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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is now getting really old with the various issues I have had. Got stranded again with a dead battery. One day it's working fine and the next it meters 4.5 VDC when measured. Went to my parents for Thanksgiving and the vehicle sat for 2 days and then I drove 1.5 hours home, no problem. 1.5 hours after getting home I went and picked up my son, no problem. Parked it in the garage around 5:15 and today at noon when getting ready to leave for a nice day outdoors, the vehicle is 100% dead. Absolutely no power at all and when I measured the battery it read 4.5 VDC. This is the second dead battery I have experienced. Subaru batteries are clearly absolute trash or there is something wrong with these Ascents that they are eating batteries. My vehicle has just over 36,000 miles and this battery didn't last but 6 months. It was installed on 5/14/2020 after the first one failed.

I had to go purchase an aftermarket battery just so I could start my vehicle since it wouldn't even start with a jump. Wouldn't matter anyhow since my local dealer service department isn't even open on Sunday. I had no choice since this is my only vehicle. Will Subaru compensate me in any way or am I hosed?
 

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This is now getting really old with the various issues I have had. Got stranded again with a dead battery. One day it's working fine and the next it meters 4.5 VDC when measured. Went to my parents for Thanksgiving and the vehicle sat for 2 days and then I drove 1.5 hours home, no problem. 1.5 hours after getting home I went and picked up my son, no problem. Parked it in the garage around 5:15 and today at noon when getting ready to leave for a nice day outdoors, the vehicle is 100% dead. Absolutely no power at all and when I measured the battery it read 4.5 VDC. This is the second dead battery I have experienced. Subaru batteries are clearly absolute trash or there is something wrong with these Ascents that they are eating batteries. My vehicle has just over 36,000 miles and this battery didn't last but 6 months. It was installed on 5/14/2020 after the first one failed.

I had to go purchase an aftermarket battery just so I could start my vehicle since it wouldn't even start with a jump. Wouldn't matter anyhow since my local dealer service department isn't even open on Sunday. I had no choice since this is my only vehicle. Will Subaru compensate me in any way or am I hosed?
yes they will reimburse you for the battery you purchased. I see your warranty coverage has expired. Since you had a prior battery issue addressed through Subaru and you had complained on record to the dealer of SOA about this in the at that time (during the warranty period), this really is about the underlying issue remaining. In addition the battery itself is under warranty just like any battery we might purchase, seperate from a vehicle's original manufacturer warranty. I just submitted my battery claim with SOA and they approved it. I provided my digital receipt to SOA. I purchased a battery that cost just under $300. The dealer was going to replace the original with another OEM but I determined that approach would not suffice so I contacted SOA (I do not blame the dealer in this case). I bought the battery and delivered it to the dealer for install and submitted my receipt to SOA (I had already talked to SOA and got it approved). Be sure to also have the related TSB completed to reduce the risk of future significant battery drain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
yes they will reimburse you for the battery you purchased. I see your warranty coverage has expired. Since you had a prior battery issue addressed through Subaru and you had complained on record to the dealer of SOA about this in the at that time (during the warranty period), this really is about the underlying issue remaining. In addition the battery itself is under warranty just like any battery we might purchase, seperate from a vehicle's original manufacturer warranty. I just submitted my battery claim with SOA and they approved it. I provided my digital receipt to SOA. I purchased a battery that cost just under $300. The dealer was going to replace the original with another OEM but I determined that approach would not suffice so I contacted SOA (I do not blame the dealer in this case). I bought the battery and delivered it to the dealer for install and submitted my receipt to SOA (I had already talked to SOA and got it approved). Be sure to also have the related TSB completed to reduce the risk of future significant battery drain.
Well I didn't get it approved first since SOA isn't open Sunday I don't believe, but this is my second dead Subaru battery. I went to my local Auto Parts store and bought an aftermarket battery for $171 out the door. Batteries are expensive these days. Hopefully I can appeal to SOA and they will reimburse me the cost.

Is the TSB for the rear lift gate controller? Or is it for something else entirely that they figured out was killing these batteries. I also noticed that it appears that some of the internal fluid is leaking out of the top of the Subaru OEM battery. At least it is wet around the cell covers on the top. My last one was that way as well. Can't believe this second one only lasted 6 months and I haven't made the mistake of leaving the lift gate open, any light on the inside, or the accessory power for anytime longer than 5 minutes or so. I do open and close the lift gate with the vehicle shutdown somewhat frequently. Normal though this is done shortly after shutting the engine off to empty the contents of the rear cargo area.
 

