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2003 X - A/T
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm planning on freshening up my ATF with a standard drain and fill, to be repeated a couple times fairly soon. I just got my MY03 X with 67k on the ticker, and I don't know its service history. I would like the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing the ATF is fresh.

I was at Pep Boys today and their selection of Dexron III type ATFs was pretty scarce. The closest I could find was a Penzoil product that says on the jug: "For Use in Vehicles Previously Serviceable by Dexron-III/Mercon Brands" :huh:

Is this stuff good to use? I'm kind of OCD when it comes to putting good fluids in my vehicles, but from what I gather the benefits of high grade synthetics aren't as applicable to ATF as they are to gear and engine oils. Among other things unless you do a costly and difficult full drain and flush, you're only getting about 1/4-1/3 of the fluid out at each drain & fill, right? So it would take a lot of expensive synthetic ATF to drain/fills to the point where most of the fluid was synthetic, right?

So I agree with the general consensus of just changing it fairly often and using standard ATF.

BUT: I do want to use quality fluid if I can, and I want to stay consistent with the brand/type for each subsequent service. So I'm hesitant to start using this Penzoil stuff without knowing more about it...Should I just hold of and get something better?
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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39,440 Posts
I had the '03 X & the '07 serviced last summer at my trusted Subaru dealership. I do my own oil & filter changes, but I didn't want to hassle with the this. The dealership uses the standard Subaru ATF or as an option (higher cost), Redline fully-synthetic ATF. I went with the Redline ATF. :smile:

While you're add it, don't forget to do the front & rear differential. :wink:

Bobby...

['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
 

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2003 X - A/T
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Bobby. I may just check and see what the cost of A/T service is at the dealer, or wherever seems to be the most reputable Subie place in Tucson. It seems like a lot of hassle to me also to get a full fluid change.

Perhaps getting a dealer service to give me the peace of mind from knowing that the tranny is full of fresh, good fluid, then on down the road doing my own drain and fill routine will work best...

I did do the front & rear diffs today with Redline 75W90 :icon_wink:

And then I washed it because everybody knows a clean car runs much smoother. :biggrin:
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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Lots of guys here like to do their own ATF change, even their own coolant change. To me, it's too much hassel & mess, so I'm willing to pay my trusted dealerhip to do the work. As to cost, the 4EAT, front & rear differential & coolant service was around $500. I went with Redline, so that increased the cost a bit. :wink:

Bobby...

['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
 

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2003 X - A/T
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
See that's why I do the easy stuff myself. I don't generally have $500 laying around that I wouldn't rather save or spend on toys & gadgets. :biggrin: An hour or 2 of easy wrenching is rather enjoyable anyway. But getting a full A/T fluid change...now that sounds like a bit of a hassle.

If the A/T service is in the neighborhood of $100 or less I'll consider taking it in. Otherwise it's DIY for me. :icon_biggrin:
 

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See that's why I do the easy stuff myself. I don't generally have $500 laying around that I wouldn't rather save or spend on toys & gadgets. :biggrin: An hour or 2 of easy wrenching is rather enjoyable anyway. But getting a full A/T fluid change...now that sounds like a bit of a hassle.

If the A/T service is in the neighborhood of $100 or less I'll consider taking it in. Otherwise it's DIY for me. :icon_biggrin:
My local dealer quoted a little over 200 for a flush and around 170 for a drain and fill, which is pretty crazy considering the flush changes out all the fluid and the drain and fill is only a portion of the fluid.

I'd just DIY a drain and fill. That fluids probably fine. I was a fan of the older castrol dex3, but haven't tried their newer "universal import" atf.
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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See that's why I do the easy stuff myself. I don't generally have $500 laying around that I wouldn't rather save or spend on toys & gadgets. :biggrin: An hour or 2 of easy wrenching is rather enjoyable anyway. But getting a full A/T fluid change...now that sounds like a bit of a hassle.

If the A/T service is in the neighborhood of $100 or less I'll consider taking it in. Otherwise it's DIY for me. :icon_biggrin:
The amount I quoted was a bit on the high side. I just pulled the invoice & it was $485, $445 after a promotional discount. :smile:

Keep in mind that total includes the coolant service. here's the breakdown & again, note that I opted for the higher cost Redline option.

Front & rear differential drain & fill with Redline. 4EAT total fluid transfer (flush) & fill with Redline ATF: $374

The Redline ATF alone was $174 & the Redline 75W90 was $25.

The coolant service, flush & fill: $111

The bottom line: Parts - $275
----------------Labor - $210

Lastly:
  • This not a service you need to do every year.
  • Yes, you could shop around for lower priced "parts". If you did that, you'd most likely be doing the job yourself. :wink:
Bobby...

['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
 

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I used Castrol "Import vehicle" ATF and Mobil1 diff fluid. Autozone has a lower price compared to pepboys and advanceauto.

Castrol ATF: 4* $4.50= $18
Mobil1 Diff : 2* $10= $20

Total: $38

I'm going to flush the coolant myself and do another 4 quart ATF oil change next year.
 

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2003 X - A/T
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Well I've already done the front and rear diffs myself. Pretty easy stuff, there...except I had a bit of a messy time for some reason...:icon_redface: Kinda lame how the front drain is set to empty right onto the exhaust pipe :icon_confused:. I fashioned a semi funnel out of a piece of plastic from a small water bottle and it worked great to divert the flow of gear oil over the exhaust, but I miscalculated the position of the drain pad and, well, made a mess. D'OH!

Anyway, that just leaves me with the A/T, which I would really like to do a full change on for the first time...but it sounds pricey to get it done right. I will never, ever go to Jiffy Lube or the like. I did that once a long time ago and ended up with a half empty manual transmission/front diff. :icon_evil:

I guess in the end price will determine if I go for the repeated drain/fill or the full exchange, as I am unlikely to attempt the full change myself.
 

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2003 X - A/T
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Well the Subaru dealer quoted $210 for a transmission fluid exchange. No filter inlcuded ("we don't replace that unless it's damaged"), Valvoline Max Life fluid. Ouch!

A recommended local trasmission shop quoted $210 for transmission service (flush, filter, remove pan & inspect, etc.) I asked if they did a forced back flush and they said yes. I'm under the impression that a forced back flush is bad juju & I would prefer just a simple complete fluid exchange. They said $145 for a fluid exchange.

It all seems too pricey to me right now. I posed a question in another thread about a possible relatively simple DIY fluid exchange that I am considering attempting.
 
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