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Old 07-12-2008, 10:41 PM   #1
David 93 SL2m
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2004 VUE 2.2L
2007 ION-3 Sedan
Wrench How to change transmission fluid in VUE with manual transmission

Before starting get synthetic transmission fluid and make sure you have tools and "shop supplies."

There are several brand choices for synthetic transmission fluid such as Mobil-1, AMSOIL, RedLine, B & M, Royal Purple, Castrol, Valvoline, Pennzoil, Quaker State, etc. There are also choices for synthetic blends of transmission fluid. Any should be acceptable as long as they meet or exceed the transmission fluid standards as specified in the "Recommended Fluids & Lubricants" section of the VUE's owner manual. For my 2004 VUE I prefer Mobil-1 synthetic ATF because it meets GM Dexron III specifications, is readily available, and is fairly priced.

Here is what is needed. Most of these items have hyperlinks to show what I am writing about. (Note that although these worked at the time I posted this information, at some point in the future they might fail.)In this picture we can see all the things I used when changing the transmission fluid. Starting at the top is my level. In the next "row" we see my pair of plastic yellow wheel chocks, VUE jack resting on a block of wood, and jack stand. On the metal tray is my container for catching used oils, two 1-quart bottles of Mobil-1 synthetic automatic transmission fluid (ATF), paper towels, and the red lid for the container of used oils. Notice on the tray one of the Mobil-1 ATF bottles has its black cap replaced with a bottle cap with a washer, twist open/close flow control, clear tube, and removable plug. Below the metal tray from left to right we see my torque wrench, 1/2” drive socket wrench breaker bar, 1/2” drive ratcheting socket wrench, 16mm 6-point wrench, 1/2” drive 19mm 6-point impact socket, 1/2” drive 19mm 6-point socket, 1/2” drive socket wrench extension bar, socket adapter from 3/8" drive to 1/2" drive, and 3/8" drive 8mm hex socket bit.



This picture is a close-up of my tools...



...and this picture is a close-up of the socket adapter from 3/8" drive to 1/2" drive plus the 3/8" drive 8mm hex socket bit.



1) Drive the VUE to bring the transmission fluid up to normal operating temperatures. Transmission fluid flows easier and faster when its temperature is raised.

2) Park the VUE in your garage, driveway, etc., ideally on a level surface. Leave the transmission in gear and engage the parking brake. Chock the rear wheels.

3) At the front left wheel loosen the lug nuts. This can be done with the lug nut wrench included with the jack, a 1/2" drive ratcheting socket wrench with 19mm 6-point socket, or a 1/2" drive socket wrench breaker bar with 19mm 6-point socket. Note when using the socket wrench breaker bar I generally use 6-point impact sockets (usually colored flat black). Usually wheel lug nuts are not easy to loosen so I use a socket wrench breaker bar but I've noticed on the VUE it is not difficult to loosen these wheel lug nuts.

4) Using the jack raise the front left wheel off the ground. This can be done with the lug nut wrench included with the jack or a 1/2" drive ratcheting socket wrench with 19mm 6-point socket. For jacks I prefer to use a 1/2" drive ratcheting socket wrench because it is faster. I also like to place a block of wood under the jack for two reasons. First, I don't need to extend/retract the jack as much. Second, this keeps the bottom of the jack clean and free of scratches (which could ultimately lead to rust).

5) Continue loosening the lug nuts and remove the front left wheel. Place a jack stand under the VUE near the jack so if the jack fails the jack stand will lower the chance the VUE will crush us.

6) Optionally place a flat metal tray, cardboard, or newspaper under the transmission. Now position the container to catch transmission fluid underneath the transmission (and optionally on top of the tray/cardboard/newspaper).

Be careful. The transmission housing, the transmission fill plug, the transmission drain plug, and the transmission fluid will be hot!

Here are two diagrams showing the transmission housing with annotations for the fill plug and drain plug.

First, this diagram was posted by ssicarman. The white arrow at the bottom right shows us the direction we need to point our eyes toward for the front of the car. The upper black arrow shows us the fill plug and the lower black arrow shows us the drain plug. The diagram is slightly misleading in that it shows the fill plug has a hexagonal perimeter and a 6-point socket can be used. However the fill plug has a round perimeter.


