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Subaru B9 Tribeca Transmisson Problems

mikejlmikejl Posts: 78
I took a trip over the weekend and had a disturbing experience. I was traveling in the farthest left of four lanes going through Baltimore when my Tribeca started slowing down. I pressed on the gas pedal and got nothing in response. I pressed harder and got nothing. Totally non-responsive. The car continued to slow so I made my way through the three lanes to my right and stopped on the berm.

The engine did not stall. When traffic cleared, I hit the gas and tried to continue the journey. The car revved up and started moving, but it wouldn't shift out of first (or maybe second) gear. I quickly backed off and stopped again.

I had the car in 'Sport' mode, like I usually do. The second time I stopped, I put the car in Park. Again the traffic cleared and I again tried to resume my trip. This time, the car accelerated normally (not in Sport mode) and I have had no further problems in the 500 miles since. Some of that distance was in Sport mode, so I'm not sure that was any part of the problem.

Have any of you had anything similar happen? I want to get this to a dealer to be checked, but I can't do it immediately. In the meantime, I am on alert.


  • tupintupin Posts: 71
    wow...scarry story. So it sounds like prolonged sport mode use triggered some problems. I wonder if you had popped it right back to normal mode if this would have eliminated the problem? Either that or something wrong with the accelerator cable?? So the engine wouldn't even rev up?!?! Musta been a helpless feeling!

    Sounds like one of those hard to figure out problems as you can be sure you won't be able to replicate the problem for the dealer.

    Keep us up to date.
  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    No flashing AT light or anything? There is not a "cable", it's a drive by wire system.

  • aka1aka1 Posts: 110
    My worst fear is that the transmission is not suitably designed to handle the weight of the B9 and may overheat and fail prematurely and abruptly...
  • tupintupin Posts: 71
    Given that the transmission is designed to carry 2000lbs in towing weight without a separate cooler (3500 with a cooler) then I think it should be ok. If you have concerns, simply install the transmission cooler that comes with the tow package.

    The fact that this person who had trouble couldn't even get the engine to rev up makes me wonder if it is a transmission issue. Sounds like the transmission was willing but not the engine....really kinda strange but to start saying the transmission is not suitably designed is a little premature.
  • mikejlmikejl Posts: 78
    Electronic accelerator, electronic transmission, etc. My guess is it was an electronic glitch of some sort and I don't know of any way to replicate it. I hope a code shows up when they run diagnostics that will point to a problem, but that's pretty iffy, too.

    I suspect there is nothing that can be done to fix it unless some additional diagnostic information shows up, but I am nearly at 36,000 miles, so I need to get this registered as a problem before I am out of warranty.

    I posted here to benefit from any previous experience anyone may have had, but this sounds like a unique problem, at least so far.

    I will post an update after it's been looked at.
  • aka1aka1 Posts: 110
    I've had a transmission fail on me before on my Acura and it was rated for 2000lb's of towing (not that I ever did)- and its not the best thing to fail, considering warranty is usually up by then as well... So, needless to say, my worst fear is STILL that the transmission wasn't designed suitably to handle the weight of my B9.

    My transmission does shift abruptly when cold and has an occasional "hiccup" around 25mph when decelerating. My opinion is also that the best transmissions are those from GM.
  • mikejlmikejl Posts: 78
    I did have the car looked at. Whatever the problem was, it left no tracks and it hasn't recurred. If it happens again, I'll post an update.
  • In mild or warm weather I get a loud hum from what sounds like the front left at exactly 29mph. Anybody else have the problem...and more importantly found a dealer that can find it and fix it?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Give us more details... this is a Tribeca, right? What year?

    Does it happen while coasting, or only when you're on the gas?

    I would lube the sway bars first, because that's so easy. My guess is it would be wheel bearings or something in the suspension that is just resonating at a frequency that causes that noise.

  • I agree it sounds most likely like a bearing. Here are the particulars:

    2006 B9 Tribeca 7 psgr. Outside temp needs to be between 45 and 75. If is colder or warmer it goes away or is very faint. Sometimes you can hear it at other speeds but it is at it's loudest at exactly 29mph. VERY loud sometimes. Sometimes it goes away when I drive it for a while and it warms up. But then it could come back at any time. Of course when I take it to the dealer they never hear anything...except one time when I insisted on taking one of them for a drive. They put it up on the rack and ran the wheels while listening with a scope...but heard nothing. Which tells me it needs a load on the tires. The noise happens both when coasting and when hitting the gas. Nothing to do with the brakes either as I have heard it when hitting the brakes and when not. Dry roads or wet so it isn't the tires.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's gotta be the bearings, then. What else changes under load like that?

