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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
(This is Part 1. I don't know how long a message post can be, or with how many photos, so I'm breaking this up into a few messages in this thread.)

Today, I changed my 2017 Fiat 124 Spider engine oil and oil filter for the first time. A preamble:
-I am not a mechanic. I'm not trained as a mechanic. This is what I did, it does not mean you should do the same thing. I sincerely hope I did things properly, but if I failed along the line, someone please offer a correction. My experience, and my telling of it, is no substitute for you visiting your Fiat dealer for service work on your car.
-Exercise patience. Remain calm. Take a breath from time to time.
-Take photos of what you disassemble/remove so you know how to put it back together. Make a written list of the things you did, and refer to the list as you put it all back together. If you have access to a factory service manual, please use it. I do not have access to a manual, I did this job by the seat of my pants.
-Give yourself plenty of time. Your first time will not be a 30-minute job. Probably not the 2nd time, either, or ever. Pick a relaxing few hours when you are up to this kind of work.
-There are worse cars out there to change the oil on, but this is my most challenging oil change in 30 years of car ownership. If you aren't up to it, go visit your dealer. I'd not suggest the quicky lube outfits for this one. My hands, or the Fiat dealer.
-Note that your car's owner's manual is of ZERO assistance for the process of changing the engine oil and filter for this car, it only states that you should visit your dealer, period.

Okay, let's get to it.

Have on hand:
-4 qt full synthetic 5w/40 oil, meeting FCA/Chrysler/Mopar MS-12991, I chose Pennzoil 5w/40 Platinum Euro full synthetic, the MS-12991 standard is on the bottle.
-1 oil filter, multiple manufacturers supply them, including your local dealer. I went with the Mann HU713/1X. The filter should include a new O-ring for the oil filter cap- USE IT!
-Metric socket set, including a 27mm (or 1-1/16" SAE) and long extension for the oil filter cap removal. The 27mm is a 1/2" drive, get a 3/8" female to 1/2" male socket adapter if necessary.
-Used oil drain pan capable of holding more than one gallon of oil.
-Lots of rags/paper towels.
-Heavy duty nitrile rubber gloves (no latex, the oil will destroy the latex very fast), safety glasses, etc.
-Method of safely elevating the car, you'll be under it for some time. My ramps are 7" tall, and I'm glad for it. A creeper, or a big sheet of cardboard on the floor, will be helpful while working under there.

NOTE- click on the thumbnail photos AT THE BOTTOM of this posting to see full-screen size images.

After the car is elevated, remove the metal belly pan (photo 1). There are nine 12mm(?) bolts that hold the pan in place, see yellow check marks in the photo. The middle bolt, passenger side (circled), unscrew this one only about half way. The pan is slotted at this bolt to assist re-installation of the pan, to get other bolts started.


For some reason, I was under the impression that the oil pan/sump drain plug bolt faces the front of the car. I was surprised to find the drain plug bolt (circled, photo 2) faces the rear of the car. So, this *may* mean that front-wheels-only elevation of the car will result in full draining of the pan. (I've built wood ramps the length of the car, providing a level lift for the car, and now I may not need them for the Spider. That's okay, because they are necessary for my other car.) I did not have any oil drain on any other car parts under the car, but just in case, wrap aluminum foil around parts that may be in the line of drainage, if needed.


Photo 3, as you pull out the drain plug bolt (13mm socket, if I recall), note the rubber gasket on the plug and if needed re-position it back up against the head of the plug bolt. Mine came unthreaded a few turns. There was no metal crush washer. I do not know if this rubber gasket is a part that needs routine replacement, check with your dealer parts dept. I will get extras before my next oil change. There is no magnetic tip on this drain plug bolt.


The factory put a green mark on the washer-head of the drain plug bolt (photo 4) and on the mating surface of the oil pan/sump drain hole, probably a QC torque check from manufacturing. I used these marks to assure I had the plug tightened to what the factory tightened them, I did not use a torque wrench this time. (I don't know the torque setting for the drain plug bolt.) BUT, after draining the oil, do not immediately reinsert the drain plug bolt. I left it out, with the drain pan below, knowing more oil would flow out when loosening the filter (it will, and it did).


