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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought my Ascent. 2k miles on it...
Bought a beautiful travel trailer, and towed it from Michigan back to Kentucky. After I dropped off the trailer in my driveway, I've been noticing a winding noise as Im picking up speed. Thought maybe the power steering pump? But I called Subaru and they said it may be the transmission!!!!

Towed under 5k, 3600lbs dry weight camper....and transmission problems already? Really???

Stay tuned, bringing it into the shop this week
 

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It's always best to let any new car properly break-in before towing a heavy trailer.

Can't be a power steering pump, the Ascent uses electric power steering, but you should have the transmission checked.

I hope it all works out.
 

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I just bought my Ascent. 2k miles on it...
Bought a beautiful travel trailer, and towed it from Michigan back to Kentucky. After I dropped off the trailer in my driveway, I've been noticing a winding noise as Im picking up speed. Thought maybe the power steering pump? But I called Subaru and they said it may be the transmission!!!!

Towed under 5k, 3600lbs dry weight camper....and transmission problems already? Really???

Stay tuned, bringing it into the shop this week
The beefy metal chain in the CVT makes a "winding"/power steering pump low on fluid noise - normally. I noticed mine before I started towing - but I was listening for it. The chain whine was one of the biggest complaints about the TR690 when it came out 11 years ago (the faux shifting helps to hide it).

The Ascent has a TR690 CVT, which is heavier, bigger, beefier, and louder than the TR580 in virtually every other Subaru - and it sounds it. That the chain makes noises is mentioned in your Owner's Manual (for MY 2019, it's on page 326 of the online version, Revision D, top right - for other model years or manual revisions, it's in the same section, a page or three off from there). The CVT is noisier in some conditions, and quieter in others. I find mine starts off noisy each morning, right after I've started the car, and then gets quieter. Ambient/CVT temperature, and how long the car has been sitting, also affect how noisy it is when started.

So, don't panic, with luck, you may just now be noticing it because you've towed and are anticipating something to be wrong.
And, if not, they can easily determine if there's something wrong and get it fixed.

4313


This was about 4,300 pounds in this photo. So, it's not the tow load you're pulling.
4314
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The beefy metal chain in the CVT makes a "winding"/power steering pump low on fluid noise - normally. I noticed mine before I started towing - but I was listening for it. The chain whine was one of the biggest complaints about the TR690 when it came out
The Ascent has a TR690 CVT, which is heavier, bigger, beefier, and louder than the TR580 in virtually every other Subaru - and it sounds it. That the chain makes noises is mentioned in your Owner's Manual (for MY 2019, it's on page 326 of the online version, Revision D, top right - for other model years or manual revisions, it's in the same section, a page or three off from there). The CVT is noisier in some conditions, and quieter in others. I find mine starts off noisy each morning, right after I've started the car, and then gets quieter. Ambient/CVT temperature, and how long the car has been sitting, also affect how noisy it is when started.

So, don't panic, with luck, you may just now be noticing it because you've towed and are anticipating something to be wrong.
And, if not, they can easily determine if there's something wrong and get it fixed.

View attachment 4313

This was about 4,300 pounds in this photo. So, it's not the tow load you're pulling.
View attachment 4314
Yea I just had the mechanic take a look. They’re gonna diagnose it and go from there.

they told me there’s no more required break in period. I have 2400 miles on it. All highway before towing. I figured that was enough.

it’s just weird that I’ve noticed it after I towed. I usually go through Dunkin’ Donuts and that next day I noticed it in the drive through.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
They said they can’t find anything wrong with it. They stuck a stethoscope to the car and couldn’t find a thing. It really sounds like I have a super charger. Maybe I’m more sensitive to it since I towed thinking something is wrong with it? I dunno. If it keeps happening I’ll just keep on bringing it in...weird
 

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They said they can’t find anything wrong with it. They stuck a stethoscope to the car and couldn’t find a thing. It really sounds like I have a super charger. Maybe I’m more sensitive to it since I towed thinking something is wrong with it? I dunno. If it keeps happening I’ll just keep on bringing it in...weird
First time I towed, I was listening for every sound, especially because the Edge was at its full GVWR, fully packed with gear and all three tanks full. I heard all sorts of things. The difference is, I take a gazillion videos of my Ascent, so, I was fortunate enough to go back and listen to them, and realize it was simply sounds I'd never paid attention to before.

