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Hello,

I'm new to this forum, and I've been searching and couldn't find the exact answer to my question. I was performing my first diff oil change. On the front, I drained the diff just fine, and I opened the check plug just fine. However, I missed a very critical part of the instructions for filling it back up -- instead of using the fill port on the passenger side, I used the nearly identical port exactly opposite on the drivers side (slightly above the axle). I realize now this is wrong. :frown2:

After doing some reading here, it sounds like what I did was add diff oil into my CVT. Can someone confirm if that is in fact where that port goes?

If so, my next question is this (and this is what I cannot find the answer to): does that port fill directly into the CVT pan (so if I drain the pan, will all of the diff oil that I added by mistake come out)? Or does that port fill into some other chamber in the CVT where it won't readily or easily drain back out?

My hope is that I can just drain the CVT, then follow the proper refill procedure for the CVT and it will be fine. But if that fill port goes into some magic black hole in the CVT, I'm worried the diff oil I added by mistake is hidden in there somewhere and won't drain back out. I have not started the car at all yet.

Help!

Thanks,
Adam
Hi,

Guess who just made the same mistake? I've never had a Subaru before this one, although I've serviced and repaired many and varied things since I was a boy (now 60) rarely have I come across such a stupid arrangement as this. Subaru went to all the trouble of casting into the housing just where the drain and check holes are for the front diff, but not so the filler. The correct fill hole is not the obvious one above (leading to the transmission and unmarked) but one well hidden on the opposite side (also unmarked). Such a faulty logic, as draining something by mistake doesn't have the same consequences as adding something to the wrong compartment. The responsible persons at Subaru ought to be taken around the back and summarily executed.

I now have a couple of litres or so of diff oil in the transmission. A couple of litres, why so much? Because that's how far I got before I realised something wasn't right. But the manual specifies only about 1.2 litres! Well my manual also specifies 42 psi pressure for the tyres, but the placard on the vehicle says 32 psi. "If they can't get that right, what else have they got wrong", was in the back of my mind; not suspected the trap that Subaru had set for the mere mortals.

Anyway, I've found a few videos on flushing the CVT, and no doubt they are perfectly adequate for simply removing as much of the old (but correct) fluid as possible, but I can't find any definitive answer to the question of how to remove all the fluid in an economical manner. I've already cycled through some fifteen litres of new fluid, after draining the pan, and I'm still not confident with the result. Does anyone know of a more economical way?
 

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Where did you find 42 psi as recommended tire pressure?

I also wonder why Subaru changed the fill from the front diff dipstick tube like on my 2011? I really hope it all works out for you.
 

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I realize that. The question was why did Subaru do away with the front differential dipstick in SJ and SK versions?
 

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@Quadraria10 Sorry. I missed that you said 'front diff', lol. I assumed transmission.

Who knows. The location of the front diff in the case isn't that different. Maybe because it's not really necessary?
 

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Update: I purchased six five-litre bottle of Valvoline CVT oil at approx. $10.50 AUD / litre from Repco. My local Subaru dealer didn't stock any bottles of Subaru oil, but would fill my containers from their bulk supply - but at just over $33 / litre, I opted for the Valvoline. After filling the front diff via the correct plug hole, I flushed the CVT system at about one litre at a time using a hose connected to the heater supply port and emptying into a plastic bottle and running the engine for a few seconds each time (I had not run the engine at all up to that point).

Then, I topped up the CVT via the correct plug hole after each flush. Not knowing the exact route the oil takes inside the CVT, I sometimes added the oil via the plug hole which I originally mistook as the diff fill point. Anyway, by the time I'd put through almost thirty litres, the flushed oil colour was getting reasonably close to the fresh oil's colour so I stopped at that. I have no idea what colour that oil would have been anyway if I hadn't added the diff oil by mistake. Also, that process meant raising and lowering the vehicle numerous times, but fortunately I have a hoist which made it bearable.

