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Old 10-02-2009, 03:19 PM
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Oil change nuisances

Okay, we have 2 daily drivers, and until our 2 children are old enough that they can hang out in the garage without being scared by power tools or taking off down the sidewalk for the fun of being chased, I'm working less on the cars I want to work on and the only time I work on cars is when it's maintenance on the cars we drive.

So earlier this week it was time for the oil changes. We have a Toyota Yaris and a Chrysler Pacifica. And in my opinion, maintenance as common as an oil change on any car, let alone one that's less than 3 years old as both of these are, should be pretty straightforward. Because that's not how it goes, I'll be venting my frustrations today.

First of all, I have to say that it's annoying that a Japanese car uses English sizes for the oil drain plug and the American car uses metric. Minor rant, but there's more and I'll get back to that.

Second... What the heck is with the unavailability of stuff for this Toyota Yaris. I don't worry about the fact that I have to special order the air filter, where I'm driving it doesn't get dirty... It would be nice if something I'm supposed to be changing regularly was on the shelf, and it was more needed when I first got this thing and drove regularly through the Rouge complex in Dearborn, and the price is just wrong for this thing - I should be able to get a K&N filter for the price of this thing.

But this is about my oil change earlier this week. The oil filter on this stupid Yaris is this dinky thing for which none of the oil filter sockets fit. None of them. And like most cars these days, there isn't access to properly fit any universal oil filter wrench on it and turn it, and the slip jaw type universal oil filter wrench (pliers) have to go on at an angle that's only good for getting them to slip to a larger setting.

So sometimes changing my oil filter I get lucky, since getting it tightenned to the number of turns it's supposed to be can be done by hand, sometimes I can get it off by hand. Other times, I usually squeeze, dent and sometimes puncture the can. This time, it was one of those where I had to pound a screwdriver through the side to get enough leverage to loosen it.

Third... The Pacifica. This is the first oil change after the car went over its 36000 mile waranty, and between oil changes I heard valve rattling and had to add 3 quarts. This thing takes 6 quarts, which I put in, but when I poored the old oil out of the pan and into the empty bottles to take to the store for recycling, I had 2 quart bottles that weren't quite full. Last I checked, this isn't a diesel, so what in God's holy name could cause 7 quarts of oil consumption (no, not leaking, the driveway's clean) between oil changes? I'm sure the EPA's emissions regulations are somehow at fault, and it will be my pleasure to defeat them if doing so can keep my wife's car from dying prematurely due to oil starvation.

And forth, again on the Pacifica, 13 mm wrenches on drain plugs of an American car are just right for misleading you into thinking that maybe that 9/16" wrench you just used on your Toyota oil drain plug might work when a 1/2" wrench clearly doesn't and your metric wrenches have been distributed into unknown caverns within the open body panels of a halfway started roof swap on a '55 Mercury because you let the 3 year old pretend to work on the car with the wrenches you aren't using at the time.

So, this time the end result was that the well tightenned oil drain plug did not come loose and prefered to make adjustable wrenches, thanks to a well tapered turning of the corners, slide off. The 6-point sockets did the same thing thanks to the bad angle at which they had to be used because of the proximity of a frame crossmemeber that paid no regard to standard packaging envelopes I know as an engineer I've had to maintain on less frequently loosened fasteners.

Taking a grinder to the only side of the drain plug I could access to try to grind a flat, using my well learned techniques from removing stubborn bolts of age 4 or more decades and which should in my opinion never be necessary on a car not yet old enough to be out of warranty... The flat I was able to grind was again not enough to get a good grip with an adjustable wrench enough to turn it.

Finally after the kid went to bed I got out the air chisel and was able to loosen the bolt with a flat bit applied to one side of the flat I had ground.

With the oil drained, I put in the new drain plug I had bought, and I got out the new 13 mm wrench I bought to tighten it at the same time... Only to find out the new drain plug required a 14 mm wrench. At least the larger head will mean it's less prone to being over stressed from the simple act of tightenning and loosening it. And will more closely match the 9/16" wrench which I'll have in hand after changing the oil on the Toyota.

I wonder if the head on Toyota's drain plug is actually 14 mm?

