Have there been any problems with the Subaru Outback 3.6R engine

80

Asked by Sep 27, 2015 at 08:48 PM about the 2015 Subaru Outback

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

41 Answers

20,445

You mean like oil burning issues? Take a look at this, unfortunately, there's been some problems since 2013, a mixture of things on both the H4 and H6 models. Do you own one or just considering purchasing one? You might want to also check Consumers Reports for the list of the Thirsty 30. See this link, http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/06/excessiv e-oil-consumption/index.htm http://www.carcomplaints.com/Subaru/Outback/

11 of 11 people found this helpful.
49,165

Many of them burn excessive amounts of oil. Stay away until this is resolved.

9 of 9 people found this helpful.
20,445

Jay, you might consider a 2010, 2011 other 2012 Subaru Outback. These three model years have the EJ25 Series 2 engine. That engine series ran from 1989 to 2012 in the Subaru Legacy and Outback models. This does not apply to the Subaru Forester, that model got the FB engine ahead of the Outback in 2011. Also, the Outback was the first car to receive the Lineartonic CVT transmission for the first time in 2010. This transmission has now been adopted for all Outbacks for 2015 in the USA. The manual transmission is no longer available in the United States and the older 5 speed automatic transmission has been discontinued. I personally have a 2010 Subaru Outback Limited with the 2.5 Four and CVT transmission. I've had the car for 18 months now and can share with you that it's great! In fact, I originally thought that I wanted the 3.6 H6 engine, but, after I test drove the car I was so impressed with the smooth and responsive Four coupled with the continously variable transmission, I decided it would work for me. It's true that the H6 will accelerate faster to 60, but, we're only talking less than 2 seconds here, so, if your OK with that you'll be more than satisfied with the Four. The advantage of the CVT is how smooth it accelerates and handling is easier since the front end is lightweight than the H6. And, the Four will save you money on fuel. In fact the CVT transmission is more fuel-efficient than the old manual-transmission models. If I were you, I'd consider looking for a 2012 Subaru Outback. I'm sure you could easily find a CPO vehicle. There are very few "station wagons" that have the performance features of the Outback. It is probably the number one vehicle in the snow and you'll see them all over the northeast and northwest. The car feels light on its feet and is very easy to drive. Finally, there are many new cars on the market that now consume more oil. I encourage you to review the information I previously posted above on the Thirsty 30. Not all Subaru Outback cars burn excessive oil and there's a procedure from the company to work with people who have experienced this problem. Besides, there's a lot more to cars than a little oil consumption. At least Subaru acknowledged this and been up front with people and offers an oil consumption test at their dealerships. I cannot say the same thing for VW. Hope I didn't overwhelm you with all this information, but, wanted to share my experience with you since I own the car. I test drove other cars like the Toyota RAV 4, but, the Outbacks driving position and generous legroom felt more comfortable for me. I think if you go check one out, you'll be impressed. I really feel safe in this car. Good luck.

43 of 43 people found this helpful.
Best Answer
20,445

Jay, I hope my last answer was helpful to you.

9 of 9 people found this helpful.
80

It was very helpful, thank you. When I queried the dealer about this issue I was told that it is confined to Forester vehicles and these are made in Japan vs. Outback made in USA.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.
80

Once again---a big thank you for this detailed and very helpful information. I will keep shopping. Tested a 2016 today with the 2.5 engine and was impressed. Will take a look for a low mileage 2012

