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2013 Outback 3.6R Limited w/ Sunroof
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Discussion Starter #1
Good Day, For reference, I have a 2013 3.6R with the horizontal oil filter.

Like many on here, I switched to using synthetic oil for both the economic and performance gains. The issue that I've identified is that while the oil will last 15k miles, or more(it's the good Amsoil stuff), I don't feel that the filter's longevity matches. The rate of junk deposition into the oil is still going to be there - thus the need to change the filter.

So to get to my question, is it feasible to do just a filter change without all the oil draining out, and if so, about how much will I have to top it off with after the change?
 

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Lawn ornament XT
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Filter-only changes are a common method of solving the problem you describe. Lots of synthetic oil users do exactly what you describe.

However, don't get attached to re-filling a specific amount when doing a filter only change.

Change the filter, read the dipstick and add as necessary.

If you were to put yourself in the habit of verifying that the oil is fully topped-up before doing the filter change, you might eventually work out how much to add afterwards... but that method leaves potential for wasting brand new oil.

Always go by the dipstick.
 

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2011 OB 2.5i Prem CVT HK/AWP, Ruby Red Pearl
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Ditto making the dipstick your bible. You can estimate by what you drain on the pan, refill in an 8oz increment then re-measure. Check again the next day (after normal driving) if you’re a-retentive.<O:p</O:p
By calc (on a 2.5), the filter appears to displace .3qt… 4.2qts spec > 4.5qts to full dipstick. 3.6-ers report 7qts oil change, from a 6.7qts (IIRC) spec.<O:p</O:p
 

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2012 limited, white, no moonroof or nav
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By calc (on a 2.5), the filter appears to displace .3qt… 4.2qts spec > 4.5qts to full dipstick. 3.6-ers report 7qts oil change, from a 6.7qts (IIRC) spec.<O:p</O:p
Just to get truly anal.......I fill my filter before installation (This on a '12 2.5). It takes about .25 q to fill, but filter removal drops another .25 or more of oil from the motor. There is a galley above the filter that empties when the filter is taken off. I always change both oil and filter together, but I believe that it would take a bit more than 1/2 quart to bring the level back to full with a filter only change.

If I were to do as the OP is considering, I would cut open the filter removed to get some idea of how much the filter media is compromised. I cut open a filter from each of my vehicles from time to time. They have amazingly little foreign matter in the media. I would truly be surprised if a quality filter could not go the same distance as the oil. Just sayin'.
 

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2011 OB 2.5i Prem CVT HK/AWP, Ruby Red Pearl
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Agreed. .3qt is at full dump, you would spill/drain more than the capacity of the filter if just doing the filter interval.<O:p</O:p
While on the subject of being anal… “Honey look, I found a new use for your pastry measuring cup to check how much oil I drained”.<O:p</O:p
 

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2011 Outback 3.6 Premium
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You won't lose much oil changing just the filter on a 3.6. The .3 qt seems about right.

And you're right; the 3.6 does have a small filter so changing it between the 7-quart drains makes sense to me, especially with a quality synthetic.
 

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2012 Outback 3.6R Premium
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smwwkayaker are you talking about just taking the filter off and not the oil drain plug? I've certainly never done it that way before. I think most folks who do filter only drain the oil into a clean drain pan and then add it back? That's my guess. I'm certainly interested to know if anyone has ever done what the OP proposed.
 

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2012 limited, white, no moonroof or nav
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smwwkayaker are you talking about just taking the filter off and not the oil drain plug? I've certainly never done it that way before. I think most folks who do filter only drain the oil into a clean drain pan and then add it back? That's my guess. I'm certainly interested to know if anyone has ever done what the OP proposed.
What purpose would be served by draining the oil and putting it back? 90% of the oil stays in the sump, if you just change the filter.

There are a lot of reasons to change the oil whenever the filter is changed, but draining the oil just to reinstall it is something only BMW would do. (Some new Bimmers have no other method to check oil level).
 

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2011 OB 2.5i Prem CVT HK/AWP, Ruby Red Pearl
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And why use a clean pan to dump used oil, it would no longer be clean (which is why you re-use an oil drain pan).<O:p</O:p
The OP’s point is oil (especially full syn) can outlast any filter media. If you go by time (rather than mileage), replacing the filter between syn full dumps is quite common.<O:p</O:p
 

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2013 Outback 3.6R Limited w/ Sunroof
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Discussion Starter #10
Absolutely, but to clarify a bit... when I go to the auto parts store to buy oil, do I need to get 1qt, 2qts, etc...? From subsequent posts, the answer seems to be 1qt since I don't plan on reusing whatever drains out.

