Cold engine/ CVT tranny = delayed upshifts?

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  1. #1
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    Cold engine/ CVT tranny = delayed upshifts?

    Howdy everyone,

    Hope you're all doing well out there in XVland.

    So I've got about 1500 miles on the car now and I've noticed something a bit odd. Temperature is about 35 - 40 degrees F. I start the car up and of course, get the standard stupidly high revs. Let the car sit for a minute and start to drive. When the car is cold, I've begun the practice of manually shifting the CVT. Having been a diesel driver for many years, I always like to shift at low rpms as possible. Anyway, I'm using the paddles, shifting up and eventually get to 6th gear and 60mph. However, the tach is showing me 2500 rpms which is about 800 rpms higher than is usual on flat highway @ 60mph. And yeah, I pay strict attention to the tach at highway (and other speeds) so I'm sure of the numbers. Now, when the car gets well and truly warmed up, the tach shows 1700rpm at 60. Am I overly concerned or is this transmission holding on to the lower gears too long before shifting up? This phenomenon has caused me to abandon allowing the car to shift itself because it never seems to want to get out of 5th gear - even on the flats.

    Thanks very much for your comments.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Sandi's Avatar
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    I think it's because you manually shift the CVT when it's cold. You are not letting the computer control the warm up. I can't think why you need to manually shift from start up, when most people only use the paddles to change down up a hill or maybe to overtake.

    I have been told also that the computer adjusts the CVT to your driving style, especially when the car is new.
    I would let it do it's own thing on start up.😃


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  4. #3
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    The reason I use the paddles when the car/motor/tranny is cold is for two reasons. First, as I said above, I'm accustomed from both driving diesels and gas cars, to shift at lower rpms than a lot of people do. This is an effort to maximize fuel efficiency. The second reason is because when I allow the car to shift "automatically" I'm seeing rpms of not just 2500 rpms as mentioned above but 3500 rpms in 5th gear. That's...a little high.

  5. #4
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    No, 3.5k rpm isn't very high for this engine. Look at the engine specs. It's not a low-revving torque monster. Expect the car to hit 4k fairly regularly when accelerating. Let the CVT do it's job. It's programmed for economy. I average 28-29mpg with mostly city driving and only use the paddles for compression braking on hills. (Or when off road). The car is loud and the mechanical noise can throw you. But it's normal for this car.

  6. #5
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    When left to its own devices, the CVT will hold lower ratios when the engine is cold in order to speed the warm-up. This has two benefits: emissions and fuel economy. On the emissions side, forcing the engine to rev a little higher gets the catalytic converters up to operating temperature more quickly. On the fuel economy side, a cold engine is usually programmed to run rich and ignore feedback from the different emissions-related sensors around the engine and in the exhaust system, also in an effort to speed the cat warm-up. Once out of this warm-up mode, the engine starts listening to its sensors and stops running rich. This warm-up cycle isn't specific to Subaru...all manufacturers do something similar. It's just more noticeable on a Subie because the CVT gets into the act and keeps revs higher.

    Leave it in drive and watch what happens. While the blue cold-temp light is on, the revs will be quite a bit higher than normal. For a short time after the light goes out, revs will approach normal but still be a little high. After about 5 minutes or so, it'll be warmed up and the CVT will try to keep the revs as low as possible. At least that's what mine does every morning.

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