Wow, I changed my own oil, and I can’t believe how easy it is! I did it! Whoo hoo!
…Well, it’s not like I have NEVER changed oil before, but, well, maybe I always had my boyfriend helping me? And once I did change a starter motor in my housemate’s Toyota, back in my college days, and YEAH I did have a 1963 International Harvester pickup when I was a young thing… and you had to clean out the fuel lines with a #2 knitting needle from time to time since I was too poor to keep gas in her and the gunk from the bottom of the tank would get in there….until some boyfriend or other installed an inline fuel filter, after giving up on trying to get me to keep the tank full….
But now I have no boyfriends hanging around. Well, I do, sort of, but, he’s not hanging around in the sort of way where he’s in my shop fixing things in an effective and timely manner. I guess you might call this a trial basis relationship. In other words, he’s a sensible man. A young buck might go rushing in to that workshop of mine, thinking about all the muscle cars he’s going to rebuild, and all the pies I’m going to cook. This guy realizes that if he sets foot in that shop, he’s going to have to go rock shopping.
Disclaimer: he did shovel the snow off my roof. So I’m kinda watching the situation to see how it turns out.
Additional disclaimer: I don’t need a fancy rock. One out of the San Juan River will work just fine.
Addendum: Lady mechanics, when your potential man starts talking about “keeping this in the moment”, start looking for another man.
(Sorry feminists, it’s just the reality of realizing how this thing really works.)
And by the way? Would you like to see an example of one of the two varieties of perfect text message conversations between a man and a woman?
I won’t show you an example of the second type of perfect text message conversation between a man and a woman.
Okay, back to the fun part, before I get everyone mad at me for being so entirely realistic about the male/female situation.
The first thing I had to do was make a list, so that I could assemble the needed materials.
This wasn’t just an oil change, as you can see by the list. I had a comprehensive problem on my hands: First of all, Prince Hopalong, the 1987 F-250 diesel truck, still won’t start.
The ignition just kind of stopped working last summer. So I Googled “How do you fix a broken ignition switch in a 1987 F-250 Diesel” and got this You Tube video:
Turns out there’s this actuator rod in there that broke, which is endemic on tilt steering Fords of a certain era, but, no worries, you can start up with a pair of pliers. You just take the housing off the top of the steering column and push a rod forward to start, pull it back to stop.
Thanks to my buddy above, the former boyfriend (You know, the one who ran into a turkey when driving Prince Hopalong and lunched the windshield) had been driving around for months using a pair of pliers to stop and start.
But now that’s not even working, because, I believe, the batteries are dead, since Hopalong has now been sitting in the cold for three months, right where the former boyfriend parked him.
So: a comprehensive plan of attack includes procuring a battery charger. Perhaps once the batteries are recharged, the pliers method of starting will work and I can finally get the windshield replaced.
The former former boyfriend also suggested I get some PB Blaster, since part of this three-pronged campaign is going to involve draining the water out of the water/fuel separator unit in Moby. There is a drain plug, and according to everything I have read online, it’s going to be corroded and a bitch to get out. I’ve ordered a new drain plug with a nifty little handle, and two fuel filters- one for the top of the engine line, and one for the separator under the truck itself. I’m not exactly looking forward to trying to figure out WHERE this separator unit is located- it’s called the HFCM, or Horizontal Fuel Something or other. Thing. Like. Unit. Supposedly, it’s under the truck between the driver’s side and passenger side floor. So the former former says, soak the plug in PB Blaster for a few days.
He also suggested I get the equivalent of HEET for diesel engines, to see if that would take care of the water in the fuel tank for the time being.
So the shopping list for today includes:
One 36 mm socket
One 19 mm socket
Ratchet drive for above
15 quarts oil for Moby
Motorcraft FL-2016 oil filter for Moby
Drain pan for oil
Bar of super dark chocolate
When it came time to get myself a drain pan at Wal-Mart, I noticed this groovy accessory (okay, so I’m a chick)- no fuss, no muss! Oil drains into the pan through the hole, you then screw on a cap, and you have a convenient carrying case to bring your oil to the transfer station for recycling! Love it!
