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Thread: Stupid oil filter location

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Stupid oil filter location

    A few weeks ago, my father in law was here; he drove up in his early '90s Caddy (Sedan de Ville). This car has the 4.1 liter V-8, mounted transversely.

    I did an oil change for him and enjoyed the treat of dealing with an oil filter that's mounted right on top of the engine and awkward/hard to access, the perfect set-up for spilling dirty oil all over during removal.It also sits semi-horizontally on its mounting boss, so when you remove the full-of-oil- filter it's easy to make a big mess.

    A trick I picked up years ago to avoid this is to get a Ziploc plastic bag or equivalent and slip that thing on the filter immediately after you've loosened it enough to turn out by hand. (Be sure to first drain the crankcase as this will also help limit the mess at the filter end.) The bag does a good job of catching most of the slop that would otherwise spill all over the engine (and your garage floor).

    Another thing you can do is drill a hole in the side of the filter body and catch most of the old oil before you actually remove the filter. Just be very careful about what you're drilling (stay away from the mounting boss).

  2. #2
    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    A few weeks ago, my father in law was here; he drove up in his early '90s Caddy (Sedan de Ville). This car has the 4.1 liter V-8, mounted transversely.

    I did an oil change for him and enjoyed the treat of dealing with an oil filter that's mounted right on top of the engine and awkward/hard to access, the perfect set-up for spilling dirty oil all over during removal.It also sits semi-horizontally on its mounting boss, so when you remove the full-of-oil- filter it's easy to make a big mess.

    A trick I picked up years ago to avoid this is to get a Ziploc plastic bag or equivalent and slip that thing on the filter immediately after you've loosened it enough to turn out by hand. (Be sure to first drain the crankcase as this will also help limit the mess at the filter end.) The bag does a good job of catching most of the slop that would otherwise spill all over the engine (and your garage floor).

    Another thing you can do is drill a hole in the side of the filter body and catch most of the old oil before you actually remove the filter. Just be very careful about what you're drilling (stay away from the mounting boss).

    I have dealt with those engines before. They recommend putting a rag under the filter, on top of the engine, before the filter is removed. Not that much oil spills out if you're careful not to turn the filter with the hole facing down. Keep it level while taking it out and keep the hole of the filter up as much as possible after it's loose. Or better yet, do it on a hill, if possible, so the bottom of the filter is facing somewhat uphill while it's being removed.

    I prefer that filter location to the newer low vehicles that must be driven up a ramp to get to the oil filter.

    -Don-

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom View Post

    I have dealt with those engines before. They recommend putting a rag under the filter, on top of the engine, before the filter is removed. Not that much oil spills out if you're careful not to turn the filter with the hole facing down. Keep it level while taking it out and keep the hole of the filter up as much as possible after it's loose. Or better yet, do it on a hill, if possible, so the bottom of the filter is facing somewhat uphill while it's being removed.

    I prefer that filter location to the newer low vehicles that must be driven up a ramp to get to the oil filter.

    -Don-
    It's sometimes hard to do that when the filter is tucked under hoses/wires and partially obscured, so that you're mostly working by feel (as in the case of this Caddy). The bag is a nice fail-safe and worth doing, in my opinion. Once you spill oil on the engine, it's virtually impossible to clean it up.

    On my Nissan Frontier (four-cylinder engine), you get at the filter by jacking up the passenger side, so the left front wheel/suspension lower sufficiently to allow access through the inner fender - with an extender bar. That filter is also mounted horizontally.

    This is the one area where my old Pontiac is set up better. The filter mounts vertically, so it's easy to remove it without making mess. It's also directly accessible, right there on the side of the engine.

    But changing/adjusting fan belts... don't get me started...

  4. #4
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    My 2WD V8 Explorer has the filter right on the slanting side of the block, which is up high after you've put it on stands to get at the filter, and tucked into the front suspension in an awkward location. They also provide a sort of sleeve aligned with the filter, I'm guessing to guide it in and out, which must be special fun on a 4WD Explorer. Of course because the filter axis is tilted 45 degrees, it's guaranteed to make a mess. At least the crossmember will never rust.

    It's even too awkward a location to drill the filter.
    But a centerpunch will go through the filter shell easily.

  5. #5
    My Mercedes is easy. It just has a canister filter near the back of the motor. Two quick nuts to remove and its out. My '95 W124 diesel is/was the same way. I guess the Americans haven't figured out how to mount a good canister filter yet....

    Come to think of it my VW is pretty easy too.....

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