...
Current
∙ 2004 VUE 124K
∙ 2007 ION3 112K
...
Past
∙ 1993 SL2 212K
∙ 1993 SC2 140K
∙ 1996 SC2 157K
∙ 1996 SC2 126K
∙ 2001 SC2, 145K
∙ 2002 L200 20K
∙ 2002 SL1 129K
...

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Old 07-12-2008, 10:42 PM   #2
David 93 SL2m
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2004 VUE 2.2L
2007 ION-3 Sedan
Wrench How to change transmission fluid in VUE with manual transmission, continued

Second, this diagram is similar and also has the fill plug and drain plug highlighted.



And here is a picture of the area with annotations for the fill plug and drain plug.



7) Through the wheel wheel loosen the transmission fill plug first using an 8mm hex socket bit, socket wrench extension bar, and socket wrench breaker bar. This can be difficult I think because some sort of thread sealant is used when the transmission is initially filled with transmission fluid. First I tried using a 8mm hex key but could not find the leverage/strength to begin loosening the transmission fill plug. Next I tried using the 8mm hex socket bit with a ratcheting socket wrench but again could not find the leverage/strength to begin loosening the transmission fill plug. Finally using the socket wrench breaker bar (with socket adapter from 3/8" drive to 1/2" drive) and the 8mm hex socket bit the transmission fill plug loosened. Once loosened the transmission fill plug can be unscrewed using our fingers. Be aware that some transmission fluid might drain from the fill hole!

8) From the front of the VUE loosen the transmission drain plug next using a 16mm 6-point wrench. Again this can be difficult I think because some sort of thread sealant is used here too. Once loosened the transmission drain plug can also be unscrewed using our fingers. Remember the transmission fluid will be hot!

9) Allow the transmission fluid to drain into the container. It comes out rather rapidly, more so when it is warmed, just like draining motor oil from the oil pan is faster when it too is warmed. Don't be alarmed at the red color; it is colored that way to make it apparently different from motor oil.

10) Optional step: without starting the engine, step on the clutch and move the shifter between all the gears a few times.

11) Allow as much of the old transmission fluid to drain as possible.

12) Optional step: place a level across the top of the VUE resting on the roof rails, and adjust the jack - and the jack stand - to make the VUE level. After this point the level will not be used again. This will help make sure that we are filling the transmission to the correct point with new synthetic transmission fluid.



Notice the transmission fill plug and the transmission drain plug look every similar. The only difference I can see is the transmission fill plug is rounded on the outside with a small hexagonal hole in the center while the transmission drain plug is hexagonal on the outside and it lacks any hole in the center. I don't know why Saturn chose to use a transmission fill plug that can only be loosened/tightened with an 8mm hex socket bit rather than designing it the same as the transmission drain plug...

13) Replace the transmission drain plug. Initially screw it back in with our fingers, then tighten it up with a 16mm 6-point wrench. Don't cross-thread the plug! It should screw in easily for the first couple of turns. Leave the container with the old transmission fluid underneath the transmission.

14) Using a funnel with tube or something similar or an oil suction gun add almost 2 quarts (about 1.9 liters) of new synthetic transmission fluid. The capacity is 1.8 quarts (about 1.7 liters). Continue adding the new synthetic transmission fluid until it begins draining out of the fill hole. Let the extra transmission fluid finish draining from the fill hole. The extra transmission fluid will dribble down the side of the transmission housing and into the container with the old transmission fluid below.



15) Optional step: without starting the engine, step on the clutch and move the shifter between all the gears a few times, and add a little more new synthetic transmission fluid until it begins draining out of the fill hole again.

16) Replace the transmission fill plug. Initially screw it back in with our fingers, then tighten it up with a 8mm hex socket bit and socket wrench. Don't cross-thread the plug! It should screw in easily for the first couple of turns. The torque for the transmission fill plug is 37 ft-lbs (about 50 Nm).

I don't know the torque specification for the transmission drain plug. It too might be 37 ft-lbs (about 50 Nm). However there is very little clearance near the transmission drain plug so a torque wrench might not be feasible here anyway.

17) Clean up the excess fluid from the transmission housing. This will make it easier later to check for leaks. I would not recommend using brake cleaner in this area because there are non-metal things near by which will not enjoy getting sprayed with that - but using something less harsh such as SimpleGreen is alright.

18) Remove the container with the old transmission fluid. Dispose the used transmission fluid in the same environmentally proper way we dispose used motor oil. In my opinion it is acceptable to combine used transmission fluid and used motor oil in the same container before turning it over for recycling. Also remove the tray/cardboard/newspaper that was optionally placed under the container.

