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I will add that I was not impressed with the performance of the original iteration of the TR690 mated with the old EJ engines (2010 - 2012). I drove a few during that period, and then again in 2013 as CPO vehicles, and they didn't coast well when you lifted off the pedal. There were other quirks as well related to hanging on to a set RPM for too long during acceleration.

In the summer/fall of 2013 I gave them a try again, and the FB engine mated to the TR580 changed my mind. I tried a CPO 2011 back to back with a new one and came to the conclusion that while it still felt 'different' from a conventional autobox, it had decent overall performance and driveability. I ended up buying a new delivery 2014 that September.

Now as you know, I've had plenty of complaints about my 2014. Overall driveability has sucked and the car has been in multiple times to two dealers with only limited relief thanks to two ECU/TCU software updates.

Who knew that the root cause of the issues was a consistently OVERFILLED crankcase??

I love my OBW now! How many others out there are unhappy with how their Subaru performs, but have no idea why and are blaming it on the CVT?
 

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After driving a 4-banger 1991 Toyota Pickup Truck for over 20 years, let me tell you one thing. Subaru Outbacks are freaking race cars! Like...I can actually accelerate going up a hill.
At different times I had a 1976 Chevy Luv pickup and a 1978 Plymouth Horizon as daily drivers. Both had automatics. I later had a 1988 Toyota 4 cylinder pickup with an automatic that felt like a race car compared to the other two.:laugh:
But yeah, my 2.5 Outback performs better than a lot of my previous cars. I have a hard time being critical of the handling even.
 

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Brucey
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Discussion Starter #44
I find that I don't even notice the differences between driving the two most of the time except in one respect. When backing up and shifting from Reverse to Drive:
  • The 5EAT engages within about 1/4 to 1/2 second
  • The HTCVT takes from 1.25 to 3 seconds to engage depending on temperature.
I've seen this reported else where and briefly mentioned it in the video.

This is one of the few CVT issues that seem to be legit. I've never noticed it myself but maybe I'm just used to it?

How many others out there are unhappy with how their Subaru performs, but have no idea why and are blaming it on the CVT?
That style of post (Car died on the highway, it's the CVT!!!) is what motivated me to make this thesis video/topic.

It's just so unfair to an otherwise good transmission that it's always bashed. Most of the time people don't even know what transmission is being used.

Then you show them documentation of known issues and repair on the CVT (This one is good) and they wander off.
 

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...Also, startup jerkiness was reduced in the 2018’s. So, actually a 2018 or later 3.6 with a CVT is pretty sweet...
Reference? I briefly considered upgrading to a 2018. I recall a whole thread about 2018 "improvements", with multiple claims of the CVT in the 3.6 "shifting smoother" (giving some of us a nice chuckle), but with nothing but a few subjective impressions from test drives or upgrades to back it up. There were also claims that this CVT performance enhancement was documented in a press release, but no reference could be provided. The official 2018 press release only says they made the TR580 CVT (used in the 2.5) quieter. IIRC, some of the more vocal members on this topic had recently upgraded from an earlier Gen 5 to the 2018, so it started smelling like the typical confirmation bias you get from folks suffering from "upgraditis". Anyway, I just remember finding it odd because my CVT has always felt perfectly smooth, and I believe I was not alone in that opinion. Perhaps some of us were just lucky. ;)
 

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I've seen this reported else where and briefly mentioned it in the video.

This is one of the few CVT issues that seem to be legit. I've never noticed it myself but maybe I'm just used to it?
The lag exists and it takes 1-2 secs going from R to D ... but is it a big deal ?? IMHO no it is not, you get used to it. You have to look at a vehicle as a whole too, I doubt if there is anything out there that is perfect.
 

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The lag exists and it takes 1-2 secs going from R to D ... but is it a big deal ?? IMHO no it is not, you get used to it. You have to look at a vehicle as a whole too, I doubt if there is anything out there that is perfect.
If there's a lag, I've never noticed it. The CVT is smooth and quiet at all times, and I only notice the artificial shift points if I hammer the throttle on the freeway to merge with traffic. Other than than, it's stays quite steady at 2000 RPM or lower.
 

