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What brand fluids?


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#1 Pasta

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 09:37 AM

Greetings, all

Going this afternoon to purchase my first Subaru from private seller.  2009 Forester Limited, 2.5X with 67k.  She cannot verify that regular maintenance was accomplished but tells me it's been done. Did not notice any oil leaking under the engine.  Through lurking here, I learned HG leaks are the Achilles Tendon of this engine and one of the best ways to prevent this is...yep...proper maintenance. 

On a previous thread, I was given excellent advice on how to get off on a good start:

Oil/filter change

ATF drain/fill x 3

front/rear diff fluid change

coolant change

air filter

wiper blades

check brake pads

Techron gas additive

read manual on spare tire and towing

always make sure fluids don't get low

.

So here are my questions (for now):

Can I go box-store brand ATF?

What brand/type fluid for the front/rear differential?

Lurking tells me Subaru brand coolant is best, but should I also buy the Subaru coolant additive for this engine?

.

Thanks for any suggestions.  I am green and wet behind the ear, but eager to learn and motivated to do the right thing from the start!  I plan on keeping this vehicle for the long-haul and don't mind spending a couple extra bucks for maintenance, but if box-store brand works just fine, then I can put those hard-earned dollars toward something else.

 

 



#2 Rooster2

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 10:52 AM

I think any brand of ATF is good. My Subie is a 99, and I have had no trouble using Wal-Mart brand Dextron ATF on the 3 drain & fill program over the 8 years that I have owned the car. Your 09 may use something different then Dextron ATF. Read the owner's manual for what specific ATF needed for your car.



#3 MilesFox

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 11:24 AM

Since i am here, i will lend you my expertise with both subaru and working at an oil change facility. I will compare what is recommended, and suggest my personal preference for brands/fluid types, which are suitable for all season and temperarure ranges for a northern temperate climate that sees from -20 degrees to 100 degrees F:

 

Front and rear differentials: Front 1.2 qts, rear .80 qts; 80w90 conventional or 75w90 synthetic, API GL-5 for helical or pinion gear. I use Mobil1 75w90 brand fluid, $10 per quart, 2 quarts services both diffs. Service schedule every 30,000 mi for everyday use, 15,000 mi for heavy use, off road, mud and water, etc

 

Automatic trans service from 30,000 to 60,000 mi, or 15,000 for extreme use such as towing or off road duty. If i am not mistaken, the 4eat fro 2009 uses dextronII/III spec fluid, conventional or synthetic. If in doubt, use a milti-vehicke ATF such as

Valvoline Max Life ATF, Cam 2 Multi-vehicle ATF. I am running the cam2 in my 98 legacy outback. Where i work, retail price is $119.99 for the Cam2 synthetic milti-ATF, or 89.99 for a conventional dextron II/III with an optional additive to bring the conventional ATF to chrysler atf+4 (mitsubishi), Mercon V or LV, (ford) or Dextron VI (GM). Dextron 6 is backwards compatible, so any modern-spec ATF will work in the subaru.

 

For th e coolant, service the factory fill after 5 years or 50,000 mi, Definitely at 100,000 mi along withthe timing belt and water pump. Maintaining the coolant system in the subaru is of utmost importance to avoid potential head gasket issues. It is best to use the Subaru brand coolant and the coolant conditioner. If using a generic fluid, use the green stuff, silicate free, and not the orange 'long life' coolant. A product like blue devil or k-seal can be substituted for the subaru coolant conditioner. For the green coolant, service every 24 months or 30,000 mi. The purpose for replacing the coolant is to replace the anti corrosive properties, as there are sacrificial elements dissolved into the fluid that wear away, much like a zinc rod in a hot water heater, if you understand galvanic corrosion or electrolysis, as dissimilar metals in a fluid(electrolite) will act as a cathode and an anode. I am running the straight green stuff. Since my engine (ej25d) is historically known for premature HG failure, i may consider the k-seal product as a preemptive measure. Usually pattern HG failures occur from between 125,000 and 150,000 mi. Mine has 133,000 on the odo.

