Thursday, September 26, 2013

The oil change!

If you read my last post you might have noticed that I forgot to tell you about the oil change. I figured I'd done enough running around on oil that was at least 2 years old and had who knows how many miles.

VW is pretty picky about what oil you can use in your car. Of course as old as this car is it doesn't really matter and lots of oils meet the old standards but I like using good oil. My local Car Quest has a great selection of oil and there I found Pentosin 5w40 which meets the VW 505 standard. My car actually only requires VW 501.1 but I thought it'd be nice to get an oil which met the better standard (current cars require 507 which is only 5w30). In consulting with the fellows there for a price one of them pointed out that the Car Quest brand 5w40 synthetic meets 505

The bottle doesn't actually mention the VW standards at all although it does give an older Mercedes-Benz standard. I found a flyer online that has the 501.1 and 505 references. A search online suggests the stuff is made for Car Quest by Valvoline and is probably pretty good (but not spectacular) oil. Its also $7 a gallon cheaper than I've been paying for Mobil 1 5w40 that I use in the 190D. I bought a couple gallons. I figure the first oil change is just making up for whatever garbage the previous owner used anyway. I'll run it up to 5,000 miles and pull a sample, based on the sample I'll decide my next step. 

The VW guys really like Rotella T6 but nobody can say WHY they like it. Oil is one of those quasi-religious decisions made mostly on feeling rather than facts. I've been using Mobil 1 in the 190D with oil analysis out to fairly long durations. The longest I've gone so far is 12,000 miles although analysis suggests I could probably go to 15 or 20k without problems. I get nervous...

Anyway the actual oil change on this car is a PAIN IN THE ASS! Lets compare it to the 190D, on that car you:
  • Pull out the dipstick, hook up the siphon hose
  • Pull a vacuum on the siphon container. This can be done with the hand pump or a vacuum cleaner.
  • Remove the 2x13mm bolts that hold the oil filter housing lid, remove lid and filter
  • Put in a new filter, add some oil, put the lid back on with its 2x13mm bolts
  • When the siphon is done remove it and add new oil
Easy peasy right? Compare to the Jetta:
  • Jack the car up, put a stand under one of the front wheels. The car is LOW, I can't get my head under there and without my big mellon under their I can't reach the belly pan bolts.
  • Remove the under car belly pan, 2 bolts at the rear of the pan, 2 plastic nuts and 2 more bolts up in the wheel well.
  • Remove the 19mm (!) oil drain plug
  • Remove the oil filter - This is why we removed the belly pan. The filter is at the front of the engine facing down. Pain in the butt to remove. Apparently this can be done from above but I had an AC line in the way that I didn't want to push real hard on.
  • Put the plug back in, new filter in. Again this job stinks. I pre-oiled the filter and added too much oil so when I tilted it to get it in place oil ran down and I couldn't hold the filter tightly enough to tighten it in place.
  • Put the plug back in and fill back up with oil
  • Put the belly pan back in place, 4 bolts and 2 plastic nuts remember!
Ugh. I'm hoping the Car Quest oil works out so I don't have to change the oil real frequently...

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