DIY Oil Change ~ via Extraction

ALSO OIL FILTER BILLET CAP

go directly to:   Machined Aluminum Billet Oil Filter Cap          (Don’t Forget to) Reset Oil-Life Monitor
download + print oil change article – as a checklist (without any photos)
A good portion of the instructions + photos courtesy of  XtremeRevolution’s post (with permission)

Introduction

I’m not trying to suggest that extracting the oil is better than draining, which is the common method, but in many instances, it is easier, requires no lifting of the vehicle to gain access to the underside, less spillage, no crawling required, etc.  This article details the procedure for my preferred method of changing the oil (myself), even though I’ve entrusted the task to others on most of my previous vehicles over the last forty years.  The new kid that the dealership service department hires gets assigned washing cars and doing oil changes, and I don’t want them learning on my car. 😉

If I could count on the job getting done properly, along with seat, carpet and steering wheel protection covers, and not sending it through the car wash, I’d pay to have the job done for me.

SQUEEZE THE CAR

Supplies

Purchase of 4 quarts of oil recommended along with an oil filter cartridge:

Oil Grade Recommended: API Certified, FCA MS-12991 SAE 5W-40 Full Synthetic,
(example: Pennzoil Platinum Euro, $ rebate $)
Oil & Oil Filter Change Interval (shorter of ): 10,000 miles max. or ≈1 year or when the oil-life monitor indicates “Oil Change Due!” (the yellow maintenance wrench symbol also illuminates in your instrument cluster)
Oil Filter CartridgeMopar 68102241AA (or equivalent; includes new cap O-ring)

Total for me thru Amazon Prime (oil purchased in conjunction with the filter, as add-on items individually ($5.96 less rebate of $2 per quart), rather than the full-retail price of $8.96:

  • $3.96 x 4 + $8.09 = $23.93 retail

so why an oil change at the dealer goes from $19.99 (non-synthetic) to $89.99 (full synthetic) is beyond me, as I’m thinking they probably pay less than $10 wholesale for the oil and filter either way.

Tools

A quality vacuum fluid extraction device (that won’t leak or easily collapse) like Air Power America’s model 5060TS Topsider Multi-Purpose Fluid Removing System, ratchet wrench, 10 or 12 inch extension, and a 27 mm socket (1 116 inch or depending on the configuration of your socket, a 1 18 inch socket may also work) for the oil filter cap.

Preparation

The smaller of the 2 sizes of tubing that are included with the Topsider, they call the “suction probe”, and you will need to slide the rubber adapter (“spacer”) onto one end, so that it will  engage snugly into the larger tubing (“hose”) when you are ready to assemble them together.  It is a good idea to line-up the other end of that tubing with the end of your (wiped clean) dipstick, and using a Sharpie, draw a line on the tubing identifying the location of the O-ring seal on the handle of the dipstick.  This will help to eliminate a lot of guesswork, by giving you a good idea as to how far you’ve entered the suction probe into the dipstick tube (it should bottom-out on the oil pan around 2 inches beyond the Sharpie mark).

OK, now to put the rest of the Topsider together…

Topsider1

Topsider2a


Instructions

1. Assuming you’ve already come back from a ride to heat up your oil and let it cool somewhat, and you’ve already assembled your extractor system, and pumped 30 – 40 strokes to develop the optimum vacuum:

  • remove your dipstick and wipe it clean, before setting it down out of the way.
  • insert the suction probe into the dipstick tube.  I’ve noted that if your suction probe tubing has a curl to it (right out of the box), it may need some encouragement (using a twisting motion) about 12 inches in (I’m assuming that is where the dipstick tube meets the engine block), but after getting past that point, it will move freely until it bottoms out on the oil pan.
  • release the clamp and observe as the warm oil works it’s way into the can.  I observed that the lift height seems to matter, and that it has an easier time sucking up the oil, if the can is placed on the radiator in the engine compartment, rather than on the ground in front of the car.

2. Remove the purge valve solenoid wiring connector by first simply sliding the yellow locking tab down with your fingernail or a flat-head screwdriver, and then pushing the black tab in the middle towards the rear of the car, to allow dis-engagement of the connectors.   Another forum reader advised:

Don’t be too aggressive with the yellow locking tab though, as it will inevitably separate from the connector and fall into the bottom of the engine compartment, and because there is a belly pan, it will be quite difficult to retrieve.

