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#9513 of 19283 changing front differential oil
Jun 14, 2001 (2:38 pm)
I'm new and not sure whether this topic is trivial or not, but here goes. I bought a new 2001 Outback (auto) in early April '01. My brother-in-law (a car technician in Japan who sees lots of Legacys and Imprezas in his work) told me today if I want to keep my car in good shape, I really ought to have the front and rear differential fluid replaced after the first month, along with the engine oil and filter.
I use the car everyday mostly for those short spins to the grocery etc. that wear an engine down, and can understand the logic of giving everything clean oil early on (my engine oil looks pretty dirty now, and the car only has a 1000 miles on it). But I can't see how one can change the front differential oil without one of those vacuum-tube devices that many of the lube shops use. Heck, I can't even get my hand down to that little yellow differential oil gauge.
Is this a procedure for qualified Subaru shops only? Anyone have a rough idea how much they'd charge for this?
#9514 of 19283 Differential Changes
Jun 14, 2001 (3:19 pm)
You can change it yourself. You might not even need to jack it up, but if you do you will need blocks.
To change the rear differential you'll need a bit of strength. Its located on the back of the differental crank case. You will need something to suck the old fluid out. Doesn't have to be a fancy vaccum hose, get one of those little hand suction pumps.
On my 96 they sealed that differential plug in with some type of glue/sealent. Its hard and brittle after you break it, you would do well to clean the threads off, you'll need a small dental pick like instrument (I know the dealer doesn't take the time to clean them out). Otherwise you run the risk of pushing grit back into your differental case when you close it back up.
Jun 14, 2001 (3:47 pm)
I've never heard pinging on my 2K OB AT in 23K miles. I've always used 87 Octane, mostly from Valero (formerly Exxon) in the Bay Area.
One thing I do is drive around town in 3rd. The 4EAT likes to shift into 4th even at 30 MPH and less than 1500 RPM. With the OB's weight, I like to keep the RPMs above 2000, otherwise the engine feels like it's bogged down.
Jun 14, 2001 (4:20 pm)
First a disclaimer (SOA participating on a board is new territory, so I think it is important that I'm very clear). I AM NOT A TECHNICIAN, NOR DO I PLAY ONE ON TV. The information that I am about to share is information I received by asking a lot of questions to a lot of people. I may have something wrong and SOA is not at fault for my errors.
Anyway, I've learned more about "Ping" today, than I think I ever wanted to. Some things to consider:
Pinging is not the cause of carbon build up in the engine. The ping can be the result of carbon which is a result of poor fuel quality.
Since our vehicles are CA Spec., they are designed to meet CA emissions standards which are very stringent. CA puts a lot of limits on additives where other states do not have these limits (sulfur for example).
Severe and constant pinging can cause damage. However, pinging under load or in warmer more humid weather can be considered normal and not harmful. Attempts to retard engine ping can decrease fuel economy and increase hesitation. If it is retarded significantly, you can get a misfire, stumble and hesitation.
I'll post more as I learn more. Keep in mind. You should always have a dealer check the car out and let them differentiate severe ping from characteristic ping.
Also, try the 4 tanks of a known good grade fuel.
#9517 of 19283 Electrical outlet problem
Jun 14, 2001 (8:22 pm)
Neither the front "cigarette lighter" electrical nor the rear compartment electrical outlet on my '98 Forester L are working any longer, when I plug my phone charger (or anything else). But I checked the fuses for both, and the fuses appear fine. Any ideas on what the problem could be and how to fix it?
On the pinging front, use 87 octane with no notable brand loyalty and have no ping problems.
Jun 14, 2001 (10:49 pm)
Is one of them loose? I had that problem, one got loose, had spotty connections and it took the back one with it. Got it fixed, works fine.
Even if the fuse looks good replace it anyway.
If that fails attack it with a multimeter. How about corrosion inside?
#9519 of 19283 Re: Pinging.
