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97 legacy maintenance


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22 replies to this topic

#1 mountaingoatgruff

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 05:59 AM

i'm getting ready to do a pant-load of work on my wife's 97 legacy (l wagon, 183k). we just bought it not that long ago but i knew it needed a lot of this stuff then and we've got a lot of miles coming up... probably doesn't help knowing its an interference engine.:rolleyes:

anyhow, i'll be doing the t-belt & tensioner, water pump & t-stat, removing & cleaning the iacv, pcv, cam/crank seals, valve adjustment, etc, etc and i'm just gonna pull the engine so i can clean it and the bay straight tweeker status.:lol:

question #1:
i plan on changing my atf filter and cleaning out the pan real well, so i ordered an oem filter ($2more than kragen's) and got the external spin-on type. i thought a 97 should have an internal filter - am i mistaken or does it have both? also, do these transmissions take well to silicone on the pan or should it have a gasket after cracking the factory seal? i want to clean the pan out either way.

question #2:
anyone ever tried royal purple's purple ice in their cooling system? worked great in my dodge pickup. i've got a couple bottles of it collecting dust and i'm trying to use up all those things i don't want to pack up and move cross-country here in the next few months. my wife will be driving the car from california to colorado, then on to arkansas, then back to colorado a few months later and its just gonna be her and our 9 month old son from colorado to arkansas and back. i figure helping the cooling system a bit can't hurt, someone please tell me if i'm wrong!

any other service recommendations are appreciated, too.

#2 OB99W

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 06:40 AM

[...]question #1:
i plan on changing my atf filter and cleaning out the pan real well, so i ordered an oem filter ($2more than kragen's) and got the external spin-on type. i thought a 97 should have an internal filter - am i mistaken or does it have both?[...]

Use of the external spin-on filter (with internal one being a strainer) began on the phase-2 4EAT. That was introduced about June '98, for the '99 model year. Unless your '97 has had its trans replaced with a later one, it would typically be a phase-1, with an internal filter. Have you actually seen an external on your trans?

#3 screwbaru2

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 07:08 AM

MY 97 Legecy AT does NOT have an external filter . The wifes 99 Impreza AT DOES have one. Check the bell housing the newer trannys have 8 bolt holes mating to the motor. Don't answer this part but, make sure your wife can defend herself and the babe on that trip:Flame: :Flame: . Happy motoring!

#4 grossgary

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 08:26 AM

save yourself the cash and the time on the ATF filter. there is no difference in how long your transmission will last based on this item. it's annoying they call it a filter - because it's not a filter. but it suckered me into replacing a few before i realized they never have a spec of dust on them...even ones i pulled from high mileage subaru's, failed transmissions, etc. it's a screen, that's it. and they don't really collect anything so they never need replacing. they essentially prevent stuff from getting sucked up from the pan, so your best bet is to do a complete ATF flush/change.

there's a few other "screens" on the vehicle, the engine oil sump, and the fuel filter sock at the rear of the car....things no one ever replaces.

frankly there is more risk of damaging something than any possibility of actually
helping anything.

as for the rest of the work - replace the cam cap o-rings as well, not just the cam seals, there are two of them -one on the drivers side front and one on the passengers side rear. remove cap, replace oring.

replace the separator plate....with the new updated metal plate if yours is plastic.

valve cover gaskets are really easy to get to with the engine out.

#5 Rooster2

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 08:41 AM

I had a 91 Leggy that develped automatic tranny problems. With 178K on the odo, I dropped the pan to change the filter screen. The trany had had minimal fluid change, however, the pan filter screen was like new with no particles in it, and no sludge in the pan. Since doing all that work, I have read here on this forum, that there is little to be gained by dropping the pan. It was really difficult removing the remnants of the pan gasket form the pan and bottom of the trany. Plus, there is a down side, that the pan will possibly develop a leak. My pan started to leak even after my best work.