19) Replace the front left wheel. Remember if we used a level and lowered the VUE to make it level then we might have to raise the VUE slightly again.

20) Replace the lug nuts and tighten them by hand enough to make them snug. Don't cross-thread the lug nuts! They should screw in easily for the first couple of turns.

21) Remove the jack stand. Using the jack lower the front left wheel back onto the ground. Remove the jack (and optionally the block of wood that was placed underneath the jack). Remove the wheel chocks from the rear wheels.

22) Tighten the wheel's lug nuts following a crisscross-star pattern to 92 ft-lbs (about 125 Nm).

All done!

This is also a good time to check/adjust the air pressure in the VUE tires. Don't forget to check/adjust the spare tire too!

Just like with my Saturn S-Series equipped with a manual transmission, I plan to replace the transmission fluid in my VUE on a regular basis. My reasoning is that over time transmission fluid gets dirty with small metallic particles floating around due to the gears (and maybe synchronizers and maybe bearings) slowly wearing out, and this will keep the transmission fluid from providing proper lubrication which can shorten the life of the transmission. My planned maintenance interval is going to be 60,000 miles (about 96,561 kilometers), and others can choose to do it at different intervals depending on how they use their VUEs.

...
Current
∙ 2004 VUE 124K
∙ 2007 ION3 112K
...
Past
∙ 1993 SL2 212K
∙ 1993 SC2 140K
∙ 1996 SC2 157K
∙ 1996 SC2 126K
∙ 2001 SC2, 145K
∙ 2002 L200 20K
∙ 2002 SL1 129K
...

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Old 08-09-2010, 01:31 AM   #3
emsvitil
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2005 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: How to change transmission fluid in VUE with manual transmission, continued

Quote:
Originally Posted by David 93 SL2m View Post
7) Through the wheel wheel loosen the transmission fill plug first using an 8mm hex socket bit, socket wrench extension bar, and socket wrench breaker bar. This can be difficult I think because some sort of thread sealant is used when the transmission is initially filled with transmission fluid. First I tried using a 8mm hex key but could not find the leverage/strength to begin loosening the transmission fill plug. Next I tried using the 8mm hex socket bit with a ratcheting socket wrench but again could not find the leverage/strength to begin loosening the transmission fill plug. Finally using the socket wrench breaker bar (with socket adapter from 3/8" drive to 1/2" drive) and the 8mm hex socket bit the transmission fill plug loosened. Once loosened the transmission fill plug can be unscrewed using our fingers. Be aware that some transmission fluid might drain from the fill hole!
2 U-joints with several extensions to thread your way thru the sway-bar links, tie-rod, and brake rotor will help.

Quote:
8) From the front of the VUE loosen the transmission drain plug next using a 16mm 6-point wrench. Again this can be difficult I think because some sort of thread sealant is used here too. Once loosened the transmission drain plug can also be unscrewed using our fingers. Remember the transmission fluid will be hot!

5/8" closed ended wrench works too.

Easiest way to loosen is to place wrench on drain plug so it hangs straight down.

Then sit in front of car and push the wrench with your foot for needed torque.

...
Ed

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Old 09-03-2011, 05:02 PM   #4
David 93 SL2m
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2004 VUE 2.2L
2007 ION-3 Sedan
Happy Re: How to change transmission fluid in VUE with manual transmission, continued

Quote:
Originally Posted by emsvitil View Post
Easiest way to loosen is to place wrench on drain plug so it hangs straight down. Then sit in front of car and push the wrench with your foot for needed torque.
Or tap the end of the wrench with a rubber mallet for the needed torque!

When moving from a stop while releasing the clutch pedal in first gear the transmission was shuddering. It was getting worse with time/miles. I changed the transmission fluid again, this time using one of the transmission fluids designed for manual transmission vehicles that require Dex III. The shuddering immediately went away.

...
Current
∙ 2004 VUE 124K
∙ 2007 ION3 112K
...
Past
∙ 1993 SL2 212K
∙ 1993 SC2 140K
∙ 1996 SC2 157K
∙ 1996 SC2 126K
∙ 2001 SC2, 145K
∙ 2002 L200 20K
∙ 2002 SL1 129K
...