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That's a mischaracterization, IMO, simply because they weren't your typical lazy, unsubstantiated statements. You were presented with a logical argument on each point in the first post, including the source of the reliability data. I've come to the same conclusion independently - if you doubt it, then try searching for yourself.
Mischaracterization! Hmm. The data is still "your" personal data, and quite frankly, heavily opinionated (emotional).


I have no problem with your opinions, everyone has one. Yours is as interesting as many others, but not scientific.


As for searching myself, why? I like the CVT. I don't mind shift points, it's not an electric car.


Beary
 

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The HTCVT takes from 1.25 to 3 seconds to engage depending on temperature.
I've seen this reported else where and briefly mentioned it in the video.

This is one of the few CVT issues that seem to be legit. I've never noticed it myself ...
TSB 16-97-15 (11/4/2015) specifies the maximum time delay as 1.5 seconds when shifting from Neutral to Reverse or Neutral to Drive under standard conditions.

It seems likely that driver impatience is the dominant factor in most complaints of this nature. It's been a non-issue in both our 2015 Legacy and 2016 Outback.
 

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There's something to be said for appliance cars. Most new cars today are appliances. By "appliance," I mean when it's working, you barely notice it's there. Like a furnace, refrigerator, or toaster. People who complain about the CVT simply don't like appliance cars that have things like CVTs, electric power steering, or infotainment. They like noisy, mechanical drivetrains with old school stereos and hydraulic power steering with lots of feedback to remind them that they're driving a complicated machine. They learn every little nuance in every sound, twitch, and rattle and develop an emotional connection to the car because of it. That's what they're used to, so anything different is distracting and unfamiliar, therefore automatically bad. If you don't like appliance cars, good luck keeping your 2002 Honda Accord on the road (assuming you don't blow the transmission).

I love my Outback with its CVT, cushy driver aids, and flashy gadgets. It gets me to my destination safely and comfortably.
 

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ammcinnis,

TSB 16-97-15 (11/4/2015) specifies the maximum time delay as 1.5 seconds when shifting from Neutral to Reverse or Neutral to Drive under standard conditions.

It seems likely that driver impatience is the dominant factor in most complaints of this nature. It's been a non-issue in both our 2015 Legacy and 2016 Outback.
Thanks for the pointer to the TSB. The TSB you mentioned says it only applies to the 4 cylinder models between MY2013 and MY2016. It also specified that the 1.5 second criteria only applies when the transmission is warm. As I noted in my post on this thread, my car is a 2019 3.6R so the TSB may not be applicable. My car also shows the greatest delay when first starting up. Do you know if another similar TSB exists for the 3.6R / HTCVT combination?

Regarding driver impatience, I can understand how the delay will seem longer than it really is if you are in a hurry. However, I am ever the engineer, so I have timed mine with a stopwatch. That is how I am confident that the delay in my car is between 1.25 seconds and 3 seconds.

One other thing to note is that TSB specifies measuring the delay from R to N, N to D, or vice versa. My measurement is directly from R to D.

It is interesting to note that the TSB has a transmission retraining procedure outlined. I cannot image that trying that would hurt anything, so will give it a shot when I have time. If it does change the delay behavior, I'll report back.


John
 

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Do you know if another similar TSB exists for the 3.6R / HTCVT combination?
Not that I know of. A simple search on STIS (the Subaru Technical Information System) would be definitive. My expectation is that a similar delay spec would apply to both CVT versions.

Edit: The 2015 Factory Service Manual for the TR-690 CVT specifies that the "time lag standard" is 1.2 seconds for N-D shifts and 1.5 seconds for N->R shifts at a CVT fluid temperature of 140-176 F (60-80 C). For the TR-580 CVT, the 2015 FSM specifies 1.5 seconds for both shifts.

One other thing to note is that TSB specifies measuring the delay from R to N, N to D, or vice versa. My measurement is directly from R to D.
My experience is that clutch release delay (R->N or D->N) is negligible.

