Ram first oil change

Changed the Ram’s oil and filter at 193,707 miles (approximately 5100 miles since the last change at 188,600).

Draining the oil is a piece of cake; it’s just a square 3/8″ female plug (and even has the torque printed on it — nice touch, Cummins).

The oil filter is another story. I looked at it and then took the air intake and intake box off to try to gain better access. No luck. Then I took the passenger side inner fender off. Well, that gave me access to the filter, but not enough — there’s not enough room to get any kind of wrench on the filter.

The only way, really, is to use an end cap socket from the bottom, combined with a long extension. I had to go buy one, since I didn’t have a big enough one for this filter.

Whoever changed the oil last time really torqued the oil filter on. I think a lot of mechanics think you’re supposed to use a filter wrench or socket to install the filter, as well as uninstall. It’s a good way to get the filter seal to stick to the housing. Fortunately, that didn’t happen this time; the filter came off (which a good bit of force and a 1″ socket on the filter socket).

I discovered it was a Parts Plus brand filter — probably one of the cheapest you can get. At least it wasn’t a cheapo Fram filter.

Filled my Fleetguard LF3894 — which I bought at the Cummins dealer near where I work for $19 — filled with oil and installed by hand, about one turn past contact with the housing. We’ll see how easily it comes off next oil change.

I had intended, after reading the most recent version of TDR’s diesel oil comparison, to use Wal-Mart SuperTech 15w-40 for this oil change. It’s not the best oil you can get, but that only seems to matter if you push oil drain intervals a long way. However, Wal-Mart only had one gallon of SuperTech available. So I was going to use Shell Rotella Triple, but it’s only rated CJ-4. Then I noticed Wal-Mart had Delvac 1300 in a 2.5 gallon container for $30.97 — not a bad price, and cheaper than the Rotella — and, notably, the Delvac is rated at CI-4 Plus, not only CJ-4. So that sold me. Who knows how much longer CI-4 Plus oil will be available. I’ll use it while I can.

Note that Wal-Mart does have one filter for my truck, a Mopar MO-285. I couldn’t find much information on how good it is, relative to the Fleetguard filter, but it costs a bit less.

The service manual says that the oil capacity for this engine is 11.0 quarts, including the filter. I think that must be a misprint, because my truck’s oil capacity is just a little less than 12.0 quarts (12.0 quarts puts the line just above the hashed area on the dipstick). The Fleetguard filter holds just a little less than one quart, so perhaps the manual meant to say “excluding filter.”

Reading the 2007 version of TDR’s oil comparison, and comparing it to the 2012 version, makes several things alarmingly apparent. The price of oil has gone up considerably over the past ten years, and the quality has gone way down — mostly because of EPA emissions requirements and the removal of sulfur from fuels.

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