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Discussion Starter #1
Decided to do my own oil change this time, so I read the nice writeup, gathered the materials, and set on my way.

I opted to use ramps vs. jackstands because I'll just never feel too good about being under a car on jackstands. What I didn't anticipate is that I wouldn't be able to use my creeper...sometimes you forget just how low these cars are.

Having read the instructions, I grabbed my 10mm socket and slid under the car. Surprise #1: the 5 rear bolts and 3x2 side bolts were not 10mm. In fact, they were a shade smaller than 8mm, but I didn't have a standard socket that fit any better. Surprise #2: the 2 bolts near the vents were not 10mm either, but rather 1/2". Suprise #3: both bolts were not 1/2"; one was 13mm. Surprise #4: I had to use my breaker bar to loosen the drain plug. Surprise #5: it actually was 14mm, as advertised. Surprise #6: after all that, I was able to hand-loosen the oil filter. Surprise #7: if you buy one of those big 5 quart oil jugs, it is relatively challenging to pour into a funnel which barely sits into the fill hole (suprise #8) while the car is still on the ramps, although it'd be hard anyway since the boot lid doesn't open all that wide.

However, no blood was spilled. Oil was spilled, though. :( But seriously, wtf with the bolt sizes??
 

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Always fun the first time

I never get those 5qt jugs and I was doing a oil change for a female friend of ours and I didn't realize how fast the amount of oil that can come of to those 5qt jugs and it started coming out around the funnel filler neck in the valve cover and I had oil running down the side of the valve cover and onto the exhaust :confused: I had to explain to her that she was going to be smelling burning oil for a bit cause I couldn't get it all off the manifold.

:UK:
 

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All of my undercarriage bolts are 8mm and the two "big" structural bolts by the NACA ducts are 13mm.

It sounds like whatever size guide you were reading was incorrect to start, and that there's a chance that your bolts were either stripped and filed down or replaced with odd sizes?

I agree with everything else, although I have a "slim" funnel which fits pretty well with the 5qt jug.

I'm surprised you didn't mention trying to remove/insert the dipstick :)
 

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All of my undercarriage bolts are 8mm and the two "big" structural bolts by the NACA ducts are 13mm.

It sounds like whatever size guide you were reading was incorrect to start, and that there's a chance that your bolts were either stripped and filed down or replaced with odd sizes?

I agree with everything else, although I have a "slim" funnel which fits pretty well with the 5qt jug.

I'm surprised you didn't mention trying to remove/insert the dipstick :)
The bolts on my undertray are also 8 mm and 13 mm. Someone probably replaced some of them on the OP's car.

To refill the oil, I first pour the large jug one litre at a time into a 1 L bottle and then pour that into the engine.
 

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German Reimport
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Good job on getting to know your car a little better.
But regarding the bolt sizes, they are 8mm an 13mm as others have stated.
And there is no such thing like "a shade smaller".
Bolts are standardized (ISO, DIN, SAE, ...).
Typically M5 Bolts have a 8mm socket head, M8 bolts have a 13mm socket head, but not a shade smaller that 8mm or 13mm unless they got stripped.
 

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Some smart fellow taught us to cut a 1 qt. oil container up and thread the top into the cam cover: Free, secure funnel.

Uh, you being unable to use your creeper has nothing to do with the height of the car; it's the low height of your ramps. (My old metal ramps are just fine.)
 

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trust me, get nice tall metal ramps.

My car is as low and the job is much easier.

I have used a crib pad wrapped in heavy duty plastic a few times in the past, but not in that situation. The crib pad makes it a bit more comfortable.

Just trying to help.
 

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the engine pan is very time consuming to get off. The 11 bolts seem to take hours, or maybe I just drank too much caffeine before starting the oil change.

I just upgraded my set to use 11 duze fasteners and some washers . (D-Ring Dzus, Clip-On, OEM Plastic Bodywork (14mm) (D8)).

Much quicker, 1/4 turn and they are off with a simple screwdriver.

