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  • Oil Change

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    Oil Change

    Required Tools and Materials

    3 Gallons of Engine Oil 15w-40

    Oil Filter 

    Waste Container

    3/8 Ratchet

    Oil Filter Wrench

    Magnet Tool (optional)

    Rags or Paper towels

    Viscosity of Oil

    Typically we all use the standard 15w-40 diesel engine oil for viscosity. The only time you need to change down to 5w-40 is in the dead of winter when temps are near zero for operation. I will warn this is going to be synthetic diesel oil and not very cheap. As for the 15w-40 oil I've been using it year-round here in Idaho with temps as low as 0*F to -20*F. 

    API Specification

    Be aware there is an oil type specification. All diesel oil will be labeled with an API seal typically on the back of the jug or bottle. It should show CJ-4 or newer which is CK-4. Most will agree that CK-4 is a good old but others will say CJ-4 has issues because of the removal of some compounds like zinc. If you stick to a quality brand like Chevron Delo, Rotella, or even NAPA brand oil you will be fine. 

    Oil Filters

    Then there is the filter I know this is going to be a touchy also. I've been using NAPA Gold filters most of the life of my trucks with zero issues. There is Fleetguard or Mopar but I will warn you that the Mopar filter is just a re-badged Fleet Guard filter. Then the other warning is do not use any Fram filters, there is a Dodge TSB warning that the warranty will be voided because Fram filters are poorly designed and may separate internally in the can and not filter any debris out causing engine damage. 

    Oil Filter Wrench

    The oil filter wrench is optional. The filter wrench might be needed if you cannot get a grip on the oil filter and twist it off by hand. Typically the oil filter wrench isn't required as long as you follow a simple tip, just seat the filter till it touches the base. Then tighten only 3/4 of a turn and that's it. 

    Oil Change

    Take the truck out and drive long enough to warm the engine up to 140*F to 160*F. Have a nice clear and level area like your lawn, dirt pad, or concrete area. Now position the waste container under the oil pan of the engine. Using your 3/8 ratchet the square tip of the ratchet will fit into the square hole of the plug. It's a standard right hand there so "lefty loosey" or counterclockwise as your looking at the bottom of the pan. This truck needed a bath before the photo it was rather oily down on the pan. 




    Once the plug is loose you can spin the plug with your fingers and allow it to either drop the plug in the container or hang on to the plug and get a hand full of engine oil. That's what the magnet tool is for to fish the drain plug out of the container without sticking your hand in. I suggest allowing the oil to drain for a very long time at least a few hours to allow all the oil to come out of the oil cooler and oil galleries. Let it drain all the engine oil till it stops dripping completely to do it right. At this point, you can remove the air box or cold air intake to gain access to the oil filter. You can grab the oil filter wrench and loosen the oil filter. Spin the filter off and be aware the oil will run out over the top possibly maybe a bit hot. Be careful the filter will be slick and hard to hold. This will help allow the oil to drain out of the oil cooler and main galleries. Wipe the filter base off with a rag or paper towel make sure the old filter seal is not stuck to the filter base and it did come off on the old filter this is important. Leave the new filter off till the draining is done.


    SUGGESTION: I've been known to do the oil change at the end of the day I'll pull the oil drain plug and oil filter and leave the truck sitting all night draining this is the best way to get all the old oil out. 


    Now that all the oil is drained. Reinstall the drain plug you want it tight but don't go overboard on this the pan metal is thin and could be possible to strip the pan threads out. Take the new oil filter and add a bit of oil to the seal and lube it up. I highly suggest against pre-loading the filter. Anything that is poured in the center of the filter hole is unfiltered when it goes to the engine. I've seen engines damaged by bits of foil seal or plastics that were poured into the center hole of the filter plugging up oil cooling jets and scoring bearing up from the debris. Again DO NOT pre-load the filter and leave it dry. As said above screw the filter on the filter mount till it seats and then only tighten 3/4 of a turn that's it. You should have a 3-gallon case of oil. You can start pouring the oil back into the engine. It will take the full 3 gallons of oil. 


    Now once the engine is refilled with oil start the engine and monitor the oil pressure gauge. The gauge should pop right up in about 3 to 4 seconds.


    WARNING: If no pressure in 10 seconds, SHUT THE ENGINE DOWN IMMEDIATELY! Find out what went wrong before restarting again.


    Leave it running and go out and look at your oil filter and make sure it's not leaking. This step is required to do. I've seen too many shops in a hurry and spin a new filter on and the old seal was stuck to the base and it will blow out and have oil everywhere. I've also seen oil filters rupture at start-up. After the inspection shut it down and wait a few minutes and let the oil settle into the pan. Now pull the dipstick and wipe it off. Re-dip the stick back in and pull it out again. The oil may be a very light color or might be black already. This will depend on it you hurried on the draining or let it go all night. Check your level it should be right at the full mark. 


    Now, this completes the oil change but you should keep a log book for your maintenance. This way you know when to change the oil again. I use an app on my phone called Simply Auto which tracks my maintenance and my fuel logs so it get a notification of when oil changes are needed.

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