Ending this message, will reply starting Part 2 with more text and photos.

Steve.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Part 2, Changing Engine Oil and Filter. Click on the thumbnails at the bottom of the screen to see full size images.

At this point, the oil pan drain plug bolt is still removed and oil continues to seep out of the pan. I'm moving up top.

Photo 5, an overview, sorry that it overexposed a bit. I've popped the engine cover off for this work. The air intake tube (fat pink tube) that connects between the air filter box and the turbo unit inlet needs to be removed so the oil filter can be removed. Left to right, my socket wrench is on the bolt that secures the hose mount that allows this hose to be pulled out of the turbo air intake tube, remove this bolt. (Mine is the EuroCompulsion V1 air intake tube. Later, I've got a photo of the factory air tube, in case you have not changed yours.) The middle two circles show small air tubes that connect to the air intake tube, these need to be removed from the turbo air intake tube. The right circle is where the electrical connector is located that needs to be disconnected from the bottom of the turbo diverter valve, and the arrow pointing into the black space, that is where the oil filter cap is hidden. More photos coming...


As you can see in photo 6, there is no room for the oil filter (that's the new filter, just for demo purposes) to move between these engine components, so, some disassembly is required. (Thank you, Fiat.)


Photo 7 shows the disconnection of the wiring to the bottom of the diverter valve. It comes apart easily, if you do it properly. Use your thumbnail to slide down the yellow fitting, it will move just a few fractions of an inch. Then, push inward against the black portion right above the yellow part, the wiring will now slide apart from the diverter valve. Easy. See the black oil filter cap...?


Photo 8, I have the air intake tube removed from the turbo and air filter box, and the wiring harness is disconnected from the bottom of the diverter valve. The oil filter cap is identified. See the oil in the entryway of the turbo intake? That's what oil catch cans are supposed to limit/prevent. My E.C. catch can system is waiting to be installed, once the proper mounting bracket arrives. (If you are tempted to wipe the oil out of the turbo intake, use a lint-free cloth instead of a lint-filled paper towel. You don't want to put lint into the turbo.) See the circled spring style hose clamp just left of the oil filter cap? If you enjoy your skin, squeeze that spring clamp with a pliers and rotate it a few degrees to the left. It will make filter removal easier, and cause less blood-letting.


Ending Part 2, will reply again with Part 3, removing that darn filter...

Steve.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Part 3, Changing Engine Oil and Filter. Click on the thumbnails at the bottom of the screen to see full size images.

Photo 9, pack a bunch of rag/paper towel
around the base of the oil filter, just below the cap. Grab a Sharpie marker and scribble a mark on the black filter cap, so you know where to turn the cap to when you re-install it. The filter does not sit perfectly vertical, and a little oil will seep out, the rags will catch it and keep it from draining down into inaccessible areas of the engine bay. As soon as the filter cap is fully unthreaded, pick it up just a couple millimeters, if that. The drain bolt is still out from the oil pan, and you will hear more oil draining out, coming from the oil filter housing as it drains through the engine. Give it a few minutes before removing the filter, let it drain back through the engine so it doesn't make a huge mess all over everything! The filter is attached to the filter cap, lifting the cap will bring the filter with it. As soon as you pull the filter up from the housing, get a handful of rag under/around it to contain the mess. You'll need to flex the coolant hose at the 6:00 position of your filter exit path to get the filter cap and filter out of the engine. Wipe everything well afterward, you'll be leaving oil drips on hoses, etc. That little tab on the 27mm filter cover hex head, I don't know what that serves. Never saw it until I viewed this photo...


