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Ford Taurus Oil Change Warning

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I've created this topic solely to give a piece of advice to those of you who do your own vehicle maintenance.  I recently got a 2006 Ford Taurus.  I had never changed the oil in one before.  The process is as straight forward as it is with any other vehicle, with one exception.  The solenoid for the starter is maybe one inch below the oil filter, with the posts turned toward the oil filter.  For those who don't know, in a car, the engine block, the frame, and everything attached to them that is not otherwise insulated, are all all negatively charged by virtue of being grounded to the negative post on the battery.  Since the Taurus sits SO low to the ground, and the oil filter is just under the manifold on the front side of the engine, I decided it would be easier to get to it from above, which obstructed my view of the solenoid.  Upon slipping the metal oil filter wrench over the oil filter, it also contacted the positively charged post on the solenoid, effectively shorting out the whole electrical system.  In the moment, I wasn't sure what was happening when the wrench started arcing, so my first reaction was to remove the positive battery cable to break the connection and keep my battery from exploding.  In the ~5 seconds it took me to get it off, it blistered my fingertips it was so hot.  In every other vehicle I've ever worked on including my Dodge pickup truck, the Ford Explorer, and several others, the oil filter and starter were on completely opposite sides of the engine, so this was never an issue.  If you do your own work and have a Ford Taurus, either use a rubber filter wrench, or be very careful when slipping your metal filter wrench on to make sure it doesn't touch the solenoid.

 

Here is a top-down view of the location of the oil filter.

[attachment=363195:filter-topdown-small.jpg]

 

Here's a close-up of the oil filter and solenoid.

[attachment=363193:filter-solenoid-small.jpg]

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I haven't done an oil change myself yet - Im sure I will @ some point.  I changed the pads all around on my car recently - couldnt believe how easy it was.

The other car I drive, you have to send in to the dealership for everything, and you wouldnt want to try to do things yourself -- too complicated, too risky

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My life lesson: Always unplug  the battery before vehicle maintenance. I am a heavy diesel mechanic / automotive, and have shocked myself several times when I thought no power would be going through one. I currently work on aircraft fueling trucks, and almost caught one on fire when I was DISCONNECTING the battery because my wrench hit the side panel, arched, the spark hit some lint suck in the air blower motor, and the caught fire for a second then smoldered. (The batteries are in very bad spots).

 

If you ever have questions, feel free to message me.

 

And now on topic, what the hell is changing an oil filter dangerous for!!!???? God knows I hate Ford, but I hate GM even more! (I have a Buick piece of crap Lesabre that I can't wait to get rid of).

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My life lesson: Always unplug  the battery before vehicle maintenance. I am a heavy diesel mechanic / automotive, and have shocked myself several times when I thought no power would be going through one. I currently work on aircraft fueling trucks, and almost caught one on fire when I was DISCONNECTING the battery because my wrench hit the side panel, arched, the spark hit some lint suck in the air blower motor, and the caught fire for a second then smoldered. (The batteries are in very bad spots).

 

If you ever have questions, feel free to message me.

 

And now on topic, what the hell is changing an oil filter dangerous for!!!???? God knows I hate Ford, but I hate GM even more! (I have a Buick piece of crap Lesabre that I can't wait to get rid of).

On modern cars - disconnecting the battery can/will cause all kinds of problems - very frustrating -- they make it where you have to take it in for just about everything.

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My life lesson: Always unplug  the battery before vehicle maintenance. I am a heavy diesel mechanic / automotive, and have shocked myself several times when I thought no power would be going through one. I currently work on aircraft fueling trucks, and almost caught one on fire when I was DISCONNECTING the battery because my wrench hit the side panel, arched, the spark hit some lint suck in the air blower motor, and the caught fire for a second then smoldered. (The batteries are in very bad spots).

 

If you ever have questions, feel free to message me.

 

And now on topic, what the hell is changing an oil filter dangerous for!!!???? God knows I hate Ford, but I hate GM even more! (I have a Buick piece of crap Lesabre that I can't wait to get rid of).

Yeah, I'm learning more and more.  I've always done my own oil, but over the years I'm learning more and more about how to work on vehicles and saving boat-loads of cash on labor fees, even if it does sometimes take me a little longer.  I appreciate the offer for help, :-)  It was my fault, because just about every user manual you look at always says to disconnect the battery before beginning any work, but I have never worried about it for changing the oil, but at least on the Taurus I will do so in the future.  I'm guessing the reason they put it there is because it's front wheel drive, so the engine is sideways compared to the engine in my pickup truck, and they wanted to make it easy to get to without having to crawl under the car to get to the back side of the engine.  On my Dodge pickup truck the starter and oil filter are literally on opposite sides of the engine, and the starter is just one large unit that bolts onto the side of the bellhousing.


On modern cars - disconnecting the battery can/will cause all kinds of problems - very frustrating -- they make it where you have to take it in for just about everything.

