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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So our 2019 Ascent is slipping and squealing while trying to "shift". It happens going uphill, even slight grade. Usually around 55 to 65 MPH is when it is most noticeable. As we drove up hwy 36 over the weekend, it just slipped and slipped.It is unpredicable, sometimes it happens, sometimes not. The unpredictable part is scary, you can't plan for it. We live in Colorado, in the foothills north of Boulder. There is no way the vehicle is safe while it is doing this. It is a base model and was manufactured in 11/18 per the door pillar label. We bought it in Jan. of 2019 from Valley Subaru in Longmont, CO. Today (Dec. 2) was first day we could get in for a service appointment. It is my wife's car, so she took it in. The service advisor simply told her that Subaru has just issued a recall last week, and that our Ascent is covered by the recall. They sent her home, with the Ascent, that they just said was under recall. No test drive, no pulling it into the bay, no lifting of the hood. Just stating that " your vehicle is under a TRANSMISSION recall" and then let her drive it home. We live 16 miles from the dealership, so we can get it home, but beyond that, we have so many questions. They gave no instructions, like should we continue driving it? Will they be out to tow us when it won't climb hills? We live up a significant hill, will they come get it when we can no longer get it home? Any safety concern? They said all the Ascents under the recall will be fixed, and that parts are on the way and we will be getting an email. The service advisor told my wife that his "girlfriend's Ascent was doing the same thing even in intersections" which I suspect is some sort of code for how to ask for our Ascent to be left with them while she drives a loaner.
Anyway -- It is my wife's car, just a commuter, no towing, nothing altered from stock except a bike rack on top. To have a transmission fail at 15k is pretty crazy but that's how I found this forum and seems like we aren't alone. I will post further updates as our conversation with the dealership goes along.

EDIT: I used the word recall and I am probably wrong -- it sounds like it is a TSB, a technical service bulletin, I will try to learn more about it. Apparently it sounds like it extends the warranty on the transmission as well.
 

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Hi!

As per your edit, yes, it's not a recall. There is a Service Campaign where they are updating the TCM's on about 76,000 Ascents to address chain slip concerns.

And, working my way backwards, towing is irrelevant. I beat the heck out of my Ascent, including towing and some serious off-roading following Jeeps everywhere where I won't scrape my skid plates too much.

Please let Subaru know how the dealership is handling your problem, and, if possible, document the slipping when it's safe for a passenger to record it.

I posted info about the Service Campaign here:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Robert,
Thank you! -- I think that is exactly what they were referring to.

Alright now I suspect I am going to be viewed as overly concerned or too dramatic. Oh well.
To be clear -- The vehicle slips and lurches. In traffic. As you pointed out there are safety concerns. "when it's safe for a passenger to record it." We will do so. When we pulled it in garage it smelled like something is getting hot/burned. The reference to being a chain slipping matches what I feel when driving it. It is feeling like an old belt-driven riding lawn mower that I used in the early 80's, with a bad belt.
We previously owned a Forester. It was amazingly reliable. As far as snow, adverse conditions, being loaded for moves, all day mountain drives with bikes loaded on top, etc. it was indestructible. It was because of that experience that we bought the Ascent. We did not finance it, we bought it outright for almost $40k. When we bought it we planned for many hundreds of thousands of miles, and over ten years of use, like so many other Subaru owners have enjoyed over the years. Those plans are changing. I figure if they offer us an extended warranty on the Ascent we will sell it prior to the expiration of the warranty period. Because once the warranty period is up, their problem becomes our problem. Or, I guess, if they offer to buy it back from us, even if we have to take what we consider to be a loss, we will probably do that.
Obviously everyone's experience will vary and everyone has to make their own decisions and comfort level about the vehicle that transports their family and children. Some of must calculate in children who are really young and thus cannot fend for themselves on the side of the highway when you're out in a remote area of Colorado in the middle of winter waiting on a tow truck. I get it that I will be over on the cautious side of that calculation. That is why we thought we were smart buying a Subaru Ascent, we were purchasing ultra reliability for family peace of mind. Today Subaru is not providing that experience. That being said, I have no problem with folks saying Subaru is great and I will update if something comes through to make me feel like Subaru is a "safety first" automaker.
I figure at a minimum lots of folks will be wondering how long they wait while they drive a car that is so obviously internally failing with the transmission. Some will not be able to drive it at all of course.
I do think you are going to be the go to guy for the knowledge on this stuff so please do respond as appropriate I am not trying to be jerk even though it is gloom and doom compared to what you wrote. But it's not like I'm alone, I only found you and the forum because I googled Ascent Transmission Problems.
Sincerely, Brett
 

