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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Car people I trust told me 'never buy the first year of a new model,' but due to a long story I won't bore you with, I still ended up buying a 2019 Ascent. The first year + was great. Care worked perfectly. I tow a boat (weighing in around 3,500-4,000 lbs) a short distance with it a few times a year, but nothing crazy. Suddenly about a year ago (dates are approximate, but the experience is very definite) the car started to 'shudder', especially at low RPMs and low speeds. It feels you are driving a manual/stick that is lugging when you are in too high of a gear, expect there is no way to put it in neutral or downshift, it just keeps shuddering. There is a left-handed U-turn I have to make daily, and I noticed that when I would stop there and wait for a gap in traffic it would be terrible (it seems that having the wheel turned hard to the left coasting to stop was the magic recipe to reproduce the issue, because it happened every single time at this spot). This all started occurring when the recall for the slipping chain had been announced, but my dealership was not yet making appointments because they did not have the tool to provide the recall test/service. I called the dealership, they skipped my car to the front of the line for the chain slipping test. That was done when they got the tool, and it turns out my chain has never slipped. Instead, my clutch plates had broken (or something like that, I am not a mechanic). The service manager suggested this happens particularly on Ascent's that tow. They keep my car for a few days to replace those. Now, the shuddering is definitely better than it was pre-repair, but still quite noticeable, and highly annoying. I had the car in at the dealership last week for routine service and I asked if there is anything they can do about that, and am told basically 'no.' They reset the computer, and made sure all software was up to date, but it made no difference. It is my understanding that the 2020 and later models had some adjustments made to the transmission that makes them much smoother, and even if I wanted to spend a bunch of money, they cannot just install a 2020 or later transmission in my 2019. So I am stuck with this thing it seems. Note: I don't feel unsafe in it, and I will be driving the car long distances with my family in it this winter, but it is just extremely frustrating that a car I spent $40k+ on is performing this poorly. I buy Subaru because you expect it to be dependable, simple and reliable. I had a 2008 outback stick shift that was rock solid, and still have a 2015 outback that has also been literally flawless for nearly 90,000 miles. Not to get into rumor mongering, but a Subaru salesperson (who shall remain nameless) confided to me that the 2019 Ascent's are known to be very tough to resell because everybody the transmission issues are highly public knowledge. So even if I wanted to trade mine in for something else, I am going to eat it financially. So my question is, can anything be done? My care has transmission issues, but not the seemingly well documented/recalled ones... This Ascent has just under 50,000 miles currently. Thanks.
 

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2019 Ascent Limited (CWP)
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I’d take it to another dealer for another opinion. As far as I know (and Robert will be able to confirm) nothing has changed from 2019 to current that wouldn’t have been updated through the recalls.
I had a similar issue and due to the transfer clutch they replaced the whole transmission (this was before the latest recall was even available).
Been great since. And never had the symptoms before - just a growling when turning right out of driveway (similar in that it was a hard right turn).

best of luck getting answers and resolution. Call SOA too if not satisfied with the dealers response.
 

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The service manager suggested this happens particularly on Ascent's that tow.
False. Unrelated. It's a programming issue.

Now, the shuddering is definitely better than it was pre-repair, but still quite noticeable, and highly annoying. I had the car in at the dealership last week for routine service and I asked if there is anything they can do about that, and am told basically 'no.' They reset the computer, and made sure all software was up to date, but it made no difference.
Did you have the recall performed?

It is my understanding that the 2020 and later models had some adjustments made to the transmission that makes them much smoother, and even if I wanted to spend a bunch of money, they cannot just install a 2020 or later transmission in my 2019.
Alas, no. The 2020 has different gearing ratio, but is otherwise identical.

So my question is, can anything be done?
Yes, two things:
  • Try a different dealership (and voice your displeasure to Subaru.

  • Find an empty parking lot and try this:

Make sure the X-Mode switch is turned OFF.
This procedure is best performed in an open parking lot area where the vehicle can be driven in circles without any interference from other traffic. Do NOT attempt this procedure on public roads.
The following transfer clutch break-in procedure may have to be completed more than once to obtain the desired results.
  1. While holding the steering in the full lock (left or right) position, drive the vehicle in “D” range at about 3 MPH
  2. turn the steering wheel to full lock in the opposite direction to complete a “Figure 8”.
  3. Vary the vehicle speed by accelerating and braking.
  4. After completing about 10 figure eights, road test to confirm if the condition has changed.
This procedure may have to be performed more than once to achieve the desired results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Robert!

I will try the 'figure 8' procedure in the next few days and report back. My ascent did have chain slip recall performed (my particular vehicle was unaffected according to the diagnostics on that recall). It has been serviced exclusively at the dealership from which I bought it since new. Which makes this issue all the more annoying!!
 

