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2015 Outback 2.5i Limited, Ice Silver/Black
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2,383 Posts
If you're still trying to DIY, take the lower plastic pan off so you have a straight shot (well, 90° actually).
 
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2020 Onyx
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9,613 Posts
I bet the dealership has seen many mangled drain plugs because they ARE soft - they should be able to replace it no sweat. I wouldn't take off the oil pan. If anything tell them please not to use an impact to install the drain plug and only use a torque wrench.
 

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Got a CPO 2019 outback. Went to do my first oil change and install a Fumoto valve. I saw something about the plug being easy to strip so I though I was careful. This was a factory plug and had clearly never been touched ( the dealer must have sucked the oil out ) I got a good grip and pulled with all my might and it started spinning (my wrench that is). Was this plug made of lead or pot metal? So I got some special sockets for removing stripped bolts, and these made it worse, tried vice grips and it got even worse. I'm embarrassed to share the photo.

So my plan is to remove the exhaust manifold and oil pan. I will have a replacement pan ready in case I need it. I have found zero videos or resources for doing this but it looks like it will be easy. I did an "oil change" by sucking the oil out with a DIY fluid extractor through the dipstick. Any thing I should be worried about trying this?

View attachment 510179
Silly question but will a 3/8 wratchet fit in the center? I can’t tell from the lighting on that photo, but it looks like the center is square and recessed. I’ve never seen a plug like that, but everyday something new shows up and makes me go hmmmmm.
 

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congratulations on the most mangled drain bolt I've seen. For people who are seeing this and freaking out, the bolts in the Subaru pan is not softer than any other car, I've never rounded one like this. This bolt must have been over-tightened or cross threaded like said before. At this point if you tried all the grippy methods, you may need to use a left hand drill bit and drill it and hope that it will loosen. Or just drill it out and that should relieve the thread pressure...
 

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2018 OB 2.5 Ltd eyesight
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148 Posts
I would recommend the bolt remover sockets recommended earlier, used with an impact wrench. If you have an impact driver already, that might be enough (though I doubt it), but I found this impact wrench from Harbor Freight was fairly cheap and it worked great to remove and replace the agitator in a dishwasher. I forget the actual torque, but it was a lot on a huge nut. Buy a better one if you're going to use it every day, but for occasional it worked great for me: 7 Amp Corded 1/2 in. Impact Wrench
 

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2016 Outback 3.6R & a 2011 WRX STi
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13 Posts
apb I totally agree. If you can manage to hammer on a six point socket (or one of the stripped bolt removers) one of the best ways to break loose bolt or nut that's on super tight is with a good impact wrench. The trick is to switch back and forth between righty tighty and lefty loosey over and over again until it breaks free. The successive smacks of the impact tends to jar things loose, and (thankfully) without snapping the bolt.
 

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'12 OBP 2.5 CVT
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31 Posts
Just reading this after earlier changing the oil and filter on my 1959 Triumph TR3. I was pissy after maneuvering the cartridge filter out of the tight dimensions there. After seeing the OP’s pics, I’ll gladly take the old Brit any day! Another reason to like 6 pointed wrenches over the ubiquitous 12 pointers.

Good responses here, best of luck to the OP!
 

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Got a CPO 2019 outback. Went to do my first oil change and install a Fumoto valve. I saw something about the plug being easy to strip so I though I was careful. This was a factory plug and had clearly never been touched ( the dealer must have sucked the oil out ) I got a good grip and pulled with all my might and it started spinning (my wrench that is). Was this plug made of lead or pot metal? So I got some special sockets for removing stripped bolts, and these made it worse, tried vice grips and it got even worse. I'm embarrassed to share the photo.
Go to a good automotive tool store or Matco, or Mac Tool truck or SnapOn and get a small, flat bladed chisel. Looks like a cutting chisel but ground down flat) Gently at first, create a groove towards the counter clock direction, then start tapping (with some force, but beating it to death, you want it to loosen, not warp or destroy the shoulder you are 'tapping' on!) with a hammer, 'turning' the plug until it loosens enough to use a tool or hand to remove. When you put the new plug in, use some good anti-seize on the threads so you won't run into the problem again.
Or, pay the dealer for an oil change and let them deal withe the seized plug!

Much success. I had to fight mine but I got it with out damaging the pan. (WHEW!!!)
 

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'17 Outback Limited w/ Eye Sight 2.5 CVT...bought used-
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32 Posts
I would drill it and use a nipple extractor. You can tap it with a ball peen hammer while using a box-end wrench to twist. Remember your safety glasses!
then get a pipe cleaner and slather grease all over it, give it a bend, and insert in the hole to remove any shavings. Good fortune to you!
 

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2018 Outback Limited 2.5
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132 Posts
Buy a better one if you're going to use it every day, but for occasional it worked great for me: 7 Amp Corded 1/2 in. Impact Wrench
A quality impact gun is a must IMO for lots of DIY work. Since I have plenty of Dewalt tools, getting their cordless gun was a no-brainer. It was mostly intended for doing tire rotations but as you would expect it's come in handy for plenty of other things!

Hopefully @shuttrbg22 lets us know how the outcome!
 

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To me, being you've tried everything, perhaps you might need a drill and a hardened bolt extractor? I'm not a car guy really, but I did work on rusty old tugboats for years!
 

