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Quick summary: 2019 Ascent Touring with RPG (rear power gate), now 22 months old; to Dealer 5 times for dead battery issues (including for one week on his computer looking for ghost draws). Examples of my dead battery causes: rear gate open over night; rear rubber mat slid under rear gate; car left in 'accessory on' mode. Dealer replaced OEM battery after several months. I camp in remote areas, so a battery problem is NOT acceptable and I am hoping for a Subaru TSB or recall to resolve issues of bad engineering. For those new to these related electrical issue blogs, this is a summary of my personal experience and what I have learned from others on this forum...

What I've learned and done: (1) Dealer says to be certain when exiting the car the display says "goodbye" to ensure it is NOT in accessory mode. (2) Make sure remote key doesn't accidentally trigger to open rear gate when in my pocket (I bought a silicon cover for the key but not sure that's a total solution). (3) Dealer received a TSB last month with instructions to disable the remote key's "tailgate open/close" function - which I had them do today. Although I lose that functionality, the rear gate will no longer open while key is in my pocket. (4) With NO lights on and the rear gate open, the draw is 3 Amps - certainly enough draw to restrict/limit the open rear gate when camping, tailgating, etc. (5) Dealer confirms that there is no timed-out shutoff for an opened rear gate (as there is for other doors and lights) because it is part of the safety system. (6) Some Ascent owners have installed a battery disconnect switch ($100) or disconnect a battery cable when camping. (7) An appropriate retro-fix would be an override switch for when owner wishes to leave the rear gate open for extended periods. No indication from my dealer that a fix is in the works (TSB or Recall) or whether there will be a fix on 2021 models arriving July, although there have been recall rumors on these ascentforums. (8) It is important to report these electrical issues to SOA and federal authorities.

I hope this helps those who are searching for answers and solutions.
 

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Quite a few members here upgraded their battery after it going dead more than a few times. This appears to have stopped the battery going dead overnight due to an open tailgate. When the battery dies you can call SOA and they will reimburse you for the cost of a better quality battery. The dealerships seem to be using the same battery as was supplied and they keep failing. Not sure if this is still ongoing but this is the story in a nutshell. I would assume eventually the dealers would supply better quality batteries.
 

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Just had mine replaced after less than two years. Had to jump start it 6 times in a week and a half period of time. Clearly the batteries used in the Ascent are subpar or underrated for the vehicle. Also seems to be some poor engineering involved in the operation of the electrical system.
 

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There is a TSB to replace the rear gate controller. It says it does something about quiescent battery drain, but it's unclear if that's with the TG open. IDK of anybody who has tested this.
 

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Thanks Bobaru for the summary of your experiences. It's sad to think that our 20 year old Forester is a more trustworthy camping rig than our new Ascent.
I have a battery question. Our 2019 Ascent sometimes sits for a month or more in a garage without being operated. Twice now the car wouldn't start. First time it was completely dead. The other day it almost started but not quite.
I can't say for sure whether the rear hatch was open/partially open either time, but I don't think it was. Any thoughts as to how long an Ascent can sit unused before draining itself?
Does anyone know if any of the 12V cigarette lighter plugs are connected to the battery whether the car is on or off? I've got a solar trickle charger. It might be worth the effort to get the panel out in the sun and bring the wires in to the garage.
 

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Thanks Bobaru for the summary of your experiences. It's sad to think that our 20 year old Forester is a more trustworthy camping rig than our new Ascent.
I have a battery question. Our 2019 Ascent sometimes sits for a month or more in a garage without being operated. Twice now the car wouldn't start. First time it was completely dead. The other day it almost started but not quite.
I can't say for sure whether the rear hatch was open/partially open either time, but I don't think it was. Any thoughts as to how long an Ascent can sit unused before draining itself?
Does anyone know if any of the 12V cigarette lighter plugs are connected to the battery whether the car is on or off? I've got a solar trickle charger. It might be worth the effort to get the panel out in the sun and bring the wires in to the garage.
it is always a good idea to hook up an auto trickle charger for a vehicle that will sit that long. The remedy is simply to replace the battery with one that is referenced in prior postings on this forum. Done and done. You can either negotiate it out with the dealer and SOA or just take care of it yourself. None of it is worth the aggravation that you sound you are going through.
 