Jun 15, 2001 (3:56 am)
Been away from the board for awhile and was very surprisd to see all the pinging posts--thought there were only a few of us with this situation but I guess it may be more prevalent than I thought--Manufacturing problem or characteristic? Who knows. Thanks Patti for all your help by the way. In response to your last post, you may be correct but I do have concerns that this seems to me to be a Subaru specific issue--for example, my wife's 00 Accord 4 cylinder doesnt even come close to pinging driving under the same conditions (hills driving home) as my Forester using the same fuel. Other makes and models Ive driven do not ping under these conditions. For those who havent followed, my symptoms are very similar to Eric's and described in previous posts about 4-6weeks ago. After doing all the gas/octane/ brand things many months ago to no avail I decided to stop wasting money and have just been using 87 octane (which the manual suggests). Getty brand (mostly) but have tried Mobil, Shell, Texaco. Massachusetts recently required all gas stations to replace ungerground fuel tanks so I believe the sediment/impurity concern doesnt exist here.
With Patties help, I finally got the district ops manager and technical trainer to go for a ride with me on Monday of this week. They downloaded a data stream which is being looked at. The pinging occurred during the drive but was not dramatic since there is mostly very flat ground near the dealership (I live about 40 miles away in a very hilly area). I know they heard the pinging but the district ops manager definately played it down and was not willing to say one way or another whether pinging was considered bad or not. He deferred to the data stream analysis. The tech trainer sat in the back with the computer but did not offer any comments at all regarding ping. But Im sure he heard it as well.
Based on others' experiences, I dont have high hopes reagrding the data stream but I am glad the situation is receiving some attention from Subaru. If I felt confident that this was a minor nuisance, it would be no big deal. But there is no debate among most mechanics that knock and ping CAN be very bad for an engine; it is normal to want to protect a 25,000 investment by trying to correct something that may jeaopardize that expendature. If Subaru is truly confident that this condition will not cause harm, maybe they would be willing to extend the basic warranty against the types of engine problems that may be caused by knock and ping to 100,000 miles or so...with no resolution, some (me included) have expressed a sentiment of feeling a need to trade the vehicle before the warranty expires. This is too bad because other than this condition, I truly like my Forester. Its my first Subaru but I will be hard pressed to buy another one if I am unable to get some hard reassurance on this. Hopefully we will all know something more definative soon.......
#9520 of 19283 re: changing front differential oil
Jun 15, 2001 (8:26 am)
evilizard, good point on cleaning out the threads on the drain plug. I think I could replace the oil in the rear differential myself, provided I have a proper wrench.
With the front differential though (my car has the AT), I can't even see a drain plug. That's why I was wondering whether a suction tube thing is needed (to replace/refill through the oil gauge tube).
Oh well, looks like this is a procedure I should be prepared to pay for, so that it gets done properly. I'd like to be able to maintain this car all by myself, though. At least that way, I know what's been done to it.
Jun 15, 2001 (8:29 am)
Wally, the front drain plug is there. There's a diagram in the owner's manual.
Jun 15, 2001 (8:59 am)
I have to agree with Mav regarding the long-term detrimental effects of pinging on my engine. I realize the balancing act auto manufacturers go through to meet emissions and fuel economy standards. However, in my case and others who have posted here, there appears to be a problem with severe and constant pinging. In my car, if it is above about 70 degrees and under load between 2000 - 2500 rpm - the car pings. In city traffic and on sustained grades the automatic spends a lot of time in that rpm range, so the car is constantly pinging. That really concerns me. I could live with an occasional ping, but that is not the case here. (The past couple of days it's been cooler here in Oregon so it hasn't been a problem.) I have heard an occasional ping in modern cars (especially GM rentals I've driven) which the computer quickly adjusts for. However, I have never been in a modern car that has this type of sustained pinging.
I really do like my Outback and would like to keep it for a long time, but I am concerned about the longevity of the engine with this type of problem. I hope SOA won't take the corporate line that this is normal and not detrimental to the engine. To the local dealer and SOA's credit, they have taken my concerns seriously. I do hope SOA is able to find a resolution to this problem soon.