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Oil change from hell.

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Oil change from hell.

Unread postby PrivatePilot on Fri Mar 21, 2008 7:07 pm

I sometimes wonder if doing some of my vehicles basic maintenance myself is worth it anymore.

Since most of my winter driving on my 1 ton during the winter months is short commutes (about 7 miles to work) I change the oil very frequently to compensate for the fact that this sort of driving is harder on things.

The last oil change I had done at WalMart and was a "labour only" deal for $15 since the weather was crappy. So long as you supply your own oil and filter most Walmarts have this offer.

I buy my 15W40 oil in bulk and I bring my own filter, and they do the work. (They don't have any "packages" for diesel engines so you either bring your own supplies, of they charge you off-the-shelf prices for the oil and filter, plus the $15 labour and disposal fee anyways). In the end, buying bulk jugs of oil is cheaper and supplying your own is cheaper then paying the per-jug prices off the shelf.

Anyhow, being the frugal fool that I am (and with the weather being tolerable today) I decided I'd do an oil change this afternoon. It's usually pretty easy since there's enough clearance under my truck that I don't even need to jack it up - with a perfect set of circumstances last summer I could knock off an oil change in about 20 minutes start to finish on my truck.

First problem. Either I've put on weight, or my bulky winter work jacket was a bit too big, as I found I could barely get under the truck. Grr. The rust preventative application I had put on in the fall is still there, as greasy and slimy as ever, making things even more interesting.

So, drain plug off and oil draining. The wind is occasionally blowing the oil stream outside of my drain pans funnel, making a mess. Grrr again.

Oil draining...and draining...and draining. Still draining. Yes, still draining. Damn 15W40 at freezing temperatures flows only slightly faster then molasses. It literally takes about half an hour before the flow slows to a drip.

I un-wedge myself from under the truck and go inflate our minivans tires while I'm waiting.

Walking around dressed in a dirty work jacket with green rubber gloves on gets you funny looks from people walking past, I discover.

Finally done draining, I wedge myself under the truck again, replace the plug, of course getting oil all down my arm.

So, just spin off the oil filter now. One problem - it seems WalMart spun on my oil filter with a freakin' impact gun or something as there's no way in hell I can get it to turn.

Unable to find my strap oil filter tool earlier I rely to the good old "punch a hole in the filter" method. I punch a hole in the bottom of the filter first to let it drain, and of course the wind does it's deed again causing more of a mess.

After another decade it stops draining, so I punch a hole in the side and start turning. It loosens, and of course gushes another half liter of oil all over the place. For once, my oil drip pan actually catches everything. Yaaay for something going right on this oil change at least.

Pre-fill new oil filter and spin it on, all OK. I wiped up and surely made all sorts of grunting noises trying to get myself out from underneath the truck again. Neighbors kids are looking on with an amused look on their faces but run off to play when the oil-covered, green-vinyl-gloved, torn-dirty-and-greasy-work-jacket grunting beast emerges from under the truck.

Slip and fall into icy snowbank still on the side of our driveway. Kids didn't see that, thankfully.

Curse under breath.

Back on top I dig my funnel out of the garage. Balancing brand new and 100% full huge industrial sized jug of oil (which barely wants to flow) over small funnel proves difficult. Wind makes things more difficult not only skewing the stream, but moving the funnel on me at least once.

Small amount of oil now on intake manifold, water pump, and a few drips on the serpentine belt. WTF?!?!

Finally done. Started truck, oil pressure good, no squealing belt as expected.

Whew.

So, lets clean up. I get a bunch of empty windshield washer fluid jugs that I keep specially for storing used oil until I take it to be disposed of. Start pouring oil pan into one only to end up with oil all over the bloody place underneath it.

WHAT THE HELL?

Without a word of lie, I had picked up one of the jugs that I had cut the bottom out of (to make it into a funnel) and had tried to pour oil into it. Expectedly, it didn't hold oil very well.

I now feel like a complete tool. And I've got a mess to clean up. Thankfully most of it was caught by a recycling bin I had underneath the jug, but now *that's* full of oil as well.

Find more empty jugs, empty oil pan.

Get gas can, soak rag in $1.20 ($4.50/Gallon) gasoline, clean up the Exxon Valdez oil disaster I've created.

