2011 Subaru Outback Transmission

Asked by Meredith 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
advance!

48 Answers

67,315

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

11 people found this helpful.
316,415

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.

4 people found this helpful.
67,315

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?

316,415

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.

3 people found this helpful.
67,315

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.

4 people found this helpful.
67,315

$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....

5 people found this helpful.
316,415

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

3 people found this helpful.
67,315

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.

1 people found this helpful.
67,315

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".

5 people found this helpful.
316,415

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?

1 people found this helpful.
316,415

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?

2 people found this helpful.
67,315

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.

1 people found this helpful.
250

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..

20 people found this helpful.
170

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.

17 people found this helpful.
40

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

4 people found this helpful.
110

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.

11 people found this helpful.
316,415

This should give Subaru owners hope!

3 people found this helpful.
30

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.

3 people found this helpful.
55

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.

5 people found this helpful.
50

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

5 people found this helpful.
67,315

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.

3 people found this helpful.
50

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.

5 people found this helpful.
120

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jensen/2017/07/07/facing-complaints-subaru-offers-extended-warranties-on-1-5-million-vehicles/3/#2cd080dc6492 The article this ends 7/31/2018

6 people found this helpful.
67,315

My personal mechanic knows a Subaru transmission rebuilder ... and can do a complete job for $3,000 ... if it occurred, I would just have it rebuilt. Can't worry about it...$3,000 is LESS than the sales tax on a new car.

4 people found this helpful.
130

2011 2.5 Outback with stumbling, lurching from stop, occasional stumbling as if missing but only happens in gear, under load. I ruled out gas or engine problem. Dealer initially said replace CVT. Subaru tech line suggested transmission valve body replacement first. Would be required even if it turns out to be transmission. Found short in valve body - replaced, FIXED! Drives and performance like new. Be shy of diagnosis to replace CVT before they rule out valve body or torque converter. The proper fix could save you $4,000-5,000.

10 people found this helpful.

My 2011 OUtback is doing the same (stumbling, lurching, not accelerating), If I bring your solution to them; how much do you think this repair will cost me?

120

What you describe is exactly what I experienced in my 2014 Outbak 2.5L. The problem originates in the torque converter's thrust washer and spreads to other parts of the transmission and its control valves. I had the transmission fluid changed at 99K miles because of these symptoms. A year and 30K miles later, my Subaru dealer replaced the transmission's valve body under warranty. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jensen/2017/07/07/facing-complaints-subaru-offers-extended-warranties-on-1-5-million-vehicles/3/#2cd080dc6492 I don't know what they are doing now. Another post above has reference to service bulletin 16-90-13R. My wife still sees a transmission overheating warning light occasionally. The car's computer doesn't leave a trouble code. And the Subaru dealer that did the valve body replacement says maybe its a radiator problem. I replaced the radiator is only a year ago for $250 plus an hour of my time, so i am not going to pay Subaru $800 replace it. Maybe I'll add a transmission fluid cooler. Or trade it for a pickup truck.

4 people found this helpful.

Markw1952,did Subaru reimburse you for what you spent?

130

The 2011 had an extended warranty on the transmission because of these type problems. We were not aware of the extended warranty when we took it in. We were lucky, our car was written up at the dealership on the last day of the extended warranty period. Subaru Tech Desk initially blasted our local tech for submitting it the last day of the covered warranty and even asked if we knew about it. Bottom line, our tech had failed to trouble shoot the transmission body valve and Subaru told them to do so before replacing the transmission, they did and it was faulty, it was replaced and problem solved. A $1400 repair. No charge! But,I did hear the crack of that bullet when it went by. One must wonder how many other transmissions may have been or will be replaced when it's not the transmission but either the body valve or converter. If the trans is replaced, those two would be a part of the new installation.

3 people found this helpful.
20

Whoever said: "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." Listen to them! My 2011 outback was 500 miles out of warranty and SOA covered it as a goodwill repair. Which they should because it was a manufacturing problem and a transmission shouldn't fail so early on, but alas that's what happened and they didn't technically have an obligation to do. Was very grateful I spent the time talking to my local dealer and the service department at SOA to have such an expensive repair covered for me.

2 people found this helpful.
80

I have been through 3 levels of people at Subaru and Nada, nothing. I am at 114,000 but because they "ended their goodwill service" back in 2017, they won't honor the replacement of my transmission which has the symptoms mentioned in the bulletin. I will NOT be buying another Subaru and will make sure everyone I know knows their lack of initiative to replace a known defective part.

