Differential Fluid Change for 2013 OB 2.5L with VA1 Type Rear Differential with CVT

F/R Differential Fluid Change (with part ##) for 2013 OB 2.5iw/CVT and Rear VA1

I just bought my OB at 54,000 miles two weeks ago and have collected fluids, gaskets, tools, etc. I finally had some time yesterday so now I have changed the front and rear diff fluids on the 2013 2.5i CVT Outback with VA1 type rears changed at 55,000 miles.

Gear oil Amsoil Severe Gear 75w-90 GL5 used front and rear (Amsoil Product Code: SVGQT-EA). (I am an unabashed Amsoil fan. With only 1 million total miles driven on several other vehicles and 932 hours on my boat engine and overdrive — all fully stocked with Amsoil and all with no drivetrain related repairs .I am very comfortable with their quality.)

The rear fluid was the very dark pearly fluid that others have described, but it smelled horrible and the drain plug magnet had a small metal ball on it. Doubt this was the first time any of these fluids had been changed.

The front fluid was almost completely clean, but also had a small sized ball of metal “gunk” on the end of the exhaust plug magnet. There is no bad smell.

I didn’t try to measure the fluids coming out—I just followed the service manual procedures for filling and nothing unusual about the amounts came up. I suggest having three quarts of new gear oil handy as you will have some waste while filling the front differential. The filling procedure requires that new oil be poured in until there is actual flow and then the overflow plug be installed when the flow “returns to a tight stream”.

Tips: 1. As others have correctly pointed out — always make sure you 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 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 from underneath. Be sure to keep the hex driver fully inserted into the drain plug. I had a small problem where the hex driver came partway 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. I will order a replacement for the still serviceable but now ugly plug.
4. Two of the front seals and both rear seals are identical as you will see below.
5. Use a clean draining container to facilitate control.
6. These descriptions/instructions are specific to this year and model and may not apply to any other year or model.

Here are the specs and part ## on the changes for the 2013 2.5iw/CVT Outback (with the VA1 diff in the rear):

Front diff:

Top filler plug: 8mm Hex Driver
Gasket 18x24x1 (Subaru part # 803918060)
Torque 36.9 ft lb

Bottom fill plug: 8mm Hex Driver
Gasket 18x24x1 (Subaru part # 803918060)
Torque 36.9 ft lb

Discharge plug: Torx 70 Driver
gasket 26.3×32.3×1 (Subaru part # 803926090)
torque 51.6 ft lb

Rear differential (type VA1):

Top fill AND bottom drain plugs: 10mm Hex Driver
Gaskets 18x24x1 on both (2 X Subaru part # 803918060)
Torque 36.9 ft lb

See the attached sections from the Service Manual.

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