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Old 02-21-2006, 09:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default ATF-HP vs. Dexron III?

The owners manual of my new '06 FXP calls for specific ATF, including Subaru ATF-HP, Idemitsu ATF-HP, Castrol Transmax J or Pennzoil ATF-J, none of which I can find. In fact my local dealer did not know it existed. The -HP atf has been a spec for the 5EAT for a while, but is new for my 4EAT for '06. Previous models were OK to use Dexron III. Can anybody verify that changes were made for the 06 MY that indeed require the use of this elusive atf? If so, anybody got a source?
Thanks!
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Old 02-21-2006, 08:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The most similar to original Subaru ATF and Idemitsu ATF-HP is Nissan Matic J fluid.

Even if you have 4AT, there could be some new frictions material. Possibly Subaru ATF could be found at some other subaru dealers and official services - there is no way to use other fluids in 5AT since 2002.
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Old 02-24-2006, 03:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Scooby-Doo
The owners manual of my new '06 FXP calls for specific ATF, including Subaru ATF-HP, Idemitsu ATF-HP, Castrol Transmax J or Pennzoil ATF-J, none of which I can find. In fact my local dealer did not know it existed. The -HP atf has been a spec for the 5EAT for a while, but is new for my 4EAT for '06. Previous models were OK to use Dexron III. Can anybody verify that changes were made for the 06 MY that indeed require the use of this elusive atf? If so, anybody got a source?
Thanks!
Order the Subaru ATF-HP. Your dealership can get it, in fact they should have it on hand. If they didn't know it existed, then they are trying very hard to destroy cars, because every 5EAT Legacy and Outback sold since '04 (MY05) has REQUIRED it.

As an alternative, you can buy the Idemitsu ATF-HP in bulk... http://www.idemitsu-usa.com/item.asp...0-042&d=19&b=1
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Old 02-25-2006, 05:57 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Porter, my local dealership is also a home for the metally retarded (sales, service and parts). I wouldn't doubt they've ruined a number of cars.
The parts manager replied last week when I infomed him of the ATF-HP and its new requirement in the 4AT and for the 5AT for years was, "that's just like Subaru to bring out a new fluid and not tell us..."

The link for the Idemitsu ATF-HP (same as factory), is for Cottman Transmission franchises only, which I have none in my area. They will not sell to consumers (I already checked).

Here's the response from Subaru of America (which didn't really answer my question about changes for the 06 MY):

"I have confirmed that the recommended automatic transmission fluids noted in your owner's manual are the only fluids that we recommend. Subaru does not recommend Dexron ATF. I asked these representatives if the fluids recommended were readily available at Automotive Supply Stores. They advised that they are not aware of what these stores stock in AR; but, they advised that these fluids are readily available at the Automotive Supply Stores in this area. " (my bold)

This is not true. Idemitsu ATF-HP, as stated, is only available as a service fluid from Cottman, not by the container. Castrol Transmax-J is only sold in Asia and Australia and Pennzoil ATF-J is not on the market at all (per Pennzoil). Castrol's Multivehicle ATF and Valvoline Max-Life ATF supposedly meet the requirements of Nissan Matic-J, which is the same as ATF-HP from my research, but neither are recognized by Nissan or Subaru as a suitable replacement. Also, the Castrol Multi is only sold to shops in bulk, not consumers.
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Old 02-25-2006, 06:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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It always amazes me how mechanic shops and dealer can be so far behindthe average joe that reads a little. I had an 03 F350 and when I went to the dealer looking for the right fluid, they were not aware of the "new" fluid recommendation. Then I went to a shop to do a trans flush and they used a wrong fluid even though it says it in 3 different places under the hood including on the dipstick and I told them of the fluid requirement.

And people wonder why we do our own maintenance.
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Old 02-25-2006, 06:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Nissan Matic-J, which is the same as ATF-HP from my research
It's similar, but not the same. You sould not use Matic J in Subaru...

