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Well, I finally ran out of free services provided by SOA, so succumbed and changed my own oil this weekend. The older I get, the less I like crawling underneath cars (or much of anything else), so I used my handy top side oil changer and figured y'all might appreciate a report on the results.

I have a beat up old blue Topsider, leftover from many years of Mercedes ownership. Topside is the preferred oil extraction method for most MB models, which suits me fine. Using it on the Subaru is a bit more finicky than on the MB (which is designed for it), but the results are just as good. Anyways, on the Subie I started by inserting the extraction hose about 2 inches further into the dipstick tube than the length of the dipstick. When it would start sucking air bubbles I would push it in another inch. Repeat until further insertion does not stop the air bubbles. Warm 0w-20 does come out noticeably faster than the 0w-40 favored by the Germans.

This being the first time I wanted to check the efficacy of topside extraction, so crawled under the car and removed the oil drain plug. Not one single drop came out - it was completely dry. Based on the examination of the oil drain plug, I don't believe the dealership had ever removed it during the four previous services - the black paint covering it was completely unmarred before I wrestled it off.

I figured that was a satisfactory result, so buttoned things back up, added 5 qts of Mobil1, spun on a new filter and called it done. After running and checking for leaks the oil level came in at 90% of the way up from the lower dot to the upper dot on the dipstick. I figured that was satisfactory so called it a day.

I offer up this little story not to start a religious/philosophical war of top vs. bottom, but rather simply to show that it is possible to extract all the liquid oil from the sump using topside extraction. It arguably extracts more, since I let the car sit with the oil drain plug removed for a good 5 minutes with no oil pan below, and at the end had not one drop of oil on the garage floor.
 

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02 Pair: 3.0 VDC Wag & 2.5 Limited Sedan
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a extractor is nice for generators / tractors or any equipment that the drain is made hard to get to,...or will definitely make a mess if you pull it. and if used properly after extracting only a little will come out of the drain plug after extraction. (edit: I remember a old edmunds article about them swapping oil trackside on a lotus and like only 6 oz of oil came out of the plug after extracting).

I bought one of these a few years back.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000JFJM14/

many others look like it and do the same thing.

I just wish subaru had jumped on the top mounted oil filter long long ago.
...still hiding on the bottom of the present day EZ36 and the EJ25 turbo.
 

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02 Pair: 3.0 VDC Wag & 2.5 Limited Sedan
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Good stuff.

The drain plug being unmarked would cause me concern.
I think the OP is suggesting his particular dealer is extracting the oil on his particular car,...vs. draining it.

(I would think with a nice fancy central sucking system, so it goes right into a large waste bin without anyone physically handling it)..
 

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I think the OP is suggesting his particular dealer is extracting the oil on his particular car,...vs. draining it.
My take as well.
I've done topside changes for several years now, and it works great on cars, even better on outboards and lawn mowers.
 

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I like the bottom filter on my car - I can hide from the wife for an hour without being bothered. Do you realize that Pizza Hut will deliver to the underside of a Subie?
 
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Topside sounds like the way to go. Never have to crawl under the car... or for some posters here... never make the mistake of removing the tranny drain plug. :)
 

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2016 Outback 3.6R EyeSight, 20mm RSB, STB, 2" ECOhitch
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I own a Top Sider I have used for 40 years on many boat motors both diesel and gas, also used it on a few cars with difficult to get to plugs. Some patience required. Can't see using it on my OB however, I use a Fumoto valve and drain right into the disposal jugs. No mess and fast. Yes, I need to go under to do the filter anyway but it is one of the easiest cars I have owned to do filter changes, if you use filter pliers. I drive up on ramps to give me more room. I also like to look things over while down there.

Nothing wrong with sucking the oil out and many shops only do it that way. I personally prefer to use a plug if it is accessible.
 
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