Subaru Ascent Forum banner
1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had just started up my car and began driving on city streets today 0-30MPH. About 2 minutes after starting out I was doing about 30MPH and my Ascent began what I can describe as "downshifting" on it's own without gaining speed. The RPMs just kept getting higher and higher but my speed kept dropping even after giving it some gas. I pulled off to the side of the road and the engine died as I came to a complete stop.

It was almost identical to keeping a manual transmission in gear while stopping and letting the engine stall. I didn't receive any check engine or warning lights at all until the engine shutoff then I my dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree and "eyesight disabled" appeared on the driver LCD. I powered the car on and off and haven't noticed any issues since.

Just a backstory my transmission is very "jerky" at times (especially when going up hills) but my dealership insists that it's normal. My car is a 2019 Premium w/ 8,000 miles build date of August 2019. I have a dashcam video of what happened but the video was split when my car lost power so I'll have to find some software to merge it all together and upload a video if anyone's curious. I'll be calling the dealership again tomorrow for an appointment.

Anyone else experience this issue?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,586 Posts
If you have an iPhone you can stitch video fairly easily and for free using iMovie. I save it to my computer and iMessage it to myself to save it to my phone’s camera roll, then import into iMovie. Done!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
I had just started up my car and began driving on city streets today 0-30MPH. About 2 minutes after starting out I was doing about 30MPH and my Ascent began what I can describe as "downshifting" on it's own without gaining speed. The RPMs just kept getting higher and higher but my speed kept dropping even after giving it some gas. I pulled off to the side of the road and the engine died as I came to a complete stop.

It was almost identical to keeping a manual transmission in gear while stopping and letting the engine stall. I didn't receive any check engine or warning lights at all until the engine shutoff then I my dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree and "eyesight disabled" appeared on the driver LCD. I powered the car on and off and haven't noticed any issues since.

Just a backstory my transmission is very "jerky" at times (especially when going up hills) but my dealership insists that it's normal. My car is a 2019 Premium w/ 8,000 miles build date of August 2019. I have a dashcam video of what happened but the video was split when my car lost power so I'll have to find some software to merge it all together and upload a video if anyone's curious. I'll be calling the dealership again tomorrow for an appointment.

Anyone else experience this issue?
Same experience but without engine stall. Occurs 1 out of 20 trips and only when the trans is cold. A more frequent issue is a 1 second vibration [like running over rippled pavement] at about 60 mph using light acceleration with a warm transmission. Dealer has no idea what's happening.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
204 Posts
Same experience but without engine stall. Occurs 1 out of 20 trips and only when the trans is cold. A more frequent issue is a 1 second vibration [like running over rippled pavement] at about 60 mph using light acceleration with a warm transmission. Dealer has no idea what's happening.
I have had something similar. Dealer noticed it, sent it to SoA, SoA said nothing wrong. Only happens when the turbo and transmission or cold, but I've never actually had its stall. Manually shifting into the next gear usually fixes the problem. if enough people keep complaining about it they'll be forced to do something about it. I don't think it's a major issue, at least not mine, I just think it's a Subaruism but it is strange. However, if your engine is stalling then it probably is a concern
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
11,126 Posts
I have had something similar. Dealer noticed it, sent it to SoA, SoA said nothing wrong. Only happens when the turbo and transmission or cold, but I've never actually had its stall. Manually shifting into the next gear usually fixes the problem. if enough people keep complaining about it they'll be forced to do something about it. I don't think it's a major issue, at least not mine, I just think it's a Subaruism but it is strange. However, if your engine is stalling then it probably is a concern
Don't manually shift. The car is warming up the emissions system. It'll last a lot longer if you let it do its thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
204 Posts
Don't manually shift. The car is warming up the emissions system. It'll last a lot longer if you let it do its thing.
What is the source for you claim? Was it a service bulletin or is it in the user manual? I have owned 8 cars, trucks, and SUVs over the past 20 years with 6 out of 8 being automatic transmissions and 3 being CVTs (4 if you count my ex wife's 2012 Outback). I have never had a car do what the Ascent does and even the dealer thinks something is strange. It's entirely possible that while the turbo is cold, what transmission is cold, the computer will run at a higher RPMs. But isn't that something Subaru should be a little more upfront about? because if this was normal, every single Subaru Ascent owner would be complaining about it; but it doesn't seem like every single Subaru Ascent owner is complaining about it. This only leads me to conclude that there is something wrong with the transmission or the computer
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
11,126 Posts
What is the source for you claim? Was it a service bulletin or is it in the user manual? I have owned 8 cars, trucks, and SUVs over the past 20 years with 6 out of 8 being automatic transmissions and 3 being CVTs (4 if you count my ex wife's 2012 Outback). I have never had a car do what the Ascent does and even the dealer thinks something is strange. It's entirely possible that while the turbo is cold, what transmission is cold, the computer will run at a higher RPMs. But isn't that something Subaru should be a little more upfront about? because if this was normal, every single Subaru Ascent owner would be complaining about it; but it doesn't seem like every single Subaru Ascent owner is complaining about it. This only leads me to conclude that there is something wrong with the transmission or the computer
Per the manual, the car keeps RPMs high, and varies CVT ratio to accommodate the RPMs, all within safe limits for both, to quickly heat up the engine and emission system for proper operation - for those familiar with how such systems run when cold, we know that includes for fuel economy and proper functioning of our catalytic converters.