Filter-only changes are a common method of solving the problem you describe. Lots of synthetic oil users do exactly what you describe.

However, don't get attached to re-filling a specific amount when doing a filter only change.

Change the filter, read the dipstick and add as necessary.

If you were to put yourself in the habit of verifying that the oil is fully topped-up before doing the filter change, you might eventually work out how much to add afterwards... but that method leaves potential for wasting brand new oil.

Always go by the dipstick.
 

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2013 Outback 3.6R Limited w/ Sunroof
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Discussion Starter #11
You got it GG. And to "4WD", no, the goal isn't to drain the oil into a container at all. The goal is to hopefully keep as much of it in the engine as possible, replace the filter, then top off whatever drains out with fresh oil from the bottle.


And why use a clean pan to dump used oil, it would no longer be clean (which is why you re-use an oil drain pan).<o:p</o
The OP’s point is oil (especially full syn) can outlast any filter media. If you go by time (rather than mileage), replacing the filter between syn full dumps is quite common.<o:p</o
 

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2013 Outback 3.6L Limited with EyeSight
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While I generally agree with changing the OEM oil filter around 7,500 miles and leaving the high quality Amsoil Signature Series oil in tack, ... keep in mind two things:

1. Warranty requires LOF changes every 7,500 miles.

2. On a 2013 6-cylinder, engine is still breaking in and the piston rings can take up to 10,000 miles to fully seat.

3. Recommend you use dino oil for several OCI's UP to 10,000 miles during the engine break-in period BEFORE upgrading to Amsoil's excellent 5W-30 Signature Series oil.
 

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2013 Outback Limited 2.5i
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You can also use many of the excellent aftermarket OEM filters which are superior to the Subaru OEM filter. Just look for synthetic media - PureOne, Bosch, Mobil 1 , Fram etc. which filter 95-99% of particulate.

I would avoid extended duration (above 7500) oil changes until your 5/60 warranty period is over. If you have an extended warranty or have a PZEV model your warranty is longer yet. It's not worth jeopardizing your warranty. Any name brand synthetic oil (Pennzoil , Mobil 1, Castrol, Amsoil ,RP, etc) is going to be better than conventional oil. You can pick up a 5Qt jug at walmart for $21-25 and should be fine even if you are on the 'severe' duty cycle. You might want to get a 0w30 for slightly better fuel economy. They are direct replacements for 5w30 oils

The Amsoil and RP oils are much more expensive, usually $40+/5qt, with no added benefit at these oil change intervals.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Assuming LOF = lubricating oil filter? I do plan on changing that every 7500. I've already got over 13k miles on the car, so would assume that based on your note 2, that my engine has fully broken in. Yeah, I drive a lot - over 100mi/day. :p I'm looking to nail down answers before my 15k change interval.

While I generally agree with changing the OEM oil filter around 7,500 miles and leaving the high quality Amsoil Signature Series oil in tack, ... keep in mind two things:

1. Warranty requires LOF changes every 7,500 miles.

2. On a 2013 6-cylinder, engine is still breaking in and the piston rings can take up to 10,000 miles to fully seat.

3. Recommend you use dino oil for several OCI's UP to 10,000 miles during the engine break-in period BEFORE upgrading to Amsoil's excellent 5W-30 Signature Series oil.
 

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The OP’s point is oil (especially full syn) can outlast any filter media. If you go by time (rather than mileage), replacing the filter between syn full dumps is quite common.<O:p</O:p
I understand that a number of folks believe this to be true. I have not seen any evidence that filters are anywhere close to their capacity in normal oil changes. If someone was to do some sort of test, to see what percentage a filter's media is actually loaded up at various mileages, using synthetic oil, I might be convinced that the practice has merit. But cutting open 7,500 mile filters and inspecting them leads me to believe that they would go 15k easily. Modern motors are sealed pretty well, and good synthetic does not break down into filterable elements. Plus, most carbon and such stays in suspension, which is an argument for changing the oil, not the filter. Just sayin'.
 
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