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What do you think about the *automatic* Fake Shifting? (not discussing the manual shifting)

  • I like the fake shifting/I am fine with it the way it is.

    Votes: 13 10.5%
  • I want the fake shifting to be user configurable so I can turn it on and off.

    Votes: 45 36.3%
  • I don't like the fake shifting at all.

    Votes: 66 53.2%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just purchased a 2020 Ascent Limited in Tungston. This is our 6th Subaru. Our first was a 94 Loyale wagon, we loved that car! Our favorite was our 2009 outback for one reason, the silky smooth rubber band feel of the CVT. I hate the simulated shift points and they are not needed on a CVT they actually are hard on the tranny and cause a higher fuel usage. So far every salesman since our 2009 have told us that this problem is now much better, not so! Both our 2015 and 2017 Outbacks jerked and bucked, the same is true for the Ascent. I still love the Ascent. My question is what will it take for Subaru to make a TSB to give us this kind of shift? I know it would be better for their tranny and make customers happy. Heck I would even pay for the download. A lot of you seem to be the experts and I say that with confidence and admiration after reading your post's. Can you help? I think Subaru would listen to you. I know there are a lot of us who would like the rubber band feel. What are your thoughts? Thank you. Nick I also sent this to Robert, dude you know your stuff!!! Thanks
 

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This has been discussed pretty regularly on this forum. Write a letter to Subaru. That's the only way they'll know of your dissatisfaction. I did, and posted it here. I encourage you to do the same!

Welcome to the forum.
 

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Yup...tons of discussion on this in the relevant forum areas for over two years now.
 

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This has been discussed pretty regularly on this forum. Write a letter to Subaru. That's the only way they'll know of your dissatisfaction. I did, and posted it here. I encourage you to do the same!

Yup...tons of discussion on this in the relevant forum areas for over two years now.
There's a poll attached that should appear now...
 

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NOTE:
I have made all votes anonymous (not even I can see who voted).
 

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Hmm....I can't say I have experienced any issues described here.
First option, then. I revised it to include "I am fine with it the way it is."
 

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Normal automatic operation, def don't need/want discrete shifts. I think it still needs to be discrete for manual shifts. I guess with manual shifting you could hold a paddle, it would increase/decrease the ratio continuously, and you would let go when it got to what you wanted...that would be kinda weird though.
 

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There's a poll attached that should appear now...
Robert, thanks for creating the poll. I just took the poll and voted for choice #2 (User Configurable).

However, I'd like to add that I wonder if there might be significant differences between transmissions in various Ascents. The CVT in our 2019 Ascent Limited is butter smooth -- I can't say I notice any fake shifts other than when driving the first mile or two when the engine is cold. The Ascent CVT is much smoother than our 2011 Outback CVT and also smoother than the 4-EAT automatic transmission in my 2012 Forester.

So while many report that the fake shifting is pronounced in their Ascent, the performance of our Ascent CVT has been stellar (I've had both recalls performed; for the transmission harness and for the engine CPU, but I didn't notice any difference after these recall services were done). For those who might think I might be an owner that doesn't pay much attention to driving dynamics, I'll add that I had a WRX with a 6 speed manual trans for five years.
 

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Robert, thanks for creating the poll. I just took the poll and voted for choice #2 (User Configurable).

However, I'd like to add that I wonder if there might be significant differences between transmissions in various Ascents. The CVT in our 2019 Ascent Limited is butter smooth -- I can't say I notice any fake shifts other than when driving the first mile or two when the engine is cold. The Ascent CVT is much smoother than our 2011 Outback CVT and also smoother than the 4-EAT automatic transmission in my 2012 Forester.

