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Why I Change My Own Oil

Dale B

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The "skid plate" CAD design file needs to be dropped back into the Recycle Bin where belongs. I don't understand why Ford offers a big piece of fiberboard as an add-on. And they install marginal but still much better stamped steel skid plates WITH THE SAME PACKAGE, so there isn't an excuse there either. A suspicious person might suggest that the Ford engineers/bean counters made materials choices based upon the assumption that prospective buyers might get a good view of the engine and t-case skid plates but would be hard pressed to see the transmission skid plate during a brief look over.

The FX4 package is an opportunity for the buyer to pay $1400 for the privilege of wasting more time while changing fluids. Multiple entities consisting of "a guy in his garage" have designed, built and created businesses around the sale of dramatically better skid plates; Ford could achieve this if they had any inclination to do so.
The 2023 XL had an optional skid plate for $165, but when I changed my order to a 2024, it was no longer available for my configuration. I figured that I would just order the parts and install it myself. It sounds like I need to look into it a little deeper. Thanks for the incite.
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Old Hat

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What I know to be true is that I have owned and serviced three Mercedies with aluminum V8 engines of two different designs, the M119 and the M113 V8s. The M119 was in my 92 500E and was the first car that I started removing the oil as the dealerships do. The first time, I suctioned the oil and then removed the drain plug to prove to myself that the process worked. I got very little, less than a teaspoon of oil to drain from the drain plug hole. I changed the oil and filter in that manner for the rest of the time that I owned the car. I changed the oil and filter at 10,000-mile intervals as the factory recommended, using the recommended oil, Mobile 1. I owned the car until it had 340,000 miles and the only other maintenance that I did to the engine was to replace the timing chain and associated ramps and guides at 160,000 miles as a preventative measure. I never had to add oil between oil changes. That was the first car that I ever owned with a belly pan. The belly pan was removed for other access and service seldom done by me. Before I let the car go, I had to use fender washers around the bolts that were used to secure the pan due to the wear and tear of removal over the years. The car and the pan were over twenty years old by that time and things like that shows the age of the car. Suit yourself, remove it all that you like, but that is why many of those cars live their old age without a belly pan.

My second Mercedes was a S430 with the M113 V8. I changed the oil without removing the drain plug or the belly pan. I put 240,000 trouble free miles on that one and retired it at over twenty years old due to interior and parts just wearing out, but the engine was still going strong.

I bought two BMW three series for my daughter and checked the first oil change in the same manner and the suction through the dip stick tube evacuated all of the oil from the pan.
When you take your Mercedes or BMW back to the dealer for an oil change, they evacuate the oil through the dip stick tube and change the filter from above the engine. They do not remove the drain plug or remove the belly pan.

That is why all of their oil filters are positioned to be changed from under the hood and have been that way for over thirty years.

I just asked the question if anyone knew if the Ford 5.0 could be evacuated the same way.
I changed oil by crawling under cars for the thirty years before I started driving Mercedes, and I guess that I can start again. I had just hoped that Ford would have progressed to that point given thirty years to catch up. I had hoped that rather than designing a gutter to go on the frame under the oil filter, they would have fixed the problem and moved the filter.
Thanks for taking the time to post your vast experience with servicing MB vehicles, Dale. I found it informative and now better understand your view on the matter.

When I first got my MB I was surprised to read on the forums that some DIY owners were using dip stick vacs vs the drain plug when changing their oil. I also never knew that dealers did it that way too. It seemed the reason always came down to convenience. At 63 I still don't mind getting under my vehicles. Since (for me) it's only once a year I don't mind if it takes a little more time. Thanks again!
 

Dale B

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Thanks for taking the time to post your vast experience with servicing MB vehicles, Dale. I found it informative and now better understand your view on the matter.