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Subaru Ascent Touring 2019
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Earlier this year transfer clutch was rebuild on my 2019 Touring due to binding noise. That's how Subaru dealer described it. To me it was more like rubbing sound when doing hard left turn from full stop.
After that all was good until recall was performed. Nothing wrong was found but few days after the rubbing noise returned. I can easily reproduce it. Informed the dealer about it on my last visit for oil change. Service manager test drove the car with mechanic few times that day and they claimed it's not binding noise as before and all seems to be fine. They even said that they recorded the noise (don't know how) and will submit it to Subaru for evaluation. Few day later dealer called me back stating that SOA claims all is good.
This is frustrating because it's not normal. I didn't have this issue for the first 20K miles. I don't know what to do. I have no time to go from dealer to dealer and argue.
Either I'll just keep driving and this will just get worst and then they will have to replace transmission or transfer clutch (again) or start planning to replace the vehicle with something else.
 

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Make sure the X-Mode switch is turned OFF.
This procedure is best performed in an open parking lot area where the vehicle can be driven in circles without any interference from other traffic. Do NOT attempt this procedure on public roads.
The following transfer clutch break-in procedure may have to be completed more than once to obtain the desired results.
  1. While holding the steering in the full lock (left or right) position, drive the vehicle in “D” range at about 3 MPH
  2. turn the steering wheel to full lock in the opposite direction to complete a “Figure 8”.
  3. Vary the vehicle speed by accelerating and braking.
  4. After completing about 10 figure eights, road test to confirm if the condition has changed.
This procedure may have to be performed more than once to achieve the desired results.
This is interesting. I'll try tomorrow and report back.
 

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Service manager test drove the car with mechanic few times that day and they claimed it's not binding noise as before and all seems to be fine. They even said that they recorded the noise (don't know how) and will submit it to Subaru for evaluation. Few day later dealer called me back stating that SOA claims all is good.
This is frustrating because it's not normal.
I don't know what to do. I have no time to go from dealer to dealer and argue.
Can you safely record it and share it here, or privately with me?
 

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Car people I trust told me 'never buy the first year of a new model,' but due to a long story I won't bore you with, I still ended up buying a 2019 Ascent. The first year + was great. Care worked perfectly. I tow a boat (weighing in around 3,500-4,000 lbs) a short distance with it a few times a year, but nothing crazy. Suddenly about a year ago (dates are approximate, but the experience is very definite) the car started to 'shudder', especially at low RPMs and low speeds. It feels you are driving a manual/stick that is lugging when you are in too high of a gear, expect there is no way to put it in neutral or downshift, it just keeps shuddering. There is a left-handed U-turn I have to make daily, and I noticed that when I would stop there and wait for a gap in traffic it would be terrible (it seems that having the wheel turned hard to the left coasting to stop was the magic recipe to reproduce the issue, because it happened every single time at this spot). This all started occurring when the recall for the slipping chain had been announced, but my dealership was not yet making appointments because they did not have the tool to provide the recall test/service. I called the dealership, they skipped my car to the front of the line for the chain slipping test. That was done when they got the tool, and it turns out my chain has never slipped. Instead, my clutch plates had broken (or something like that, I am not a mechanic). The service manager suggested this happens particularly on Ascent's that tow. They keep my car for a few days to replace those. Now, the shuddering is definitely better than it was pre-repair, but still quite noticeable, and highly annoying. I had the car in at the dealership last week for routine service and I asked if there is anything they can do about that, and am told basically 'no.' They reset the computer, and made sure all software was up to date, but it made no difference. It is my understanding that the 2020 and later models had some adjustments made to the transmission that makes them much smoother, and even if I wanted to spend a bunch of money, they cannot just install a 2020 or later transmission in my 2019. So I am stuck with this thing it seems. Note: I don't feel unsafe in it, and I will be driving the car long distances with my family in it this winter, but it is just extremely frustrating that a car I spent $40k+ on is performing this poorly. I buy Subaru because you expect it to be dependable, simple and reliable. I had a 2008 outback stick shift that was rock solid, and still have a 2015 outback that has also been literally flawless for nearly 90,000 miles. Not to get into rumor mongering, but a Subaru salesperson (who shall remain nameless) confided to me that the 2019 Ascent's are known to be very tough to resell because everybody the transmission issues are highly public knowledge. So even if I wanted to trade mine in for something else, I am going to eat it financially. So my question is, can anything be done? My care has transmission issues, but not the seemingly well documented/recalled ones... This Ascent has just under 50,000 miles currently. Thanks.
We have a 2019 Ascent with about 50,000 miles. No problems. In fact, every time I go to the dealership they offer me a surprising number to trade it in. Go to a different dealer.
 
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