So while many report that the fake shifting is pronounced in their Ascent, the performance of our Ascent CVT has been stellar (I've had both recalls performed; for the transmission harness and for the engine CPU, but I didn't notice any difference after these recall services were done). For those who might think I might be an owner that doesn't pay much attention to driving dynamics, I'll add that I had a WRX with a 6 speed manual trans for five years.
They're pretty much the same. But, each ECM and TCM learn their cars, environments, related components (each other, basically) and their own engines and transmissions. More so, some people just drive differently. Flooring it tends to make it faux shift, and do so harder. Normal or gradual acceleration and it may not faux shift at all.

I tend to ACC my way almost anywhere, so, mine doesn't faux shift much - not until I'm in control on traffic light controlled streets.

There are some couples here, where the CVT operates one way for one spouse and another way for the other spouse. I suspect their individual gas mileage is also quite different. ;)

I'm curious to hear how your's responds to flooring it from a stop a dozen times...
 

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They're pretty much the same. But, each ECM and TCM learn their cars, environments, related components (each other, basically) and their own engines and transmissions. More so, some people just drive differently. Flooring it tends to make it faux shift, and do so harder. Normal or gradual acceleration and it may not faux shift at all.

I tend to ACC my way almost anywhere, so, mine doesn't faux shift much - not until I'm in control on traffic light controlled streets.

There are some couples here, where the CVT operates one way for one spouse and another way for the other spouse. I suspect their individual gas mileage is also quite different. ;)

I'm curious to hear how your's responds to flooring it from a stop a dozen times...
I agree. Some Ascent owners 'might' not even realize the faux shifting because of their driving habits. For it to be very pronounced it is only under very heavy throttle >3500rpm. I have not timed any 0-60's, but I have found attempting to hold the RPM around 3000-3500 feels the best to me while accelerating quickly with the least CVT intrusion. That said I also have the Cobb AP which really helps. Every time I drive my wife's Ascent I comment how slow it feels :)
 

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I voted no shifts at all, however, since the paddles are already there, I'd be extremely happy to see a firmware update to turn it off.

I'm new to CVT but my concern is around wear (in addition to the crappy upshift/bog under light acceleration or constant low speed). By adding the shifts, won't "wear grooves" develop in the variators since the shifts are actually stops along the face of the variators rather than smoothly moving across in a sweep.
 

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By adding the shifts, won't "wear grooves" develop in the variators since the shifts are actually stops along the face of the variators rather than smoothly moving across in a sweep.
I've thought about this before and, absent a "better answer", I'll give you my presumption. By looking at the size of the chain (especially the width of the contact area it makes on the CVT pullies), I'm thinking the chain actually traverses less distance than we'd think across those pulley surfaces, and that much of the travel overlaps itself. In other words, the chain is still covering some of the same area in ratio 4 as it is in ratio 6, etc, which would prevent "grooves" developing at each stop. I think if the chain covered unique real estate on the pulleys at each stop, there would be the potential for discrete wear points, but I presume that's not the case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Subaru America, Customer Service

My name is Nick, I am writing this Email as I have a problem with the Subaru CVT. A little background. I have just purchased a 2020 Ascent Limited, very nice SUV. This is my 6th Subaru. It all started with my first Subaru, a 94 Loyale wagon. Loved that car. Next was a 96 Outback, nice car but had the twin cam engine with head gasket trouble. Now for the wonderful # 3 car 2009 Outback Tungston. Awsome car. This was my first experience with a CVT transmission. At first test drive I thought there was something wrong with the car until the salesman explained the CVT in the Subaru. I was skeptical but still purchased the car. What made me a believer was I started up a very large grade at 70 MPH and set the cruise. My old 96 Outback struggled and shifted quite a lot. This one never shifted and it did not lose speed either. What I noticed was the RPM's would slowly come up and the car never shifted, it held the speed perfectly! I could feel or hear nothing just the smooth hum of the motor. The other test was taking off from a stoplight, slight throttle. The RPM's would come up and as long as you did not change the throttle angle they would never change, the car would just keep accelerating. It was so smooth and powerful. No jerking or lugging or trying to shift gears when its not needed.