 

For oil, change the oil from 3500 mi to 7500 mi, depending on conventional or synthetic oil. All oil must meet current standards such As global standard ISLAC GF-5 and American standard API SM, SN. A little known secret is that 'premium conventional' oil is technically a semi-syn and has a service life of up to 5,000 mi. My preference is a name brand oil such as Mobil 5000, Mobil Super High Mileage, or Mobil1. For oil weight and viscosity, the engine is installed with 5w30 from the factory. For summer temps above 50 deg F, a 10w30 oil is more appropriate. Same for prolonged highway or high RPM operation. "5w30 is not recommended for prolonged (sustained) high speed operation" according to subaru owners manual in regards to turbo since 1983. A 10w40 oil is appropriate for summer temps if the engine is consuming a quart between oil changes. 5w40 is also appropriate, as well as for winter. With a full synthetic oil, 0w40 is a wise choice as it flows best for cold starts and winter, but also is 40 wt for summer temps and high speed operation. For a conventional, 10w30 or 40, for synth blend, 5w40, for full syn, 5w40 0r 0w40. Examples of brands are Shell rotella t6 5w40, Mobil1 TDT 5w40, and Mobil1 European formula 0w40. I use the mobil1 ow40 and mobil high mile 1030 or 10w40. The proper weight is more important than which brand. If you do your searching , you will see a lot of argument for mobil vs rotella, but the argument really is about 5w30 vs 5 or 15w40. And for the record, Mobil1 is a group 4 synthetic ester, so if you read anything about mobil 1 not being a true synthetic or group 3 paraffin oil, they are mistaking for mobil super synthetic, which is a different line than mobil1 (my oil shop carries mobil)

 

With extended oil change, or any weight or brand of oil, in general, with any vehicle, it is wise to check the oil level as often as you fuel up. Subarus can and use oil. Causes for consumption can be from high mileage on the engine, failed or clogged PCV system, or too light of an oil grade. Ypu should expect to add a quart every 2-3,000 mi whether the engine is using oil or not. The 40 wt oil should do better with consumption. Consumption can vary depending on driving dynamic. For example, a 98 forester, can drive 2500 mi out of state and back, and not use a drop of oil, but the same car withthe same oil (5w30) can use a quart in 2 weeks of city driving. Just make a habit of checking the oil level often and you will be alraight regardless of oil weight or brand.

 

Keep the tires inflated to even pressure. Check and add air while tires are cold. Ths door sill may suggest some 28 lbs of pressure, but this is best for off road or snow footprint, but for street and highway driving, 35-40 lbs will lend to better fuel economy and tread wear. It is important that all 4 wheels be within 1/4 inch diameter of eachother to keep the AWD happy. Rotate the tires from 6-8000 mi, or every other oil change. Rotation should follow a FWD/AWD pattern rather than a 4WD/RWD pattern. Baxk tires move to front, front tires criss corss to the rear. After every other tire rotation, all 4 wheels will hve had the chance to wear from eaithe direction, from either side, to promote even tread wear. Without regular rotations, you will find the front tires wear much sooner than the rear, and the front tires will tend to wear the outer edges of the tires. Hence the need to rotate them often.

 

Air filter mileage can vary depending on driving environment. 15,000 mi for dusty conditions, 30,000 mi for ideal conditions. In the oil change industry, on average with average vehicles, i see filter replacements about 20-25,000 mi for mixed urban driving. If you are inspecting and replacing the filter yourself, you will want to see light shine thru the filter pleats. Once you can only see light at the edge of the pleats, it is time to replace it. It is ok to have a little bit of sand or dust bunnies between the pleats as long as light can shine thru.

 

Inspect the brakes at each tire rotation. To avoild complications with calipers, disassemble and clean the brakes and grease the slide pins once or twice a year. Ideally, once before winter, and once after winter, especially if your area uses road salts to melt ice. Here in wisconsin, if you just let the brakes go intil the pads are down to the metal, you can count on seized caliper slides before, or a stuck piston after replacing the pads.

 

Another thing to consider, although you haven't  asked, is to prevent rust. Common rusty spots are the rear wheel arches where the bumper meets, as there are plastic tabs that secure the bumper, and rust will begin there. Same withthe bottom of the wheel arch where it meets the rocker sill. This is because dirt and debris will accumulate and trap moisture, promoting rust, especially when road salts are applied in winter. Keep this are a clean and be sure to wash it out with a sprayer or by hand with a rag when washing the car. You can pull out the rubber stone guard strip to clean and wax this area when you wash the car. Another rust place is the front fenders behind the mud flaps. Dirt and leaves will accumulate there from within the wheel arches, and from the wiper cowl. Durt will pack in and trap moisture causing rust from inside out, behind the paint. It wouldn't hurt to take out the bolt to gain access and clean behind there, and replace the bolts with stainless steel. When using a sprayer or hose, open the door and blast it behind the fender between the door hinges. By hand, you may be able to pull down the plastic fender liner and rinse it from behind.

