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2003 X - A/T
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I did a search but nothing came up for this. Just got an 03 X from a dealer.

They (allegedly) changed all the fluids, etc. I always say "allegedly" with a dealer because you never know. The oil and tranny fluids do look nice and fresh, though.

But checking the A/T fluid this morning, I see that it is way above the Hot Full mark, even though the car is totally cold (hasn't been driven in over 12 hours). I will definitely be calling them up to have it brought back to normal, I'm just wondering how bad it is to drive it like that. Should I let it sit until they make it right? Grrr...

Pic:

 

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aka DMax in Alaska
'06 Mini Cooper S JCW 6MT
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786 Posts
You could potentially blow seals. Take the car back to the dealer and ask them to drain off the excess OR you could do it yourself using a small diameter clear tubing.
 

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Administrator
2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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39,474 Posts
Did you follow the proceedure in the Owner's Manual to check the ATF? :confused:

Bobby...

From the Owner's Manual:
The automatic transmission fluid expands largely as its temperature rises; the fluid level differs according to fluid temperature. Therefore, there are two different scales for checking the level of hot fluid and cold fluid on the dipstick. Though the fluid level can be checked without warming up the fluid on the “COLD” range, we recommend checking the fluid level when the fluid is at operating temperature. Checking the fluid level when the fluid is hot Check the fluid level monthly.
1. Drive the vehicle several miles to raise the temperature of the transmission fluid up to normal operating temperature; 154 to 176 F (70 to 80 C) is normal.
2. Park the vehicle on a level surface and set the parking brake.
3. First shift the selector lever in each position. Then shift it in the “P” position, and
run the engine at idling speed.
4. Pull out the dipstick and check the fluid level on the gauge. If it is below the lower
level on the “HOT” range, add the recommended automatic transmission fluid up to
the upper level.

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

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2003 X - A/T
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Good question! Being a n00b I did not realize there was an in-depth procedure.

to clarify: the last bit says to pull the dip stick out and check it with the engine running? :icon_question:
 

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Premium Member
2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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14,387 Posts
And again immediately before checking it move the selector through all the g ears and check in park. With engine running. Pull the dipstick out, wipe it, off and reinsert it and then pull and read.
 

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2003 X - A/T
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Discussion Starter #8
OK so I did it per instructions a couple of times and it came out a just a couple of mm past the word "Hot" on the dipstick.

Lower than it was in the photo this morning, but still a good bit past the Hot "F" mark. I'm inclined to think this is OK, but the stickler in me wants to think about draining some fluid out or making the seller/dealer do it right.

I have to say that couldn't have put that dipstick in a much harder place to get to. I had to weave my way through all kinds of hoses to pull that thing out strait and not brush it up against something and screw up the reading. What's up with that? :icon_rolleyes:
 

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2003 X - A/T
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
No, did not pay. The dealer said they went through and changed all fluids, etc., when they got the car in for inspection.

I'm just debating on whether or not to have them drain and refill to the proper level.
 

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Administrator
2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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I purchased my '07 FSXT last year (Jun/09), from a Chevrolet/KIA dealership. It came with with no service history, so I assumed nothing was done. I had my trusted Subaru dealership change the coolant (drain & fill +Subaru conditioner), ATF & service the front & rear differential (drain & fill). I opted for Redline synthetic ATF & gear oil. I had the '03 x in at the same time & it was recommended that the brake fluid be replaced. I opted for Valvoline synthetic brake fluid. I always do my own oil & filter change. The dealership charge was around $500 & amounts to what would be done at the 30K miles. For the same work, plus spark plug change (provided my own upgraded iridium spark plugs) for the '03 X ran about the same. :smile:

Yes, kinda expensive, but now I know my new to me Forester has been serviced. :wink:

Bobby...

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

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Ah crap.. I'm back with my 05 XS
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Heh you should have seen my levels. I was about 5-6" above the Hot Full line...
 

