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2004 forester
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
:icon_question:I guess what I need are any tips before I attempt to change my AT fluids for my 2004 Forester non-turbo. Like what specific tool do I need to remove the drain plug for my trans. What is the best oil to use? I'm at 70,000 miles. Any advice would be appreciated.
 

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2022 Forester Limited 2018 Forester XT
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I have a 2008. But basically drain it out and probably it will take like 6 ounces short of a gallon. If it has never been done do it at least twice..preferably 3 times. Drive it a couple miles in between.

Torque is about 19 ft pounds but Iuse 22 ft pounds. You probably can reuse the crushable metal gasket. I believe 2004 MY uses Dexron
 

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2003 XS
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It's not hard. You need a socket wrench (17 mm), drain pan (5 qt minimum), and funnel. The AT drain plug uses the same crush washer as the oil drain plug. You can reuse the existing crush washer if you don't have a new one. Drain the old fluild and replace what you drained with new fluid (about 4 qts).

Like adc said, you should do this a few times over a span of a few days since you can't drain all the fluid out at once. The entire transmission holds 10 qts but you can only drain 4 qts at a time.

I use Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF. It's a little pricey but worth it, in my opinion. Anything that is Dexron III or higher should be fine.
 

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2004 forester
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for the tips and advice. I was under the car last night and I saw something that looked like an oil filter and what looked like a drain plug with a torx type socket. Can any one tell me what I am looking at and if I need to change that filter? Thanks again for all the tips! They give me confidence in performing maintenance on my 2004 Forester!
 

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2017 Forester Premium
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Transmission filter looks like the oil filter its usually not replaced but I don't see the harm if you get a new one from Subaru and put it on.
 

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Thank you for the tips and advice. I was under the car last night and I saw something that looked like an oil filter and what looked like a drain plug with a torx type socket. Can any one tell me what I am looking at and if I need to change that filter? Thanks again for all the tips! They give me confidence in performing maintenance on my 2004 Forester!
The torx socket is the drain for the front diff. The oil pan behind that is for the trans, it should have a normal drain plug. On the passenger side of the trans is the fill tube for the front diff and on the drivers side is the fill tube for the trans.
 

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2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
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Transmission filter looks like the oil filter its usually not replaced but I don't see the harm if you get a new one from Subaru and put it on.
The transmission filter is not supposed to be changed unless the transmission is flushed or repaired. There is no filter change interval specified for it.

And it is not a good idea to change it yourself, because it is hard to tell how much oil the filter held and how much was lost when you unscrewed it.

When you drain the transmission, you can either catch and measure the fluid the came out, or take our word that it is 3.75 quarts, or 6 ounces less than a gallon, or whatever. And you can pour that much new fluid back in and the dipstick will look right the first time you check it.

But if you also remove the filter, you are going to be into buying a 4th quart of expensive ATF, and not know exactly how much of it to put in. So you will funnel some fluid in, and then check the dipstick, which must be done at hot idle, and then funnel in some more. And if you overshoot and put in too much, how will you get it out? Or would you just leave it in?

Better leave that transmission filter alone. It was for a good reason that Subaru deleted it in 2008. Too many ignorant Jiffy Lubes or unprepared owners removed it, and the aftermath was cars running with underfilled or overfilled transmissions.
 

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2002 Forester S
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Oh honestly, the boogie man ain't gonna get you if you change the durn tranny filter. I did it on the wife's 02 Fozzy and it was no big deal for cryin' out loud. When you change the filter you lose about another quart. Just refill as carefully as you can, measure, add a bit more and measure again. If you go a little bit over so flippin' what. The tranny isn't gonna grenade on you. Sheesh.

I think having that spin-on filter was a great idea. Helluva lot easier to change than having to drop the pan.
 

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2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
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... I think having that spin-on filter was a great idea. Helluva lot easier to change than having to drop the pan.
Did they move the filter inside the transmission so you have to drop the pan to change it? Where would they find room inside the transmission to relocate such large filter? Or is there just a screen inside the transmission? Would a screen be as good as the pleated paper spin on filter that was deleted? My 2008 has a cover plate over the former filter location. Wish it could be unscrewed and the filter mount put back on, but I suspect the interior supply and return plumbing to the filter was deleted as well.
 

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2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
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... if you overshoot and put in too much, how will you get it out? Or would you just leave it in?...
Changing the filter does make it hard to judge how much to refill with. I would buy a Fumoto drain valve along with the filter. The valve will let you drain off any overfill and adjust the level to the proper mark on the dipstick. The Fumoto valve will also make it easy to do routine 3.75-quart drains in the future.
 

