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Technical / Installation Articles - Engine / Drivetrain

Jeep 101 - Oil Change

Article written by Dr. Jones

Date Added: 08/14/2006

All maintenance is important, but if we had to rank any one item as most critical, it would be the oil change. It is, in fact, the life blood of your engine.

This is the initial article in MoabJeeper Magazine's ?Jeep 101? monthly series of basic maintenance. In this first article, ?Jeep 101 - Oil Change? we show the steps in changing oil to the newest of Jeepers. Some of our planned future articles will cover things like a differential oil change, fuel filter change, and a basic tune up. The intent of this series is to get you familiar with taking care of your Jeep and develop your abilities for future buildups.


1. Get together everything you?re going to need:

Oil filter
Wrench for the drain plug
Oil filter wrench
Rags (trust me, you?ll need them so have them ready)
Oil drain pan

2. Pop the hood and take off the oil filler cap. This will help the oil drain faster by letting air into the engine.

3. Now to the bottom of the engine. Place the drain pan under the oil drain plug. Take your wrench and loosen the drain plug.

4. Don?t take the plug all the way out yet. Just break it loose with the wrench, but use your fingers to remove it. While you?re turning the drain plug to remove it, keep pushing it into the pan. This way it will act like a plug to keep the oil from spilling out on you.

5. Double check the position of your drain pan and pull the drain plug out of the oil pan. Lie there under the Jeep waiting for all the oil to drain. Or if you prefer, now is a good time to crack open your beverage of choice. When the oil slows to a trickle, put the plug back it.
 The oil will squirt out several inches, so place the pan accordingly.

6. Move the drain pan under the oil filter. You?ll probably want to put some newspaper under the pan too. Pulling off the oil filter is the messy part of the job; and no matter how well you line up the pan, you?re still probably going to miss with some of the oil.
 Notice how the oil draining from the filter hits the control arm. This is why you want the news paper.

7. Remove (unscrew) the oil filter. On Jeeps with the 4.0 engine, sometimes the filter is easier to reach from the top. This is the case on our XJ.

8. On 2.5 equipped Jeeps, the filter is easier to access from the bottom of the engine (passenger side).

9. After you remove the filter, make sure the rubber o-ring stayed on the filter and didn?t stick to the engine.

10. Before putting on the new oil filter, dip your finger in the old oil and coat the new filter?s o-ring with oil. You can use new oil for this, but since you probably have oil all over your hands already, I find it easier to use the old stuff.

11. Put the new oil filter on hand tight. Take your oil filter wrench and give it about ╝ turn more. It doesn?t need to be overly tight, so don?t go nuts. If you get it too tight, it will be very difficult to remove the next time you do an oil change.

12. Now move back to the top of the engine. Pull the dip stick out part way before you start putting in the new oil (this time to let air out of the engine as you fill it). The 4.0 holds 6 quarts; the 2.5 holds 5. If you?re unsure about how much to put in, start with 4 then check the level with the dip stick and go from there.

13. When the engine is full, put the filler cap on and push the dipstick back in all the way. Set the parking brake and start the Jeep. While it?s running, get out and look under the Jeep for any geysers of oil spraying from around the filter or drain plug.

14. Turn the Jeep off and check the oil level with the dipstick again. You?ll notice that it?s down about half a quart now. This is because the oil filter is now full of oil. If the oil level is at or below the add line, add more oil to bring it to the safe zone between the add and full lines.

15. Make sure the oil filler cap is on tight and shut the hood; you?re done.

Final Thoughts

You?ll find that after doing this a couple times, it actually goes very quickly and is MUCH cheaper than taking your Jeep to a lube shop. Plus you get the satisfaction of doing the job yourself.

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