Here's an example. Listen to the horrible ticking/grinding sound at the 11-20 second mark during my off-roading on the 4x4 trail in the Stronghold Unit of Badlands National Park on Sheep Mountain Table.

That sound scared the heck out of me - first I'd "heard" it. Truth is, it's just the first I'd noticed, as, I went back to my earliest videos and noticed my outside cams recorded that sound many times.



BTW, it's the direct injection system, and is an odd characteristic to how such systems work on various car brands (not just on Subies).

If I get a chance, I will try to record my CVT whine so you can compare.
 

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They said they can’t find anything wrong with it. They stuck a stethoscope to the car and couldn’t find a thing. It really sounds like I have a super charger. Maybe I’m more sensitive to it since I towed thinking something is wrong with it? I dunno. If it keeps happening I’ll just keep on bringing it in...weird
I have an Ascent Limited & noticed the winding noise when my car was about 2 months old. Didn't have it when I first got the car At first, I wasn't sure what the noise was but with time I figured it wasn't very important because it didn't affect the operation of the vehicle. The nice thing about a CVT is the smooth operation without the jerky shifting. I can't figure out why Nissan can make a super quiet CVT and Subaru can't! I find the fake shifting to be very annoying.
 

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I can't figure out why Nissan can make a super quiet CVT and Subaru can't! I find the fake shifting to be very annoying.
Oh that's a simple one. Because a JATCO push-belt CVT (such as what's in the Nissans) is a low torque, limited capability, little pushbelt drive system. The Ascent uses a chain driven TR690 which has the highest torque handling capability of any passenger car CVT in existence. The JATCOs would probably eat themselves if used to try to move the Ascent with the FA24DIT torque, and explode if used in something like the Ascent while towing as much as 5,000 pounds. No, not joking... literally the pushbelt would likely explode into a ton of pieces, shredding all sorts of other things (this happened early on and is actually part of what gave CVTs a bad name).

Different designs, different purposes.

I explain it all, in detail, with pics, here:

The only other passenger CVTs I am aware of that come close to the torque and load capabilities of the TR690 are made by Audi, using the same LuK beefy chain and pulley technology.
 

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Yeah, it's definitely not the load and a CVT does make a unique noise.
Heck even the Subaru boxer engine makes a different sound than most cars.

I'm up to 4,000 miles of towing, with loads like these:


Pop up camper - 3,500lbs.

Mustang on borrowed Lowe's trailer - 4,800lbs

Mustang on my BigTex trailer - 4,500lbs

Dodge Nitro on Big Tex trailer - 5,500lbs . (Note, I went slow around town for about 10 miles at 45mph max)
 
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I'm perplexed by this discussion because my 2019 Ascent makes almost no odd noises at all. It's one of the quietest vehicles I've ever owned. I'm very mechanically inclined and I am very sensitive to any sound, feel, or vibration a vehicle makes. I know almost instantly when something changes or is wrong, it's like a sixth sense almost. My Toyota Solara always made extraneous noises that I was constantly tracking down, and my trusty Forester, bless its heart, is a rattle trap. It's PZEV engine sounds like it's going to fall apart when it first starts, which is normal for the PZEV engines, and no matter what I do, the exhaust system has never stop rattling since I purchased it. The interior always rattled, I would track down and fix one and another would start. But my Ascent is remarkably quiet inside and out.

The only noise issue I had with the Ascent was squeaks and rattles from the interior, but over the last year I've tracked down and fixed all of them. I get no extraneous sounds from the engine, transmission, or suspension. No CVT whine and I've always been listening for it because I expected it. Nothing out of the ordinary. The brakes squeaked lightly for a while when it was new, but no more. I recently had my hearing checked so I know nothing is wrong with that, I can still hear frequencies up to 20 kHz which is great for my age and I can still hear all the noises my other vehicles make.