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Old 10-02-2009, 06:02 PM
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Rx

After carefully reading this, I recommend you see your family Doctor, they have pills now that will cure all of the forementioned problems.
olnolan
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Old 10-02-2009, 06:25 PM
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Tough, buy American next time.
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Old 10-02-2009, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OLNOLAN
After carefully reading this, I recommend you see your family Doctor, they have pills now that will cure all of the forementioned problems.
olnolan
there may be support groups also but I imagine you'll have to fly to Japan for those sessions

it took me longer to read that than it does to change the oil in my Chebbie and I have to use ramps to do it - - -

hey, Slip, please know that we're yankin' yer chain tonight, nothing personal, ok?
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Old 10-02-2009, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Henry the 32nd
Tough, buy American next time.
Try a Ford Fusion sometime...........
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Old 10-04-2009, 02:44 PM
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Sounds like your problem was you needed a 13 mm socket (which a 1/2 will fit) and maybe you moved up to a 9/16" which rounded it off. 9/16" is just a bit bigger than 14 mm.

IN any event, sorry for the bad luck. I wanted to let you know one thing, however. My wife's car is a ford escape, again with the 6 quart pan. Before we got together she had the oil changed at the local moron-lube. I'm pretty sure they just dumped 4 quarts in it, because it was really low when I changed the oil (to the tune of about 2, 2.5 quarts) and she hadn't driven over mileage. The car does consume about .5 quarts between changes, but nothing to that extent. It would be a shame if your motor had some wear because the idiots that were working on it before you think that every car has a 4-quart pan.

And that's why even when there's a good deal on tire rotation, oil change or what have you I always just do it myself. Its not the money I really mind, I just don't want some guy who doesn't care as much about my car as I do messing with it...

I'm sure most guys on here feel the same.

K
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Old 10-04-2009, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poncho62
Try a Ford Fusion sometime...........
nah, how about a 3.0L V6 Ford Ranger
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Old 10-05-2009, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry the 32nd
Tough, buy American next time.
Are you saying that Windsor (where the Pacifica was built) is not part of Detroit?

Well... Actually, I know it's not... You can, and many people do, live with your doors unlocked in Windsor whereas on the other side of the river...

But I'm sure anything built in Windsor is pretty likely to use a lot of Rouge steel.

Or perhaps you refer to the Pacifica being a joint Daimler-Chrysler product, thus it's a product of the so-called merger of two equals. Which is to say, water and oil could probably be considered equals, that doesn't mean that mixing them is either a good idea or something that will work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by killerformula
Sounds like your problem was you needed a 13 mm socket (which a 1/2 will fit) and maybe you moved up to a 9/16" which rounded it off. 9/16" is just a bit bigger than 14 mm.
Actually I did start with a 1/2 them went to an adjustable. If I may start getting technical, short of looking up the ANSI standard, I can speculate that the .011" difference between 1/2" and 13 mm could be enough to mean a 1/2" will fit a pure 13 mm hex. But the head of a bolt being cold headed, 0 degree draft being something that might get the head stuck in the forming tool, I'd guess that there is some taper on the hex and that taper might mean that a 1/2" wrench doesn't go on all the way - which is what seemed to happen, and how I turned corners with a 1/2" wrench.

The real problem is that my 2 kids get more time to play with my tools than I do, which makes for tools that are in unknown locations, but that's a choice I've made and one I'm happy with. If they're losing tools for me now, then that means to me that some day when they have the attention span to understand some mechanical basics rather than just finding the noises you can make by hitting one thing with another amusing. I mean, it's great seeing them imitate you - our son at one point decided on his own to crawl under his ride-on vehicle to work on it.

Quote:
IN any event, sorry for the bad luck. I wanted to let you know one thing, however. My wife's car is a ford escape, again with the 6 quart pan. Before we got together she had the oil changed at the local moron-lube. I'm pretty sure they just dumped 4 quarts in it, because it was really low when I changed the oil (to the tune of about 2, 2.5 quarts) and she hadn't driven over mileage. The car does consume about .5 quarts between changes, but nothing to that extent. It would be a shame if your motor had some wear because the idiots that were working on it before you think that every car has a 4-quart pan.
Yeah... I was the one who did the previous oil change, so I knew I'd put in 6 quarts at the time.. And when I had to add 3 quarts between changes aside from how short it was when I changed it last week, I knew that even if I'd somehow just put in 4 and assumed it was full I probably would only be 2 quarts short, not 3...

