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2005 Forester XT 4eat
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
There are 3 plugs in the undercarriage of your Forester. One is for engine oil, one is for differential fluid, and another is for the transmission (automatic).

The one in the front of the car on the engine oil pan is the engine oil plug. It is hexagonal in shape. You have to remove your engine under tray or aftermarket skid plate to get to it. You fill the engine oil through the engine oil filler, which has a big yellow cap on it.

Moving towards the rear is the front differential plug. It needs a Torx T-70 to open it. It has an indentation similar to what you would see on a Phillips head screw, but machined for a Torx T-70. You fill the differential fluid through the dipstick hole on the right side (passenger side in the U.S.) You can see it below labeled "tranny oil dipstick."



On manual transmissions, this dipstick is for the transmissions, but for an automatic, this dipstick is for the front differential. If you have an automatic transmission, do not fill this with automatic transmission fluid only GL5 gear fluid goes in here.

A better look here:


Further to the rear under on the undercarriage is the automatic transmission plug. Some people confuse it for the engine oil plug because there is a filter that resembles an engine oil filter on the transmission. You will know that it is the transmission because it is behind the front wheels, and has a shaft coming out of the rear of it. It also has no exhaust manifolds on it, and you didn't have to remove anything from the undercarriage to get to it.

The automatic transmission fluid is filled through the automatic transmission dipstick tube. The dipstick can be hard to find.

It looks like this:


It's located in the rear of the engine bay on the left side (driver's side) of the car. You really have to reach in there to get it out. You might need a flashlight to see it, but once you learn where it is, you'll be able to reach in blindly and grab it. To get it out, you just get your finger in the hole in it, and yank it out. If you haven't changed it in a while, it might take a really hard yank.

The hardest part about filling the automatic transmission is finding the dipstick tube, getting a funnel in there, and getting it to stay. Once you have it secured, you can just pour the fluid in. It usually takes around 4 quarts if you just drained it by opening the plug. If you remove the filter, it takes a bit more than 4 quarts. You should always be careful not to overfill the transmission, so what I like to do is fill 3 quarts, then check the level with the transmission in park with the engine running. There are 2 sets of marks on the dipstick. 2 for when it is cold, and 2 for when it is hot. It will make your life much easier if you do this on a cold transmission, and fill it to the full cold mark.
 

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2005 Forester XT 4eat
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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
The engine takes 5w-30 motor oil. You can also use 10w30, 0w30, 0w40, 5w40, 10w40, 15w40, or 15w50 depending on climate and severity of duty.

The automatic transmission takes Dexron III atf on all models up to 2005. For 2006 models and later, you need Subaru ATF-HP or equivalent fluid. Subaru ATF-HP fluid can also be used on older models. Most synthetic or some petroleum based "multi-vehicle" fluids can also be used on older transmissions if they can be used on GM transmissions. Don't put anything labeled Mercon, or ATF+4. If you're not sure, just stick with the Subaru fluid.

The front differential takes any GL5 fluid. You can find many fine GL5 fluids at your local auto parts store in the section for gear oil. 75w90, which is the recommended grade is currently a very common grade. It takes 1.2 or 1.3 quarts to fill, depending on model and year. The rear differential takes .8 quarts, so you can just get 2 bottles for both diffs.
 

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2005 Forester XT 4eat
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If anyone wants to elaborate or post pics, I'll add them to the first post.
 

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2005 Impreza RS Wagon Auto
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Good writeup, I will refer ppl to it!

Edit: Just a note "Tranny dipstick" is deceiving as it is locale of diff stick not the auto trans fluid in the picture provided...
 

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2005 Forester XT 4eat
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Good writeup, I will refer ppl to it!

Edit: Just a note "Tranny dipstick" is deceiving as it is locale of diff stick not the auto trans fluid in the picture provided...
Good point. If someone has a better picture I'll use that, or I'll just edit the label when I'm feeling less lazy.
 

