The Simple Oil Change (that gets complicated)

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This was the first time I decided to try an oil change… it didn’t seem to be a difficult job to take care of. You jack the car up, place an oil pan under the sump plug, release the oil, change the oil filter, replace the sump plug, lower the car and then refill the engine with the appropriate oil. Easy.

After the car was raised, and the pan placed, I found that the sump plug was quite stiff and would require some more torque to release. A quick spray of WD40 helped, but it still wasn’t coming off. Eventually, I managed to attach a pipe to the end of the spanner and that extra force was enough to release the oil

 

 

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Let all that oil drip out

Once I allowed the oil to completely drain, I made an attempt to remove the used oil filter. It was then that I had a rather annoying problem. The oil filter remover that I had purchased a year previously was too large for this car. I tried in vain for a good amount of time, even shoving a rag in there to fill up the extra space in the gap to no avail… this filter wasn’t coming off.

 

 

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The useless oil filter remover

Not knowing what to do next, I cleaned myself off and headed to the internet for help. Being directed to a random forum, a logical solution appeared. I would need to hammer a screwdriver into the old oil filter… essentially creating a handle that would then give me the ability to unscrew the old filter.

(Due to the amount of mess that was created through this process… I thought it would be best to quit taking photos of the operation at this point)

Puncturing the old oil filter released a healthy amount of used oil onto my clothes and, after getting the screwdriver in up to it’s handle, I was able to slowly unscrew the oil filter. After dousing the new filter with oil, it was screwed in place while using the oversized remover (with a rag) to get it as tight as possible. Once this was done, the car was lowered… and new oil was poured into the engine. I ran the car engine for a few minutes allowing the new oil to make its way to the sump. After the car was off and settled for a few minutes, I had a final check of the oil with the dipstick… all good. Job done… I promptly headed to the bathroom for a much-needed shower!

 

 

The Squeaky Engine Fix

About a month ago, we decided to go on the road and show our visiting Swiss cousin some of the nearby sites in Western Australia. On this one particular day, my “Little Red Engine That Could” was expected to travel 400km at speeds in excess of 100km/h. Usually, when travelling at similar speeds down the freeway, it’s not an issue. But once you get far enough north of the city, the roads become rough and cause some serious vibrations at said speeds.

After enjoying the scenery at our destination 200km away, we made our way back and that’s when Little Red started speaking to us. Squeaky, squeaky, squeaky as the motor turned. My passengers were a little concerned with the sound, but I knew exactly what the problem was… something I had known about for 2 years yet procrastinated on since I considered the job to be too fiddly. We managed to return to the city without a breakdown, but I knew the issue had to be taken care of immediately.

IMG_8333.JPGThat week, I pulled out my service manual and got to figuring out how to change the drive belt… the cause of the squeak. 2 years previous, the very last time I took my car to a qualified mechanic, replacing the drive belt was on a long list of items that needed attention. But not wanting to pay over $2000 in labour fees, I ordered many of the replacement parts online with the idea of doing it myself. Despite receiving the replacement drive belt, I never got around to changing it. The reason? Since everything in my car is quite compact, to access the engine I would need to remove the front bumper and one of the front headlights. It seemed all too hard at that moment, so I did nothing.

Now having to actually DO something, I got to it. After removing the front bumper, and the front headlight (which in the end wasn’t anywhere near as difficult as my brain had it out to be) I now had access to the drive belt. After loosening the tensioner, I was able to remove the drive belt.

 

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The worn drive belt

 

Despite reading in my manual to “Note how the drive belt is routed” and believing I knew it’s route, I ended up getting lost when attempting to attach the new belt. My lazy manual did not describe in any detail how this was to be done, so I was forced to find a solution on my iPad.

IMG_8334.JPGAfter a bit of fiddling, the new drive belt was now installed. I ran the engine to listen. The squeak was now gone. Now it’s time to take care of the other items I have procrastinated on! 😉