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None of my previously owned CVTs had ever exhibited shuddering like the 2019 Forester. I love my car but the shuddering has really taken the fun out of driving. Feels almost like I've got a lemon! I strongly doubt it has anything to do with the car computer catching up with the CVT but a rather bad/buggy program or worst.

I started experiencing this after my 1st servicing. Did checked my engine oil and it's filled to the correct level. The experience is similar to what the OP has experienced. Out of the blue, when moving off from stand still to about 2000rpm car feels as if its stuck on 1st/2nd gear and will just refuse to pick-up speed. I know this is a CVT so no gears but those whom are familiar with gears or traditional autos would know what I mean. If I try to floor, the car reaches 3000rpm and that's when it starts to shudder quite violently back and forth.

This has happened to me 3x and once, while I was getting into the freeway. So terrifying if you can't speed-up and you have traffic coming at you at 55mph (90km/h) and above.

As strangely as the problem comes it disappears in a similar fashion as well. Trying to learn the characteristics of my driving habits or the car so that I can replicate the problem and demonstrate it to the service center otherwise, no one would know what we are going through.

Once again, love the car but hate the shudder.
 

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2020 Subaru Forester Sport
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The 2019 Forester is the first car I've used with a CVT, so I don't know what to expect from normal CVT performance. What I've observed is that when driving in the 20-30 mph range (with the I setting, not the S), under certain conditions I feel the car shudder or jerk. This is particularly noticeable when when letting up on the accelerator where it feels like the car jerks back as though engine braking is coming on hard. It is less noticeable but still present when sometimes it feels like the car surges forward (but I haven't yet been able to determine what triggers that feeling).

None of these seem dangerous as they are all happening at relatively low speeds. But they make the car feel a bit jerky when operating in the 20-30 MPH range. Is this normal CVT performance?
I noticed the same thing, also my first CVT.
 

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2019 Forester.. I also have experienced the shudder but when lightly accelerating up a hill. It jerks back and forth a few times and then its OK. Seems to happen mostly around 2200 rpm and around 25mph ( 40km/h ) when I've turned a corner and going uphill. But also happened again on a long hill doing 70 mph ( 110 km/h ) and 2200 rpm. It's like it is undecided on a gear to be in even though it's a CVT. No problem with wife's CVT Corolla. Definitely think it's programming. Same in I or S modes and in cruise or no cruise.
Complained to the dealer and all they know to do is a reset to relearn. They are trying though.
They are going to take the car home and connect a computer to it and hopefully it will jerk and carry on while they have it. I'll post the results.
Cheers.
 

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2019 Forester Limited
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@Subeee , What you are describing, "If I try to floor, the car reaches 3000rpm and that's when it starts to shudder quite violently back and forth", is quite different from the torque converter lockup behavior mentioned elsewhere in this thread. Intermittent behavior is hard to diagnose, but would a video of it doing this help convince your dealer there is a problem? I assume there are no warning lights present.
 

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2012 SH Manual Diesel
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Pretty much sounds like, you folk have a ‘Licence’ to drive fast!

A memo shall be sent out to all Highway Patrol, informing them of the slow speed shudder issue. 😂
 

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Firstly, to all the posters in this thread—massive thank you to all.

I have a 2015 Subaru Liberty (Legacy outside Australia), and have experienced the surging/lurching/jerky of the CVT at low speeds when I accelerate. This is with SI Drive in “I” mode.

In fact today (8 March), I had it at the dealer to check this very issue with the CVT.

I wish I had read this thread first as each post could have been written by me (eg RyanB’s issue).

I previously drove the car in S mode, but swapped to I mode, thinking I would use less fuel.

Then of course I noticed the lurching etc.With me then checking it again and again to replicate it, and now probably teaching the ECU the crappy jerky thing is my driving style!

So now I have set it back to S mode and will see if I can reteach the ECU.

thanks again for this thread. Googled the symptoms I have with the car and this thread popped up.

Regards,

Bart
 

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2020 Forester Premium
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I feel like we have a number of different things being described here.

I to experience what some people in this thread seemed to have mentioned though (2020 Premium). When I'm at low speeds and let off the gas, or come coasting to a stop light or stop sign, I occasionally get a slight lurch (not intense, but a mild hitch) that feels something like downshift engine-braking. It does not occur 100% of the time, but often enough to be noted. This is all in 'i' mode.

This doesn't seem to occur at all when coasting at highway speeds or under acceleration. It seems to only really happen at low speed coasting or maybe very mild-throttle at low speeds. It isn't bad enough to really concern me, but it does feel like a flaw.

