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2011 ford fiesta oil drain plug



Just rolled over 800 miles, and was bored today, so thought I'd change the oil. I took some pics while I was at it so I could make a tutorial! The ST is a little different than the standard Focus, so I thought it warranted making a new walkthrough. If you've never worked on a car, don't worry; changing your own oil is easy, cheaper than taking it to the dealer, you can control what oil goes into your car, and most importantly, you can make sure the mechanic doing the rush job at the dealership doesn't strip the threads in your aluminum engine block, or "forget" to change the filter.

You will need some consumables and tools before starting:

Pictured are a hydraulic floor jack, jack stands, and a drain pan. These were purchased at walmart. Some people like drive-on ramps; I chose the jack and stand because they are 1) cheaper, and 2) allow you to take off the wheel for suspension and brake maintenance. The ramps are certainly faster though. Up to you. I would not use the included scissor jack in the spare tire compartment because it will scratch the paint off the rail. Keep it for emergency use and buy something else for routine maintenance or part installs.

You'll also need 6 quarts of a 5W-30 oil of your choice (extra quart not pictured), an oil filter of your choice (the factory recommended replacement is a Motocraft FL-910S), a funnel, a filter wrench (optional), a torque wrench capable of measuring 20 ft-lb, a T30 torx driver or ratchet, and a 15mm wrench or socket. Also have some paper towels handy.

Drive your car around a little bit to warm up the oil. This lowers the viscosity (makes it more watery) so that it is easier to drain. Get home and park on a level surface, put the car into gear, and engage the hand brake. If you took a particularly long drive, let the car cool down for a half hour or so, so that you don't burn yourself touching the drain pan or with the hot oil. Pop the hood and take the plastic engine cover off (optional). To take it off just pull it up at each corner. Remove the oil cap and pop out the dip stick:

Jack the car up, or drive up on your ramps. Depending on what jack you have, your jack points could be different, but here is the jack point I chose, and the part where the jack stand goes:

Next remove the bottom cover using your Torx bit. The ST has a little air spoiler on the front that you will need to remove first (3 screws). Once that is removed, take off the remaining screws (8), leaving the one in the very front for last so the cover doesn't fall on you. Then slide the cover forward to release it, since it slides onto features on the underside of the car. Here's the cover and spoiler:

The screws are two different lengths. The 5 longer screws go on the spoiler and on the sides of the cover. The shorter screws go along the front and the back of the cover. I put them on my bench in a little pattern to keep track. In this view, up is towards the front of the car:

Now get under the car and find the filter and drain plug. Both are easily accessible. The filter is towards the front of the car and the plug is towards the rear:

Place the drain pan under the drain plug. Be sure the pan is back far enough to catch the oil since due to pressure it comes out in an arc towards the back of the car. Just position the pan so that one edge is right under the plug, with the rest of the pan real estate towards the rear. Use your 15mm wrench or socket and loosen the drain plug. Unscrew it by hand until oil starts dripping; it is almost out at that point. Keep your hand out of the way and continue unscrewing until it comes out and the oil starts to drain.

While waiting for the oil to drain, preload your filter. Open your new filter, insert the funnel, and pour oil slowly into it to allow the paper filter element to become saturated. Let it sit to soak up the oil, and add more new oil.

Continue doing this until the oil stops lowering, and leave an inch or so to the top so you can handle it without oil spilling everywhere. Also take your finger and add a ring of oil to the gasket:

We preload the filter like this because if we didn't, there would be a time when you first start the car where the engine is not fully lubricated, due to the oil having to first fill and saturate the filter before being able to pass. Some people don't like preloading the filter because it introduces some unfiltered oil into the engine before returning to the filter again. My view is that modern oil is made in a controlled clean environment, comes from a sealed can, and will never be as clean as it is when new. Pick your poison.

At this point the oil should be slowly dripping from the oil pan. Wipe up the area with a paper towel and reinsert the drain plug. The Focus doesn't use a crush washer; it has an integrated gasket in the plug. Torque the plug to 20 ft-lb, or if you have experience with torque tools, estimate. Do NOT over-tighten, since the steel drain plug can strip the aluminum threads in the oil pan if you do. If you don't know what 20 ft-lb feels like, rent a torque wrench from a local auto parts store. Most have a free loaner program.

Now remove the oil filter. I unscrewed mine by hand (there's a good amount of room), but if it doesn't budge for you, use your filter wrench. Let the oil drain and when it's dripping slowly, wipe the smooth surface with a towel to clean it. Make sure the old gasket didn't stick to the metal surface. If it did, remove it.

Screw on your new preloaded filter until you feel the first sign of resistance. Then tighten 3/4 to 1 turn more. Again, do not over-tighten.

Use your funnel and add 5 quarts. Wait a few minutes and check for leaks. If there are none, reinstall the cover (remember to slide it in the mounting features first), then the spoiler, then lower your car to a level position. Add another half quart, wait 5 minutes, then use the dipstick to check the level. The ST supplement manual says the dipstick tube is part of the oil return system and to wait a few minutes before checking the level after adding oil or running the engine. If the oil level is somewhere on the hatched part of the dipstick, start the car and let it run for a minute or two. Make sure you have oil pressure. If you don't, turn the car off immediately. Turn the car off and wait 5 or 10 minutes for the oil to drain back into the pan, and out of the dipstick tube, then check the level again. Add oil until somewhere around the middle position on the dipstick indicator. I ended up using 5.7 quarts to get the level right about in the middle of the range. Check your level again the next day and top off again if necessary.

To reset the oil service interval monitor: with engine off, press the push button start to put the car into ACC mode (no pedals pressed when you press the starter). Now press both the gas and brake together and hold. You'll see messages pop up, keep holding until you see one that says the service interval monitor has been reset.

Pour the old oil into the now empty oil containers, and put your oil stained paper towels and old filter in a plastic bag or two. Bring them to any auto parts store or oil change facility and they will dispose of them properly free of charge.

Some people say you should wait 5000 miles before your first oil change. Here are pics of the new oil and the removed oil (first pic is caps about half full, no flash. Second pic is after I poured both out, so just a thin coating on the white cap, with flash):

Please note that color alone does not indicate bad oil, indeed some brands of oil come out of the can nearly black when new (anyone know what color brand new Motocraft oil is?). However, I also found metal flakes in the oil. It might have been from the oil that I let drain from the filter, in which case the filter did its job, but I'm still glad I got it out of there. Also the old oil did not look homogeneous in color, which is impossible to capture with a camera. It looked "dirty" to me, but I am not a petroleum engineer. Take my observations as you will.