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I’m not trying to make a case against changing any lubricant, but people need to have a clear understanding that no one can judge the quality of a lubricant by color alone. Color MAY be an indicator, but by itself, it’s a poor one at best.

For any doubters, take a look at diesel engine oil 100 miles after a oil/filter change. You’ll see what I mean.

However, I’m a big advocate of preventive maintenance… if in doubt, and the change is affordable and inexpensive… change it.
I agree. Color is not a good indicator. Time. Oil breaks down and suspends tiny metal shavings. I want that out by 30k miles or 2 years at most.

Color is a good indicator of condition but not the only one... Comparing diesel oil that turns black from soot is not the same comparison of gear oil in a sealed differential... that's an Apples to rocks comparison at the very best. Diesels produce soot WAY more than gas vehicles hence why esp in pre 2008 diesels the next day your honey engine oil color is black as tar its from carbon build up Diesels historically have MUCH higher compression than gas engines by nature of how they work. No spark so the air/fuel mixture is COMPRESSED to be used not sparked. When a honey color gear oil gets black its from heat and pressure... Same thing with most ATFs they are red and when you see its completely void of red or much darker its a good sign the fluid is old or worn. You cannot compare the two for anything really.

Again no one said color is the only way... Color, smell, feel, texture, and of course laboratory sampling are needed. PS the dipstick oil looks black on diesels but 99% of the time when I change them on my diesel, tractors, or big rigs the oil still has a close to honey color. The carbon likes to sit near the surface.
 

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2019 Forester Touring
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“Again no one said color is the only way...”

That’s correct, but even this short thread has multiple posts that imply the only sense of the lubricant condition was color..

And, color is probably the most-used reason for folks justifying changing lubricants. Car repair/service shops have always used color alone as primary justification for suggesting fluid changes.

The vast majority of vehicle owners simply don’t know much about lubricants, and more than a few get suckered in by shops simply looking to make a buck. And, that was my point… don’t make decisions based on color alone.

As I posted earlier, I’m big on preventive maintenance. When in doubt, change the fluid.
 

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2021 Forester Limited
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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
60,000 miles in only one year has to include a very high percentage of driving time without much acceleration, deceleration, cornering, or temperature cycles. I would think this particular car, for a Forester at 60,000 miles, is the one LEAST likely to need attention to the differentials.
The Forester was purchased in September 2018 so it is almost 3 years old. My daughter does a lot of driving between FL and VA which is why her mileage is relatively high for a 2019 model year. It has been nearly 100% highway driving. However, since it's getting its 60K service done, which includes the spark plugs and brake fluid flush, I might as well just let them do everything anyway since I don't have full access to this vehicle as she lives on her own.
 

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2021 Forester Limited
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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Curious...how much diff fluid is required to replace both the front and rear? Are you all using full synthetic or regular Subaru 75W90?
 

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2017 Forester XT Touring EyeSight
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I got confused, are we not talking about the 2021 model your profile lists? Surely you didn't buy that one in 2018??
 

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2019 Forester Sport
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Great price. I was going to do mine this summer, but am busy with tiling a basement room by room. Called Grayson Subaru and they was 220.mm Looks like I will be doing it myself. Plus they said they would only change the fluid, not the gaskets. Seemed odd.
 

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2019 Forester Base Model CVT 2.5 L
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I used very similar Technic youtube ( Samb wague )
used , which is filling fluid from check drain plug location, I used those 12V electrical pump , intended to suck engine oil from dip stick hole, those pump sell for around US $20 , and it has 3/8 ID 10mm ID barb. I did not want to put the car on flat, so I measure exact amount of oil drained 1.15 Qts , then put back 1.15 qts.
 

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2019 Forester Sport
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I did mine myself at about 34k, this was after the stealership quoted a price over $700 for the 30k service. This would include oil/filter change, Cabin Air Cleaner, Cabin Air Filter, Brake Fluid, F/R diff change and maybe a tire rotate/balance. Only elected to have them do the brake fluid.
For the F/R Diffs, both use 75w-90 (I use Severe Gear, definitely not the cheapest)
Front: Uses a T70 for the drain (torque to 70 N M or 51 ft lbs) and 8mm Hex for the Fill and Check Plugs. (torque to 50 N M or 37 ft lbs). Uses 1.4 qts
Rear: Uses 10 mm hex, torque to 50 N M or 37 ft lbs. Uses 0.8 qts
Washers: Front Drain: 803926090, the other 4 are the same: 803918060. These may actually be reusable but I bought and used new ones.
As always with differentials, make sure you can loosen/open the fill plug before draining.
I accessed the front fill plug by removing the front passenger wheel, leveled the car with the jack, and used a long extension. This method isn't totally necessary as the fill plug is accessible from under the vehicle, just use a short extension.
 