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Oh honestly, the boogie man ain't gonna get you if you change the durn tranny filter. I did it on the wife's 02 Fozzy and it was no big deal for cryin' out loud. .
I think it is + or - around 30 bucks.
 

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2002 Forester S
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Did they move the filter inside the transmission so you have to drop the pan to change it? Where would they find room inside the transmission to relocate such large filter? Or is there just a screen inside the transmission? Would a screen be as good as the pleated paper spin on filter that was deleted? My 2008 has a cover plate over the former filter location. Wish it could be unscrewed and the filter mount put back on, but I suspect the interior supply and return plumbing to the filter was deleted as well.
Most auto tranny's I've seen (worked on) do have the filter internal (Fords, Chevys, etc.). It's a flat thing that basically sits in the oil sump and sucks in the fluid through the filter media which is on the bottom, submerged in the sump/pan. Dropping the pan is usually a flippin' mess, I hate it. The Subie spin-on on the side is lightyears easier to change.
 

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2002 Forester S
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I think it is + or - around 30 bucks.
I forgot how much the dealer reamed me for that filter. Expensive as a mofo. Maybe closer to 40 bux. Dealer prices are highway robbery. That's why I only use OEM when really necessary. The tranny filter is one of those. The one the local dealer sold me was made in Japan, not a cheapo Fram.
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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Transmission filter looks like the oil filter its usually not replaced but I don't see the harm if you get a new one from Subaru and put it on.
I had my dealership service the 4EAT on my '03 & '07. Vavoline conditioner, flush & Red Line ATF. They didn't replaced the filter on either transmission. When I asked why it wasn't replaced, the service advisor told me it is a permanent filter & the factory doesn't recommend replacing it.

If you want to replace the filter, go for it. The dealership would make money replacing the filter & they don't, so I'm good with going with what the factory recommends.

Oh yes... my .02 cents worth. :wink:

Bobby...
 

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2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
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Most auto tranny's I've seen (worked on) do have the filter internal (Fords, Chevys, etc.). It's a flat thing that basically sits in the oil sump and sucks in the fluid through the filter media which is on the bottom, submerged in the sump/pan... The Subie spin-on on the side is lightyears easier to change.
But when Subaru deleted the spin-on filter on the 2008s, did they replace it with another media filter inside the transmission? Or was there always a just strainer screen in the sump and now that's all we have now?

A filter with media that can be changed is better than a permanent screen that is merely cleaned. I wonder what we are left with.
 

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1998 Forester
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I had my dealership service the 4EAT on my '03 & '07. Vavoline conditioner, flush & Red Line ATF. They didn't replaced the filter on either transmission. When I asked why it wasn't replaced, the service advisor told me it is a permanent filter & the factory doesn't recommend replacing it.

If you want to replace the filter, go for it. The dealership would make money replacing the filter & they don't, so I'm good with going with what the factory recommends.

Oh yes... my .02 cents worth. :wink:

Bobby...
Even when I asked them beforehand to replace the filter....after service they did not and told me unless it shows rusting out or is leaking...SOA says do not replace...I can't understand the logic but who knows.
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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Even when I asked them beforehand to replace the filter....after service they did not and told me unless it shows rusting out or is leaking...SOA says do not replace...I can't understand the logic but who knows.
Logic says if they'd make money & they would, they'd change the 4EAT filter. I'm guessing Subaru has specifically instructed the dealerships not to change it. :confused:

Bobby...
 

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2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
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:icon_question:I guess what I need are any tips before I attempt to change my AT fluids for my 2004 Forester non-turbo. Like what specific tool do I need to remove the drain plug for my trans. What is the best oil to use? I'm at 70,000 miles. Any advice would be appreciated.
I am going to change my AT fluid at 15K. Not really a change, as there are ~10 quarts in there and only 3.75 quarts drain out for refill.

But you went 70K, and such partial replacement or dilution is not going to do much good. At those miles, all the fluid should be replaced with a flush. I have no idea how a flush works, how 10 quarts is flushed and replaced. Hopefully not too much of the expensive ATF is used and wasted in flushing.

For my 15K "dilution", I went to the dealer today and asked for 4 quarts of ATF. I was given white bottles that said good for all Subaru ATs except 5EAT. But they were not the HP called for in my 2008 manual. I complained that my 2008 required HP, and the parts tech said he had no way of knowing what car required what ATF. Then he brought out silver bottles of HP that said good for all Subaru ATs including 5EAT. So be careful and get the right stuff. A late 4EAT requires the same as a 5EAT. Would the average service tech know this, or would he take whatever fluid the parts tech gave him?

BTW, I will install the Fumoto drain valve so that it will be easy to drain small amounts of fluid if needed to get the level exactly right.
 
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