But it's interesting you bring up Ford Escape because that's what my wife had before that, and I definitely didn't have these problems on that car. I did take it in for its first oil change, and I was suprised when the price was based on 6 quarts because I just don't get how something with less engine displacement than anything made in the '50's can need a larger oil capacity. Well, I guess I could think about it and come up with a reason, but it isn't intuitive.

Quote:
And that's why even when there's a good deal on tire rotation, oil change or what have you I always just do it myself. Its not the money I really mind, I just don't want some guy who doesn't care as much about my car as I do messing with it...

I'm sure most guys on here feel the same.

K
Which brings to mind another point. I tried rotating tires on the Toyota. Getting the lug nuts wasn't a problem, and being a low end car I don't have aluminum wheels, I have steel, but I could not get the wheels off of the rotors (front) or drums (rear).

I've seen difficult to remove drums on 40 year old cars, I once pulled a drum that was so fused to the hub on a rear axle that it was concave by about an inch, but what chemical composition of steel and/or powdercoating is seriously supposed to bond somethign that should be so serviceable that I can take a wheel, loosen the lug nuts, and the wheel bonds to the brake disc/drum well enough to stay bonded driving and slamming on the brakes on a sloped driveway?


Here's the real bottom line for me. By the time I got my driver's license, I had my second car - A '55 Ford, and by the time I started driving it I had to do some work on it even though I drove it home. By the time I graduated from high school, I'd rebuilt the engine, brakes, welded in a front frame crossmember, patched a hole in the floor, reupholstered it, repainted it and upgraded the Mainline trim to Fairlane. I was a DIY mechanic before I was an engineer, and my career aspirations were originally for aerospace, but going into automotive was natural and it was kinda a mission for me that my role as an engineer would be that where I had design responsibility, that design would be done smartly in ways that my experience working on my own cars told me was done stupidly - serviceability being a big design problem I have with cars these days, but there's more than that.

And as much as I'd hate to stray from the original point, it natuarally leads me to this. I find it sad that people don't... I don't know, care I guess is about as good of a word as I can think of even though it doesn't quite seem to be the right word... about cars. On one hand I mean inside the industry, I knew many people that know, enjoy and understand cars, but I knew many who didn't. In my crazy opinion, while I was in the auto industry I shouldn't have known anyone at work that didn't at least know and understand cars, and at least like them...

And I worked some with Toyota. Toyota's advantage is discipline, yes, but I disagree with the idea that American carmakers need to do what Toyota does to succeed - but that's what the push is, and it neglects American strengths to try to do what isn't culturally in the American character, and thus will always be inferior to the same thing from Japanese automakers where it is in their cultural character to be disciplined.

Okay... I'm sure at this point I'm not making any sense. Let me try to explain some of what I mean.

Toyota's mentality that is diferent than American car makers is that they do a solid job of designing a car up front, then after that they build it. They build a car without changes for longer. They don't assign design engineering resources to the car after it launches. The car doesn't launch until it's right. There is not a team that owns the car, then works on fixing the things that are wrong when it launches or tries to design out cost or comes out with distinctions for subsequent model years to re-energize the sales. Consider how long a Toyota Corolla has been a Toyota Corolla vs. how long a Chevy Malibu has been a Chevy Malibu for example.

So Toyota's execution of design is great, but frankly American design is more dynamic and that is where the American auto industry's first focus should be - on its strength. I don't think there's anything wrong with American carmakers improving execution, but it's not our strength and shouldn't be at the expense of what is our strength. I think I may be too much of an insider to really objectively judge whether or not it has.

Let's talk about a subject I know... Chevy SSR. Probably a subject that is bigger than I can get into in a single post. But the problem with the program was that it was a good concept that had too many people to please. A sportscar is a sportscar, but a hotrod is something different and a production hotrod is what SSR tried to be.

I think any time you do something like take an existing frame, cut it and weld it back together, it's fair to say that you're engaged in a serious customization project. SSR is built on a Trailblazer frame that's shortenned a few inches. The frame was literally taken from Trailblazer production, cut spliced and welded.

