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We have 2019 Ascent for almost 1 year now with ~13k miles. Recently we start to hear a strange noise when the car is started the first time in the morning. It's a "whinning" noise when accelerate. If I just park the car and rev up the engine, the noise is not there. But if I start to move and accelerate, the noise appears so I suspect something with transmission. It almost gives a sounds like a broken water pump. It usually happens the first 5-10 minutes but the noise disappears after the car warms up. Anyone with similar symptom or knows what's going on? Should I be concerned about my transmission? Here are the links to the sound files. Hopefully it's clear enough. Ascent Noise 1, Ascent Noise 2
 

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@wxzusa

A mechanic will need to isolate and hear the pitch and location. It should not be too difficult to determine for them. Below are some ideas but just make an appointment and get a loaner.

the links work for me. almost like a whining?
Alternator working hard at startup?
Power steering fluid level - aeration or plugged PS filter
Belt
 

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Sort of sounds like my turbo on my wrx when cold in the winter. That thing is LOUD when just doing normal neighborhood driving on a <35F morning
 

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If it sounds like a power steering pump low on fluid, it's your CVT chain whirring around the big variator cones, squeezing cold CVT fluid through the gaps in the chain. As mentioned in the Owner's Manual, it is normal. It's on the top right of this page. I am sharing the whole page, because the other complaint that comes up in the forums a lot is that the CVT shifts differently when cold - that too is intentional. It also indicates, as I'd mentioned elsewhere, that the CVT's TCM is a learning computer, which is why shift behavior changes and (for virtually everyone) improves over time as the car learns.

6832
 

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We have 2019 Ascent for almost 1 year now with ~13k miles. Recently we start to hear a strange noise when the car is started the first time in the morning. It's a "whinning" noise when accelerate. If I just park the car and rev up the engine, the noise is not there. But if I start to move and accelerate, the noise appears so I suspect something with transmission. It almost gives a sounds like a broken water pump. It usually happens the first 5-10 minutes but the noise disappears after the car warms up. Anyone with similar symptom or knows what's going on? Should I be concerned about my transmission? Here are the links to the sound files. Hopefully it's clear enough. Ascent Noise 1, Ascent Noise 2
I hear the same thing (high pitched whining sound) from the transmission in my 2020 Ascent. I have also noticed the CVT 'chirp' when shifting into the drive gear as well. I agree, that the noise diminishes as the engine/transmission warms up to operating temperatures. I also agree that this noisy transmission is sadly normal for Subaru CVTs. However, we spent good money on a car that sounds like a wind-up toy which does not sit well with me. If other car manufacturers can make a quiet CVT, I don't see why Subaru isn't capable of the same.
Cheers,
Jonathan
 

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If other car manufacturers can make a quiet CVT, I don't see why Subaru isn't capable of the same.
Because other manufacturers use a belt driven CVT, that cannot handle the power our Ascents put out. If in an Ascent, the belts would probably literally explode the first time someone tried flooring it - not really exaggerating - the differences in torque limits is staggering.
 

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Are we just going to ignore the fact that he has a 2019 with only 13k miles?
Yes. Some people don't drive a lot. We've got someone else in these forums and the FB group I manage who has a similar amount of miles on her 2019.
 

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Because other manufacturers use a belt driven CVT, that cannot handle the power our Ascents put out. If in an Ascent, the belts would probably literally explode the first time someone tried flooring it - not really exaggerating - the differences in torque limits is staggering.
I thought the Subaru Ascent CVT also uses a belt? Any additional insight/information would be appreciated. Thanks!
 

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I thought the Subaru Ascent CVT also uses a belt? Any additional insight/information would be appreciated. Thanks!
Nah, belts don't turn around pulleys easily. We use a multilayer multilink chain that can turn around very tight turns. The spaces between the chain plates are where the CVT fluid gets squeezed through which gives Subaru's two Lineartronic CVT models their unique sounds. The non-turbo/non 6 cylinder Subarus use a TR580, which makes the same sounds, but has a smaller chain and pulleys, so, the sound is a lot quieter.