I feel like we have different things being described, because I wouldn't characterize it as a shudder, more like a hiccup. But a few other people in this thread seem to have described the exact same thing.
 

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Hi Antmr7

As with other folks, the solution i have is to drive in S mode. I think now that the shudder i had was the 'i' mode lower speed effect of the car searching for the right 'gear' to be in (noting a CVT)'.

Since I have gone back to S mode, I had tried 'i' to see if it reduced fuel use, and the car has 'relearned' the profile of the driving style it is all good now.

My recommendation: stay in S mode.

Regards

Bart
 

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@El Barto Thanks for the information. I have been mostly driving in I mode and only switched into S mode for a short time period to see what the difference was. I did see a TSB for lunging in high altitudes which I wonder if it would help us too.
 

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2020 Forester Base
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Hello all. I recently just got my brand new 2020 Subaru Forester (Base Model, in black) in early June. The funny thing is, I felt the CVT shudder (around 15 to 20 mph) during my test drive before I bought the car. I honestly thought that maybe the black Forester that I was planning on purchasing was a lemon/defective car, but since it was the only base model in black, I decided to buy it anyway -- and it was a good price too.

Over time, I assumed that if I got a defective CVT, I would just have the Subaru warranty take care of it as long as I provided all the maintenance needed. After doing considerable research in the last month that I have owned this Forester, I realized that this isn't a defect with my car -- this happens to be in every Forester 2019-2020 that I've heard on multiple forums on the internet. I've also noticed in this last month that the shudder/lag when accelerating or decelerating is almost always around 15 mph for my particular Forester's CVT (in case anyone else gets that lag at a different speed). Thank all of you in this thread for relieving me of all my anxiety, because I honestly thought I happened to hit the slim chance of having a defective CVT.

Hi Antmr7

As with other folks, the solution i have is to drive in S mode. I think now that the shudder i had was the 'i' mode lower speed effect of the car searching for the right 'gear' to be in (noting a CVT)'.

Since I have gone back to S mode, I had tried 'i' to see if it reduced fuel use, and the car has 'relearned' the profile of the driving style it is all good now.

My recommendation: stay in S mode.

Regards

Bart
This is exactly what I started doing a week or so ago, and based on how much smoother S mode is on my 2020 Forester, I honestly feel that driving in the "I" mode might accidentally damage your car in the long run. Even if those shudders and lags are programmed, I would guess that way into the future -- around 200k miles or so -- the impact of those cumulative shudders/lags could cause some mechanical wear; this is assuming that the "I" mode doesn't eventually learn your driving behavior, and it keeps shuddering and lagging for 200k miles as it has since 3k miles.


tl;dr: Always drive in S mode (and maybe there's a slim chance that S mode might make your car last longer?)
 

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@EAMP Thanks for the info too. Now that you mention it, I remember thinking the car felt different when I test drove another model but I was just thinking it is how the CVT works because I have never had a CVT before. S mode is so much different and smoother. I am going to keep using S mode and maybe eventually they update the settings for I mode.

Is there a way to have the car default to S model or do you have to switch it each time the car is started?
 

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I‘m also experiencing this “lurch” in my 2020 touring at 15 mph. It’s quite annoying. Hope they can issue a fix of some kind. I don’t want to have to drive in S mode all the time.
 

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Hey all, I posted this in another thread, and used some of the information that helped us in this thread too. Hope this helps:

To all reading for your transmission jerks and such, I want you to try the one thing that I have started to do for the last few days that made this Forester feel like a comfortable ride. First off, I want to say that this solution was stated somewhere on the internet or on these forums, and I tried it out to see if it worked, and it has made my driving feel almost flawless.

As stated in another thread, we arrived to using "Sport Mode" every time you start the car in order to help stop the jerkyness in the Forester (as seen in this thread ('19+) - 2019 - car shudders at low speeds).

However, one person somewhere on the internet during my month-long search to fix this problem suggested that he drastically reduced (or stopped it completely, I can't remember what he/she said exactly) by realizing that when they were in reverse and backing out of a parking spot/driveway, they would put the car in neutral first, then put the car in drive. I cannot kid you when I say that ever since I started doing this, my CVT has not had a single major shudder. There have been a few slight tugs when putting the pedal to the metal, or when I take a wide turn at high speeds, but it's very small compared to what I felt before with the random jerks.

