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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-21-2012, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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4EAT Service Interval

RE. 2007 Outback 2.5i Limited with 4EAT

My friend's dealer did a drain/fill at 30k which I assumed was required by Subaru to protect the warranty. I now have her maintenance booklet in front of me and it confirms what I was told in another thread that Subaru recommends inspection only at 30k intervals unless you are towing. Two questions:

1. Does anyone think it is a good idea to leave the factory fill ATF in for 120k miles? I would never do that to one of my cars.

2. Should the dealer have done a drain/fill at 30k without first advising the owner that it is a "dealer recommended" service and NOT a Subaru warranty required service?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-21-2012, 06:29 PM
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Transmission fluid will break down like any other fluid and with regular flush/fill service, it lengthens the life of the transmission. According to the published data regarding the service interval for the AT fluid, it remains to be inspected, not replaced. The schedule goes to 150k, and even at 150k it says inspect. The technology in synthetics has improved greatly over the last 15 years and the life of these fluids is remarkable. You still have to take into consideration moisture intake that mixes with the fluid, as well as particulates from the ever slow wear of internal parts. With that said, it is really up to the owner and Subaru cannot hold warranty claims against an owner if the schedule published only states, "inspect".

When you visit a dealership service center, the objective of the service manager is to get you to purchase as much as possible to increase the profit margin for the dealership. It also extends the lifeline to the tech who is working "flag" hours because the tech will only get paid on billable hours for a service or repair. The flat hourly employees turn a large profit because regardless of the services sold, the dealership pays a flat pay to the tech but the customer pays the same shop labor rate.

So, in answer, did the Service Mgr actually state the flush/fill as a necessity or a recommended service? That's the key to holding the dealership as reliable and trustworthy or just out to get your cash.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-21-2012, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cardoc View Post
Transmission fluid will break down like any other fluid and with regular flush/fill service, it lengthens the life of the transmission. According to the published data regarding the service interval for the AT fluid, it remains to be inspected, not replaced. The schedule goes to 150k, and even at 150k it says inspect. The technology in synthetics has improved greatly over the last 15 years and the life of these fluids is remarkable. You still have to take into consideration moisture intake that mixes with the fluid, as well as particulates from the ever slow wear of internal parts. With that said, it is really up to the owner and Subaru cannot hold warranty claims against an owner if the schedule published only states, "inspect".

When you visit a dealership service center, the objective of the service manager is to get you to purchase as much as possible to increase the profit margin for the dealership. It also extends the lifeline to the tech who is working "flag" hours because the tech will only get paid on billable hours for a service or repair. The flat hourly employees turn a large profit because regardless of the services sold, the dealership pays a flat pay to the tech but the customer pays the same shop labor rate.

So, in answer, did the Service Mgr actually state the flush/fill as a necessity or a recommended service? That's the key to holding the dealership as reliable and trustworthy or just out to get your cash.
They included it as part of the 30k service. The owner assumed it was a requirement because in addition to the "standard" 30k service items, there were a couple dealer recommended services which were presented as options, eg fuel injection cleaning. The owner dropped the ball because she had not read her manual. The dealer was unscrupulous in this case.


Regarding the first point, are you in agreement that it is wise to do a drain/fill every 30k to keep the ATF fresh? That is certainly what I am recommending her to do.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-21-2012, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Artbuc View Post

1. Does anyone think it is a good idea to leave the factory fill ATF in for 120k miles? I would never do that to one of my cars.
Why not? Because it doesn't "feel right" or because of some other reason?

If a doctor told you that you don't need a blood transfusion, would you get one anyway?

Most transmissions are now assembled in clean rooms, which means unless you tow a lot you would not need to change the fluid and doing so can actually introduce contaminates into your transmissions requiring more frequent changes.

Doing a flush at 30k is not necessary and is excessive. It actually increases the risk of doing damage to the tranny (because of a tech mistake) imo.

I'd recommend not going back to that dealer.

-Dave

Common sense, isn't common.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-21-2012, 07:16 PM
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In reply to both previous post, Yes, a flush/fill will help extend the life of the internal components, and No, the transmission is not totally sealed once assembled.

It is assembled in an closed room that is ventilated in such a way that it controls dust intrusion into the clutch packs and bearing surfaces. Once the transmission is assembled, it is not filled while in the room. Really, think about it. In much the same way, your engine was also assembled in an environmentally controlled room, but you change the motor oil regularly. The coolant.

So, flushing the system is not a hazard. I flush mine with a filter replacement every 30k miles. All my Subarus have always gotten the same treatment. My 99 OB went 300k miles without issue with the transmission or the engine. ON the other side of the coin, my VDC, although I have all the records since the first Mobil 1 oil change, never had the transmission serviced in the prior 140k before I bought it and it suffered a broken bearing and ruptured seal which caused a chain reaction to burned clutches. (The seal issue caused the clutch problems. Still unknown exactly what caused the bearing to break. There were pieces of it in the pan.)

As I posted previously, with advances in fluid technology and the CVT transmissions in some models, it is not necessary to flush and fill often. It is up to you, the owner what you want to spend on maintenance. If a CVT is flushed, be sure the proper fluid is used or it will damage the shift solenoids.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-21-2012, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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Doing a flush at 30k is not necessary and is excessive. It actually increases the risk of doing damage to the tranny (because of a tech mistake) imo.
The dealer did a drain/fill, not flush.

However, the plot thickens. I looked at the 30k service invoice. Dealer used 4 qts of regular Subaru ATF instead of the Subaru HP ATF which is required in the 2007 4EAT. Guess it did not make enough difference for owner to notice.
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