From experience, I can also advise:

Don’t start the engine while the purge valve solenoid is disconnected, as it will result in a check engine light (CEL) and trouble code (DTC P0033) when you take off for a ride afterwards.  Fortunately, I was able to return home and use my OBD2 scanner to acknowledge the issue “turbo diverter valve disconnected”, and clear the code out of the ECU myself.  A 5-minute diversion, if that.

Now you can move that wiring out of the way.
oilchange3
oilchange4

3. Use your 27 mm socket with a 10 inch extension to loosen the oil filter cap a couple of rotations (counter-clockwise), so that it will drain nicely with minimal dripping as you pull it out later.  Note that there is an arrow on the top of the cap labelled “drain” that can be oriented at the lowest point to facilitate draining oil out of the filter cartridge as the cap is draining.
oilchange5

4. Allow the cap to rest on its edge for a few more minutes to allow any remaining oil to drip out of the filter, before unthreading it completely.
oilchange6

5. Don’t worry about the old cartridge falling off as you wiggle the oil cap out.  It is retained in the bypass valve (located at the bottom of the interior cavity) by 8 tabs, and you’ll have to intentionally separate it from that valve.

  • You shouldn’t need to remove the intake tube in order to pull the cap through; simply slide it toward the right near the coolant surge tank and press down on the coolant hose marked below, and it will clear.
  • If you have an aftermarket intake though, you’ll probably need to take the intake tube off.

oilchange7

6. Hopefully, the filter cartridge you ordered came with a replacement seal.  I’ve found the easiest way to replace them is to grab the seal and push the sides in with two fingers, causing the seal to buckle, at which point it’s easy to grab and slide off.  Although you are discarding the old cartridge, you might want to consider saving the O-ring, just in case the new one doesn’t seal as expected.
oilchange8

7. Place the new seal on the ridge marked below. This is important!
oilchange9

8. Install the end of the new filter with the tabs into the filter cap.  Some people have reported oil filter leaks, and to help prevent that, they have offered these tips:

  • Make sure the O-ring is free from kinks or damage.  You would be better off using the old one than a new, damaged O-ring.
  • It’s a good idea to use a rag to insure that the sealing surface on the engine where the filter cap screws in, is clean.
  • It also wouldn’t hurt to use your finger to lube the O-ring with some oil, to help prevent it from kinking as you tighten the cap.
  • The Service Manual states that the cap should be torqued to 18 ft.•lb. (25 N•m), but after it bottoms out, you risk distorting the O-ring, so you might be better off leaving it alone once it stops turning (using your wrench).
  • Make sure you don’t exceed the torque spec either, as you also risk cracking the plastic cap.  If you do crack it, the replacement part is Mopar 04892850AA; or you might consider a billet aluminum cap 😉 ; see more* below.

oilchange10

9. After hearing a gurgling sound resulting from all of the old oil having been extracted, remove the suction probe, replace the dipstick, and reinstall the oil filter and torque to 18 ft.-lb. (25 N-m is actually printed on the filter cap, which agrees with the service manual).

10. Reinstall the purge valve solenoid wiring connector snugly, and engage the yellow locking tab.

11. Even if you’re confident that you’ve extracted all of the old oil, an initial fill of 3½ qts. of new oil is advised, to avoid having to extract potential overfill.  Actually, we may find that the extraction method actually gets more of the old oil out, and that a ½ qt. will need to be added in the end, but still best to avoid overfilling.

40773049_2128684234065980_3095706169465896960_n

Europe does the oil proud, but it’s probably not $3.96 / quart either

12. Start engine, run for a few minutes (also good opportunity to inspect for O-ring seal leaks of the oil filter cap), shut off, check level and add as necessary to bring level close to “full”.  Many have reported in other forums, that 4 quarts brings the level halfway up in the hash marked area, but our dipsticks, which are different from those in the FWD engines, may be more accurate?

dipstickA


Don’t forget to reset the oil-life monitor!

13. To reset the oil-life monitor (regardless of whether the system displays “Oil Change Due!” or not), along with the oil change light wrench lite (regardless of whether it is  illuminated or not):

  • Ignition ON (not ACC)
  • Press accelerator pedal down (to the floor) 3X within 10 seconds
  • Ignition OFF

If not, you’ll later encounter annoying (and inaccurate) reminders, like Gary Fozzard (Europe vehicle) who had his oil changed, but the wrench wrench lite continued to illuminate because the dealer failed to reset the system….

oil change due

thumbs up.
Stand back and admire your work!  Then sit and drink a cold one….
You’ll drive with confidence, knowing the job got done properly!!!!
 

