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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone. I'm hoping someone may be able to explain something for me and if I have an issue or not. I recently purchased a 2015 forester 2.5i premium with 57k on it. I've only had the vehicle about a month and a half and while driving at times when accelerating the car sounds like its racing and like the engine is struggling but the rpms are not what the sound makes it seem like it should be at. In other words when the rpms are at 4k it sounds like their at 6k like the car is at redline. The strange thing is it doesnt do it all the time. It seems more prevalent if I dont let the car quite warmup so the blue oil temp light on the dash turns off. It operates normally when I dont sometimes also. So it's kind of hit or miss. I'm trying to find out if I have an issue or not because of the car having a 1 year warranty on it from the dealer I bought it from but I need to know what the issue could be so I know what to hold them responsible for. If a video would be helpful I can record one possibly when I drive it next. I appreciate any help anyone can provide.
 

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while driving at times when accelerating the car sounds like its racing and like the engine is struggling but the rpms are not what the sound makes it seem like it should be at. In other words when the rpms are at 4k it sounds like their at 6k like the car is at redline. The strange thing is it doesnt do it all the time. It seems more prevalent if I dont let the car quite warmup so the blue oil temp light on the dash turns off.
Hard to know from your description, but a couple of things to be aware of is that with CVTs the engine usually first accelerates up to around peak torque rpm when you floor it and the transmission then gradually adjusts the 'gear' ratio to bring to car up to speed - you'll see this often referred to as the CVT 'rubber band effect', and they run lower ratios while the engine is cold to get it, and the CVT, up to temp faster. Subaru changed the CVT behaviour in later years to mimic the step ratio changes of conventional automatics which some love and others such as myself dislike.

You might find the car will actually accelerate faster if instead of flooring it you feed the power in a little more slowly, especially when it's cold. It's not a good idea to accelerate fast then anyway. About the only time my engine exceeds 3,000 rpm is when I'm towing.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the explanation. That actually makes sense and I've heard that before regarding the CVT's but didnt know what year the change was made. I'm not that familiar with CVT's either as I've only driven a nissan sentra, a versa, and recently a 2019 impresza hatch and a 2019 legacy that I had as loaner vehicles while mine was being worked on. None of these cars felt like mine does but nissan I'm sure gears their cvt's differently and with the newer model subies having the changes you mentioned I guess I've never truly experienced a cvt, which by the way, I'm not a fan of cvt's having always had conventional automatic vehicles in the past.
 

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.. I'm not a fan of cvt's having always had conventional automatic vehicles in the past.
Nor me, but then: I barely tolerate automatic transmissions.
Where I'm from (NL), automatics are the exception, not the rule as they are here in the US.

The earlier versions of Subaru transmissions certainly have had pretty serious issues. They may have improved but can't state that with certainty.
My son has had issues with his CrossTrek CVT transmission (same transmission as you have, btw) and the level of lack of support actually has me considering to not ever to buy a Subaru again -- and I know these cars fairly well, having owned at least one since '84.
But I digress.. .

If your car has less than 100K, definitely have it checked out, if you feel there's a problem and it behaves strangely. Instead of doing a full recall to fix actual problems, Subaru has decided to extend the warranty on the CVT to 100K.
If your complaint is with the CVT, get it on record now.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Got it. Tha ks for the tip I wasnt aware they extended the warranty on them. I'll have to do that. Even if they hadn't though the stealership I got the car from gave a 1 year powertrain warranty with it so it would still be covered assuming any issues happened within that period of time. I've only ever had one subie before this one and it was a 98 outback and besides the typical head gasket leaks and rusting issues their known for the car was great for 4 years but its age started to show and it was just time to get rid of it which is what led me to this since it doesnt have a timing belt and instead had a chain which seemed like it would be less of a headache.
 

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Got it. Tha ks for the tip I wasnt aware they extended the warranty on them. I'll have to do that. Even if they hadn't though the stealership I got the car from gave a 1 year powertrain warranty with it so it would still be covered assuming any issues happened within that period of time. I've only ever had one subie before this one and it was a 98 outback and besides the typical head gasket leaks and rusting issues their known for the car was great for 4 years but its age started to show and it was just time to get rid of it which is what led me to this since it doesnt have a timing belt and instead had a chain which seemed like it would be less of a headache.
Yeah, they did do a good thing when they went to a chain. I understand that the HG issue is pretty much a thing of the past - you still hear of bad head gaskets but it is a lot more sporadic than it was around 2000. I've done several.
If history repeats itself, 19 years from now, the CVT issues will be a thing of the past too. :)

The CVT is a sealed unit and is not meant to be serviced for the life of the car so don't let anyone (including the dealer) talk you into service for it like ATF flushes, etc.
But please take that video of when it misbehaves to show to your dealer to get your issue checked because that CVT, when/if it goes sideways, is an expensive thing to fix.
 

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@Subiedriver15 Fluid changes to the CVT is (was?) supposed to be a no-touch for the life of the trans, or more accurately, there was no service recommendation to perform a fluid change unless used in "severe" driving conditions... As far as it being a "sealed unit"... The differentials are just as sealed "sealed units" until you pull their drain plugs...
That doesn't mean they won't benefit from fresh fluid.
In the case of the CVT.. There are forum folks who have done a fluid change, and I haven't, so my opinion as to whether it is a good idea or beneficial doesn't count..
The M-16 rifle in Vietnam was also supposed to be maintenance fee and able to fire without ever being cleaned, and wasn't even issued with a cleaning kit.
That didn't work out so well.
:D
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the advice. I will definitely be taking a video when it seems to be acting up. Per slothsman's suggestion and based on the info given I let the car warm up as much as possible this morning before driving it into work and I took it easy until it had gotten up to about 170 degrees on the oil temp and then drove it as I normally would and it drove well. Of course this could have been an isolated instance so I'll keep monitoring it but that seems to be the trick. The difference in quite amazing from my past experiences with other CVT's and normal transmissions so I guess it will just take some getting used to.
 

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I'm not a fan of cvt's having always had conventional automatic vehicles in the past.
I'm a fan. Imho, they are the best towing transmission available as there is no loss of momentum because of gear changes.

Many of the new 6-10 gear autos are also proving suspect because they change gears much more often than the 2, 3 and 4 gear autos of old. The guys at the Outback forum have apparently concluded the CVT is more reliable than the 4EAT autos it replaced

The only issue I have is the lack of parts to repair them. Subaru seem intent on offering only new, or refurbished units at high cost, but I think they'll soon be forced to revise the policy.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I can see that with the cvt's. I dont really tow anything but it's good to know they are more than capable if need be. Personally I wish auto manufacturers would just stick with what's proven to work but epa regulations requiring better and better gas mileage I guess they dont have much choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi again everyone. So the whole engine high rev issue seems to have been related to what slothman mentioned. Seeing as how I'm not too familiar with cvt's I'm finding and nitpicking every little thing I notice as a potential issue. That being said ive not noticed it before but this morning while sitting parked at work with car still idling the rpm's keep jumping between around 500 rpm and just shy of 1000. It's almost as if the air compressor is kicking in or the radiator fans. Nothing is running but the radio and I'm not touching the gas at all. Is this small back and forth surge normal?
 
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