2011 Subaru Outback Transmission

Asked by Jan 26, 2017 at 08:52 PM about the 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 2011 Subaru Outback with 112k miles on it.
I bought it new and this is the first issue I've had
with it and it's a doozy.  Dealership diagnosed it as
needing a body valve and torque converter, which is
related to transmission. I got a second and third
opinion who said they wouldn't be able to fix a
transmission as intricate as the Subaru's. The car is
chugging when shifting out of first but everything
else seems electrical - random static coming
through the speakers (I have literally shut all my
electronics and the radio off and still get static
through the speakers), check engine light, oil at
temp light, cruise control flashes and will not
function, USB port is spotty, to name a few.  Can
anyone give me some advice? Thanks so much in

22 Answers


Meredith- Are you the original owner??? Have you ever had the transmission fluid changed?? If I were you, I'd have it changed or drained and refilled with new fluid and see if that helps. It won't cost that much and it's worth a try. Some people say that the CVT transmission starts to stall when coming to a stop? Has this happened to you? You mentioned that it chugging when shifting out of first.....?? Psst, there is no 1st , 2nd, 3rd...... It's a ONE SPEED transmission, and changes continuously . I would take the car to a Subaru specialist, I've heard of them replacing the valve body. See this information below and it could be a solenoid, good luck, http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/104-gen-4-2010- 2014/179441-2011-ob-2-5i-cvt-valve-body-failure.html

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Take care of that CVT as they are Extremely expensive to replace. I don't know that any independent transmission shop can work on CVT's. This is the one case I would recommend going to a dealer for.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

F_O_R-. YES, normally I would have suggested that... I had my fluid changed at the dealership. BUT, in this case, the dealership diagnosis was the valve body and an independent set of eyes on this would be great. Perhaps they could take it to another Subaru dealership?


As I have found out some dealers are better than others. Call and talk to the service manager and describe the problem. If it sounds like they know how to deal with the issue then try them instead.


Meredith- I see that you ARE the original owner.... Did anyone ever suggest that you have the CVT transmission fluid changed??? Even though it's NOT REQUIRED doesn't mean you shouldn't do it for preventative maintenance.... Too bad, I think that would have been a better solution way before this all started.... You might be able to find someone who can just replace the valve body and possibly torque converter, but a new CVT transmission is going to be around $7,000. Of course it's EXPENSIVE, BUT, you cannot purchase a new car for $7,000.... And, even if you did purchase a new car, the sales tax alone would be $2,000 to 4,000 depending on what you got. Something to consider. I look at it this way, if you are not spending $5,000 per year every year on actual repairs, not MAINTENANCE, then it's less EXPENSIVE to fix and keep your car. A new transmission will probably last another 100,000 miles.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

$5000 per year translates to $400 per month car payments which is pretty standard for 60 months.. Repairs don't usually come up every year to this magnitude....


If this was my car I would install a good used CVT with a warranty and then SELL it - fast.


F_O_R- please define "good used" , this kind of falls into the category of "alternative facts"..... Where and how do you do find and validate something like this?? I'd either purchase a new or remanufactured part that is certified to work and keep the car for at least 50,000 miles.


Warranties on "used parts" are usually 90 days... Besides, when someone asks you about this car, wouldn't you rather look them straight in the face and tell them exactly what you did..? Installing the remanufactured part or new is "as good as it gets".

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

So what do you suggest Mark? Crush the car or spend 8 grand to fix it? Yes you tell them you put a transmission in it that has 20k miles on it from a wrecked car. Is that so hard?


Mark-- What is the warranty on the existing transmission and other parts on a used 2011 Subaru? ZERO, so any warranty at all is better would you agree?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