Photo 10,
looking down into the oil filter housing on the engine. The light reflects weird, but there is still a good couple ounces of old oil sitting in the bottom of the housing. As I was trying to blot it up with paper towel, I found that at about the 4:00 position inside the housing is another oil passageway out of the housing. To/from the oil pan or pump? Either way, I was probably wasting my time sopping up that old oil from the housing, because the rest of that passageway was still full of it, too. I guess I'll never get 100% of the old oil out of the engine, but a few ounces diluted into a new gallon should pose little risk. I guess.


Photo 11
, the old and the new. Pay attention to which groove it comes from, and remove the old O-ring from the oil filter cap, then install the new O-ring that came with the filter. I put of smear of oil on the new O-ring, too, just like I'd do to a spin-on filter. Do not re-use the old O-ring. I'm guessing the cap install/removal process stresses the O-ring, giving it a single installation life. As circled, the end of the filter with the "teeth" sort of snaps up into the oil filter cap, holding it in position for both removal and installation into the filter housing on the engine.


Photo 12
, this is the factory air intake tube between the air filter box and the turbo inlet. Circled, where the red pen cap points, that is a one-time use crimped band clamp that holds one of the PCV air hoses onto the turbo air intake hose. You can only remove that PCV hose by destroying that crimped band clamp. I used a Dremel tool cutting wheel and sucked up the metal particles with a shop vac as I cut. Why the factory didn't just use a normal worm-drive, or spring -style hose clamp here is beyond me. If you still use the factory air intake tube from air filter box to turbo inlet, you'll need to replace that cut band clamp with a regular hose clamp. It's a one-time fix. Again, thanks, Fiat.


Photo 13,
an extra bonus about the Mann oil filter. Mann- left, factory- right. I saw in a different thread where someone mentioned the Mann filter lacking the plastic end cap found on the factory oil filter. There seems to be a resinous material cast onto the end of the Mann filter instead of the plastic end cap. Six of one...? I grabbed my caliper and found the overall length of the factory and the Mann filters to be identical, where the filter actually grabs onto something when installed in the engine. I'm not worried about the lack of the plastic end cap.


Lastly- refilling the engine, almost!!!
No photos, but by now you've wrestled the old filter out, and wrestled the new filter in, and cleaned up your mess, too. Carefully tighten the filter cap to your Sharpie mark location, or the torque value that is shown on the black filter cap. Be careful not to overtighten and strip or crack the plastic cap.

Do not put in the oil yet, something is still missing!! Keep reading.

Re-install the big air intake tube between the air filter box and the turbo. Re-attach the two smaller air hoses to the big air intake tube, and secure all the tubing clamps, remembering to re-bolt the larger little hose back into position (photo 5, with the ratchet wrench). Reinstall the wiring harness onto the diverter valve- it should click when pushed on, then slide the yellow security clip back up into position. Put the top engine cover back into position. Am I forgetting anything? Go over everything you did and recheck it all. This is your project, don't depend on my memory!!

AND FINALLY...
Get back under the car and re-insert the oil pan drain plug bolt into the oil pan, carefully tightening to the factory (or your) colored marks on the plug bolt and oil pan, or torquing to the factory spec (which I do not know). Then re-install the metal belly pan, carefully tightening all 9 of its mounting bolts. Head back up top and refill your engine with the oil amount according to the owner's manual.

Before starting the engine, step back and think about everything you had to do to change this oil. Did you re-install everything? Is/was every threaded fastener, the drain plug bolt, and the filter cap properly tightened? All the air hoses re-installed and secured? The wiring re-attached to the diverter valve? The new oil poured in? If everything is the way the factory intended it to be, then start the car, and enjoy the ride. I'm sure it will be easier next time. I hope...

Steve.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oil change through story telling. But it is involved, far more involved than any auto manufacturer should have ever meant for it to be. Sure makes one wonder what they were thinking. There just is no justification for it.

Steve.
 

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stevet, thanks for taking the time to document your oil change. It is hard to believe they made it so difficult, and it explains why some places want to pump out the oil rather than draining it. Still, burying a serviceable item like an oil filter beneath so many components that need to be disconnected - I have never seen this in 30 years of monkeying with cars. I like to change my own oil when I can, but I'm not sure whether I'll do it on this car. The problem for me is: do I trust anyone else to disconnect and reconnect everything properly? If I'm going to watch them like a hawk, I may as well do it myself.

