Front Differential Fluid Change - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 81 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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Front Differential Fluid Change

Just getting to the 30K service interval on my 2015 outback 2.5. The rear diff is pretty self-explanatory on the change, but the front differential seems to be different from previous generations. Most different is the fact that I dont seem to see a dip stick from which to measure or fill the front differential. I am guessing it might have been changed to some sort of fill hole - can anyone point out which is the correct fill hole? I read the manual and it's no help - they probably just want you to take it to the dealer for pay $600 for $30 worth of fluid and the 100,000 point safety inspection...ha.

Anyway, anyone done this or know the drill? I'll poke around while I do the oil change, but thought I would ask.

Thanks.

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post #2 of 81 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 07:31 PM
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Not 100% sure, but I think the front and rear diff on the '15 is the same as the '13, and mine was fairly easy. The front diff is a little different from the rear though. There are just a couple important items to keep in mind.

First, make absolutely sure that you have the right drain plug. Many here have accidentally drained the CVT. On mine, it is clearly marked around the outside edge of the pan. Just take your time and look and you will be OK. The drain is on the bottom. The fill is up on the driver side close to the half axle. The second thing that's a little different on the front diff is that it has a fill overflow plug.

So, open the fill and the drain and drain the gear oil, then put the drain plug back in and torque it. Next remove the fill overflow plug. Now you fill with fresh gear oil through the fill plug until gear oil starts running out through the overflow. Wait until the gear oil running out of the overflow comes to just a small drizzle, or even just dripping, then put the overflow plug back in and torque it. Put the fill plug back in, torque it and you are done.

It is kind of tricky to fill with new oil while watching the overflow. I recommend getting a gear oil hand pump. Get one that has a plastic nozzle on the end with the little plastic springs on the side that holds it in the fill. Then you can pump the fluid from below and watch the overflow easier. I bent a piece of copper tubing and put it on the end of the pump hose. This hangs in the fill hole. I haven't used it yet, but it should make the job a lot easier when I do my 60k service.

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post #3 of 81 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 11:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot for that information. Yeah, the drain plug is a t70 that is pretty clearly marked. I was mainly looking on the passenger side for a fill as that's where it was located on some previous gens I have seen write ups about. Can anyone comment on where the fill plug and the overflow plug are located? Any pictures or diagrams?

Thanks.
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post #4 of 81 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
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Perhaps this correct. I am going to poke around tomorrow to confirm: 2013OB 2.5i-CVT: TransferCase&FrontDiff Oil Change
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post #5 of 81 (permalink) Old 11-23-2015, 02:04 AM
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From the 2016 Subaru Outback Service Manual.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 3. Differential Gear Oil.pdf (196.6 KB, 1383 views)
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post #6 of 81 (permalink) Old 11-23-2015, 06:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdsftw View Post
Just getting to the 30K service interval on my 2015 outback 2.5. The rear diff is pretty self-explanatory on the change, but the front differential seems to be different from previous generations. Most different is the fact that I dont seem to see a dip stick from which to measure or fill the front differential. I am guessing it might have been changed to some sort of fill hole - can anyone point out which is the correct fill hole? I read the manual and it's no help - they probably just want you to take it to the dealer for pay $600 for $30 worth of fluid and the 100,000 point safety inspection...ha.

Anyway, anyone done this or know the drill? I'll poke around while I do the oil change, but thought I would ask.

Thanks.
IME you can buy the services that are actually called for, in the maintenance schedule in the warranty booklet, as ala carte items for a lot less than the mileage label packages sold by the dealer.

Even with just an oil change they give me a sheet showing inspection items performed, at least where I go they always inspect I guess because this is a way to find problems and billable work whether the car is in warranty or not.
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post #7 of 81 (permalink) Old 11-23-2015, 07:53 AM
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I did the front and rear differentials on my 2013 OB. Your right the rear is really simple. There are steel sealing washers that you can reuse. There's some crap about using some high temp sealant on the threads. You don't need to do that it seals just fine using the torque shown on the maintenance procedure.

I have a new take on the front however. After I went thru the trouble of changing my front differential I was in for my free oil change. I was talking to the tech and he told me they didn't use the fill hole. He said they pulled the plugs on the drain and then on the overflow hole on the bottom of the front Diff. After giving it some time to drain they reinstalled the drain plug and then filled thru the over flow hole. The tech told me they push a plastic tube up the overflow hole and then push several inches of tubing into the hole to get it away from the overflow hole. Pump it full and when it starts coming out the same hole you are filling it with they remove the tube and when it the flow starts slowing down they put the plug back in. I'm never going to use the fill hole again

Also never replaced the washers on the front Diff. Sealed just fine using the torque listed. No sealant either
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post #8 of 81 (permalink) Old 11-23-2015, 12:01 PM
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What weight does Subaru recommended for Gear Oil? What's everyone's take on using synthetic and changing it less often?

How much does the front and rear diff take?

2015 Outback 2.5i Limitted
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post #9 of 81 (permalink) Old 11-23-2015, 12:10 PM
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GL-5 gear oil; 75W85 (or 75W90).

I have synthetic ready to be added.

Rear takes 0.8L and front takes 1.3L according to the service manual.
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post #10 of 81 (permalink) Old 11-23-2015, 12:10 PM Thread Starter
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What weight does Subaru recommended for Gear Oil? What's everyone's take on using synthetic and changing it less often?

How much does the front and rear diff take?
75w90 - needs to be GL-5 rated, which is just about any name brand. You need about .75 quarts in the rear and about 1.5 in the front. Not sure what's in there from the factory, but it's likely filled from the factory with synthetic. Folks will argue with Conventional vs Synth on different applications/cars but the main thing is following what the dealer recommends and change it often. Id rather have a car with a well changed dino oil than someone who just leaves synthetic in there and assumes that it's fine. Synthetic holds up to higher heats better and you can get a wider variety of weights (for instance, I dont think there is such thing as 0w20 weight conventional oil that the 2.5 runs on, at least readily available). That said, I am not a mechanic or a scientist. I do know that I use conventional oil on older engines as the synthetic seems to create more leaks and weeps.

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