04-04-10 - Porsche 997 Oil Change

Well I did my own oil change. It was a mild pain in my ass for a few stupid reasons which I will educate you about. I also don't have a garage which is really fucking annoying, this all would be so much more fun if I had my own space I could just get dirty and keep my tools in and everything, and stay out of the wet. It was threatening to rain all day so I had to hurry, which makes all mechanical things much less fun. (the correct way to do all manual labor jobs is with a whole lot of thinking about what you're gonna do next and taking breaks). If I had a real garage and work space where I could just hang out and drink beer and go "mmm hmmm" a lot, I would do a lot more little jobs myself.

Working on your only car is also inherently a pain in the ass because if you discover you don't have a part or a tool you need, you can't get in your car and go to the store for it. Urg.

There are a number of guides to doing this on the net (such as : here ) (I think maybe you have to be a member to see pictures or something, which is fucking bullshit BTW). It's all pretty standard and this is really one of the easiest cars in the world to do. A few more notes for dumb newbies like me :

You run your car before beginning to get the oil warm so it flows. It will be hot coming out, don't get burnt. Okay, I knew this, but one thing I didn't think about : the heat will make the bolts and such swell. When you take off the drain plug from the oil pan, it will be warm. If you leave it on your hex head like I did, it will cool down and contract and will become a real bitch to get off. To get it off at that point you'll probably have to heat it back up again. A hair dryer or your kitchen stove work fine (and you will then just throw out that drain plug and use a new one). Always use a new crush washer. Oh, also, as noted elsewhere - there's a lot of oil in this car and it comes out fast; make sure you leave the oil fill cap on when you first open the drain plug! (then remove the fill cap) Do NOT use one of those cute low profile oil pans or the integrate oil pan / jug things that use a funnel to fill - they can't take in the oil as fast as the car drops it and you could have a huge mess (luckily I also had a normal oil pan and swapped it out fast).

The oil filter housing can be very hard to get off. The correct tool is a 74.4 mm oil wrench with 14 flats. Porsche sells a branded tool for $40, you can get a generic one for $14 ; sometimes it's called a "Mercedes oil wrench". If it doesn't fit exactly, shim with some sandpaper. I did not have luck with plastic Jansco oil wrenches that auto parts shops sell - the plastic just warps if the filter housing is on too tight, you need a metal cup. To get off a stuck housing, you might want one of the 3-prong style oil filter wrenches. Removing a stuck housing is often destructive, so you may want to have a spare one on hand. It's a good idea to just go ahead and buy a spare housing, and hopefully you'll never need it, but if you do you'll be glad it's on hand. (ADDENDUM : the ideal tool is a SIR M0093 : like this ; FYI this thing needs a 22 mm socket )

If you're a perfectionist, you should pre-load the oil filter housing with oil. If you don't you may get a "check oil level" the first time you start the car up. This is not actually a big deal though.

The special tools are mostly 3/8" socket drive; you'll want a 3/8 torque wrench to get the tightness right.

I wish I'd had a second oil drain pan, or just some other pan I could put dirty stuff in that wasn't full of oil. A drain pan is like $8 , so just buy two. Obviously you want a big piece of cardboard or carpet or something under the whole operation, because wind and drips and shit will get out of the pan.

The Rhino Ramps for getting the car up in the air are in fact awesome. Very easy. They do slip if the surface they are on is not ideal, which is pretty scary when you're driving off and they slip. The best way to fix this is to put a bit of rubber mat or carpet under them. (but you don't actually need ramps - everything is so easy to get to on this car that just putting the back wheels on some 2x4's is enough clearance).

Disposing of the oil is in fact not a big deal at all. A bigger annoyance is just all the random bits of mess. Your tools get oily, you're left over with the oil drain pan which of course is oily. The worst part was actually the pouring the oil from the drain pan into disposal containers (yes of course I use a big funnel). Next time I will take more care with that : 1. Have two drain pans as I said previously; put the disposal container in the second pan to catch any spill. 2. Have more/bigger containers than you need, so that you don't have to try to fill them near full. 3. Have transparent containers with secure caps (screw-top gallon milk jugs would be fine).

Some useful info :

Torques :
drain plug : 37 ft-lbs
filter : 19 ft-lbs.

Capacity :
Engine oil 997.1 S - 3.8 l Filling capacity without oil filter 8.25 litre
Engine oil 997.1 S - 3.8 l Filling capacity with oil filter 8.50 litre

But I recommend way underfilling, like maybe 7.5 quarts, then check the level and add 0.5 quarts and check again (after waiting a while). (for our purposes 1 quart ~ 1 liter is good enough). Your goal is to get the level near the middle of the indicator. (Beware : the electronic oil gauge is very tempermental, it could read very low, and you add oil, and discover you've over-filled).

