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Old 08-03-2009, 04:05 PM   #1
desiwrxpwr
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Default Transmission fluid change for 4eat

got a 02 4eat wrx, with 140,xxx miles, had it since new, the tranny fluid has never been replaced, its still running well despite my neglect (and I drive hard). My question is that should I just drain and fill the tranny fluid, or should I just keep the old tranny fluid in there and not replace it at all? I've had mixed answers on this. All I know for sure it that I should not do a tranny flush.
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Old 08-03-2009, 04:25 PM   #2
09rexwagon
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I'd do 2-3 drain and fills about a week apart with driving in between. That'll bring the % of clean fluid to pretty high. This will also avoid a true pressure 'flush' which can disturb some stuff you'd rather let be which will cause the issues that the 'don't flush an old auto' theory says.

Back in the day, the rule of thumb for GM autos was to maintain it on schedule or NEVER change it. I don't think it applies as much nowadays.
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Old 08-04-2009, 11:47 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desiwrxpwr View Post
...or should I just keep the old tranny fluid in there and not replace it at all?
I've seen this advice given to various people before, and frankly it's just foolish. I wouldn't necessarily say you need a power flush, but a drain and re-fill would be very wise. Also change the spin-on filter on the side of the tranny (unless your model doesn't have one?). I have done the home-based cooler line 'flush' on mine to very good effect. Still, a drain and fill, or a sequence of them as already suggested, would be far better than ignoring it more.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:27 PM   #4
EdHilario
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Do the drain and fill. You can do it 3 times if you really wanted to. 4 qts each time and almost 12 qts in the tranny.
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Old 08-06-2009, 09:37 AM   #5
djosbun
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Drain and fill, and replace the trans filter DEFINATELY.
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:44 AM   #6
cjhudson101
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Anyone have recommendations on the the brand of fluid used when draining and refilling?

Thanks!
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:53 AM   #7
09rexwagon
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Originally Posted by cjhudson101 View Post
Anyone have recommendations on the the brand of fluid used when draining and refilling?

Thanks!
I think many say the Subaru ATs are finicky with non OEM ATF....use the OEM stuff I'd say.
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Old 08-07-2009, 04:29 PM   #8
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desiwrxpwr,

We've had good luck w/ Amsoil ATF. Per their Site, http://www.amsoil.com/scripts/runisa...msoiloaf:index, it is compatible w/ your '02 WRX.

Good Luck,
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Old 08-07-2009, 04:37 PM   #9
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Not to hijack this thread.. but will it be okay to do the drain and fill method switching from OEM to Synthetic. I keep seeing conflicting reports about it.
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Old 08-07-2009, 04:42 PM   #10
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imprezu,

I can only comment about my experiences . . . I haven't had any issues using Amsoil in 4 Subaru's. I switched the wifes '08 2.5i OBWL to synthetic ATF @ 3K w/ good results.

Regards,
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Old 08-08-2009, 11:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjhudson101 View Post
Anyone have recommendations on the the brand of fluid used when draining and refilling?

Thanks!
Your transmission should specify Dexron III, IIRC. Dex III isn't licensed any more, so just because a bottle says it's 'suitable for' doesn't necessarily mean they still have the same formulation as when they were under license. I'm currently running Schaeffer 204SAT, which is a good fluid for this app.
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:55 AM   #12
Forgiven
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After reading online about this I did mine yesterday using a flush method. First whatever your manual says will be fine for fluid. My 2005 Impreza calls for Dextron 3, I got a case of 12 from Castrol. Draining the pan and removing the filter will get you about 4.4 liters of used oil. I refilled that amount into the pan (with my new filter in place) then pulled the return line from the radiator and fed it into a plastic bucket (old Ice cream pail) that I had marked at 1 and 2 liter intervals. See photo of tranny lines.

http://i242.photobucket.com/albums/f...7/IMG_8940.jpg

I then had my wife start the car, that bucket filled fast...had her shut it off at 2 liters then added that amount to the tranny. I did find that I did get some air due to lack of oil in the pan so I'd say over filling it a bit during this process (or shutting off at less than 2 liters) would be a good idea. For the most part it went quite well. By the time I had 'filled' 10 liters into the tranny what was coming out looked clean. As far as I can tell this has to be the best way to do a 'home' flush. The new oil forces out the old, there is no driving with a 1/2 & 1/2 mixture over and over to try to get it clean, etc. Hope this helps.
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:01 AM   #13
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An excellent method that I've used as well, Forgiven. Thanks for the pic!
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Old 08-11-2009, 01:20 AM   #14
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Thanks Forgiven!
I'll be changing the ATF out on my friends 05 LGT, so I'm hoping the cooler line setup is the same or similar...
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Old 09-15-2009, 02:20 AM   #15
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can someone explain to me the cooler line flush...better yet show me a picture of what line needs to be taken off to release the fluids..i saw a link that had a link to a picture but its old already and the linke doesnt work anymore..also what is the "spin on filter on the side of the tranny"? does anyone have a picture of the location and what the specific name for it is so I know what to ask for when I go to order a new one
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Old 09-15-2009, 10:18 AM   #16
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Here is the photo of which line to disconnect, (I am baffled as to the arrows on the hoses as the fluid actually flows in the opposite direction to them) I had it drain to an icecream bucket. You can't miss the tranny oil filter, it is attached to the side of the tranny, is the same size as the motor oil filter but has a different construction to it. I got mine from NAPA, they will know the correct filter, just make sure they know it is for the transmission.
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Old 11-01-2010, 03:37 AM   #17
cutlassvillager
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Hey sorry to post the question here, but I am not allowed to make a new thread in the regular service and maintenance thread as a am new to this forum.