It is interesting to note that the TSB has a transmission retraining procedure outlined. I cannot image that trying that would hurt anything, so will give it a shot when I have time.
Unfortunately, retraining apparently requires the Subaru SSM diagnostic tool to reset the TCU before starting.
 

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Mischaracterization! Hmm. The data is still "your" personal data, and quite frankly, heavily opinionated (emotional)...
No, I'm quite confident that's accurate, you simply haven't understood my point. I have zero emotional investment in this. Given your other responses, I don't think it's worth my time to explain further.


...I don't mind shift points, it's not an electric car...
"Simulated shifts" is more accurate. Just as with an electric vehicle, they accomplish nothing other than placating what is likely a minority of buyers.
 

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Reference? I briefly considered upgrading to a 2018. I recall a whole thread about 2018 "improvements", with multiple claims of the CVT in the 3.6 "shifting smoother" (giving some of us a nice chuckle), but with nothing but a few subjective impressions from test drives or upgrades to back it up. There were also claims that this CVT performance enhancement was documented in a press release, but no reference could be provided. The official 2018 press release only says they made the TR580 CVT (used in the 2.5) quieter. IIRC, some of the more vocal members on this topic had recently upgraded from an earlier Gen 5 to the 2018, so it started smelling like the typical confirmation bias you get from folks suffering from "upgraditis". Anyway, I just remember finding it odd because my CVT has always felt perfectly smooth, and I believe I was not alone in that opinion. Perhaps some of us were just lucky. ;)

Not sure why a reference is so important to you, but the only thing I can add is the April 2018 Consumer Reports, where they specifically mentioned this improvement over the 2017’s in their very positive summary review of the 2018 Outbacks. I test drove a 2017 before ordering my 2018, and noted the less than smooth start of acceleration, but felt it was acceptable. All of this is subjective, just as your finding the situation OK in your 2017.

If proof is still important to you, suggest obtaining that year-old mag from CR, and/or test driving a 2018. Otherwise, since you seem happy with yours, why not just enjoy it as I do mine. And enjoy the non-upgraditis.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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If you don't like appliance cars, good luck keeping your 2002 Honda Accord on the road (assuming you don't blow the transmission).

When was a Honda Accord ever not an appliance car?


I have some concern about the long term durability of the Subaru CVT mated to a 256 hp 6-cylinder engine. I'm not aware that anyone else in 2015 was using a CVT in a 250+ hp application. I don't think there's enough data yet.
 

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Heh, just curious if you had a reference. Tip-in is not what I thought you were talking about (nor does it have anything to do with the CVT). That's something some are better able to control than others, IME. Yes, it's sensitive, but causes me no problem. The wife, however, has a little trouble with my car in that respect.
 

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I've seen this [editor: LAG FROM R TO D] reported else where and briefly mentioned it in the video.

This is one of the few CVT issues that seem to be legit. I've never noticed it myself but maybe I'm just used to it?
I've never noticed it myself - but then again I caught myself about 5 years ago (in my prior car) having developed a nasty habit of throwing the shifter from R to D really fast in a daily three-point turn. Worried about unnecessary wear and tear, I spent about a month with a yellow sticky on the dash reminding me to change gears only after a complete stop and a brief pause. Seems to have done the trick since now I subconsciously move to or from R like a cautious grandma. So I am not surprised I have never really noticed it, and it wouldn't surprise me if it is noticeable to others.
 

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I always like the "it makes the car feel gutless" excuse

A 6 speed auto would still feel gutless in my 2.5 and I'd get worse fuel mileage. I just wish it was a little more linear from a stop but that's the trade off it appears, my wifes old Honda Fit was the same way
 

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Brucey
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Discussion Starter #60
I am on another car forum and people constantly trash the CVT. I tell them I honestly cant say I can tell the difference between a new Subaru CVT and a new regular automatic, and I am guessing most people cant either when driving the car.
Show them my video. That's why I made it.

I was hesitant about the CVT when it was new but now that it's been ten years there should be plenty of data available if they're willing to change their mind.
 
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