ADDENDUM : some related links :

Transaxle Oil Change (gear box & differential) - Rennlist Discussion Forums
TOOL Page (�`�.�(�`�.� ZDMAK SPECIAL TOOL STORE �.���)�.���)
Socket - Oil Filter Housing 27MM - 38 Drive & Other BMW Mini Cooper Parts at MiniCarParts.Net
Porsche Oil Filter Housing And Filter Assembly Filters and Maintenance & Stock Filters Maintenance
Porsche 997 - Oil Circulation - Page 1
Porsche 996 Oil Circulation - Page 1
Porsche 911 (997) LN Engineering Magnetic Oil Drain Plug
Pelican Technical Bulletin All About Motor Oil
Pelican Parts.com - Oil Filter Socket - 74mm
Pelican Parts - Product Information 000-721-920-40-OEM
Oils What motor oil should I use Which oil is best for my Porsche or aircooled engine
oil drain plug stripped - Rennlist Discussion Forums
Oil change on Carrera S's and a Brake Fluid Flush - Rennlist Discussion Forums
Oil Change Instructions
OCD Oil Change on the Red Dragon - 6speedonline.com Forums
How to remove stripped drain plug - RennTech.org Forums
How To Change Your Oil (The Real Down and Dirty)
HELP locating an oil filter wrench - Rennlist Discussion Forums
DIY Oil Change with Pics - Rennlist Discussion Forums
DIY Oil Change in the 997 - Rennlist Discussion Forums
DIY Oil Change in the 997 - Page 5 - Rennlist Discussion Forums
Changed the Oil in my 997.2 today PHOTOS - Rennlist Discussion Forums
Car maintenance bibles Oil Viscosity.
Amazon.com End Cap Oil Filter Wrench 76mm 14 Flutes Home Improvement


Brian said...

Doing your own oil changes? I'll do major work on my car, but the economics of oil changes just doesn't seem to make it worthwhile. I think they are loss leaders at most dealerships.

cbloom said...

"Doing your own oil changes? I'll do major work on my car, but the economics of oil changes just doesn't seem to make it worthwhile. I think they are loss leaders at most dealerships."

I think that actually a pretty complicated analysis.

Certainly on Porsches where the oil change is $240 or so from a dealer it's not obvious.

For one thing the time to take a car in somewhere may actually be greater than the time to just do it yourself (assuming you don't count the time when you are watching TV while it drips), when you count the drive time, and then do you just hang out while they work or do you get picked up or I dunno, that's such a pain.

You have to talk to someone on the phone and make an appointment and shit. God I fucking hate talking to people on the phone and making appointments. The EV gain for me of just being able to say "hmm I think I'll do it right now" is massive.

For another thing, you have to count the EV cost of them fucking it up which happens an awful lot. When you take your car in anywhere there's about a 1% chance they will crank it with no oil in it, or put in too much oil or the wrong oil, or fuck up the oil filter housing, or whatever stupid fucking thing they do.

There are also those corner mechanics who do oil changes for $20. Those guys definitely do it at a loss because they want to find something wrong with your car to charge you for. I'm pretty sure those guys intentionally fuck up your car.

But yeah, oil sucks. And I can't really do anything major on the car because that involves dropping the engine, which I'm not ready to get into.

I feel like I might get a classic American car that's easy to tinker with when I get old.

Brian said...

The 240$ changes the economics quite a bit. On my Subaru, the dealer only wants 29$ and that includes washing the car. I also just show up w/o an appointment and eat lunch while they do the oil change.
I've been thinking of getting an older Porsche at some point when I have more time.

jclark785 said...

A DIY oil change sometimes saves me only $3 over Jiffy Lube or my tire store's price. But I like to do it myself, because it gets me looking at other stuff in the engine bay. I'll notice something else that needs fixing/adjusting/cleaning, or it'll give me the impetus to fix something else on the car, since I'm working on it anyway.

cbloom said...

Yeah, I also wash and lube my bicycles once a month or so. It doesn't really do anything significant for performance, but it makes me intimate with all the parts, so I spot loose bolts or spokes or pieces of twig stuck in things - problems that could be fatal if they failed on the road.

brian said...

Hmm, you and Eric should go in on renting a garage space in Capitol Hill or around there together. He's always talking about wanting a garage with a lift and pit to work on his Subaru.

old rants