How to Change your Engine Oil using a Pela Pump

I purchased my Pela Pump on the recommendation of people on the MG forum. This is an amazing bit of kit and has numerous uses. It doesn't actually save a lot of time but if used properly may make changing engine oil something of a breeze. You don't need to jack up the car and crawl under it so there is less chance of the car falling on you. You can even do it in ordinary clothes although I don't recommend it as oil is oils and has a propensity to get everywhere. However, I did have some issues and as I progress through this "How To" I will explain these.

Some preparatory things to do...  Warm the engine oil up first. I took my car out for a quick trip around the town; about 5 miles, but this was not enough in a winter environment.  The oil needs to be quite hot when the weather is cold.

This then creates issues with handling hot engine oil so be careful. I think you need to go on a trip long enough to make sure the oil is not at all viscous (thick)  but is loose and flowing, ready to be pumped out.  Otherwise the Pela Pump will struggle to get cool thick oil out quick enough before the oil left in the sump cools down too much and it becomes hard work. The pumping action and suction slows down quite a bit when the oil is cold.

My old oil looked like this after about 2 years and 7K miles...

First jack the passenger side up so the oil flows against the bottom of the dipstick pipe... If your driveway already has a slope then if possible use it and forget jacking it up. I assume that the dipstick tube bottom is the lowest section of the sump on the driver side front but I could be wrong? Position the car so that the dipstick pipe is at the lowest center of gravity in the car. It doesn't require to be much just make sure it doesn't flow away from the dipstick tube otherwise you may not get all the old oil out.

Now to insert the Pela Pump...

The pump is a vacuum type pump that sucks the oil out of the engine sump via the dip stick tube. The instructions say that it only requires 20 pumps for the oil to be sucked out through the provided tube and left in the container. I found I needed to repeatedly pump it; I will explain why later.

The Pela Pump tube is a plastic coated metal tube which is pushed down the engine oil dipstick tube until it enters the sump. Push it as far as it will go. The picture below shows as far as it will go in my Rover 75 V6 engine with the remainder of this pipe up to where my fingers are.. At this point the tube becomes a transparent plastic tube so you can see the oil as it is sucked out. It is plenty long enough for most engines.

When I pushed the Pela Tube into the dipstick tube I felt it hit the bottom and I jiggled it around a bit trying to make sure it was at the bottom of the sump. As I jiggled it felt like it was touching a plate with a spring underneath it. I am sure this is not the case?  I was trying to get it as far down as possible so I pushed it as hard as I could, trying to get it to slip past this resistance and bend around to fit further into the sump, I was unable to achieve this. Why?... This is the end of the tube when new and looks like this...

And I think what happened was it sits so close and flat to the plate at the bottom of the dipstick it may have closed it off.  I found it so hard to get the oil to flow freely. As I said I don't think I let the oil warm up enough and I had to keep pumping.  I was also getting quite a few bubbles in the oil which I could see through the clear plastic tube on the pump.  I now think that this was because the end of the pipe was so close to the plate that the oil had to squeeze through and so generated bubbles. Generally they were far worse than the ones you see here in this picture.

I persevered with it for quite a while until the penny finely dropped and I withdrew the pipe about a millimeter so that it lifted the flat end of the tube up slightly allowing the oil to flow freely.  The last part of sucking the oil out went very quickly as a result of doing this.

So I have now modified the end of the pipe by grinding it at a 45% angle like this... Next time it should be a lot easier. You have been warned!

If anyone knows what is at the bottom of the dipstick tube and can provide a drawing or image we can relate to, that would be good. Can you imagine my frustration at having to repeatedly pump then the vacuum run out of steam before the oil had been sucked out. At one stage I pulled the pump apart trying to figure out why it was taking so long. The pump was fine it was just that (I think?) the end of the pipe was stuck flush with the plate at the bottom of the dipstick tube. Hopefully the modification I did by grinding the end of the tube to an angle will resolve this issue.

 It took a lot longer then it should and by then the oil had cooled right down and that in itself makes the whole procedure become hard work. I also opened the oil filler cap so that there was an option for air to enter the engine in case it was this that was causing the problem. It may not have been; the jury is still out on this!

Loosen but leave the cap over the filler hole so that no small tools will fall down there.  You definitely don't want a small socket falling into spinning engine components. As you can see from the photo it had also started to rain by this time.

The container holds about 6 litres as you can see by this picture,  just about all the oil in the sump was pumped out; about 5 litres. Counting the rings from the bottom up seems to register as 1 liter per ring but this may have to be confirmed.

You know when all the oil is out of the sump when you hear a sucking sound and the clear plastic tube shows the oil becoming clear and bubbly. once you are sure all the oil is out pull the pump tube out of the dipstick tube and hold it up so that any oil left in the tube will flow down to the pump container. Wedge into something high to give it time to do this.

Now you can refill with new oil...

Put an old rag around the neck of the hole to catch any spillage and insert a funnel. Poor a whole 5 litre container of new oil into the engine, allow it to settle wait a few minutes for the oil to drain through to the sump and check with the dipstick if anymore is required, top up accordingly.

Start engine allow to run until warm turn off and check oil level again and top up if required.

Tadah!  your dune.

Next... How to change the oil filter.