It's in the massive 532 page manual. Seriously, that thing is massive. So, Subaru is "up front"? ;)

Add the rest of the car's manuals to it, and it's literally a thousand pages. Hence, I try to read the thing a few times, because there's always something that gets missed, including by me. Seriously not the most fun read. I'd rather finally start reading The Expanse or catch up on my Tad Williams books. :ROFLMAO:

because if this was normal, every single Subaru Ascent owner would be complaining about it; but it doesn't seem like every single Subaru Ascent owner is complaining about it.
Mine does it. Not so much when it's really warm out - RPMs drop to "normal" pretty quickly. I've had numerous cars that high idled, or held gears on the transmission for longer than during warmed driving, to do the same thing, so, it seems perfectly normal to me. I know a lot of other people who haven't experienced that, so, it seems abnormal to them.

BUT, here's I think the big kicker. Our cars sound and feel different when the TR690 CVT is doing a relatively stable gearing ratio with the engine doing higher RPMs. It doesn't sound or feel remotely the same in the pretty different TR580 in all the 2.0 and 2.5 liter naturally aspirated Subies. And, it's something that was less prevalent to entirely non-existent as you go back a few years, before emissions requirements weren't as stringent.
 

·
Registered
2020 CWP Touring
Joined
·
1,285 Posts
because if this was normal, every single Subaru Ascent owner would be complaining about it; but it doesn't seem like every single Subaru Ascent owner is complaining about it.
Our car does it also. It's worse when climbing a small incline in our neighborhood when cold. The engine speed may rise up to close to 3,000 rpm if left on its own. It doesn't really do that if we take the "other" way out, which is mostly flat or downhill.

I work around it by using manual mode or (usually) by just going the "other" way into town. It's operating as designed, but I don't like it, and it's a bit embarassing to be driving by your neighbor's house in your new car with your engine screaming like the thing is stuck in first gear. I dislike it as much as I do the simulating shifting and the pulley ratio change just after starting off with light throttle, but it's such a temporary thing, this cold operation, that I haven't felt the need to write Subaru about it. Everything starts acting normally 15-60 seconds into the drive (depending on temperature), and it goes away. I can't get away from the shifting behavior when warm, so I have written Subaru on that.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
11,126 Posts
but it's such a temporary thing, this cold operation, that I haven't felt the need to write Subaru about it.
For now, there's nothing they can do about it. The catalytic converter needs to heat up, and quickly. I'm not sure there's a way anyone can get around that, that could translate into a production vehicle for the masses.

Me personally, I am not worried... my Ascent will be long gone by the time my catalytic converter warranty expires. I figure, with road trips tailored to what we can and can't do over the next few months, I'll still hit 250,000 in 5 years.
 

·
Registered
2020 CWP Touring
Joined
·
1,285 Posts
For now, there's nothing they can do about it. The catalytic converter needs to heat up, and quickly. I'm not sure there's a way anyone can get around that, that could translate into a production vehicle for the masses.
The behavior does seem a little unconventional. I'm not aware of any other cars that will hold such a high engine speed like this when driving. Many cars will indeed idle high when cold to get the cats warmed up quickly (like our Ascents do), and may also have slightly elevated shift points when cold, but holding the engine at such a high speed is a bit unusual. I agree it doesn't hurt anything (and apparently only helps), but it is rather unpleasant for the driver and, I'd wager, it's probably not necessary to make it as extreme as it is.

My thought on this is similar to the ratio change when accelerating from a stop with light throttle. I think it's fine that the CVT changes ratio to help manage fuel economy or output from the engine or whatever. Just make it a little less abrupt or intrusive for the cabin crew. High revs when cold are fine to a point...but 3,000 revs at 15 mph in your neighborhood is a bit peculiar. Again, I agree completely that "it's for a good cause" and doesn't hurt anything...but it does negatively impact product satisfaction.

I recognize fully that this is always a fine line for product engineers to try to walk!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
11,126 Posts
Right, but that's because the computer really doesn't care about fake shift points at all. So, it behaves entirely differently than other cars. It keeps the RPMs where they should be (around 3,000) and varies the gear ratios. On conventional transmissions, that's not possible.