As others attempt their own oil changes, I'm very interested in whether we can get away with jacking the front only to drain the oil. That alone would save some of the headaches.
 

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Thanks for this from a 'non mechanic' point of view! Interesting that the consensus was that the drain plug was at the front, yet when having a look you show it at the back.

(I think if you edit the posts, and the inline images, and remove the '&thumb=1' they should show full size...).

As far as torque of the drain bolt, it looks like a 10mm bolt in aluminum: looking at the standard torque settings for metric bolts in aluminum, it shows 25ft-lb, which seems reasonably close. Since it's effectively lubricated, it'd require less than that (10-20%). Take that for what it's worth, though, this is a 'standard' setting: I'm sure there's a requires setting somewhere; there's also the rubber sealing washer.

EDIT: on the dodge dart forum for the same engine, they note 25Nm which is about 19ft-lb.
 

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Nice catch on the filter cap "O" ring position. It's not intuitive, and belongs a little bit below where one would assume. A critical part of the procedure to be sure. If you don't get it right you're in for a major leak!!

By the way, oil drain plugs with rubber washers are considered one-pice,I do't think you can buy the washers separately.
 

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I'll edit your posts soon and will update the formatting for everything if you don't mind. Looks like you linked to the thumbnails instead of the actual images, so I'll fix that as well. I haven't read through it all yet, but thanks for the effort on this one!

Torque spec looks like it's molded into the cap. This is a critical spec to pay attention to as over-tightening will crack the cap (I've seen it happen a lot).

On the Fiat 500 Abarth, the oil pan drain plug is 27 N.m. I assume it's the same for this one.
 

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stevet, thanks for taking the time to document your oil change. It is hard to believe they made it so difficult, and it explains why some places want to pump out the oil rather than draining it. Still, burying a serviceable item like an oil filter beneath so many components that need to be disconnected - I have never seen this in 30 years of monkeying with cars. I like to change my own oil when I can, but I'm not sure whether I'll do it on this car. The problem for me is: do I trust anyone else to disconnect and reconnect everything properly? If I'm going to watch them like a hawk, I may as well do it myself.

As others attempt their own oil changes, I'm very interested in whether we can get away with jacking the front only to drain the oil. That alone would save some of the headaches.
You can expect the headache of getting the oil filter out to be the result of taking a traditionally transverse mounted engine and turning it 90 degrees, then stuffing it into a Mazda engine bay.
 

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I would recommend deleting the section on disassembling the OEM intake UNLESS you are sure that the filter cannot be removed with the OEM intake in place. I am looking at my engine and it looks like there is plenty of room to remove the filter cartridge without disconnecting anything other than the electrical connector to the diverter.
 

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You may have become disoriented while under the car. I believe you are incorrect about the position of the oil drain plug. As I recall, from a week ago, it is on the side of the pan, in the front.
 

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My car hasn't come in yet, so I can't check this myself, can you reach up from the bottom and remove/reinstall the filter? When I change the oil in my wife's 500L, I loosen the cover from the top with a long extension, then reach up from underneath to remove the filter cover and filter. I don't have to disconnect anything.

Great write up by the way! One thing I would add is to coat the o-ring in the filter cover and the gasket on the drain plug with a little oil before you install it. I wouldn't worry about the small amount of dirty oil in the bottom of the filter housing. Oil filters are actually most efficient after they get a little dirty.

Also, I am a industrial mechanic who works in a electric power plant on very large machines.
 

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My car hasn't come in yet, so I can't check this myself, can you reach up from the bottom and remove/reinstall the filter? When I change the oil in my wife's 500L, I loosen the cover from the top with a long extension, then reach up from underneath to remove the filter cover and filter. I don't have to disconnect anything.

Great write up by the way! One thing I would add is to coat the o-ring in the filter cover and the gasket on the drain plug with a little oil before you install it. I wouldn't worry about the small amount of dirty oil in the bottom of the filter housing. Oil filters are actually most efficient after they get a little dirty.