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Hi Brett, busy at work for a few more hours... I'll do a detailed reply later...

But, what I can tell you is that tomorrow I break 46,000 miles. Many thousands of that have been spent off roading all over the country. Heck, I trust my TR690 enough to have done an 8,400 mile road trip (singular trip) and off-roaded every chance I got, in desert, in Badlands, in Cali, in Utah, and a dozen other places along the way, thousands of miles from home.






Or towing the trailer in this pic, which weighs as much as an Ascent Premium
2411


So, as you can tell, I am not worried about the CVT. Once they fix yours, I suspect you will be good to go. There's very few people on the planet who abuse their Ascent as much as I abuse mine, and maybe one or two people with privately owned Ascents who have more mileage.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That's cool, hopefully it will be fine when they fix it. She was at the dealership this morning and they didn't touch it. So obviously they're confident.
I watched your rutted trail video, that's definitely fun and I do have other old trucks that I drive which I would be fine doing that with.
Thanks for your input so far, I am following your other thread on the issue.
 

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Sounds like there was some damage done to your transmission by the smell and sounds you referred to. I suspect it's going to take more than a software update or new harness to fix the problem for you; probably going to need a new transmission. They should not have sent your wife home in a vehicle with an issue that could strand her. That's exactly what happened to Snowgirl and within a day or two, guess what? She was stranded. That's lousy of your dealership and Subaru should be handling the situation better than that by sending you home in a loaner.
 

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That's cool, hopefully it will be fine when they fix it. She was at the dealership this morning and they didn't touch it. So obviously they're confident.
I watched your rutted trail video, that's definitely fun and I do have other old trucks that I drive which I would be fine doing that with.
Thanks for your input so far, I am following your other thread on the issue.
Greetings,
I'm sorry for your trouble. I think the dealer's response is off here. If they think you just need the TCM, why wouldn't they do it on the spot? No parts required, right?

Others that have written about similar problems have described going into the shop and leaving with a loaner while they wait on an entirely new transmission.
 

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Your post made me think of the video linked in post 113 on this thread. Is it a similar thing?

 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yeah I am skeptical, probably too much who knows. It's one thing to have a conversation about it on a Monday morning when the sun is shining bright and the roads are dry. It's an entirely different deal when its a weekend at night, far from home. A person shouldn't be scared to drive on the highway in a lurchy car, either trying to pass other vehicles, or like when a semi comes up behind you on the way to Cheyenne or on I-70 at night. These concerns are what makes you go and try to buy a safe car in the first place. Nighttime, windy or adverse conditions conditions, female driver getting worried nervous because she has to care for kids. I totally get it that other folks might be more adventurous. I drove really sketchy cars when I was in my 20's and had lots of breakdowns and other mishaps. That was a different time.
As I stated in my original post the car is unsafe. I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is. If any Subaru employee wants to come for a midnight drive up 287 to Laramie, WY from Denver, I will pay the gas, and I will pay them for their time, until they call it off.
My wife drove it home, and she is working from home today. When she took it to the dealership this morning, she wasn't going there to waste their time. On the other hand, tomorrow will be a new day and we will see what the dealer says.
I do think Robert's point of view is helpful, and hoping for the best is good.
Sincerely, Brett
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Your post made me think of the video linked in post 113 on this thread. Is it a similar thing?

