the roof flexing and the headliner making noises. Subaru engineers had to get the proper adhesive and instructions to the dealer and body shop to correct the condition. I am supposed to get the car back by Wednesday. We will see.....I told the dealer service rep to go over the car very carefully before returning it to me, including making sure that all the interior bits are properly reassembled and rattle free. Since this is factory production defect, I wonder how many cars might be affected.
I have this same issue on my 18 touring and noise/rattling get even worse if you install a roof basket. Sounds like I'm in for some fun dealing with this issue!
 

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Hey guys, I'm so glad to have finally found a post on this topic. I have a 2017 3.6 Limited and have a similar issue. It started out as a really annoying sound next to my left ear from the area of the b-pillar. It had a ticking or cracking glass type sound to it. It has since gotten worse and it makes creaking noises also now as I go over bumps, etc. If I press up on the headliner in the area of the driver's side the b-pillar it moves a little and I can hear tacky glue, the rest of the headliner feels solid and I don't get any noises when I press on it.

Overall I like my car, but the amount of creaks and rattles from various areas has been really frustrating and disappointing. Especially for something in the $40,000 range. Good luck with your issues and please keep us posted. I'm really curious to hear what the dealer tells you, if there's a technical bulletin or any information from Subaru I'd like to pass that on when I take my car in. Unfortunately the closest dealer is about an hour away from me.
 

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2017 Outback 3.6R Touring
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It's ironic that I posted earlier in this thread about no issues and now I have started noticing what I'd describe as "groaning" or "creaking" sounds in my 2017 Touring. It is very pronounced as I'm approaching an incline. I'm only about 1k from my next service interval and will be asking the dealer about this. It is pretty noisy and disruptive to my experience. Otherwise, the car is awesome.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Update - So its been about 10 days since the dealer completed the fix, which was properly applying the factory adhesive to the internal roof rails and headliner foam. That noise seems to be gone, at least for now. However, when going over bumps I am now getting a different noise from the area of the B pillar or possibly the roof where it meets the B pillar. My wife has been driving the Outback lately so I need to get more seat time to better diagnose the problem. Our prior 2015 3.6R Limited had no roof rattles or noises at all. It did develop some dash rattles over time but I consider that normal for constant driving over our horrible roads in the NYC suburbs. The 2018 Outback premium loaner they gave us was while ours was in the shop was tight as a drum. No noises at all, anywhere. Of course, it did not have a sunroof. I also recently noticed that, like others, the right side of the hood is slightly misaligned. Subaru quality control slipping? I really like our 2018, but I fear it will be a rattle box in a year or two. Glad I leased this one.
 

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I mentioned a headliner issue I’m having a few posts ago and have an update. I took my 2017 Limited 3.6 into my closest dealer (about a 2hr. round trip). I didn’t realize when I dropped it off that the service manager is the guy to show problems to but he isn’t there on Saturdays. The sticky glue in the area of the driver’s side B-pillar is obvious though and the nice gentleman who wrote up the order acknowledged the problem. He called me a couple days later saying they fixed the problem by peeling back the trim in that area and sticking a piece of foam under the headliner. He said some adhesive had come un-stuck from a wire but they drove the car and couldn’t hear any noise after adding foam.

I wanted to talk to the service manager when I picked it up but he happened to be out. I did a test drive with a different service agent than the one I talked to when I dropped off the car. He was a veteran of the service department and although I could hear little ticking or sticky noises as we drove coming from the headliner / B-pillar area he said he did not and that all cars make noises. If I pressed on the headliner though the sticky glue was even worse than when I brought it in and very obvious. He said there’s no glue in the headliner, "it’s one honeycombed piece". I said it was my understanding the headliner is glued to a metal wire frame (brought a diagram with me) and said that the other agent mentioned adhesive when he called to tell me the car was ready. There was no way to deny there was something sticky under the headliner. It was weird and not a good customer experience, it felt he was trying to brush me off or didn’t know the car, or both.

I then spoke to the gentleman who I talked to when I dropped the car off and he said the noise was almost gone when they put in the foam a few days earlier. We looked at it and now it’s even worse, he thought the sun on the roof had loosened the glue and now it’s bad again. He was friendly and said the service manager would be able to take care of me, I’d just need to come in again when he’s back onsite.

The headliner coming unglued is an obvious defect and I'm under warranty (I even bought a "Gold Plus" warranty thinking it might be worth because I planned on keeping the car for several years). I’m hoping they’ll make it right, I’ll post an update after the next visit to the dealer.
 

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Check you tire air pressures. Seems that not all dealers set them properly in the pre-delivery checks. Might be over-inflated, which could cause some drifting.
This

My tires were 40+ psi at each tire and I didn't discover it till I had gotten home. I deflated them down to the proper psi
 

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2019 3.6 Touring & 2018 H6 Limited. Previously also owned a number of Outbacks.
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Slight ticking noise on certain roads (e.g., gravel or roads that buzzes the tires) but no time & too insgificant to warrant a visit yet.
 

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I definitely have this problem in my 2017 Touring. It is very noticeable when turning up inclines like pulling up my driveway or hitting a speed bump. There is a pronounced groaning and creaking sound coming from the back cargo headliner area. I've grown a little bit numb to it, but it can be excruciating if I pay close attention.

I'm at 27k miles and have not yet bought any extended warranty. When I was at the dealer for my 24k service a few months ago, I spoke at length with my service advisor guy about it. He gave me a very puzzled look as though I was crazy and told me "velcro holds the headliner in so maybe that came loose" but he was a little bit dismissive. I mentioned that there were other documented cases and I'd be glad to take him for a spin to demonstrate.

Time was a little tight that day, so what he offered to me was that when I come in for my 30k service, they will keep the car for a few days and give me a loaner OB. If they need to do a fix, they will take care of it. I don't feel great with his initial dismissive tone, but I'll push the issue as much as needed to get it fixed. Curious if others are experiencing this or if any of the fixes have been successful over time?
 

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I am very disappointed to report an undesirable outcome from my 30k service this week when I specifically left the car with the dealer to also address the groaning/squeaking sound which they promised to investigate. I printed out and highlighted parts of this very thread to indicate that Subaru has a file on this issue and it seems to be related to the headliner and adhesive.

They called to tell me that they "fixed the problem, but it had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO with the information I had provided them" in sort of a know-it-all, skeptical tone. Which goes back to when I first mentioned it and the service advisor looked at me like I was crazy. This time, he told me that they had their "most thorough and seasoned" technician work on the car. They said that they found my spare tire was loose in the back well and so they tightened it. They also said they found that my middle rear seatbelt fixture in the roof was making some noise and they did some work on that. They test drove and heard no more groaning.

I did not have the time to test it when I picked it up, so I took their word for it. The advisor told me that I could drive it and let them know if it was not fixed to my satisfaction (which I suppose is a somewhat ok sign). Sure enough, nothing they did had any impact on the sounds I'm hearing so they did not fix the problem at all.

Now I have to deal with the time consuming return visit and likely continued skepticism from the dealer. Ugh.
 

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I had the same issue and was able to easily reproduce the problem on-site with the tech. I am not entirely sure what they fixed, I just know it took them a week and that for the past 3 weeks it seems to have been resolved.
 
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