Also, I am a industrial mechanic who works in a electric power plant on very large machines.
There is no way to remove the filter from underneath.
 

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I am hoping that my EC V2 intake will allow me to bend it out of the way enough to get the filter out. Removing the intake would be a pain, because I'd have to remove the DV+ and BOV adapter too. They are so close to the turbo inlet clamp, actually pushing against it, that I can't work with the clamp unless I remove those parts. Reinstalling all those parts is a major pain too because of the tight fit.
 

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I am hoping that my EC V2 intake will allow me to bend it out of the way enough to get the filter out. Removing the intake would be a pain, because I'd have to remove the DV+ and BOV adapter too. They are so close to the turbo inlet clamp, actually pushing against it, that I can't work with the clamp unless I remove those parts. Reinstalling all those parts is a major pain too because of the tight fit.
I had no trouble removing the V4 intake without removing the DV+. It's tight, but I use the edge of a standard screwdriver to shove the clamp back in place when reinstalling.
 

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I had no trouble removing the V4 intake without removing the DV+. It's tight, but I use the edge of a standard screwdriver to shove the clamp back in place when reinstalling.
Trust me, I tried everything. The Torque Solutions BOV adapter is way too close to the intake tube, and there was no way to squish the clamp in there. I even tried to lightly tighten the clamp in place on the intake tube before slipping it onto the turbo inlet. It still wasn't able to be pushed past the BOV adapter. I had to fully install the intake first, then install the DV+ and BOV adapter after the clamp was already tight on the intake. Not to mention, I'm terrified of stripping the turbo housing, so I told myself I'd never mess with those bolts again. :p
 

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Hmm. The trials and tribulations seem to require the filter change to be done by oneself for a car with any mods in the engine. Too many things that can't get put back right.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for this from a 'non mechanic' point of view! Interesting that the consensus was that the drain plug was at the front, yet when having a look you show it at the back.
(snip)
EDIT: on the dodge dart forum for the same engine, they note 25Nm which is about 19ft-lb.
Thanks for the drain plug torque reference. And too late to edit the photos, XR will handle that. Afterward, I looked around for oil change articles on this engine, ain't much out there. EC has an article I've seen before, but it is for the Fiat 500 cars with the engine oriented differently, and the 500 plug sure looks to be pointing forward. Scroll down this link to the oil pan photo, and look at the wheels on the ramps. That plug is going forward (and lots of daylight coming from photo right, the front end?). That oil pan is even differently shaped than the one in the 124. https://shopeurocompulsion.net/blogs/technical-articles/fiat-1-4-turbo-oil-change

Nice catch on the filter cap "O" ring position. It's not intuitive, and belongs a little bit below where one would assume. A critical part of the procedure to be sure. If you don't get it right you're in for a major leak!!

By the way, oil drain plugs with rubber washers are considered one-pice,I do't think you can buy the washers separately.
Good to know. I might just pick up another drain plug from the dealer to have on hand, just in case.

I'll edit your posts soon and will update the formatting for everything if you don't mind. Looks like you linked to the thumbnails instead of the actual images, so I'll fix that as well. I haven't read through it all yet, but thanks for the effort on this one!

Torque spec looks like it's molded into the cap. This is a critical spec to pay attention to as over-tightening will crack the cap (I've seen it happen a lot).

On the Fiat 500 Abarth, the oil pan drain plug is 27 N.m. I assume it's the same for this one.
Yes, have at it, and thanks for fixing the photos, too. Following the above-mentioned EC article, I did put my torque wrench on the filter cap after I installed it to "feels about right", and to my magic marker mark. At 20lb, my clicker wrench still was threatening to turn the cap. I had the cap fully seated and snug, probably to within a couple degrees rotation of the factory installation, and I just didn't want to stress the plastic threads any tighter than I did. Once the O-ring started making contact, I could feel a seal being made. I think I'll get an extra filter cap, too. Plug torque, we now have 2 Fiat-based settings for the drain plug- 25Nm from the Dart folks, 27Nm here. So, 18-19 ft. lb. Assuming our wrenches are well calibrated! Aluminum threads, scary. Of course, who knows what they banged that plug to at the factory.

