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Old 07-10-2012, 01:39 PM   #1
shwaggin
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 90017
Join Date: Jun 2005
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: Severna Park, MD
Vehicle:
2003 Forester 2.5X
WRC Wim-Wam Shaft

Unhappy Very Low Idle on 2012 Outback

I've got a 6MT base model 2012 Outback 2.5i with about 6,500 miles on it and absurdly low idle. I know Subaru is trying to make these things extra fuel efficient, but I'm curious whether anyone else is experiencing any of these symptoms:
  • Idle ~700 RPM, entire car vibrates while sitting at a light.
  • Idle drops to <500 RPM when putting up the power windows. Car shudders slightly, then revs up to ~1000 RPM before dropping back down to 700.
  • Idle often drops to <500 RPM about 1 second after coming to a stop at a light when the AC is on. Car shudders badly and nearly stalls, then revs up to ~1500 PRM before dropping back down to 700.
The low idle was slightly evident when I bought the car, but it has definitely gotten worse in the past couple of months. It is hotter now, and I'm running the AC all the time, but it seems crazy that AC would make my nearly new car shudder like the engine is about to fall out.

The car is up to date on maintenance and the service guys at my local Subaru dealership tell me "that's normal" and have said there is no recall or software update related to idle on the 2012 Outback. The engineer in me can't help but think that it sounds like poor engine management.
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Old 07-11-2012, 05:16 PM   #2
ryan s.
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Member#: 276486
Join Date: Mar 2011
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: Washington DC
Vehicle:
'08 lifted Outback
king+subtle

Default

I have an 08 and the idle was really low, less then 500rpm while sitting at a light. I did get a reflash about a year ago which helped stop the shuddering.

I think its just a Subaru thing...
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Old 02-25-2013, 12:26 PM   #3
Rose4rmCncrt
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Member#: 348232
Join Date: Feb 2013
Default Same Problem

My husband and I are having the same issue with our 2012 Outback. He also has noticed that when you are at a stop and turn the wheel slightly, it will also activate the low idle which vibrates the entire car. We took ours to the dealership and they kept it for the day to be able to 'test' it so they could experience it...they claimed that the car never did it for them, so they were unable to figure out the cause, but then did say that they updated the software. It seemed to help for about a week, maybe it was just a coincidence- but now we are right back to square one with the same issue. It's very strange and we cannot figure it out or link it to anything specific- other than turning the wheel- which makes no since as to why it would effect the engine. Were you able to figure out anything further?
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Old 02-25-2013, 11:36 PM   #4
shwaggin
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Member#: 90017
Join Date: Jun 2005
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: Severna Park, MD
Vehicle:
2003 Forester 2.5X
WRC Wim-Wam Shaft

Default Follow Up

I found that the problem disappeared when I sold the car.

In all seriousness, though, I did experience the shudder when turning the wheel slightly at idle. It seems like Subaru just set the idle too low, and on the fairly under-powered 2.5L engine, any extra load pushes it dangerously close to stall before the ECU catches the condition and increases idle revs.

The loads are all different (AC=compressor, windows=DC current, steering=vacuum, braking=hydraulic) but I suppose they all impose an extra strain on the engine in one way or another. I would be thrilled to have an actual auto mechanic support or refute my theory.

I should point out that the 2012 Outback was the only Subaru on which I've experienced the condition. I owned a 2003 Forester 2.5X previously with no complaints after 170,000 miles of very rough offroad driving. Friends of mine own or have owned 2003, 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2011 Foresters, Imprezas, and Legacies, manual and automatic, in both 2.5L and 3.6L configurations, and I haven't observed the low idle issue in any of their cars.
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