8 people found this helpful.
10

I have 110,050 on my 2011 Outback, and I just started having an issue of stalling in traffic, I read all of the above, I am now very scared and angry. Last Subaru for me. This is clearly a know issue, no one brought this to my attention at the dealership, just had new pads put on my brakes since I thought the shudder at low speed was the pads. I now stall at low speed in bumper to bumper traffic in DC, Sad.

1 people found this helpful.
80

I had this same issue on my 2011 outback 2.5i with CVT (p0700, p2764) and was past warranty by just 337 miles. SOA ended up covering me on a goodwill basis but not without jumping through some hoops. Prior to going to the dealership, I called SOA to initiate a claim ticket, and kept my claim number handy. They initially denied coverage, stating the dealer needs to first confirm the issue, then call a district manager for approval. After the dealer confirmed the issue for me and said I needed a valve body replacement, they denied me coverage under the warranty, and said the only way would be to call SOA. I let the dealer know i was a few steps ahead on this process, referencing my claim id. After calling SOA, they re-opened my ticket, and placed me under a "review" process. This is where SOA works with your dealer to do god knows what in order to qualify you for the goodwill fix. The next day SOA called me back confirming they would fix the transmission issue for free. What's funny is the mechanic tried spinning this as a gift. Ultimately this was an inconvenience for me not having my car for a few weeks due to a known issue. Subaru should absolutely cover this on a recall basis, considering they know about the problem (extended warranty, service bulletins, ect.) and how many people are still experiencing the issue now that they are creeping out of the warranty range.

8 people found this helpful.
50

So crazy that the amount of reimbursement is arbitrary. SOA will pay 50% of my repairs. I am at 132,000 on a 2011 outback which jerked and stalled in traffic. I don't want to complain about 50% (total is 3800 for valve and torque converter) but why deny some and pay full of others outside of the warranty (over 100,000) miles?

5 people found this helpful.
316,415

50% when you have 132K on it is generous considering your warranty ran out long ago. They owe you nothing.

I just found out about this cvt issue today, had no idea. I bought my 2011 Outback in 2016 from a third party. Today on way to work on the highway my car starts to randomly jerk and hesitate like it is about to stall. All of a sudden my random dash board sensors light up like a christmas tree, engine lights etc. Very scary, I bring it to my mechanic and he runs the codes car computer module and CVT. I researched this issue today and found this posting. The extended warranty is too late for me. Can anyone tell me if I have any options? This is a clear case of a safety issue. I cant all of a sudden stall while driving on a highway, I will get killled out there if it happens again.

316,415

Dana. The stalling problem is a known issue. There is a fix but even if your car is past warranty I would hit up Subaru for the fix. They may take care of it anyway.

2 people found this helpful.
10

I have a 2011 Subaru Outback 4-cyl with 177,000 miles. I take great care of my car.... and today, on the freeway, my car began lurching and the dash lights went crazy. My mechanic ran the codes and said it looked like transmission. He went on to say how poorly designed these transmissions are. He felt they shouldn't be in cars. I'm looking at $8500 to replace a tranny that won't outlive my engine. I'm going to push my dealership and SOA after reading these stories. Fingers crossed!

1 people found this helpful.

Same issues here. 2011 Outback - <9 years old and 126K miles. I was quoted $1500 to fix it at my local dealership. I just called SOA and they said that seeing as how I am over the 100K extended warranty, they cant pick up the whole cost, but they are going to cover half for me.

10

Had this exact same issue today on my 2012 Outback 2.5i Premium with 99,500 miles on it. Those same dash lights, transmission didn't seem to want to move to a more efficient pulley ratio and was reving high to get up to speed. Even also heard static in the speakers! Fortunately a dealer (I bought mine used out of state about 5,000 miles ago) was close-by so I took it in. Just got a call that they want to replace the valve body and it's looking like a $1,750 charge. I had just been googling about the transmission warranty extension so I mentioned that and he said my car is still covered under that warranty but they need to check to see if it will cover this work. Currently waiting to hear back from the dealer — fingers crossed. After reading through this thread I'll bring it up to SOA if they won't work on it and try my luck there.

10

Update on the above – the dealer checked with SOA and the warranty will cover the valve body replacement, so that's good to hear. Does anyone know of the long-term viability of this fix? Curious if the new parts are known to be better than what' being replaced or if I can expect to have this same issue again in 90,000 miles.

