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Our problem is what we were told by both the dealer and corporate - unless the dealer can reproduce the issue (video or not) there is nothing they can do. Unfortunately Subaru has not taken very good care of us as owners of a $45k car.
Well, let me ask you this. What would you have them do? If it's NOT a reproducible problem - and they tried to do so - and there were no error codes that showed anything (and on this, you can rest assured that the Subaru Quality Team IS trying to make sure that they are on top of everything with the Ascent) - then there's not much else they CAN do. It's not a lemon - the car had a single error and nothing else has happened. (I've HAD a lemon before - one that we made, even. An Isuzu Rodeo with a transmission that would NOT stay in 4WD. It slipped from 4WD into neutral while on a hill in the winter with a semi behind me. The dealership tried to fix it, the factory took it back in and put a new transmission in it, it still would not work right. Lemon Law and bought a new Outback - that the paint wouldn't stick to, so the factory had to repaint it.)

Literally the only thing anyone CAN do is wait to see if it happens again. It may happen tomorrow, it may never happen again. One of the things when the engine throws a fault code is that most or all of the red lights come on - even if there is nothing actually wrong with that system. The transmission fluid isn't going to overheat within a few seconds, and since the stuff does change color if it HAS overheated, all the tech has to do is look at it (and smell it) to know it's fine. Could the CVT chain have slipped for some reason? Could the computer that controls the pulleys messed up somehow? Who knows? What would you have them do? Replace the transmission? Simply because it made a non-reproducible error? There's NO manufacturer going to do that.

And yes, I work for a dealer as well, I've been very active on this forum since well before the cars ever got into customers hands, and I used to work at the factory in Indiana building these things. If there is a problem, there is NO other manufacturer that will step up and do the right thing like Subaru does. They just have to have something to work with - and right now they have nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
It is illogical and poor customer service to tell a customer that the ONLY way the manufacturer can take action is if the dealer can reproduce the problem (based on a 5-10 mile test drive). Video/photo evidence from the customer, trouble codes (which our car had), or potential internal mechanical problems that trouble codes cannot determine apparently don't matter. We were flat out told by "Sam" at Subaru of America in NJ that even if the problem happens 10 more times, if the dealer can't reproduce the problem, there is nothing they can do. That is poor customer service in my book. As far as your statement "there is NO other manufacturer that will step up and do the right thing like Subaru does" I can understand you saying that since you work for Subaru, but Subaru is out to make money like every car manufacturer, and with their record breaking profits they certainly are not "doing the right thing" by us. They are likely terrified that they are going to have to start replacing transmissions on thousands of Ascents, so it's easier to just give the car back and say "let us know if it happens again." It took a class action lawsuit to even get them to finally admit they have had problems with their CVT transmissions, and even then, they wouldn't issue a recall, only extend the 60K warranty to 100k (which is useless, since most problems occur after 100k miles).
 

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We have the car back. As suspected, they don't know what caused the problem and since they can't reproduce the issue, they basically told us to cross our fingers and pray to the Subaru gods that it doesn't happen again, like when we are on vacation or in the middle of a snowstorm in January. The issue happened at a stoplight. Dashboard lit up and my wife had to gun the engine just to get the car to creep along to get it into a parking lot. Clearly an issue with the CVT (likely a slipping chain) that Subaru refuses to recognize. We have been talking to Subaru corporate and their position is that if the dealer cannot reproduce the problem, there is nothing they can do. I asked what if this happens 10 more times, then what? The answer was if the dealer can't reproduce it, there is nothing they can do. The dealer checked the CVT fluid level and the connections on the transmission and that's it. Didn't even replace the CVT fluid. Dealer now says they were following instructions from the regional engineer. They gave us a print out of the trouble codes and it goes on for 4 pages, including startability malfunction, pre-ignition detected, transmission control system (MIL request), incorrect gear ratio, ECM, AT, and multiple codes for the Eyesight system and combination meter (along with XM/satellite digital audio radio service antenna faults).

