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Old 10-15-2007, 04:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need to air bleed control valve when replacing ATF in later model year Subarus?

Various postings about maintaining the 4EAT refer to simple draining and refilling of the transmission. However, later model Subarus with 4-speed transmissions might have what is called the Phase II Direct Control transmission which, it appears, requires more than a simple refill when the pan is emptied.

I posted essentially the same enquiry on subaruoutback.org (http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/...680#post101680) but thought I would highlight the issue here as well and hopefully get some input from Forester users. (I started out here, and it was the help of this forum that got me into a Subaru, albeit an Outback.)

In the Automatic Transmission Fluid replacement section of the MY07 Legacy/Outback service manual (pages 4AT-25 and 26) there is a requirement to "7) Bleed the air of control valve." after the fluid is drained and refilled. The 4EAT Phase II training manual (module 304, updated January 2007) also notes (on page 58) the requirement for the air bleed procedure with a simple drain and fill, as follows:


"Whenever the valve body of a Direct 4EAT is removed or transmission fluid drained from the sump, the air must be bled from the valve body. You can accomplish this with the help of the NSM or Select monitor III. You will need to follow the specific procedure in the appropriate service manual for the year and model Subaru you are servicing. Make sure the transmission fluid is less than 140 degrees F. before performing the air bleed procedure." (Bold added)

(The air bleed procedure is set out on page 4AT-55 of the 07 Legacy/Outback manual.)

I believe the Direct 4EAT is the 4-speed automatic transmission used at least since MY2005, if not earlier, in North American Subarus. Has anyone had experience draining and refilling the ATF in a Direct 4EAT? What about this air bleeding requirement?
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Old 10-15-2007, 07:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm going to take my 06 XT (auto) to the dealer for the drain & fill soon.....I will ask the service manager about this procedure. Thanks for posting that.
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Old 10-15-2007, 12:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default 4EAT drain and refill

Worry not brethren :)

In the 2005 MY Subaru Repair CD (4EAT) it simply says to drain the fluid from the pan, replace the drain plug gasket and add back the same amount of ATF that you drained out. Then re-check the level when warmed up.

However if you drain, drop the pan and work on/replace the control valve body THEN you need to bring in the Subaru Select monitor and run the learning control program for the A/T.
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Old 10-16-2007, 04:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks Bren, Philbytx

The reason for my post was, in part, because of conflicting information in the Subaru oem service documentation.

I found inconsistencies in the MY07 Legacy/Outback manual in regard to the recommended ATF and here, in the case of the air bleed. For example, the Automatic Transmission volume (all references are to the pdf download version) calls for Subaru ATF Type HP, whereas in the "Recommended Materials" section of the General volume, it lists the regular Subaru ATF. Similarly, my Owners Manual lists Subaru ATF Type HP as the recommended ATF while the accompanying Warranty and Maintenance booklet lists "Dextron" (sic)!

In regard to the air bleed procedure, although the fluid change instructions contained in the Automatic Transmission volume of the service manual call for the air bleed procedure when doing no more than a drain and fill, the Periodic Maintenance section of the General volume mentions only drain and refill, just as philbytx notes. The Phase II training manual quoted earlier seems to be rather clear on the requirement, yet the August 2007 volume of "TechTips" had an article on the Direct 4EAT where it noted "There are new service procedures exclusive to Direct Control 4ATs. One is an air bleed procedure which removes air from the valve body. This procedure is to be used if the valve body is removed or replaced for any reason." (Page 2). (Here there is no mention of the air bleed procedure being applicable to simple drain and fill operations.)

Iíve e-mailed SOA about the inconsistencies and while Iíve received an interim response, thereís been nothing yet on the specific questions. Iím more or less expecting/hoping that they will issue corrections to the manuals as part of a TSB as they have done in the past (http://techinfo.subaru.com)

I will see if I can find out what the techs at the dealer do when Iím at the shop later today (lost the small air dam/flap at the end of the rocker panel in front of the rear wheel Ė being replaced under warranty). Bren, do let us know what they do with your 06.
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Old 10-16-2007, 05:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by plain OM View Post

I will see if I can find out what the techs at the dealer do when Iím at the shop later today (lost the small air dam/flap at the end of the rocker panel in front of the rear wheel Ė being replaced under warranty). Bren, do let us know what they do with your 06.
I'll do that plain...this will be my second drain & fill on my XT & I know that the owners manual states throughout to use only Subaru ATF - HP fluid only as opposed to any mention of Dexron III.

Kind of unusual that your owners manual states both. Let us know what SOA's response is.
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Old 10-18-2007, 04:00 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Service manager said they do a simple drain and refill for the scheduled maintenance. He agreed that there is no harm in doing it more often. Although he did not check the service manual while I was there, he believed the air bleed would be needed only if the transmission is disassembled.

Bren: The differences in "the manual" are actually in two different publications that Subaru Canada provides with the car. One is the 07 Owners Manual, which specifies HP; the other is the 07 warranty booklet, which has the maintenance schedule chart and lists Dextron (sic).

