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2004 Outback Wagon 2.5 Auto
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm changing the tranny fluid on my 2004 Outback, 2.5 auto this Wednesday.
Waiting for my filter to come in that I ordered.
I'm doing that filter that hidden in the inner well.
Looks like an oil filter.
Anyhow, He told me at the parts counter to only use Subaru fluid, or my tranny will meet its end. It has 214,000 on it. But honestly shifts like new.
The fluid is medium colored, so time to change. And was always driven by and older person before me.
It's seven bucks a quart!! Geeez!
I think I need 5 quarts??
Not sure.

Isn't there any aftermarket fluid I can use that won't smoke my tranny??

I see some like adding lubeguard with their fluid, I have used it on a Ford I had. I Was surprised it worked perfect. Since that piece of crap was having trouble, it did help it.

I don't know whether the chance putting it in a Subaru.

Any advice would be helpful to my first Subaru and I truly love this car. I've only had it about a month or so now.
 

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Premium Member
(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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18,345 Posts
nothing wrong with OEM fluid

plenty of people do fine with Valvoline MaxLife dex II/III/VI w'ever compatible.

I used a funnel with a hose to fill, level is checked while idling after moving the shifter thru each gear. Top-off very slowly - 1/2 pint at a time - the marks are not 1qt apart like engine oil dipstick.
 

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Meh.
I has wagons.
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12,348 Posts
He wants you to buy his spendy fluid.

A US 4EAT 2004 needs Dex III fluid. You can find that anywhere.
 

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2004 Outback Wagon 2.5 Auto
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
He wants you to buy his spendy fluid.

A US 4EAT 2004 needs Dex III fluid. You can find that anywhere.
I figured that's what it might be.
But I didn't want to chance running my transmission. Is there a specific Dex3? Like Castrol etc?
There Are so many out there I want to make sure it gets the additives it needs for my car.
 

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Meh.
I has wagons.
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12,348 Posts
Any name brand will do. I have Valvoline Maxlife in Kaylee and Castrol in Mal, depends on sales when service needed.
 

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Premium Member
Outbacks, SVXs, XT6, 4Runner, Celica, Brat, E150s
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1,053 Posts
Yep, pre-2006 cars call for standard Dexron III, which is probably the most common ATF available.

2006+ calls for Subaru HP fluid, which is fully synthetic, and backwards compatible with Dex III. That's what I put in our 2004, but it's not necessary. I wouldn't hesitate to use the cheapest off brand Dex III available.
 

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2004 Outback Wagon 2.5 Auto
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That's what he told me, He said for my 2004, I had to use HP fluid??
I couldn't remember what it was called!!
Should my 2004 even take HP fluid?
I don't know what's in it currently. So I'll be mixing my new stuff with "something"...
I don't know what trans I have, still learning Subaru
 

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Meh.
I has wagons.
Joined
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12,348 Posts
Subaru says the HP fluid is back spec compatible. But it is difficult to find and expensive, so the Dex III is fine for your old 2004.

Presuming you're in the US? If so you have a 4 speed auto. There is a good DIY on fluid change here on the site.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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26,859 Posts
That's what he told me, He said for my 2004, I had to use HP fluid??
I couldn't remember what it was called!!
Should my 2004 even take HP fluid?
I don't know what's in it currently. So I'll be mixing my new stuff with "something"...
I don't know what trans I have, still learning Subaru
if it is a 2004 US spec. standard Dextron stuff.

HP subaru stuff is what goes in US spec 2005 and newer.
 

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2004 Outback Wagon 2.5 Auto
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Mine is US model. I'm in the states.
I'll just go buy the Castrol Transmax Import stuff then.
Says Import, Honda, Toyota etc? doesn't mention Subaru. Go figure.
I see my filter is located in the inner well. I'll throw 4 qts in and check.

Has anyone ever tried adding Lubeguard?
 

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18,866 Posts
There was a time when the store shelves had bottles of labeled Dexron III. That was a GM trademark which GM, some years ago, stopped licensing to makers that met the specs.

Now, there's no bottles labelled as Dexron III. However, if you read the small print, usually on the back, it will indicate that the contents are compatible with Dexron III or meet the specs of Dexron III. It's all the same.

Many private label (e.g., store) brands, that are typically made by the major lubricant blenders and packagers, satisfy the requirements for Dexron III.

Also, many Dexron III equivalent ATFs are available in gallon-size containers, saving on the cost and waste. If you plan to change the fluid more than once (each drain-and-fill gets out only part), this might be the best to buy.

The thread mentioned earlier is http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...anging-automatic-transmission-fluid-easy.html

Incidentally, what filter are you planning to change that's "hidden"? Have you verified the location? Most 4-speed ATs had the spin-on filter on the left side of the transmission, but a few had it in the left front fender. I though the latter were mainly 2005, but I might be wrong. Just wanted to be sure . . .
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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26,859 Posts
Mine is US model. I'm in the states.
I'll just go buy the Castrol Transmax Import stuff then.
Says Import, Honda, Toyota etc? doesn't mention Subaru. Go figure.
I see my filter is located in the inner well. I'll throw 4 qts in and check.

Has anyone ever tried adding Lubeguard?
Subaru = Dextron, originally thought up by GM.
 

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Registered
2004 Outback Wagon 2.5 Auto
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
There was a time when the store shelves had bottles of labeled Dexron III. That was a GM trademark which GM, some years ago, stopped licensing to makers that met the specs.