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
20,445

Jay, you're very welcome. I don't think you'll have too much trouble finding a really nice 2012 Subaru Outback Limited, really nice interior, as a certified pre-owned vehicle. They go through a lot of tests and get brought up to speed at the dealership. If you can find one at a new car dealership that sells CPO vehicles, that's ideal! Also, if you belong to a federal credit union, you'll get fantastic financing. And, my credit union offered me even a better deal on the mechanical breakdown insurance covering me for three years and up to 100,000 miles with a $100 per incident deductible. Yes, the Outback is made in the USA in Lafayette, Indiana. I really believe the Outback to be of higher quality and it's a much nicer car than the Forester, which feels like a small truck. The Outback is built on the Legacy chassis, it's a larger platform and you can feel the difference once inside the cabin. As for the newer cars, I think that one of the big problems for the Forester is that people still get these with the old manual transmission ( it's not very good at all, a friend has one and regrets it), and a lot of people like to race the engines in these cars. Someone forgot to tell them that its not a sports coupe like the Subaru WRX STI. ( LOL). Anyway, I agree with what the dealer told you and my dealer that sold me my car said the same thing. Also, overall condition and who had the car before you is much more important than the miles on the clock. I would avoid a rental, see if you can find a lease return that someone just brought in and traded up to a 2015 model. Your new car will be between 3 and 3 1/2 years old. Perfect, you'll save money on the depreciation and have a wonderful car on your hands. As i said, the Limited has more bells and whistles with nicer more adjustable seats. I wouldn't go out of my way to get the navigation package, but, the Blue Tooth and radio in this car works great. Also, sun roof, is nice, but, not necessary. I'm getting 29 mpg on the highway and an average of 23 in town. When I pull my teardrop trailer, i get 21 on the highway under cruise control. This things just cruises along effortlessly and I can drive it for much longer periods of time than my previous Honda Accord EX wagon. The Outback essentially has the confirmation and versatility of a large station wagon and is very maneuverable. I'm glad you went for a test drive, I knew you would be impressed with the Four. It's kind of weird driving this thing in a good way, you just step on the gas and hear the engine rev up, like an airplane taking off and once up to speed it just cruises back to a more sedate rpm. Cool, I like it. And, one more thing, because of the CVT on uphill climbs, it constantly is changing gears, you'll never feel that and just goes straight up hills like nobody's business. It does that even with my trailer behind me. Happy shopping and let me know what you got either here or send me a private message through car gurus. PS, thank you for marking my answer above "best answer", pleasure to share. -Mark

9 of 9 people found this helpful.
4,950

No, but it's thirsty. If a 6's power is required a better choice would be the Nissan V6 in a G37X.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
20,445

Jay, read this also, I thin the incidence of 3.6 problems are slim to none, http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/138-gen-5-2015- present/279393-2016-3-6r-excessive-oil-consumption-does-have- issue.html

4 of 4 people found this helpful.
20,445

Jay, I really thought about getting the 3.6 originally, but, as pointed out above, it's thirsty and the 3.6 prior to 2015 has the old 5 speed automatic transmission. I really like the CVT transmission. And, it saves fuel.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.
150

I have a 2016 3.6R Outback with 12000 miles on it. The acceleration is excellent, even when fully loaded and going up hill. It achieved 24.8 actual calculated mpg on a recent long, high speed cross country trip. Oil consumption is nil and the adaptive cruise is excellent! I use the digital speedometer setting because it isn't distracting as looking at the small numeral speedometer on the right side of the instrument cluster can be. If you both afford the 3.6R and you have time to wait for it, it is well worth it.

11 of 11 people found this helpful.
4,950

Mark, the 2012, like all 2010-2012 OBs, suffers from a poor suspension. Mods following a rash of complaints resulted in the significant mods enplaced in the 2013-2014 models. Body control is FAR improved in those two years. Fred, in similar use (multi-k hwy) a modern 2.5i CVT OB gets 30+mpg (verified). This +20% eco will become important when fuel snaps back to $4+/gal soon.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
20,445

Ernie, I know. Fuel is unexpectedly low right now. I understand that the Saudis in the middle East are still trying to undermine our domestic pursuit for developing oil from shale deposits which is more expensive to extract.. YES, I think this is temporary and when fuel prices go back up, it will have a big impact. It's a cyclical thing. It's amazing how people don't realize that fuel is the MOST EXPENSIVE thing people put in their cars. I didn't realize that they now have a digital speedometer on the new 2016 SUBARU Outback.? I have not found any problems with respect to acceleration or power even pulling my teardrop trailer. So, the extra power and displacement of the 3.6 , while nice, is not something I need. Maybe Fred needs this in the mountains? Ernie, I thought that the enhanced suspension is on the 2016 model?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
20,445

Ernie, OK, I'm willing to just acknowledge that compared to the 2006- 2009 Subaru Outback models, maybe the 2010 to 2012 suspension is higher and not as stable.. but, I have not found this a problem for me. I don't try and drive a lot of slalom courses...I don't use the car this way. If the car works well for me, I'm planning on turning it around for a 2020 model in a few years. By the way, I put that backup camera on my car with parking sensors...more of a preventative measure in LA. I'm sure you would agree that while the 2010 and newer Outbacks have great front visibility, seeing out the rear window is not as good.... And, people here in parking lots drive the wrong way, while pedestrians walk behind cars while talking on their cell phones not paying attention.. here what I did, see picture.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
4,950

As long as you drive yours like a rolly minivan you'll be ok. Any enhancements made in '15+ negated by 65 series tired, unless pricey Limited w/ optional 18" pkg.