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Well I didn't get it approved first since SOA isn't open Sunday I don't believe, but this is my second dead Subaru battery. I went to my local Auto Parts store and bought an aftermarket battery for $171 out the door. Batteries are expensive these days. Hopefully I can appeal to SOA and they will reimburse me the cost.

Is the TSB for the rear lift gate controller? Or is it for something else entirely that they figured out was killing these batteries. I also noticed that it appears that some of the internal fluid is leaking out of the top of the Subaru OEM battery. At least it is wet around the cell covers on the top. My last one was that way as well. Can't believe this second one only lasted 6 months and I haven't made the mistake of leaving the lift gate open, any light on the inside, or the accessory power for anytime longer than 5 minutes or so. I do open and close the lift gate with the vehicle shutdown somewhat frequently. Normal though this is done shortly after shutting the engine off to empty the contents of the rear cargo area.
you do not need prior approval to replace your battery. You had no choice at the time. The first replacement OEM battery they installed was still under the specific battery warranty regardless of the vehicle overall warranty. This battery was still covered. Secondly they know of the battery drain issue and should have tested the system the first time the battery failed. Yes the lift controller is the TSB I note and it refers to both the controller and drain symptoms. You did not do anything wrong in how you deal with lights or liftgate. This is an issue originating with Subaru and they will take care of it. Call SOA on Monday and if you have not already, digitize your receipt so you can email it back to them for reimbursement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
you do not need prior approval to replace your battery. You had no choice at the time. The first replacement OEM battery they installed was still under the specific battery warranty regardless of the vehicle overall warranty. This battery was still covered. Secondly they know of the battery drain issue and should have tested the system the first time the battery failed. Yes the lift controller is the TSB I note and it refers to both the controller and drain symptoms. You did not do anything wrong in how you deal with lights or liftgate. This is an issue originating with Subaru and they will take care of it. Call SOA on Monday and if you have not already, digitize your receipt so you can email it back to them for reimbursement.
Thanks for all the information, it's reassuring and helpful. I'll call my local dealer Monday as well and see if they are aware of the TSB and if not I will have them look it up. Don't want to be stranded in the middle of a trip at some point as I'm sure if the issue is left to its own devices, it will kill any battery you use in time.
 

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Thanks for all the information, it's reassuring and helpful. I'll call my local dealer Monday as well and see if they are aware of the TSB and if not I will have them look it up. Don't want to be stranded in the middle of a trip at some point as I'm sure if the issue is left to its own devices, it will kill any battery you use in time.
I replaced my battery with the Odyssey ODP-AGM35 performance battery. The extreme Odyssey 35-pc1400T has been discontinued but there may be some left over inventory in regional distribution centers (West Coast Batteries may still have some if anyone would in that region).

have them check for the latest update on Subaru TSB #07-155-19R . You will still need to identify the proper symptoms covered by the TSB but it appears your situation is appropriate for the TSB implementation based upon battery performance. If you kept the old battery, bring it to them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I replaced my battery with the Odyssey ODP-AGM35 performance battery. The extreme Odyssey 35-pc1400T has been discontinued but there may be some left over inventory in regional distribution centers (West Coast Batteries may still have some if anyone would in that region).

have them check for the latest update on Subaru TSB #07-155-19R . You will still need to identify the proper symptoms covered by the TSB but it appears your situation is appropriate for the TSB implementation based upon battery performance. If you kept the old battery, bring it to them.
Yup still have the battery and will absolutely be requesting that they do the 20 minute test to see if my lift gate current drops after 20 minutes. Since my Ascent was purchased in August of 2018, I'm sure it has the original control unit. I wish I would have had the time to research more and purchase an even better battery than I did, but if it lasts the 5 to 6 years that a battery should last, then I'll be okay with that.

On a side note, I have already e-mailed SoA and sent them the receipt for the battery I purchased. We will see what they do. Do you think they would reimburse me again if this thing dies abnormally? I have an extended warranty to 125K miles.
 

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Yup still have the battery and will absolutely be requesting that they do the 20 minute test to see if my lift gate current drops after 20 minutes. Since my Ascent was purchased in August of 2018, I'm sure it has the original control unit. I wish I would have had the time to research more and purchase an even better battery than I did, but if it lasts the 5 to 6 years that a battery should last, then I'll be okay with that.

