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2017 2.5i Premium
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a '17 Forester that I love. I enjoy working on my own cars and have always changed my own oil. When I purchased it, the car came with the first oil change from the dealership for free. I'm now regretting that. After the first oil change at the dealership I went online purchased Subaru brand oil, a Subaru filter, and a Fumoto drain valve. As the odometer got to the next oil change, I picked a Saturday and set about changing my oil. First thing that I spotted was was the plastic cover on the plastic skid plate for the oil plug was missing. Not a huge deal, but annoying. Almost immediately I realized I couldn't get good leverage on this drain plug. I got out the jacks and got the car in the air, and now I could get my arms at the right angle. Still NOTHING. This thing was on tighter than I could imagine. I double and triple checked my socket wrench was in the right direction and I wasn't accidentally tightening it. Eventually I started to strip the bolt. At that point I stopped. I looked it up on online and it says the normal torque tension for that bolt is 30ft/lbs. This thing was on WAY WAY more than 30ft/lbs. I took it to the dealer and explained what was going on, I ended up speaking with the service manager and he asked was I using a 6 point or 12 point, and I told him it was a 12 point. I told him I gave it way more than 30 ft/lbs but it wouldn't budge. All I wanted was for them to loosen the drain plug and possibly replace it so I could change my oil. Instead they changed my oil for me and I asked them to put it back on to proper torque specs. I had a long car trip that afternoon to out of state so I took it as a win and called it a day.

Fast forward to today. I'm about 300 miles past my oil change due and I picked this beautiful warm weekend to take care of this. I ordered a high quality 6 point socket and made it a 1/2 drive so I could use my larger socket wrench. Still can't get that damn thing off. I gave it hell and all I succeeded in doing was to round the bolt off.

Am I doing something wrong here? Is there some secret trick to get this damned thing off? Is it truly 30 ft/lbs for that bolt? Are they likely putting it back on with an air wrench (my suspicion)? Is this thing reverse thread? Is there another silver bolt in a black metal pan next to the actual oil drain plug that I'm accidentally trying to unscrew?

All I want to do is change my oil and move on with my life. I'm going to take it back to the dealership tomorrow and take another run at it and see what they will do. Anyone else dealt with this issue?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. I searched a couple times at first but didn't see any obvious threads. But after posting I found this thread too https://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f88/first-oil-change-woes-733017/

I should add, I have been changing my own oil for 20 years. I've changed oil on Ford trucks, Mercedes diesel and gas, and Jeeps. I have never had this kind of issue with the drain plug. I feel very confident in my ability to not break things as I wrench on stuff, but this bolt head seems especially soft. I guess I'll try the bolt extractors and a breaker bar. I don't have an impact driver but I might use this as an excuse to buy one.
 

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2019 Touring
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This makes me want to watch my first and next oil change ! I normally have the dealer do the first, but maybe after reading this, they will do all of them !
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 Forester XT
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Its not possible to round off a bolt with a 6 point unless you are not on it straight. I suspect you used a regular socket. The proper tool is a 6pt half in drive wit a breaker bar that has s swivel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
@adc This is what I used. I literally ordered it specifically for this oil change.

Sorry! Something went wrong!

I did not use a breaker bar but a socket wrench. Literally the exact same socket set I used to change oil on 3 different Mercedes, the Jeep, and to drive 18mm lag bolts into fence posts. It was on straight and I'm a confident I'm cable of giving it plenty of torque. It's not completely rounded it off yet. Just starting to be, I stopped before I ruined any chance I would be able to get it off.

I'm starting to get a little pissed off because after reading those threads I can't believe there are such specific instructions, tools, and fixes for when things inevitably go wrong while preforming what most would consider the most basic form of maintenance on your car beyond filling it with gas and putting air in the tires. It's something every driveway mechanic knows how to do.

It reminds me of the iphone 4 antenna debacle, "You're holding it wrong". Maybe, just maybe, if there are this many people having problems with a basic form of maintenance, it's engineered incorrectly. I've never ever heard of special instructions like "make sure you're using a 15" breaker bar" or "use an impact driver and a 6 point socket" for a damned oil change. The advice my father game me when I changed the oil on my first car was "finger tight then go a 1/8 to a 1/4 turn" and that's all I've ever needed. I've use a 3/8" drive 12 point socket to change the oil on my Ford, 3 different Mercedes, the Jeep, and helped friends change their oil. Never ... NEVER... stripped an oil plug bolt. Sorry for the rant but reading some of the responses on those threads where clearly some people think the rest of us are morons implores me to speak out.
 

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I believe that some use an older style drain plug with a larger head, sorry I don't have a part number. Seems to be a common issue on the FB engine. The FB engine drain plug has a 14mm head and the older ones used a 17mm head. The thread size on the FB engine is M16-1.50 and Dorman makes a drain plug that fits with a 17mm head. (090-054CD).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have seen a couple people recommend the larger bolt head once you get it swapped out. I'd likely go that route if I wasn't switching to the Fumoto. Thank you for the suggestion.
 

