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I just purchased a 02 outback, one owner, 132k, well maintained (mostly), manual tranny. Life of car saw average use, mix of highway and town, owned by a family.


Looking over records it it appears that she did not take car to a subaru specialist for the big 30, 60, 90, 120k services.

As such, it appears that all scheduled maintenance items were completed on time except:

Car has never received a tranny or differential fluid change service:(. So of course I am going to have this service completed right away.

As of now, transmission and differential operate normal with zero problems.

Considering situation, is a change of fluids ok, or should I go for a flush? How robust are these units? Do you think I will see a shortened life expectancy due to deferred maintenance? Thank you for your input:)
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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they are 'fairly' robust items and many cars go to the junkyard at end-of-life never having those gear oils changed.

however, it's a great idea to change them every - I dunno - 50 to 75K miles with 'normal' use I'd say. More often with 'severe duty' (low miles/short trips, racing, off-road)

No pumps or cooling lines or hoses so 'flush' is not really required. Drain and fill.

there is nothing special about the rear diff. any mechanic can do that and a lot of owners consider it DIY.

the Transmission is 'special' in one sense. The fluid is shared with the front differential so, that fluid must work with synchronizers as well as ring and pinion gears. many people report problems with synthetic gear oils int he 5spd transmissions. Subaru Xtra-S is a very good choice here. Other fluids and 'cocktails' of mixed fluids will work also. Probably any name-brand but non-synthetic/no special additives GL-5 would be good. If ,after the new fluid is put in, you encounter problems with shifting into first. You may need a different brand of gear oil.


If there's no proof of it being flushed, have the brake fluid done.

Also, power steering fluid is often overlooked may look like coffee by now. A flush there might be a good idea, or pulling some out of the reservoir witha turkey baster and filling with fresh at least would be good. ATF there - not generic 'Pwr Strg Fluid' from the cheap shelf at AutoZone.
 

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2002 VDC Outback sedan
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they are 'fairly' robust items and many cars go to the junkyard at end-of-life never having those gear oils changed.

however, it's a great idea to change them every - I dunno - 50 to 75K miles with 'normal' use I'd say. More often with 'severe duty' (low miles/short trips, racing, off-road)

No pumps or cooling lines or hoses so 'flush' is not really required. Drain and fill.

there is nothing special about the rear diff. any mechanic can do that and a lot of owners consider it DIY.

the Transmission is 'special' in one sense. The fluid is shared with the front differential so, that fluid must work with synchronizers as well as ring and pinion gears. many people report problems with synthetic gear oils int he 5spd transmissions. Subaru Xtra-S is a very good choice here. Other fluids and 'cocktails' of mixed fluids will work also. Probably any name-brand but non-synthetic/no special additives GL-5 would be good. If ,after the new fluid is put in, you encounter problems with shifting into first. You may need a different brand of gear oil.


If there's no proof of it being flushed, have the brake fluid done.

Also, power steering fluid is often overlooked may look like coffee by now. A flush there might be a good idea, or pulling some out of the reservoir witha turkey baster and filling with fresh at least would be good. ATF there - not generic 'Brake Fluid' from the cheap shelf at AutoZone.
Dang I'm glad I stumbled on this post. Thanks for the info.
 

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I've read about issues with synthetics in the manual transmission, as was mentioned, but, as best I recall, this related to the use of Mobil 1 synthetic gear oil. (Something to do with the formulation affecting the material of the synchronizers.) I don't recall reading about any other make being problematic.

Here's a thread from some time ago about this: http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/66-problems-maintenance/5311-mobil-1-gear-oil-problems.html

If you do a search on "gear oil" etc here, and in other Subaru forums, I think you will find that only Mobil 1 has been specifically mentioned as a no-go in the manual transmission (incl. front differential). But perhaps it's changed over time and there's no longer a concern.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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^^^ I may have over-simplified the post. It may be that Motul or other synthetics can be found that are fine. I think also, the liquid portion of Redline Lightweight Shockproof is synthetic (not sure) with some kinda teflon or other stuff in suspension. It works well in my WRX's 5 speed so far. maybe a little 'kick-back' from 3rd gear on occasion. But i have gotten some lightning quick 1st-2nd shifts. Surprisingly fast. And downshifting into 1st while rolling is usually uneventful. But there isn't really any cost savings over Xtra-S, just easier to get in quarts.
 
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