My best advise on the trany is to fill and drain the trany three times to flush out old ATF, as all ATF cannot be drained when pulling the trany drain plug. About half the ATF remains in the torque converter, and will not drain away. Your 97 will not have an external spin on filter, Subaru started the external filter on the 99 model.

Good luck on all that work. Subies are satisfying to work on. The engines are well made, including the bolts and nuts that hold everything together.

Also, suggest pulling the road wheels off to see how much brake pad remains. If you change pads, suggest flushing out the brake fluid. If the color of the brake fluid in the under hood reservoir is the color of ice tea, then it is a good idea to replace the brake fluid. A "one man" fluid changer kit works great to do this.

#6 Gloyale

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 10:54 AM

Return the spin on filter.

Return the internal screen filter. There is nothing gained from replacing it. It's a PITA as well.

The pan is sealed with Threebond (grey or black RTV will work), but you really might want to leave it be if it's not leaking.






Now, here is something I just learned. Some early legacies had an external filter installed in the line that runs to the trans cooler in the radiator. it is against the frame rail, drivers side, below the battery.

If you 're car doesn't have it, you could install it. It comes as a kit from subaru.

Alternately, you could install a real trans cooler, and a filter in the process

#7 nipper

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 11:04 AM

Leave the filter alone. These transmissions don't shed particles, so no need for it. Also they are tough to get to reseal properly. Remeber that those gaskets have been there for many many many years trouble free. Why mess with something that may cause nothing but heartache later.

Use the subaru or whatever you usually use coolant. The car has reached 180,000 miles on the regular stuff, so why mess with a good thing. Any change this late in the game could possibly clog the radiator.

Replace the t-stat and radiator cap, and water pump. The first thing you need to do before anything is to flush out the radiator when you start to pull out the engine. You dont want any of the old antifreeze start to solidify when the air hits it.

If you really want to do the transmission a favor, add a small cooler to it.

Tell your wife not to use the cruise control on mountain roads. Use it on rolling hills or flat surfaces only. Everyone will be much happier that way.

Also i recomend AAA membership.

#8 yohy

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 11:36 AM

mountaingoatgruff,

I have a 97 Legacy L sedan with about the same miles on it (actually my son does, I just happen to own it and do all of the maintenance, go figure). My strongest suggestion, as mentioned, is go buy a case of tranny fluid and flush it about three or four times. Don't bother dropping the pan, and as mentioned, there is no external filter on that tranny. I do have the FSM for that MY, so if you need any procedures, shoot me a PM and I will email you the .pdf.

Good luck and keep the family safe.

#9 mountaingoatgruff

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 02:23 PM

Use of the external spin-on filter (with internal one being a strainer) began on the phase-2 4EAT. That was introduced about June '98, for the '99 model year. Unless your '97 has had its trans replaced with a later one, it would typically be a phase-1, with an internal filter. Have you actually seen an external on your trans?


a quick check shows no external filter and no evidence of anyone ever being in there, let alone a tranny swap.

#10 mountaingoatgruff

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 02:34 PM

to the rest, thanks for all the advice.

i didn't think of the separator but the valve cover gaskets, brake pads/fluid and cam cap o-rings are on the list. tires are a couple months old, i'll rotate before departure and i'll also replace gear oil in both diffs.

thanks for the concern for my family, too. she'll be travelling with AAA, a complete roadside/first aid kit, some food & water, and means for self defence for sure.

#11 OB99W

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 10:20 PM

If you do several ATF drain/refills, here's what you can expect (from a previous post of mine):

-------------------
Based on the full capacity of the 4EAT and typical drainage from the pan by just removing the plug (with the car level),
I roughly calculated the percentage of old ATF replaced with new by multiple drain/fills.
The following is in the form #-of-changes -- %-fresh-ATF:

1 -- 40%
2 -- 64%
3 -- 78%
4 -- 87%
5 -- 92%
-------------------

#12 nipper

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 10:29 PM

If you do several ATF drain/refills, here's what you can expect (from a previous post of mine):

-------------------
Based on the full capacity of the 4EAT and typical drainage from the pan by just removing the plug (with the car level),
I roughly calculated the percentage of old ATF replaced with new by multiple drain/fills.
The following is in the form #-of-changes -- %-fresh-ATF:

1 -- 40%
2 -- 64%
3 -- 78%
4 -- 87%
5 -- 92%
-------------------


Ok we are now taking your calculator away from you.