Hi Raindog, Yes, that's it exactly. At around the 4 minute mark he gets some of the squeakier ones recorded, that is the sound for sure. How can all that slipping going up hills not be wearing on internal components?

 

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It's possible that they are waiting for direction from SoA, but I still strongly suggest that you reach out to SoA about it.

Like mentioned, a TCM update won't fix existing damage. I'm holding on to the hope that if they do find physical damage, they'd address it in a different fashion than simply updating the software.
 

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Hi Robert, and Raindog and bverant
This forum has been hugely valuable today, seeing the video, and your knowledge etc. How do you reach out to SoA?

EDIT: I'm curious is the guy in the video just getting a software fix? Or will there be more feedback than that?
 

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Hi Robert, and Raindog and bverant
This forum has been hugely valuable today, seeing the video, and your knowledge etc. How do you reach out to SoA?

EDIT: I'm curious is the guy in the video just getting a software fix? Or will there be more feedback than that?
Brett, FYI....I replied to your post in the list your transmission problem thread.
Also, just curious, is your car behaving like the video in post 1085 on the following page hyperlinked below:
This is what mine was doing before they replaced it a few weeks ago.
Joe
 

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So I’m trying grasp how a software/firmware change will change any sort of physical slipping problem.
Obviously this has nothing to do with previous damaged, but 100% prevention.
So how are they preventing slipping, from software? I mean, are they changing shift points/behavior?
Are they changing how violently the fake shifts “downshift?”
 

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So I’m trying grasp how a software/firmware change will change any sort of physical slipping problem.
Obviously this has nothing to do with previous damaged, but 100% prevention.
So how are they preventing slipping, from software? I mean, are they changing shift points/behavior?
Are they changing how violently the fake shifts “downshift?”
Preventing the chain from slipping is done by adjusting the clamping pressure of the pulley cones. The valves and solenoids that do that are computer (TCM) controlled. If I had to guess, it's simply being regulated differently by the new TCM software.
 

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Hi Brett, I am sorry to hear you are having transmission issues with you Ascent. My 2019 Ascent Touring did the same thing 2 weeks ago. Slipping around 65-70 miles per hour, slight inclines seem to trigger it but it also happened on level ground too. The TCM update came too late for my 6/18 built Ascent, as the damage is already done. I brought it to the dealer on 11/18 and the update came out the afternoon of 11/25.

My transmission is being replaced, as I suspect yours will too. In order for my transmission to be replaced, the dealer was instructed by Subaru to collect live data. The dealer was not able to replicate that for 1 week and my videos of the slipping was not enough to sway their decision. The manager even took it home overnight and did get it to slip, but did not have a data recorder connected. On the Tuesday 11/26 after the service manager took Ascent for another test drive, when he came back, he saw the TSB. I guess this allowed the dealer to follow another path toward getting my transmission replaced. I am not sure, but I am glad they were persistent. My dealership has been great through this mess. So now I wait for a new transmission.

I find it strange your dealer did not hold the vehicle for inspect and give your wife a loaner at the first sign of trouble. I was given a Crosstrek for the first few days while the dealer worked on the car, but the dealership was nice enough to upgrade me to a 2020 Ascent loaner since then while I wait for the repairs to be complete. I believe it is a Premium mode.

I don't mean to instill any fear in you Brett, as I have owned 6 Subarus including the Ascent. The other 5 were very reliable. Well my 1st Subaru had the dreaded head gasket issue, but all the others were great and lasted over 150k miles. That said, it is my belief that the TR690 is not a good transmission choice for the Ascent. Yes, I know the TR690 is an old transmission and I have been following it's history since its introduction in 2012 on the Japanese market Legacy GT 2.0DIT.

I hope your dealer and Subaru find a solution to your transmission and you get your car back soon.

