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2020 Legacy CVT with wrong fluid (maybe)


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I just completed a CVT drain and fill on my 2020 Legacy (base model) with the TR580.
All went well except for the old CVTF color. It looks very green, hard to tell in the pictures. The new CVTF is very blue. Everything I researched said the 2020 Legacy TR580 uses the CVTF-III (blue). Prior to 2020, the Legacy used CVTF-II (green).
My Legacy was MFD by Subaru on 02/20. In service date was 06/20. Drain and fill was done at almost 33k. All gaskets and fluid was purchased from Subaru. The blue CVTF-III came in a 5 gal bucket (SOA427V2600).

Q-1. Do you think it came from the factory with CVTF-II (green)?
Q-2. Is the CVTF-III compatible with CVTF-II?

About 4.7 quarts came out. The car is running fine right now.
Thanks

CVTF1.pdf CVTF2.pdf

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CVTF
Caution:

Always use specified CVTF. Using fluid other than specified CVTF will cause malfunction.

  • 2.4 L model

    Subaru High Torque CVT Fluid LV

  • 2.5 L model

    SUBARU CVT FLUID LINEARTRONIC III

Edited by silverton
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SilverOnyx posted an Automatic Transmission Fluid Application Guide table in the subaruoutback.org forum topic ‘CVT fluid color’ which lines up with your research.

https://www.subaruoutback.org/threads/cvt-fluid-color.532659/post-6106430

Perhaps contact a dealer & ask what CVT fluid should be used specifically for your vehicle VIN.

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On 1/18/2023 at 9:47 PM, Southwestreasure said:

I just completed a CVT drain and fill on my 2020 Legacy (base model) with the TR580.
All went well except for the old CVTF color. It looks very green, hard to tell in the pictures. The new CVTF is very blue. Everything I researched said the 2020 Legacy TR580 uses the CVTF-III (blue). Prior to 2020, the Legacy used CVTF-II (green).
My Legacy was MFD by Subaru on 02/20. In service date was 06/20. Drain and fill was done at almost 33k. All gaskets and fluid was purchased from Subaru. The blue CVTF-III came in a 5 gal bucket (SOA427V2600).

Q-1. Do you think it came from the factory with CVTF-II (green)?
Q-2. Is the CVTF-III compatible with CVTF-II?

About 4.7 quarts came out. The car is running fine right now.
Thanks

CVTF1.pdf 22.17 kB · 2 downloads CVTF2.pdf 30.41 kB · 2 downloads

Hello. Subaru doesn't use a green CVT fluid. It'll be either blue or amber in color depending on 2.5 or 2.4. As previously stated, there are two options for this model year and I believe the TR580 fluid is blueish. Keep in mind fluids will change color during thermal cycles. I've had engine oils turn red over 6k miles because of the additive package. 

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Hi, Thanks for your input. That is my point - the fluid should not be green. In all the transmissions I worked on, the red fluid always stayed red. The color gets darker (more blackish) as it is used, but it always looked reddish. This is my first experience with CVTF. But definitely the blue should not turn green as it is used (IMO). Previous Legacy models used green CVTF , and is still used in some other Subarus today, and is available at the dealership. Maybe if you do not change the fluid in 100k it will be so dark you can not tell what color it started out as. But this CVTF at 30k is green. Again, my point is the fluid should be Blue (2.5 NA non-turbo TR580). I am puzzled why it is green and will visit my dealership next week to research this. Just seeking other opinions/experienes before going there.

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7 minutes ago, Southwestreasure said:

Hi, Thanks for your input. That is my point - the fluid should not be green. In all the transmissions I worked on, the red fluid always stayed red. The color gets darker (more blackish) as it is used, but it always looked reddish. This is my first experience with CVTF. But definitely the blue should not turn green as it is used (IMO). Previous Legacy models used green CVTF , and is still used in some other Subarus today, and is available at the dealership. Maybe if you do not change the fluid in 100k it will be so dark you can not tell what color it started out as. But this CVTF at 30k is green. Again, my point is the fluid should be Blue (2.5 NA non-turbo TR580). I am puzzled why it is green and will visit my dealership next week to research this. Just seeking other opinions/experienes before going there.

I understand what you're saying, the fluid changing from blue to a green color after use does not mean it's bad. Unless you're having drivability issues, I wouldn't let this bother you. Fluid changing color is nothing new. Like I said before, I had gold oil turn red over a 6k mile interval. This isn't anything new in the oil world. Just don't be surprised if the dealership says this is normal and doesn't look much further into it. 

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Thanks again. I do agree with you in that the dealership will just say it is ok/normal.

Here is my opinion and really just an opinion. I think the change from Green CVTF to Blue is just the 2020 CVT using Low Viscosity fluid for improved fuel efficiency. This is stated in the manual I received when I purchased the car (2020 Legacy New Car Information (Subaru Corporation U2570BE)(pdf file)). Elsewhere in that document in the discussion on differentials it states QUOTE "Using low viscosity oil reduces power loss, improving fuel efficiency. Using medium viscosity oil ensures reliability." This is regards to using the low viscosity gear oil Extra MT 75W-80 verse GL-5 75-90 gear oil. In our owner's manual and in the Legacy Service manual, we can use GL-5 75W-90 as an equivalent to the Extra MT with the note "Can be used, but there is a possibility of fuel economy deterioration."

So do you want "improved fuel efficiency" or "greater reliability" ? In the Subaru TSB 01-167-08R, Recommended Materials, the Subaru CVTFIII (blue) is recommended for the 2020 Legacy/Outback TR580 it also states the CVTFII (green) can be used in the TR580 NA models like the Forester. If the two CVTFs are compatible, there is no issue. The only issue then is fuel efficiency verse reliability. IMO.

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Hi. Not sure about the latest price, but the last I have from my dealership "Dealer Recommended Services" was $250 for a CVT Fluid Exchange.

The 5gal lists MSRP $405 but sells online with local pickup for $345. My plan is the 5gal (20 qts) should cover 3 drain and fills. I was thinking 30k, 60k, and 90k. You should also replace the gaskets: 803918060 (fill) and 803922060 (drain). They cost about $3.75 and $2.00 each.

I used front ramps that I drove up on, then jacked up the rear using jack stands. Not much room under the car at all. I have a better plan for the next time I service it. Timing also depends on what the dealership says.

Hope this helps. Good Luck.CVTF.thumb.png.33690555fbac0dfbb867fa4d062de84d.png

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