1 people found this helpful.
30

I have a 2011 Outback with 122,000 miles. It has the torque converter issue (shudders and stalls when coming to a stop. I called SOA and had to twist their arm a bit because of the mileage but they eventually agreed to pay for half ($760). I scheduled the repair for two days later and picked up the car from the dealer. As I was driving home it suddenly had all the dash lights start flashing and now looks like it has the valve body issue as well. I guess I'm going to have to wrestle with SOA again to get them to cover half of this as well (which looks like it will cost me another $1000. This is our 3rd Subaru. We purchased extended warranties on all of them and had all our services performed at the dealership. I feel like SOA is leaving a loyal customer in the dust since this is clearly a problem with their product and not a function of the mileage. Our plan was to give this car to our daughter and purchase a Legacy but I think, instead, it will be we who leaves Subaru in the dust.

3 people found this helpful.
120

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jensen/2017/07/07/facing-complaints-subaru-offers-extended-warranties-on-1-5-million-vehicles/3/#2cd080dc6492 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should go ahead and issue a recall. Obviously there are lots of Subaru cars out there with time bombs in the transmission. Anyone still having problems should write the NHTSA. https://one.nhtsa.gov/About-NHTSA/NHTSA-Contact-Information

2 people found this helpful.
30

2015 Outback 2.5 Limited owners here,.. our current situation (July-Sept 2019) .. at 86K miles, the transmission begins stuttering/bucking at different speeds, loads and a lot when it's hot... they re-trained. replaced the torque converter, re-trained.. then the FSE claimed it was the upper intake manifold issue... NOTHING HAS FIXED THE STUTTERING PROBLEMS!... so, Subaru America said, they have done all they could.... I protested with a sign and the Subaru Santa Cruz stepped up and offered to replace with a NEW transmission....(out of their pocket).... well, it still STUTTERS?!?... yeah crazy, makes us think,.. the problem is 1: the CVT again or 2: the electronics? (are we BETA TESTERS?)

10

Continuing the thread on 2/12/20 with a 2011 Outback 2.5i Premium, 120,000 miles. Stalled at an intersection this past weekend, and again on the way to the dealership. Dealership's standard response was a need for new Torque Converter (~$2,600 out of extended warranty) up to full trans replacement ($9,400 - some costs may have been redundant). Spoke with SOA to open ticket and filed NHTSA complaint. Trusted local mechanic ran diagnostic and suggested Electronic Control Module/computer programming issues. Second local mechanic suggested Valve Body replacement (second-step repair attempt after torque converter according to the SOA documents). Taking the Roo into another dealership tomorrow to lay out the options and push for the most reasonably priced fix for the long haul. I'll update when I have worthwhile info to share. In the meantime, here's my compilation of Torque Convertor, Valve Body, Solenoid, and related info: bit.ly/2011OutbackStutter

1 people found this helpful.
5

Some of you stated SOA replaced the valve box, etc. out of good will. I was at 148k, 2nd owner, and they didn't budge on fixing the issue to my 2011 Outback 2.5. I ended up paying to replace the valve box, due to that's what they said the codes were indicating. Less than 10k miles later, my car started doing the same thing with flashing Cruise, Brake, anti-skid, and Check Engine lights were starting on. Additionally, the car was jerking when it acted up, and my radio went out. Last time around, it didn't jerk, and the radio wouldn't die. I pulled over when it acted up today, and died just sitting there. I restarted it, and after a little while, it died again sitting in park. These occurrences have happened to me going down the interstate and slower when accelerating at a stop sign. My car died today at a stop sign, and when I finally got it in park and restarted it, I immediately smelled a strange odor. Got home, ~5 minutes later, popped the hood, and my battery was on fire. The plastic shroud around the battery cables, grounding wire, and container that holds the battery still were all melted or burnt from being on fire...Now, I have a dead vehicle in my driveway, and I don't know if it's a new tranny I need or take the gamble and replace the wiring harness to see if it was a short somewhere.

10

Hi, do not sell the car. The fact I as well have kind of the same issue with my old car. The reason why we keep the Subarus is because they are the safest car to drive when even other's do not pay attention to how to drive.

1 people found this helpful.
10

Hi, do not sell the car. The fact I as well have kind of the same issue with my old car. The reason why we keep the Subarus is because they are the safest car to drive when even other's do not pay attention to how to drive. I have talked to Subaru and it seems as if the mechanic that worked on the vehicle may have crossed wires from alternator and the fuse box. Email customer@subaru.com they will help you more on the situation. They just need to know where the vehicle has been stored and possibly an infestation of rodents got up into the transmission and undercarriage

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