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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i'm a car newbie pretty much and need an oil change. i'd rather do it myself than pay whatever it is to have sum1 do it.i know i take out the filter drain the oil and put in new oil but i know its not that easy. first off, whree is the filter and second do i need a new filter when i change it?
thanx guys i appreciate u'r help
 

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El Mucho Post Whoro
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This should probably go in How-To, so I'll move it there, but I'll answer first. :)

When you're under your car you'll see a big white canister sticking out of the engine (although if you have been going to some oil change places it might be black or orange, maybe even blue), that's the oil filter. Yes, you need to change it when you change your oil. And you drain the oil from the drain plug in the bottom of the oil pan, not from the filter.
 
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Compared to everything else on the V6 (I'm not sure about the I4), the oil filter is frippin' easy to get to.

Crawl under the car close to the passenger headlight, look half-way up the engine on the front of the engine, you'll see the filter. It's about 3 3/4 inches around and it'll be white (Motorcraft or STP), orange (Fram), or black (covered with oil).

On the center rear bottom of the engine is the oil pan. The drain plug is in the back. I'm not sure about other model years (mine is '99), but mine is a 15mm bolt.

You're gonna spill some oil, especially when taking the oil filter off. This is a fact of life. Just try to mop most of it off when a rag and the rest will burn off in about 20 minutes after travelling. It takes about 5.5 quarts to fill.

If you don't change your oil filter, then there's no need to change the oil. If you don't change the filter, just take the oil that you've drained and put it back in the engine. Better yet, just drain the oil, put the drain plug back in. You're doing the same thing.

Three things to remember. 1) Don't overtighten your filter. Just screw it down handtight, then give it a 1/2 turn with an oil wrench if you're a weakling. It should go really easy until the gasket meets the engine. If you are having to strain putting it on, then stop and take it off. You're trying to cross-thread the filter on (this is very very bad). 2) Don't overtighten the oil plug. You'll run the risk of of snapping the bolt head off (I've actually done this!). 3) Don't forget to cover the oil filter gasket with new oil. If you don't do this, it will be a pain to take off the next time.

I'm glad to hear that you're thinking about changing your own oil. You're starting a close bond between you and your car. Most people who change their own oil take better car of their car. Plus the amount of money you save is outragous!

If you need any more help, or a step-by-step guide, just ask. It's what we're here for...
 

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First of all, if you're planning to start doing some of the maintenance on your car, go get a Chilton manual. Mine is "FORD CONTOUR/MYSTIQUE/COUGAR 1995-1999 REPAIR MANUAL." #26170. Don't worry, it covers the 2000 model year for the most part too. The only misinformation I've pulled from it so far is the size of my rear caliper locating pin on my rear disk brake.

On to oil changes... Listen to what NorCalCoug and craigsm have said with a few notes:

Drain the oil pan before you remove the filter. I have a 2000 and my oil pan plug is also 15mm. I have an old cardboard box that I spread under the engine to help catch any messes. Have someone hold your catch pan close to the drain plug to minimize spills. Push in on the plug until you've cleared all the threads, then pull it out of the way as quickly as possible. The oil pan will drain VERY quickly (as in, you don't have time to sit up from under the car) and so you will have to adjust the position of your catch pan. Let the oil pan drain until there are only drops coming out. Replace the plug and wipe up as much as you can from the oil pan.

Now move the catch pan approximately under the oil filter. Look down through the engine bay to make sure you've got it lined up, and then slowly unscrew it. Adjust the catch pan if necessary and remove the filter. Drain the filter into the pan. Clean up the area around the filter mount. With your finger, rub some oil on the new filter gasket. Screw the filter on (taking care not to overtighten as craigsm pointed out).

Now, fill the engine with new oil through the oil filler cap on the top of the engine. Use a funnel to minimize/eliminate mess. Officially, our capacity is 5.8qts, but I usually just use all 6qts even. Close the filler cap. Run the engine, checking for leaks at the oil pan plug, the oil filter and the oil filler cap.

You're done. The process will get easier and faster as you do it more times.
 

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Try warming your engine up a bit first, you'll get more oil out that way..don't burn your hands though.

Also try putting a plastic bag around the filter before you unscrew it...much less messy.

Oh yeah, never get under the car if it's only supported by your cheapy jack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thanx for u'r help! i plan on getting ramps that u role u'r front wheels up on for 20$ from autozone. i hear mobil one is the best oil to use...can any1 second that?
 

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I Dont know if it was mentioned, But do you fill the oil filter with oil before replacing it?
 

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Originally posted by: Bayeri
thanx for u'r help! i plan on getting ramps that u role u'r front wheels up on for 20$ from autozone. i hear mobil one is the best oil to use...can any1 second that?
Make sure you get some good some ramps with a low approach angle. Most ramps that I've attempted to use will not work with out having someone physically hold them in place because the front fascia hangs so low, even on a stock Cougar. You will probably get some rubbing regardless of the ramps.

I use Mobil1 Synthetic: 5W-30 for winter and 10W-30 the rest of the year. Others on the board will give you various recommendations on brand and especially weight, but I just use what the manual recommends.

Originally posted by: Fieldsexp
I Dont know if it was mentioned, But do you fill the oil filter with oil before replacing it?
No, you do not fill the new filter before installing. You simply rub some new oil on the gasket.
 

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I filled the filter on mine the last time I did it. I figure I'll change my oil again later this month. I want to get one of those Fram SureDrain plugs that replaces the stock oil plug. Its a pretty cool looking product for only $15. Basically its a new plug, when you are ready to change your oil, you remove the dust cap and turn this tube onto the plug. The oil will then begin to drain into your pan without much effort or oily hands. Now if I can only figure out how to get the oil filter out easily without spilling tons of oil. I'm going to try that bag idea mentioned by cougarbloke.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
i feel like a new man. i changed my oil and it felt good to know i can do it. the only question i have is on differnet types of filters. i used a boch(sp?) but i was stuck between that an STP, Mobil 1, or the stock. any have any advice? also this plug u talk of...thats just the 15 mm bolt right...
 

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Yeah it replaces that 15mm bolt. Its more then just another bolt. I'm not sure if they have an exact match for our car yet, but we'll see if the one I order is right.
 

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Originally posted by: Bayeri
the only question i have is on differnet types of filters. i used a boch(sp?) but i was stuck between that an STP, Mobil 1, or the stock. any have any advice?
Check out this Engine Oil Filter Study

Check out this Oil Review

Congrats on a job well-done!
 

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Tip: My filter was on exquisitly tight -- I needed to get a cap-style filter wrench to get it off. (These just fit over the top of the filter and use the ridges for grip.)

I typically will partially fill the oil filter before installing it. Reduces the time it takes to get oil to the engine.

Another tip: Before installing the new filter, look up at the steel ring that the filter attaches to -- make sure that no bits of the rubber gasket from the previous filter stuck there. That'll make for a nice leak. :)

Congrats on getting it done -- makes you feel like the car is being taken care of right, doesn't it? :)
 

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I just changed my oil in my cougar for the first time last week, my dad always did it before. Well, I had the oil pan all lined up perfect right below the drain plug. It didn't even cross my mind that the pressure would send it shooting out like a foot farther then my pan. I think like 1/4 of my oil went on the ground :biggrin:
 
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