This is a CVT belt. It's a bunch of flat metal bands bent into a belt, with ribs that ride along it (and slide along it). The metal band has to continuously flex and unflex innumerable times when driving - plus get bent around the ever changing pulley radiuses.
6834


Here's a cut away so you can see the differences/inferior nature of the design
6835



This is the TR690 CVT chain.
It's the chain in our CVT
6833


Note, how it can flex to very tight radiuses with zero metal strain and zero metal fatigue (this is the smaller TR580 chain, not ours)
6836




THIS shows the difference in power handling capabilities. As of this publication, only Audi and Subaru use LuK's big steel chains (pretty sure, they're still the only ones that do). Subaru's TR690 chain is the beefiest of them, and is what's represented in the image.
  • Lineartronic SOP is its standard operating parameters. This is how much power they were putting through it in 2015 with the slightly less powerful H6 engines.
  • Lineartronic Max Specification is exactly what it sounds like. Still WAY above what our engines put out.



6837


So, because of the unique design of our chains and that our CVT uses such chains, it makes an interesting whirring sound, especially when cold.
 

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Nah, belts don't turn around pulleys easily. We use a multilayer multilink chain that can turn around very tight turns. The spaces between the chain plates are where the CVT fluid gets squeezed through which gives Subaru's two Lineartronic CVT models their unique sounds. The non-turbo/non 6 cylinder Subarus use a TR580, which makes the same sounds, but has a smaller chain and pulleys, so, the sound is a lot quieter.

This is a CVT belt. It's a bunch of flat metal bands bent into a belt, with ribs that ride along it (and slide along it). The metal band has to continuously flex and unflex innumerable times when driving - plus get bent around the ever changing pulley radiuses.
View attachment 6834

Here's a cut away so you can see the differences/inferior nature of the design
View attachment 6835


This is the TR690 CVT chain.
It's the chain in our CVT
View attachment 6833

Note, how it can flex to very tight radiuses with zero metal strain and zero metal fatigue (this is the smaller TR580 chain, not ours)
View attachment 6836



THIS shows the difference in power handling capabilities. As of this publication, only Audi and Subaru use LuK's big steel chains (pretty sure, they're still the only ones that do). Subaru's TR690 chain is the beefiest of them, and is what's represented in the image.
  • Lineartronic SOP is its standard operating parameters. This is how much power they were putting through it in 2015 with the slightly less powerful H6 engines.
  • Lineartronic Max Specification is exactly what it sounds like. Still WAY above what our engines put out.



View attachment 6837

So, because of the unique design of our chains and that our CVT uses such chains, it makes an interesting whirring sound, especially when cold.
Very helpful to understand. Thank you!
 

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The noise does go away once the car warms up, but it is very noticeable for a minute or 2. I had forgotten about until our 1st sub 20゚ day a week ago and heard the noise. Those of you who live in warmer climates will never notice/experience it.
 

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My 2005 Honda Odyssey has a water pump problem and hence the whining once the weather got cold(er). I also thought my Ascent had the same problem but like others have said the noise does go away once the car warms up so I kind of suspected it is normal. With all the info in this thread I am now ok with the noise and understand. Thanks guys!
 

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Nice insight on the CVT. Is this why the car feels slow as well till the engine temp hits about 100F? The CVT being primed?
Engine and emissions system is being warmed. With the higher RPM's, it seems slower than it really is, because it feels like it's hanging in "first gear". In reality, it's just keeping engine RPM's consistently high and still changing the ratio. If you're flooring it, then, I'd probably say "yes"? ...because of the RPM ranges it's trying to keep the engine running in, it may actually be a little slower. Kinda like in a regular transmission car, when you hang in the wrong gear.
 

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I'll ask an unrelated question on cold starts...I'm sure ours is not behaving any differently than anyone elses.

On a cold start, the engine will flash up to about 1,800 rpm and stay there for 20-30 seconds before (slowly) starting to inch downward. This is to help warm the engine up faster, light off the catalytic converters, etc. However, we rarely have the patience to wait for the engine speed to come down appreciably before backing out of the garage, so our CVT normally sees about 1,800 rpm going into reverse. As a "car guy", I hate the thought of that transmission basically having a neutral drop into gear...

I ask because the Outback I had as a loaner last week didn't do this. Well, the cold engine idle would be up at about 1,800 rpm or so, but I could shift it pretty quickly into neutral (from park) and the engine speed would come down to about 1,000 rpm. Then I could shift it into a moving gear from there. This doesn't work in our Ascent. Park or neutral doesn't matter -- the engine's humming away on a cold idle.

I presume this is the same as everyone else's Ascent. Same as yours?
 
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