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I feel like I figured out something useful to us all. Because the Pentastar has the oil filter on the top of the engine, there's nothing stopping us from doing complete oil changes from the top, without having to roll around on the floor or mess around with jacks or pans or any of that nonsense. That's exactly what I did today.

Why? For me, I drive almost 12,000 miles a month, and I am of the mind that extended mileage oil changes are the single best way to ruin/wear out/blow up an engine. You'll never save enough money in oil to pay for that engine rebuild. I change at 6000.

So that's once every two weeks. I don't mind paying someone to do this, but I don't trust the quick lube places. One knucklehead over tightens the oil pan plug and I'm out of business. But I don't like losing a day of work to schedule an oil change with my mechanic. And I absolutely HATE rolling around in the driveway…in winter….at night to do it myself. Solution?

I bought this thing called the Topsider for around $50 on ebay. It's monkey simple, just a vacumme pump, metal can, and a nylon tube that goes down the dipstick hole. You can see a good video demo of it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65MMnubY4DA

Skip to about 5:20 to see it work.

So today I tried it. Works great. It took a little fiddling to get the insert depth right, but I measured what came out and I pretty much got it all. The filter change was equally easy and not as messy as I thought. The nut to get the filter out is 24mm, but that crosses to a 15/16" socket.

One secret is to let the oil get up to temp before you start sucking. Not crazy hot, because that will melt the tube.

So I figure I can do an oil change in a truck stop parking lot, in the dead of winter, without making an oil slick, in about 20 minutes start to finish. When you are done, you can pour the old oil back into the 5 quart jug that the new oil came in. Nice.
 
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This is a very clean evac of oil from an engine. Being in the boat business I do a lot of oil changes and have been using the this type of pump for years. It's clear, so you can see exactly what is sucked out of an engine each "line" is roughly 1 quart/liter. Just insert clear plastic hose into dip stick cavity attach to pump assembly and pump up the canister this creates the suction to suck out the old oil. West Marine has them back in the oil/fluids section got mine on sale for $42.00 pays for itself immediately.
 

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The boating folks have been sucking out oil through dipsticks for decades; I myself have done it for 50 years. The disadvantage is that you never truly get all the oil out especially heavy sludge and even metal particles that are at the very bottom of the oil pan.

There is a better answer for boats and for trucks/vans. A very high quality fitting replaces the oil drain plug with an attached hose. The hose is not a simple rig with a clamp but it is constructed as a hydraulic pressure hose with a crimped on screw on fitting that attaches to the drain plug replacement. This all is constructed to a very high standard so that the accidental loss of oil due to leakage is of a very low probability. I am in charge of one boat that has had this for 30 years with no leakage.

The hose is generally lead to a hand operated piston pump about 1.5 inches in diameter and several inches long. These are available from folks who deal with marine diesels. The pump is generally attached to the side of a marine engine or for a truck on the inside of the fender well or similar. High end yachts with two engines often lead the drain hoses to an electric pump with valving so oil can be taken out and new oil pumped in both engines in a matter of minutes!
 

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......cut...... The disadvantage is that you never truly get all the oil out especially heavy sludge and even metal particles that are at the very bottom of the oil pan.

.......cut......
That's the main reason I don't do it myself. If I was forced to do it due to conditions like those described in OP, I think I would make it a point to drain the oil at least every two or three changes in order to remove any sludge and or metal particles.
 

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That's the main reason I don't do it myself. If I was forced to do it due to conditions like those described in OP, I think I would make it a point to drain the oil at least every two or three changes in order to remove any sludge and or metal particles.
With today's very lightweight (5W-??) detergent oils there is not going to be any "sludge" down there. The likely hood of getting the metal particles by draining is remote too as they settle onto the oil pan floor. To get them you need a magnetic plug. The residual oil will not harm the engine when diluted with abut 5 quarts of fresh oil. Others who see the inside of modern engines like me may have different experiences but IMHO top siding is just fine. Relax!
 

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I appreciate that gas engines are different than diesels. For diesels my practice is as follows assuming an engine that holds for example 13 qts of oil: Pump out all the oil and change the filter and put on new filter. At every second oil change rinse out the engine by adding about 4 qts of fresh oil and running the engine at fast idle for 5 minutes watching the oil pressure gauge to insure that there is enough oil to do the job after the filter is filled. This rinsing procedure cleans all oil passages in the engine, oil pump, etc. Pump out the rinse oil and change the filter again. Yes expensive as you use extra oil and an extra filter every second change. This permits engines to last well over 10,000 hours equivalent to hundreds of thousands of highway miles.

I do similar with gas vehicle engines by going to an oil change place twice in one day! Yes it costs me an extra $29.95 each oil change. I think this is important with the extended change intervals. I do it every 5,000 miles as I think it is a low cost way to get long life and reduce wear and keep getting good gas mileage.
 