ATF fluid is one of the few that gets refreshed when fresh fluid is added, so just doing 4 drain and flushes is enough.

nipper

#13 mountaingoatgruff

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 03:59 AM

4 times still seems like a lot to me. wonder what the price difference is between draining/filling 4 times and taking it in to have it flushed and filled. is it obvious i never take my cars to the "pros."

how's this for a laugh - i talked to a guy at work that makes the average shadetree mechanic look like an ase expert and he said that once he just took the atf hoses off the rad and started the car, letting the tranny pump itself almost dry. then he shut it off and refilled. i got a laugh out of it at least, some of you guys will probably just shake your heads in disgust...

that's like changing your oil with a zzz! :lol:

so no opinions of purple ice then?

#14 grossgary

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 06:50 AM

he just took the atf hoses off the rad and started the car, letting the tranny pump itself almost dry. then he shut it off and refilled. i got a laugh out of it at least, some of you guys will probably just shake your heads in disgust

actually that's more common than you think, people on here have done that before. it won't hurt anything as long as you shut it off early enough. alone - it probably gets out less than just draining. surely the pick up (filter really) can't pull down to the bottom of the pan - which at least a pan drain will do. and it can't force any old fluid through into the pan because with the hose disconnected there's no pressure. so i don't see where this is even equal to a drain.

but - you can pull both hoses - stick one in an empty bucket and the other in a couple gallons of clean ATF and turn the car on. this is how you do a complete flush yourself one time.

so no opinions of purple ice then?

never herad of it. unless there's problems i'm not sure people need it, so that's probably the lack of experience.

#15 OB99W

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 06:52 AM

[...]ATF fluid is one of the few that gets refreshed when fresh fluid is added, so just doing 4 drain and flushes is enough.

I'm well aware of the replenishment of additives, etc., by changing out less than the entire amount of the ATF.

I didn't say it was necessary to do any specific number of changes, I just provided a way of determining what percentage of the fluid was "fresh" versus the number of changes.

Actually, depending on what condition the ATF is in before you start, even a single drain/refill may be sufficient, if done on a reasonable schedule; fluid that has a decent color and smell to it (especially if the trans that isn't exhibiting a particular problem) probably falls into that category.

On the other hand, ATF that looks dark and smells burned, or when there's torque bind, etc., probably merits at least 4 drain/refills, if that even makes sense -- at that point doing a full flush is probably more practical, or the trans may even be beyond what fluid change can help.

#16 yohy

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 07:50 AM

wonder what the price difference is between draining/filling 4 times and taking it in to have it flushed and filled

I bought a case of atf fluid for about 20 bucks and it was enough to drain/fill 3 times. So I set up the ramps in the driveway drove around the block, up on the ramps, drain/fill, then around the block.....repeated twice. $20 and 30 minutes of my time. Well worth the effort.

#17 nipper

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 08:21 AM

costs me here 99.00 to have the car tranny flushed.


nipper

#18 mountaingoatgruff

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 02:12 PM

actually that's more common than you think, people on here have done that before. it won't hurt anything as long as you shut it off early enough. alone - it probably gets out less than just draining. surely the pick up (filter really) can't pull down to the bottom of the pan - which at least a pan drain will do. and it can't force any old fluid through into the pan because with the hose disconnected there's no pressure. so i don't see where this is even equal to a drain.

but - you can pull both hoses - stick one in an empty bucket and the other in a couple gallons of clean ATF and turn the car on. this is how you do a complete flush yourself one time.


he mentioned the pan was off so if he got much atf out it got a lot more than just draining. i personally don't like the idea of letting the car run till there's no atf in my tranny, your idea with a couple buckets is much better.