SSR was overweight, and it was launched underpowered - by the time the upgrade was released in 2006 it had the disintrest that comes with an overweight underpowered car, which might not have been so bad if it was launched as just an overweight car that wasn't underpowered.

And professionaly built hot-rods are expensive for the same reasons SSR was expensive, production methods that make high volume cars cheap cost a lot, and are only cost-effective because they can be spread out over a large number of sales... So in low volume production, you either have high volume methods that have low volume across which to spread capital cost or you have more costly low volume production methods... People expected more from a car that cost nearly as much as a Corvette.

Maybe SSR might've done better if it at least had the attraction of being unique, but therein also was a failure because more was made than could be sold, thus by the time it was a car worth having, it was dead.
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Old 10-06-2009, 11:58 PM
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I can get the oil+filter changed in my van and car for $29 each, I can't even buy the oil and filter for that. Not to mention then I have to dispose of the old oil after.

Does anyone still change their own oil anymore? My suggestion, get rid of your jackstands and tell the wife to take it in...best move I ever made.
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Old 10-07-2009, 06:42 AM
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I stock up on oil when I see that it's on sale. I can do an oil change for less than half of that $29. It takes me less time to do it myself than it would to drive to/from the oil change place and no waiting. Time is the main factor for me. I don't want to waste time on going to an oil change place on the weekend when I'd rather be doing other tihings. I can change to oil at 10pm at night after work or when ever I want.
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Old 10-07-2009, 11:37 AM
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all the modern toyotas take a 14mm. preferably a 6 point wrench or socket is what i recommend for removing the oil drain plug.as well as a 6 point 13mm for the chrysler.
as far as oil changes go, i do my own and buy the 15.99 specials through the local auozone or advance parts stores. i work in a transmission shop and just bring my waste oil in with me, with the container/s that the new oil came in, simple enough.
with as intelegent as you definitely seem to be with the limited experience of actually working on cars and having your kids loose your tools, i agree with what others said and recommend that you take it to someone more qualified.
less hasle and more than likely more efficient.
i worked for a toyota dealership and for the most part, the techs i worked with were quite good at their job, and with the coupons and time guarantee that toyota has (29 minutes, includes multipoint check) can save some of the repair burden yourself and give you more time with your family.
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Old 10-07-2009, 11:58 AM
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My wife's Escape - super easy to change the oil - tho you do have to buy 6 quarts for the 5.5 quart system (who had that bright idea??). On the 3.0 V6 you do drizzle some oil on the exhaust that seems to drip and smell for a week. 15mm wrench. Now, if you want an oil bath, do my F350 with a V10. It takes a 14mm wrench. Not bad - right - wrong!! I have yet to change the oil (hot of course ) and regardless of where I put the drain pan, I still end up oiling down the LF tire 3 feet away with the stream.

Pay to have someone change the oil? My tightwad Scottish 25% says no! The local Ford dealer is ~$45 for my F350 ($40 for the Escape) and he uses Citgo oil and a Wix filter. I use 7 quarts of 5W-20 or 30 Motorcraft Semi Syn and an FL820S Motorcraft filter from Wally World for about $22 and the waste oil goes to the local transfer station's tank for recycling.

When it's drained, the dip stick usually shows about a half quart down, but can only fill 5 to 5.5 quarts worth - normal, I guess

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Old 10-08-2009, 07:03 AM
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It`s kind of a funny thing, my chevy truck which has a 4.3 V6, I still do the oil changes. When I go to change the oil it`s always about 2 quarts low. Even so it doesn`t smoke, has no leaks, and there is no sign of oil on any of the plugs. Makes me wonder since they reformulated the new oil without the anti wear additives if some of the stuff just evaporates. Not long ago I found a quart of 20w 50 Castrol GTX oil in the shed, it`s been in there well over 10 years so it`s the good stuff, still has all the anti-wear stuff in it. I poured some of it in the lawn mower and noticed it was a lot darker than the new oils are. The oils we get now are almost clear.
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Old 10-09-2009, 04:32 AM
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Buy American

I agree with Henry the 32nd, BUY AMERICAN
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