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CVT whine

21598 Views 30 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  BamZipPow
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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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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