On a side note, I have already e-mailed SoA and sent them the receipt for the battery I purchased. We will see what they do. Do you think they would reimburse me again if this thing dies abnormally? I have an extended warranty to 125K miles.
The new battery warranty for the one you just purchased is with that battery manufacturer not Subaru. If it fails and it is found that your Subaru electrical system caused the new battery to fail prematurely (lets say a drain) then they would cover the cost of a battery if the battery warranty does not cover it completely. Many batteries are covered at 100% in the first year or two and then prorated for subsequent months. I suspect your controller will be replaced, the TSB implemented and SOA will reimburse you for the cost of the new battery. If your battery failed due to a faulty alternator, Subaru would cover the cost of the battery since the alternator failed (assuming your extended warranty covers an alternator and you brought to Subaru's attention promptly). The Gold Plus Plan does not cover a battery and I would have to research whether it covers an alternator.
 

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yes they will reimburse you for the battery you purchased. I see your warranty coverage has expired. Since you had a prior battery issue addressed through Subaru and you had complained on record to the dealer of SOA about this in the at that time (during the warranty period), this really is about the underlying issue remaining. In addition the battery itself is under warranty just like any battery we might purchase, seperate from a vehicle's original manufacturer warranty. I just submitted my battery claim with SOA and they approved it. I provided my digital receipt to SOA. I purchased a battery that cost just under $300. The dealer was going to replace the original with another OEM but I determined that approach would not suffice so I contacted SOA (I do not blame the dealer in this case). I bought the battery and delivered it to the dealer for install and submitted my receipt to SOA (I had already talked to SOA and got it approved). Be sure to also have the related TSB completed to reduce the risk of future significant battery drain.
Could there be an issue with the voltage regulator “bleeding” power to ground? I am dating myself a good deal here, but, here goes: If you had a vehicle with certain Delco alternators, a failure of the “diode trio” could cause bleeding of current to ground with enough resistance not to cause a fire, but to run the battery down. Some of the early solid state voltage regulators in other makes did the same thing. I personally fixed this issue on two cars belonging to friends. It took a very few minutes to fix. Could the Subaru in question be experiencing the same issue? Not a diode trio necessesarily as I am sure the technology has changed, but, similar?
 

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Could there be an issue with the voltage regulator “bleeding” power to ground? I am dating myself a good deal here, but, here goes: If you had a vehicle with certain Delco alternators, a failure of the “diode trio” could cause bleeding of current to ground with enough resistance not to cause a fire, but to run the battery down. Some of the early solid state voltage regulators in other makes did the same thing. I personally fixed this issue on two cars belonging to friends. It took a very few minutes to fix. Could the Subaru in question be experiencing the same issue? Not a diode trio necessesarily as I am sure the technology has changed, but, similar?
Historical data suggests the tsb fix.
 

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...Could there be an issue with the voltage regulator “bleeding” power to ground? ...
It's easy enough to measure the current drain (including "bleeding to ground") with a clamp-on DC ammeter (<$40 on Amazon) over the battery leads. (neg lead is easiest). That'll tell you what the drain is when looking at the meter, but not what it is if the vehicle wakes up periodically when you're not looking at it. A logging meter or monitor would be better for that than staring at a meter for hours on end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Historical data suggests the tsb fix.
So here is what I think the issue is after talking to a tech on the phone. This is just a guess because I never leave the lift gate open for any length of time. I think either my cargo mat or contents of the cargo area may have inhibited the lift gate from fully closing. The Tech said it will sound like it closes but will periodically try to close again after you have left the vehicle. Since it never senses it's fully closed, it's just like leaving the lift gate fully open. Unfortunately the TSB doesn't fix this instance it only fixes the fully open current draw issue. The Tech also said the auto lift gate is quite sensitive to resistance against it or the cargo mat even getting in the way a little bit could cause the sensors to not show that it is fully closed. I'm going to take measurements over the next few weeks each morning to check the state of the battery. This morning it read 12.85 VDC after sitting all night, which is great. I will take readings each day and see if any abnormal drop occurs.
 