Can I get some sponsorship here?
So, having assembled all my materials, I decamped back to the Lower Blanco and my workshop, and after throwing some hay to the horses, feeding the dogs, and stuffing a few pieces of pineapple into me (It’s on sale at City Market right now for 89 cents a pineapple if you have a City Market card!!!!) Out into the cold tundra I went again, hopefully not to get Moby stuck on that annoying cement apron in front of the workshop- ice forms on it, and it turns into a skating rink. You have to really go for it to get into the shop, and then just stay in your tracks on the way back out.
It really wasn’t that big a deal to change the oil! I just Googled “How do I change the oil in an F-250 6.0 L Diesel” and followed the instructions that I had written down from the You Tube video that I watched as a result of my internet scholarship. The biggest problem was getting the sockets disconnected from the plastic things that Sears used to hang them on the shelves. I finally had to punch them out with a screw driver. And I discovered that my oil fill cap was broken, and I couldn’t get it off, so, I decided to pour the oil in through the filter opening, which I hope isn’t such a big deal.
So for all you ladies out there, here’s the recipe for changing the oil in a 2003 6.0 liter F-250 Superduty Diesel:
15 quarts oil. *
1 oil filter: Motorcraft FL 2016 or equivalent
19 mm socket
36 mm socket
ratchet driver for sockets
oil pan large enough to hold 15 quarts oil
coveralls or equivalent
*PLEASE NOTE: There are a variety of opinions on which oil to use. In my opinion, the best oil is CLEAN OIL, however, you will want to ensure that your oil is going to start in the climate in which you live. Oils come in a variety of very confusing numbers, rather than names. I’m sorry, but this is just how men are. They seem to think it makes a lot more sense to call things F-250, or 10W-40. Perhaps the mystery of secret code names adds to the importance of the mission. To me, it would have made a lot more sense to name the oil “Below Zero Oil” or “If you live in Florida, get this one.”
Whatever. You guys know I love you.
So basically, if your oil rating starts with 10, you are good down to about zero degrees. A rating of 5 would have been better for me, since I live in SW Colorado, and it gets frigging COLD here! Turning over a big diesel engine full of gooey diesel oil is not good for the engine, and I’m not always near a source of electricity to plug in! However, I couldn’t find any 5W-40, so, I went with Motorcraft 10W-30. So be it.
Climb under the truck with your Uber Oil Pan and your 1/2 inch drive, equipped with your 19mm socket. Remember- lefty/loosey righty/tighty. Helpful tip: set up the ratchet to work the right way when you aren’t upside down under the truck. There’s a little lever on it you can switch so that it turns either left or right.
There are two possible places that might be where you drain the oil. This is scary. Do not fear. The 19 mm socket won’t fit on the wrong one, as near as I can tell. The one you want is the front one- it’s RIGHT under the engine. Position your drain pan, and loosen the plug. BE VERY CAREFUL THAT THE PLUG DOES NOT FALL INTO THE PAN! AND BE CAREFUL YOU DON’T LOSE THE LITTLE WASHER UNDER THE PLUG! You can re-use that washer, but you might want to inspect it to make sure it doesn’t have dirt and corrosion. You can just clean it off if it’s not that bad.
MAKE SURE that your drain pan will hold 15 quarts of oil! There will be a very scary moment in which it appears that the oil is going to run out of the pan! But, it will all drain in, just be patient. If you feel better having an extra pan and rags handy, bring them with you on your adventure.
Now, while the oil is draining, change out your 19 mm socket to your 36 mm socket. Climb back out and into the engine of the truck. Yes, into, we are tiny little things compared to these big beasts! Just be careful you don’t sit on the fan shroud, it can break.
You are going to loosen the oil filter cap. You’ll see it- it’s right in the back and on top of engine, to the right of the oil fill cap. It’s also about the only immediate thing that a 36 mm socket fits on, and it looks like the tin man’s cap. Loosen that puppy up, and unscrew the cap. MAKE NOTE: be very careful not to get dirt and grime inside that cap! You will want some clean rags to wipe out the threads, too, in case they seem dirty. Before you pull out the filter, though, let it drain a bit, halfway out. There’s a lot of oil in that filter!
