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I dont like reading the ATF dipstick


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9 replies to this topic

#1 rverdoold

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 02:48 PM

As mentioned above, somehow i just cant read the ATF dipstick properly. How i dot it: Have nice warmed engine, stop put handbrake on and once more shift through all gears while engine keeps running nice and smooth. Pop the hood and pull the ATF dipstick, take my shirt/whipe/paper (or what else is useable) and clean it. Stick it back, push it through and pull it back. Now the reading usually the whole lower end (from the bottom to top 'HOT' hole + 3 to 4 mm above that) than there is a smear more or less 2 cm just on the side. So i would say it is overfilled those 3 to 4 mm. But it ran fine for at least 15k km (2.0 4EAT FWD '91 legacy) with no problems at all.
Am i doing something wrong. I found out that with a large syringe and hose i can remove oil through the dipstick hole :)

#2 johnceggleston

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 05:01 PM

As mentioned above, somehow i just cant read the ATF dipstick properly. How i dot it: Have nice warmed engine, stop put handbrake on and once more shift through all gears while engine keeps running nice and smooth. Pop the hood and pull the ATF dipstick, take my shirt/whipe/paper (or what else is useable) and clean it. Stick it back, push it through and pull it back. Now the reading usually the whole lower end (from the bottom to top 'HOT' hole + 3 to 4 mm above that) than there is a smear more or less 2 cm just on the side. So i would say it is overfilled those 3 to 4 mm. But it ran fine for at least 15k km (2.0 4EAT FWD '91 legacy) with no problems at all.
Am i doing something wrong. I found out that with a large syringe and hose i can remove oil through the dipstick hole :)


others will have more experience than i do, but, i have found that one side tends to get 'splatered' and gives a lousy reading, i check both sides of the stick. the level on the back side is usually lower than the front. hope this helps.

#3 ron917

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 05:03 PM

The ATF dipstick on Subarus is very hard to read. Part of the problem is the lack of checkering on the stick to hold the fluid so you can read it. When the fluid is hot, it is very thin and runs off easily.

I find it easiear to check the ATF when it is not fully warmed up. Drive the car a short distance from cold (maybe 2km at most), make sure it shifts through all the gears, then come back to your driveway to check it. The ATF will stick on the dipstick, and it will be easier to read. Use the cold marks instead of the hot marks.

#4 porcupine73

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 05:56 PM

Yes, I find it easier on the Subaru's to check the ATF cold. Once it's warmed up I can't seem to get a good reading. When cold, it is pretty easy to see the line.

#5 rverdoold

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 01:04 AM

Yes, I find it easier on the Subaru's to check the ATF cold. Once it's warmed up I can't seem to get a good reading. When cold, it is pretty easy to see the line.


Cold and running or just after overnight have a look at the stick?

#6 porcupine73

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 05:23 AM

Yes like just after overnight, I start it up, let it idle for about a minute, then shift through all gears, back to park on level surface leave engine running, then pull dipstick, don't even look at it the first time just wipe it off, reinsert, then withdraw and look at both sides. Sometimes a couple insertions and withdrawals will make it easier to read.

I know Subaru wants it checked with fluid at like 172 deg F or something but I cannot get a reliable reading that way so I settle for checking 'cold'.

#7 rverdoold

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 08:56 AM

Does anybody know what is the difference in volume between the Min and Max holes.

#8 zstalker

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 11:25 PM

Does anybody know what is the difference in volume between the Min and Max holes.


in general on transmission dipsticks the difference between the two marks is one pint, which is half of a quart. this is a generality, and you should basically just start small, and adjust giving a couple minutes between additions for the fluid to drain out of the tube.

The ATF dipstick on Subarus is very hard to read. Part of the problem is the lack of checkering on the stick to hold the fluid so you can read it. When the fluid is hot, it is very thin and runs off easily.


check out this little trick I picked up working at a quick-lube place for a couple years: take the dipstick out (works for oil too), wipe it, and stick as much as will fit into the washer fluid reservior. This will cool the stick (quite quickly, actually). then wipe the wash fluid off of the stick...doesn't have to be absolutely perfect, not much water stays on the stick anyway, and now check the fluid. the cold stick will let the operating-temperature fluid mark the stick much better to get a much more clear reading. a hot reading is really the more important reading for ATF anyways.

~Erik~

#9 kimokalihi

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 09:06 AM

You really want traces of ATF fluid going up your windshield and onto the paint on top of your roof?

#10 zstalker

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Posted 30 June 2007 - 12:22 PM

You really want traces of ATF fluid going up your windshield and onto the paint on top of your roof?


no, no, that's why I said wipe it off. with a good rag, fluid comes off bare metal pretty much completely...you're not just pulling the dipstick and shoving it directly into the washer fluid. (and vice versa, wipe the wash fluid off before you stick it back into the tranny). whatever tiny trace of ATF that is still on the stick is more than taken care of by the detergent in the wash fluid.
~Erik~




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