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2009 Forester
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3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Have experienced the following a handful of times over the past year:
Upon acceleration from around 55-60 mph on highway when wanting to pass, the engine seems to get 'stuck' in neutral and REVS wildly. I let up on the gas pedal and the engine corrects itself. Very disconcerting and dangerous. For those few seconds, I am not in control of the speed of the vehicle as the engine is not responding.

I am not referring to engine 'hang' wherein there is just a delayed response to acceleration; there is no acceleration at all, just the engine revving; it's as though the engine gets 'caught' in neutral while attempting to shift gears as it's trying to accelerate. If I accelerate slowly, this does not happen, it's when I gun it' so to speak. But, when you really need to pick up speed to pass, that's what you do!!! In 45 years of driving, have never experienced anything like this!

Don't know if this is due to PZEV controls/settings or just some weird problem with the engine, i.e., I have a lemon.

Had hoped the ECM upgrade would correct this problem. It has not. Now am faced with the decision of lodging complaint with dealer and/or Subaru and fighting for a 'fix.' OR, sell the car and cut my losses now.

Has anyone else experienced this or something similar? Does anyone know what is causing this/what is going on when it happens? Is the revving damaging the engine?

Anyone out there with mechanical knowledge and/or experience 'fighting' for fixes with Subaru who has some good advice? I can't always recreate this and am willing to bet they will say they can't recreate the situation at all!!

I had hoped to keep the car long enough for my 13 year old to learn to drive on, but no way would I have an inexperienced driver learn to drive the freeway in this car. Thanks for any advice and help! :icon_sad:
 

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Registered
2009 2.5X Limited 4EAT
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386 Posts
stumped

Since you're under warranty, you should definitely take this back to the dealer and have them do a complete diagnostic on the transmission.

I have never heard of a car (in gear) to show accelerated RPMs without transferring power to the wheels, for any amount of time, unless something was really wrong. I mean, sure there is the hang time when you floor it and switch gears, but it seems like you floor it and the car goes into neutral? Nuh-uh. I don't think it's the PZEV either.

The ECM should be doing it's job. It sounds like you have a major powertrain problem. I mean it could be a total communication meltdown between engine and transmission. But really, that's weird. Of course, my exposure to certain mechanical problems isn't as extensive as I'd like.

Anyway, your best bet is to take the car back to the dealer, take the service tech for a spin and recreate the problem if you can.

Sorry I can't be of more help. :icon_frown:

Your car may be possessed.
 

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TANSTAAFL
2010 2.5X Premium AFF 4EAT
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472 Posts
Complete loss of power to the wheels while flying along on an LA freeway is not a pleasant scenario!

Is your Sube a manual or an auto transmission? If it is an automatic, I'd suspect either the VDC system or the transmission.

In the past I've experienced a similar problem in a manual transmission car (not a Sube) that suddenly developed a badly slipping clutch. This was caused by a rear engine oil seal that had started leaking and contaminated the clutch and pressure plate faces with oil.

If you like the Sube otherwise, lodge that complaint and fight for a fix.
 

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Registered
2009 Forester X 4 A/T
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305 Posts
The PEZV is related to evaporative emissions of a parked vehicle and has no real effect on driving. Sounds like you have a transmission issue or a VDC issue.

Either way- get that thing to the dealer service department before your warranty is up or you have an accident.
 

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25 Posts
Sounds like a trans problem, not an engine problem.

I'm going to assume you're in 4th gear, since you state you're doing 55-60. When you hit the gas, the trans has to downshift. When in 4th, the trans is using the High Clutch and the 2-4 Brake Clutch. Anytime it's not in 4th (in Drive) the Low Clutch is applied. You may be experiencing a delayed engagement of the Low Clutch.

Do you notice a delayed engagement when first started, and put into D range? The transmission should "grab" within 2 seconds. If it's longer than that, it confirms a possible low clutch issue. Have the dealer perform a time lag test.

But then, what do I know? :biggrin:
 

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Registered
2009 Forester
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3 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks!

Thanks everyone for your input. Yes, it is an automatic. I will head to the dealer with your input!
 

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Registered
2009 Forester
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3 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
follow-up question

Does this sound to you all like something that can be 'easily' fixed or adjusted a the dealership.....or do you think I am going to end up fighting for a new transmission?
 

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Premium Member
2007 XT Sport 5MT
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24,015 Posts
shouldn't be too bad, and shouldn't require a new transmission.
My buddy is a certified Chrysler tech and he can rebuild a transmission pretty quickly with replacement clutches. I don't think it'll be a major issue, which they may try a Transmission Controller reflash and fresh fluid flush at first before actually tearing into the transmission itself.
 

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Registered
2009 2.5X Limited 4EAT
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386 Posts
Easily adjusted? Tough to say. I don't think this is an easy fix. However, they really need to get in there and diagnose the problem accurately.

I really don't think you'll have to "fight" for a new transmission, especially if you harp upon the obvious dangers of being on the freeway and suddenly not being able to accelerate. scary.

If there is a problem, I think they will take care of you...and you can't rule out having to replace tranny components, which means maybe having to order parts, which means your foz could be out of commission for a week or so. But I have faith that they will get it back to you good as new. Finger-crossed for ya.
 

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25 Posts
Does this sound to you all like something that can be 'easily' fixed or adjusted a the dealership.....or do you think I am going to end up fighting for a new transmission?
Give the dealer as much detail as you can as to what you are experiencing. If they do the diag on the trans, and it fails (line pressure, stall speed, time lag, etc) Subaru will give you a new trans - provided there is no sign of abuse or modification, and you're still within warranty (which you should be).
 

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2015 Forester X 6MT 6-Gear Manual
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1,373 Posts
I wonder if the OP is just experiencing high rpm at downshift with low power output due to partially clogged cat or no #2 valve on high ramp due to insufficient octane. Many times conditions will not support full power output on smog motors.
 

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Premium Member
2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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14,380 Posts
You may get a re-manufactured Tranny instead of a new replacement. If you do, don't complain. They are completely rebuilt with new parts and brought up to specs and then tested. It's likely that they may be better than a new one.

I got a re-manufactured one in my 2001 Nissan Sentra. I complained buy 110K miles later it works like the day it was new.
 
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