 

Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty on the car. Although subarus are particular about maintenance, they are wonderfully easy to service. You should have no qualms about dong a routine service like replacing a starter or alternator with no mechanical background and basic hand tools. You have this forum, so $100 bucks in tools can save you more money for less than  the cost of one hour of dealer labor rate.



#4 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 11:28 AM

I'm not sure on a 2009 if Subaru's ATF-HP trans fluid w'ever is 'required'. It's good stuff, just may be pricey and inconvenient to acquire. (One trick to try, get pricing on any OEM parts/fluids from an on-line dealer like Fred Beans or genuinesubaruparts - others, and ask your local dealer to match prices, has worked for me and others on occasion) There may be a Castrol or other fluid that would be a reasonable fluid to use.

 

Coolant may also be a point of contention - some people do just fine with a fluid like peak Global, others say you must use the Subaru coolant. There are 2 kinds so, check the manual.

 

diffs, any name brand GL-5 is fine (synthetic or dino), check the manual, some cars actually spec different viscosities F vs R. I used a gear oil pump for the rear and a funnel with a hose on it for the front fluid fills.

 

power steering also uses Dexron III or 6 w'ever fluid. Not some generic PS fluid off the shelf.

 

I have used many brands and they all seem OK in my limited experience. valvoline, shell, castrol, redline, etc. I even use walmart supertech synth engine oil in my cars for winter time use.

 

 

As you can imagine, there's a lot of 'discussion' about fluids and when you begin to vary from what your manual suggests, you assume some risk. Often minor, but who really knows?



#5 MilesFox

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 11:39 AM

You will find that the owners manual, and service shop tech sheets will show the following oil types for for subaru engines for different tepmerature ranges for eall EJ and prior engines:

 

5w30, 10w30, 10w40, 30, 40, 50, 15w40, 20w50. And with synthetic fluids, the following can be substituted: 0w30 for 5w30 (not recommended for prolonged high speed operation, turbo), 0w40 or 5w40 for 15w40. For 5w30, my opinion is that it is only appropriate for winter temps below 50 degrees F

 

20 wt oil has never been listed with subarus, except for late model FA engines calling for 0w20 and 0w30 
(for emissions and fuel economy standards) although in my personal opinion, these weights should not be used above winter time temps, and that only 0w40 would be an appropriate substitute over the factory installed oil for 2012 and later subaru for all temps


Edited by MilesFox, 14 August 2014 - 11:40 AM.


#6 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 12:43 PM

some pics;

 

HopkinsTF112.jpg

 

0000000038734.jpg

 

Thermostats%204%20sm.jpg



#7 Olnick

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 12:46 PM

One correction to MilesFox's maintenance write-up:  Tires must be within 1/4 inch circumference of each other--not diameter!



#8 MilesFox

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 02:54 PM

One correction to MilesFox's maintenance write-up:  Tires must be within 1/4 inch circumference of each other--not diameter!

What i meant. Thanks for the clarification. Might i add it is ok to mount one odd size tire(spare) as the differentials are open. In the case of a flat tire in the front, it is best to move one of the back tires to the front, and put the spare on the back. Pref. the passenger rear.

 

You can technically run 2 odd pairs of tires, but only diagonal or on the same side of the car, but never FF, RR as it will bind the AWD



#9 Pasta

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 06:39 AM

Woah.  What an education.  I've read the posts 3x yesterday afternoon and evening, taking notes.  MilesFox and 1 Lucky Texan, your advice is sincerely appreciated.  Thank you for taking a significant amount of your time to help me.  This information will be uesed for the life of the vehicle and no doubt many USMB members will benefit from the advice! 

 "My" car is a 2000 Accord with 194k miles.  I've done the basics: oil, ATF, etc and replaced a starter, radiator, and distributor.  This generation Accord an only use Honda ATF due to serious transmission problems and I absolutely did not want to make a mistake with the Forester 2.5.

