DIY Oil Change and Lessons Learned - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

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#1 Old 10-26-2017
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Post DIY Oil Change and Lessons Learned

This is my first thread in the forum since I joined about almost a month ago .

I know that there has been a similar post of DIY oil change stickied and it is originally posted by @tcrankwa. He did a good job for the oil change but for the first timer DIY of oil change like me, I found it hard. I would like to contribute to complement his thread with a step by step procedure and I will share my own lessons learned for you.

RESOURCES AND TOOLS
We need to prepare the right resources and the tools for the oil change job. Here are the resources needed for the job:
  1. Hydraulic floor jack (not shown)
  2. Jack stands (not shown)
  3. Flat screw driver (not shown)
  4. 3/8” drive socket wrench
  5. 8 mm socket (not shown)
  6. 13 mm socket
  7. Oil filter “B” cap wrench
  8. Drive socket extention (not shown)
  9. Oil drain plug gasket (14x20 mm)
  10. Engine oil (6qts)
  11. Oil filter kit
  12. Oil funnel
  13. Oil drain pan
  14. A pair of strong latex gloves, it is a messy job!
PREPARATION
Preparation for any job is an important part. The first step of the job is to park your car in a flat surface. I did the job inside the garage. Then, we need to raise the front part of the car to access the oil reservoir under the engine bay. We do this to unplug the oil reservoir to flush the dirty oil.

Use a floor jack to raise the car. I used the MB hydraulic jack which can be connected to the side jacking point under the front door near the front tire.

Locate your side jacking point and unplug the cover by prying it off with a flat screw driver.



Carefully set up your hydraulic floor jack in a safe and flat surface. Unfold the pin of the jack (red arrow) and place the longer section of the jack base (yellow arrow) aligned with the surface. Insert the pin to the jacking tube opening until it reach a full stop point (green arrow).



Begin raising the jack until the maximum height by rotating the handle clockwise. When the jack is fully raised, it will stand on the edge of the jack base. In my case, the jack base (yellow arrow) will not aligned with the surface.



Place the jack stand under a strong structural component. It is located at the outer end of the diagonal bar (green arrow) for both right and left side. The point is approximately parallel to the circle jacking point (red arrow). FYI, circle point can be used to raise the car using a flat hydraulic jack. I used a cardboard between the frame and the jack stand for protection.



Raise your car unequal for both side. The higher side should be on the right side of your car. The reason behind this is because the oil drain plug is located further to the left side of the car. To be able to drain the whole dirty fluids, we need to “tilt” the car to the left. This practice also make the draining even faster. If you raise your car on equal heights, you need longer time to drain the fluids.

The next job is to remove the engine tray. There are four 8 mm screws located at the front and rear of the tray. Work from the front to the back area. Once all of the screws have been removed, slide the tray front to rear to remove it. Set aside the engine tray in a safe place together with the screws and the socket wrench.



THE OIL CHANGE
Remove the drain plug (yellow arrow for the location) from the oil reservoir (red arrow) using a 13 mm socket.



Be careful because the oil is hot. Place the drain pan exactly under the drain plug. The center of your drain pan should be aligned with the drain plug location. FYI, I did the oil change after driving around for a couple blocks to increase the engine temperature. Hot fluids will flow easily compared to cold fluids.

Set aside your drain plug if you want to reuse it. Replace the drain plug gasket with the new one. I’m sorry that I didn’t take the picture of the plug removal process.



It took me about an hour for the dirty oil to completely drained. As I mentioned before, raising the car higher for the right side should speed up the draining process as we “tilt” the car to the left.



Credit goes to my son because I borrowed his playmat for the work

While waiting for the oil to drain, we can work to replace the oil filter. The oil filter housing cap is located on the right side of the engine. From the figure, you know why do we need a socket extention for the job.



Removing the oil filter is also a messy job. I use a cardboard from a used box to cover the other parts of the engine bay. Carefully rotate and wiggle the dirty oil filter and put it inside the new oil filter box.



I used Purolator for the oil filter since I couldn’t find K&N filter (my favorite filter brand) everywhere unless order it online. I needed to change the oil immediately.

The filter kit I bought comes with the o-ring gasket. Use a bit of new engine oil to lubricate the o-ring and replace the dirty o-ring in the oil filter housing cap. Insert the new oil filter carefully and point the hole to the center of the oil filter housing. You can see a center of the housing clearly.