I have owned Subaru cars for 20 years. My dad owned Subaru cars beginning in 1970 with the "GL" (actually, he owned the Malcolm Bricklin "360" before that). I owned a 3 cylinder Justy at one point. I had an Outback that went to 225,000 miles. My current 2011 Outback 3.6r has 175,000 miles and I have not had a single issue with the 5at transmission. Unfortunately, given our experience, I would not be inclined to recommend Subaru or to purchase another one. The customer service we have received is horrible. Will never buy another Subaru.
No matter what car you buy you would receive the same answer when problem is not easily diagnosable. The internet is full of folks that had an issue and the dealer could not reproduce it. Guess what, they got the car back until it happened again.

I suspect you will never be happy no matter what car/brand you buy. By your own admission you have had years of trouble free driving and after one issue that could not be reproduced you are done.
 

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Discussion Starter #24 (Edited)
"No matter what car you buy you would receive the same answer when problem is not easily diagnosable. The internet is full of folks that had an issue and the dealer could not reproduce it. Guess what, they got the car back until it happened again.

I suspect you will never be happy no matter what car/brand you buy. By your own admission you have had years of trouble free driving and after one issue that could not be reproduced you are done."


And I suspect that if this problem had happened to you on a car with 5,000 miles on it you would not be so quick to discount the issue and would have concerns about the long-term reliability and longevity of the car, especially given the prior problems Subaru has had with its CVT transmissions. My years of trouble free driving are due to the fact that I maintain our vehicles myself, including transmission fluid changes every 25k miles, brakes, gear oil, brake fluid, coolant changes, spark plugs, etc... But I never had a major transmission problem at 5,000 miles. That's my point.
 

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It is illogical and poor customer service to tell a customer that the ONLY way the manufacturer can take action is if the dealer can reproduce the problem (based on a 5-10 mile test drive). Video/photo evidence from the customer, trouble codes (which our car had), or potential internal mechanical problems that trouble codes cannot determine apparently don't matter. We were flat out told by "Sam" at Subaru of America in NJ that even if the problem happens 10 more times, if the dealer can't reproduce the problem, there is nothing they can do. That is poor customer service in my book. As far as your statement "there is NO other manufacturer that will step up and do the right thing like Subaru does" I can understand you saying that since you work for Subaru, but Subaru is out to make money like every car manufacturer, and with their record breaking profits they certainly are not "doing the right thing" by us. They are likely terrified that they are going to have to start replacing transmissions on thousands of Ascents, so it's easier to just give the car back and say "let us know if it happens again." It took a class action lawsuit to even get them to finally admit they have had problems with their CVT transmissions, and even then, they wouldn't issue a recall, only extend the 60K warranty to 100k (which is useless, since most problems occur after 100k miles).
What class action lawsuit involving the CVT? Please provide a specific link to your source. The extended warranty for the CVT was voluntary to assuage the market place not in response to widespread failures. As suggested, you may be better served to take your vehicle to another Subaru Retailer as not all franchise operations are equal - and that goes for any brand. It is unusual that the situation you describe was not reported on an event recorder and the retailer service dept could not read the failure code history.
 

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And I suspect that if this problem had happened to you on a car with 5,000 miles on it you would not be so quick to discount the issue and would have concerns about the long-term reliability and longevity of the car, especially given the prior problems Subaru has had with its CVT transmissions. My years of trouble free driving are due to the fact that I maintain our vehicles myself, including transmission fluid changes every 25k miles, brakes, gear oil, brake fluid, coolant changes, spark plugs, etc... But I never had a major transmission problem at 5,000 miles. That's my point.
I'm sure we'd all be upset if we had an actual issue. But you're being a little dramatic. If the car is driving fine now and the problem can't be reproduced what do you expect to happen? Seriously, list the steps you expect to be taken.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
We just reproduced it this morning and took video and will be calling Subaru again tomorrow morning. This is not an isolated incident. I suspect more owners will start reporting this problem. Here is a quote from another post regarding all the dashboard lights going on:

"I'm just over 3000 miles and having the same issue. Yesterday I was accelerating onto a freeway, car wouldn't accelerate. All lights on dashboard came on. Was able to get it home, using manual shifting, but it almost died completely on two hills no matter what gear I was in.

