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Old 04-01-2011, 11:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Topping up transmission fluid, few questions

Hi everyone,

1999 outback sport, 2.2l EJ22 engine, automatic transmission. Purchased used 2 years ago. Haven't had any problems and have done regular maintenance. Currently at 215,xxx km, bought at 195,xxxkm (timing belt changed right before purchase).

Noticed the transmission has been shifting a touch "harder". Girlfriend hasn't noticed, but I am a bit more in tune with vehicles/engines. Read the owners manual and it turned out I was checking the transmission fluid levels incorrectly: wasn't cycling through gears before leaving it in park and wasn't checking with the engine on. After checking properly I see that the transmission fluid level is just a tiny bit below the "L" mark on the hot side of the dipstick.

Transmission fluid is pinky-clear, doesn't smell burnt, so I am just thinking about topping up the fluid level. A few questions:

1.) I don't know what type of fluid is currently in the transmission, alldata says Dexron II or Dexron III ATF for this car, does it matter which transmission fluid I get? Is mixing fluid types a concern?

2.) Is it worth draining the current fluid to make the fluid all the same?

3.) Is the dipstick "calibrated" like the oil dip stick? (i.e. the difference between L and F on the dipstick is 1 litre of oil allowing you to gauge how much oil to add). Is there a set amount of tranny fluid to add to bring it up to L from F?

4.) I am embarrassed that I didn't know about the correct AT level check procedure. Any other tidbits of wisdom anyone want to pass on that I might not know? (huge open ended question).

Cheers!

Rob
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Old 04-02-2011, 01:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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1. Use Dexron III ATF ... Many here on this forum, including me, use Valvoline MaxLife Dex/Merc as it seems to work well in our trans.

2. The trans fluid is typically overlooked at maintenance time. If you don't know the history, assume that it has never been changed. The AT holds about 10 quarts total ... with a drain of the trans pan, you only get out about 4 to 4.5 quarts, thus you need to multiple drain-and-fills to get mostly new fluid. 3-4 drain-and-fills should do it ... about $100 if you DIY.

3. Not sure, but I believe the difference between marks is 1 pint.

4. Read the thread below ... it's for a 2000OB which has a slightly different trans than the 99, but the procedures are mostly alike.
Changing Automatic Transmission Fluid (is easy)

Fresh fluid can sometimes work miracles for an AT.
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:07 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I have a 99 OBS too. Low fluid levels make a big difference in shifting. It is always a good idea to change the fluid and filter, but try topping it off first, to see how things change.
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Old 04-03-2011, 01:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Jerryrigger View Post
I have a 99 OBS too. Low fluid levels make a big difference in shifting. It is always a good idea to change the fluid and filter, but try topping it off first, to see how things change.

Going to top it off today and see how it goes, still not sure about the amount that needs to be added, is there any verification from subaru about how much to add based on the dip-stick makers (i.e. L->F = 1 litre, etc)?
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Old 04-03-2011, 01:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reso View Post
Going to top it off today and see how it goes, still not sure about the amount that needs to be added, is there any verification from subaru about how much to add based on the dip-stick makers (i.e. L->F = 1 litre, etc)?
The best way is to do just a little at a time. It's a pain, but adding too much is a bigger pain.
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I would add a 1/2 quart (1 pint) and see if it improves shifting. If not I would consider a few drain/refills like RobLog suggested. I also use MaxLife ATF but others have used Mobil 1 ATF and some have used the cheapest brand from Walmart (SuperTech?) so your choice.

Stay away from the quick lube Transmission "Flushes" as they have been know to cause issues on some vehicles.

If you change the spin on AT filter (don't bother dropping the pan to remove the screen) read this before you decide whether to buy the cheap auto store ATF filter or spend the $$ for a Subaru OEM one, your call. Subaru transmission filter IS different
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Old 04-05-2011, 12:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Make sure you are reading the stick correctly. Most of the time I get some "tube creep" and it is hard to tell exactly where the level is. You must see a oil line all the way across the stick. Most of the time tube creep reads high.

At this point I wouldn't worry about what kind of ATF you add. Jsut that it is compatabile. Even if you drain it about a third is still left in the tranny. Just top off and see what happens.
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