DIY Oil Change ~ via Extraction


21st 124
go directly to:   Machined Aluminum Billet Oil Filter Cap & Oil Cooler Adapter Plate
(Don’t Forget to) Reset Oil-Life Monitor  wrench lite
Download + print oil change article – as a checklist (updated 3/25/2022; contains no photos)
A good portion of the instructions + photos courtesy of  XtremeRevolution’s post (with permission)


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, threading the filter and drain plug to the proper torque and not messing up the threads, using the correct oil (and not overfilling), reinstalling the belly pan properly with all nine bolts, using seat, carpet and steering wheel protection covers, and not sending it through the car wash, I’d be more inclined to have the job done for me.


fiat oil change

His rear wheels on ramps, then this… It can all be AVOIDED!! photo courtesy of Kevin Kidney


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, Mopar 05127394PC, or equivalent, such as:

  • Pennzoil Platinum Euro Full Synthetic 5W-40 ($ rebate $)
  • Quaker State Euro Full Synthetic 5W-40 (Shell Helix Ultra 5W-40, more commonly available in Europe ♦ MotoMaster Full Synthetic 5W-40, produced by Shell for Canadian Tire ♦ and this Quaker State, are all likely relabeled Pennzoil Platinum Euro oil, as parent company Shell owns these brands)
  • Total Quartz 9000 Energy 5W-40
  • Motul 8100 X-Cess Gen2 5W-40
  • Ravenol VST 5W-40
  • Havoline Pro-DS 5W-40
  • Redline Euro Series Full Synthetic 5W-40
  • Petronas K P.E. 5W-40 (certified to meet FIAT 9.55535-S2 ♦ more commonly available in Europe ♦ this is the same oil that the FIAT factory in Termoli, Italy fills each new Classica & Lusso engine with)
  • Petronas Selenia ABARTH 5W-40 (certified to meet FIAT 9.55535-GH2 ♦ more commonly available in Europe  ♦ also available labelled as Petronas Selenia Quadrifoglio 5W-40 ♦ this is the same oil that the FIAT factory in Termoli, Italy fills each new Abarth engine with)
  • AMSOIL FS Synthetic European 5W-40 (AMSOIL has not sought FCA certification, but officially guarantees that this oil is also a suitable alternative)

Note 1: Although Mobil has not sought FCA certification, they officially guarantee that their Mobil 1 ESP X3 0W-40 oil is also a suitable alternative.  I only mention this since, the others listed above may not be easily obtainable in some countries, and since some FIAT dealers in cold-climate regions are using Mobil 1, it is doubtful that FCA would fight this choice, should an oil related issue occur during the warranty period.

Note 2: In addition to lubricating your engine, the oil also plays a major function within the Multi-Air brick in individually controlling all of your intake valves(the ECU even has the oil temperature/viscosity parameters for the entire working temperature range of Pennzoil’s Platinum Euro oil, programmed in), so it is imperative that you adhere to the specified oil requirements, and not just find any ‘ol 5W-30 or 5W-40 oil that is convenient!  (quite likely in some quick-lube shops).


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 amber maintenance wrench symbol also illuminates in your instrument cluster, near tach 4,000 rpm)
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
➤ free shipping
➤ $5.96 per quart, less rebate of $2 per quart, rather than paying the full-retail price of $8.96

$3.96 ✖ 4 for the oil   $8.09 for the filter cartridge = $23.93

and that’s 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.


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

 ✚ $50.23

a ratchet wrench with a 10″ or 12″ extension
a 27 mm socket for the oil filter cap   (1 116 “, or perhaps a 1 18 ” socket may also work)

Total for my initial oil change was under $75


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…




[UPDATED 3/25/2022]

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 both the dipstick and the oil filler cap.  Wipe them clean, before setting them down out of the way (no where near the battery though).
  • 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.

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 in a couple of minutes.  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.

oil filter cap

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.

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.


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.

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

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.
  • If the oil filter cap falls on the floor, insure that the oil bypass valve that snaps into the bottom of the interior cavity, sits properly. Most people don’t even realize that extra piece is even there. I’m not sure what would happen if the assembly is installed with that valve misaligned; see more* below for photo.
  • 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.