So maybe I just got lucky with this one car, but I can state that my Ascent currently does not make any sounds some here describe as normal for the Ascent. It's as quiet as any luxury car I've been in. Maybe that will change as it gets older, but right now, I'm really enjoying it.
 

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I don't hear the DIT system unless outside, which is why I never noticed it. It's the oddest thing. Had I not gotten out to set up the outside cams to film in Badlands, I'd probably never have known or noticed. The CVT to me sounds like a chain driven CVT - just louder than the smaller TR580. It's also quieter in warmer temps.

I'm perplexed by this discussion because my 2019 Ascent makes almost no odd noises at all. It's one of the quietest vehicles I've ever owned. I'm very mechanically inclined and I am very sensitive to any sound, feel, or vibration a vehicle makes. I know almost instantly when something changes or is wrong, it's like a sixth sense almost. My Toyota Solara always made extraneous noises that I was constantly tracking down, and my trusty Forester, bless its heart, is a rattle trap. It's PZEV engine sounds like it's going to fall apart when it first starts, which is normal for the PZEV engines, and no matter what I do, the exhaust system has never stop rattling since I purchased it. The interior always rattled, I would track down and fix one and another would start. But my Ascent is remarkably quiet inside and out.

The only noise issue I had with the Ascent was squeaks and rattles from the interior, but over the last year I've tracked down and fixed all of them. I get no extraneous sounds from the engine, transmission, or suspension. No CVT whine and I've always been listening for it because I expected it. Nothing out of the ordinary. The brakes squeaked lightly for a while when it was new, but no more. I recently had my hearing checked so I know nothing is wrong with that, I can still hear frequencies up to 20 kHz which is great for my age and I can still hear all the noises my other vehicles make.

So maybe I just got lucky with this one car, but I can state that my Ascent currently does not make any sounds some here describe as normal for the Ascent. It's as quiet as any luxury car I've been in. Maybe that will change as it gets older, but right now, I'm really enjoying it.
 

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@Usfwrestler you mentioned hearing it at Dunkin’ Donuts...does that mean it was in the morning with the engine and tranny not fully warmed? I’ve noticed my cvt is much noisier before everything comes up to temperature.
 

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Found this very informative relative to some of the little noises we may hear, and other useful CVT info....

CVT Common Operating Characteristics - Subaru Canada.
That's a beautiful find!!!

#10 does not apply to the Ascent in the same way, so, I am posting the way it applies to the Ascent and to TR580 based cars, with additional commentary.

#10 doesn't quite apply as noted.

TR580 (naturally aspirated Subies)
10. Delay from Reverse to Drive/Drive to Reverse

It is not uncommon for a vehicle operator to place the vehicle into Drive while the vehicle is still moving backwards. In a traditional automatic transmission, the shock of this directional change is passed through solid gears and absorbed by the torque converter.

For a CVT equipped vehicle, the Chain is not solidly locked to the Variator’s, and a sudden shock such as this could possibly cause it to slip, damaging both it and the Variator’s, so the vehicle must come to a complete stop before a change in direction can be achieved.

Additionally, since the forward/reverse gears are before the Variators, the chain and variator need to reverse direction.

TR690 (ours, WRX with CVT, Outback XT)
10. Delay from Reverse to Drive/Drive to Reverse

It is not uncommon for a vehicle operator to place the vehicle into Drive while the vehicle is still moving backwards. In a traditional automatic transmission, the shock of this directional change is passed through solid gears and absorbed by the torque converter.

Unlike the TR580, the TR690 chain is ALWAYS locked to the Variator, and ALWAYS spinning, and the forward/reverse gears are after the Variator, instead of before (like in the TR580). So, suddenly putting an instant load from reversing the direction of the car can cause a sudden shock such as this could possibly cause it to slip, damaging both it and the Variator’s, so the vehicle must come to a complete stop before a change in direction can be achieved.
 
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