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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently bought 2011 Forester. 115k miles.

Trans fluid is very dark -- obviously hasn't been changed in a long time.

Will I do more damage by draining and adding new tranny fluid than if I was to just leave it alone?

Did some prelim. searches on here and didn't find anything about this

Thanks
 

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Super Moderator
2001 Forester S, 4EAT
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2,964 Posts
It's always good to change. I have got 216,700 miles on my 2001. Trannie fluid changed 2 or 3 times since I bought it new. Will make it shift better.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
 

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2018 X3 M40i / 2016 X3 xDrive35i
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1,632 Posts
As trans fluid wears and loses its friction properties, the tranmission's clutch material starts to degrade. If you stay on top of transmission fluid changes, there is no issue...the fluid doesn't break down excessively and the clutches stay happy. If you let it go too long, the clutch material within the fluid is all that's keeping the remaining clutches grabbing. At that point, if you change the fluid you may end up with a slipping transmission. If you flush the fluid you may have bits and pieces that were settled end up floating around and get lodged somewhere in the valve body or solenoids and completely hose it. If you leave it alone you'll get some more life out of the transmission than you may have otherwise, but its life is now quite limited in comparison to if it was properly maintained.

I would say even if it was never changed, you're probably still in the safe range to do a fluid change and it would be a good idea to do so now before it's too late. I would not do a flush though if it's very dark and doesn't look like it's been changed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the reply. There's still a slight red tint to the fluid and it's fairly clear, but it is definitely dark.

I guess I will go ahead and change it out. I'm assuming people buy the special Subaru fluid online somewhere?

Thanks again
 

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2014 Forester 2.5i 6MT
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38 Posts
Thanks for the reply. There's still a slight red tint to the fluid and it's fairly clear, but it is definitely dark.

I guess I will go ahead and change it out. I'm assuming people buy the special Subaru fluid online somewhere?

Thanks again
I was able to buy a case of the Idemitsu Subaru HP fluid off of eBay relatively inexpensively when I was doing drain and fills on a couple of 4EATs. Might be worth a look.
 

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2019 Forester Touring CVT
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222 Posts
Have a 2011 Altima with 245k CVT never changed the fluid. I won’t think of doing a flush since i’m afraid of it getting clogged.
 

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2019 Forester Limited
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1,093 Posts
Curious. What exactly is it about a flush that causes problems?

I thought a flush was simply connecting tranny fluid inlet and outlet lines to a machine that removed old fluid and replaced it with a like quantity of new fluid. Is it something different?
 

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2012 Forester X Auto
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2,512 Posts
The problem with a flush is that any loose solid material in the transmission can be forced into places that cause problems, all in an effort to solve a problem that wasn't there in the first place, except for the old fluid.
For those that like a flush, they will tell you that a flush is necessary to get the fluids out of the torque converter.
While that is true, the less dangerous and intrusive method is to do multiple (3 is the magic number) drain and fills, with several k's of driving in between each to allow the fluid transfer that would occur in a flush, but at a much more safe and sedate pace.
The end result of both is the same. All the fluid is new in the tranny.
Each drain and fill you can easily do yourself unless you don't have the ability to change a light bulb.
The flush requires a shop and much greater expense.
With the drain and fill, you get the same result (all the fluid has been replaced) but without the potential downside of having a badly or non-functional transmission afterwards.
You can find horror stories of people who got screwed up transmissions with a flush, but with the drain and fill that never happens.
So there you go.
Safe and inexpensive or potentially dangerous and expensive.
You make the call.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i Limited CVT
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1,500 Posts
The only hitch is the cost to change Subaru hi torque Orange cvt fluid. Only sold in 5 gal container.

Cost effective if your doing three drain and fills over the course of several thousand miles.

Long term investment. I’d like to use the Schumacher atf fill pump, $135
Plus the Scangauge 2 tool. Total over $600. But less than 3 dealership drain/fills.
 

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2019 Forester Touring CVT
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222 Posts
The problem with a flush is that any loose solid material in the transmission can be forced into places that cause problems, all in an effort to solve a problem that wasn't there in the first place, except for the old fluid.
For those that like a flush, they will tell you that a flush is necessary to get the fluids out of the torque converter.
While that is true, the less dangerous and intrusive method is to do multiple (3 is the magic number) drain and fills, with several k's of driving in between each to allow the fluid transfer that would occur in a flush, but at a much more safe and sedate pace.
The end result of both is the same. All the fluid is new in the tranny.
Each drain and fill you can easily do yourself unless you don't have the ability to change a light bulb.
The flush requires a shop and much greater expense.
With the drain and fill, you get the same result (all the fluid has been replaced) but without the potential downside of having a badly or non-functional transmission afterwards.
You can find horror stories of people who got screwed up transmissions with a flush, but with the drain and fill that never happens.
So there you go.
Safe and inexpensive or potentially dangerous and expensive.
You make the call.
For a drain and fill 3 times what do u think of trying this: This is my WAG!
1.) Drain and properly dispose of the old ATF fluid.
2.) Add new ATF and drive for a 1/2 hr on Interstate.
3.) Drain the ATF and filter it.
4.) Add back filtered ATF and drive 1/2 hr on Interstate.
5.) Drain the ATF and filter it.
6.) Repeat steps 4 & 5.
7.) Save filtered ATF for next time you flush.
8.) Add new ATF.

The only question would be What to use to filter the ATF?
 
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