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Changing the Alt Belt
Changing the Oil
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October 17, 2002: This weekend I changed my oil and decided to take pictures and add it here for all of you. I need something to flesh out this website anyhow. Essentially I change my oil right around every 3000 miles. It goes like this: when I go around a corner, and the oil light goes on, I add a quart. The second time this happens, I change the oil. Beleive it or not, it actually ends up right around when it should. You want to change your oil while it is warm - but let your car cool first; scalding hot oil is not the best feeling in the world. First things first though - saftey. I put the car up on ramps so I can get under it, and I toss a 2 by 4 under the rear tire to keep it from rolling down.

   

Here is what you are looking for under the car - the blue thing is the oil filter, and on the bottom of the motor is the oil pan. There is a nut in the oil pan - this is what you will need to remove first to drain the oil. This car took a 9/16" wrench. I loosen the nut, and then take it the rest of the way by hand. Make sure to have a container to catch the oil underneath - and make sure not to drop the nut in the container.

   

I usually eat dinner while letting the oil drain, or I go find something else do around the garage. Once it has drained, I put the nut back in and tighten it. As my dad says, you are the one that has to take it back out, so only put it as tight as you want. Next is to remove the oil filter. I use a metal cup made for my oil filter size and attaches to a socket - this is a piece of cake when compared to some of those oil filter wrenches. Again, I loosen it and finish by hand. The filter will leak over the edges when it gets loose enough; it is also full of oil - be careful if you don't want a mess.

   

Once the filter is off, check the top of the filter for a rubber gasket - you'll see in the pics below what I'm talking about. The first pic is the old oil filter, missing the gasket. The second pic is the gasket after I pulled it off the motor. Not only check the filter, but check the recepticle on the motor also - you do not want two rubber gaskets on the motor.

   

Now it's time to prep the new filter - make sure it's the same as the old one, and oil the ring on this filter before installing it. Just put it back in the car. When it comes to tightening, I've heard go hand tight, and then a half turn more. Again remember: you have to pull it back off later.

   

Now go get your oil of choice - I use conventional Valvoline 10w40. It is completely up to you what brand you choose. Now is the question: what to do with your old oil. We have a recyling station about a half hour from our house; to far to go to every time we change the oil. Instead, we use an old kerosene can (5 gallons) and fill it up, and then empty it out there when it's full. We used to keep oil in milk jugs, but we had several bust open, and we got into the habit of not taking them in - before we got rid of them all, we counted 47 of them!

   

Look under the hood. On one of the valve covers, there is a cap - usually marked with the words oil. Take it off. Now upend one quart of oil like so - it's a skill not to dump it over the side of the motor. You can always use a funnel if you feel so inclined. Add five quarts, making sure each drains for a while, and then put the cap back on. Start it up and make sure there are no catestrophes or leaks, and then call it a day.

   

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