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In my post no. 4 above I discussed the permanent drain hose attached to the bottom of the engine. On boats we do not need to worry about damage to the bottom of the engine. Doing this on road vehicles requires some sort of guard in front of and below the bottom of the oil pan to prevent the arrangement being broken off by road debris. These are often referred to as "skid plates" by the off-roaders. That is why for cars/vans where I do not have such I simply go to the lube place twice where the oil is drained via removing the plug and as the engines hold so little of a low cost oil I just waste the oil. Diesels the oil is much more expensive and more is needed to fill.
 

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I appreciate that gas engines are different than diesels. For diesels my practice is as follows assuming an engine that holds for example 13 qts of oil: Pump out all the oil and change the filter and put on new filter. At every second oil change rinse out the engine by adding about 4 qts of fresh oil and running the engine at fast idle for 5 minutes watching the oil pressure gauge to insure that there is enough oil to do the job after the filter is filled. This rinsing procedure cleans all oil passages in the engine, oil pump, etc. Pump out the rinse oil and change the filter again. Yes expensive as you use extra oil and an extra filter every second change. This permits engines to last well over 10,000 hours equivalent to hundreds of thousands of highway miles.

I do similar with gas vehicle engines by going to an oil change place twice in one day! Yes it costs me an extra $29.95 each oil change. I think this is important with the extended change intervals. I do it every 5,000 miles as I think it is a low cost way to get long life and reduce wear and keep getting good gas mileage.
or, you could just drop the oil pan and physically clean out the sludge? Cost of a new gasket. :|
 

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Even easier, you could do like my son did with the first car I bought him - just drive it till there is no more oil left in the crankcase and have daddy fix it for you.
 

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Or just drive an old British car. Don't need to change the oil, instead a flow-through oil change system. Just keep adding it; at least every tank of gas, more often if needed.
 

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There is a better answer for boats and for trucks/vans. A very high quality fitting replaces the oil drain plug with an attached hose. The hose is not a simple rig with a clamp but it is constructed as a hydraulic pressure hose with a crimped on screw on fitting that attaches to the drain plug replacement. This all is constructed to a very high standard so that the accidental loss of oil due to leakage is of a very low probability. I am in charge of one boat that has had this for 30 years with no leakage.
I read about this system in some race car magazines. Sounds quick and hygenic.

The only potential fault is if there is debris in the old oil, then it could prevent the ball from seating in the valve; and you can have a leak. Shouldn't be an issue if you are religious with your oil changes.

Here are some links:
http://www.stahlbus-us.com/cms/bleeding-brakes-technology-oil-drain-valve.html#oel-ablassen



 

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Discussion Starter #13
Good discussion. Normally, any internet discussion of oil, oil changes, or oil properties quickly devolves into a flame war. Not so here. Nice.

I thought about a quick connect on the drain plug, or a valve or drain hose arrangement. I rejected these for the reason mentioned; danger of road damage to the valve. And you'd still have to flop around on the cold cold ground. I'm too old and soft for that kind of thing.

In the video I liked in the OP, Kent discusses the benefits of sucking to more fully evacuate the old oil. Of course, what he's really illustrating is just how over-rated Benz engineering is, but that's another topic.

I do not claim to be an expert, but as I understand it modern engines are quite different than old engines when it comes to oil. Synthetics are more detergent than mineral oils, so in essence they get dirty so the engine doesn't have to. Sludge is mostly caused by moisture in the crankcase, which is pretty much a non-issue due to the way I drive. Start it up, and drive for 20 hours a day which will boil off any moisture and the PCV will suck it away. I have a hunch that the junk that used to collect in an oil pan of 40 years ago won't happen on this engine. The filter should get most of it, and the engine shouldn't generate it in the first place, due to tighter tolerances, better metallurgy, and also due to fuel injection which (unlike a carb) doesn't douche the cylinder walls with raw gas every time you cut the engine off. As I understand it, cylinder wash is why old engines were worn out at 100,000, while modern engines will go 300,000+ no sweat.

I will add something extra: doing the topside oil change has really highlighted how much I hate the cable dipstick. It's hard to read accurately because the engine splashes oil up the tube, which gives false high readings on the stick. But MOST important is the future - in 200k when the engine is burning oil, how the **** am I going to gauge the rate it consumes if I can't tell how low it is? A binary dipstick (full/less than full) is basically useless.

What's the big whoop anyway? As I understand it, the variable cam timing and timing chain tensioners on the Pentastar run on pressurized engine oil. And the oil pump is variable displacement. This is why the viscosity is so critical, and why Chrysler has a fancy Materials Spec that the oil must meet. This engine isn't going to be very forgiving if it's starved for oil, or if you put in the wrong weight, or if you try to save a buck with cheap off-brand oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It's a funny thing; I though we had pretty much nailed down dipstick engineering around…oh..1910 or so.

But the PM, and all the Pentastars so far as I know, have a flexible braided cable for a dipstick, with a crimped on metal "bullet" at the end. The bullet is about an inch long. Basically, if the oil level is in the middle range of the bullet, you're good.

