CVT fluid and differential oil change for 2013-14 Outback

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2013 2.5L Outback
CVT and differential oil change

CVT oil change

The procedure begins carefully in the treatment of hot liquids.
If you hot-drain immediately after capping, you’ll get the most contaminants out when they’re well mixed and in suspension. Then allow the system to cool below 95 F.
Set the emergency parking brake before starting this procedure!
The manual says total capacity is 12.7-13.2 qts.
I drained ~6.0 qts and filled with ~5.5 qts.


1. Raise the vehicle or simply work on a level garage floor, loosen the fill plug (8mm Hex socket) and remove the CVTF drain plug (14mm Hex socket).

2. Check the CVTF condition (for sludge/spray/metal contamination, etc. – conditions that would require additional service).

3. Reinstall CVTF drain plug (bolt #803916010 – same as oil pan, press, – torque to 23 ft-lbs.)

4. Remove the filler plug (8mm Hex light).

5. Add fluid until it starts to drip from the filler plug hole (about 4 qts.) The transmission will be underfilled at this point since the pump is not running.

6. Temporarily tighten the filler plug. (mine was 82F)

7. Start and run the engine to raise the CVTF temperature to 95′ – 113′ F on the Subaru Select Monitor. (mine was 95F)

8. Place the selector lever P -> R -> N -> D -> N -> R and return to P to cycle the CVTF with the engine idling.

9. With the selector lever shifted back to P and the engine running, remove the filler plug. Adjust the CVTF level as up to 2 liters of fluid is now circulating in the system. Add more liquid until it begins to flow. Wait a minute for the temperature to stabilize and check again. (mine was 114F)

10. Replace filler plug with new gasket (#803918060) and torque to 37 ft-lbs.

NOTE – Post #387

• You get a certain amount of fluid when it is cold and the engine is not running
• After starting the engine, you can immediately add more fluid. You then hit another “complete” situation.
• So far I haven’t told you anything you didn’t already know. But as I continued to monitor the fluid temperature and kept the shifter moving, there was a constant shift at some point that allowed more fluid to be added once again. Thermal expansion isn’t coming into play yet as it makes less fluid fit, not more. So my best guess is that some valve opens at a certain temperature and allows fluid into a previously closed area? Or maybe just the fact that shifting back and forth between R and D opens different solenoid valves and gradually pumps fluid into new areas. Anyway step 9 is then:

9. Continue adding liquid a third time. Now it is possible to add a little before it overflows again. Monitor the fluid temperature. This is where thermal expansion comes into play as you will actually have fluid coming out of the fill hole as it heats up and expands, so let it continue to seep in until you reach the correct temperature and insert and tighten the plug.

Impressions: – Post #1

1. The initial discharge was dirty and smelly. All CVT fluids stink, but this old fluid was even weirder than it should have been.

2. If you are not making regular changes, you should JUST DO IT! The tranny was much better after the first drain/fill, but it’s even quieter and the manual shift is very smooth now after the second drain/fill.

3. Low frequency noise in sharp turns at slow speed is now gone. I had thought that the F/R diff service I did would have helped, but nope…it was the CVT service that helped that.


1. Temperature is critical during final rise. On my first drain and fill, the trask was very hot at about 126 degrees F and I felt like I could get enough fluid in. However, I had to continue anyway, as there was no time to let it cool down any further. When I did the second drain and fill today (two days later) I made sure the pan was cold before starting the process and then warmed it up during the actual procedure. Of course, it was able to fit a full quart more when it was between 100 and 105 degrees F.

2. CVT fluid really stinks, so wipe everything down well before storing tools and bottles.

3. Multiple back-to-back emptying/fillings are a good idea to set your base. Two side by side is the sweet spot from a cost standpoint. You can only change less than 50% of the total juice with each serving which means you can achieve a 75% change with two, but only an additional 12.5% ​​new with a third, an additional 6 ,25% with the fourth, etc… …

2013 2.5i Differential Fluid Change

Hint: Post #383

1. As others have correctly pointed out — be sure to loosen the fill plugs FIRST.

2. The rear diff plugs were both so tight that I used a hydraulic jack to slowly lift the switch bar handle to disconnect them.

3. The front diff filler plug is easily accessible from above, but not with a standard switch bar.
Used a long thin pry bar (there’s a narrow opening near the exhaust that I had to use) to pry it off.

Be sure to keep the Hex driver fully inserted into the discharge plug. I had a small problem when the Hex driver came partially out of the plug as I was maneuvering the switch bar and started to remove the plug.

I was able to plug the driver back in, so there was no permanent damage, but I could have avoided the problem entirely if I had been more careful about plugging it in — lesson learned.

4. Two of the front seals and both rear seals are identical as you will see below

5. I used Redline 75w-90 synthetic gear oil purchased from Amazon.

Here are the specs on the changes for the 2013 2.5L CVT Outback:

Front differential

Top Filler Plug: 8mm Hex Driver

Gasket 18x24x1 (Subaru part # 803918060)
36.9 ft-lb of torque

Lower fill plug: exactly the same specifications as the upper plug

Exhaust plug: Torx 70 driver

gasket 26.3×32.3×1 (Subaru part # 803926090)
51.6 ft-lb of torque

1.5 Qt, (48 oz) Gear Oil

Rear differential (type VA1):

Top Fill AND Bottom Drain Plugs: 10mm Hex Driver

18x24x1 gaskets on both (Subaru part # 803918060)
36.9 ft-lb of torque

Gear Oil 0.8 Qt (32 oz).

Front Differential Fluid Change Procedure

1. Remove the filler plug from the passenger side at the rear of the CVT trunk.
(8mm Hex Driver)

2. Remove the oil drain plug and drain the fluid.
(T70 Torx fits on bottom of diff)

3. Clean the drain plug of any metal.

4. Reinstall the drain plug
(Gasket 26.3X32.3X1 – #803926090 – torque to 51.6 ft-lb.)

5. Remove the overflow drain plug, at the bottom of the gap between the Torx and the CVT trunk.
(8mm Hex Driver)

6. Fill the change through the filler cap hole until you check the fill overflow.
(1.5 qts (48 oz))

7. When the oil returns to a tight stream, reinstall the overflow drain plug
(Gasket #803918060 – torque up to 36.9 ft-lb)

8. Reinstall the fill plug.
(Gasket #803918060 – torque up to 36.9 ft-lb)

Rear Shift Fluid Change Procedure

1. Remove the fill plug.
(10mm Hex Driver)

2. Remove the drain plug and drain the liquid.
(10mm Hex Driver)

3. Clean the drain plug of any metal.

4. Reinstall the drain plug.
(Gasket #803926060 – torque up to 36.9 ft-lb)

5. Fill through the filler hole until the liquid is gone.
(.8 cans., 32 oz.)

6. Install the filler plug.
(Gasket #803918060 – torque up to 36.9 ft-lb)

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