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not quite an oil change--my husbands hurt pride


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28 replies to this topic

#1 jellybean

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:37 PM

Please don't laugh at our story-- we are in kind of a bind.  My husband attempted to change the oil for the first time in our 2012 Subaru Outback (not his first oil change but the first for a subaru).  It seems he loosened the wrong bolt under the car, not releasing oil but a transparent greenish liquid (slightly oily).  He thougt it was transmission fluid and attempted to pour it back in the transmission plug but it woudn't take in any fluid and spilled on the floor.  Now we are reading online that transmission fluid would most likely be red.  PLEASE help me (I've not told him I'm asking for help).  Right now it looks like we will have to tow it to the dealer in the morning.  While we will definatly be taking it there for the oil change now I would prefer not to have to pay to have it towed.  Any advice on first what the liquid is that he drained? Secondly, where do we put it back in? and third is there any damage if some of that liquid got in the transmission lines? Also, would it be ok to drive about 15 miles?  urrggghhh,

 

Trying to be patient and understanding Wife



#2 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 11:47 PM

Not familiar with the 2012, but does seem he may have drained coolant, then put coolant in the transmission.

 

Unless he can satisfy himself that he has all the improper liquids OUT of wrong places, and proper liquids at proper fill levels IN the right places, best to have it towed to a shop and fixed up.

 

We will need to know more about the car, which engine/transmission, etc.

 

(Once, I forgot to replace a drain plug ans poured about 2 quarts of new oil on the ground until I spotted something flowing past my feet - feces happens!)



#3 herb

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 11:58 PM

yup, sounds like he drained the coolant, and then topped off the tranny fluid with anti-freeze.  i'd drain & change the tranny fluid and top off the coolant, find the proper drain plug (should be in the manual) and change the oil. If that's too much to ask, it's probably best left to the professionals.



#4 Fairtax4me

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 12:06 AM

Coolant on a 2012 will be a dark blue-green color. Trans fluid could be greenish, but you need to check the correct dipstick. Auto trans and front differential use separate fluids. I suspect he may have poured the fluid into the front differential and that would fill up quickly since the capacity of the front diff is only about 1.5-2 quarts. The auto trans has its own dipstick, which should be on the driver side of the trans.

Edited by Fairtax4me, 30 March 2013 - 12:07 AM.


#5 turbosubarubrat

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 12:29 AM

not familar with the new stuff either. but "if there is such a thing as green tranmission fluid"  and if it is 4wd he could have drained the transfer case and added that to the transmission fluid. if thats the case you just need to drain the fluid and put new fluid in the tranmission and transfer case. sounds like he put antifreeze in the tranmission which can be fixed by draining the fluid and putting new fluid in and adding antifreeze to the radiator. and of coarse to change the oil it will be the drain plug on the oil pan just before the tranmission.



#6 Fairtax4me

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 12:40 AM

No "transfer case" on Subaru. The "transfer" section is part of the extension/tail housing of the main trans case, and uses the same fluid.

Plenty of cars these days use greenish colored power steering fluid, not hard to imagine some may use the same fluid for auto trans.

#7 jellybean

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 05:53 AM

I should have mentioned I'm pretty sure it's not anti-freeze.  Doesn't have the neon look or really even much of a scent.  It is an automatic transmission, 2.5i Limited AWD outback.

Thanks for the comments so far--



#8 Numbchux

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 07:32 AM

Wow, come on guys. Some of the responses here are embarrassing.

Let's think about this, she said that he has done an oil change before, so he probably didn't mistake the radiator petcock for an oil drain plug. Also the power steering system would not have a drain plug.

There would be three drain plugs on that vehicle that could be the oil. One is correct, one is front differential, and the third is transmission.

Oil is.... well... oil. That's easy. Transmission fluid should indeed be red. Front differential is gear oil, which isn't exactly green, more of a bronze, but I suppose in the right light might look greenish.

I'm not sure about new cars, but 10 years ago, the owners manual would have quite a bit of information on what fluids to use, where they come out, and where to fill them. I recommend starting there to track down exactly what fluid was drained and where it was added.


What worries me, is the idea that he may have added enough foreign fluid to the transmission to overflow it, that would require a lot. First off, if that is the case, DO NOT start the vehicle, as soon as the engine is running, the pump will circulate that through the transmission, and you will probably never get it all out. I would drain and fill (with new fluid) at least twice before attempting to start it, and then I would go directly to a reputable transmission shop to have them flush the system as well.

#9 ivans imports

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 10:15 AM

Thiss car should have a owners manual to walk you thru all of thiss will tell what plug is for what what filler is for each fliud and what fliuds it takes get him to read it will be a whole section on service if you dont have a owners manual buy one is good investment. Oh do it yourself husbands keep me very bussy !



#10 Gloyale

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 01:38 PM

Sounds like he drained the front diff.

 

Then tried to refill it through the Auto Trans dipstick hole.

 

I've heard of this happening at Jiffylube before.

