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2017 Subaru Outback Limited, 2020 Subaru Outback Touring XT
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Greetings All,

Last week upon starting wife's 2017 Outback Limited, an odd, loud buzzing noise started. When I tried to drive it a short distance, it starts to jerk as if the drivetrain is not engaging properly. Here is a 20 second video clip in which you can clearly hear it:

A. When does the sound happen?
- When engine is running

B. Where does the sound come from?
- Seems to be coming from behind or the back of the engine

C. Does the sound vary with some condition?
- Yes, engine/transmission RPM dependent

D. Is there a vibration associated with the noise?
- No

E. Does it affect drive-ability? how?
- Yes, as noted above. I drove it ~1/10 mile, down our straight road, then turned around and came back.

Also, an OBD II meter shows no faults. The car has 44k miles, mostly highway. It has been well maintained.

Any advise greatly appreciated!

Joe
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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I would suspect CVT and/or front halfshafts not properly engaged.

Is it still under the factory 3/36 warranty?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi, thanks for your reply! No, it has 44k miles, but there is a 5 yr/60k warranty on the drivetrain. And the CVT is certainly part of the drivetrain, so hopefully this will be covered. I have an appointment at our dealership for Friday, but unfortunately I need to have it towed there...
 

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.... it has 44k miles, but there is a 5 yr/60k warranty on the drivetrain.
I forgot about that - so you should be well covered here.

It sounds very serious, and this will be Subaru's issue to fix. Good luck.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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Your CVT has the valve body on top of the unit. That is the only thing back there that would cause this noise. I suspect a TCC solenoid or line pressure solenoid. Either way, the valve body would be replaced.

How old is your battery? Is it the original from Subaru? If so, it may be time to replace it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Your CVT has the valve body on top of the unit. That is the only thing back there that would cause this noise. I suspect a TCC solenoid or line pressure solenoid. Either way, the valve body would be replaced.

How old is your battery? Is it the original from Subaru? If so, it may be time to replace it.
Thanks for the reply... yeah, it's the original battery. I've had a Noco Genius5 Smart-Charger maintaining the charge on it since my wife started working from home back in March. Up until last week, everything was fine. She has only driven it every 10-14 days since the lockdown.

I have an appointment at the dealership for this Friday, but it will need to be towed...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ask them to check the ampere output of the battery and conductance on the grounds. If they look at you funny, I wouldn't be surprised.
Thanks, will do. Do you think this could be related to the issue? Could battery sulfation or acid stratification have effected the TCC or line pressure solenoids?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
When power flow is low either due to a low/weak battery or bad grounds anything is liable to pop up. The valve body is electronic.

Ok, I know what the problem is. The problem is that I'm an idiot. Right before this happened, I changed the oil - or at least I thought I did. I mistakenly drained the CVT oil, not the engine oil. 🤭😖

So I have it up on ramps now and I'm going to first drain the engine oil and refill it with new so it has the proper amount. Then obviously I need to fill the CVT oil.

Given that I only drove it maybe 1/4 mile, do you think I did any damage? 😳
 

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Ok, I know what the problem is. The problem is that I'm an idiot. Right before this happened, I changed the oil - or at least I thought I did. I mistakenly drained the CVT oil, not the engine oil.

So I have it up on ramps now and I'm going to first drain the engine oil and refill it with new so it has the proper amount. Then obviously I need to fill the CVT oil.

Given that I only drove it maybe 1/4 mile, do you think I did any damage?
Well, you’re not the first. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Probably not. You'll need 6 qts of CVT fluid from Subaru. It's about $13/qt depending on what part of the country you're in.
Gotcha, thanks. I'm going to drive to the Dealership tomorrow to get that. I've ordered a fluid pump from Amazon which should be here on Wednesday.

I've been changing the oil in my cars for over 40 years - I can't believe I did that. 🤦‍♂️
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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Those work great.

There is a procedure to make sure it's full. You have to fill it til it starts to run out, prob close to 4.5 qts. Then you have to run it to warm it up. Optimal trans temp is 95-113F. You'd have to have a scanner to see the temp. Then while it's running in P you fill it more until it runs out.

YOU MUST have the car jacked up level to insure it's not under or over filled. If it gets hotter than 113F, you'll have to let it cool down and check when it's between 95-113.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Those work great.

There is a procedure to make sure it's full. You have to fill it til it starts to run out, prob close to 4.5 qts. Then you have to run it to warm it up. Optimal trans temp is 95-113F. You'd have to have a scanner to see the temp. Then while it's running in P you fill it more until it runs out.

YOU MUST have the car jacked up level to insure it's not under or over filled. If it gets hotter than 113F, you'll have to let it cool down and check when it's between 95-113.
Gotcha, thanks again, this is great information, much appreciated. I have this OBD-II scanner ... that should tell me the temp, right? Thanks again for your help!
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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Not unless it sees data from the TCM. Most low price tools won't. They'll do the ECM and sometimes ABS.

Sans a scanner, you could use a digital laser thermometer if you have one lying about. Just take the temp on the case under the insulation.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Not unless it sees data from the TCM. Most low price tools won't. They'll do the ECM and sometimes ABS.

Sans a scanner, you could use a digital laser thermometer if you have one lying about. Just take the temp on the case under the insulation.
Ah, I see. Yes, I do have a laser thermometer... I'll use that.

It's going to take a few days to gather everything I need. I've just drained and replaced the engine oil, so that's done. I'll post an update later in the week... Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
So, I managed to get the vehicle up and level and added ~5-1/3 quarts of Subaru Certified CVTF-II fluid. I used a laser temp probe to verify the transmission was in the correct temperature range. I ran the engine periodically and slowly shifted through the gears as I add the fluid to be sure it was properly distributed throughout the system.

A brief test-drive after completion on Thursday and it seemed fine. An extended drive on Friday (~40 minutes each way) and it seems fine. Crisis narrowly averted.

Oh, and I am now the proud owner of a 3-ton floor jack and a pair of wheel chocks. So on the bright side, now I can rotate the tires on both of our Subies.

Thanks again to everyone who responded with advise and solace. I hope I can someday return the favor.
 
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