Now that we have replaced our oil filter. Once the dirty oil is completely flushed, put back on the drain plug with the 13 mm socket and re-attach the engine tray. To re-attach the engine tray, slide the front end of the tray under the opening under the inside end of the front bumper. Tighten the front area first then move to the rear screws. Remove the jack stands and lower the car back to the normal position.

Return to the engine bay to fill the new clean oil. I used the Mobil1 0W-40 for 6 qts. Fill with 5qt of oil first.



Once it done, start the engine and drive around for a couble blocks to raise the engine temperature. Stop the car and observe the engine oil dip stick, look at the oil level. It should not reach the maximum position, because overfilling the oil will damage the engine. Start adding one more quart of new engine oil. Observe if there is any fluid leaking under the engine bay.

Complete your oil change job by readjust your tire pressures to the factory standard and re-setting the maintenance counter. To reset the maintenance counter, turn on the ignition to position II, right before the engine start. There are two knob on the odometer panel. Press the left knob rapidly twice, it will show us how many miles left until the next oil change. Press and hold the left knob for 10 seconds. During that time period, turn the ignition off and back on to the original position. Release the knob when the mileage counter change to 10,000.

TOTAL COST

The total money I spent for this job is approximately $91 before the tax, with details as follow:
  • Funnel: $2.99
  • Drain Pan: $3.29
  • Filter cap wrench: $5.99
  • Filter oil Purolator: $12.99
  • Jack stands: $23.88
  • Engine oil Mobil1 0W-40 (5qt): $25.47
  • Engine oil Mobil1 0W-40 (1qt): $ 7.5
  • Socket extention: $6.5
  • Oil drain plug gasket: $2.5
For the next oil change which positively will be my next DIY project, I'l probably have to spent only $37 for the engine oil and K&N oil filter. This figure is way more cheaper compared for the cost I have to spent at local MB dealership in Tulsa, Oklahoma, US.

LESSONS LEARNED

These are things I learned from the oil change:
  1. Oil change is a messy job. Once you unplug the drain plug, hot dirty fluids will flow from the oil reservoir. If you are not prepared like me, you'll spill the oil on the floor. The first lesson is, place your drain pan center exactly under the draing plug location and always observe the dripping point of the dirty oil. Credit goes to my son again for the spills

    I was lucky he is not around when I did this


  2. Raising the car with unequal heights. "Tilting" the car to the left by rasing the right side higher than the left side will speed up the drain process. Initially I raised the car with equal heights and the last drips of the oil fell so slowly. So I experimented by raising the right side higher and the remaining fluids came out faster. However, I still observed that there might be a couple drips left inside since I didn't wait until it fully stop dripping. The best time of draining the oil is probably in the night time so you can leave it overnight and fill the clean oil the next day in the morning.
  3. Use a long neck oil funnel. I used a 5 qt of engine oil which quite heavy to lift. If I use a short neck funnel like the one shown in my picture, I'll might ended up spilling the clean oil in the engine bay. I didn't take my pic using the long neck funnel.
  4. The credit for this point of my lesson learned goes to @Turdo2.



    I put the jack stand for the left side a bit further to the inside, which is directly at the bolt of the cross-braces joint. This is an unsafe practice.
I hope you guys will benefited from my post. If there is any comment or suggestion to add in my post, you are most welcome!

Last edited by geophysicist; 10-26-2017 at 05:09 PM. Reason: Feedback from @Turdo2
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#2 Old 10-26-2017
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Great job!
May I make the pictures larger?
Let me know


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Reflections:

Cold oil takes forever to drain, so it is practical to drain shortly after the car has been driven. Hot oil is ugly, warm oil is less so.
Mercedes officially recommends using a oil pump to scavenge the oil from the sump, wich (with a decent suction pump) is clean and relatively hassle free.
Loosening the oil filter top breaks the vacuum in the filter holder, and the residual filter oil returns to the sump - this is useful to do before emptying efforts (either way, lazy way from top or purist undercar way). The "filter mess factor" lessens a little bit this way.

Excellent writeup, inspiring, thorough! Thankyou.
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#4 Old 10-26-2017
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Good thread!


I thought about buying an extractor for about $50. Never have to elevate the car. Never pour the oil, just suck it out.
Does anyone think this is a bad idea? Great idea?
Sarge got a link?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bargamon View Post
Good thread!