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Old 09-03-2011, 07:06 PM   #5
Tom92SCm
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2004 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: How to change transmission fluid in VUE with manual transmission, continued

Quote:
Originally Posted by David 93 SL2m View Post
. I changed the transmission fluid again, this time using one of the transmission fluids designed for manual transmission vehicles that require Dex III. The shuddering immediately went away.
Do you know which one exactly?

...
Not a Saturn.

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Old 09-03-2011, 07:45 PM   #6
David 93 SL2m
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2004 VUE 2.2L
2007 ION-3 Sedan
Wrench Re: How to change transmission fluid in VUE with manual transmission

I chose Pennzoil Synchromesh.

http://www.pennzoil.com/#/transmissi...smission-fluid
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Synchromesh_Manual_Trans_Fluid_Product_Data_Sheet.pdf (29.1 KB, 65 views)

...
Current
∙ 2004 VUE 124K
∙ 2007 ION3 112K
...
Past
∙ 1993 SL2 212K
∙ 1993 SC2 140K
∙ 1996 SC2 157K
∙ 1996 SC2 126K
∙ 2001 SC2, 145K
∙ 2002 L200 20K
∙ 2002 SL1 129K
...

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Old 09-05-2011, 05:31 AM   #7
Saturn-Naut
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Default Re: How to change transmission fluid in VUE with manual transmission

Royal Purple, Redline or Amsoil manual trans fkuid......is the best1

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Old 02-20-2012, 06:24 PM   #8
kevman
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: How to change transmission fluid in VUE with manual transmission

what is the grade in Royal Purple ??? is it 70w90 ??

thanks...for reply

...
think big and low
today:
VUE 03 2.2 5speed
SL2 99 aut
gone but not forgotten:
SL2 99 5speed
SL1 95 5speed
SL2 92 5speed
SL2 93 5speed
SL2 94 5speed
SL2 92 aut
SL1 95 aut
LS1 01 5speed

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Old 02-20-2012, 07:21 PM   #9
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Default Re: How to change transmission fluid in VUE with manual transmission

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevman View Post
what is the grade in Royal Purple ??? is it 70w90 ??

thanks...for reply
Reread the first post. AFT Dexron not 70w90 gear oil.

...
A lousy day in paradise is still a day in paradise.

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Old 02-26-2012, 11:21 PM   #10
mangler66
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2007 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: How to change transmission fluid in VUE with manual transmission

Back when i owned a Ford Contour, there was a manual transmission cocktail that was all the rage. You mixed in 2 oz of Ford Friction modifier with 2 quarts of synthetic ATF (Mobil or Amsoil seemed to dominate). Is there anything similar for GM trannies? It helped a lot on the Contour. The manual transmission went from almost impossible to put in first when cold to slightly stiff, and smooth as butter when warmed up.

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Old 03-21-2012, 08:59 PM   #11
kevman
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1999 SL2
2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: How to change transmission fluid in VUE with manual transmission

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssicarman View Post
Reread the first post. AFT Dexron not 70w90 gear oil.
ok, i used penzoil syncromesh and now works like a charm
i can get it in 1rst without full stopping....helps alot !

...
think big and low
today:
VUE 03 2.2 5speed
SL2 99 aut
gone but not forgotten:
SL2 99 5speed
SL1 95 5speed
SL2 92 5speed
SL2 93 5speed
SL2 94 5speed
SL2 92 aut
SL1 95 aut
LS1 01 5speed

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Old 09-09-2012, 09:04 PM   #12
David 93 SL2m
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2004 VUE 2.2L
2007 ION-3 Sedan
Attention Re: How to change transmission fluid in VUE with manual transmission

Important update to this thread! pskidmore22 discovered on his 2006 VUE with the Ecotec engine and manual transmission there is a transmission filler cap in addition to the fill/check plug! So we can remove the transmission filler cap to add new transmission fluid.

We can remove the lower drain bolt to drain out the old transmission fluid, measure the amount that came out, replace the lower drain bolt, and add an amount of new transmission fluid via the filler cap location equal to the amount of old transmission fluid that drained out - and not bother with the upper check plug which requires an 8mm hex socket!

Or can remove the lower drain bolt to drain out the old transmission fluid, replace the lower drain bolt, remove the upper check plug, add new transmission fluid via the filler cap location until it begins spilling out of the upper check plug hole, and then replace the upper check plug.

Of course either way we'd need to replace the transmission filler cap.

