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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All. I am new to forum. It's a snowy Iowa day with no school or work. I warmed up the garage to change the CVT fluid on 2014 Outback. We've owned the car about a year and it has 181k miles so I thought today was a good day to do this. I put the car up on 4 jack stands and level. I drained out 6 quarts of the old CVT fluid from the car at 50 degrees F. It seemed like a lot but I was careful to catch and measure.

I pumped in approx 4.5 quarts cold and it started leaking out. (I hoped to just pump back in 6 quarts and be done). I put fill bolt back in and started car up to bring up to temperature. I cycled to reverse and neutral and drive twice. This is where it got weird: the parking break light started flashing (but we had not touched it), the ABS light came on, the check engine light came on, the traction control light came on, and the selector would not go up into Reverse anymore!. All we could do was move selector from neutral to drive. It would not allow us to move selector up to Reverse or Park.

I hooked up my OBD II laptop program and tried to clear any codes. All the lights went off except ABS and Traction Control light and the AWD TEMP OK light came on briefly. Since it indicated AWD TEMP OK, I went under and opened the fill bolt and finished adding almost the entire 6 quarts and put bolt back in. But nothing changed on the dashboard. And it still would not allow us to select Reverse or Park. I thought maybe I was up against some anti tow truck feature, so I put it back down on all four wheels.

We started it up on the ground in neutral and the engine now wanted to die unless we coaxed it with the gas pedal. So it was running kinda poor but I could put it in park on the ground. Then we kept it idling and cycled the gear selector and actually engaged the parking break but it wouldn't disengage until a couple minutes later.

I ran the codes and got P0500 which I couldn't clear with the laptop.

At this point I wondered if I had too much fluid in it for the temp I was at, so I squeezed under without jacks and opened the drain bold and fluid came out in light stream and the temp was 116 F.

I'm not sure what to do next. I'm snowed in, so all I can do is creep forward and reverse a couple feet. Based on my now crude measurements, I have 4.5 quarts of new Subaru blue CVT in the transmission and the P0500 code won't clear and the ABS and Traction control light won't go out when I clear codes. The engine idles but would die if I don't feather some throttle.

From my reading, a vehicle speed sensor is the problem but I have no idea how that has malfunctioned just changing the fluid. It's on the opposite side of the transmission and there were no pulled wires or harnesses disturbed at all.

Can someone here offer suggestions?
 

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Outback 2011 3.6R Premium
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Other members have mistakenly drained the CVT when trying to drain the engine oil and then added additional oil to the engine making it overfull and the CVT with no oil.

Is it possible you have made a similar mistake? Please check your engine oil and diff oil levels.

Seagrass
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Other members have mistakenly drained the CVT when trying to drain the engine oil and then added additional oil to the engine making it overfull and the CVT with no oil.

Is it possible you have made a similar mistake? Please check your engine oil and diff oil levels.

Seagrass
Thanks for the reply. But I am certain I was draining the CVT transmission. I just can't figure out why it lead to all these weird things and I can't drive it until I get the snow cleared out tomorrow, if it will drive at all. It's pretty disheartening for a DIY er. If I have to take it to a dealer, I assume they will shame me for doing the fluid change at all and give me a lecture that the CVT fluid is not meant to be changed.

Leefer
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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Sounds to me by your description that you drained and filled it using the correct drain and fill ports. So it's something else. FWIW here's a pic of the fill location.
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Did you allow the wheels to turn when you engaged the transmission while on the jack stands? If yes, then the dash lit up due to the traction control system and irregular wheel speed sensor feedback is my best guess. In the future when this is done on 2010 or newer it's a good idea to turn the traction system off prior to letting the wheels rotate.

Does your laptop have the ability to communicate with the ABS module? That is where you check the data from the front speed sensors and would clear the codes. It would also be good to know what the ABS/VDC module is storing that the ECM is not showing you.

Was there, or, is there any ice/snow packed near the front wheel hubs?

Did you disconnect the battery at all? If yes, check the cable connection and make sure it's tight. If no, check the cable connection and make sure it's tight.

If your software doesn't see the ABS/VDC module then you could try a battery disconnect and leave it for a half hour or so then reconnect it and start the car. I don't recall if there's a jumper on a 14 to clear the ABS codes to see if they pop right back up. Usually when you clear a code and it pops up, that problem is active in the system. The computer checks the system with every key on operation. In this case, the ABS is keeping the P0500 active. The FSM relates this code to the system seeing a speed reading of over 186 mph within 2000 ms of a start up.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Car Doc. I did let the wheels turn to make my daughter smile. We did not rev the engine at all though. This morning she said the vehicle speed on the laptop was over 150 mph and rising last night when we had the laptop on it.

I'll try to disconnect the battery for 30 mins. I hope it clears.

BTW, what is FSM and VDC?

Thanks
Leefer
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The code did not clear by disconnecting battery, but the ABS and Traction control lights went out once I drove down the driveway so I believe that gremlin is fixed and it was because I let the wheels turn while up on jack stands. Thank you Car Doc.

Now I have to decide what to do about the CVT fluid level? I removed 6 quarts cold and have now got approximately 5 quarts in the transmission. Should I find a way to get that last quart in and how? When it was cold it dripped out at 4.5 quarts, when it was up to 115 degrees it was dripping out also??? How can I get the correct amount in there??

What happens if the fluid level is too low or high anyway?

Is it ok to drive with 4.5 quarts not 6 for a little while?

This simple project has become stressful.

Leefer
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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The complete CVT holds about 13 quarts. Typically a drain and fill is about 5.5 qts.

Can you see the trans fluid temp on your laptop?

It is checked when the fluid is between 95-113F. You catn jack it back up level, you may have had it tilted toward the rear a little, and to warm it up without causing a code you hold the brake, put it in drive and throttle the engine up to 1000-1200 rpm while holding the brake. This will circulate the fluid and the torque converter will heat it up. When it gets to 95, put it in park, leave it running, crawl under it and pull the fill plug adding until it starts to run out. That's it. Tighten the plug.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I plan to do this again in a week or so to get even more of the original dirty fluid out. I would like to use the OBD II system to monitor the transmission temp. What app will do this for me?

Leefer
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well I think I am getting pretty good at this CVT fluid change. I followed directions posted on this forum and did a second drain and fill on my daughter's 2014 Outback which should now have changed about 75% of the original fluid. We bought the car with 175k and this was probably the original fluid so I really wanted it done.

All of my code troubles were because I let the wheels turn while up on jacks. No harm no foul.

Next I turned to my wife's 2010 Outback (145k) and did the job again once. Maybe I'll do hers again next weekend to get the 75% new fluid status.

Thanks for all the help.

Leefer
 
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