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Post Info TOPIC: JUST ONE OF THOSE DAYS – LESSON TIME


Niagara On Region Member

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JUST ONE OF THOSE DAYS – LESSON TIME
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I’m a retired mechanic and I still do as much maintenance on my own vehicle as I can, oil changes, brakes, the kind of stuff that doesn’t need a computer.  I have always believed you’re never too old to learn from someone’s mistakes, especially your own, but I don’t usually publicize my own screw-ups because I can embarrass myself just fine thank you, I don’t need any help.  However, today I did something stupid that others might benefit from, so here goes nothing. 

The family mini-van was due for an oil change and I’ve been waiting for a mild day, and today was it.  Late in the evening I got out the jack, the stands and drain pan, and out came the oil and off came the filter.  I cleaned the filter pad on the engine and lubed the new filter gasket and threads and on it went, nice and tight.  Stands out, jack down, in went a jug of fresh oil and I was done, easy peasy.  I started the engine and let it idle a bit, when suddenly there was a distinct “poof” that didn’t sound right.  Engine off and out I went, to find a lake of oil under the front right were the oil filter is.  Not just a simple lake, nope, it must have come out under pressure because everything was soaked – undercarriage, suspension, brakes, steering, tire, wheel, it all was dripping in nice fresh Castrol GTX 5W30.  So, like any experienced, trained, calm person would do – I panicked!  What did I do wrong, did the parts store give me the wrong filter, did an oil line break, WHAT!  Out came the jack and stands again and up it went.  I ran out of cat litter on the oil so my nice wife walked to a nearby grocery store and brought home two big bags – thanks dear – and I covered the oil with that.  (My poor old driveway, at least it won’t rust).  I checked the new filter, nothing obvious, no holes or ruptures (I use AC/Delco).  I unscrewed it far enough to get the part number – whoa, it’s already loose and I know I tightened it up.  I compared the part number to the old filter and it was the same, so while I had the old filter in my hand I checked it over and BINGO – there’s the problem, the gasket was missing!!  The gasket on this filter is very thick, very soft and very black and it’s staked into its groove, but I guess it was stuck to the engine and with my little flashlight I didn’t see it missing when I removed the filter in the darkness.  I quickly removed the new filter and sure enough, the old gasket fell out.  One gasket sealed up just fine but two were too soft to hold the oil pressure and it was “poof” time.

I cleaned everything up with a couple cans of brake cleaner (they were on sale so I bought a couple, just in case!) and I had another jug of oil (sale again).  The new filter went back on, oil in, and now there was no leak.

If there’s a lesson to be learned from this mess guess it’s this – if you remove a part that’s supposed to have a gasket on it but it isn’t there, find it!  And I guess I should change the oil more often or not tighten the filter so much or use a better light, whatever.  Beyond that, we should all just live and learn I guess.  At least I know I have good oil pressure. 






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Haliburton Ont Member

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Oh the joy, funny I read another story about this just the other day.

Thanks for the heads up on what to look for. Simple, but what a mess a simple mistake can sometimes make.





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"Fatchuk" Rod-side member Board administration & clean up guy

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Yet you are still lucky.. No engine damage. When I first started reading I was thinking this is not going to end well.. I would think you had a good Adrenalin rush, But I think it was your lucky day. Good thing you did not send your wife out for groceries or some such trip.. Just being a mechanic myself , I have been down the road of both stupidity, carelessness, into big a rush, failing to check my work, and defective parts.. They were all lessons and at 74 , I am sure I have a few lessons to learn...I am glad it ended well and  thanks for sharing today's lesson.. Now a good pressure and some WD-40 on the left over oil should clean it fine.. Or you could blame it on Trump . All those democrats will blame him for the creeks rising so you may as just blame him... Better days ahead.. Good luck.. smile smile smile    



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Foxboro On Rod-side Member

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like offset i have heard of it before. i'd say you are lucky you caught it when you did as it wouldn't of taken too long under pressure to empty it. what if you had finished and fired it checked for obvious leaks and went around the corner and didn't hear the distinct poof. i'll bet a nickel you will check them all now. glad you caught it.



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Woodlawn On Rod-Side Member

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Good to hear all turned out well. It happened quite a bit when the old engines had a canister filter if the old rubber gasket stuck to the block. Would not have thought of it happening on the new filters. good day



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Tin basher Metal shaping guy

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Thanks for the laugh.
Well told.

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Hamilton On Rod-side Member Amsoil Dealer

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Reminds me of my first oil change, lets just say about 50 years ago. 1959 Pontiac 283 with the canister filter. At my buddy's house new cartridge and 4 qts of oil. Clean up and drive the car home not seeing the little trail of oil behind me from canister leaking. Get home and turn the motor off. Small puddle under the car but dipstick dry. My dad was a really good engine builder for race cars so not impressed when I told him the motor wouldn't turn over. Nope not a starter problem. Out came the plugs and filled cylinders with Rislone if I remember correctly. Next day hook up 2 batteries in series and finally turned over and fired up. Drove it for another couple years and boy would that old 283 ever rev after that. Lesson learned

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Wellesley, on Member

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Ive had this happen to me twice this year. Once the dreaded double gasket got me and then trying to teach my son, I let him put the filter on and didn't double check .  Instant Karma I guess.  Definatley two of those days



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