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Old 01-20-2010, 01:22 PM   #1
ScubaruImpreza05
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Question Auto Transmission fluids and Subaru?

I did a 5MT transmission fluid change on my Impreza, but now it is time (and very overdue) to change the ATF in the Fiance's 99 Legacy 2.2L with an auto (4EAT I think is the designation?)

Now, I know I HAD to be careful with what gear/transmission fluid I used in the Impreza because of some internal components being picky, but is there anything to be concerned about with ATF? Is all ATF fine for the Subaru? Is a 'fuel efficient' ATF fine for bone stock Legacy?

I want to run Amsoil through it but am unsure of any precautions or research I should do. I'm running Amsoil 75w90 Severe gear trouble free for 40,000 miles now. AMSOIL LINK

Thanks for all the help!

PS - I read through stickies and I saw nothing for ATF applications or maybe I'm partially blind?
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:16 PM   #2
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go with oem.. hands down... but i'll wait for someone else to chime in here
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by only1agam View Post
go with oem.. hands down... but i'll wait for someone else to chime in here
I won't do OEM for fluids besides weights; filters definitely though. There is always a superior performing fluid than OEM in my opinion; especially with how lethargic or clunky our Subaru tranny's can be Not trying to sound snooty, just I like the best for my car.

Last edited by ScubaruImpreza05; 01-20-2010 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:24 PM   #4
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Also, should I replace the internal and external filters at this same time? The car has 78k miles on the factory fluid.
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:58 PM   #5
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free bump for a good question.
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:55 PM   #6
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There is no such thing as "OEM" fluid for this any more. OEM would have been Dexron II or Dexron III, neither of which are licensed by GM any more. Therefore, there are no "OEM" fluids available.

There are a great many fluids which say they're Dex II and/or Dex III compatible or compliant, but be aware: A great many of those fluids changed their formulation as soon as GM stopped licensing the spec.

Subaru has a proprietary fluid specification that they say to use in their older transmissions now instead of the Dex fluid. GM has a new fluid, too (Dex VI), which they say to use in their older transmissions now instead of the older Dex fluid.

Guess what? The new Subaru fluid and the new GM fluid are very different in viscosity as well as other ways. So, which one do you use? No one who is in a position to comment intelligently is willing to do so.

In my 'older' 4EAT, I have successfully used both Schaeffer 204SAT, and Renewable Lube's ATF. They both are excellent choices for the 4EAT in lieu of the Dex II/III.
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:15 PM   #7
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AMSOIL options:

Synthetic Fuel Efficient Automatic Transmission Fluid Product Code: ATLQT-EA


A fuel efficient automatic transmission fluid recommended for GM, Ford and Toyota transmissions where lighter viscosity oil is required. Provides the same excellent protection and performance as AMSOIL ATF. Recommended for vehicles requiring GM DEXRONŽ VI, Ford MERCONŽ LV and SP, and Toyota WS fluid specifications.



OR


Synthetic Universal Transmission Fluid Product Code: ATFQT-EA


Offers excellent lubricating protection and better performance over a wider temperature range than conventional automatic transmission fluids. Recommended for a wide range of applications, including GM DEXRONŽ III-H, for 2005 and older vehicles originally calling for DEXRONŽ, DEXRONŽ II & DEXRONŽ III as well as Ford MERCONŽ, & MERCONŽ V plus many others.




But basically you are saying it doesn't really matter what I put in the transmission as long as it is ATF? It's just that I want to make sure that whatever I do put in this transmission will not eat away at any bushing or seals or anything of that sort to ensure long life.
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:33 PM   #8
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I'm using Amsoil Synthetic Universal Transmission Fluid Product Code: ATFQT-EA in my 2005 WRX 4eat.

The manual calls for “Dexron III” Type Automatic Transmission Fluid and this is it.
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:41 PM   #9
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Old 01-21-2010, 01:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eurospek View Post
I'm using Amsoil Synthetic Universal Transmission Fluid Product Code: ATFQT-EA in my 2005 WRX 4eat.

The manual calls for “Dexron III” Type Automatic Transmission Fluid and this is it.
Alright, thanks a bunch! I'll be grabbing some later this week
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Old 01-21-2010, 10:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScubaruImpreza05 View Post
But basically you are saying it doesn't really matter what I put in the transmission as long as it is ATF? It's just that I want to make sure that whatever I do put in this transmission will not eat away at any bushing or seals or anything of that sort to ensure long life.
That's more or less one of the major things I was saying, yes. The 2 fluids you listed are no doubt decent fluids. They'll also no doubt cause your transmission to feel a bit different when shifting than it does now. The first one you listed is noticeably thinner than the second, and the second is a 'universal,' which means it tries to be everything to everyone, and thus won't be 'optimum' for anyone.

In terms of 'not eating seals' and so forth, I don't think you have anything to worry about with the choices you listed. For the very best in terms of cleanliness (but WITHOUT 'eating' the seals), I suggest you try the Renewable Lubes product. Shipping may make it more money than the Amsoil, though.
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Old 01-22-2010, 01:25 PM   #12
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Meh, for daily driver usage, any compatible fluid (Dexron III I think for the 99, but double-check) will be fine. If she's towing or flogging it on a track, I'd look at the (crazy expensive) full synthetics.

I think I used valvoline's when I did my change. Made no difference in feel.
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:16 AM   #13
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The manual says Dexron II or Dexron III type, so would that rule out the fuel efficient because it is certified Dexron VI; or does each successive Dexron grade cover the previous grade (IE; Dexron III can be used in Dexron II because of it covering additives etc.)?