All done, clean up the mess I made cleaning up.

Finally done.

All this to save $15.

Next time, I'm goin' to WalMart. :-)
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Re: Oil change from hell.

Unread postby Zinger on Fri Mar 21, 2008 7:12 pm

WOW!! Try a very large pair of channelock pliers for oil filters they are 1 size fitsall.
Have a good one
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Re: Oil change from hell.

Unread postby Justardnck on Fri Mar 21, 2008 7:59 pm

WOW! That's one hell of an experience
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Re: Oil change from hell.

Unread postby Zinger on Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:06 pm

murphys law I guess.
Have a good one
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Re: Oil change from hell.

Unread postby jp rver on Sat Mar 22, 2008 5:01 am

Yeah some of my oil changes are messy, others are a piece of cake. I think it has something to do with the alignment of the planets or something. ;)

One thing I do before I start an oil change is start the engine and let it run for just a few minutes right before I drain the oil. Usually about five minutes is all it takes for the engine to warm up a little and for the oil to flow faster. I don't let the engine run much longer than that because then the exhaust and other surfaces begin to get hot which of course can lead to burns or even a fire if you spill oil on the hot exhaust. Then I let it sit long enough to drain back into the oil pan, remove the plug and start draining. If it is really cold outside, I put my new oil containers someplace warm (i.e. heated) for a while before I start so it flows better as well.

However you have a couple factors that I don't, you live much farther north than I, and you have a diesel engine. Both of those will likely increase the time it takes your engine to warm up and thin the oil.

Good luck with your next change! :D And if you have it done a Wal-Mart, keep a close eye on them.
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Re: Oil change from hell.

Unread postby PrivatePilot on Sat Mar 22, 2008 12:54 pm

There's a trade off to running the engine first - more oil will end up spread throughout the engine instead of sitting in the pan.

Unless you let it sit for 20 or 30 minutes after running (undoing most of the heatup to begin with) you can actually end up getting less oil out of the engine. I noticed this with my diesel - when I change the oil after it's sat overnight I end up with much cleaner looking oil on the dipstick after the first post-oilchange startup, but when I ran it first before changing the oil I observed that the dipstick oil was almost jet black again immediately after the change.

Although that's not uncommon on diesels, it did give me an indication that running it first was distributing alot of the old oil around the engine, in turn getting less out of the pan.
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Re: Oil change from hell.

Unread postby jp rver on Sat Mar 22, 2008 2:20 pm

That's true for sure, but in my gassers the amount of old oil still up in the engine must be very miniscule as when I refill with the proper amount of new oil I don't show over full on the dipstick when finished. So the amount left in the engine must surely be just a few ounces (or milliliters for you metric folks :D ).

I haven't changed the oil in a diesel with the exception of a couple diesel farm and lawn tractors where I used to work so I can't say I have any experience with a diesel pickup as far as how much oil would remain in the engine after running for a few minutes.
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Re: Oil change from hell.

Unread postby Zinger on Sat Mar 22, 2008 2:23 pm

I switched to amsoil with the mileage I put on they reccomend a yearly oil change it did lower fuel consumption by 1mpg and the engine does run cooler .
Have a good one
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Re: Oil change from hell.

Unread postby Hannibal on Sun Mar 23, 2008 9:45 am

Reminds me of once a while back while changing the oil in my daughter's car with her chattering like a mynah bird all the while. New filter on and pouring the new oil in and she says, "daddy, something's not right". Big puddle of oil spreading out from under the car. Had to install the oil plug, clean up a mess and go buy some more oil. At least it got a good flushing!
Dodge was kind enough to put the oil filter on my Hemi powered Ram in the same location as it was on my Cummins powered Rams. Easy to get to and straight up so it only dumps enough oil to reach my armpit when I loosen it. With my Cummins Rams, if I let it sit a couple of hours after running during the day, enough oil would drain from the filter that it didn't lose any when I loosened and removed it. But I remember my first change on my '95. I bought a 15qt pan, 3 gallons of 15w-40 Premium Blue and a Fram filter. Didn't know yet of the Fram and Wix filter fiasco. Pulled the plug with the pan underneath and 11qts of warm oil proceeded to splatter everywhere but down the hole in the middle of the pan. I didn't realize how fast 11 qts of oil would exit the large drain plug hole. Lesson learned. From then on I held the plug at the hole to regulate the flow. Even the Hemi with only 7 qts of oil has a large plug and needs to be regulated to prevent splattering out of the pan.
Me not being a trusting soul, it's worth it to do it myself until I absolutely can't...
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Re: Oil change from hell.