One thing I added to that poster's method however was putting the car in park, then neutral, then drive, no matter if I was going in reverse or going straight forward from park. The good thing is that you only have to do this method once per time you start the car up -- and I haven't felt anything larger than a slight jerk during the whole ride after I've done it. I've done this for a few days now, and it has worked practically flawlessly for me. I will update you all if this method stops working for me or not.

Until then, if anyone tries this method as well and sees that it works, let everyone else know. Hopefully this isn't a weird fix for only my car, and others can see some help too.

P.S.: All of this sounds tedious, but trust me, it becomes habit eventually (just like turning on Sport Mode for me when I turn the car on).

Quick Edit: I remembered to add this part right after I typed this. To replicate exactly what I did to see if it works, make sure when you go into neutral, you let off the brake (like when you normally do after finishing a shift) so you 100% engage your transmission to neutral, then put your foot back on the brake and shift as normal to drive. I'm pretty sure this is an important part to not forget.
 

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Hey all, I posted this in another thread and used some of the information that helped us in this thread too. Hope this helps:
OMG thank you @EAMP I spent a month trying to solve this annoying issue (shudders and jerking at 1300rpms +/-100rpms in the range of 40-80km) with my brand new Forester (2019 model, bought in 2020 in Russia (Made in Japan)) and your trick worked. I can't believe such a small fix could work, but at the same time it is kind of make sense here is why - seems like some CVT's are not properly adjusted after assembly at the manufacture and your transmission simply missing/skipping N (neutral) while trying to imitate the fake speeds.

In the end, it is a CVT setting that was causing an issue, not a mechanical issue. Subaru should take a note asap!

UPDATE: I do not have to switch my CVT to N every time I drive, I only did it a few times and now the car works just fine, seems like it learned the new N gear permanently. In the last few days I drove constantly in the city in the problematic speed range 40-80km (1300rpm) and had one really slight jerk which is absolutely nothing compared to what I was experiencing before (the car is new, 2000km on it).
 

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@Subeee , What you are describing, "If I try to floor, the car reaches 3000rpm and that's when it starts to shudder quite violently back and forth", is quite different from the torque converter lockup behavior mentioned elsewhere in this thread. Intermittent behavior is hard to diagnose, but would a video of it doing this help convince your dealer there is a problem? I assume there are no warning lights present.
Sorry, for the late response. It feels like a torque converter lock-up. I try to get out of it by accelerating but the car shudders. Last it happened was 4mths back but has not happened ever since. Keeping fingers crossed. I use the i-mode. S-mode only when I'm in a rush. I don't think the video will capture the problem cos one needs to be in the car to feel it. Tried looking at the footage of the dashcam but problem and sound was not obvious. As for pointing a cellphone and trying to recover from the malfunction, may not be such a good idea. May end up with a bigger problem.. 😬
 

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OMG thank you @EAMP I spent a month trying to solve this annoying issue (shudders and jerking at 1300rpms +/-100rpms in the range of 40-80km) with my brand new Forester (2019 model, bought in 2020 in Russia (Made in Japan)) and your trick worked. I can't believe such a small fix could work, but at the same time it is kind of make sense here is why - seems like some CVT's are not properly adjusted after assembly at the manufacture and your transmission simply missing/skipping N (neutral) while trying to imitate the fake speeds.

In the end, it is a CVT setting that was causing an issue, not a mechanical issue. Subaru should take a note asap!

UPDATE: I do not have to switch my CVT to N every time I drive, I only did it a few times and now the car works just fine, seems like it learned the new N gear permanently. In the last few days I drove constantly in the city in the problematic speed range 40-80km (1300rpm) and had one really slight jerk which is absolutely nothing compared to what I was experiencing before (the car is new, 2000km on it).
I'm very glad that this method helped! Also, I will try to skip shifting to neutral as well, since I think you are onto something. I did notice a few times when I forgot to engage in neutral that the car acted just as normal as if I did shift into neutral. Thanks for confirming that this fix helped someone else besides me. Knowing that this is not a mechanical problem (and a software problem instead) makes me feel very relieved.
 

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2020 Forester 2.5 CVT base model
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It is almost certainly the torque converter unlocking. It fully locks up at 15 mph when accelerating and I assume it unlocks at the same speed. See 'CVT Torque Converter' here; 24 kph=15 mph. Also note item 8: 'Common Operating Characteristics' on the same webpage.
I just took the time to read through the link that you provided. Very good read and it provided pretty much all that is needed to understand why Subaru are sold on CVT's. Thank you.
 
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