Oil Change: Sucking or Dripping? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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Post Oil Change: Sucking or Dripping?

Oil changes are widely covered all over the forum, and very well I may add. The question of sucking the oil from the top or letting it drip from the oil pan has, so far as I've seen, been left to a matter of personal preference. Should this be the case, or the reason for the MB sucking method is rooted on an advantage over the dripping method?

The dripping method lets the oil out strictly under the natural flow at atmospheric pressure under the force of gravity. The sucking method ejects the oil from the bottom of the pan forced by a vacuum which overcomes atmospheric pressure, the force of gravity and adds a sufficient lift to pull the oil into the destination tank. With the filter removed, the galleries, pump, pan filter and all lubricated areas are subject to the effect of said vacuum. Thus, impurities in these areas are supposedly carried in the flow toward the pan easier than by the gravity in the pan draining method. Once the oil gets in the tubing, there is no possible recontamination of the system.

My conclusions:

1. Remove oil always after removing the filter by the sucking method.

2. First time, and every 30/50k miles thereafter, remove the pan to examine sludge accumulation, metal filings and other contaminants. Clean pan, filter and magnet (install if not present).

I see this forum has a lot of people with knowledge and MB experience, so I look forward to their valuable input on, what I consider, a basic car care subject.

Cheers and happy motoring, chaps, JV


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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 04:26 PM
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I always just loosen the filter and leave it in the hole to let it drip before final removal. Hate spilling the oil on the top of the engine, especially on diesel,
Sludge in oil pan? Man, what are you driving?
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Kajtek1 View Post
I always just loosen the filter and leave it in the hole to let it drip before final removal. Hate spilling the oil on the top of the engine, especially on diesel,
Sludge in oil pan? Man, what are you driving?
Perhaps my intent is not clear, but reading thru the different threads I find all kind of terror tales. Magnets full of filings, lack of magnet in pan, sludge in pans probably never opened or even in engines poorly serviced after a good deal of driving... Once you find the rhythm for your car program, then you can adjust accordingly. But, first seeing is believing.

As for what I drive: 2009 C350ELE (mine)
2009 S550 (Co. leased).
No fear of sludge on my part, I only have to worry for my wheels. And whenever the hood is popped for some service, my boy details it. Of course cleanliness and care are #1, but thats elementary school and this should rather be college rationale.

By the by, I've seen your contributions and though we might have points to argue with each other your advise is not only respected, but always solid and sincere.

Cheers, JV


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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 07:52 PM
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Trust me, I know what sludge and magnets full of fillings are
Driving Skoda decades ago I had to rebuild the engine on 45kkm (30,000 miles) intervals.
From those years remember that when the sludge develops it usually stays on the valve valley, while the part from the pan is filtered.
But this is history. No more sludge, no more valve lashes and new spark plugs every 10,000 miles. Now with my MityVac if I skip orings replacement I can do the change in white gloves in less than 15 minutes.
Did I mention checking ignition points or pumping the tires every 3-rd day?
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-23-2009, 08:41 PM
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Actually, you should "do both" . . . just not at the same time.

I strongly suggest that if you're doing your own oil changes, then use the vacuum method out the dipstick a few times, then do the traditional oil pan drain plug method, so that you're physically under the car at least once every 16-18 months.

Why? Well, on that under chassis excursion, you'll have the added pleasure of visually inspecting your ball joints, tie rods, idler arms, pitman arm, sway bar bushings and brackets, and all the other niggly bits that you otherwise ignore while sucking out the lubricant from the dipstick tube.
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-24-2009, 12:05 AM
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IMHO the key word in your post is "supposedly". It's an interesting theory, but all those passages drain back to the top of the head, the cam valley or the sump, so all you're doing is drawing air down through them equally. And fluid physics tells you that a fluid will always follow the path of least resistance, so if you did somehow have oil in a passage but the vacuum could apply elsewhere, it wouldn't even disturb the fluid.

Rather, the reason it's designed for vampires is because it saves time at the dealership while eliminating the possibility of a stripped drain plug, and no need to toss a car on a rack which can be used to charge some other sucker for something or other (flex disc inspection?).

I freely admit I'm old school, but I do toss out the caveat that unless you're very careful about how you drain it, you'll leave more oil behind in the pan than you'd get through the vacuum method. And I do appreciate the opportunity to take a quick look around with the cover removed, check for leaks, etc. Hopefully I won't see the coolant trail from the WP for a long, long time.

On the oil pan idea, I have to say that in all the time I've been on the various fora, I've never heard *anyone* suggest regularly removing the oil pan. Mine is staying on until the sensor fails or I'm rebuilding the thing, seems like that's just a way to ask for leaks or introduce dirt. But if it helps you sleep better at night, hey, have at it.

Take care and enjoy the ride,
Greg

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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-24-2009, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by gregs210 View Post
IMHO the key word in your post is "supposedly". It's an interesting theory, but all those passages drain back to the top of the head, the cam valley or the sump, so all you're doing is drawing air down through them equally. And fluid physics tells you that a fluid will always follow the path of least resistance, so if you did somehow have oil in a passage but the vacuum could apply elsewhere, it wouldn't even disturb the fluid.

Rather, the reason it's designed for vampires is because it saves time at the dealership while eliminating the possibility of a stripped drain plug, and no need to toss a car on a rack which can be used to charge some other sucker for something or other (flex disc inspection?).

I freely admit I'm old school, but I do toss out the caveat that unless you're very careful about how you drain it, you'll leave more oil behind in the pan than you'd get through the vacuum method. And I do appreciate the opportunity to take a quick look around with the cover removed, check for leaks, etc. Hopefully I won't see the coolant trail from the WP for a long, long time.

On the oil pan idea, I have to say that in all the time I've been on the various fora, I've never heard *anyone* suggest regularly removing the oil pan. Mine is staying on until the sensor fails or I'm rebuilding the thing, seems like that's just a way to ask for leaks or introduce dirt. But if it helps you sleep better at night, hey, have at it.

Take care and enjoy the ride,
Greg
+1 Greg....as usual

I agree, I'm old school also, and would never consider removing the oil pan as regular maintenance.

As said before, getting under once in a while and looking and feeling around gives you an ideal opportunity to see if the winter has left you with any surprises.

Derek
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-24-2009, 01:34 PM
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I ONLY recommend Draining the Oil "old-style".
Remove your plastic covering at the bottom.
Drain the Oil
Replace the Copper Crush Washer
Remove and Replace Oil Filter and Clean the Oil Filter Housing.
Remember to occasionally replace the Oil Cap Gasket.

Why you remove the Oil Pan is beyond me.
It is so unnecessary.
If you want to get the gunk out, drop a quart of diesel fuel in the Old Oil or an Engine Oil Cleaner, run it through for 15 minutes, THEN change your Oil.

Removing the Pan? Not me!

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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-24-2009, 02:31 PM
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My CLK needs 8 litres (8.45 US quarts) of oil changed. Is there a Topsider that can contain that quantity of oil?
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-24-2009, 03:12 PM
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I ONLY recommend Draining the Oil "old-style".
What's your definition of old?
Germans are sucking the oil for at least 25 years. Doing oil change without filter replacement it was 2-3 minutes job in the shop.
Do you still crank-style mechanical calculator?

For keyhole >>>Mt MityVac holds 9 quarts and dealing with tar-like diesel oil I still prefer to suck 1/2, than push it into 1-gal recycling container and than suck the rest. This way I have better visual control and even if I screw something up -the spills are smaller.

Last edited by Kajtek1; 04-24-2009 at 03:16 PM.
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