Unread postby skipnchar on Sun Mar 23, 2008 10:08 am

I'm at that stage in my life where I tend to hire a LOT of my maintenance items done. I still do oil changes and a few other light stuff and yeah, I get in trouble once in a while. Biggest problem is remembering where I laid down my wrench or screw driver LOL. If I had someone standing around JUST to keep track of stuff most items wouldn't take long at all. Problem is that I've let things get away from me. I used to build racing engines for dragsters, super modified stock cars and sprint cars and when I open the hood now-a-days there are things in there I can't even identify LOL.
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Re: Oil change from hell.

Unread postby PrivatePilot on Sun Mar 23, 2008 11:24 am

I just couldn't believe how bad something that should have been such a simple task turned into an ordeal. The oil spill was my crowning achievement, and boy, did I ever feel stupid pouring oil into a jug with no bottom. Duh. :)

I'm thinking about replacing the injectors on my 6.5TD and even that (despite many assuring me it's fairly straightforward on the GM6.5) makes me shudder a little.
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Re: Oil change from hell.

Unread postby Cobra909 on Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:15 am

Just sittin' hear reading the original post with a S.E.G. on my face knowing that I've "BTDTBTS"...until

"Without a word of lie, I had picked up one of the jugs that I had cut the bottom out of (to make it into a funnel) and had tried to pour oil into it. Expectedly, it didn't hold oil very well."

That's when I lost it! :lol: :lol: :lol:

At least I don't have the snow to deal with down here.
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Re: Oil change from hell.

Unread postby Carolina Cruiser on Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:31 pm

I used to change the oil in our vehicles as well. Then it became like putting together the childrens bicycles, and other riding toys. It probably added years to my life from the stress reduction that can come along with exactly what you are talking about happening. I just pay the money now and let them worry about it. I would have loved to see the look on your face when the oil was coming out of the bottom of that jug.
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Re: Oil change from hell.

Unread postby Carolina Cruiser on Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:31 pm

I used to change the oil in our vehicles as well. Then it became like putting together the childrens bicycles, and other riding toys. It probably added years to my life from the stress reduction that can come along with exactly what you are talking about happening. I just pay the money now and let them worry about it. I would have loved to see the look on your face when the oil was coming out of the bottom of that jug.
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Re: Oil change from hell.

Unread postby ReedMan on Tue Apr 01, 2008 1:16 pm

This was great! (Not for you of course) I could almost see you falling in the snow. Thanks for the laugh. Now I know that I'm not the only one.

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Re: Oil change from hell.

Unread postby The Wood Tinker on Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:47 pm

Let us know next time you go to work on the old truck....I'd pay $15 just to watch!
Thanks for the laugh and sorry bout the trouble.
I gave up doing my own oil some time ago....it just isn't worth it any more. 8-)
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Re: Oil change from hell.

Unread postby jp rver on Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:07 pm

Well, I just got finished trying to change the oil in my Ram, and had an "oil change from hell" experience as well! As soon as it happened, I thought of this old thread and had to share my sad story. :cry:

Everything went fine, (or so I thought), until I re started the truck to check for leaks. I fired her up, and waited a few seconds for the oil pump to pick up and the oil pressure gauge to register. Okay, pump picked up, then I step out of the truck to look underneath and all of my freshly replaced oil is gushing out of somewhere, and FAST!!!! By the time I get back in the truck to shut it off, the gauge is fluttering and the oil light is lit once again. So after a few choice words and some investigating, I determine the oil is leaking from the new oil filter. Wow, that's the first time I had that happen. When I remove it, I realize why. The old gasket from the old oil filter didn't come off when I removed it and the new gasket and old gasket combined didn't make for a very good seal. The new filter gasket is now also deformed from the mishap, so it looks like tomorrow I will be doing another oil change on the truck with 5 MORE quarts of oil and ANOTHER new filter. So, whatever money I thought I saved on this oil change has been spent in materials. :evil: I guess the planets weren't aligned correctly for me this evening. :cry:
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