 

 

Subaru Automatics have 3 Drain plugs underneath. 

 

Oil pan plug = 17mm head.  Forwardmost, on bottom of the black oilpan (hidden by undercover/brushgaurd....remove to drain) Fill through oil cap.

 

Front Diff = 22mm or Torx Right behind crossmember, visible without removing brushgaurd (which is why these get drained, rather than the oil :rolleyes: )  Fill through dipstick on PASS. side of vehichle above axle.

 

Transmission fluid = 17mm head   Drivers side of the big flat trans oilpan.  Fill with ATF from dipstick on Drivers side.



#11 Caboobaroo

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 03:00 PM

I want to make a few slight changes to what Gloyale said but he's pretty much spot on.

The oil pan drain plug is a 14mm headed plug now on the 2012, pretty much right next to the front swaybar. It's mounted vertically in the pan now.

Since it is a 2012 4 cylinder, it should have a CVT transmission in it, which has a hex plug on the pan now, toward the driver side back corner for the transmission fluid. The front diff is a Torx T70 drain plug but since there is no dipstick, you have to remove the 14mm bolt on the diff housing (bolts in vertically) while it's being filled. Once it's full, gear oil will start coming out of the hole the 14mm bolt plugs.

Sounds like he might have removed the overfill plug on the diff. Would really depend on where it's located on the vehicle (pictures always help). If just a dribble came out (not a couple pints of fluid), there's probably not enough fluid loss to hurt anything but there is always that chance.

#12 nipper

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 08:47 PM

Can you post a pic?  Sounds like diff fluid to me too. Sounds like he is going to learn how to do a tranny flush too.



#13 jellybean

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 09:37 PM

Thank you for all of the replies.  Just a follow-up... the manual that comes with the Outback is terrible--just another way they get you to have to go to the dealership for service.  I tried to look up the Chilton books but didn't see one out yet. 
 
Turns out my husband trying to do it himself turned into a $331 oil change.  Thankfully, there was no charge for the tow (thank you subaru roadside assistance).  It was figured out that he did drain the transmission fluid but what was so costly was that he tried to put it back into the differential plug (based on a phone call where someone told him that is where to put the transmission fluid back in).  This meant that they replaced the differential fluid, I believe flushed the transmission fluid or maybe just added to it, and changed the oil and gave us a "free" car wash.
 
We still have no idea where the transmission fluid dipstick is but perhaps it's better we don't know and will just take it in to be serviced.  He does much better work on the 98 Wrangler and 01 Blazer.  I was sworn to secrecy about having to tow our car to fix his mistake--you all won't tell right? :)  Thanks!



#14 nipper

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 09:44 PM

CVTs if I remember correctly do not have a dipstick.  

 

Everyone does this once. Nothing to be ashamed of, unless it is on you tube ..... of course it isnt on youtube is it :P



#15 ivans imports

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 10:43 AM

tranny 1500$ engine 3500$ diff 650 $ having your husband say he was wrong pricless glad you got it sorted



#16 Subaru_dude

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 09:37 PM

It was painful reading some of those replies guys. Google is your friend...

 

He should not be turned away from working on the car. You now know more than most people on the planet on how to change the fluid in the trans AND he now knows where to look for the oil drain plug. Once he gets his head wrapped around how that boxer motor sits in the car it'll be a breeze. Glad you got this cleared up.



#17 turbosubarubrat

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 09:49 PM

No "transfer case" on Subaru. The "transfer" section is part of the extension/tail housing of the main trans case, and uses the same fluid.

Plenty of cars these days use greenish colored power steering fluid, not hard to imagine some may use the same fluid for auto trans.

dang it :banghead: i ment to say front differintial.



#18 ShawnW

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 11:21 PM

Lesson learned but I wouldn't be afraid to try again.  Synthetic oil is typically recommended, I recommend a factory filter at least until you are out of warranty even though its not required and many here will argue it.  The truth is-if there's a warranty claim and it ends up in a dealership the failure of the engine certainly won't be blamed on your cheap filter if you use a Subaru one.  Crush ring on the drain plug.  Its easy to change just a photo of the bottom of the car and we can walk you thru it.



#19 wavekayaker

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 06:40 PM

A young boy once asked a wise old man what the most important advice in life was. The wise old man responded to always try to make good choices in life. The young boy asked the wise old man how he would know to make good life choices. The wise old man replied " by making poor life choices".

Don't be afraid to let him work on the car. Go slow, use google to research what you want to do, and ask lots of questions here.

Good luck!

#20 Subaru_dude

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 09:08 PM

Oh yeah, when my dad bought a well used 1993 Toyota camry years ago and changed the oil for the first time, he drained the trans fluid and added 4 quarts on top of what was already in the car. So he drained the "oil" again and checked, still too full. So he just drove it that way. Ended up blowing all the oil seals out and having the transmission rebuilt.



#21 MR_Loyale

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:38 PM

If it is any consolation, even a dealer can screw up an oil change.
Had this happen to me. Got it back with no oil in the engine.