How frequently are you doing the drain and refill?
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Old 10-18-2007, 05:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by plain OM View Post

Bren: The differences in "the manual" are actually in two different publications that Subaru Canada provides with the car. One is the 07 Owners Manual, which specifies HP; the other is the 07 warranty booklet, which has the maintenance schedule chart and lists Dextron (sic).

How frequently are you doing the drain and refill?
Hi plain,

both my owners manual & warranty booklet (2006 MY) state to use the HP ATF when replacing the fluid.....no mention of Dexron III in anything I have.

I have 47,000 km's currently on my 2006 XT.....I have had two 'drain & fills' thus far & replaced the actual spin on tranny filter once. How about you?
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:55 PM   #8 (permalink)
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subaru atf-hp is for 5eat
dextron 3 is for 4eat
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Old 10-19-2007, 07:22 AM   #9 (permalink)
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My manual, which I have religiously been re-reading due to my recent dipstick fiasco. States to use the HP, but further down says that Dexron 3 can be used if your in a tight spot.

I`ll see if I can scan it later.
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Old 10-19-2007, 07:34 AM   #10 (permalink)
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subaru atf-hp is for 5eat
dextron 3 is for 4eat
2006 + newer 4eat's = Subaru HP - ATF.
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Old 10-19-2007, 02:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
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From my manual 07 FXT(Canada)

Recommended fluid
Genuine Subaru Automatic Transmission Fluid Type-HP
IDEMITSU ATF HP
Castrol Transmax J
Pennzoil ATF-J*
*Available only in the USA(except Hawaii and Alaska)
Note
For optimum transmission performance, only use the automatic transmission fluid that is recommended and provided by Subaru.

If the recommended automatic transmission fluid is unavailable, Dexron 3 may be temporarily used. If the Dexron 3 is used continuously there will be a noticeable increase in the vibration and noise from the automatic transmission.
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Old 10-20-2007, 02:58 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Bren:

Puzzling that the 06-warranty booklet mentions only the HP fluid. I was under the impression that Subaru Canada used one booklet for all models (Forester, Impreza, Legacy etc, NA or T) in a model year. If I’m correct, and they have only HP listed in 06, why would the booklet show “Dextron” in 07 (and, for that matter in 08 as well)?

I was planning on draining and refilling every 24,000 km. I have some time yet before I reach that point. The minimum requirement is 72,000 km, but 48,000 under severe conditions. When I bought the car I spoke with a Subaru mechanic about my maintenance intentions. He hadn’t seen any problems with reasonably maintained 4EATs and felt that there’s no point doing it more frequently unless I was stressing the unit, which I’m not.

Kendo:

I fully agree – that’s what my 07 Owners Manual says as well. But the car also came with a separate “Subaru Canada Warranty/Maintenance and Roadside Assistance” booklet. In the booklet there’s a chart (or grid) of the maintenance schedule (function/distance). The line for the automatic transmission fluid is split into two – one part for the 4-speed and the other for the 5-speed. Going across the chart to the Footnote column there’s notes for each. For the 5-speed it says use HP but for the 4-speed (Note 3) it says to change every 48,000 and use “Dextron” fluid. This is where the confusion arises. I have already contacted Subaru Canada about this and confirmed that my vehicle (an 07 Outback) uses the HP fluid. The problem is that there is an inconsistency in the documentation. Moreover, I just received a “winter maintenance” offer brochure from SC and for the automatic transmission they show only the Subaru ATF (black bottle with red label, which is Dexron III, not the HP-type which comes in a grey bottle). There’s no mention of additional cost for later models (using the required HP fluid). The same inconsistencies apply to the issue of air bleeding the transmission when draining and refilling, which is why I started this thread.

(I'm not ruling out the possibility that Subaru Canada uses different warranty booklets for different models, contrary to what I thought, in which case the booklet for the Forester might very well have different ATF listings.)

Last edited by plain OM; 10-21-2007 at 04:05 AM. Reason: correct ATF bottle details and add last para.
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Old 10-21-2007, 05:06 AM   #13 (permalink)
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This is from the Subaru Canada “2007 Warranty/Maintenance and Roadside Assistance” booklet that came with my Outback. The notes are in the lower right corner of the maintenance chart that lists items down the left column and distance across the page. Note 2 applies to the 5-speed and Note 3 is for the 4EAT. The latter contradicts the information in the Owner’s Manual which, as Kendo has posted, specifies HP fluid (with the possibility of using Dexron III subject to potential problems.)

As noted earlier, I contacted SC and confirmed that the correct fluid for my 2007 4EAT is the HP type. I believe that the maintenance chart is a carry-over from earlier versions and has had little proofreading (as in Note 4, which calls for DOT-6 brake fluid!).
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Old 10-21-2007, 10:01 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I`ve looked and I cannot seem to find my warranty and maintenance booklet.

I don`t recall ever seeing it. I only have the main manual.
My wife swears I took it out when I first brought home the car, and I have since misplaced it. She is probably right.
I don`t recall but I must have gotten one.
Thanks for the info

Waiting to hear how this turns out.

Ken
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Old 01-21-2008, 08:39 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Hi, I am planning on replacing my Valve Body, is the dealer the only one to have the Subaru Select Monitor to air bleed the VB? Can other scanner work?
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