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So here is what I think the issue is after talking to a tech on the phone. This is just a guess because I never leave the lift gate open for any length of time. I think either my cargo mat or contents of the cargo area may have inhibited the lift gate from fully closing. The Tech said it will sound like it closes but will periodically try to close again after you have left the vehicle. Since it never senses it's fully closed, it's just like leaving the lift gate fully open. Unfortunately the TSB doesn't fix this instance it only fixes the fully open current draw issue. The Tech also said the auto lift gate is quite sensitive to resistance against it or the cargo mat even getting in the way a little bit could cause the sensors to not show that it is fully closed. I'm going to take measurements over the next few weeks each morning to check the state of the battery. This morning it read 12.85 VDC after sitting all night, which is great. I will take readings each day and see if any abnormal drop occurs.
This might be the reason.
I cannot confirm that my battery drains were caused by this. However, in the past month I've had couple situations when my rear gate was not fully closed (as I would assume).
And it looks like the following.
Normally when rear gate is closed you can hear 3 different tone buzz sounds: 1) big motor buzz that closes the gate 2) higher tone motor that pulls it closer to the latch 3) and there is one more motor buzz sound (IDK what it does. locks?). When I unlock the car in the morning, get into the car and turn on ignition - rear gate makes that third motor buzz sound. (e.g. when it was closing before that - something went wrong?)
(since my first battery drain 5 months ago I am very careful when closing the gate and there are no obstructions.)
Anyone can tell when the gate is "seen" by the controller as "locked" ? Where is the sensor?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So I'm at the dealer now because I have noticed while viewing my OBDLink OBD adapter via torque, ActiveOBD, and the OBDLink app that my Control Module voltage drops as low as 12. 2 VDC and fluctuates as high as 15 VDC. During the drive to the dealership it sat around 12.5 to 12.7 most of the time. This can't be right and I don't ever remember seeing it go below 14.3 volts before. I also measured directly across the battery terminals and saw it go below 13 volts as well and fluctuate a lot. Can anyone confirm if this is normal behavior or not. Service rep said fluctuation is normal even as low as 12 volts. I have a hard time believing that.
 

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Use the head unit to view voltage. Press and hold home button, then tap tune twice, and let go of home button. On the Vehicle screen, you will see your actual voltage as measured properly by the car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Use the head unit to view voltage. Press and hold home button, then tap tune twice, and let go of home button. On the Vehicle screen, you will see your actual voltage as measured properly by the car.
Wow, that's amazing. I guess I really need to read the entire owners manual. They actually agreed to warranty the battery and the auto parts store graciously agreed to allow me to return the one I had bought. So I'm gonna try one more Subaru branded Interstate battery. If it goes bad prematurely, then I'm going to request an aftermarket battery. As soon as I get my vehicle back in going to try the trick you have mentioned here. Super useful, thanks.
 

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That trick isn't in the manual. 😉
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
That trick isn't in the manual. 😉
Not surprised, why would they want us techies to know about such a feature. So no change with the new OEM Subaru battery installed. Head Unit reading is the same as the reading through my OBDLink LX via Torque. Voltage fluctuates between 12.2 and 15 VDC. I don't remember seeing this before my battery died on Sunday. The Service guy thought my aftermarket battery could be the cause but he also said the fluctuation is normal. The tech said the alternator was producing 14.5 VDC when he tested it. I showed the guy the video I recorded of me testing right across the battery terminals with my multimeter and asked if what I read there would be different than the direct output of the alternator, and he said it's possible. It seems odd to me and that is why I am hoping someone here can confirm or not they see their voltage drop or fluctuate somewhat rapidly. If others are seeing a constant 14+ volt reading then clearly I have something going on.
 

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Not surprised, why would they want us techies to know about such a feature.
LOL, it's just diagnostic screens. Subaru publishes all of it on STIS, and any of us can get access to it. 😉
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
LOL, it's just diagnostic screens. Subaru publishes all of it on STIS, and any of us can get access to it. 😉
Good deal, I'm going to check out the STIS site. Searching online I have found information about alternators varying voltage based on temperature, but most state that voltages dropping below 13.5 and above 14.5 aren't normal. They also state that voltages at 15 or higher are a concern as it can cause other electrical issues due to over voltage. I really need to know if this is normal or not as doing damage to my electrical system or suffering another dead battery is infuriating. Of course my Ascent has just eclipsed 36K miles so now I'm into my extended warranty which comes with a $100 deductible. I am so glad I got the warranty as it appears I will need it. I have never had so many issues with a vehicle, although I have never purchased a new model before, and I don't think I ever will again after this experience with the Ascent.
 
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