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. Although the extraction method can potentially remove more of the old oil out vs. draining, and you feel confident that you’ve extracted all of the old oil out of the bottom of the engine, remember that the multi-air brick may be retaining up to a half-quart, so an initial fill of 3½ qts. of new oil is advised, to avoid having to extract potential overfill!


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

12. Replace the oil filler cap, start the engine, and run it 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?


thumbs up.


Don’t forget to reset the oil-life monitor & oil change light!  wrench lite

  • regardless of whether the system displays “Oil Change Due!” or not
  • regardless of whether the oil change light is  illuminated or not


13. To reset the oil-life monitor and oil change light:

  • 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 continued to illuminate because the dealer failed to reset the system (makes you wonder what else they forgot)….

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?

Machined Aluminum Billet Oil Cooler Takeoff Plate (Mocal TOP29)

TOP 29

For those wishing to replace the factory oil heat exchanger (shown below) with a larger remote aftermarket product, the TOP 29 may prove to be an ideal purchase.

11 thoughts on “DIY Oil Change ~ via Extraction

  1. I just wanted to credit and thank Andrei Pop (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.


  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.


  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.


  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.


    • 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.


  5. [In response to the update I made to the article regarding the equivalent oils that can be used instead of the specified Pennzoil (copied from my Oil Specs) – ameridan]

    Just a heads up: Mobil told me on the phone in April 2021 they have no oil which meets Fiat specs for 124s.

    Also: there is no doubt Abarths ship with the Petronas Selenia Abarth 5W-40 and Classica/Lusso with the Petronas Selenia K P.E. 5W-40. The respective European owner’s manuals state these are the original oils for the cars.


    • Thank you Tazilon.

      Now that I think about it on a new day (with some good coffee), it dawned on me that Fiat didn’t just ship a boatload of generic 1.4 L turbo engines – they were probably designated Fiat and Abarth engines (with the appropriate insignia – I think only the engine covers are different), so they very well could also have been filled with their designated oils too. So what oil do you suppose the North American Abarth engine has? 🙂

      I reworded the article (also the Oil Specs page) to concur, but for now I’m leaving my Mobil 1 and Amsoil notes alone.


    • European Abarths and Classica/Lussos have different specs for a valid reason: the Classica/Lusso engines are tuned for lower horsepower. Euro manuals specify MS-12991 and either the Fiat -S2 (if Classica/Lusso) or Fiat -GH2 (if Abarth), but US manuals only specify MS-12991. I would be wary of using the -S2 spec in a North American 124 of any type. In the US, the Classica/Lussos are tuned exactly the same as the NA Abarth. The 4 horsepower difference comes from the exhaust system. I would be willing to bet all NA models shipped with either the Abarth-spec oil or MOPAR 5W-40, however, unlike the Euro user guides, the NA guides don’t tell us what oil was used. As for Mobil 1, they have the 0W-40 which meets -S2, but have no oils which meet US specs.


      • Tazilon, thank you for your comment. Regarding your comment “European Abarths and Classica/Lussos have different specs for a valid reason: the Classica/Lusso engines are tuned for lower horsepower.”

        I don’t think European vehicles are tuned differently, but rather – Europe uses metric hp (vs SAE). With a bunch of math, you can put U.S. and metric horsepower in the same units. It looks like this (source: ):

        You don’t need to know all those calculations. Just know that German pferdestärke (PS) and Italian cavalli vapore (CV) translate to horsepower, but 1.4 percent less than the SAE horsepower at which cars are rated here.

        Same HP, just different units. And I also don’t think they are tuned differently regarding the 4 HP difference; just that less resistance in the exhaust plumbing results in that gain. And, as I recall, the NA user manual states that the engines are shipped with Pennzoil Platinum Euro Full Synthetic 5W-40. That is programmed into Delphi’s ECM.

        I don’t list the Mobil 1 as an equivalent oil – I simply note it as an ideal cold-climate alternative to 5W-40, should an approved oil be difficult to regionally source.


  6. I added a photo and link to the article for an oil cooler takeoff adapter plate for those wishing to replace the factory oil heat exchanger with a larger remote aftermarket product.


  7. I updated the printable checklist today to match the (updated) article content. It is also a pdf file now, rather than a doc file.


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