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Old 01-02-2011, 05:13 PM
kwren's Avatar
kwren kwren is offline
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Re: Transmission fluid drain, refill and "how the hell do I read the dipstick!"

Originally Posted by processengr View Post
Hi Tony,
I have used the partial drain and fill PM method for years on my 87 Jag XJ6 and now on two of our SVXi and both Outbacks. I ran into the hard to read dipstick phenomena. I suggest using a graduated paint bucket to catch the drain ATF, then just add back the same amount. It has worked well for me, after the ATF discolors a bit, it is much easier to read...
Works for me as well, processengr... with a little variation on the bucket type.

However... that might not work for you, Tony. It would only work if you actually have the correct level of fluid to begin with.

Following my previous suggestion might get you started off on the right foot. The dealer!! I still say they will look at the level on the dipstick free!

One other small thing to consider, Tony, if after the dealer looks at the level and adjusts it as necessary, any loss of fluid by any method would cause it to revert back to square one.

Good luck!


Last edited by kwren; 01-02-2011 at 05:15 PM.
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Old 01-07-2011, 10:19 AM
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Huskymaniac Huskymaniac is offline
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Re: Transmission fluid drain, refill and "how the hell do I read the dipstick!"

Originally Posted by svxfiles View Post
I always look at the back side of the ATF dipstick.
The side that faces the firewall.
And usually it takes three times to get an accurate reading.
I was in for an oil change and the mechanic double checked the level. It looked a little high to him so he took about a pint out. After driving home I checked it again and it looks to be just above the warm "L" mark. So he sort of confirmed what I was suspecting which was that I was close to the warm "F" mark and maybe just a wee bit over. A website I found said that the dipstick markings are typically separated by about a pint.

Also, based on Tom's comment above I tried something different today. I put the stick in the normal way, pulled it out just enough to be able to rotate it 180 degrees, put it back in and then pulled it out an read it. The fluid level was much easier to read this way.

On a related note, the K&N 4001 oil filter does indeed fit the SVX. I would guess that this is the best available oil filter for our car. It is more efficient, has better flow and has better capacity than the OEM filter. It is basically identical in design to the Mobil 1 filters. This size filter was OEM on the 1994 Porsche 911 Turbo which was a 3.6L H6. Supposedly, the improved flow also helps keep the engine cooler. I assume that claim is based on the assumption that better oil flow will spread heat out more evenly and, thus, improve heat transfer.

1996 Subaru SVX LSi, 149,XXX miles, Redline D4 ATF, Redline 75W90 gear oil, K&N HP-4001 Oil Filter, Mobil 1 5W50 FS (2qt) and 5W30 High Mileage (5qt) Oil Blend, Motul RBF600 Brake Fluid, AC Delco A975C Air Filter, NGK BKR6EIX-11 plugs, StopTech Cross Drilled Front and Rear Rotors, Akebono ProACT Brake Pads
2005 Acura RL, 137,XXX miles, Redline D4 ATF with Lubegard Platinum Protectant, Mobil 1 5W20 High Mileage Extended Performance Oil
2009 Toyota Venza, 88,XXX, Mobil 1 5W30 High Mileage Oil
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:51 PM
97SVX_SCV 97SVX_SCV is offline
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Re: Transmission fluid drain, refill and "how the hell do I read the dipstick!"

I know this is an OLD thread, but after searching high and low for a satisfactory answer I came up with a different one, that I think is foolproof. Really I tried everything that was posted here and I still couldn't get a good reading with the brand new real clean ATF, especially while thin and hot. here is my advice.

This works for the COLD test with motor OFF. Remove the dipstick. You take a piece of [clean] tubing, stick it down into the dipstick tube and blow gently into the tube while threading it s-l-o-w-l-y into the dipstick tube. when you hear it start to bubble, you know you are in fluid for sure.

if you really want to go at it, get a Mityvac kit (or similar) and do the same thing,,,marking the hose to the depth reading on the dipstick, but then use the Mityvac to suck out excess fluid. extract ATF at the set depth until it pulls air, and youre dont have to crawl under the car and undo the drain bolt, and even extracting hot ATF during the hot check with engine running seems to be ok [it worked for me anyway]

AND just to unload a bit...THANKS Subaru for being absolutely certain that the heater hose is routed directly inline and interfering with the reach and withdrawal of the transmission dipstick. You might be able to see in the video that I used a wee bit of steel wire to temporarily hold the heater hose out of the way.

Last edited by 97SVX_SCV; 07-19-2018 at 05:24 PM. Reason: clarify/amplify
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