Yeah it generally will reset the computer, so in a lot of newer cars with automatic transmissions they may shift harder for a while, and all sorts of other things.  Going for a drive for an hour or two will generally give the car a chance to "learn" all over again and fix any issues caused by resetting the computer.  User manuals usually tell you how to manually reset timers and things.

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Also, prior I was an aircraft mechanic in the military for 5 years, including quality assurance. I have about 7 years of mechanic experience on various pieces of equipment, but the one that always kicks my @ss, is my Buick Lesabre. Engine leaking coolant in the intake, 13 hour job to repair in the 20F winter weather with wind (I don't have a house but an apartment). Pistons seized up, gone through 2 sets of rotors. Change the pistons too late, awaiting next payday to turn them. Sears can't align the car right 4 times, did it right only once prior to more suspension work, steering wheel is at the 10 oclock position rather than the normal one. Trunk doesn't close, worn trunk hardware that is no longer manufactured (something I've never had go wrong in ANY older car). Wheel bearings are a part of the hub rather than being able to replace them. The serpentine belt is on the side of the engine, rather than the front, so now I have to disconnect the engine mount to change the belt (a very easy 5 minute job in any other vehicle).

 

The list goes on and on. At least in my Ford, the only problem was it was 22 years old and was rusted completely out.

 

When you disconnect the battery, most if not all modern cars should automatically enter a "relearn" cycle for transmission shift points, crankshaft/camshaft position sensor, throttle position sensor, fuel ratio over RPM ranges, etc. If you don't disconnect it for too long, sometimes the settings will stay in memory. The other problems associated with disconnecting a battery on modern(ish) cars is resetting the radio with a code if factory. Otherwise, I've never had ANY problems with the dozens of vehicles that I've worked on by disconnecting the battery (except cars with alarm systems that like to honk the horn when you plug the battery in... I've hit my head several times because of it scaring me).

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Also, prior I was an aircraft mechanic in the military for 5 years, including quality assurance. I have about 7 years of mechanic experience on various pieces of equipment, but the one that always kicks my @ss, is my Buick Lesabre. Engine leaking coolant in the intake, 13 hour job to repair in the 20F winter weather with wind (I don't have a house but an apartment). Pistons seized up, gone through 2 sets of rotors. Change the pistons too late, awaiting next payday to turn them. Sears can't align the car right 4 times, did it right only once prior to more suspension work, steering wheel is at the 10 oclock position rather than the normal one. Trunk doesn't close, worn trunk hardware that is no longer manufactured (something I've never had go wrong in ANY older car). Wheel bearings are a part of the hub rather than being able to replace them. The serpentine belt is on the side of the engine, rather than the front, so now I have to disconnect the engine mount to change the belt (a very easy 5 minute job in any other vehicle).

 

The list goes on and on. At least in my Ford, the only problem was it was 22 years old and was rusted completely out.

 

When you disconnect the battery, most if not all modern cars should automatically enter a "relearn" cycle for transmission shift points, crankshaft/camshaft position sensor, throttle position sensor, fuel ratio over RPM ranges, etc. If you don't disconnect it for too long, sometimes the settings will stay in memory. The other problems associated with disconnecting a battery on modern(ish) cars is resetting the radio with a code if factory. Otherwise, I've never had ANY problems with the dozens of vehicles that I've worked on by disconnecting the battery (except cars with alarm systems that like to honk the horn when you plug the battery in... I've hit my head several times because of it scaring me).

I'll remember never to buy a Buick, lol.  I changed the serpentine belt on my Dodge pickup about a year ago, and all it took was a ratchet on the tensioner pulley to take off the old one, and there's a little diagram sticker under the hood right in front of you to show you how to put the new one on.  Took just a minute or two.  Even the gas pedal is still powered by a steel cable instead of the newer computerized "throttle position sensor" setup like my '06 Ford Explorer had.  I had the little sensor thingy that attaches to the side of the throttle body go out when I first got the Explorer (used) and one of two things happened to me on several occasions before the sensor finally just quit altogether about a month after the issue first appeared.  I would be creeping through a parking lot and all of a sudden it would hit the gas and I'd have to hold the brake for a few seconds to keep from hitting somebody.  It wouldn't go full throttle, but it would kick the RPMs up to about 2,500 so if I hadn't held the brake it would have hit somebody.  The other thing that would happen is occasionally I would begin slowing down while approaching a red light and the engine would just die and I wouldn't be able to get it going for 4 or 5 minutes.  I took it back to the dealer 2 or 3 times and of course they would drive it for 5 or 10 minutes and not have the issue.  The problem was that there was no "physical" connection between the gas pedal and the air intake, there was a sensor on the pedal wired to a sensor on the throttle body.  The one on the throttle body was flipping out occasionally.  It finally just died one day in the dentist's parking lot and pressing the gas pedal had no effect, the vehicle just stayed at idle and I had to get it towed.  Until that experience I thought the people who complained about the Toyotas taking off on their own were just crazy, but it's kind of hard to deny something when it happens to you.