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The Forester was purchased in September 2018 so it is almost 3 years old. . .
Thank you for clearing that up!! I was trying to figure out how you had managed to rack up 2800+ miles / day since you purchased your '21 three weeks ago!! :oops: :unsure: :rolleyes:
 

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2021 Forester Limited
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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Thank you for clearing that up!! I was trying to figure out how you had managed to rack up 2800+ miles / day since you purchased your '21 three weeks ago!! :oops: :unsure: :rolleyes:
My signature says that I have both a 2019 & 2021😉
 

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Team, my 60K mile service is coming up on Monday. One dealer recommended doing a diff fluid change and the other stated it was not necessary unless the vehicle has been used to tow. All highway type driving since day 1. Should I get the F&R diff fluid changed or let it go? Dealer wants $139 plus tax. Thank you!
You should read your owners manual's maintenance section. You will be wasting your money.
 

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2020 Subaru Forester Sport/2018 Crosstrek Prem
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314 Posts
I think on the owner’s manual says inspect. Isn’t that same as going to strip club? Look don’t touch? Sorry for the bad joke.
 

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Sahuarita, AZ 2018 Forester Limited
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I think on the owner’s manual says inspect. Isn’t that same as going to strip club? Look don’t touch? Sorry for the bad joke.
You better read how Subaru defines "I".
Hint: It's in the Warranty & Maintenance booklet, not the owners manual.
 

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2021 Forester Limited
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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
I think on the owner’s manual says inspect. Isn’t that same as going to strip club? Look don’t touch? Sorry for the bad joke.
I will say this...just had it changed, as you have read above at 60K miles. I watched the tech drain the fluid and it was dark in color, but still a bit translucent. He stated that it could have gone longer, but it wasn't a bad idea to change it based on its wear. If you can do this yourself (which after watching him and a YT video, it is VERY easy to do) or paying your dealer or local mechanic, for the cost it is really a no brainer if you plan to keep your FOZ for a while. Don't be penny wise and dollar foolish. I would recommend it be done at 60K, or less, based on your driving and towing. If you don't LOVE your FOZ, then don't bother changing her fluid ;)
 

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2020 Subaru Forester Sport/2018 Crosstrek Prem
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You better read how Subaru defines "I".
Hint: It's in the Warranty & Maintenance booklet, not the owners manual.
I read it. I also read the note below. Depend on your driving and condition, it may have to replace earlier. For enthusiast like you, who know how you drive and know and do your own service, you keep your car maintained nicely. For most of the owners out there, they take it to Subaru when service schedule is up, most of them do not know what that “I” mean. And I already had major issue with 3 separate Subaru dealer in Chicago area for incompetence, incorrect and incomplete warranty recalls. I also had an issue with one of the service dept “rear differential service”. It was our 2006 impreza. I took it in at 30k and service writer recommended 36k which included front and rear diff service. I took a picture of rear diff 6 month earlier when I was under the car. There was a yellow paint mark on the plug. Guess what, the tech did not do “service” and marked down front and rear fluid changed. I show the writer the picture and ask him to compare to the rear diff. The paint mark is exactly the same place and nit touched. The service writer came back and say it was inspected and nothing wrong. Then I asked why am I charged for fluid replacement. There was no answer for that. I took the issue to the head service manager and got the $$$ back for the front and rear diff service charge. I had to look for independent shop I can trust after that. So, the moral of the story is don’t trust any dealer service dept in Chicago area.
And yes, that is where the look and don’t touch joke came from.
 

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2020 Subaru Forester Sport/2018 Crosstrek Prem
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@ securityguy
I like our Subarus very much other than the cvt slow acceleration which I finally got used to and accepted it. Most of cars we owned, the 3yr hit before we get to 30k. So, I now take it to a mechanic to check our cars and service based on the interval. I respect your post and agree that fluid should be checked regularly and replaced if dirty or bad. My mechanic open the rear diff filler plug and stick take a sample fluid to see the color and how lubricant the fluid is and shows me if I was there. Our old Subarus has dipstick for front diff and I can easily check myself.
My issue is with Subaru service dept not doing their job and ripping unknowing customers off.
 

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2019 Forester Base Model CVT 2.5 L
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It save me from trying to open the fill PLUG which is above drive shaft, hard to get to area.
I used electric 12V pump instead, which I bought at Amazon for $20. the pump is intended for sucking oil from dipstick hole. the barb connection of the pump is for 10mm ID 3/8 inch ID tube, so I used 3/8 ID, 1/2 inch OD flexible tube from Homedepot / Lowes . 1/2 inch OD tube fit snaggly without leak, into check hole of front differential.

554996



That is a good technique indeed;)
 
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