Thursday, May 15, 2014

Oil Change Number 2

Changing the oil and the oil filter is a bit of a chore really, but as the Mini is currently my daily drive, it's a fairly important one that I can't ignore. Looking back over my blog, it appears that I last changed the oil back in May 2013. That's a whole year ago, where did that go?! So the time has come once more.

Apart from a few minor changes, this year was much the same a last year: take the old oil out, change the filter and put the new oil in. There's not that much to it really.

As last year was the first oil change, for me anyway, I used some cheaper oil to flush the engine through before putting the good stuff in. Good stuff for me being Carlube Classic 20w50. It's around £20(ish) for a 5 litre can and so far has served me very well. However this year, I'll be trying a different oil. It's still 20w50 mineral oil, but from a friendly local supplier called Oils Well. It's the same stuff and a bit cheaper, so I thought I would give it a go.

After getting back from a trip to Huddersfield Mini Spares for a new oil filter, the engine was nice and warm, so the first job was to remove the grill to allow access to the oil filter. Before touching the oil filter though, I got under the car to undo the sump plug to drain the oil. I generally undo the plug very slowly, just to make sure that the oil isn't too hot. I'm sure that it would be hot enough to scald if it was opened too soon. By the time I got around to getting the plug out though, it had cooled enough to be handled.

I generally hold the plug in place while it drains so I can control how much drains into the tray below. When the tray is about half full, I pop the plug back in and empty the tray into a larger container. Doing this over and over it takes about 10 - 15 minutes to empty the engine. When the flow turns into a drip, I leave the plug out, letting the final dregs of oil drain into the tray and move onto the filter.

This year I decided to fill the filter with oil before fitting it, not sure if this is necessary, it just seemed like a good idea at the time. What is necessary though it to make sure that there is a smear of oil around the rubber seal.

The advice on the side of the filter says to fit by hand.  Bear in mind that the outside of the filter is very smooth and by now my hands are very oily, meaning there is no chance of gripping the thing. Suspecting that they are having a laugh, I ignoring that useless advice and resort to using a tool. A tool funnily enough, that is specifically designed to get hold of oil filters and turn them with great ease as you will probably have oily hands. So using said tool, I changed the oil filter and as tempting as it is, I made sure not to over tighten it back into place.

With that done, now came the job of refitting the sump plug. I've read some nightmare stories about the sump plug threads getting shredded through over zealous torquing. As the plug is made from hardened steel and the gearbox from aluminium, it's always the threads in the gearbox that get ripped out leaving you with a massive problem. So I always make sure I stick to the Haynes guide of 25 lbf lt (about 35 Nm) of torque. This time I decided not to renew the copper washer that seals the sump plug, I say decided, but in reality I forgot to buy one so had no choice but to use the old one. I'm sure it will be fine though.

While I was in a servicing mood, I decided to inspect the spark plugs. Removing each one, they all looked more or less the same and comparing them to the little pictures at the back of the Haynes manual, they look pretty healthy. The picture they most looked like was described in the book as: 'Grey-brown deposits, lightly coated core nose. Plugs ideally suited to engine, and engine in good condition.' 

Sounds good to me.

As the points are now electronic (read about that here), there is no need to check them, set them, look at them or think about them in any way as they really are a 'fix and forget' solution. Once the grill was back on, that's that done for another year. Bit of a boring post I know, but these things must be done.

Now, what to do with all that dirty old oil. Apparently you can't just tip it down the sink these days! So the last job is to take it down to the local council recycle centre where they can turn it into liquorice or Marmite or something like that. I'm not actually sure what they do with it, I just know that I've done my part disposing of it responsibly.

<Next Post> - 'Testing The New Thermostat'
<This Post> - 'Oil Change Number 2'
<Previous Post> - 'Gunk Engine Degreaser v's Red Diesel'

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Very Interesting Wayne, thanks for Sharing.

    1. Thanks Gabriel, I appreciate the feedback.

  3. How is the new 20w50 mineral oil working out for you? Though it is pretty much the same as the one before, it still is from a cheaper brand, so it probably has some differences. Anyway, filling the filter with oil isn’t that necessary, but if it does you good, then there’s no reason for you not to. Anyway, thanks for sharing this with us. Have a great day!

    Abraham Yates @ Apache Oil Company