Now, there's no bottles labelled as Dexron III. However, if you read the small print, usually on the back, it will indicate that the contents are compatible with Dexron III or meet the specs of Dexron III. It's all the same.

Many private label (e.g., store) brands, that are typically made by the major lubricant blenders and packagers, satisfy the requirements for Dexron III.

Also, many Dexron III equivalent ATFs are available in gallon-size containers, saving on the cost and waste. If you plan to change the fluid more than once (each drain-and-fill gets out only part), this might be the best to buy.

The thread mentioned earlier is http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...anging-automatic-transmission-fluid-easy.html

Incidentally, what filter are you planning to change that's "hidden"? Have you verified the location? Most 4-speed ATs had the spin-on filter on the left side of the transmission, but a few had it in the left front fender. I though the latter were mainly 2005, but I might be wrong. Just wanted to be sure . . .
Nice link, thanks!! Mine is on the left innerwell for some reason in my 2004. I didn't remove it yet, but saw it.
I'll just grab that's Castrol Transmax then for imports.
I plan on changing it again in about 500 miles since I just got the car. I'm strange like that.
I know quite a few that like adding Lubeguard. That was on some other brand cars, but really liked it. I don't know if my Subaru will like it.

Subaru = Dextron, originally thought up by GM.
I'll be near Wal Mart and Advance tomorrow I'll just grab a Gallon of Dex3.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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26,859 Posts
Nice link, thanks!! Mine is on the left innerwell for some reason in my 2004. I didn't remove it yet, but saw it.
I'll just grab that's Castrol Transmax then for imports.
I plan on changing it again in about 500 miles since I just got the car. I'm strange like that.
I know quite a few that like adding Lubeguard. That was on some other brand cars, but really liked it. I don't know if my Subaru will like it.



I'll be near Wal Mart and Advance tomorrow I'll just grab a Gallon of Dex3.

@plain OM, ...when operation Canadian Bacon is underway,...you will be spared.



I like Walmart for liquids, no jumping through hoops like Advance to get a price.

this is what your looking for 2 gallons,...or even a little cheaper if you buy wallymarts own supertech brand.



 

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2004 Outback Wagon 2.5 Auto
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I seen Wal Marts Brand I think a blue bottle? At least the oil. I have always been paranoid about trying their brand. I imagine someone is making it though not wal mart.
I just screencapped that photo, I'll be at wal mart tomorrow so I'll grab 5 qts.
 

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Premium Member
(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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18,345 Posts
some folks have treated delayed engagement with Trans-X, but fresh fluid is often all that a working trans seems to need.

Our 03 also has the filter behind the battery - I wouldn't change it unless I opened the case, mixed-in the wrong fluid, or maybe if some type of 'power flush' was done.

get OEM if you change it - it looks like an oil filter but folks say it's different internally.
 

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01 Outback 3.0
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133 Posts
OP,
I went straight for MaxLife Dex/Merc like in Eagleye's post above. It is about the only thing that holds Honda's crappy 4 and 5 speed autos together - the ones that are mated to V6s of the same millennial era as our Outbacks. Anyway, did the drain'n'fill method 3x and except for a bit of harshness on the 2-3 shift, its been good stuff. I had problems getting the gallon jugs in the Walmart stores, so I had to have them shipped at something like $24 each.
 

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2004 Outback Wagon 2.5 Auto
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
some folks have treated delayed engagement with Trans-X, but fresh fluid is often all that a working trans seems to need.

Our 03 also has the filter behind the battery - I wouldn't change it unless I opened the case, mixed-in the wrong fluid, or maybe if some type of flush' was done.

get OEM if you change it - it looks like an oil filter but folks say it's different internally.
It does look like an oil filter. I don't know if it's ever been done. So I figure it can't hurt to do it. I will only use a Subaru filter. Then when I drain and fill in about 500 miles, I doubt I will change the filter at that point.

OP,
I went straight for MaxLife Dex/Merc like in Eagleye's post above. It is about the only thing that holds Honda's crappy 4 and 5 speed autos together - the ones that are mated to V6s of the same millennial era as our Outbacks. Anyway, did the drain'n'fill method 3x and except for a bit of harshness on the 2-3 shift, its been good stuff. I had problems getting the gallon jugs in the Walmart stores, so I had to have them shipped at something like $24 each.
I think mine has them, if not advance does. I will use the Max Life instead of my the Castrol since you guys used it with good results. Mines shifting fine, just trying to keep it that way.
Trying to figure out how many miles apart to change it to get the tranny kind of refreshed.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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It does look like an oil filter. I don't know if it's ever been done. So I figure it can't hurt to do it. I will only use a Subaru filter. Then when I drain and fill in about 500 miles, I doubt I will change the filter at that point.



I think mine has them, if not advance does. I will use the Max Life instead of my the Castrol since you guys used it with good results. Mines shifting fine, just trying to keep it that way.
Trying to figure out how many miles apart to change it to get the tranny kind of refreshed.
I have yet to see a video, of some pics

but real mechanics pull a couple lines on the trans, and let it dump out the old fluid into a bin, and suck up the fluid from the new bottles,

and in a couple of minutes they get 100% new fluid.

_____

this vs. typical drain and fills that only yield half the volume.,... mixing with the new stuff.
 
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