Regular caps are provided for the 2-gallon can, so that you needn’t transfer the used oil to yet another container, simply to transport it (at your convenience) to an oil-recycling drop-off facility (auto parts store, service station, etc.) for proper disposal.

XtremeRevolution brings up these points to consider as well:

    • Dealers charge an exorbitant amount for an oil change. The one by me charges $90. I can get three oil changes worth of better oil than they use for that price.
    • The top-down oil changes remove all but a few teaspoons of oil; effectively all of it. The argument that some oil is left behind is moot. The amount is negligible and inconsequential.
    • Some will claim that debris or residue ends up at the bottom of the engine. That is simply not the case with synthetic oils serviced at appropriate intervals.
    • I do a better job at it with more attention to detail than the entry level tech tasked with changing oil at the dealership.
    • The drain plug is annoyingly placed at the front, which means you can’t just raise the front of the car (or drive the front wheels on ramps); you have to have the car either completely level, or raise all 4 corners. Using this top-down oil change method makes the oil change process much simpler.
    • Conclusion: Aside from the expense of purchasing a good top-down oil change pump, I see no benefit to draining the oil the old-fashioned way, over the top-down way.


*    Machined Aluminum Billet Oil Filter Cap

GruvenParts has been machining these caps for many years now, as there seem to be many that are wary of extended use of the plastic caps, known to crack (overtightening?) after a few oil changes.  If you are considering switching over to a durable aluminum oil filter cap, make sure you don’t discard the OEM plastic cap without first rescuing the oil bypass valve located at the bottom of the interior cavity, as explained in this document, in order to install it into the new cap.

oil filter relief valve

By the way, filters (and caps) can be exchanged without first draining the oil, as the filter sits higher than the oil level within the engine.  Follow Steps 1 through 8, along with Step 10, if doing this independently of an oil change.

This was the only metal cap alternative that I was able to locate ($180 vs. $40 for the Mopar plastic version).  Anybody aware of any others?

 

5 thoughts on “DIY Oil Change ~ via Extraction

  1. I just wanted to credit and thank XtremeRevolution once again. His write-up and photos were of such high-quality, that I felt they should be the basis for my article, rather than starting over. I’ll be using the instructions as a guide while doing my first 124 Spider oil change any day now, even though my oil-life monitor has yet to inform me to do so, and I’ll add any notes that result.

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  2. I’ve added a few notes after following these instructions today, but regardless, all went well.

    For instance, a universal joint isn’t needed (I’ve heard that it is really helpful in the 500). Also noted that there is an arrow on the top of the cap labelled “drain” that can be oriented at the lowest point to facilitate draining oil out of the filter cartridge through a hole in the threaded section of the cap, as the cap is draining. I observed that the lift height seems to matter, and that the Topsider has an easier time sucking up the oil, if the can is placed on the radiator in the engine compartment, rather than on the ground in front of the car.

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  3. I added one additional note today resulting from a CEL I got yesterday as I went for a ride. Rather than “immediately take your car to your studio”, as the system advised me, I circled around back to my garage, recalling: I had forgotten to warm up the oil prior to my oil change, and realized this after I had already disconnected the turbo purge valve solenoid. I started the engine and let it run for a few moments and did notice that it ran rough, even though it was just idling.

    Don’t start the engine while the purge valve solenoid is disconnected, as it will result in a check engine light (CEL) and trouble code (DTC) when you take off for a ride a few days later.

    Fortunately, I was able to return home and use my OBD2 scanner to acknowledge the issue “turbo diverter valve disconnected”, and clear the code out of the ECU myself.  A 5-minute diversion, if that.

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  4. Hey, have you ever tried another filter like Wix 57341 or Mann 731/1 x?
    A user on the Fiat 500 forum seems to prefer Mann > OEM ~= Beck Arnley > Wix > Mahle.

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    • No, but I’ve only done one oil change in my Spider 😉 .

      “OR EQUIVALENT” covers a lot of territory, and the filters you mention probably all qualify. Wouldn’t be surprised if the Mopar filter is actually manufactured by Wix.

      I have observed that Fram is one brand that hasn’t been favored though, if they even make a compatible version.

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