Looking fwd to learning my way around this Soob engine and hopefully join the 250,000 mile club.  Going to purchase fluids, the funnel, and transfer pump this weekend and get started on a regular maintenance program here!  Will let everyone know how it goes.  Until then...I'll be lurking.



#10 forester2002s

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 11:09 AM

Another 'tool' to buy:
- a squeezy-bulb type of turkey-baster (available from your local dollar-store).

Use this to get lubricating-oil into awkward places. For instance, into the rear-differential filler-plug; also down into the manual-transmission dipstick-tube.

Just make sure to keep the oily turkey-baster away from food.

#11 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 11:27 AM

that Hopkins funnel with the tube on it works quite well for the front diff and auto trans. The transfer pump works for the rear diff. well, did for my cars.

 

I may cut 2-3 inches off the funnel's tubing so it can support itself better, but really, it works fine as is. The black plastic adapter on the bottom fits well inside the dipstick tubes - just pour diff oil VERY slowly and it works. Before switching to fill with a different fluid, I use some of the old fluid I drained to flush the funnel/tube with. That way, I don't get any trans fluid in the diff or vice-versa .



#12 Pasta

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 07:26 PM

Thanks for the tips on the turkey baster, funnel and pump.  On the to-buy list.  I've got a very long plastic funnel for AT changes n the Accord and think it will work here, too.  If not, will get the flexible one, probably easier to use.

 

Another thing:  my Power Steering fluid is at the low indicator mark.  I cannot verify what fluid is in there now, but assume it is the original Subaru PS fluid.  Texan mentioned to use Dexron III or 6 and to stay away from generic off-the-shelf PS fluid.  My owner's manual does not specify what PS fluid to use, but it does state not to mix PS fluids.  Just saw a post on a different forum using the baster method (or could use Texan's pump) to extract most of the fluid, replace with new stuff, drive some figure-8s, and repeat this 5 or 10 times.  Do you agree this is good?  I like it because it is simple and seems safe.  Should I get Dexron III or 6?  does it matter? 

 

One last question for now.  This is kind of embarassing, but I do not know what engine I have.  I see MilesFox has EJ25D.  It seems a lot of people have EJ engines.  Not sure what all this means.  I will keep looking for a thread, but maybe someone could post a link if they know of a thread or website that will explain it to me and give me a larger perspective of what I have and others.  Just trying to learn, thanks for your patience!

 

Grazie (thank you),

Pasta



#13 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 11:10 PM

Dex 6 is backwards comaprible but, for the PS fluid, I'd get valvoline maxlife Dex/Merc(w'ever it's called). Probably a NAPA or any other brand-name Dexron ATF should be fine. Your manual 'should' mention what type fluid. basically, w'ever goes in the auto trans will go in the PS.  There are ways to get more fluid out faster, but 2-3 trips with the turkey baster with a hose on it (new fluid/turkey baster/new fluid,etc.) should get you a good refresh on the fluid. Sometimes messing around the PS pump will disturb  the suction hose or the o-ring on it's adapter and cause bubbling/foaming of the fluid. easy fix - just don't panic if the PS sounds or feels weird, do a search you will read about the fix. (mostly older model cars - just a possibility though)


Edited by 1 Lucky Texan, 17 August 2014 - 11:12 PM.


#14 MilesFox

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 10:27 AM

Here are some good reads to get used to subaru engine nomencalture:

 

http://en.wikipedia....ubaru_EJ_engine

 

http://en.wikipedia....Subaru_Forester

 

According to these articles, your car should have the EJ255 assuming the foresterx for 2009 is turbo, vs the forester XT. I didn't see anything relative to the forester 2.5x trim in these articles.

 

PErhaps the vin tag on the driver side strut tower may give a clue. Good luck.



#15 heartless

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 06:31 AM

dont know on the newer ones, but on my 95 it states right on the power steering cap what fluid to use - might look there?

 

but yeah, should be the dexron type 3, or compatible, transmission fluid.

 

if you pull the cap and touch the dipstick, the fluid should be red in color



#16 Pasta

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 11:17 PM

Well, going to change ATF and hopefully front & rear differential fluids tomorrow afternoon.  I purchased Valvoline MaxLife ATF and Synthetic Mobill 1 75W-90 gear oil.