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Welcome to this unfortunate club subsection--"drain plug woes." I have written your post myself--almost exactly. Rounded the 14 mm head and went to the dealer for the first change, something I haven't done in 40+ years. Had them replace the 14 mm with a 17 mm, and politely urged the svc. mgr. to make sure they didn't kill me with over-torquing the new bolt. Put the car up on ramps the next day and managed to break the new plug loose a bit with a breaker bar, 6-pt. socket and 24 oz. hammer. Reset the thing with the same tension I've used for decades and had no leaks. I changed the oil once more without issues, but I now have a Fumoto valve in the tool box for the next change. In absolutely no way can I defend Subaru on this issue, and I've owned at least one model continuously for 38 years.
 

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Subaru screwed up! It is not that hard... or it should be harder, the bolt, that is.... Many of us had the same problem with what was, at the time, a new model BMW motorcycle. Changing the oil, as the bike was designed was a royal PITA until a member on a simular BMW K1600 GTL forum came up with a work-around that made the simple task simple. Too bad it has to be done this way.

On a previous motorcycle, BMW K1200LT there were three very soft metal screws holding on an oil filter cap that kept breaking. Many of us went to a harder metal screw. With the proper torque, the problem of breaking and rounded screws tops was solved.
 

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Sahuarita, AZ 2018 Forester Limited
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I had the exact same problem on my first DIY oil chance on my 2018 Forester, and I've been doing DIY oil changes for almost 40 years including a 2010 Forester. Do yourself a favor and replace your 14mm drain bolt head with this 17 mm one:
https://www.amazon.com/Subaru-Genuine-807016210-Plug-16X17/dp/B00L2OVID6

Both plugs have 16mm threads. I bought mine at my local Subaru dealer parts counter for $3.93. The above link is a good example where Amazon is not always cheaper.

And that annoying oil plug plastic cover that you are missing...don't sweat it. In fact I never re-installed mine as it is nothing but a PIA. In addition, if I ever did have a leak at the oil drain plug, I would want it to drip on the garage floor so I would notice it.

Subaru made changing the oil filter so easy and simple, but draining the oil is a royal PIA unless you switch to the 17mm drain bolt head and leave the silly plastic cover off.
 

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2005 Forester X and XT Manual and Auto
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When this has happened to me it's always been when i can't apply force at the correct angle (e.g. 90 degrees to the bolt). Sounds like you probably know this already. Maybe they just tightened the hell out of it twice in a row. I had a similar issue last time my mechanic put on an oil filter when he did my headers on my 03X. Had the hardest time getting that thing off, I ended up destroying the old filter and using a hammer and screwdriver to get it loosened.
 

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I had the exact same problem on my first DIY oil chance on my 2018 Forester, and I've been doing DIY oil changes for almost 40 years including a 2010 Forester. Do yourself a favor and replace your 14mm drain bolt head with this 17 mm one:
https://www.amazon.com/Subaru-Genuine-807016210-Plug-16X17/dp/B00L2OVID6

Both plugs have 16mm threads. I bought mine at my local Subaru dealer parts counter for $3.93. The above link is a good example where Amazon is not always cheaper.

And that annoying oil plug plastic cover that you are missing...don't sweat it. In fact I never re-installed mine as it is nothing but a PIA. In addition, if I ever did had a leak at the oil drain plug, I would want it to drip on the garage floor so I would notice it.

Subaru made changing the oil filter so easy and simple, but draining the oil is a royal PIA unless you switch to the 17mm drain bolt head and leave the silly plastic cover off.
Seems like a good idea to have this installed at the dealer during the first oil change. I hope there won't be an objection by the shop tech.
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 Forester XT
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I use 22 ft lbs on every oil drain in many many cars over the last 20/30 years. Removal torque is always at least double. Even more from the factory. At least 80 ft lbs.
 

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My last two motorcycles used about 28 NM (metric) with a crush washer and never leaked. Always easy to remove when torqued correctly.
 

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I had the same exact issue as the OP; I highly suggest Fumoto drain plug accessory. I've had ~25K miles on the Fumoto without issue, and oil changes are easier, faster, and definitely less messy than ever before.

Long version:
I've always done my own oil changes on previous vehicles. Subaru offered their first oil change for free, so I took into the shop. When it was my turn to change the oil the drain plug was stuck, really stuck and yes the metal is really soft. My neighbor with an older Forester had the same issues through the same dealership. I torque things down as listed in the manual and never any problems. But for bigger mileage checks I take the vehicle into the shop and the next oil change I try and do myself it's flipping impossible to undo the bolt. I personally think it's purposeful so they force people to keep coming back into the shop but that's my $0.02. After one instance the shop tightened the bolt down it took me 3 hours using progressively more aggressive techniques to get the damn bolt off. Never again. I ordered the Fumoto drain plug (with the plastic safety adapter) and have been incredibly happy.
 

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I'm due for my first oil change in a few weeks on our '19 Forester. After reading and reading all about the 14mm vs 17mm drain bolts, and Fumoto drains, etc, I came across what I think will be my course of action.(BTW - I've been changing the oil in all my cars for the past 35+ years).

I am planning to have my dealer do the first oil change and replace the stock drain plug with a 17mm one along with a new crush washer. After that, I am ordering a Top-Sider vacuum pump (just google it for lots of info and reviews) and will change the oil myself from the "top-side". I should never have to touch the drain plug again, except if we are traveling on one of our long retirement trips and decide to get the oil changed at a dealer on the road. I'm afraid they might freak out at a Fumoto valve and screw something up, like not securing it completely shut.

Now I have to practice nicely asking the service writer to have the tech NOT tighten the new drain plug up to 8,000 ft/lb with his impact wrench. LOL


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