There are pictures pskidmore22 posted for us here. If the folloiwing links fail then look at the pictures he posted for us in his area:
http://www.saturnfans.com/photos/sho.../ppuser/104032

A diagram with the transmission fill cap circled in red:
http://www.saturnfans.com/photos/sho...-trans/cat/548

A picture of the transmission fill cap. Note the brake reservoir is in bottom right and the transmission fill cap in the background on the left:
http://www.saturnfans.com/photos/sho...ll-cap/cat/548

A close-up picture of the transmission fill cap. Notice it has a symbol of a gear dipping in fluid:
http://www.saturnfans.com/photos/sho...ll-cap/cat/548

Sometime in the next month or two I will change my transmission fluid (again) using this transmission fill cap...!

...
Current
∙ 2004 VUE 124K
∙ 2007 ION3 112K
...
Past
∙ 1993 SL2 212K
∙ 1993 SC2 140K
∙ 1996 SC2 157K
∙ 1996 SC2 126K
∙ 2001 SC2, 145K
∙ 2002 L200 20K
∙ 2002 SL1 129K
...

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Old 09-10-2012, 04:35 PM   #13
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Default Re: How to change transmission fluid in VUE with manual transmission

Great writeup. To add to it:

Note that David removes the fill plug and then the drain plug. Do not reverse this. I had a long walk to the parts store after I removed the drain plug and then shattered my hex socket attempting to remove the fill plug. I noticed the plastic filler cap after I returned, of course.

Also, I have done this twice with the front wheels on the ground. I drive the Vue's front wheels on ramps and crawl underneath.

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Old 10-13-2013, 02:55 PM   #14
ShawnV
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2000 SW2
Default Re: How to change transmission fluid in VUE with manual transmission

Thanks! I just did my 2003 manual tranny. Great writeup! I would have never figured this out without your How-To.




Shawn

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Old 10-26-2013, 04:41 PM   #15
David 93 SL2m
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2004 VUE 2.2L
2007 ION-3 Sedan
Cool Re: How to change transmission fluid in VUE with manual transmission

This thread was a group effort so thanks need to go to everything that contributed to it.

...
Current
∙ 2004 VUE 124K
∙ 2007 ION3 112K
...
Past
∙ 1993 SL2 212K
∙ 1993 SC2 140K
∙ 1996 SC2 157K
∙ 1996 SC2 126K
∙ 2001 SC2, 145K
∙ 2002 L200 20K
∙ 2002 SL1 129K
...

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Old 02-08-2016, 02:43 PM   #16
saturn_vue_02
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Default Re: How to change transmission fluid in VUE with manual transmission

just wondering,is there a tranny filter? if so where,and your using atf in a manual tranny? i have an 02 vue 2.2 5 sp,just want to make sure i understand before doing this,its a great post

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Old 02-08-2016, 04:07 PM   #17
billysvue
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2005 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: How to change transmission fluid in VUE with manual transmission

no trans filetr on manual trans

...
'05 ,2.2L, FWD,5-speed stick with transaxle death rattle is history,,,
'17 Suby Forester

245216 mi. VUe is off to the dealer auction
I'm a secondhand vegetarian.
Cows eat grass, I eat cows.

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Old 02-14-2016, 02:33 PM   #18
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Default Re: How to change transmission fluid in VUE with manual transmission

very good post i did this today,everything was as stated in the post

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Old 02-14-2016, 03:49 PM   #19
cdes
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Default Re: How to change transmission fluid in VUE with manual transmission

One tiny thing: if you jack the car up at the designated jack points, don't use a block of wood or the bare floor jack. Get yourself some ice hockey pucks, cut a V-shaped groove across with a sharp knife or a hack saw, and put this between the jack and the Vue. This way you won't bend the chassis tabs and still have the Vue safely jacked.

...
'06 Saturn Vue 2.2L 5-spd Manual

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Old 02-14-2016, 10:59 PM   #20
billysvue
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2005 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: How to change transmission fluid in VUE with manual transmission

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdes View Post
This way you won't bend the chassis tabs and still have the Vue safely jacked.
WHere are you talking about?

Pretty much anywhere under the cradle is fair game.

...
'05 ,2.2L, FWD,5-speed stick with transaxle death rattle is history,,,
'17 Suby Forester

245216 mi. VUe is off to the dealer auction
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Cows eat grass, I eat cows.

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