Saturday, October 3, 2009

2008 Escape Hybrid Oil Change

My Escape Hybrid made it to 15,000 miles, and it was time to change the oil. Last time I took it to the dealer, but this time I decided to do it myself. I bought some oil and an oil filter.

The first clue should have been when the oil filter was an odd size. I couldn't find it in stock in Fram or Motorcraft, the first two manufacturers I looked at. This is odd because it used to be the Fords always had the same oil filter.  I did manage to find one in a third brand.

I got home, and looked under the car for the oil plug and oil filter. No luck.

So I fired-up my browser, and quickly found pictures of a standard Escape, and the location of the oil plug which faces the back of the car.  I saw the white plastic oil filter too, and I memorized where it was.  I quickly found the oil plug just slightly toward the passenger side facing the back. It has a 13 mm head.

After I while, I am getting tired of looking, and feeling a bit frustrated, so I broke out my ramps, but put the car up. I got my mechanic's creeper out. I still could not find it. At this point, I open up the oil filter box to get an idea what it looked like, and . . .

Surprise! It did not have a plastic housing -- it was just a filter element. First I thought it was some sort of flow through filter, and then I decided to pound the internet somemore. I found someone who said the filter was in the front center and facing straight down. Some one else said you needed a special wrench to open it.

I went back outside, and found this:

That picture is looking up at the car from the floor. If you look closely you can see the familiar markings of an oil filter wrench on the black plastic housing. [I wanted to put in a picture of the location since I am sure it is the only one on the internet.] 

So I opened the drain plug and empties the oil, and turned my attention to the filter.

Well, happily it was not on too tight, and I loosened it. It did not turn freely once I turned it because it had an "O-ring" inside. The O-ring drags on the housing  a long time, and it takes more torque than you'd think to get it free.

Actually, I put an Allen wrench in the drain screw and cranked it off that way. It is an odd size, but later I found I had a powder screwdriver bit that fit (#6 hex.)

I thought I was lucky that the whole housing came off instead of just the drain screw unscrewing from the housing, until the oil inside spilled all over. Messy.

The inside of the filter is pictured here:

You can see the blue Viton O-ring.

I filled the car up with actual Motorcraft brand "synthetic blend" oil. I think that only a Detroit area auto store would actually stock Ford'd Motorcraft brand. I wonder how little synthetic oil is really in there. 5%?  I got it though, since I intend to wait for 10,000 more miles to change it again, since that is what the manual recommends for the 2008 Escape Hybrid.