Best Regards
 

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laufu, glad to hear you have a persistent dealer. My dealer was persistent too and a little concerned about my transmission because for the first day it worked fine for them. They really wanted to fix it for me and not have to send me out with a bad transmission. The next day I got an email from Starlink saying multiple check engine lights just come on. I knew the dealer replicated the problem then.
 

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Hi Brett, I am sorry to hear you are having transmission issues with you Ascent. My 2019 Ascent Touring did the same thing 2 weeks ago. Slipping around 65-70 miles per hour, slight inclines seem to trigger it but it also happened on level ground too. The TCM update came too late for my 6/18 built Ascent, as the damage is already done. I brought it to the dealer on 11/18 and the update came out the afternoon of 11/25.

My transmission is being replaced, as I suspect yours will too. In order for my transmission to be replaced, the dealer was instructed by Subaru to collect live data. The dealer was not able to replicate that for 1 week and my videos of the slipping was not enough to sway their decision. The manager even took it home overnight and did get it to slip, but did not have a data recorder connected. On the Tuesday 11/26 after the service manager took Ascent for another test drive, when he came back, he saw the TSB. I guess this allowed the dealer to follow another path toward getting my transmission replaced. I am not sure, but I am glad they were persistent. My dealership has been great through this mess. So now I wait for a new transmission.

I find it strange your dealer did not hold the vehicle for inspect and give your wife a loaner at the first sign of trouble. I was given a Crosstrek for the first few days while the dealer worked on the car, but the dealership was nice enough to upgrade me to a 2020 Ascent loaner since then while I wait for the repairs to be complete. I believe it is a Premium mode.

I don't mean to instill any fear in you Brett, as I have owned 6 Subarus including the Ascent. The other 5 were very reliable. Well my 1st Subaru had the dreaded head gasket issue, but all the others were great and lasted over 150k miles. That said, it is my belief that the TR690 is not a good transmission choice for the Ascent. Yes, I know the TR690 is an old transmission and I have been following it's history since its introduction in 2012 on the Japanese market Legacy GT 2.0DIT.

I hope your dealer and Subaru find a solution to your transmission and you get your car back soon.

Best Regards
Every modern vehicle should easily last 150000 miles. I currently own a Taurus with 300000 miles (original engine and transmission). I replaced a used cavalier with 275,000 miles (original equipment). Now my family owns two subies and expect similar mileage if not more.
 

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Subaru‘s general reliability and recalls deserves a thread of their own.
My ‘14 Forester XT fell into 2 separate recalls - one CVT related, where Subaru extended to CVT warranty to 10/100 and a FA20DIT engine leak down test where Subarus stock ECU maps were so bad they were blowing up motors. In both situations, I probably should have gotten a new engine and CVT, but fell just outside their testing criteria for replacement.
That put a permanent curse on that vehicle in my mind as I didn’t want to get stuck with either $10K+ repair bill just outside warranty.
I sold the car before hitting 100,000 miles. I shouldn’t have had to do that but the reliability fears contributed to it greatly. I was not going to be left “holding the bag” outside of warranty. The car was in great shape and was maintained immaculately in every regard - I shouldn’t have had to sell it.
Traditionally, blown motors aren’t a “thing” and most transmissions can be worked on and repaired if needed for ~$2K. Not so with Subaru.
What do I do? I buy another brand new Subaru with a CVT and newer platform turbo engine, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Ok, here's my update from yesterday. First, I appreciate the comments from everyone above. It was helpful to know this is not just us. Today we indeed got our email from the dealership with our scheduled appointment for Friday morning. I did call and speak with a service advisor today. It is clear the entire Subaru system is pretty overwhelmed by this issue. He assured me they are working through it as fast as they can, part of it is they are still trying to understand the problem.

In light of all my worry yesterday, I wanted to pass along that with this recent news, I am less worried.

Although, given that the whole thing has happened I am still skeptical of the car as it was originally advertised and sold to us. I mean a transmission is one of the major components of the car. I will post what happens after Friday.
 
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