A few starting remarks. Don't let anybody tell you to skip the oil filter on an oil change. Its a minimal expense, and you just contaminate clean oil with a dirty filter. Also, consult your owners manual for the proper oil capacity for your Subaru. On 82-86 Ea81 engines, this is 4.2 quarts for example. Don't misread the chart and read liters or something either. Don't let the length of the procedure scare you. I am writing every nitty gritty detail so the first timers know what to do.
Oil, Oil Filter, A few paper towels, drain pan, funnel (or really good aim) wrench for drain plug, and an oil filter wrench if your filter is on really super tight or you are more comfortable doing it this way. I highly recommend you buy the drain pan that is of the screw on lid type so you can haul your used oil off to the recycler without making a mess trying to pour the oil into a milk jug or similar container.
(If you live in Denver I can take waste oil for you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for info).
If you have a leak around your drain plug you might want to replace the oil drain plug at this time, as its much easier!!
Warning: Engine oil is now hot, be careful as a hot motor oil bath is nothing to brag about on the Message board!!!!!
Step one: Drive your car to warm it up. This agitates the oil so the crud isn't
laying in the bottom of the pan and makes draining the oil much faster. -Thanks Mark.
Park Car, set parking brake, and chock a wheel if you feel safer this way. Pop and prop the hood.
Now remove the oil filler cap, and dipstick from engine. Wipe out any dirty oil.
Position Oil drain pan under Oil Filter. Loosen oil filter from Oil Pump by turning filter counter clockwise until oil begins to leak out bottom edge. Continue this until the filter comes off its threads. Turn filter up if you have a drain pan that doesn't have a screen to lay it on. Turn it down if you do. Let the filter empty and then examine the inside of the filter for anything unusual. The filter should be intact with a metal screen inside. Look for any metal shavings in the filter or edges of the filter that indicate engine damage. Also make sure the rubber gasket on the oil filter is still on the old filter, and not laying on the oil pump. If you forget to check this you will have 2 oil filter gaskets on your pump and likely wont make it to the first stoplight before your oil pressure is at 0.
Next clean off the oil pump with a paper towel.
Now move your drain pan about a foot back to the drain plug. Your skidplate may be in the way so remove it if you need to. Otherwise use a clawfoot or similar tool to get around taking the plate off to get a wrench in. Loosen the plug until it comes off in your hand (if you are new to changing your own oil dont bother trying this or you will burn yourself), or falls into the drain pan. (The screen on the nice drain pans catches the plug and saves you from fishing through a gallon of oil looking for your plug). Go grab a drink (Beer or Soda), and let every last ounce of old crappy oil out for good.
Come back to your roo, and have a look. Still draining slowly? Well then oil your oil filter gasket. Pour some oil into your new filter from one of your quarts of oil. Why? Then the oil pump wont be breathing dry air as long when you start up your roo. You want to minimize this as much as possible. The paper in the oil filter will absorb a great deal of oil, so pour slow until its about 1/4 full. Remember while pouring the oil into the filter to miss a little bit and smear the gasket with oil (use your finger its the best tool for the job).
Now put your new filter on the oil pump. Turn the filter on slowly at first so you know you got the threads lined up. Then turn the filter down till its snug and go an additional 1/4 twist on the filter so it is snug but not too tight. Remember the gasket is rubber and if you over tighten rubber you will have a leak. Most oil filter manufacturers have marks on the outside of the filter that help guide you through this.
Your more than half way there now, and the messy part is over.
Oil done draining yet? Great! Pull your drain pan out, fish out your drain plug, and clean it. Anything gritty on the plug or in the oil? NO? Great :-).
Put the drain plug back onto its spot on the oil pan. Use your fingers at first and then a wrench or similar tool. Again, don't over tighten! Snug is great.
Don't stop now! You have the fun part left. Put the appropriate amount of oil in your engine oil filler hole. Don't make a mess and use a funnel. This will help you be accurate in getting the right amount in the engine, and not all over the outside of the engine! Don't forget to subtract whatever you poured into the filter from your capacity. Use good estimation skills or a measuring cup to figure partial quarts. Use a good name brand oil. Avoid Kmart, Walmart, or auto store brand oil. My favorites are Mobil, Valvoline, and QuakerState and Amoco Oil. Make sure to not mix brands, oil weights etc. Purchase oil in a case to save a little money. Synthetic oil is good, but is expensive. If you plan on driving normally and changing your oil every 3-5 months or 3000 miles then standard oil should be fine.
Now put your oil drain cap on, and clean off your dipstick. Put your dipstick back in the engine and count empty oil containers. Got the right amount in?
Clean up any mess you have,
Great. Now check under the car for any oil puddles (OOPS), and hop in the car. Fire up the engine, and put the car in Neutral. Is the oil pressure rising, or dummy light shutting off (depends on dash of vehicle type)? Get out and look under the car for any leaking oil. Take it for a test drive and see how she runs. Little quieter?
Write down how many miles are currently on the car. Many auto parts stores give away the oil change stickers for your windshield. Myself I am anal and change my oil on the odd thousand miles, so when the odometer reaches an odd # in the thousands mark 201,000, or 3,000 for example. But I also drive hard, and in town with a lot of cold starts. These manuals that say 5000 miles are full of it.
I usually drive my car up to the gas station and air up any low tires at this point. Gives you something to do and lets the car idle where you could notice an oil trail too! Another good trip to make is one to the oil recycler with your dead oil. NEVER EVER EVER pour used oil anyplace, like the garbage, sewer ditch, road, etc. Don't let me or anybody else catch you doing it either or you'll have a Subaru enema. Ouch.
Congratulations, you are now about 20 bucks richer than the guy that takes it to the shop, and happier because you know the moron that changed your oil put some new back in, replaced the filter, didn't over tighten your drain plug, and didn't burn up your clutch hot rodding out of the repair shop. (not all shops are bad, just a select few have ruined it for others. Teagues, and certain dealers are quite trustworthy :-).)
Happy Super rooing.-ShawnW
Pictures to follow. Feel free to print this out and take it with you to your car. All you oil changing experts feel free to forward any additions or tips you have.
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