2004 subaru forester maintience help

My neighbor has an 04 forester, 80k miles, auto. She was attempting to change a head light so I offered her some assistance. The oil dip stick showed some tarnish and the trans fluid is original. I advised her to possibly change to synthetic to clean that up and to have the trans fluid replaced. What type of trans fluid should she put in? Any issues that she should be aware of with this car? Thanks!
 
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1,335
Location
Basehor, KS
Check the owner's manual, but that timeframe Subarus were spec'd for Dexron III ATF. My 03 Legacy was that way. I suspect it was the same for Foresters. I would also recommend use of the Subaru coolant conditioner now and then when the coolant gets changed. It runs under $3 at the dealer and may have kept us from having any head gasket issues. Cheap insurance. She may need to consider timing belt due to age, rather than miles, since the car is seven years old.
 
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1,311
Location
the South
ATF was Dex III from the factory. Many of us that came with the Dex III ATF and not the HP ATF that replaced it in 2006 use Maxlife, it does quite well in my Outback. Diffs take 75w90 front and rear. Both front and rear diffs as well as the ATF are very easy to DIY.
 
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881
Location
NC
We have a 2004 Forester XT, a couple of things: Oil (use synthetic if it's an XT) ATF (Dexron III - We use Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF) Diffs - front and back change them out to Valvoline Synthetic gear lube 75W-90. I change the oil in the diffs every 60,000 miles. Spark Plugs - They say good for 100K, but I change them out at 75K. Add some copper thread antiseize so they come out easy next time. Timing belt/Water pump - These "generally" get replaced together, as it's easier to get to the water pump while changing the timing belt. The timing belt is good for 100k miles or 7 years. We just changed our's out at 7 years and 85k miles. Problem areas: Head gasket leaks. Subaru still had issues with the head gasket on this model year. I lose about a cup of coolant every year. It never shows up in the oil, so I assume it gets burned off. After a coolant flush, use Subaru Coolant Conditioner (basically bars stop leak) to keep the gaskets in check.
 

dja4260

Thread starter
Messages
1,330
Location
Greenville, SC via Chicago, IL
Originally Posted By: 2002 Maxima SE
We have a 2004 Forester XT, a couple of things: Oil (use synthetic if it's an XT) ATF (Dexron III - We use Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF) Diffs - front and back change them out to Valvoline Synthetic gear lube 75W-90. I change the oil in the diffs every 60,000 miles. Spark Plugs - They say good for 100K, but I change them out at 75K. Add some copper thread antiseize so they come out easy next time. Timing belt/Water pump - These "generally" get replaced together, as it's easier to get to the water pump while changing the timing belt. The timing belt is good for 100k miles or 7 years. We just changed our's out at 7 years and 85k miles. Problem areas: Head gasket leaks. Subaru still had issues with the head gasket on this model year. I lose about a cup of coolant every year. It never shows up in the oil, so I assume it gets burned off. After a coolant flush, use Subaru Coolant Conditioner (basically bars stop leak) to keep the gaskets in check.
Thank you! I'll pass the info along.
 
Messages
664
Location
Buffalo, NY
I run the Amsoil ATF in all my Subaru's (but none did specify the HP-ATF, mine are far too old to need that). The next major maintenance will likely be the timing belt, tensioner, idlers, water pump, valve clearance, etc at 105k miles/105 months. The Subaru head gasket issues should be pretty much worked out by that model year, not nearly as many as there were in the 2000-2003 models.
 
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664
Location
Buffalo, NY
Yes, that vehicle would have the 4EAT phase II, which does have the spin on external filter. Subaru originally said it didn't need replacing, but it kind of makes sense to replace it at some point. It is in a brilliant location to catch shreddings and junk coming out before they get a chance to plug up the cooler. The genuine Subaru ATF filter is different from an oil filter; it has some metal screening over the bypass valve, probably to prevent any large pieces of junk from getting through even if the filter is getting full of finer shreddings.
 
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5,011
Location
Southeast
IDK if the coolant conditioner is a multi-time use thing. I had normal coolant loss in my bulletproof 2.2L '97, known as one of the sturdiest units they made. The determination was that there was some porosity in the AL itself and it would basically "sweat" out of the block. This was fixed, by my, with 1/3 bottle of some stop leak stuff. Nissan had a similar issue, and at the time it was rumored on this forum that GM had figured it out and their Factory Fill included something similar. I noted that the engine frequently had a very, very VERY mild coolant smell, but no leaks. The pathfinder my wife drove was the same. My dad's frontier also. So, I don't think the coolant goo has any relation to the HG lifespan in the subies... and don't know if it's needed during a refill. It might be needed if a flush solvent is used, tho... M
 
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