Oil Change Procedure

After much debate, I've decided that no one is going to change the oil on my C5 but me. Due to the special procedure required on the C5 and it's ultra low stance, some out of the ordinary techniques are called for.

If you've looked under for C5, the first thing you probably noticed is that its flat. I mean, we're talking Kansas flat. If you look closer, you'll see that there is no deep sump in the oil pan. It's flat too and extends far to the sides and rear to hold all six quarts of synthetic wonder. The practical result of this is that you have to raise the rear of the car in order to get all the old oil out. What would be no big deal on lesser cars is in fact a big problem when you recall that you jack doesn't fit under the nose. Not to fear, the solution is simple, safe and inexpensive.

I was making other purchases at Pep Boys one day when my eyes filtered over a set of ramps. Now, I hate ramps and never use them. In addition, most ramps are too steep for the Corvette to climb without scraping the bottom and just forcing the ramps out of the way. As I turned to other things, I noticed the picture on the box depicted a nice red C5 Corvette perched comfortable on top of the ramps. This got me to take a second look and discover that these ramps have a very low approach angle (17 degrees) that allows even the C5 to make the ascent without trouble. They're also wide enough to accommodate the tires on the C5. These magic ramps are called Rhino Ramps and they're from our old pals at Blitz. They're plastic (scary huh?) and cost only $30. The ramps are the first part of the solution.

The second item required is one good old fashioned, high quality floor jack. I hope you've invested in a real floor jack and not one of those $29 specials. The extra cost is more than worth it. For everything else to do with your jack you'll want to have a pair (or two) of good solid jack stands. Even though I a stickler for stands, the oil change procedure does not require them.

Before you start, you'll need seven quarts of Mobile One Synthetic 5W-30 oil, a good filter (I and several others have found the Mobile One brand to be best), something to hold all that oil (6.5 quarts), an end cap type oil filter wrench, and a 15mm box end wrench. A good supply of paper towels never hurts either.

The first thing to do is to find a location that is absolutely level. The inside of the garage usually works best. Get the car and ramps position and just drive right on up. There is some minor scraping of the air dam but it's nothing to worry about. Once the car is firmly seated on the ramps, turn it off and set the parking brake. Now climb underneath and put your drain pan in place. Loosen and remove the 15mm pan plug located at the very front of the oil pan. Let the oil drain out until the flow becomes a trickle. Next, place your floor jack under the rear crossmember and jack up the back of the car. Allow no one to even think about going under the car while the rear is supported by the jack. Place the rear of the car about six to eight inches above the front. You'll notice the flow of oil increase dramatically. Wait until the flow once again slows to a trickle and lower the rear of the car. The oil will usually have to drain for eight to ten minutes.

Carefully replace the drain plug and tighten. Be careful not to cross thread or over tighten the plug. Your oil pan is aluminum and you don't want to even think about how much it would cost to replace. Once the plug is tight, move your drain pan over to the filter. You'll most likely need a end cap type filter wrench to get it off. Be prepared for flowing oil as soon as the filter gets loose. Once the flood stops you can finish removing the filter. After the filter is removed and drained, wait for the flow of oil to turn into a drip before moving on. Make sure the old gasket comes off with the filter and that the mating surface on the engine is clean and free of debris. I strongly recommend re-oiling the filter before installation. It's easy and quick. Just pour fresh oil into the filter and keep toping up until the element has absorbed all it can. Just before you install the filter, run a bead of new oil on the gasket to ensure a good seal. Carefully maneuver the full filter into place and tighten. Be careful not to cross thread the filter. The filter should be hand tight and then just a little bit more.

Remove everything from under the car and then roll the car off the ramps. Pour six quarts of Mobile One into the crankcase and then wait at least three minutes before starting. After you start the engine, make sure the oil pressure climbs past forty and then hop put check under the car for leaks. Before you turn off the car you can reset your "Oil Life Remaining" display on the DIC by selecting it and holding down "Reset" for five seconds. Give the oil fifteen minutes or so to settle back down to the oil pan and check the level on the dipstick to make sure everything is right. The oil level should be right in the middle of the operating range hash marks. If you have too much oil make sure you drain it before starting the engine again.

Once you do it the first time you'll find that the whole processes takes far less than an hour. It's as quick as Jiffy Lube and you know that the job has been done right.


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