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2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
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... The hardest part about filling the automatic transmission is finding the dipstick tube, getting a funnel in there, and getting it to stay. Once you have it secured, you can just pour the fluid in...
It would be good to show a photo of the funnel required for filling the auto transmission and the front differential. The kind with the long corrugated flexible tube with a pointed nozzle on the end. I was not sure what to get or where to get it until I saw a picture somewhere on here. I got a separate funnel for each fluid, since the corrugations retain some fluid and I didn't want to use the same funnel for both.
 

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I'll take some pictures today/tomorrow if I can get enough light in my garage. My 4eat XT is sitting up on ramps with the entire intake manifold and everything removed so all the dipsticks and drain plugs are easily visible.


Earlier SF models do not have the torx plug for the front diff, but instead have a square drive like the rear diff (the switch to the torx happened sometime in 02 or 03).
 

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2005 Forester XT 4eat
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It would be good to show a photo of the funnel required for filling the auto transmission and the front differential. The kind with the long corrugated flexible tube with a pointed nozzle on the end. I was not sure what to get or where to get it until I saw a picture somewhere on here. I got a separate funnel for each fluid, since the corrugations retain some fluid and I didn't want to use the same funnel for both.
I never used any special funnel for the atf, I just managed to get the tip so that it was completely inside the filler tube, and the top of the funnel just fit nicely between the intercooler and the firewall. I can't remember if I used any funnel for the diff fluid.

This thread was meant more as a warning to people changing their oil for the first time to avoid draining the atf instead of the engine oil, and also for the same people not to put the atf into their differential housing once they've realized the mistake. We've seen the same thing happen to a bunch of people, so I figured newbies needed some kind of warning.
 

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2010 Forester
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youtube video

Here's a video I found a while back -- good to see where all the dipsticks are. All of this is in my owner's manual but the video may be useful for someone who doesn't have the info.



Regards,
paul...
 

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1998 Forester-S
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So I'm a little confused about filling the tranny fluid. Right now my Forester is cold as it's been sitting in the same spot for a few days. Do I leave it off, fill it to the cold mark and be alright? What's this about starting it and leaving in park?
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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So I'm a little confused about filling the tranny fluid. Right now my Forester is cold as it's been sitting in the same spot for a few days. Do I leave it off, fill it to the cold mark and be alright? What's this about starting it and leaving in park?
The level can only be measured with the vehicle running and in 'park'. The best accuracy is when the vehicle is "hot" there are marks on the dipstick for measuring it "Hot" and "Cold". But in both cases the vehicle needs to be running.
 

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1998 Forester-S
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Alright thanks. I'll probably have more of an idea what to do once I'm actually able to get the dipstick out. It's pretty tight.
 

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2005 Forester XT 4eat
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The level can only be measured with the vehicle running and in 'park'. The best accuracy is when the vehicle is "hot" there are marks on the dipstick for measuring it "Hot" and "Cold". But in both cases the vehicle needs to be running.
This is something that I always wondered about. I always used the cold reference because I would be adding cold fluid. Just how much do you need to drive it to get a good "hot" read?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Alright thanks. I'll probably have more of an idea what to do once I'm actually able to get the dipstick out. It's pretty tight.
You really have to give it a good hard yank. It helps to scream some kind of obscenity while yanking it out.
 

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1998 Forester-S
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You really have to give it a good hard yank. It helps to scream some kind of obscenity while yanking it out.
There's my problem. I've only tried grunting and swearing quietly. I never tried screaming. Maybe I'll head to the auto store (Canadian Tire) and get some ATF and 80w90 and change my fluids tonight. Busy night so I doubt it.
 

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2007 Forester XT manual
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1,452 Posts
So does the manual transmission have a dip-stick to check the level of the front diff?
 

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2005 Forester XT 4eat
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The manual transmission and front diff are contained in the same case. It's the same dipstick.
 

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2006 Forester XT Limited 5 Speed Manual
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How much oil does it take in an 07 XT?
This information can be found in your user's manual. I would look it up but I don't have mine handy. If I had to guess, it would be around 5 quarts? I've changed mine once and can't remember how much it took.
 

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I don't know what quarts are as we live in Metricland but assume that is about 5 litres?
 
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