Still thinking, if I can replace the 13 mm bolts with 14 mm bolts, then I would only need 1 screwdriver, 1 14mm socket to do an oil change.
 

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The PO most likely replaced them. I replace all of mine with SS allen head bolts that way they are all the same size.

Hats off for doing it yourself. Most people wont attempt that. Its a pain but can be done and I have owned harder cars in the past.

Adding oil can be tedious but you can fix it with a funnel or 1 quart containers.

Good job bro!
 

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That may always make me laugh.
 

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huh I just checked all of my under panels the other day and I only found 8 and 13 mm bolts.
 

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Gamera The Atomic Turtle
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cardboard is relatively comfy to lay down on - vs. concrete. And cleaner than laying down on dirt.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The fact that I couldn't use my creeper was only an issue after I determined that the bolt sizes in the uberpost weren't correct. So there was a whole lot of slider under slide out slide under until I had the right size. Because you know, bringing more than one socket wasn't an option for some reason.

I love the idea of standardizing under there...does anybody know the thread pitches?
 

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... I determined that the bolt sizes in the uberpost weren't correct. ...
It sounds like your car for whatever reason isn't using the original hardware. Both my Elise and Exige use the 8mm and 13mm bolts for the undertray, as everyone else has stated. The Uberpost isn't wrong.

Perhaps get new hardware from your dealer? I know it's likely not the cheapest solution, but they'd be correct.

FWIW, 13mm and 1/2" sockets are kinda interchangeable on sloppy tolerance hardware. Moreso 8mm with 5/16", and 16mm with 5/8".
 

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you guys need to learn about cordless power tools. I use a 12v impact for just about everything now, takes about 30 seconds to pull the undertray once I have it jacked up.

Also, FYI, the reason the brits like to use 13mm and 8mm is because they are 'cross over' sizes that are really close to 1/2" (12.8mm) and 5/16" (7.94mm). That is great for people who don't have the right tools or ones like me who have every tool in the world but always lose their damn 8mm sockets right when you need them. The problem is that it makes it really easy for people to buy the wrong size fasteners and then cross thread them on there, so if they truly are different sizes, inspect the threads and make sure they are not all chewed up. If so chase the threads and replace with the proper bolt/nut.

PS: one more thing: DONT buy one of those crap oil filter pliers like in the video above. Instead, get a set of oil filter sockets. You can get them at any parts store, or HF actually has a nice aluminum set. Makes changing oil filters much easier.
 

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I have a 17 volt and the damn 13's would not come off. I tried by hand only to be left with arm hurting. Breaker bar, no go... Was going to get some leverage but figured it was not worth it for my task(looking for rattle). I think a gorilla put them on.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
It sounds like your car for whatever reason isn't using the original hardware. Both my Elise and Exige use the 8mm and 13mm bolts for the undertray, as everyone else has stated. The Uberpost isn't wrong.
From the link in the uberpost (Lotus Elise Maintenance, Oil Change Tutorial)

The blue arrows point to the attachment points for the engine access panel. There are three 10mm hex head bolts on either side, ahead of the rear wheels. There are two Allen head wrench bolts on either side of the NASA intake ducts (black plastic openings). And there are five 10mm hex head bolts on the trailing edge of the panel. The forward edge of the panel rests in a groove and is supported by the floor panel.
You are right that everyone has stated they have 8mm & 13mm bolts. So either everybody who has replied has had the same hardware change, or the above is incorrect. Regardless, all that really matters is that I know what socket to use for next time. :shrug:
 

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FWIW, I did my first oil change a couple weeks ago. I had a couple different bolt head sizes, but you could tell someone had swapped them at some point, they didn't match.

I use one of these on a cordless drill (with a socket adapter stuck in it), didn't even have to lay down underneath to get to the ones on the side of the car. Not quite 30 seconds, but not too bad.

note: I upgraded to this one after breaking several of the cheaper all-chrome looking ones over the years. This one's a beast. Milwaukee P/N MW 49-22-8510 - not cheap, but comes in handy more than I could have imagined.

 
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