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Removed a stuck oil filter


V

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I have no idea how many oil changes I have done over the years, but I have never experienced a stuck oil filter that I had fitted myself until now. I changed the oil last week prior to having to make a long journey but I couldn't undo the filter. My usual 3-prong tool was just crushing the canister and I couldn't risk puncturing it and having to sort out alternative travel arrangements. I poured my new oil into the engine and left the slightly crumpled filter as it was. I had done a little over 1,000 miles on the old oil filter so it was good enough for another week or so.

 

I was expecting to have to cut the end of the canister off if it crumpled any more. If this happens a good tool can be made at home by grinding a 27mm or 1-1/16" socket into a dog-clutch with castellations that can engage with the holes in the oil filter baseplate. I thought I would try a few different oil-filter hand tools that I have not used before to see if I could avoid having to do this. The number of baseplate holes differ with filter brand, some have 6, 7, 8 or more holes. The Mopar coming off had 8, the Wix-XP going on had 6.

 

The tools cost around a fiver each, nothing special, just normal cheap Chinese grade tools. I didn't think the one in the middle would be worth using as it relied on the 'thumb' pushing hard into the canister. I put this one at the end of the list to try. I thought the vice-grip style would give a good grip on the baseplate rim, so that was second on the list to try. This left the green handled segmented jaw wrench on the left to try first.

 

The green handled wrench that I bought fits two filter sizes, a 90mm 4.0L Jeep filter and something bigger. It was initially a bit difficult to slip over my crumpled canister, but the snug fit made the tool grip nicely. I was both surprised and relieved that this tool worked brilliantly. I had to put quite a lot of force on the handle to get the filter to turn, but the filter was moving without the tool slipping or the canister crumpling. It was easy to reposition the tool's clamping surfaces with one hand without it slipping off the canister. It worked. It worked really well!

 

I didn't get to try the other two tools, but I think I have a new first choice tool when I come to doing the next oil change.

oil-filter-wrenches.jpg

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Not enough space on an XJ. It is possible to drive the screw driver through the can but not enough space to get rotation on it afterwards. If you have to make a second or third hole, the canister strength is decreasing with each.

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When I used to crawl under my rigs over the years I had a metal band one that fit straight onto the oil filter then you could insert a spanner extension. It was great for tight areas and seemed to give a great amount of force if needed. Fortunately cleaning, putting fresh oil on both sides and a two thirds turn after contact seemed to serve me well.  New rigs with tiny cartridge filters seem Greek to me.

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I prefer the paper filters that go in a housing, as long as the housing is accessible. Most are 'O' ring sealed and have a torque spec on the cap. The added advantage is that the replacement filter and 'O' ring quality can be easily examined before use.

 

I have a similar 3-prong tool like Stewart's. It has worked very well and has been my favourite oil filter removal tool for years. I have even bought them as gifts. I find the mechanism opens up easily until torque is applied which means two hands are needed for repositioning. The tool that I just bought can be repositioned one-handed which is an advantage when you are standing on a step ladder leaning into the engine bay.

 

My oil filter was on so tight that the 3-prong tool started to crush the canister. Prior experience has taught me that when a canister has lost it's integrity, the job gets a lot longer. As I had a long journey to do immediately after the oil change, I couldn't take that chance. I normally change my oil every six months but the Jeep was in storage for nearly two years during COVID and had done 634 miles between oil changes. I don't know if it was me overtightening the filter or lack of use that caused the problem, I'm just happy that it didn't become a bigger problem.

 

I reckon that I have seven different types of oil filter removal tools now, three of which I have yet to use. I usually keep a chain wrench in each Jeep because it is useful for undoing other things and doesn't take up much space. I might buy another one of these segmented ring wrenches for my other Jeep's toolkit.

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  • 7 months later...
  • Platinum Member

I got to use the vice-grip oil filter wrench today on our Honda CR-V. The K20A4 engine has to be one of the worst for making a mess on a filter change. The spin-on filter was tiny, none of my other tools fit except the vice-grip fit. The tool's jaws could be adjusted to fit the canister with just the lightest clamping pressure applied. It got the filter undone without a problem. I removed the grips after less than a 1/4 turn and spun the filter off by hand from then on. It's definitely worth the money for a tool that has such a wide range of adjustment.

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On 10/02/2022 at 16:29, otruk said:

Whats wrong with a screwdriver!😁


That takes me back to my boy racer days of Mk1 Escorts in the 90s where the ONLY tool used to remove an oil filter was a screwdriver and a hammer to punch it through both sides 🤣

 

I've grown up (a bit) since then and whenever fitting a new oil filter I always wipe the new o-ring over with engine oil, never had a problem removing them since then.

 

Interesting review of the tools though, thanks for sharing @V 🙂

 

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