not to be mean, but this is a guy that runs his 79 camaro with no air cleaner whatsoever because he noticed he gets better throttle response that way. he's replaced his oil pan gasket twice in the last year because he doesn't get the engine up enough to clean things then he overtorques the bolts to "compensate for the filth." nice guy but i wouldn't let him touch my car with a kleenex!

never herad of it. unless there's problems i'm not sure people need it, so that's probably the lack of experience.


purple ice is a coolant addiditve made by royal purple that increases the coolant's ability to transfer heat. one bottle cooled my '01 ram's 318 noticeably. it didn't have cooling problems, i just wanted to make sure it didn't develop any. with a brand new oem t-stat and rad cap, new water pump, and fresh coolant i shouldn't need the additive. i guess i'll just save it.

#19 mountaingoatgruff

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 02:42 PM

wonder what the price difference is between draining/filling 4 times and taking it in to have it flushed and filled

I bought a case of atf fluid for about 20 bucks and it was enough to drain/fill 3 times. So I set up the ramps in the driveway drove around the block, up on the ramps, drain/fill, then around the block.....repeated twice. $20 and 30 minutes of my time. Well worth the effort.


i don't question the worth of the effort, i was just wondering what the dollar price difference would be between draining/filling 4 times and taking it in for a full flush/refill.

nipper's local price prompted me to see how expensive it is around here. i called three places:

small local shop - $180 (almost crapped my pants hearing that! :eek: )

local aamco - $100-$130 for drain and refill only, tech said they don't flush subarus cuz its not good for them

big local trans/clutch only shop - won't touch subaru tannies, they'll only do subaru clutches. i asked why and he stuttered then said its the cost of parts. don't shops pass that on to the customer?

so why would aamco say a flush is bad for a subaru auto? i gotta call the dealership again after their lunch is over.

#20 nipper

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 02:51 PM

i don't question the worth of the effort, i was just wondering what the dollar price difference would be between draining/filling 4 times and taking it in for a full flush/refill.

nipper's local price prompted me to see how expensive it is around here. i called three places:

small local shop - $180 (almost crapped my pants hearing that! :eek: )

local aamco - $100-$130 for drain and refill only, tech said they don't flush subarus cuz its not good for them

big local trans/clutch only shop - won't touch subaru tannies, they'll only do subaru clutches. i asked why and he stuttered then said its the cost of parts. don't shops pass that on to the customer?

so why would aamco say a flush is bad for a subaru auto? i gotta call the dealership again after their lunch is over.


Because AAMco wants to rip you off blind. They know that sooby trannies last forever with a flush, so why should they make sure they never break? They dont make any money that way. Also a flush will cure most sooby tranny ills. They cant make money that way.

i am amazed that they stay in business, as every state has complaints against them of some sort.

#21 grossgary

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 03:13 PM

i am amazed that they stay in business, as every state has complaints against them of some sort.

a friend came to me after i told them not to go there (AAMCO). they said the car was leaking badly after they got it back. the new oil filter was crushed with two parallel straps on it...WHAT!? they tightened it with an oil filter wrench?!

#22 screwbaru2

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 05:54 PM

If you have the buckets and enough AT fluid you can flush it by putting a hose on the return (lower) side of the AT cooler in the rad the other end in a large bucket. Run the engine and keep pouring fluid in the the trans until it comes out clean. Keep up with the flow, don't run it dry. Helps to have 2 people.

#23 aircraft engineer

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 07:48 PM

as much as it sounds stupid - JiffyLube is a reasonable alternative as long as you trust them. About $100 for a full fluid change. Watch out, though, they will try to nickel and dime you on "other stuff" (air filter, wiper blades, etc) - "no" is a good word to use ($39 to change an air filter that cost $12 at Schucks (Checker, Kragen) with maybe 3 minutes of work)

I wouldn't go to AAMCO IF THEY PAID ME!!




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