Thanks for the help, I've never quite understood much outside of necessary weights and what the weights themselves mean so sorry for the noobishness I imagine synthetic will have some fuel savings over the way old dino fluid currently residing in the pan
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Old 01-23-2010, 04:34 PM   #14
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Old 01-24-2010, 05:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScubaruImpreza05 View Post
The manual says Dexron II or Dexron III type, so would that rule out the fuel efficient because it is certified Dexron VI; or does each successive Dexron grade cover the previous grade?
Yes, it does. At least according to GM, who wrote the specs on all Dexron fluids. According to Subaru, though, they're telling you to go a different direction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScubaruImpreza05 View Post
Thanks for the help, I've never quite understood much outside of necessary weights and what the weights themselves mean so sorry for the noobishness
Everybody's that one time or another! Besides, in this case, nobody who might actually know the answer to your question is willing to answer it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScubaruImpreza05 View Post
I imagine synthetic will have some fuel savings over the way old dino fluid currently residing in the pan
Perhaps, but I doubt you'll be able to measure the difference. If fuel savings is a criterion for you (as it is more pretty well all of us, at least at some level or another), then you might want to choose the thinner Dexron VI fluids. One of the specific reasons GM did what they did with this new spec is that older Dexron fluids nearly all shear down (thin out) quite quickly in actual use to the viscosity that Dex VI starts at. Dex VI just starts out there and then does a much better job staying there. So, most people with 'old' or 'used' Dexron anything in their transmissions actually have something roughly the viscosity of Dex VI. This principle may not apply to some of the 'synthetics.'
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Old 02-03-2010, 02:54 PM   #16
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Alright, so due to funds being tight we opted to take a free case of Dexron 3 from my father. It's not synthetic but oh well, it saves use about $100 (over Synth Amsoil) alone so I think we can survive with that.

Where is the best place to get the internal and external spin on for cheapest? Rockauto.com has both but I wasn't sure if there was a better site.
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Old 02-03-2010, 03:01 PM   #17
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The external filter is a life time filter. The metal mesh screen in the trans does not need to be replaced.

You should be using the ATF-HP Subaru Tranmission fluid there is a Castrol equivilent to it, google around you will probably find wich one it is.
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Old 02-03-2010, 03:20 PM   #18
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The external filter is a life time filter. The metal mesh screen in the trans does not need to be replaced.

You should be using the ATF-HP Subaru Tranmission fluid there is a Castrol equivilent to it, google around you will probably find wich one it is.
In the manual it just says 'Dexron II or III' so I'd imagine it would be okay? The ATF in it is 80,000 miles old so we want it replaced before our 3,000 mile trip in March.

But neither filter needs a changing?
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:58 PM   #19
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I believe the spin on filter on my '02 is supposed to be a 150k part. So, don't worry about it for a while.
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Old 02-04-2010, 02:41 PM   #20
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Neither filter need to be changed. That said the outsife filter is $15 bucks from autozone, so I did it. The traditional dexron III ATF will be fine. Just drain and refill - no flush.
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Old 10-06-2011, 02:58 AM   #21
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A trusted friend of mine says he runs dexVI in his GL 4-speed for a while now. says its a noticeably improved difference and gives it a smoother feel as well as fixing the annoying delay at cold temps.
following his advice: i plan to change my '99 imp L 4EAT fluid with dex VI tomorrow as well as change the screw-on filter with the std $15 o'rieley's auto brand.

its at over 80k now and ive had since 60k no real idea of history, and my atf is currently a lighter brown color so it needs changing, was planning a drain and fill as dex VI is costly, my question is though will the dilution effect of mixing dex VI and preexisting dex III have any possible serious complications as i could hold out until i could afford/locate another 5 quarts of valvoline fullsyn dex VI.
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Old 10-06-2011, 10:07 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScubaruImpreza05 View Post
In the manual it just says 'Dexron II or III' so I'd imagine it would be okay? The ATF in it is 80,000 miles old so we want it replaced before our 3,000 mile trip in March.

But neither filter needs a changing?


Dex3 is perfectly fine, and the filter doesn't need to be changed unless you're rebuilding the trans.
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:04 PM   #23
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Dex3 is perfectly fine, and the filter doesn't need to be changed unless you're rebuilding the trans.
couldnt preemptively changing the filter save the need for rebuilding
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:35 PM   #24
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Not really.

It seems that it is basically there simply to catch the debris if your clutches melt down or you grind up a gear, at which point you'll be replacing the filter and rebuilding the trans anyway.

Go ahead and change it if it makes you feel better, but don't feel bad about not doing so.
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:48 PM   #25
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so today i grew some balls and did it. i did the drain and fill method removing half of supposed dex 3 and replacing with dex 6. i had no way to jack my car up level so i drove it over a ditch and undid the drain plug. the filter was stuck on tight and i couldnt get a good enough angle to where i could get two hands on it and i had no filter wrench or pb blaster or such, pressed for time now i opted to leave it. there were no metal shavings or anything on the plug which is pleasing. the manual says it holds 8.9qts total and 4qts exactly came out so i poured 4 qts of valvoline fullsyn Dex VI in. ran it a few miles did the tranny fluid check procedure and with a few tries got an accurate looking reading it seems to sit between the two zones for Cold and Hot so i imagine it could be a little low but i havent added any yet as the dipstick is terrible enough to where i do not trust it. the old fluid looked pretty bad as it is around the color of motor oil, so im gonna repeat in about 10k when i can afford more fluid as its around $6-7 per qt.

it definitely feels a nice bit smoother and even easier on the motor, shifting from P to R to D still a little slow at cold start, shifting between gears while driving seems quicker and more precise. Overall id say its a great improvement and safe so far but this is day one ill try and remember to update if i notice any changes and when i do the next change as right now its about 40% dex VI and 60% old Dex III.

Last edited by askmelater47; 10-06-2011 at 11:53 PM. Reason: im a perfectionist
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