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I believe any automobile should be able to sit a month without any repercussions. If it can't there is definitely a problem. This cannot be considered acceptable only because if you fly away for business for a month and return to a dead battery? We now know the control box regulator for the rear hatch caused problems like this for many ascents that were resolved once the controller was changed. There is a recent thread on this. Also there were battery problems at one point that only seemed resolved once a better quality battery was installed.
 

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>>We now know the control box regulator for the rear hatch caused problems like this for many ascents that were resolved once the controller was changed. There is a recent thread on this. <<<
Where is that thread? I've been following this and have not seen where it was verified that the TSB that changes out the gate controller actually fixed the excessive TG open drain.
 

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Where is that thread? I've been following this and have not seen where it was verified that the TSB that changes out the gate controller actually fixed the excessive TG open drain.
It is and it isn't a tailgate drain. None of the electrical system goes to sleep until the tailgate is shut.
 

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I believe any automobile should be able to sit a month without any repercussions. If it can't there is definitely a problem. This cannot be considered acceptable only because if you fly away for business for a month and return to a dead battery? We now know the control box regulator for the rear hatch caused problems like this for many ascents that were resolved once the controller was changed. There is a recent thread on this. Also there were battery problems at one point that only seemed resolved once a better quality battery was installed.
most owners including myself (I have not yet experienced any problems with the battery myself) would agree it is not acceptable. The fact remains, that Subaru is making it right for those owners who have had problems, by providing a new battery (either the OEM or if the owner wants a differnet more robust battery). Not all the battery issues were due to the control box, but when they were, they too were replaced.
 

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It is and it isn't a tailgate drain. None of the electrical system goes to sleep until the tailgate is shut.
^^^ yes. That is the problem and what causes the 3+ A drain with the TG open. IDK how the various systems communicate but it might be possible that the new TG controller allows the other systems to shut down while the TG is open. So far I haven't seen a post where anybody has verified that the TG open drain issue has been fixed. As I said, I'd like to see this verified one way or the other by owners. I'll do it after I get the TSB done.

A new battery doesn't fix the excessive TG drain, and I don't think we yet know if the TSB that replaces the TG controller does that either.
 

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^^^ yes. That is the problem and what causes the 3+ A drain with the TG open. IDK how the various systems communicate but it might be possible that the new TG controller allows the other systems to shut down while the TG is open. So far I haven't seen a post where anybody has verified that the TG open drain issue has been fixed. As I said, I'd like to see this verified one way or the other by owners. I'll do it after I get the TSB done.

A new battery doesn't fix the excessive TG drain, and I don't think we yet know if the TSB that replaces the TG controller does that either.
Post #6 in this thread.
 

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^^^ yes. That is the problem and what causes the 3+ A drain with the TG open. IDK how the various systems communicate but it might be possible that the new TG controller allows the other systems to shut down while the TG is open. So far I haven't seen a post where anybody has verified that the TG open drain issue has been fixed. As I said, I'd like to see this verified one way or the other by owners. I'll do it after I get the TSB done.

A new battery doesn't fix the excessive TG drain, and I don't think we yet know if the TSB that replaces the TG controller does that either.
no, a new battery would not change any drain, but it will allow the vehicle to start despite a drain per vehicle owners who have had the problem and replaced the battery. It would indeed be nice if the underlying issue is resolved.
 

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Followup from me, the original poster of this thread: I've shared my posting comments with my dealer's service tech, who has been exceptionally attentive to my concerns, INCLUDING contacting SOA about my issues. He reviewed this thread and other threads as well. He assures me that if the battery checks out fine, but the rear gate is left open, the battery absolutely will drain (due to 3-4 A draw). And, most importantly for us owners, the reason for this draw is the safety requirement in the event the door closes on a person or hits a garage door --- thus it is 'always on' when open. To override the system would be to lose this safety feature. Unless a better system mod is forthcoming from SOA, we have decided to keep the rear hatch closed when camping.

BTW - according to my Subaru tech, the 'replace controller' TSB referred to by a previous poster relates to the Rear Gate ECU addressing issues wherein the rear gate won’t open (not my situation). However they did perform this bulletin on my Ascent without a change in amperage draw.
 

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Followup from me, the original poster of this thread: I've shared my posting comments with my dealer's service tech, who has been exceptionally attentive to my concerns, INCLUDING contacting SOA about my issues. He reviewed this thread and other threads as well. He assures me that if the battery checks out fine, but the rear gate is left open, the battery absolutely will drain (due to 3-4 A draw). And, most importantly for us owners, the reason for this draw is the safety requirement in the event the door closes on a person or hits a garage door --- thus it is 'always on' when open. To override the system would be to lose this safety feature. Unless a better system mod is forthcoming from SOA, we have decided to keep the rear hatch closed when camping.