It's another interesting example of a CVT operation. The way the computer behaves when it has something to do (like warm up the catalytic converter) or is in complete control (like when ACC is in use) is drastically different than how the computer operates for human control when it tries to simulate what humans used to conventional transmissions expect.

In order to eek out the best emissions and fuel economy, the CVT way is better than the conventional transmission "get kinda close" way.

In the case of the Ascent, we literally have the highest torque capable car CVT of any brand, of any model, so, we notice the feel and hear the sound a lot more than in any other CVT based car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
204 Posts
Our car does it also. It's worse when climbing a small incline in our neighborhood when cold. The engine speed may rise up to close to 3,000 rpm if left on its own. It doesn't really do that if we take the "other" way out, which is mostly flat or downhill.

I work around it by using manual mode or (usually) by just going the "other" way into town. It's operating as designed, but I don't like it, and it's a bit embarassing to be driving by your neighbor's house in your new car with your engine screaming like the thing is stuck in first gear. I dislike it as much as I do the simulating shifting and the pulley ratio change just after starting off with light throttle, but it's such a temporary thing, this cold operation, that I haven't felt the need to write Subaru about it. Everything starts acting normally 15-60 seconds into the drive (depending on temperature), and it goes away. I can't get away from the shifting behavior when warm, so I have written Subaru on that.
Yes! This exactly. There's a slight incline in my apartment complex and my engine sounds like it wants to explode. Extremely embarrassing
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
204 Posts
Robert.Mauro I'm going to have to read the manual I guess 🤦‍♂️ I still think that SoA should instruct their sales team (and apparently the service departments) of this. I think people would be less inclined to write Subaru about it
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
11,126 Posts
Yes! This exactly. There's a slight incline in my apartment complex and my engine sounds like it wants to explode. Extremely embarrassing
lol, it is odd. Sounds like being in a wrong gear in a manual. I was driving through a construction zone one night, on my work's local street, and, I left my 2010 Outback 6MT it in 1st Gear. The guys yelled at me because they assumed I must have been speeding. I wasn't. Just sounded like that, and, they weren't watching me - just heard the high RPMs. I literally stopped and explained, "Guys, it's a stick - I was just being lazy and leaving it in first gear. Watch." (and I did it again). They apologized, when they realized it sounded exactly the same, and I was far from speeding. :ROFLMAO: 🤷‍♂️
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
11,126 Posts
Robert.Mauro I'm going to have to read the manual I guess 🤦‍♂️ I still think that SoA should instruct their sales team (and apparently the service departments) of this. I think people would be less inclined to write Subaru about it
I hope to keep producing videos that go over the errata and less known features, less known Subaruisms, etc...

I just am never sure what topics to touch upon. Obviously, there's a ton of material to choose from in those thousand pages... but, I really don't want something that makes people respond "you wasted your time on this one, everyone knows that!".

I am also not a good judge of what I should cover. If I had the tools, I could disassemble and reassemble my Ascent with relative ease, so, I am definitely not my target audience, lol! For instance, I never would have thought of doing a "How To: Spare Tire Winch" video, but, a lot of people in the FB group asked for one, not ever having a winch setup before and never having been shown how to use one - totally understandable - but not something I would have thought of on my own.
 

·
Registered
2020 CWP Touring
Joined
·
1,285 Posts
Right, but that's because the computer really doesn't care about fake shift points at all. So, it behaves entirely differently than other cars. It keeps the RPMs where they should be (around 3,000) and varies the gear ratios. On conventional transmissions, that's not possible.
Absolutely; however, the complaint isn't the smooth, stepless operation, but the uncomfortably high engine speeds when cold. When hot, the CVT is fully able to keep engine speeds in the reasonable 1,200-1,500 rpm range when inching down your neighborhood street. I think most owners don't expect the wildly different mode of operation when cold. I think most understand "elevated engine speed", but I think 1,900 rpm would be more reasonable than 2,900 rpm. ;)

On the plus side, the CVT's "ratio bog" isn't there in the cold mode...so acceleration is buttery smooth!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
11,126 Posts
On the plus side, the CVT's "ratio bog" isn't there in the cold mode...so acceleration is buttery smooth!
lol, the irony.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
204 Posts
Absolutely; however, the complaint isn't the smooth, stepless operation, but the uncomfortably high engine speeds when cold. When hot, the CVT is fully able to keep engine speeds in the reasonable 1,200-1,500 rpm range when inching down your neighborhood street. I think most owners don't expect the wildly different mode of operation when cold. I think most understand "elevated engine speed", but I think 1,900 rpm would be more reasonable than 2,900 rpm. ;)

On the plus side, the CVT's "ratio bog" isn't there in the cold mode...so acceleration is buttery smooth!
I'm in the deep south and the CVT big right now in insane now that we're well over 90 degrees outside
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top