I would recommend deleting the section on disassembling the OEM intake UNLESS you are sure that the filter cannot be removed with the OEM intake in place. I am looking at my engine and it looks like there is plenty of room to remove the filter cartridge without disconnecting anything other than the electrical connector to the diverter.
Good point, but the stock air intake tube is not dramatically smaller in diameter than the EC V1 tube. The V1 is a bit bigger, but also smooth-walled, both improve airflow. For those with the stock air intake tube still installed, all you need to do is give it a try. If nothing else, it's a heads-up. If you can get it out without removing the air tube... Happy Day! If so, it will still be an incredibly tight operation, getting your hand, or two, into the action- one hand to lift the cap/filter combo, the other trying desperately to get a handful of rag under the filter to keep it from bleeding all over the place. I can't see two hands doing this with any air tube still in place.

You may have become disoriented while under the car. I believe you are incorrect about the position of the oil drain plug. As I recall, from a week ago, it is on the side of the pan, in the front.
I've replayed this one in my mind several times now. I went under from the front bumper on my back, head first, toward the driver's side of the car. Head stopped below driver's front corner or so of the metal belly pan location (pan out by this point). Oil pan is now just to the right side of my face. Socket wrench engaged with my right hand, socket pointing toward the front of the car. I could see the plug head, but not the hole. Oil drained rearward off the back side of the pan into my catch pan, which is to the right side of my head several inches, and more rearward. Yep, that plug bolt was on the rear-facing side of the oil pan. You know, if I wouldn't have to remove the belly pan, I'd go out there and look again just to make sure.

Is it possible there are two drain plugs on this oil pan and I didn't see a possible second? Crazy? Not at all. Our Fiat's country-mate, my Italian Moto Guzzi V7II Stone motorcycle, has two drain plugs on the pan, at the front and rear vertical faces of the pan. Yep, required to pull both plugs to get the pan to fully drain... its whopping 2 liters of oil! Boy, now I am getting curious. Not tonight, but this might be worth the trip back under the car. Maybe a mid-season production change? Mine was built in Feb 2017. I don't know... Frankly, at the time, I was a bit nervous that I was pulling the right plug, without owner's/service manual guidance. After it drained, literally, I pulled, wiped, and reinstalled the dipstick probably 5 times hoping there would be no oil on it, since I'd just drained *something* from the bottom of the car. Dipstick was dry every time. Then when I refilled, I checked it probably another 5 times, and wouldn't you know, each time the dipstick had oil on it. Very careful examination of the dipstick after filling with 4qts (3.5 qt and running the engine for a few minutes, then topping to 4 qt) showed that the oil level was slightly higher than the full mark on the dipstick, maybe another 3/16" or so higher. I drove it about 20 miles today, just checked, still seems a bit high. No engine lights have come on, and she ran like a top today. Makes me wonder, trust "4 qts" as the owner's manual says, trust the dipstick, drain with the front inclined for a more complete drain...?

Thanks, everyone. I hope all of our thoughts and findings on this topic help the collective in our maintenance efforts.

Steve.
 

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Thanks for the drain plug torque reference. And too late to edit the photos, XR will handle that. Afterward, I looked around for oil change articles on this engine, ain't much out there. EC has an article I've seen before, but it is for the Fiat 500 cars with the engine oriented differently, and the 500 plug sure looks to be pointing forward. Scroll down this link to the oil pan photo, and look at the wheels on the ramps. That plug is going forward (and lots of daylight coming from photo right, the front end?). That oil pan is even differently shaped than the one in the 124. https://shopeurocompulsion.net/blogs/technical-articles/fiat-1-4-turbo-oil-change



Good to know. I might just pick up another drain plug from the dealer to have on hand, just in case.



