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2017 Outback Engine Rattling Noise Upon Start

AFAIK new Subary’ FB engine shifts valve timing during warming up, which sounds like a rattling.

I think it was raised in this forum something like half year back and somebody even posted an official note from Subaru on the topic, that it is normal and it is designed such to make for a faster warm-up cycle.

My wife’s Mazda SkyActiv-G does the same: upon start, the sound is not smooth at all and makes me nervous, but it settles down immediately after “engine is cold” indicator is off.

I’m not sure if Subaru has the explanation in their user manual, but I recall Mazda it was a note about it. Yes, I read manual… once… upon getting a new car :slight_smile:

I am sure you are right. Loose Cam Chain at startup until oil pressure builds.
And possible dry rod end bearings due to the placement of the filter.

Considering how many people Subaru thumbed there nose at that were complaining of excessive oil consumption, there is no way there going to say anything but this noise is normal.

If you people out there really believe Subaru gives a crap about you after the sale you need to take a good look at there history…

They screwed up AGAIN … If this noise is because the cam chain is loose until oil reaches the cam chain tensioner than they screwed up by not having a unit that keeps the chain at its last run tension. Its a ratchet device that doesn’t allow the chain to go loose once the engine is turned off. Even Harley uses oil pressure to keep there cam chains snug while the engine is running. Everyone else uses such a system also. Even motorcycles from 40 years ago with overhead cams that are chain driven use them.

But if this is dry start rattle because there is no oil in the filter and the rod end bearings are dry until the filter gets refilled… This is really bad for the motor.
Dont forget all the talk about engine wear at start up… This is like starting your engine with NO OIL until the filter gets filled.
This would be a MAJOR fkup on there part…
I would not be surprised at all if it is both.

The thing that concerns me the most is, will the chain skip a tooth once it gets older and stretches. Rattling until the oil tension-er finally removes the chain slack. That is why there needs to be a device that doesnt let the chain go loose when the engine sits…

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I have a 2017 I bought new I have 5,000 miles on it now. I have the same noisy rattling sound, when I first start up. IT only last for a couple of seconds, but you know it’s not normal. I am not a happy camper. If I had heard this sound when I test drove the car I wouldn’t bought it. I am also having problems with the car not starting at times without jump starting. Going back to dealer tomorrow 3rd time. Last time they replaced the brake switch, this didn’t solve the starting problem.:frowning_face:

My outback has 25k on it. Been doing the startup rattle since new.
It only does it if it has sit overnight, that’s enough time to let the oil drain out of the oil filter. The noise is the lack of oil to moving parts until the filter refills.
Not sure why I purchased the Outback. Considering how badly they have treated there customers in the past.
Talking about head gasket failures, and all the cars that burned oil… And the owners were told it was normal… what a bunch of crap that was. They should have been fined for causing massive air pollution …

Now they are using the ultimate crappy rubber band transmission.
All I can say is good luck to those that bought a car with a CVT… any brand not just the Subaru…

How long will it last rattling like this ?
Or what damage is being done?
Time will tell


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you are bringing multiple things into a 4-months old / stale thread

on rattling: it was brought before that user manual explains that Subaru changes timing the way to make for the faster warm-up, which sounds like rattling, it is nothing wrong about that, it happens only when cold, restarts ususally do not have it, so car has to sit overnight to get that “rattle” again and it has nothing to do with oil

on CVTs: you will notice more and more makers introduce CVTs nowadays, so you can consider this technology becoming a mainstream. you will find a black sheep here and there, but in general CVTs are here to stay

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suing the auto manufacturers because some of their vehicles burn oil . . . the idea seems quite humorous to me


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In reality, Subaru’s CVTs utilize a very heavy roller chain–similar to the roller chain that was used on the original Olds Toronados to link the engine with the transmission. While I don’t know for sure, I believe that all of JATCO’s CVTs utilize a roller chain at this point, rather than a rubber band.

Where did you obtain your “knowledge” regarding modern CVTs?

Yes it is high up
And I have proof this rattle is another one of Subaru’s Fkups…
I let my Outback sit over night and in the morning I removed the oil filter.
It was bone dry. No oil, not a drop.

That means at startup the oil pump will have to refill the filter before any moving parts get any oil or oil pressure…

This is a shoddy design.

There should be a check valve in this system so the oil doesn’t empty out of the filter.
Can you say idiots?

Now if starting your car causes most of the wear. (At least that’s what they say) how much wear is caused by starting your car with no oil pressure every morning?

And for all you that don’t believe what I am saying !
Take your filter off after the car sits all night.


Wives tale.

It’s not really a roller chain it’s a steal belt.
the rubber band statement was referring to how they work and feel.

From whom did they steal it?


Just to be clear, what brand oil filters do you use? Are these OEM Subaru factory filters or something else?

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WHOA… This is not a good thing to be honest. If the issue is indeed caused by the oil filter draining down then you are starting your engine without oil essentially. Engines do not like this…

If this really is the root cause…I would immediately look into modifying the oil filter situation… See if you can modify the vehicle to use a “Remote Oil Filter” or “Oil filter relocation”. This will allow you to move the oil filter off of the engine and being upside down…to somewhere else under the hood and right side up.

The process is not a difficult one. It may be a very good thing for this engine’s health. If this were my vehicle and the oil filter drain down was the actual root cause, I would install a relocation kit yesterday.

It would look something like the link below. Just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about here… Just Google “Oil filter relocation kit” include your vehicle details etc… There are many available. This is just one…

That’s quite interesting if Rob is gonna answer this question.
I even suspect the 4-character answer… starting from the letter “F” :slight_smile:

Napa Gold oil filer or Wix both fix this problem

Hi! I too own a 2017 Subaru Outback and I’ve noticed the rattling sound coming from the engine when I first start up the car. Thank you for all the info! I think I may just take mine in just to be sure everything is ok.