F_O_R-. Well, you're making a lot of assumptions about finding a qualified and compatible transmission from another Subaru Outback of the same year with 20,000 miles?? How easy is that, really?? YES, I'm definitely saying that installing a remanufactured CVT transmission is the very best solution. You're right, other 2011 , heck, my 2010 is out of warranty, so what! I think a lot depends on how you drive and service your car. Remember the person who had a 2010 Subaru Outback Limited with 300,000 miles on his CVT transmission. How did he do that? He had the transmission fluid changed every 30 to 40,000 miles. My point is this, Meredith has likely paid off her car, so, no car payments. And, even though $7,000 is a huge expensive, no question, it's about $400 per month for 18 months. And, if all the other work is done like the timing belt, water pump etc , this new replacement CVT transmission will easily go another 50,000 miles or more. Buying a new car is the most EXPENSIVE option besides taking a loss on the existing car. A 90 "wonder warranty" is NOT a good idea as far as I'm concerned, too risky. I have had previous experience with replacement of an automatic transmission in other cars and it's usually 12 months or 12,000 miles, but that was for a complete rebuilt transmission. It's her money and her car, so, she has to decide. If the car is not driveable, she has to do something.


Subaru knows about the exact issue she is having.. You could change the CVT Fluid till the end of time, and that will not fix the issue of a broken thrust washer in the torque converter.. Thousands of these cas are plagued by the problem, there is a TSB out about it, and it should have been a recall, plain and simple.. SOA is leaving many loyal owners stranded with a broken, or unsafe barely drivable car because of this issue..

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

If you haven’t done it already call Subaru of America at 1-800-782-2783. the problem is related to the torque converter and maybe the valve body. the dealers and Subaru are aware of it.The service bulletin is 16-90-13R. It calls for a new torque converter and maybe a new valve body. If your out of warranty then complain,rant,rave hold your breath till you turn blue. The repair has been done on out of warranty vehicles as a good will gesture before. Good luck.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Guru68JK Do you know specifically anyone or any dealer who has changed it out of good will?


We have a 2010 Outback with this exact issue. Just this week Subaru paid to repair the problem. We went to the dealer we bought the car from for all servicing and they have been great. Carr Subaru in Beaverton, Oregon gets my standing ovation along with SOA. By the way, we have 169,000 miles on our car.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

This should give Subaru owners hope!

Guys and ladies, Subaru NA just issued a bulleting extending the warranty on CVT powertrain for Outback, Foresters, etc, up to 10 years or 100,000 miles. If you already paid for a new transmission or repair there is a form they will provide for reimbursement, I hope this helps. On my is, this is my first and last Subaru, they are, in my view, experimental cars full of bugs and problems that even Subaru doesn't know how to resolve.


I have a Subaru 2011 Outback with 149k miles. We, too, like Meredith experience the same issue with our Subaru. The dealership could not figure out the issue, they replaced the OSV Valves and told me the car was good to go...it wasn't. Returned the dealership, they told me it was the transmission. It was replaced and they again told me that it was good to go. No more than 2 miles from the dealership, the car started to shake and "Jump". Took it back to the dealership, and they told me it was now the engine. I needed a new engine. Apparently Subaru can't diagnosis an issue properly and left me on two occasions leaving their dealership unintentionally misled thinking that they resolved my issues. This has been going on since 5/24/17. Have a call to SOA.

GuruDB52Q answered about a second ago Hello! I have a 2010 Outback as well with 184K miles on it! I tried to sell it 2 years ago because we were tole the transmission was was not working well and would likely die soon. My car would stall when I came to red lights. Anyway, we kept it since nobody wanted to buy it and it's still running. I was delighted to see the recall and Subaru is actually replacing my ENTIRE transmission this week!! This feels like an early Christmas gift! I am hoping to drive it till 300K miles:-) I am now even more faithful to Subaru for standing behind their product


GuruDB52Q-. Good for you and thanks to Subaru for the warranty extension.... They could have easily left people up in the air.... Look, actions speak louder than words, and the fact that they're replacing it speaks VERY WELL... about what kind of company Subaru is.. This fact cannot be disputed.

On my 2010 Subaru Legacy I had this problem as well. Dealer said change of fluid would do it, $365.32, nope didn't work. Then said it was the control valve, a little over $1,000, that lasted a little over six months. Then they said I needed a new transmission, $9,000. I opted for a used transmission for $1,500 plus $1,000 for labor at the only trans shop in town that would do the job. One year later still runs, but I'm scared. I'm mailing off the receipts now to Subaru to see if they're going to repay me for my near $4,000 in repairs. Don't think I'll do another Subaru. Nice car but this transmission which no one can work on and can't be rebuilt is a bit much.

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