60

EJ25 Series 2 engine.- If we get a NEW one of these engines, will it swap out for the 2.5 L engine that is in our 2013 Outback (ours has the rods knocking at 67K mikes...) - Will this engine swap out with what's now in our 2013 Outback with automatic CVT transmiission? Trying to find remedy without buying into yet another nightmare.... thank you for all of this great information. L & S Rogers

150

The 2016 3.6R Outback has a heavier duty transmission than the 2.5. Did you discuss the knocking with an experienced Subaru service technician or SOA? Could it be something else? An engine size change sounds complicated (computers etc.) and costly. Subaru may have upgraded engine components for an overhaul?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
60

Another question. Does the 3.6R Outback have a CVT transmission? And, is the engine upgraded or engineered to be an improvement over the 2.5 engines with the rod knock and other problems? This is so discouraging. We LOVE our Outback - but this is a horrible loss for us, paid $17,000 for our 2013 Outback 2.5 with 65K miles on it - then at 67K miles it starts rod knock. Husband put Subaru oil filter on it with the proper weight synthetic oil.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
20,445

SteveRogers49- Hi there, WOW, I didn't realize that you purchased your car with 65,000 miles and now with 67,000 miles are experiencing this problem? That's only two thousand miles ago! Look, I've tried to answer your questions by advising you to contact Subaru of America and get your engine repaired under warranty. I would NOT advise you to try and replace it with the larger H6 , 3.6 engine. First, Subaru won't do that, and it would probably be too complicated. Further, the 2.5 H4 is fine for most acceleration situations, I even pull my small teardrop trailer with this engine, no problem. Get your car fixed, drive it for another 10 years and be happy....the FOUR gets much better mileage than the SIX and the CVT transmission is terrific for this motor. By the way, to answer your other question, the 3.6 H6 had the CVT transmission first introduced in 2015 and it has a slightly heavier duty CVT transmission to work with the higher powered engine. You cannot pair the larger engine with the CVT transmission designed for the FOUR cylinder engine....

5 of 5 people found this helpful.
20,445

SteveRogers49-. did you purchase your car from a "new car dealership"??? OR, did you purchase it from a private party or "used car dealer"???

60

I've just been trying to explore all options - replacing it, repairing it, setting it on fire... REALLY this is a very depressing situation. When you say that you would have it repaired, please describe what repairs you believe could be done that would make it last another 10 years? Please describe. This is what I will probably end up doing. We really WANT to keep this car. And, I purchased it from a used car dealer in Phoenix. Not a Subaru dealership. Thank you for the time you've spent answering my questions. Hopefully others can benefit from your knowledge, also.

20,445

SteveRogers49-. They will open up the engine and probably replace the rings and pistons... Your car is under warranty for 8 years and 100,000 miles, don't wait , get it fixed.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
20,445

SteveRogers49-. After you get if FIXED, then you can consider selling it if you are still unhappy....

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
60

Again, thank you for your time and care in answering.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
150

My 16 3.6 R OB obtained 24.8 calculated gpm traveling 1,703 high speed (western US) miles, fully loaded plus a large Thule car top box. NO oil usage (12000 miles) between oil changes. I believe the oil oil usage issue has been corrected. Car computerized gpm is higher (inaccurate). paddle shifter makes the car feel like a standard. I am happy with the car.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
150

The 3.6 has a heavier duty cvt.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
4,950

Mark, you're not quite right re rebuilding an oil-thirsty 2.5. Swapping the entire short block is the modus operandi.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
10

My parents have a 2012 Subaru Outback 3.6 engine. They have had their car in Subaru for over a month. They only have 65,000 miles on it and they changed out 3 large parts before determining that it needs a new transmission. They always have taken great care and always have taken it to a Subaru for service. They are telling them it will cost them $9K to fix it. There has to be a lemon law or something for a car this new and this low of miles. I would never buy a Subaru after the hell they have been through.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
69,525

Sorry to hear about your parents transmission. CVT's are terribly expensive to replace. I would hit up Subaru for some relief from those costs. According to Mark the CVT is the best thing since sliced bread! CVT's are a good idea in theory but not ready for prime time in reality.