A few thousand miles ago I did a drain and fill on my Dad's 2002 4EAT WRX. I also replaced the spin-on filter. I measured what I drained and filled the exact amount back in. I thought I would check the fluid level (with the transmission up to temp, 6-8 mile stop and go driving) and it looked to be low. I've had mixed results with what the dip stick is reading (nothing on the dipstick to being in the low to med range for a cold reading). I have never had problems reading any other dipsticks, but this seems to be particularly difficult and inconsistent. With the transmission up to temp the average reading seems to be right below Low in the cold reading area. How much should I add (if any) to bring it into the normal "hot" reading?

When performing the drain and fill I tilted the car a little bit toward the drain plug to get all the fluid out I could. Tilting didn't seem to drain much additional fluid. I refilled with 4 1/2 qts of Maxlife ATF and I have added another quart since I tried checking the level. I am hesitant to add more as the transmission is shifting great (better than before the d&f) and has shifted great before and after I added the additional quart. If it was so low it could damage the transmission wouldn't there be a noticeable problem in the way the transmission shifts?

I just want to put my mind at ease that the level is fine. When checking the fluid levels I have always shifted through all the gears, then left the engine running while checking the fluid. I first added a quart, then two quarts. After the second quart the reading looked to be high, so I drained a quart and now it looks to be low again. I am fairly confident the transmission fluid level before the d&f was good because a transmission fluid flush was done by a well respected independent mechanic that specializes in imports at 93,000 miles.

Any tips?
Thanks

The car has about 128,000 miles now and I did the d&f at 126,000 miles.

Last edited by cutlassvillager; 11-01-2010 at 03:42 AM. Reason: Adding detail
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:31 PM   #18
Forgiven
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One thing I have found with these cars is that getting the oil level right is not that easy. The car must be level and the tranny fully warmed up to check tranny fluid level. Motor cold sitting overnight is best for checking motor level. Not much else to say except when filling small amounts are best when oil has reached the dipstick....too quickly it will read over full.....
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Old 11-08-2010, 10:22 AM   #19
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We use either the Amsoil TorqueDrive Synthetic ATF or Redline High Temp ATF on all our cars and our customers cars. We've had great luck with it. In fact on my 96 Impreza L road race car that we put almost 40k track miles on over a number of years we ran the Redline High Temp ATF and it looked just as new when we took it out each season (about 20k track miles a year) as when we put it in.

The key to keeping an AT running well is a good ATF cooler. If you do any kind of performance or hard driving an aftermarket unit is a good idea to supplement the stock cooler.

-mike
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:10 AM   #20
harvkwondo
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just bought a 95 Impreza Lx. seller told me it had a shudder in the transmission that turned out to be torque bind. cars at 144,000 miles. would a ATF drain help the issue ?
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Old 08-06-2013, 03:34 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harvkwondo View Post
just bought a 95 Impreza Lx. seller told me it had a shudder in the transmission that turned out to be torque bind. cars at 144,000 miles. would a ATF drain help the issue ?
If it shudders/bucks when turning near full lock at low speeds, then I can tell you for certain it's the "clutch packs" if you have an automatic tranny. The car will drive fine in a straight line.

It happens from uneven tires over time and I've had it on two of my four automatics. One was a '95 and the other a '04.

May that's your issue?
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:39 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harvkwondo View Post
just bought a 95 Impreza Lx. seller told me it had a shudder in the transmission that turned out to be torque bind. cars at 144,000 miles. would a ATF drain help the issue ?
As was said, it is probably the clutch packs and the Duty-C solenoid. You can try fresh fluid, sometimes that fixes the problem. Usually only temporarily. Give it a shot, it can't hurt, its just the price of fluid and your time.

If it does not work, look up:

"The 16 flashes of death, or torque bind sucks, or how to change a Duty-C solenoid"

That's the whole title.
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Old 09-30-2013, 07:17 PM   #23
whytemyke
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I'm still pretty new to the Subaru world, also new to the Automatic world. I bought my wife an '04 Wrx 4EAT last year. It's at 97,700 miles now, so I'm getting into maintenance mode. Oil has been changed by me on a regular basis, and I have done plugs and a coolant drain/re-fill and installed a new thermostat. I have everything from Subaru (OEM filter and fluid,) to drain/re-fill the transmission, however I am confused as to where I fill the transmission at? Been digging through this and that to find out, but don't come across anything helpful. Am I missing something that is obviously simple, or is there a special spot?
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Old 09-30-2013, 07:58 PM   #24
Bikelok
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The dip stick tube.

Get a good funnel tube otherwise it winds up on the ground.
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Old 09-30-2013, 08:49 PM   #25
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Excellent. Thanks! I looked all around that thing, and the only spot I found that made any sort of sense was that tube, but I wasn't sure. Thought they would have made it a little easier than that. Thanks again!!! Very appreciated!
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