Alas the old Outback got a few miles and we decided to trade it in. We then purchased a 2015 Outback Premium. Very nice car. After driving it I noticed it shifted gears!? I asked the salesman about it and he told me it was simulated shift points to appease drivers who did not like the feel of a CVT. He also told me it was a learning transmission and when it learned my driving style it would go back to a smooth CVT. Not so! It never did. It lugged and jerked from stops and was not smooth at all. I watched the tach and you could see it trying to shift, not needed! I complained to Subaru for quite some time. They finally had a rep come and drive my car and I drove his 2017 Outback. He agreed mine was very rough and Subaru helped us get into a new 2017 Outback Premium. I will say it was smoother but it still was rough compared to my 09 Outback. Again the salesman gave me the speech about learning transmission, well maybe this time he might be right, Not So! Folks I have spent the better part of my life as a diagnostic technician s I know a thing or two about cars.

Lets cut to the chase, I got rid of the 17 Outback for the Ascent. The salesman again gave me the speech about learning transmission. This time I did not believe him. I want my new Subaru to be smooth and fun to drive. The CVT in my new Ascent is rough. Here is what is happening. From a stop you give it a small amount of throttle, it revs up a little then falls on its face trying to go to a higher gear, this is not what you want. Most drivers must push the throttle down even harder to get the big SUV moving, now we are using more fuel and then all of the sudden the vehicle upshifts (fake of course) and takes off. Now back off the throttle. Hence some drivers complaints of poor in town mileage and jerking. As a lot of you mechanics know jumping the chain under torque in the CVT is not good for the transmission, parts will wear out faster and shorten the life as opposed to a CVT that enjoys smooth operation with small incremental movements. Also the torque converter seems to be coming in way to soon causing the infamous torque converter "Chuggle" as we called it when I was with GM. All in all these things make the transmission rough and the car irritating to drive. I have been on most all of Subaru's forums and lots of owners are complaining of the fake shift points. I have heard lots of people complaining about their new Ascent's shifting rough. You as a corporation are trying to tweak little things in the transmission shifting to fix the problem. Really all you need to do is take out the fake shift points and restore the CVT to what it does best, select the best ratio according to throttle angle and let it incrementally keep changing it until you reach the desired speed. We want the smooth silky feeling of the CVT we knew when it first came out. Its better for the CVT, better mileage and will quell most of your complaints with the CVT. If you continue with the fake shift points I will be forced to look at other SUV's which do not have these engineered into the software of the TCM. Hyundai, KIA or Nissan. Please fix this issue and make us happy owners of Subaru vehicles. I do not want to switch car companies after owning six Subaru's.

Please let me know of your decision.

Thanks, Nick

My letter I sent to Subaru, hopefully they will respond. When they do I will post. Thanks
 

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@NTD I agree with everything you said. The in-town fuel economy sucks and I believe it's because of the shitty transmission. Love the car, but I'm only expecting to get 100,000 miles from transmission, which for me is like 4-5 years
 

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Love the car, but I'm only expecting to get 100,000 miles from transmission, which for me is like 4-5 years
It's been in use by Subaru for 10 years...I suspect that you'll easily get multiples of that mileage out of it.

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To the original topic...I see no need or value in having "fake shifts". I've tuned them out mentally, but would be quite happy if they just went away.
 
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My letter I sent to Subaru, hopefully they will respond. When they do I will post. Thanks
I did get an email response to my letter, two or three business days later. It appeared to be a mostly canned response -- they thanked me for my business, encouraged me to visit my dealer for service and maintenance, and said they'd pass my complaint along to their product development department.
 

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I did get an email response to my letter, two or three business days later. It appeared to be a mostly canned response -- they thanked me for my business, encouraged me to visit my dealer for service and maintenance, and said they'd pass my complaint along to their product development department.
That's good. That "canned response" means it's going to be tracked, and, perhaps changed if enough people request it.
 

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Yeah, I sent in my letter too.

Hell, I even said I'd pay $100 to go to the dealer and have it turned off. It's that annoying to me.
 
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