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#1364060 - 02/05/09 07:39 PM Subaru differential fluid change....
chevrofreak Offline


Registered: 06/17/05
Posts: 4911
Loc: Billings, MT
OK, so my moms car is a 2002 LL Bean Outback, which has the H6, 4 speed auto and a limited slip rear differential. I know there are front and rear differentials, but I always see references to the "center differential". Is this a third differential that I am going to have to change the fluid in, or does it share fluid with the transmission, or am I misunderstanding something completely?

There are currently 4 fluids I am considering for the job. Amsoil Severe Gear 75W-90, Amsoil Long Life 75W-90, Redline light weight Shockproof, and Redline 75W-90.

Does anyone have any input on my fluid choices?
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#1364085 - 02/05/09 07:54 PM Re: Subaru differential fluid change.... [Re: chevrofreak]
CentralNY1 Offline


Registered: 05/15/08
Posts: 54
Loc: New York
I think they are referring to the Transfer Case.
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#1364099 - 02/05/09 07:58 PM Re: Subaru differential fluid change.... [Re: CentralNY1]
deeter16317 Offline


Registered: 12/07/07
Posts: 1339
Loc: SE, PA
Since it is an auto, there are three drive train fluid sumps.

- Transmission, which is an ATF of some sort (the fill/dipstick is located on the DRIVER'S side, near the firewall)

- Center Differential, which is a combination differential and transfercase (the fill/dipstick is located on the PASSENGER'S side, near the firewall) - 75w90 Gear Oil

- Rear Differential - 75w90 Gear Oil

Make sure you remove the fill plug on the rear diff before removing the drain plug...you don't want to drain your fluid to find you can't remove the fill plug!!


Edited by deeter16317 (02/05/09 08:01 PM)
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#1364108 - 02/05/09 08:03 PM Re: Subaru differential fluid change.... [Re: deeter16317]
chevrofreak Offline


Registered: 06/17/05
Posts: 4911
Loc: Billings, MT
So the center differential and the front differential are the same thing?
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#1364134 - 02/05/09 08:28 PM Re: Subaru differential fluid change.... [Re: chevrofreak]
Pablo Offline


Registered: 10/28/02
Posts: 46692
Loc: Duvall WA - Pacific NW USA
Also consider Amsoil 75W-110. Most car mfr's are still using old specification language.

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#1364247 - 02/05/09 09:35 PM Re: Subaru differential fluid change.... [Re: chevrofreak]
bdcardinal Online   content


Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 6611
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA
 Originally Posted By: chevrofreak
So the center differential and the front differential are the same thing?


they are 2 different components sharing a common housing and sump.
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#1364350 - 02/05/09 11:16 PM Re: Subaru differential fluid change.... [Re: bdcardinal]
chevrofreak Offline


Registered: 06/17/05
Posts: 4911
Loc: Billings, MT
 Originally Posted By: Pablo
Also consider Amsoil 75W-110. Most car mfr's are still using old specification language.


Part of why I was looking to go with the thinner stuff like the Redline light weight shockproof is that her car has been getting poor fuel economy lately* and that I want to do everything possible to increase it. She's getting a max of 22.25mpg in a car that should do 26. I'm using synthetic engine oil, it has a new air filter, and I've used Amsoil P.I. in the fuel recently. Still not enough of an improvement.

* might be that this valve is rusted shut. The bypass pipe has some rust holes in it, and the nuts on the cover are so rusted I can't get them off, so that's what makes me suspect a rusted shut valve. I'm probably going to replace the muffler with a glasspack or piece of straight pipe


 Originally Posted By: bdcardinal
 Originally Posted By: chevrofreak
So the center differential and the front differential are the same thing?


they are 2 different components sharing a common housing and sump.


Thank you, that clears a lot up. I was worried that there was another separate differential that I was not aware of.

Fortunately, it looks to be extremely easy to change out the fluid in the front and rear differentials.
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#1364401 - 02/06/09 12:51 AM Re: Subaru differential fluid change.... [Re: chevrofreak]
bdcardinal Online   content


Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 6611
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA
 Originally Posted By: chevrofreak
Fortunately, it looks to be extremely easy to change out the fluid in the front and rear differentials.


funny story about that, one of the shops i worked in, the customer got a free front/center diff and trans fluid change with an oil change thanks to a manager to refused to listen to me when i pointed out that there was more than one dipstick.
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#1364416 - 02/06/09 01:25 AM Re: Subaru differential fluid change.... [Re: bdcardinal]
chevrofreak Offline


Registered: 06/17/05
Posts: 4911
Loc: Billings, MT
I like the huge 21mm drain bolt that even has writing to convince you that it is not the engine oil.
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#1365382 - 02/06/09 10:47 PM Re: Subaru differential fluid change.... [Re: chevrofreak]
RonJitsu Offline


Registered: 07/15/08
Posts: 31
Loc: Central NJ
Stay away from the Shockproof. Many of us Subaru guys have had problems with it turning to jelly in the bottom of the trans/center diff.

I've had great luck with Amsoil SVG 75w90 for the front & rear diff.
If your rear diff is making any noise, (many 02-04's do) then run SVG 75w110 and it'll quiet down.

Redline 75w90 is also a great choice.
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#1365490 - 02/07/09 01:22 AM Re: Subaru differential fluid change.... [Re: RonJitsu]
chevrofreak Offline


Registered: 06/17/05
Posts: 4911
Loc: Billings, MT
I did read about some issues with the Subaru's and the Heavy Shockproof, but the Light Shockproof is no good either?

I do think I'm probably going to end up going with the Amsoil 75W-90 Severe Gear on her Subaru, and putting it in my 96 Crown Vic while I'm at it.

The Redline 75W-90 is still an option, because it's the cheapest of them all. I can get 5 quarts for $53 shipped. I may have to flip a coin...
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#1366929 - 02/08/09 10:43 AM Re: Subaru differential fluid change.... [Re: chevrofreak]
rcy Offline


Registered: 02/14/04
Posts: 1557
Loc: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
I emailed Redline regarding the 75w90 and the 75w90NS. They recommended the 75w90,not the 75w90NS. Just thought I'd mention this in case you go with Redline.


Edited by rcy (02/08/09 10:51 AM)

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#1367710 - 02/08/09 11:53 PM Re: Subaru differential fluid change.... [Re: rcy]
chevrofreak Offline


Registered: 06/17/05
Posts: 4911
Loc: Billings, MT
The Redline 75W-90 is a very good possibility at the moment. I need 5 quarts to do both my car and my mothers car, and I can get it on Ebay for $52.95 shipped. From the local Amsoil dealer the 75W-90 Severe Gear would be $66.25

Each of these oils has their strong points, with some performing better in certain tests.
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#1368038 - 02/09/09 10:16 AM Re: Subaru differential fluid change.... [Re: chevrofreak]
meep Offline


Registered: 02/20/07
Posts: 2497
Loc: Southeast
unless subaru changed things, the AT does NOT have a center diff. It has an electronically modulated limited slip clutch. It is a fwd car with rwd assist. Silicone-based, non serviceable unit IIRC.

The manuals have a center diff with limited slip clutchpack. these are more of a awd/4wd architecture.

M

m
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#1368194 - 02/09/09 12:59 PM Re: Subaru differential fluid change.... [Re: meep]
Buffman Offline


Registered: 08/08/05
Posts: 1225
Loc: SW Michigan
the AT rear clutch pack assembly was servicable last time I checked, but my subaru is a 92.
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