Automobile Repair/Honda/Civic/Oil Change

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Filter access[edit]

On the 1992-1995 Honda Civic with the D16 engine, the oil filter is located on the back side of the engine, beneath the intake manifold, making access difficult from above. The best method is to use a "cup type" oil filter wrench which fits the flutes on the end of the filter, an extension of appropriate length, and a ratchet handle; this assembly is wormed down through the very narrow space between intake manifold and firewall and onto the filter. The job can be complicated somewhat if an oil filter which has a different size than the stock Honda filter has been installed, as is the case with some of the national oil-change chains; and/or if the filter refuses to be removed, either because of overtightening when installed, too long a time lapse since installation, or, sometimes, use of oil leak sealant additives, which can cause the rubber seal on the filter to adhere tightly to the block the same way they cause rubber gaskets to seal more tightly.

The B16 engine, however, which was an option in some del Sols of this vintage and is a popular engine swap into other Civic models, offers significantly more space between the intake manifold and the firewall, easing the job of filter replacement from above.

Oil drain plug[edit]

The oil drain plug can be a source of problems. The stock plug uses an aluminum crush washer to seal against leaks, which must be torqued fairly tightly (the same system is used on the manual transmission fill and drain plugs). Contrary to occasional practice, the washer should never be reused except as a temporary measure in an emergency, as it then requires even more torque to properly seal. Given the relatively high torque needed to properly seal the plug, it is not unusual for the plug to be overtightened and the threads stripped; luckily, it is usually the plug which is damaged and can be replaced, rather than the more complex process of fixing damaged threads in the oil pan.

Some enterprising mechanics substitute a nylon washer,as is sometimes found on other cars, rather than the aluminum washer; the torque required for proper sealing is greatly lessened, but the nylon has a tendency to soften when hot and creep out from under the plug, so that leaks develop over time, particularly in warmer temperatures. The Valvoline national oil-change chain offers a replacement plug with an integrated O-ring (often prominently displayed for sale in the office of the facility, given the well known problem of stripping of Honda oil plugs) which requires much less torque and can be reused several times; after a few reuses, however, the O-ring can become worn and damaged and the plug must be replaced. The danger of stripping of the threads is greatly reduced, however.

One possible solution is to install one of the oil drain valves, available either from Fumoto or Fram. These take the place of the stock drain plug, by threading into the oil pan, and utilize a valve which is turned by hand to drain the engine oil. While tapping the drain hole and installing a larger plug, or installing a self-tapping plug are acceptable, they are not the recommended solution, as these types of plugs tend develop leaks over a short period of time. Also, the metal shavings created by the tap may become suspended in the remaining oil, causing premature engine wear. The proper repair, if the threads for the drain plug in the oil pan become stripped, is to replace the engine oil pan altogether.