When I first got my MB I was surprised to read on the forums that some DIY owners were using dip stick vacs vs the drain plug when changing their oil. I also never knew that dealers did it that way too. It seemed the reason always came down to convenience. At 63 I still don't mind getting under my vehicles. Since (for me) it's only once a year I don't mind if it takes a little more time. Thanks again!
I am 71 and like my old cars, I have parts wearing out. I suffered with a torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder for years. I finally had a reverse total shoulder replacement done in March. I can now raise my right arm 150 degrees. I am told that 160 degrees is all that I can expect in recovery that takes about a year. I will also only be able to regain about 75 % of my strength in that shoulder. That is due to the different geometry and the fact that about 25% of the muscles are not reattached. It sounds worse than it is because before the surgery, in addition to the pain, I couldn't raise it to even 90 degrees. When I asked the surgeon when I would be able to work directly over my head, his reply was never again and that I need to find a guy that will do those things.
That is one of the reasons that I am not looking forward to having to reach up and over frame rails to change oil filters or to having to remove skid plates to get to drain plugs and oil filters. We will see how that works out when my truck gets here. I don't mean to be critical of Ford engineering, but if they ever did service on German cars and saw how it is done at waist level, they would rethink a few things. I'm glad that we were able to see each other's perspective. My hope is that when I get my truck that I can remove the oil through the dip stick tube and remote the filter to a place where it is more easily accessed and is oriented vertically.
 

FDHog

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I'm turning 70 in 3 months. I added RCI skid plates to my FX4 because the transmission area is totally vulnerable. I'm installing a Fumoto oil valve next change. The front plate comes off easy enough to get to the filter. Loosen 2 bolts remove 2 bolts. Better than something ripping out the plumbing near the trans. I didn't even get the stupid felt cover.
 

ghostbit

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Do you guys have houses? Or are you driving to random flat parking lots to do this?
 

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amschind

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Do you guys have houses? Or are you driving to random flat parking lots to do this?
I use all electric mode to sneak into the driveways of HOA nazis and change my oil there in the dead of the night.

"Yes officer, I have it all on my Ring footage. Yes, you heard me, a large pink rabbit drove a black truck into my driveway and changed the oil and it dripped EVERYWHERE. What do you mean? Of course I expect you to fully investigate!"

I mean....not really....but I can fantasize....
 

Spiffers

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(this is not mine, BTW, just copying this from a reddit post but OMG...)
One of the guys who worked with my BiL did that once. It was a shitshow!

My personal story is on my 99 Explorer at a Co-Op. The oil filter seal sticks to the metal more times than not. I told the tech, who used to work at Firestone with my BIL, that he had to actually LOOK to make sure the seal wasn't there before putting on the new filter. Well he didn't look and just went by feel. Put on the filter, filled it with oil, started the engine and checked the level. Got in it to drive it off the rack and left a black trail of oil down the middle of the floor. Licked that calf over and he said "You were right.". I said yeah I was right it's happened to me more than once.
 

fordtruckman2003

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Do you guys have houses? Or are you driving to random flat parking lots to do this?
House and time.
I have seen people change oil in auto part store parking lots, Walmart parking lots, etc but I don't recommend it.
 

imnuts

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If you're in an apartment or condo, get a vacuum device to suck the oil out of the dipstick tube. It'll take longer, but you're much less likely to make a mess or get run over.

In my ~12 years of apartment life, I never got yelled at for any vehicle maintenance work I did, regardless of how involved it was. I just made sure to park away from other cars as best as possible, stay out of people's way, and clean my stuff up when I was done. Doing work on weekends also avoids office staff from doing a random drive-by, and by the next business day, other residents would forget if they did have an issue.
 

Gros Ventre

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If you're in an apartment or condo, get a vacuum device to suck the oil out of the dipstick tube. It'll take longer, but you're much less likely to make a mess or get run over.

In my ~12 years of apartment life, I never got yelled at for any vehicle maintenance work I did, regardless of how involved it was. I just made sure to park away from other cars as best as possible, stay out of people's way, and clean my stuff up when I was done. Doing work on weekends also avoids office staff from doing a random drive-by, and by the next business day, other residents would forget if they did have an issue.
I have a fluid extractor. Last oil change I used it to pull oil out the dipstick. I could only get 2 qts as the tube would not bottom in the pan. Apparently there is a baffle plate blocking complete insertion to the bottom of the oil pan.
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