Once it’s drained, you can conveniently put it in the cardboard box the new filter came in. Be careful, though- there’s a rubber O-ring (Yes, just like the space shuttle, and probably about as important) in the new filter box. You’re going to need that!
The filter is on a spring in the filter well, but it will pull off. The filter cap is attached to the filter, but it too will come off when you pull. It pops out of a clip. Don’t pull too hard, but, pull hard enough to get it off. You will now see the old O-ring on the cap, and you need to carefully take your flathead screwdriver and pry that off. Mine came off with my fingers. (Wear your latex gloves!) Take the new O-ring and slide it into place where the old one was. Take a little oil and rub it around the ring just to seat it in place. Set the clean filter in a clean place. We will return to it in a minute.
Now, re-equip your drive with your 19 mm socket. Get set up for turning the socket to tighten. Climb back under the truck and put the drain plug back in the oil drain pan. MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT CROSS THREAD IT! Start it first with your fingers, and if it seems like it’s not going in correctly, take the time it takes to pull it back out and clean it. There are solutions you can use to clean screw threads- but it should be just fine to use a little clean motor oil on it if there’s some grit, and then with a clean rag make sure it’s wiped and re-lubricated. Thread it back in. You can tighten it with a torque wrench if you want, but, I have no idea how to do that, so, I just tightened it to how it was when I took it off- I didn’t really horse it down, but, I made sure it was on there. DO NOT FORGET TO PUT THE PLUG BACK IN!
Climb back out from under the truck. Change out to your 36 mm socket. Set it up to tighten. Now, get your new filter, and, with your 36 mm wrench and the filter, climb back into the engine compartment. Oh, and don’t forget the oil. Open up your oil cans, get the safety seal off them, and then put the lids back on so they don’t spill. Bring those with you, plus a long funnel! It may take a few trips.
This is the point at which you SHOULD put the filter back into the well, but I didn’t, because I discovered that my oil fill cap was cracked, and I couldn’t get it off. I have to get a new one of those. Now what, I thought? There I was, with a truck with no oil in it, 20 miles out of town. Well, I poured the oil in through the oil filter well. I don’t know if you are supposed to do that, or not, but I did, and it seems to be okay. I figure it’s all going the same place, and so far, I have prevailed. But I do need to get a new oil fill cap.
There’s a dip stick to the right of the oil filter well. It’s HUGE. And long. And the handle will probably fall off when you pull it out. That’s okay. Just don’t get any dirt on it! Once you are about to 14 quarts, you should stop and let the oil drain down for a few minutes, and then check the level with the dip stick. You want the level to be between filled and empty- in other words, in the middle. There are a variety of technological reasons for this, I believe mainly to do with oil viscosity at differing temperatures. Maybe. I think I actually filled up just a little too full, but, I have also discovered an oil leak, so, we’re good. For now. Until I have to fix the leak.
Once you’ve got the oil level to your liking, slide the filter into the well, with cap on it. CAREFULLY thread that cap back onto the threads- again, no cross-threading! Tighten it down with the 36 mm drive- don’t horse it down, but make sure it’s in place. Again, a torque wrench and the knowledge to use it might be handy, but, ya gotta do what ya gotta do!
Wait a few minutes, then climb under the truck and MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE no oil is dripping out. I cannot stress this point enough. Why? Because I’m a space case and sometimes I forget to do stuff. Losing my engine due to my spaced out nature would not be a good thing. Running an engine without oil in it is a death sentence. Running an engine with dirty oil, or low oil, is also a death sentence.
Now, the really fun part! Close the hood, start your engine, and take a test drive!
Oh- and have some chocolate.
Don’t forget the chocolate!
Congratulations. You changed your own oil.
The cost? 15 qts oil, a filter, and your time.
Now, what was the mechanic going to charge you again?