    The noise should get progressively worse, but see if they'll replace them pre-emptively.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    If it's not the bearings, it could be a loose bearing nut. I had this issue on the race car. We thought the bearing was bad so we stopped running it (it was the end of the 2nd day of a 2-day event) Didn't get around to pulling the hubs until a few weeks ago and found out that one of the nuts needed a 1/2 a turn and the noise went away.

  • aka1aka1 Posts: 110
    When I first read the post- I too suspected the bearing and thought it was an unusually defective one. However, a friend in a 2006 330xi had identical symptoms- the dealership replaced the tire and the noise was quelled.

    Please have tires rotated- the noise should then dissipate. Dealership will point you to a Goodyear dealer to have it replaced.
  • We've had similar problems. First occurred Dec 'O6. Total loss of power when I tried to accelerate to pass another vehicle. B9 was bought new and only 8 months old. Called dealer & told me to bring it in. We were out of state for Christmas. Took B9 in the next week. They checked it out, it ran perfect for them and computer showed no codes/errors. I've had a few instances of minor similarities, but not to the extent as the Dec. incident. That is until yesterday (3/12/07). Driving on interstate and went to pass and B9 lost all power. Would not accelerate, tach jumped up to 5000, stuck, and then fell to 2800. (B9 has 18000 miles now). Called dealer and told them I was on my way in and asked to have someone ready to drive my car when I get there. I was able to "milk" the accelerator to get up to speed and "limp" in to the dealer. The manager drove it and it had no power for him either (much to his surprise & mine). From a stop, it would shift out of 1st gear fine, but 2nd gear just fell flat to nothing. At cruising speed, any acceleration to pass would be total loss of power. I have a loaner now while they check mine out. They called today and said the computer shows no errors/codes and everything is fine. But their manager drove the car and experienced for himself exactly what was going on. Of course it will not do it again for the service techs. The service dept. also informed me that there was an update issued for the TPS (Throttle Position Sensor) for the B9 (that was not listed in Dec '06) and that update was applied to my car today. He said there is also an update to eliminate the hard cold shift trouble as well. I asked the when & why for the TPS update. He could not answer but said he would research it. A couple hours later he called back and said he could get papers from the Pentagon easier than trying to figure the when & why for this update. He said he feels confident this should solve our problem (though their computer says my B9 has no problem). I'm leaning toward computer/electrical trouble or transmission personally. I called SOA customer service to inquire. They said "no updates have been issued for the B9." But they would contact the dealer to see which updates were applied and call me back tomorrow. While waiting, I thought I would do my own research to see if my problem has happened to others. We have been very pleased with the B9 except for this power issue. Now it's twice in less than 3 months (less than a year overall). I thought I would see if yours has recurred or others experience anything similar. This may be a one (or 2) in a thousand incident. I will post a response when I hear from SOA. Hope someone can figure this out. Thanks for your post.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My eyes hurt, can use some paragraphs to make your posts easier to read, please?

    Good luck and hope they resolve this quickly.

  • Just a brief update on our situation. The B9 spent all last week in the shop. They were unable to duplicate the problem. The computer shows no codes/errors. And the problem is still unfounded.

    Two updates were applied to the ECU, which the dealer and SOA say might help the problem or might not. Since the problem is not showing on the computer, there is no way to know for certain if this is the solution. Their suggestion is to drive the vehicle again and see if the problem is in fact solved by these updates.

    I have the car now and will drive it for a couple days to see if there is any difference. Overall the car is great & my wife loves it. I feel the problem is still computer related and no way discourages us from future Subaru vehicles. I think we just have one that "stumps" them all.

