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looking through the maintenance booklet that came with our 2003 outback, it says that the tranny filter is maintenance-free and only needs to be replaced if damaged or leaking. Are they referring to the spin-on filter? I just drained and replaced the ATF, and I could see that filter right there, but I fought the urge and left it alone. I did price it with Checker, they said they would have to order it for like $12. I figured I would replace at the next 25k mile mark...but I thought I'd ask to see what you guys are doing. I've never heard of a maintenance-free filter before.
 

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SubaruOutback.org Founder
2018 Outbacks, Grey Premium & Silver Limited
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4,497 Posts
Hmmm... Sounds a little odd me:confused:

I'd definately check with your Subaru tech as far as when to change it and whatnot. There is nothing mechanical or mechanical related that is maintainence-free, I don't care what anyone says! Yea just check with a good Subie tech and they'll point you in the right direction:)
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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I think they had some issues with internal debris from manufacturing/early use in ealrier 4EATs (from what i've read) and the filter was an after thought deal to solve that problem. I would feel OK changing it after any work on the internals or maybe every 50-100k or something.
 

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'00OBW, '96&'94 Legacy - all rusted RIP, current: 2016 Focus MT
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Yah I think they started with that filter to keep junk from the trans from plugging up the ATF cooler. Which is brilliant imho. In later years endwrench has said that although the filter doesn't require replacing that replacing it might not be a bad idea when replacing the fluid anyway. The genuine filter has some screening over the bypass that the aftermarket filters (usually engine oil filters that will fit) don't generally have. Some of this info might have become commonly known only well after the original post.
 
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