CVT whine
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Thread: CVT whine

  1. #1
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    CVT whine

    Most days when traveling the 38 miles it takes to get home, if I drive more than 65mph on the interstate, the CVT gets really whiny by the time I'm in the last mile or two. Does anyone think a larger transmission cooler or adding a transmission cooler might be a good idea? I'm just thinking that if it is struggling that much to make the car go...even under normal highway speeds...that cooling things down might help out? I'm not getting any ecm/transmission codes, so I know its not overheating. Perhaps the "gear" whine is normal. Thoughts?

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    Senior Member iQBurnr's Avatar
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    This is the 1st CVT transmission that I have had in a car, but they do seem kinda noisy/loud when driving, and I think thats because they are constantly shifting up and down...I also noticed when I am at a stop light then take off, you can hear a small grear whine sounds like the chrysler transmissions make...but IDK, I thought these sounds are normal in a CVT.
    2012 Hot Lava iQ

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  5. #4
    Moderator iqforyou's Avatar
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    i almost didnt buy my IQ because of the cvt,and like i knew ive come to the realization that they are terrible,seems to be pretty tough with all the abuse i throw at it but i very much dislike it.

  6. #5
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    This is my first car with a CVT, and I am very pleased with it at all speeds and under all conditions. We switched from a smart Passion to the iQ, and changing the automatic manual of that car for the CVT in this one is like going from a dark and stormy night to a bright and sunny day.

    One important caveat here is that you need to consider how you view driving. If you are looking for the labor of love of shifting a manual, easing the clutch and all of that, then a CVT is not going to give you that "fun", plain and simple. A CVT is much like modern computer internet connection - you push connect and it just connects. Absent any very specialized conditions (like mountainous roads), you only have to touch the "gear selector" when you go into reverse or when you park.

    If, like this old fool, you look at driving as a chore, as something to have to do in order to accomplish something else, then you will view a CVT as another simplification in your life. If you have the same sort of handicap as I do and have trouble operating a clutch, then it will be even more of a benefit.

    The noise levels. Well, it does rev higher under normal conditions. But, the "fun" crowd is constantly harping about running up the RPMs to the shift points and all of that - just as noisy as a steady state CVT in my experience.

    I often wonder what the commentary was back in the days immediately after World War II, when the Buick Hydromatic was a new and exciting development in the American automotive world. (Oldsmobile had the first true "automatic" transmission on the market prior to the war, but it was a high end item that was then pulled for the war effort. Indeed, more people probably experienced the Hydromatic in the late light tanks and the tank destroyers of World War II than in the Oldsmobiles prior to the war.) Like the automatic starter from Bendix, the automatic transmission opened driving to a wider audience. But, I imagine that there were also those voices who spoke out against them as being too complicated, and tending to isolate drivers from the act of driving.

    The prevalence of the automatic transmission these days seems to indicate the feelings of most of the motoring public.

    Reliability is another issue. However, like the automatic transmission, we have come a long way since the first CVT hit the market. The "replace to avoid future problems" point for CVT belts seems to be well beyond the point at which most people unload their cars. That's good enough for me.

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    Senior Member Toolman's Avatar
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    I work near a High School, and on my way to or from work the kids like to play. I know they don't have the experience level to try and drive there cars but it is fun to dust them in the iQ. The CVT just pulls me out from the light and keeps climbing. Too many times I have watched the nose of the car next to me dive with a bad shift while I keep on running.
    Toolman



    Cancer still sucks

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toolman View Post
    I work near a High School, and on my way to or from work the kids like to play. I know they don't have the experience level to try and drive there cars but it is fun to dust them in the iQ. The CVT just pulls me out from the light and keeps climbing. Too many times I have watched the nose of the car next to me dive with a bad shift while I keep on running.
    Try adding a cold air intake, and an exhaust that fun doubles

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    Senior Member Engineer_Boo's Avatar
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    I've had a CVT on my 250cc scooter for years and have had zero problems....so buying a small car with one wasn't much of a concern.

    I do wonder how much a CVT costs to replace. I found our engine on-line and it was going for around $6,300 from Toyota.

    Anybody ever price one?
    Rick "Boo"
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    2013 Scion iQ
    2008 Toyota Corolla
    2005 Toyota Tacoma
    2006 Kymco People 250cc Scooter

  10. #9
    Senior Member Toolman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Airbagged View Post
    Try adding a cold air intake, and an exhaust that fun doubles
    I did that with my xB plus a header... they would stop at the next light and ask what was in it... my wife and I would just fall over laughing.
    Toolman



    Cancer still sucks

  11. #10
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    looks like mine started the loud whine today. also, this is similar to our prior nissan cvt sentra that developed a loud whine, both on a long trip on a hot day. on the sentra, we stopped and i checked for anything physical (honestly i have no idea what to check)l, didnt find any, then took it easy at first and continued our trip. earlier today i noticed the iq whined when im on the gas pedal only and it was louder than im used to.

    i found similar issues on a nissan site and it looks like the cvt fluid level needs to be checked. according to a post from someone who works at the dealership, the fluid at a certain temp gets aerated and lose its lubricating properties causing the whine. maybe someone here with technical knowledge can confirm this. im considering to have mine checked though i rarely go on long trips.

  12. #11
    Moderator surfcitylocal's Avatar
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    I'd have to do some research like Mike says to see what causes this. I've not experienced it myself. Does it feel like it's slipping or just get noisy and work as normal?
    I'm a Haole. I live on the Mainland but my heart is in Hawaii.

    Surf City is where I live, you can call me TAZ.

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    i cant tell if im 100% since my reaction was to take it easy on the acceleration. somehow after that the whine disappeared, then heard it again closer to home. based on this and my previous experience with the nissan, both are 30+ mile drive, hot day, ac on at least on 2nd level, and at freeway speeds. hope this helps.

  14. #13
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    That is pretty much how my experience has been. I've almost wondered if adding a transmission cooler might help things along. It occurs more often when you are making the CVT function like a transmission instead of a gas sipper. You guys know what I mean, you have mode 1 which is the "it gets there eventually" mode, mode 2, "performance", then there is mode 3 where you really stomp on it a couple of times... That is when it really does it. The commute is mixed highway/rural driving, so mostly 60-80mph, the urban road gets more interesting b/c you have some passing involved. The CVT just doesn't seem to like it. By the time I get to my housing edition, it sounds like it is about to give up, but it doesn't feel like it is slipping or anything, it just makes alot of noise.

  15. #14
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    I decided to drive on a county road by where I live. I dogged my iQ and drove very aggressively entering corners hard and everything. I will say the chassis is amazing, the steering though quick lacks feel. however back to the point, after doing that my iQ CVT did have a whine noise that was mildly loud, however after about 10 minutes of going back to normal driving it went away. I think it is simply because the fluid got hot. I am no expert at all though. I will say even though i was going at what seemed like crawling speeds I had the biggest smile on my face.

  16. #15
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    it happened again on a longer-than-usual drive to the airport. this time only moderate speed around 70 and ac 1 or 2. i took it easy and the whining stopped.

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