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I have a 2014 Subaru Outback with 110,000 miles. I called the dealer to get the fluid change in the transmission and they said it was not recommended. Thoughts?
 

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call another dealer or 3 looking for prices,

and mark this one down as "stupid".


if its a CVT 2.5, or the last of the 5EAT on the 3.6,

...at 110,000 miles its "old", and when they pump it out its going to look "old"
 

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Thanks Thought that was strange
and see here how often it should be changed under severe duty.

2014 Subaru maintenance schedule and new car break-in period

and like all outbacks get used sometimes in severe conditions.

I am actually quite surprised a dealer would not want to suck and swap fluid on one,

like they want it to crap out after July 31, 2018, and then they can sell you a pricey factory reman and full price.

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums.../429481-cvt-warranty-extension-2010-15-a.html

(you are out of the ext. warranty on miles when you passed a 100,000....)
 

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2007 2.5 L Obsidian Black Outback XTL
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I have a 2014 Subaru Outback with 110,000 miles. I called the dealer to get the fluid change in the transmission and they said it was not recommended. Thoughts?
Yea, they are going to cling to that old story about "we will end up breaking your transmission by changing out the fluid"... sure, it is a (very) slight possibility, particularly if you are having problems with slipping right now.. But not changing out the fluid will definitely break your transmission at some date in the future.

If you have the means of getting under the car and at least some familiarity with hand tools you could learn up and change the fluid yourself. You would just need some items on hand, like a pan gasket, crush washer, filter element and +8 quarts of CVT fluid. It's a dirty job (don't wear your Sunday go to church clothes) but should take you no more than 2-4 hours.
 

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Yea, they are going to cling to that old story about "we will end up breaking your transmission by changing out the fluid"... sure, it is a (very) slight possibility, particularly if you are having problems with slipping right now.. But not changing out the fluid will definitely break your transmission at some date in the future.

If you have the means of getting under the car and at least some familiarity with hand tools you could learn up and change the fluid yourself. You would just need some items on hand, like a pan gasket, crush washer, filter element and +8 quarts of CVT fluid. It's a dirty job (don't wear your Sunday go to church clothes) but should take you no more than 2-4 hours.
Stupid question, do the CVTs have a torque converter like the old 4EATs? I know on the 4EAT three drain and refills is generally good enough to do a fluid change rather than a "flush", but was just wondering about the new CVT (likely next car purchase will have one).

Thanks
 

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2007 2.5 L Obsidian Black Outback XTL
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Stupid question, do the CVTs have a torque converter like the old 4EATs? I know on the 4EAT three drain and refills is generally good enough to do a fluid change rather than a "flush", but was just wondering about the new CVT (likely next car purchase will have one).

Thanks
Yes, there is a torque converter between the engine and the CVT transmission. It will also contain a large amount of transmission fluid and you will not be able to drain that without heroic measures. When you drain the fluid, drop the pan and replace the filter you are only getting about 1/2- 2/3 of the transmission fluid in the vehicle. Depending upon the trim level (like a 3.6 or a dealer installed thing) you may also have a transmission cooler that contains some fluid as well.

Probably one of the most thorough transmission drain/flush/fills I have seen on Youtube used nearly 5 gallons of fluid to get the entire system about 80% clean. His transmission was really roached-up and he was already having problems with shifting and slip. The old fluid looked like molten dark chocolate and he got the entire system up to a light caramel color.

He did have more in his video about how it felt to drive the car afterwards, it did improve performance but it did not make it like a new transmission... Like he said, it was in pretty bad shape to start with.

Some things that you will not be able to get to is a small cartridge-type filter (about the size of a shot-glass) that is buried deep in the transmission and the four strainers that are built in to the control body (little plastic cups about the size of pencil erasers).

He used a small electric pump to put fluid in to the transmission and he disconnected the cooler line and attached a long hose that ran over to a big plastic bin. When he started the car the transmission pump would push the fluid through the control body and torque converter and out the cooling line while he was pumping in new stuff. He also had a friend who cycled the car through each gear for a two to three seconds to put better fluid in the passages of the control body.
 

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it seems to be one job that many a DIY person farms out to the professionals.

the more expensive the trans fluid is, the easier it is to pay for a dealer or a trans shop to use the suction equipment,
to get 100% out,
and 100% in
without spilling any.

I am not sure if the cooler lines to make it pump itself out would work easily, ...or if you could ruin the trans doing that if a simple mistake is made.

no dipstick (locking or otherwise,...kind of sucks too).
 

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On one of my cars the fluid had cost $40/quart with 7 quarts needed. I could buy it as a kit with a filter, gasket and the fluid for a little more than $300. When I called the dealership at the time (it was on a Tiptronic transmission so you can figure out the brand) the person on the phone said "oh, you need the liquid gold". At the price that was about right.

The Subaru CVT stuff is about $12/quart, still a little high. You cannot go buy "el-cheapo-brand" ATF at $5/quart and put it in a Subaru CVT.

If you think about how often you may need to do a transmission fluid change-out (let's say, every 40-60,000 miles) then for a car that you would own until it reaches retirement age you may change the fluid 3-4 times. It's not like oil, where you may have 15-20 oil changes and there still is plenty of life left in most motor oils at 5-6000 miles. That also may be enough of a reason to let a shop do that work for you; it is a messy job and things are going to be dripping when you have the pan off and are replacing the filter.

...oh, another reason for pulling the pan... there is a doughnut magnet about 3-4" across (like the one on a car speaker) that is stuck to the inside of the bottom of the pan. That needs to be cleaned off; it is there to attract metallic shavings that gradually wear off of transmission parts.
 