 

Reviewing the FSM tonight and noticed Subaru recommends to "Bleed the Air of Control Valve."

 

What is this and how do I bleed the air of control valve?  The FSM does not mention how to do this.

 

Thank you!



#17 Pasta

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 10:09 PM

Things went well today.  Put the Forester up on 4 jack stands and rotated tires, ATF change (Valvoline MaxLife), checked brake pads.

 

I've got to buy that Hopkin's funnel for the front diff....mine did not fit. It went smooth thanks to your advice.  Next time it will go much faster.

 

Will update you with how the front/rear differential fluid change goes.



#18 Pasta

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 10:37 PM

Here's what I did today:

1.  ATF drain & fill. Also did it last week, so today was the second time.  The ATF came out really clean today.   What are your thoughts on ATF drain/fill twice instead of three times? 

2.  Front & rear diff drain & fill.  It seemed like Hurcules himself put the drain plug on the front differential and rear differential drain plugs.  Had to use the handle from my jack as a breaker bar.  

 

This is how I got the Mobil 1 synthetic 75W-90 gear oil into the rear diff -- the idea is from an Eric The Car Guy YouTube video.  Use a 27" piece of plastic tubing 7/16 OD and 5/16 ID.  The bottle is placed next to the muffler so that it is higher than the rear diff fill hole.  Squeeze it in.  Cheap, easy, effective.  The rear took 0.6 qt and the front took 1.2 qt.  I tried to post a picture, but could not figure it out.

 

Autozone has a Hopkins funnel with a hose.  It was similar to the one Lucky Texan posted above, but the funnel had an on/off valve to control the flow and the upper part of the funnel has graduated markings in oz, qt, liters.  About 5 bucks.  The tip is tapered and fits the ATF and front diff easily.  I liked using it, but made a mistake.  I filled the entire thing, then lined up up the hose, THEN while trying to maintain that and open the funnel, I spilled some gear oil, making a mess.  Next time will just keep the valve open.  It did come in very handy and worked perfectly when adding the additional 0.2 qt to the front diff.  Again, took a picture but no-go. 

 

Anyhow, maybe someone on this forum will find that information useful.  I want to thank everyone in this string for their help.  Next weekend will be PS fluid and brake fluid.

 

Signing off with 2 questions:

1. Can someone tell me how to post a picture?  I could not figure it out from the Help page.

2. Thoughts on ATF drain/fill 2x or 3x?

 

Thanks,

Pasta



#19 heartless

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 08:51 AM

for pictures - most host thier pictures on a free picture hosting site - photobucket, flicker, etc - then use the links provided by that site to post them here.

 

ATF drain & fill - the general consensus is that you get roughly 1/3rd of the fluid per drain, so doing 3 times will get the greater majority of the old fluid out. If you are comfortable with only doing twice, that is entirely up to you.



#20 ampb5rider

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 09:27 PM

Wow, this thread is very interesting, lots of great info. So a little about my car, 2005 impreza outback sport, 144,000 miles in the middle of a HG replacement. Was told all Subie Maint. was done. Not. I think they cleaned the lower engine and put new nuts on the exaust manifold. Oil leak later from the back of the engine and my mechanic suggested HG replacement. I changed the rear diff and front dif with Amsoil GL-5, And BTW had changed engine oil withAmsoil 5w-30 prior to the "leak" Using Fel-pro gaskets "MLS" and a bunch of OEM o rings etc. Had the heads cut. New oil pump. Have 5w-30 and 5w-40 in my garage. Using Ultra gray for sealant. Need to ajust valves as exausts were losened prior to cutting. Cylinders look good but one has slight score marks at 12 O'clock. Am I missing anything? All info, cratiques are welcome. What no spell check!



#21 Rooster2

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 06:56 AM

for pictures - most host thier pictures on a free picture hosting site - photobucket, flicker, etc - then use the links provided by that site to post them here.

 

ATF drain & fill - the general consensus is that you get roughly 1/3rd of the fluid per drain, so doing 3 times will get the greater majority of the old fluid out. If you are comfortable with only doing twice, that is entirely up to you.

I'm thinking that an ATF drain amount is about half of the system capacitiy, with the remaining half staying in the torque converter. Doing a 3 time drain and fill does a better job of replacing the system ATF with fresh product, then a two time drain and fill. As said, it is your call on how clean you want your ATF to be.






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