BTW - according to my Subaru tech, the 'replace controller' TSB referred to by a previous poster relates to the Rear Gate ECU addressing issues wherein the rear gate won’t open (not my situation). However they did perform this bulletin on my Ascent without a change in amperage draw.
yes the battery will still drain, but with a new battery (not OEM) it will have enough reserve to start the vehicle. This at least has been the experience of other owners. I would still recommend not leaving it open longer than necessary regardless of what battery is installed. The main problem with this battery is its small reserve capacity.
 

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from facebook subaru ascent dead battery club......https://m.facebook.com/groups/875597246107705?view=permalink&id=1172337649766995&refid=18&ref=group_header&ft=qid.6830934264601074653%3Amf_story_key.1172337649766995%3Agroup_id.875597246107705%3Atop_level_post_id.1172337649766995%3Atl_objid.1172337649766995%3Acontent_owner_id_new.25811988%3Asrc.22%3Aphoto_id.10108896695792369%3Astory_location.6%3Astory_attachment_style.video_inline%3Afilter.GroupStoriesByActivityEntQuery&tn=%2As%2As-R
 

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My "solution" was to buy a lithium jump start battery for about $70. I've had to use it a few times.
 

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Quick summary: 2019 Ascent Touring with RPG (rear power gate), now 22 months old; to Dealer 5 times for dead battery issues (including for one week on his computer looking for ghost draws). Examples of my dead battery causes: rear gate open over night; rear rubber mat slid under rear gate; car left in 'accessory on' mode. Dealer replaced OEM battery after several months. I camp in remote areas, so a battery problem is NOT acceptable and I am hoping for a Subaru TSB or recall to resolve issues of bad engineering. For those new to these related electrical issue blogs, this is a summary of my personal experience and what I have learned from others on this forum...

What I've learned and done: (1) Dealer says to be certain when exiting the car the display says "goodbye" to ensure it is NOT in accessory mode. (2) Make sure remote key doesn't accidentally trigger to open rear gate when in my pocket (I bought a silicon cover for the key but not sure that's a total solution). (3) Dealer received a TSB last month with instructions to disable the remote key's "tailgate open/close" function - which I had them do today. Although I lose that functionality, the rear gate will no longer open while key is in my pocket. (4) With NO lights on and the rear gate open, the draw is 3 Amps - certainly enough draw to restrict/limit the open rear gate when camping, tailgating, etc. (5) Dealer confirms that there is no timed-out shutoff for an opened rear gate (as there is for other doors and lights) because it is part of the safety system. (6) Some Ascent owners have installed a battery disconnect switch ($100) or disconnect a battery cable when camping. (7) An appropriate retro-fix would be an override switch for when owner wishes to leave the rear gate open for extended periods. No indication from my dealer that a fix is in the works (TSB or Recall) or whether there will be a fix on 2021 models arriving July, although there have been recall rumors on these ascentforums. (8) It is important to report these electrical issues to SOA and federal authorities.

I hope this helps those who are searching for answers and solutions.
Please join the Subarau Ascent Dead Battery Club on Facebook. There are several excellent workarounds to cut this power off when rear hatch is opened. Subaru doesn't believe there is a problem so therefore no fix is being worked on. this has been reported to SOA (as far back as Feb 2019) as well as various government agencies as a safety issue. My first 'fix' was a batter disconnect switch which cost about $20. the dealer installed for free. but better workarounds have been found. Join the Club.
 

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I have something like this on my other car that has a weird electrical issue that drains my battery (under $20). If I know that car is going to sit for more than a day, I pull the "knife switch" up and it prevents any battery drain due to electrical components. Super easy to install if you're comfortable with a wrench and it gives me piece of mind that my battery won't be dead if I'm in a remote area. I am not minimizing your frustration and stress from this issue and the fact that there should be some way that Subaru fix this and retain the safety features but trying to suggest a solution so that you can enjoy the hatch open when camping and feel confident that your car will start when you need it too. I also have a portable jumpstarter, but this is a LOT cheaper. Best of luck!
 

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Seems like Subaru could change the software so that the systems shut down after a short time (1 or 2 min) when the tailgate is open and then require you to hit the close button twice - first time time turns the systems back on and the second to close the tailgate.
 
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