    We would highly recommend the vehicle to anyone. Safety features, handling, and overall appearance of the B9 are great! Subaru (dealer & SOA) is working with us very well to correct the problem.
  • Hi All,
    We had a similiar issue with our new Tribeca 07. Picked it up 2 weekend ago and noticed a slight shimmy in the front. Finally took it to the dealer today to have a remote start put in and ask them to check the shimmy. Just got the call, the belt on the tire has shifted and Tire Rack will handle the warranty. It's a bit disconcerting since it's a new car. Got the car with 12 miles. So far the wife loves it and that's what matters.
  • ixxiixxi Posts: 4
    I've had these same power/shifting issues and have been waiting for some new codes to comes out... sounds like they might have. I'm due to bring my Beca in for service in another month or so; wondering if you could share the technical terms/numbers for the codes so I can ask about them intelligently at the dealer? Plus, have you noticed any smoother performance with them?
  • 1bcpastor1bcpastor Posts: 5
    We finally made some progress. Turns out the tranny is fine. It was determined by the dealer that the engine was misfiring on all cylinders due to a fuel problem. The fuel filter, tank and sending unit were clogged up. The tank was removed and cleaned, new pump, filter, and sending unit. All seems to be running great again. Oh yeah, this is NOT covered under warranty--even though it is 1 year old and 20,000 miles.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,868
    If it was caused by the fuel itself, then I would agree it should not be covered under warranty. If you can determine where the fuel was purchased (and have proof of that), it might be worth seeking resolution through that party. Your vehicle surely was not the only one affected if that were the case.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • My 06 Tribeca has 8,700 miles. Bought in Sept. of 05, we began complaining to the selling dealership about what we described as a hesitation when turning corners, merging onto freeways. Dealership took a look and told us they could not find any problem.

    After numerous complaints to same dealership, the service manager admitted Subaru knew they had a problem with this car but could not come up with a fix. The computer has been "flashed" but to no avail. I consider this a safety issue and have informed Subaru that I will file a complaint with NTSB.

    I am not in negotiations with Subaru to replace this car with a 2008 but their offer is several thousands of dollars off anytime I can afford.

    Has anyone else out there come across the same problem? Has anyone else out there dealt with Subaru yet?

    Any info would be greatly appreciated.
  • I am sorry. I did not proof read my last message. I am in negoations with Subaru for replacement.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Hang in there, be patient and polite. I used to work for a Help Desk and trust me, the nice ones got the best service. Trust me.

    Any how, good luck and let them know the community is eagerly awaiting to hear about a resolution, that should help.

    Be nice! :shades:
  • It has been a while, but I just had another episode, similar to the first. Highway driving, 70-75 mph, the car suddenly started slowing down and did not respond to any attempt to accelerate.

    I again worked my way off the road and put the transmission in Park. I then put it back in gear and drove off with no problem.

    This time, I was more observant and I have a feeling both episodes were caused by a nearly-empty gas tank.

    On this new occurrence, my low gas indicator was definitely on. I am pretty sure the indicator was on when it happened before, too. I did not run out of gas either time - I have never put more than 14 gallons in, ever - but I just have this feeling that the computer chip in the car may have gotten some signal that we had, indeed, done just that.

    That would explain why there was no response from the accelerator. Stopping the car from highway speed may have moved the gas around in the tank enough to reset any switch or indicator that had signaled an empty tank.

    This is just a theory, but I think I'm going to try to stop for gas sooner when I'm on a trip from now on, just in case.

    BTW - I have 61,500 miles on my Tribeca now and I still love the car.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's a lot of miles!

    Maybe there isn't much of a baffle in the fuel tank so the gas sloshes around, starving the fuel pump temporarily.

    I'd fill up sooner, too, because you can overheat the fuel pump if it runs dry for too long.
  • I don't think there is much chance of the fuel pump running dry with 2.5 gallons (or more) in the tank, although that is something to think about. I think the problem may be with the sending unit or some other sensor that 'reads' the fuel level. I believe it cuts off the fuel pump prematurely based on an incorrect reading.

    If this is what is happening, then keeping more fuel in the tank should prevent any further occurrences. Time will tell.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Maybe they turn off the fuel pump if they "sense" the tank is empty, and that sensor is failing?

    Just speculating as to the cause.
  • This will probably be a tough problem to truly diagnose. All I have is speculation, too, and I could be totally off base.

    I think I would have had this problem more often, or at least sooner after the first time, if it was a failing sensor. (I'm speculating again.) I'm thinking it is a sensor that is poorly positioned, due either to poor design or an assembly error on my particular vehicle. Probably the latter.

    There is no way to verify that, short of a more drastic repair action than I want have done at this point. If it happens again, and I have been successful in keeping more gas in the tank, I might have to have it thoroughly checked out.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I agree, the problem is your dealer, not the manufacturer.

    Plus, cross-posting is against the Town Hall rules.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Here you go, a story to counter your experience.

    This guy's dealership actually bought back a brand new Subaru when the owner found his bad back just didn't agree with his Subaru's seats.

    Incredible! Now that's service. Find a dealer like this one:

    danellh, "Forester Interior & Passenger Comfort Questions" #63, 30 Sep 2007 10:15 am
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