I'll be calling Subaru today and getting it in. Pretty worried with how much I paid. This was one of the very first shipments."
 

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We just reproduced it this morning and took video and will be calling Subaru again tomorrow morning. This is not an isolated incident. I suspect more owners will start reporting this problem. Here is a quote from another post regarding all the dashboard lights going on:
Would you be able to upload the video? We all like to keep informed on what may happen to any Ascent and the video could help show the issues clearly.
 

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We just reproduced it this morning and took video and will be calling Subaru again tomorrow morning. This is not an isolated incident. I suspect more owners will start reporting this problem. Here is a quote from another post regarding all the dashboard lights going on:

"I'm just over 3000 miles and having the same issue. Yesterday I was accelerating onto a freeway, car wouldn't accelerate. All lights on dashboard came on. Was able to get it home, using manual shifting, but it almost died completely on two hills no matter what gear I was in.

I'll be calling Subaru today and getting it in. Pretty worried with how much I paid. This was one of the very first shipments."
SOA will get to a resolution. It may not be as quick as preferred. Oh... and don't forget to advise the service manager there's a CVT class action lawsuit to help navigate their efforts with SOA.
 

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And I suspect that if this problem had happened to you on a car with 5,000 miles on it you would not be so quick to discount the issue and would have concerns about the long-term reliability and longevity of the car, especially given the prior problems Subaru has had with its CVT transmissions. My years of trouble free driving are due to the fact that I maintain our vehicles myself, including transmission fluid changes every 25k miles, brakes, gear oil, brake fluid, coolant changes, spark plugs, etc... But I never had a major transmission problem at 5,000 miles. That's my point.
I am not discounting the issue but I would not completely lose it either. The Ascent is a COMPLETELY new model. Expecting perfection is unrealistic in any car and especially one so new.

How do you know you have a MAJOR transmission problem? It may only need a reboot or a sensor replaced. Give them a chance to fix it.

Take a breath. Look through the responses so far and you will discover most folks think that you are overreacting.
 

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My years of trouble free driving are due to the fact that I maintain our vehicles myself, including transmission fluid changes every 25k miles, brakes, gear oil, brake fluid, coolant changes, spark plugs, etc...
The years of trouble free driving are due to Subaru building a solid car. Doing maintenance yourself can't make up for piece of junk.
 

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We just reproduced it this morning and took video and will be calling Subaru again tomorrow morning. This is not an isolated incident. I suspect more owners will start reporting this problem. Here is a quote from another post regarding all the dashboard lights going on:

"I'm just over 3000 miles and having the same issue. Yesterday I was accelerating onto a freeway, car wouldn't accelerate. All lights on dashboard came on. Was able to get it home, using manual shifting, but it almost died completely on two hills no matter what gear I was in.

I'll be calling Subaru today and getting it in. Pretty worried with how much I paid. This was one of the very first shipments."
You might have them check the intercooler piping bolts.....I and others have had them missing or loose....one of the three bolts fell out on my garage floor, only had 100 or so miles on the car produced in early June 2018, otherwise I would not have known until some symptoms involving a failed seal appeared. My dealer corrected the situation immediately....but could only speculate on what driving symptoms I would have potentially experience later on had I not noticed the bolt on my floor...
 

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We just reproduced it this morning and took video and will be calling Subaru again tomorrow morning. This is not an isolated incident. I suspect more owners will start reporting this problem. Here is a quote from another post regarding all the dashboard lights going on:

"I'm just over 3000 miles and having the same issue. Yesterday I was accelerating onto a freeway, car wouldn't accelerate. All lights on dashboard came on. Was able to get it home, using manual shifting, but it almost died completely on two hills no matter what gear I was in.

