Subaru Coupes/Sedans/Wagons 1985-1996 Repair Guide

Drive Axle (Front)


The lubricant should be checked at regular intervals and changed at 60,000 mile (96,500 km) intervals. When the vehicle is frequently operated under severe conditions, the lubricant should be changed at 30,000 mile (48,300 km) intervals.

This section pertains to automatic transaxle-equipped vehicles only.


Use gear oil with API classification GL-5 for open differentials and GLS for limited slip differential. Viscosity should be:

SAE 90-above 30°F (-1°C)
SAE 85W-above 30°F (-1°C)
SAE 80W-below 0°F (-18°C)


See Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4

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Fig. Fig. 1: Remove the dipstick from the tube-Legacy shown

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Fig. Fig. 2: Front drive axle dipstick and level marks-1.8L models

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Fig. Fig. 3: Dipstick hash marks-Legacy shown, other models similar

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Fig. Fig. 4: Use a funnel to add fluid through the dipstick tube

The lubricant level in the drive axle is checked in the same manner as the engine oil, with the engine off and the vehicle parked on a level surface. The dipstick is located at the right rear of the engine, near the starter motor.

If the lubricant level is not at the upper mark on the dipstick additional gear oil is necessary and should be added through the dipstick filler tube. Use the proper weight oil with API classification of GL-5 or GLS. Do not overfill.


See Figure 5

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Fig. Fig. 5: Front differential case's drain plug-automatic transaxle equipped models only

  1. Raise and support the vehicle safely.
  3. Place a container of adequate capacity beneath the drain plug, located on the lower left side of the differential case, near the left axle shaft.
  5. Remove the drain plug and allow the fluid to drain.
  7. After draining, replace the drain plug and gasket. Tighten the plug to 17-20 ft. lbs. (23-26 Nm). Do not overtighten.
  9. Remove the differential dipstick and fill the differential to the upper mark on the dipstick.