 

The negative experience is as much a lesson as the positive ones.

 

Half my life's in book's written pages
Live and learn from fools and from sages
You know it's true ...

 



#22 nipper

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:51 PM

If it is any consolation, even a dealer can screw up an oil change.
Had this happen to me. Got it back with no oil in the engine.

 

The negative experience is as much a lesson as the positive ones.

 

Half my life's in book's written pages
Live and learn from fools and from sages
You know it's true ...

 

You can't just say something like that and leave us hanging ....... and?!?!?!?!



#23 toni1595

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 09:19 AM

Dream on.....Aerosmith



#24 MR_Loyale

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 01:02 PM

You can't just say something like that and leave us hanging ....... and?!?!?!?!

 

Leave you hanging with the rest of the song or the rest of how I had a dealership screw up an oil change?

 

The rest of the song is online. I just thought that verse applied in this situation.

 

My oil change fiasco was a Dodge dealer - Bremerton Dodge to be exact and as they are no longer in business, I see no reason to hold back. I have a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500  I bought spanky new in 2002. Not many miles on it as I only use it to haul the boat. At 12-15 MPG it could never be my daily driver. I think it was in 2004 or so I took it in for a routine oil change oh and asked for a locking gas cap as gas thefts were going big back then. About an hour later, they tell me the truck  is ready and hand me the bill. I pay the cashier and go out to my truck. I start the engine and about 20 seconds later the engine stops and the check light comes on. It won't start again. I grab the manual out of the glove box and try to look upwhat the indicator meant. After about  5 minutes, I give up and walk back into the service desk. I tell the guy what has happened and he rolls his eyes as if he knows what the trouble might be. He walks out and immediately opens the hood of the truck and pulls the dip stick. Yeah, he KNEW what to look for because this had happened before. Keep in mind I didn't have more than 16K miles on this truck. He walked back into the shop and told me what it was. He tried to say there was low oil in the engine that they didn't put enough oil in it. Though I never checked it myself I suspect it was worse than that based upon his shocked look as if "oh crap, not again".

 

Honestly, I was in shock, caught totally off guard that here in the dealership, the factory authorized annointed place where ALL work was to happen, they could make such a mistake as not added oil for a damn oil change (dang it I am getting pissed just writing about it again). All their ASE certs on the wall, Dodge certififcation and feel good posters that the "know" Dodge trucks because they are factory trained etc.  So now my truck is in the small lot where they queue cars after the repair work is done. I'd say about 20 yards from the service bay.  The service guy assures me he will fix it etc etc. So the next thing I know I see this probably about 17 yr old kid hop into the my truck (you know, the one with no oil) and DRIVE it into the service bay. Yup, you read that right. See why I am angry?

 

I tell the service desk guy they are on the hook if I have ANY engine issues in the future and I want the computerized record annotated with the details of this incident. If it had been me that had done such a thing, who here doesn't think it would be the excuse to deny any and all future warranty service?

 

So I get it back, and this time I check the dip stick. It has oil in there, the correct amount as far as I can tell.

 

A few days later I get a call from the dealership asking "how did you like our service".. Not in a sorry we almost wrecked your engine with such a rookie mistake you might  as well have changed your own oil sort of way, this was in a gee I think we did such a wonderful job we are just calling to confirm we are wonderful, sort of way.

 

Ever see in cartoons where a character gets really mad and the steam puffs out of each ear? That was me at this moment. And like Yosemite Sam, I unloaded on them - both barels and then some. How any place on earth could be so incompetent and clueless just added to my anger. They offered me a free detailing to placate me. I told them I wouldn't trust them to check the tire pressure. A detailing might mean I'd get the truck back with holes in the paint as they'd probably try to "clean" it with paint stripper.

 

In 2008 or so I think Bremerton Dodge went out of business. Needless to say I didn't shed a tear.

 

 

 

Since then I have learned that dealership service shops tend to run on something called the "Team Concept" where the mechanics are indy hired guns that must supply their own tools and work more like contractors than employees. And the oil changes are done by minimum wage young dumb and full of cum pimply faced kids who wouldn't know a piston rod from a fishing rod.  This explains why the service shop kid drove my truck without oil back into the bay to put in oil. He probablly had no idea why oil is important in an engine.

 

Now for all those folks who are going to write that "anyone can make a mistake", yeah that is true. But if I am buying mistakes, I'd be better off paying jiffy lube goobers (don't get me going about how they cross thread the oil filters, my blood pressure is already high just retelling this story) to make them cheaper or perhaps Wal-Mart mistakes than pay dealership rates for my mistakes.  I can hire a couple of illegals to make the mistakes cheaper than ASE certified, factory authorized mistake makers.



#25 mikaleda

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Posted 13 April 2013 - 01:59 PM

^ these kind of stories is exactly why I change my own oil.
Not putting oil back in the engine is unacceptable

Edited by mikaleda, 13 April 2013 - 02:00 PM.





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