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This is what I did on my car. I did another drain and fill a couple of weeks later so I figure approximately 75% of the fluid was changed out. For the second drain and fill I used the Motiv power bleeder rig (that i also have a video on) to fill the CVT and found it much easier than using the manual pump I used in the video to add the 5.5 quarts of CVT fluid. This is using the cold drain/cold fill method to add the exact amount of fluid removed. My 2012 outback now has 176,000 miles on it and the CVT is still going strong.

 

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Nice video.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Seems to me that the dealers have a lot of leeway on how they do the job. Two dealers I called said they do a drain and fill. No flush.
 

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I think its word choice semantics. The Subaru tech instructions is a simple drain fill. No flushing equipment used and I recall some Auto makers BAN the use of flushing equipment due to the risk of damage etc.
 

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I think its word choice semantics. The Subaru tech instructions is a simple drain fill. No flushing equipment used and I recall some Auto makers BAN the use of flushing equipment due to the risk of damage etc.
I was thinking on the approach to use an external flushing device for the fluid and was also running in to problems with what it would do to certain parts of the transmission. Unless you used the transmission's own fluid pump and could know with absolute certainty that you were not starving some component while you had the return line from the transmission cooler removed, you could damage the transmission.

Then I thought about using an external pump to circulate fluid back to the pan, where you could drain it; That had problems too as you could be forcing pressurized fluid through devices that are no longer spinning and it could damage seals and "O" rings. Its like the transmission fluid pump, it is either a lobe or gear positive-displacement pump and you would be making it operate like a hydraulic motor (where it is being driven by the fluid) instead of a pump (where the rotary force is driving the fluid).

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If the system does contain 13 quarts total and you are replacing only 5 quarts on a drain and fill then you have replaced 38% of the fluid. For each subsequent drain and fill you are replacing lesser percentages of old fluid and throwing increasing percentages of the new stuff. If you set a standard and said "to be less than 10% old fluid" you would need to do the 5 quart drain and fill 4-5 times before you diluted the old stuff down. That comes out to around 5 gallons of transmission fluid.. that is very expensive.
 
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Considering Subaru considers the fluid a lifetime fluid I think doing a simple drain and fill X 2 strikes the perfect balance of getting a good percentage of fresh fluid exchanged into the system to give us peace of mind and not getting into the complications of a flush or having to drop the pan.

Honestly I think that the whole process of using various types of thermometers and getting up to a specified temperature for fill is overthinking it. The simple cold drain and cold fill process ensures filling exactly what you took out. The steps are very simple. On a cold car remove drain plug and about 5.5 quarts will come out, use a container to measure the volume of fluid taken out. Replace drain plug and you will be able to add about 4.5 quarts into the fill hold before it begins to spill out of the fill hole. Next start the car and with the brake pedal depressed firmly, cycle through the gears and then put into park and leave the car running and you will be able to add the remaining quart in. Drive around a couple of days and do a second drain and fill and that's it. Ten or 11 quarts of Subaru CVT fluid will run about $120 and total time to complete two drain and fills is about an hour and a half.

If you want to make filling really easy you can purchase an inexpensive 2 gallon garden pressurized pump sprayer and remove the spray nozzle to use that to pump the CVT fluid into the fill hole.
 

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Considering Subaru considers the fluid a lifetime fluid
I thought they revised this statement recently, they now a replacement (d/f) interval. It's pretty safe to assume this change would be retroactive through all CVT models.
 

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2018 Maintenance schedule

CVT transmission oil *4
Replace only under severe driving or towing conditions.
Use Subaru CVT oil only. There's no dipstick to check CVT fluid.

#4 under severe driving replace the CVT oil should be replaced under severe driving at 24,855 miles

Severe driving is anything other than grandma driving to church 5 miles once a week

Severe driving is
> Repeated short trips, stop-and-go, extensive idling (basically any urban driving)
> Rough, muddy, dusty, wet, humid, cold, mountainous, salty conditions (basically any coast, country, or winter driving)
> Frequently towing a trailer.
> Racing
 

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Severe driving for the CVT in my 2011 owners manual only refers to towing. Short trips etc is for engine oil and filter. I know I'm in the UK, but I'm sure the criteria will be the same. I did a d&f at 42 k miles, do alot of short trips but no towing. The cvt fluid deterioration rate was less the 2%.
 

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I performed a drain fill of the CVT fluid myself on my 2013 Outback. The dealer I was using at that time recommended not to change the fluid. I studied what others had done and felt comfortable doing the work myself. But I have experience doing major work on my cars over the years.

Now I have a 2017 Outback. My new dealer recommends strongly that the CVT fluid and differentials be drained and filled every 60,000 miles. The shop supervisor at my new dealer impressed me as being a real car guy with years of experience. All I ever saw at my old dealer was a service writer who was merely a "talking head". I plan to change my own CVT fluid on my 2017 2.5 at 60K miles.
 

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I performed a drain fill of the CVT fluid myself on my 2013 Outback. The dealer I was using at that time recommended not to change the fluid. I studied what others had done and felt comfortable doing the work myself. But I have experience doing major work on my cars over the years.

Now I have a 2017 Outback. My new dealer recommends strongly that the CVT fluid and differentials be drained and filled every 60,000 miles. The shop supervisor at my new dealer impressed me as being a real car guy with years of experience. All I ever saw at my old dealer was a service writer who was merely a "talking head". I plan to change my own CVT fluid on my 2017 2.5 at 60K miles.
I mentioned this to my service writer and he mentioned that changing the CVT fluid requires a machine / tool to trigger the flush/purge function, and to 'reset' after the change. Have you looked into this, and what it would take to do it?
 
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