20,445

Unfortunately, the last post is INCORRECT. The 2012 Subaru Outback with the 3.6 engine had the old 5EAT (electronic automatic transmission), with conventional gears. This is the transmission that got replaced by Subaru in all of their cars starting in 2015. The CVT transmissions first became available on the 2010 Subaru Outback and only with the 2.5 Four. Sorry, you can't blame the CVT on this one. The 3.6 H6 engine is pretty powerful and don't imagine that your parents drove pretty aggressively, BUT, someone I know who is quite knowledgeable about cars told me that it's always a good idea to accelerate more gently from 0-20 and then you can open up full throttle from there. If you go full throttle from zero, it's terribly hard on the transmission. I imagine a lot of people don't know this and are awfully hard on their cars. Still, whatever the cost for a new transmission, it's less than purchasing a brand new car. Just tell them to be careful next time .

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
4,950

C'mon, Grasshopper...you can't blame this one on the driver! Geez.... Further, a pre-owned 5EAT installed should run about $2k. I'd push SOA for goodwill coverage before it's over 5 yrs in service.

20

I have a 2010 Legacy 3.6R. I have to add a half a quart between oil changes. I have 47,000 on it. This is typical of all flat engines and buyers should understand the importance of checking their oil between changes. While the 3.6 has a humongous 7 liters of oil it warns you when your down 1 liter but you should just check. The engine is very wide so if your new to H or flat engine make sure your on level ground when you check. I do it after I shop at the market as their lot is very flat and its a little cooler when I'm done shopping. Best tire for this model year is Michelin Pilot Sport. Not the extreme which sticks like glue but wears out far to fast. My only complaint is 2010-2012 they gave us out of spec cars that were riding 2-3" below listed clearance. Great for handling but watch out fort driveways.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
20,445

Jason, well done.. AND, your wise to always check your oil even though you're only burning a half quart between oil changes...that is every 5,000 miles.. correct? If you are only down a half a quart and then have your​ oil changed with new oil, that is fantastic service...My 2010 Subaru Outback Limited with the 2.5 Four doesn't use much oil as well.... In 2013, they switched engines and the later cars burn more oil, hence the lawsuit, but, I don't think it had any bearing on the 3.6 engine... You have a very good engine in your car... although it is a little thirsty on fuel especially paired with the 5 EAT transmission... Do you think it's a little nose heavy on turns?? As for the ground clearance, I believe it's the same as my car, 8.7 inches... Has that been a problem for you? I have not noticed anything wrong with that.

4,950

Again, Grasshopper, the problem is that the 2010-2012's suspension is toosoft for its elevated stance's CoG. We've been over this before. It's possible that the 3.6R has a beefier suspension (I would hope). The upgraded suspension in 2013-2014 wasn't done for nothing....

10

I have a 15 Outback with 75000 miles and it hasn't burned a drop of oil or had any other issues.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
69,525

Good for you. Not everyone gets a Lemon.

20

Hi all. I'm from Canada and new on this site. I am looking at purchasing a second hand 2013 OB 3.6R Limited under 75000 Km from a Subaru Dealer. I read that there's excessive oil consumption issue with their engine. Does anyone know if this issue has bee resolve? Or is it still on-going? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

4,950

Start another thread, please.

150

Subaru has corrected the oil consumption issue which may have related to the design of the valves. Our 2016 3.6R Outback doesn't consume oil between oil changes. If you look at the Consumer reports issue you will find that several luxury manufacturers are much worse offenders regarding oil consumption.

69,525

Fred - the problem with Subaru is the low tension oil rings and the 0W-20 oil.

4,950

F_O_R is correct. I use Mobil1 5w30 for all my 2013-2014 2.5i clients, with no issues...so far.

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