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2005 Forester XT 4eat
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If it was just refilled, you can get a siphon from autozone for $2 and suck some atf of the dipstick tube. It seems pretty wasteful to drain and fill just because it's slightly overfilled.
 

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2003 X - A/T
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Discussion Starter #14
Yes, kinda expensive, but now I know my new to me Forester has been serviced. :wink:

Bobby...
Yeah Bobby, I'm all about peace of mind, too. I'm going to ask them to provide in writing exactly what they did to the vehicle and go from there. I can tell motor oil, a/t fluid and front diff oil are all very fresh. I, like you, prefer to spend a little extra on quality fluids & lubes. But if they're fresh now, I'll run them for a bit. I just don't like thinking the a/t is over filled.

Do you think a few mm past the word "Hot" on the dipstick (which is a considerable amount past the "Full" mark) warrants a drain & refill? It would be much simpler to get a syringe and tube and do it myself. But under AZ lemon law I have 15 days/500 miles warranty on a used car from a dealer, so it almost seems best to bring any issues found during that time up with them so that they are documented.

Heh you should have seen my levels. I was about 5-6" above the Hot Full line...
What did you do? Just syringe it out? or drain & refill?
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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I'm on the fence bc in AX it well get very hot and maybe be too overfilled. But considering the size of the pan. I doubt it will be any problem. If its not more than say over a 1/2 inch above I'm not concerned. I would however check it when its really hot. I am guessing that they fill everything with new. The only thing I would be concerned with is the rear diff. Can you check it yourself. ?
 

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Ah crap.. I'm back with my 05 XS
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What did you do? Just syringe it out? or drain & refill?

Yep, did a full drain and refill. My SOP is to drain, measure, refill exactly what drained out so since this overfill couldn't give me a reliable number, I scratched that plan and went to fill approximately 4 qts and go from there. Be careful of underfill though, you will hear a grind if that occurs. Don't drive far under that condition. I drained out close to 6 qts and only put in 5 qts, so I was about 1 qt overfilled by the dealer.
 

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2003 X - A/T
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105 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Well I checked it twice a full operating temp yesterday and it was, as I say, a few mm past the word "Hot", which is about 1/2"-3/4" past the full mark. And it was only about 75 degrees yesterday. When it's 110 out in a few months, I don't want this thing overfilled!

Good question on the rear diff. I want to know if they did that also. It looks like the filler bolt/plug was recently moved, but can't say for sure if the oil is fresh & at the proper level unless I look in there myself. I think I have the driver for that. 3/8", right?
 

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Administrator
2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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Yeah Bobby, I'm all about peace of mind, too. I'm going to ask them to provide in writing exactly what they did to the vehicle and go from there. I can tell motor oil, a/t fluid and front diff oil are all very fresh. I, like you, prefer to spend a little extra on quality fluids & lubes. But if they're fresh now, I'll run them for a bit. I just don't like thinking the a/t is over filled.

Do you think a few mm past the word "Hot" on the dipstick (which is a considerable amount past the "Full" mark) warrants a drain & refill? It would be much simpler to get a syringe and tube and do it myself. But under AZ lemon law I have 15 days/500 miles warranty on a used car from a dealer, so it almost seems best to bring any issues found during that time up with them so that they are documented.
As long as what was put in was the correct "stuff", you should be good for another 30K miles. As to the slight overfill, I wouldn't worry about it. The front differential & AT has breather pipes that are located under the filter box. I'd guess many have never seen them. I spotted them when my '03 X was being "modified" & I was told they were to relieve excess pressure & if there was an overfill issue, the excess would come out the breather tubes. :smile:

Bobby...

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

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Discussion Starter #19
Good point. No way to know exactly what was put in there unless I do it myself...

Good info on the breather tubes. This is the kind of knowledge I crave for any machine I own. :icon_biggrin:
 

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Ah crap.. I'm back with my 05 XS
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Yep that's right overpressure will vent but waaaaaaay excessive overfill is not fun for seals. The dealership even claimed the 5-6" of overfill was fine and would be vented but I didn't want to risk it.
 
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