I'll be calling Subaru today and getting it in. Pretty worried with how much I paid. This was one of the very first shipments."

Keep us posted. Were you able to induce it with a specific set of steps or did it just recur, but without trying?
 

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Discussion Starter #34
Happened again this morning. The problem occurs between 40-50 mph. While driving at a steady speed the RPMs go up and there is a distinct "squealing" sound, then the RPMs drop and the transmission catches again. Almost sounds like what we used to hear in older cars that had a slipping A/C or power steering or alternator belt. Speed (MPH) stays constant, RPMs increase. Occurs more frequently going up hills. It definitely feels like the transmission or a belt or something is slipping. We are going to try another dealer this morning and give them the print out from the other dealer with the prior trouble codes.
 

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Happened again this morning. The problem occurs between 40-50 mph. While driving at a steady speed the RPMs go up and there is a distinct "squealing" sound, then the RPMs drop and the transmission catches again. Almost sounds like what we used to hear in older cars that had a slipping A/C or power steering or alternator belt. Speed (MPH) stays constant, RPMs increase. Occurs more frequently going up hills. It definitely feels like the transmission or a belt or something is slipping. We are going to try another dealer this morning and give them the print out from the other dealer with the prior trouble codes.
Good luck!

It should be easier to diagnose now that it is happening more frequently. Hopefully, they resolve it quickly.
 

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Happened again this morning. The problem occurs between 40-50 mph. While driving at a steady speed the RPMs go up and there is a distinct "squealing" sound, then the RPMs drop and the transmission catches again. Almost sounds like what we used to hear in older cars that had a slipping A/C or power steering or alternator belt. Speed (MPH) stays constant, RPMs increase. Occurs more frequently going up hills. It definitely feels like the transmission or a belt or something is slipping. We are going to try another dealer this morning and give them the print out from the other dealer with the prior trouble codes.
Hi I just sent you a private message!
 

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Modern powertrain control systems (engine and transmission) are electronic and depend on multiple sensor inputs to a central “brain” or module. Although the control module firmware is upgradeable, if any one of several sensors are supplying false information to it, it can cause the module to kick into a firmware “fail-safe” mode. The fail-safe mode is designed to provide an emergency capabilty to get to the side of a road and stop.

Mechanical failures tend not to be intermittent; if is it broken, it stays that way. However, the Ascent is a computer on wheels as are all brands of cars these days. It is likely that there is failing or out-of-spec sensor that is causing the powertrain control module to go into an intermittent fail-safe mode.

State lemon laws can provide relief if the failure mode is documented by the vehicle owner whether a servicing dealer or Subaru can reproduce the intermittent failure or not.
 

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Happened again this morning. The problem occurs between 40-50 mph. While driving at a steady speed the RPMs go up and there is a distinct "squealing" sound, then the RPMs drop and the transmission catches again. Almost sounds like what we used to hear in older cars that had a slipping A/C or power steering or alternator belt. Speed (MPH) stays constant, RPMs increase. Occurs more frequently going up hills. It definitely feels like the transmission or a belt or something is slipping. We are going to try another dealer this morning and give them the print out from the other dealer with the prior trouble codes.
Did you get this resolved? What was the issue?
 

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Curious as well if you got this resolved going to the other dealer?

Was it a loose gas cap or something? <-- kidding :tango_face_wink:
 

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Happened again this morning. The problem occurs between 40-50 mph. While driving at a steady speed the RPMs go up and there is a distinct "squealing" sound, then the RPMs drop and the transmission catches again. Almost sounds like what we used to hear in older cars that had a slipping A/C or power steering or alternator belt. Speed (MPH) stays constant, RPMs increase. Occurs more frequently going up hills. It definitely feels like the transmission or a belt or something is slipping. We are going to try another dealer this morning and give them the print out from the other dealer with the prior trouble codes.

Looking forward to learning the outcome of this problem.
 
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