Yes, have at it, and thanks for fixing the photos, too. Following the above-mentioned EC article, I did put my torque wrench on the filter cap after I installed it to "feels about right", and to my magic marker mark. At 20lb, my clicker wrench still was threatening to turn the cap. I had the cap fully seated and snug, probably to within a couple degrees rotation of the factory installation, and I just didn't want to stress the plastic threads any tighter than I did. Once the O-ring started making contact, I could feel a seal being made. I think I'll get an extra filter cap, too. Plug torque, we now have 2 Fiat-based settings for the drain plug- 25Nm from the Dart folks, 27Nm here. So, 18-19 ft. lb. Assuming our wrenches are well calibrated! Aluminum threads, scary. Of course, who knows what they banged that plug to at the factory.



Good point, but the stock air intake tube is not dramatically smaller in diameter than the EC V1 tube. The V1 is a bit bigger, but also smooth-walled, both improve airflow. For those with the stock air intake tube still installed, all you need to do is give it a try. If nothing else, it's a heads-up. If you can get it out without removing the air tube... Happy Day! If so, it will still be an incredibly tight operation, getting your hand, or two, into the action- one hand to lift the cap/filter combo, the other trying desperately to get a handful of rag under the filter to keep it from bleeding all over the place. I can't see two hands doing this with any air tube still in place.



I've replayed this one in my mind several times now. I went under from the front bumper on my back, head first, toward the driver's side of the car. Head stopped below driver's front corner or so of the metal belly pan location (pan out by this point). Oil pan is now just to the right side of my face. Socket wrench engaged with my right hand, socket pointing toward the front of the car. I could see the plug head, but not the hole. Oil drained rearward off the back side of the pan into my catch pan, which is to the right side of my head several inches, and more rearward. Yep, that plug bolt was on the rear-facing side of the oil pan. You know, if I wouldn't have to remove the belly pan, I'd go out there and look again just to make sure.

Is it possible there are two drain plugs on this oil pan and I didn't see a possible second? Crazy? Not at all. Our Fiat's country-mate, my Italian Moto Guzzi V7II Stone motorcycle, has two drain plugs on the pan, at the front and rear vertical faces of the pan. Yep, required to pull both plugs to get the pan to fully drain... its whopping 2 liters of oil! Boy, now I am getting curious. Not tonight, but this might be worth the trip back under the car. Maybe a mid-season production change? Mine was built in Feb 2017. I don't know... Frankly, at the time, I was a bit nervous that I was pulling the right plug, without owner's/service manual guidance. After it drained, literally, I pulled, wiped, and reinstalled the dipstick probably 5 times hoping there would be no oil on it, since I'd just drained *something* from the bottom of the car. Dipstick was dry every time. Then when I refilled, I checked it probably another 5 times, and wouldn't you know, each time the dipstick had oil on it. Very careful examination of the dipstick after filling with 4qts (3.5 qt and running the engine for a few minutes, then topping to 4 qt) showed that the oil level was slightly higher than the full mark on the dipstick, maybe another 3/16" or so higher. I drove it about 20 miles today, just checked, still seems a bit high. No engine lights have come on, and she ran like a top today. Makes me wonder, trust "4 qts" as the owner's manual says, trust the dipstick, drain with the front inclined for a more complete drain...?

Thanks, everyone. I hope all of our thoughts and findings on this topic help the collective in our maintenance efforts.

Steve.
Since your photos do not show the orientation of the drain plug and I have the choice of doubting your recollection or doubting my own sanity, I chose to post some pictures of the drain plug on my car. The first is a photo of the drain plug taken from in front of the front suspension. The next few photos show the sides of the oil pan, driver's side, passenger side and rear. There is also a photo taken from the front of the car showing the drain plug relative to the front wheel and lower fascia. These photos clearly show that the drain plug on my car is in the forward part of the oil pan. Unless Fiat has somehow changed the pan drastically from the early production models, one would need to insure that the car is level or tilted forward so that the oil drains completely. The oil drains from the side of the front of the pan.
 

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