Only then did I run the CVT through the P-R-N-D-N-R-P procedure and check the fluid level. That process saw me adding a few more litres to bring the level up to the fill port (cold). I then used my scan tool to monitor the CVT transmission temperature and at 40 deg C, and drained probably a 100ml of so from the fill port to get the level right.

So far, I've only travelled about another 500km but all seems to work fine (now up to 140,000 km). If I had set out to flush the CVT in any case, I would have had to purchased some 15 litres of oil, so I guess you could say the only additional cost was a further 15 litres (Approx, $160). I'm just glad I hadn't done that before adding the diff oil, or that would have been wasted as well.

I'll let you know if any signs of transmission trouble appear, but I feel confident that it will be fine.

Regards,
Ian
 

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Update: I purchased six five-litre bottle of Valvoline CVT oil at approx. $10.50 AUD / litre from Repco. My local Subaru dealer didn't stock any bottles of Subaru oil, but would fill my containers from their bulk supply - but at just over $33 / litre, I opted for the Valvoline. After filling the front diff via the correct plug hole, I flushed the CVT system at about one litre at a time using a hose connected to the heater supply port and emptying into a plastic bottle and running the engine for a few seconds each time (I had not run the engine at all up to that point).

Then, I topped up the CVT via the correct plug hole after each flush. Not knowing the exact route the oil takes inside the CVT, I sometimes added the oil via the plug hole which I originally mistook as the diff fill point. Anyway, by the time I'd put through almost thirty litres, the flushed oil colour was getting reasonably close to the fresh oil's colour so I stopped at that. I have no idea what colour that oil would have been anyway if I hadn't added the diff oil by mistake. Also, that process meant raising and lowering the vehicle numerous times, but fortunately I have a hoist which made it bearable.

Only then did I run the CVT through the P-R-N-D-N-R-P procedure and check the fluid level. That process saw me adding a few more litres to bring the level up to the fill port (cold). I then used my scan tool to monitor the CVT transmission temperature and at 40 deg C, and drained probably a 100ml of so from the fill port to get the level right.

So far, I've only travelled about another 500km but all seems to work fine (now up to 140,000 km). If I had set out to flush the CVT in any case, I would have had to purchased some 15 litres of oil, so I guess you could say the only additional cost was a further 15 litres (Approx, $160). I'm just glad I hadn't done that before adding the diff oil, or that would have been wasted as well.

I'll let you know if any signs of transmission trouble appear, but I feel confident that it will be fine.

Regards,
Ian
If you have the turbo engine that is the wrong fluid and you'll have to change it out again. if non turbo your fine. your profile isnt filled out so not sure what you drive.
 

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The responsible persons at Subaru ought to be taken around the back and summarily executed.
I guess the preventive measure is to research twice, twice, verify, verify and fill once.
Considering that even shops have done the same thing, the fill location chosen was obviously not ideal..
On the other hand, if everyone who made a mistake went back to dust, there would be few left..;)
 

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You are right numskull50. Thought it was the OP.
Why would there be an issue with the Valvoline CVT fluid? Is there an actual difference in the CVT used for XT models?
 

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I posted this comment on a different thread, but it applies equally well here…

Mistakes, especially performing tasks you aren’t familiar with doing, can come fast and furious. Even when we think we know exactly what we’re doing, it’s always a good idea to do a “sanity check” before we start pulling drain plugs and refilling fluids. As the old carpentry saying goes…” Measure twice, then cut once”.

Mistakes can be prohibitively expensive.
 

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If you have the turbo engine that is the wrong fluid and you'll have to change it out again. if non turbo your fine. your profile isnt filled out so not sure what you drive.
It's a 2016 Outback 2.5 litre non-turbo. I used Valvoline Synpower CVT fluid.
 

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Even when we think we know exactly what we’re doing, it’s always a good idea to do a “sanity check” before we start pulling drain plugs and refilling fluids. As the old carpentry saying goes…” Measure twice, then cut once”.
Seems vaguely reminiscent of my earlier post... ;)
 
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