P.S. Anyway, I used Valvoline MaxLife ATF instead of Nissan matic J in my Terrano transfer gear box for 20 kmiles and it's ok...
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Old 02-27-2006, 05:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Silverbullet555
And people wonder why we do our own maintenance.
Amen, brother...
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Old 03-02-2006, 03:00 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Scooby-Doo
The owners manual of my new '06 FXP calls for specific ATF, including Subaru ATF-HP, Idemitsu ATF-HP, Castrol Transmax J or Pennzoil ATF-J, none of which I can find. In fact my local dealer did not know it existed. The -HP atf has been a spec for the 5EAT for a while, but is new for my 4EAT for '06. Previous models were OK to use Dexron III. Can anybody verify that changes were made for the 06 MY that indeed require the use of this elusive atf? If so, anybody got a source?
Thanks!
What are the differences between the regular 'Subi labeled' Dexron III & the Subi 'HP-ATF'?

I will be going to my Subi dealer next week for a tranny flush (drain & fill....along with tranny filter replacement) & I would like to know if this fluid can be used safely & without problems in my 03 FXS? Or should I just stick with the regular Dexron III? If I can use the HP stuff, I will check to make sure my dealer has it in stock or they can order ahead of time.

How much more expensive is this stuff over the conventional Subi Dexrom III?
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Old 03-02-2006, 05:24 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Lexusfreak
What are the differences between the regular 'Subi labeled' Dexron III & the Subi 'HP-ATF'?

I will be going to my Subi dealer next week for a tranny flush (drain & fill....along with tranny filter replacement) & I would like to know if this fluid can be used safely & without problems in my 03 FXS? Or should I just stick with the regular Dexron III? If I can use the HP stuff, I will check to make sure my dealer has it in stock or they can order ahead of time.

How much more expensive is this stuff over the conventional Subi Dexrom III?
Check your owner's manual.

If your vehicle calls for Dexron III, use it. If it calls for ATF-HP, use that.

Speak to the parts manager if they do not have the ATF-HP in stock. Have him call the Subaru Parts Hotline for more information if he is not aware of the new fluid.
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Old 03-02-2006, 01:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Porter
Check your owner's manual.

If your vehicle calls for Dexron III, use it. If it calls for ATF-HP, use that.

Speak to the parts manager if they do not have the ATF-HP in stock. Have him call the Subaru Parts Hotline for more information if he is not aware of the new fluid.
Spoke with the service/parts manager at Markham Subaru......he knows about the ATF-HP tranny fluid & said to me "we can use that if you like" but it's more for the 'newer' (05+ model years) Subi's......Although I won't do any damage per se.....the manager wasen't exactly promoting the idea to use it.

He more or less said, if you've been using the Dexron III fluid this long...."if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Considering the car has about 6k miles remaining on the powertrain & I don't want to risk anything......I think I will excercise on the side of caution & stick with (as you suggested) what Subaru says to use in the owners manual......Dexron III.

Thanks Porter!
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Old 03-02-2006, 04:39 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Spoke with the service/parts manager at Markham Subaru......he knows about the ATF-HP tranny fluid & said to me "we can use that if you like" but it's more for the 'newer' (05+ model years) Subi's......Although I won't do any damage per se.....the manager wasen't exactly promoting the idea to use it.

He more or less said, if you've been using the Dexron III fluid this long...."if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Considering the car has about 6k miles remaining on the powertrain & I don't want to risk anything......I think I will excercise on the side of caution & stick with (as you suggested) what Subaru says to use in the owners manual......Dexron III.