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2018 Outback Limited 2.5
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132 Posts
IMO (and this is just me) but I'd rather pull the oil pan vs doing anything that might introduce shavings into the inside of the pan.
 

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Got a CPO 2019 outback. Went to do my first oil change and install a Fumoto valve. I saw something about the plug being easy to strip so I though I was careful. This was a factory plug and had clearly never been touched ( the dealer must have sucked the oil out ) I got a good grip and pulled with all my might and it started spinning (my wrench that is). Was this plug made of lead or pot metal? So I got some special sockets for removing stripped bolts, and these made it worse, tried vice grips and it got even worse. I'm embarrassed to share the photo.

So my plan is to remove the exhaust manifold and oil pan. I will have a replacement pan ready in case I need it. I have found zero videos or resources for doing this but it looks like it will be easy. I did an "oil change" by sucking the oil out with a DIY fluid extractor through the dipstick. Any thing I should be worried about trying this?

View attachment 510179
Hey it happens..Why are you driving yourself nuts? Bring it to the dealer for an oil change and ask for a new plug....
 

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2011 Outback 3.6R Limited
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31 Posts
Put on your safety googles.
1. Get a large vise-grip (12" or longer) and secure it to the perimeter of the plug with the flat side of the vise-grip on the left.
2. Hit the flat side of the vise-grip handle with a rubber mallet.
3. Curse and swear at it.
4. Repeat step 2.
When it breaks free remove the plug.
"Chase" the threaded hole with the appropriate sized tap to clean up the threads.

The lesson here is to not apply large amounts of torque to soft metal. Instead, use controlled amounts of impact as opposed to torque. The rubber mallet is a good tool since it will not damage your other tools in the process.
 

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2017 Outback 2.5i limited / Eyesight
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16 Posts
Got a CPO 2019 outback. Went to do my first oil change and install a Fumoto valve. I saw something about the plug being easy to strip so I though I was careful. This was a factory plug and had clearly never been touched ( the dealer must have sucked the oil out ) I got a good grip and pulled with all my might and it started spinning (my wrench that is). Was this plug made of lead or pot metal? So I got some special sockets for removing stripped bolts, and these made it worse, tried vice grips and it got even worse. I'm embarrassed to share the photo.

So my plan is to remove the exhaust manifold and oil pan. I will have a replacement pan ready in case I need it. I have found zero videos or resources for doing this but it looks like it will be easy. I did an "oil change" by sucking the oil out with a DIY fluid extractor through the dipstick. Any thing I should be worried about trying this?

View attachment 510179
I had the same problem with two different new Outbacks 2016 and 2018. The first time I tried to change the oil I was surprised how tight the drain bolt was torqued. The first time I experienced this I almost gave up and took it back to the dealer to loosen. It was tightened three times the specified torque. I started to round the edges on on bolt using a 12 point socket. I switched to a 6 point socket on a long breaker bar and still had to hit the bar with a hammer to break it free. I ordered a new bolt and it was a newer design with a larger head and wrench size as I recall. I was prepared for it the 2nd car and made sure I used the 6 point socket and not a 12 point socket as this will chew up the bolt, it is pretty soft metal. I assume its some sort of build process defect from Subaru over torqueing the oil pan drain bolt, there is no other explanation. A property torqued bolt will not fall off while the car is in transit ....and it will not fall off after 100,000 miles of driving.
 

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I remember being surprised how tight one of the plugs were on the cvt or front dif. , cant remember which, but more struggles in future. impact anything like this before it gets ugly!
 

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Got a CPO 2019 outback. Went to do my first oil change and install a Fumoto valve. I saw something about the plug being easy to strip so I though I was careful. This was a factory plug and had clearly never been touched ( the dealer must have sucked the oil out ) I got a good grip and pulled with all my might and it started spinning (my wrench that is). Was this plug made of lead or pot metal? So I got some special sockets for removing stripped bolts, and these made it worse, tried vice grips and it got even worse. I'm embarrassed to share the photo.

So my plan is to remove the exhaust manifold and oil pan. I will have a replacement pan ready in case I need it. I have found zero videos or resources for doing this but it looks like it will be easy. I did an "oil change" by sucking the oil out with a DIY fluid extractor through the dipstick. Any thing I should be worried about trying this?
The only remaining intelligent & feasable approach to remove this destroyed drain-plug,w/out removing other parts including the pan, is to use a sharp chisel. Take the small chisel, and a ball-pean hammer (Again, SMALL) and at a 45-degree angle, place the chisel at a 45-degree angle against the plugs outer edge & lightly tap the chisel until you see the chisel digging into the plug. At this point carefully lay the chisel down to approx'y a 30-degree angle & keep tapping, slowly increasing the blows w/the hammer & I guarantee you, you WILL SEE THE PLUG BEGIN TO MOVE/LOOSEN ! I'm 57 years old, I was certified a MASTER TECH back in 1991. And ever since I've been honing my Mechanical skills, etc. GOOD LUCK !!!
 

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2018 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited
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Had to deal with this very situation recently on an 18 OB 4 CYL. Put the car on jackstands. Removed the lower splash pan. Used a Dremel to cut away the bolt flange on opposite sides using a lot of caution to not go too deep. Used an adjustable wrench to remove on the flats. The washer showed light scoring from the cuts. Installed a Fumoto and reassembled. My bolt was pretty ugly and the removal was attempted with a correct 6pt socket with impact. While car was in the air, also did a tire rotation.
 
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