I thought about buying an extractor for about $50. Never have to elevate the car. Never pour the oil, just suck it out.
Does anyone think this is a bad idea? Great idea?
Sarge got a link?
Link for oil change for r171 with extractor?
in diy section
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Here ya go

https://www.google.com/search?source....0.-W6haCNFbCc


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@Anders S SLK02,

Thank you for your advice! Since I drained the drity fluid and replacing the oil filter later, I found that the old oil filter were not heavily stained by the dirty oil. This is probably because almost all of the fluids have been drained. I did the filther replacement approximately an hour after I unplug the drain bolt.
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@Bargamon,

Thank you for your feedback. Do you mean a transfer pump? I used it once when I changed the power steering fluids. I used it to transfer my dirty power steering fluid to an empty container. Less messy than to flush it completely. However, I think the best practice is to flush it from under the engine bay, since I still can saw remaing dirty fluids from the cap in the engine bay. Meaning, we are not completely removed the dirty fluids and the contaminants.

I just didn't know the location of the power steering fluid container to unplug the drain bolt. That's why I used the transfer pump method.

For this oil change job, I prefer to get dirty a little bit to completely drain the dirty oil and the contaminants.
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I cringed heavily at your jack stand placement in the 4th picture. however, It looks like you moved them under the bolts in the other pictures. those cross-braces should never be used to support the weight of the vehicle.
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#10 Old 10-26-2017
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@Turdo2,

You noticed it! I agree with you. The placement of the jack stand for the left side was a bit further to the inside, which directly at the spot you've mentioned. That was totally unsafe and that is my other lesson learned.
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Just some notes:
1) I loosen the oil filter cap about 1/8 turn before doing anything. Sometimes they can be recalcitrant & easier to loosen while on ground.
2) My driveway slopes down so I use a pair of 12,000 lb Rhino Ramps facing down, when I drive the car on it is close to level.
3) Then remove all bottom covers. Put screws in a magnetic cup.
4) Next I put down a layer of newspapers, then a 36x48" drip pan and preposition a 10 quart drain container on a 4" stand, two gallon ice tea jugs and a funnel.
5) Open drain plug so spent oil goes into container.
6) While oil is draining make sure the spent oil continues to go into the container, the arc will change.
7) Remove oil cap and oil filter assembly (plastic part is different for a R170 and a R171 but use the same filter - MANN HU-718/5X which includes the O-rings for both). Also need two 5 quart jugs of Mobil 1 0w-40.

I usually disassemble and reassemble the plastic filter assembly and replace O-rings on a table. Be gentle, replacements are available but about $60.

When done replace the filter and drain plug, add about 7 quarts of the Mobil 1, replace covers after checking for leaks and drive off ramps & let idle for a few seconds. Shut down and put everything away. Pour used oil into gallon jugs for transport to Wallmart (they dispose for free). Then check the oil level. Bring to top but do not overfill. Generally for me that is a total of 8 quarts.

Do not need to play Godzilla on anything, surfaces mate on O-rings and need only enough torque to hold in place and not unscrew.

BTW I do not trust the included jack except in an emergency. Use hydraulic jacks instead. R171s need the rubber adapter to avoid damage. Do prefer the ramps for oil changing.

R170 plastic piece shown.
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Excellent write up.

Everyone sees these jobs slightly different and more than one diy is always welcome.
Especially with good photographs.

You have achieved another reward for your efforts....
over 15 post count.

You will now be able to edit posts for ten days after posting.

If you wish to make any correction (eg the jack point post 4) you can.

Thanks for your efforts.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Padgett View Post
Just some notes:

2) My driveway slopes down so I use a pair of 12,000 lb Rhino Ramps facing down, when I drive the car on it is close to level.

4) Next I put down a layer of newspapers, then a 36x48" drip pan and preposition a 10 quart drain container on a 4" stand, two gallon ice tea jugs and a funnel.
you're driveway is perfectly sloped for just letting it drain into the street! no need for newspaper
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#14 Old 10-26-2017
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@Avel Du,

Thank you! Since I'm doing a doctoral program, writing is my daily basis for now.

My motivation to write the thread is because I would like to contribute to the forum, since I've benefited a lot from other threads. It's time to payback
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a) if I did, the HOA would get upset, I use one of these.
b) when is Yosemite gonna blow ?
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Is Fracking really causing all these danged earthquakes in this area????

sorry.. had to!
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Best to leave the fracking topic alone.

I guarantee it'll go political.
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dude you are awesome, great write up thank you so much man.

Great work!

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I use one of those to change the oil in my cars and "friends" cars
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Pela 6000 Vacuum Oil & Fluid Extractor Pump 6 Litre for Boats/Cars/Bikes | eBay

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Just a note but 6 liters is not quite 6.5 quarts. Need at least an 8 liter unit for a Merc..


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