Thanks Porter!
No problem. Yep, DexIII is the correct fluid for your car. No reason to buy the expensive juice if good 'ol tried and true will do. It's convenient to keep around anyway, because the power steering uses the same fluid.
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Old 03-03-2006, 12:46 AM   #12 (permalink)
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No problem. Yep, DexIII is the correct fluid for your car. No reason to buy the expensive juice if good 'ol tried and true will do. It's convenient to keep around anyway, because the power steering uses the same fluid.
My problem is (as some of my other posts will verify) I can get a bit anal when it comes to the maintenance of my vehicles & I usually want to use the very best parts & fluids available......but because I am a fairly 'new' Subi owner......I'm worried that 'curiousity ***** the cat' in that I will do more harm than good. ;)
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Old 03-03-2006, 04:39 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Lexusfreak
My problem is (as some of my other posts will verify) I can get a bit anal when it comes to the maintenance of my vehicles & I usually want to use the very best parts & fluids available......but because I am a fairly 'new' Subi owner......I'm worried that 'curiousity ***** the cat' in that I will do more harm than good. ;)
Dexron III is one of the best hydraulic fluids money can buy... the reason it is so cheap is that it's made in such high bulk.

Better brands of Dexron III are advantageous in some cases, because they have a different detergent additive package and respond to cavitation differently. I have typically used Castrol or Valvoline fluid, but any major brand will do. Avoid off-brand ATF for the transmission... in the power steering system it doesn't really matter.

Do NOT use "Max Life", "Extended Wear", or any other ATF designed for "high mileage transmissions". They have additional gums, sealants, conditioners, and etc that don't work well in a Subaru. Standard DexIII only.

If you're super-anal, Castrol makes a SYNTEC full synthetic Dexron III that meets the full DexIII spec but supposedly has slightly better thermal characteristics and service life. I don't really buy that, but that's what they say in the marketing material.

Honestly though, the regular Dexron III is excellent and is what the transmission is designed to run. Synthetic is a waste of money IMHO and offers no real-world benefit over standard DexIII. Like I said before, Dexron III is one of the most overengineered fluids in the world... the only reason they offer a synthetic version is to get more money out of your pocket.
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Old 03-03-2006, 05:22 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Porter
Dexron III is one of the best hydraulic fluids money can buy... the reason it is so cheap is that it's made in such high bulk.

Better brands of Dexron III are advantageous in some cases, because they have a different detergent additive package and respond to cavitation differently. I have typically used Castrol or Valvoline fluid, but any major brand will do. Avoid off-brand ATF for the transmission... in the power steering system it doesn't really matter.

Do NOT use "Max Life", "Extended Wear", or any other ATF designed for "high mileage transmissions". They have additional gums, sealants, conditioners, and etc that don't work well in a Subaru. Standard DexIII only.

If you're super-anal, Castrol makes a SYNTEC full synthetic Dexron III that meets the full DexIII spec but supposedly has slightly better thermal characteristics and service life. I don't really buy that, but that's what they say in the marketing material.

Honestly though, the regular Dexron III is excellent and is what the transmission is designed to run. Synthetic is a waste of money IMHO and offers no real-world benefit over standard DexIII. Like I said before, Dexron III is one of the most overengineered fluids in the world... the only reason they offer a synthetic version is to get more money out of your pocket.
I considered the Castrol Syntec Dexron III ATF. But I like your detailed explanation about the 'regular' Dexron III fluid (I assume the 'Subaru' Dexron III stuff is pretty much the 'regular' ATF in a Subi bottle?). So in the end, you have probably saved me a few $$ & eased my mind, much appreciated.......& yes I can be 'super anal' at times too lol. ;)

BTW, love the Avatar! My wife got a good laugh out of it.
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Old 03-03-2006, 10:55 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Exclamation Response from Subaru of America...

I e-mailed Subaru of America the other day (when I posted this question) & here is there response fwiw...

"Thank you for visiting the Subaru web site and for your message!

You should use ONLY the recommended fluid Dexron III in your 2003 Forester. The
other fluid you mention (ATF-HP) is for the 5-speed Automatic transmission that
is not in your vehicle
.

Please see your owners manual for ATF filter replacement suggestions. It only
suggests replacing it if it is damaged or leaking. There is no harm in
replacing it, but it is not necessary. If you want it replaced that would be up
to you.

If you have any other questions, do not hesitate to reply to this email!"

I must say I have been very impressed with the overall customer service at Subaru Canada & Subaru of America in the last several months. 8-)
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