Seems like no big deal, but if the oil level is low you can't tell by how much, and if the oil level is high it will be very easy to misread that on the bullet. Too much or too little oil in the pan could be potentially disastrous for the engine - moreso than engines of the past.
 

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I have been a 5,000 mile oil changer for longer than I can remember, -1960's I guess. When I began I was scolded for not doing it at 2,000 or 3,000 and was told I would ruin the engine in a hurry. ALL my vehicles went 200,000+ and were sold or given away and rusted out instead of engine failure. In fact I never had an engine failure of bearings or pistons or any internal parts, most didn't really use oil either. I now see 7,000 - 10,000 mile reccomendations but being a creature of habit...... I am planning on getting the diesel PM when it is tested a bit by others and the kinks are worked out, -if I like it when I test drive. FCA says it has an oil monitoring system and extended service (changes) of up to 18,000 miles!!!! How can that be? Do I not understand something? Is this because diesels are different? Synthetics? Or should I ignore all that?
 

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Ah, those. I've seen similar, on my parents' newer Audi, I think. Had an orange 'bullet' at the end.

So what's so hard? Pull it out, wipe it off, insert fully, pull out again and look at it. With the engine off, of course. No different than I've always done with 'standard' flat dipsticks.
 

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In the Coyote opinion,do it the old way. Is to crawl underneath to take drain plug off
and do a visual inspection at the same time for safety.

huh? where did the drive shaft go?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Lots of different ideas on oil and oil change intervals. Some things to consider are:

1. Diesel probably holds more oil than the gas motor, which holds 6 qts total. Couldn't find the spec for the PM diesel, but I'm sure it's out there.

2. Synthetic oils do extend oil change intervals because they protect better and last longer. But how much longer is open to question, as is "what's it worth to you to find out what the limit is" sort of thinking. The Pentastar doesn't require synthetic oil, but I use Penzoil Platinum full synthetic which Wally Mart has for about $26 for 5 qts. That's the brand the dealer uses, what the PM came with, and meets the Mopar MS spec.
By changing oil myself on the fly, we're into for $30 in oil and $7 for the filter. At that cheap price, I see no reason to gamble with extended changes. I will never ever save enough in oil to pay for that engine rebuild.

3. I still have yet to learn how oil life monitors work. From what I understand, the computer calculates oil life by engine hours, duty cycle, and maybe temperature. But that's all indirect info. It doesn't have any actual sensors. It's not like it's analyzing the oil as you drive. Even if it did have some kind of sensor, I can't see how that would work. Clarity? Viscosity? Water content? Magnetism? What would the sensor be testing for?

4. I feel the single most important reason for extended service intervals is simply marketing. Remember about 10 years ago when Dodge put unlimited mileage engine warranties on their trucks? They didn't do that because the engines were magically different. They did it because advertising a lifetime warranty sold more trucks than the warranty claims cost.

Same with oil change intervals. The damage done to the engine by going 18k won't show up till 100k or so. By then, the OEMs motivation is to sell new cars, not keep old ones on the road. This is EXACTLY why there's no tranny dipstick. They want to advertise "lifetime" fluid, and they define lifetime as 120k.

So for the passcars they can "sell" the buyer with "maintenance free" or "we'll throw in 18k oil changes FREE". This isn't just a Chrysler thing, it's ALL OEMs. Marketing trumps machinery.
 

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I think the single most important reason for extended service intervals is that engine design and durability has improved by the fact that EPA has changed it's engine testing regimen.

For the past 20 years or so, manufacturer's have been required to test emissions of engines not just when brand new, but also at the equivalent of 100k miles. This was when EPA's Tier 1 regulations kicked in.

This is what defined as 'useful life' of the engine. Typically defined as 100k miles or 10 years.

That means that engines are much better, since they are designed to last 10 years.
The regulations are what drove manufacturer's to fuel injection and metallurgy (nikasil cylinder linings).

The days of designing a piece of junk that could get off the lot are over (I'm looking at you Big 3); and we are benefiting in a manifold of different ways including extended service intervals.

Check out this pdf of the history of emissions regulations, specifically pages 3-4. I think we can be happy where we are right now, vehicles are a lot more reliable than they used to be!

4. I feel the single most important reason for extended service intervals is simply marketing. Remember about 10 years ago when Dodge put unlimited mileage engine warranties on their trucks? They didn't do that because the engines were magically different. They did it because advertising a lifetime warranty sold more trucks than the warranty claims cost.

Same with oil change intervals. The damage done to the engine by going 18k won't show up till 100k or so. By then, the OEMs motivation is to sell new cars, not keep old ones on the road. This is EXACTLY why there's no tranny dipstick. They want to advertise "lifetime" fluid, and they define lifetime as 120k.

So for the passcars they can "sell" the buyer with "maintenance free" or "we'll throw in 18k oil changes FREE". This isn't just a Chrysler thing, it's ALL OEMs. Marketing trumps machinery.
 
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