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I'll remember never to buy a Buick, lol.  I changed the serpentine belt on my Dodge pickup about a year ago, and all it took was a ratchet on the tensioner pulley to take off the old one, and there's a little diagram sticker under the hood right in front of you to show you how to put the new one on.  Took just a minute or two.  Even the gas pedal is still powered by a steel cable instead of the newer computerized "throttle position sensor" setup like my '06 Ford Explorer had.  I had the little sensor thingy that attaches to the side of the throttle body go out when I first got the Explorer (used) and one of two things happened to me on several occasions before the sensor finally just quit altogether about a month after the issue first appeared.  I would be creeping through a parking lot and all of a sudden it would hit the gas and I'd have to hold the brake for a few seconds to keep from hitting somebody.  It wouldn't go full throttle, but it would kick the RPMs up to about 2,500 so if I hadn't held the brake it would have hit somebody.  The other thing that would happen is occasionally I would begin slowing down while approaching a red light and the engine would just die and I wouldn't be able to get it going for 4 or 5 minutes.  I took it back to the dealer 2 or 3 times and of course they would drive it for 5 or 10 minutes and not have the issue.  The problem was that there was no "physical" connection between the gas pedal and the air intake, there was a sensor on the pedal wired to a sensor on the throttle body.  The one on the throttle body was flipping out occasionally.  It finally just died one day in the dentist's parking lot and pressing the gas pedal had no effect, the vehicle just stayed at idle and I had to get it towed.  Until that experience I thought the people who complained about the Toyotas taking off on their own were just crazy, but it's kind of hard to deny something when it happens to you.

Gotta love electrical problems. It could be the sensor, the power, or the ground. Most often I find that on old trucks (the trucks we use are like 20 years old FML), the grounds are corroded or the wire has gone bad (which is rare on passenger vehicles because they aren't exposed to the conditions of heavy duty industrial trucks).

 

Life lessons: Don't buy a GM. Don't buy American unless it is going to be a truck, and a diesel  truck at that. Don't buy a Toyota Yaris (or any mini car), and if you are going to buy a Mercedes, make sure you can afford the repairs!!

 

Lets not mention the Howard or the CH-53 helicopter.

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Life lesson. Go with Toyota or classic American. Any Ford/Chevy made in the 90s up will nickle and dime you after they go out of warranty. I have worked for Dodge/Dahmer-Chrysler and Ford in the service departments and IT departments. I have a two Toyotas with over 250K miles. One gets 30mpg and the truck is indestructable. I have owned Ford Broncos/Taurus/f150/Probe and Chevy Camaro/Datsun. All but the Datsun were crap. I travel all over the states and rent way more cars than I have to. Toyotas are the best rentals unless you go high dollar luxury. 

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Life lesson. Go with Toyota or classic American. Any Ford/Chevy made in the 90s up will nickle and dime you after they go out of warranty. I have worked for Dodge/Dahmer-Chrysler and Ford in the service departments and IT departments. I have a two Toyotas with over 250K miles. One gets 30mpg and the truck is indestructable. I have owned Ford Broncos/Taurus/f150/Probe and Chevy Camaro/Datsun. All but the Datsun were crap. I travel all over the states and rent way more cars than I have to. Toyotas are the best rentals unless you go high dollar luxury. 

I miss my 2008 Hyundai Elantra that I sold so I could buy a truck. 35MPG on average, comfy, and modern. Also reliable, except the tapping noise the engine made prior to sale.

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...


Yeah it generally will reset the computer, so in a lot of newer cars with automatic transmissions they may shift harder for a while, and all sorts of other things.  Going for a drive for an hour or two will generally give the car a chance to "learn" all over again and fix any issues caused by resetting the computer.  User manuals usually tell you how to manually reset timers and things.

I wish I would have talked to you about 2 months ago.  My battery went dead and after that it was practically stall out @ low RPM - after much research - I found the relearning procedure to get things back on track - but for a while it was absolutely driving me nuts.  Of course it didnt help when I would mention it to people and they would say, "yeah you dont want to jump other people's car when their battery is bad - it could mess your car up.."   Oh really ?@?@

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I miss my 2008 Hyundai Elantra that I sold so I could buy a truck. 35MPG on average, comfy, and modern. Also reliable, except the tapping noise the engine made prior to sale.

Hyundai's are reliable rental cars. I have not bought one yet but Driving them I like. I cannot say until I personally see a Hyundai over 200K miles.

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Interesting. So the solenoid's positive terminal is connected directly to the battery's, and the negative side is what is switched through a relay? I doubt it. There should have been no power on the positive terminal. As mentioned, all components are usually grounded via the chassis (so should the solenoid).

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Hyundai's are reliable rental cars. I have not bought one yet but Driving them I like. I cannot say until I personally see a Hyundai over 200K miles.

They didnt used to be - only recently has Hyundai built decent cars

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On modern cars - disconnecting the battery can/will cause all kinds of problems - very frustrating -- they make it where you have to take it in for just about everything.

That's why you isolate the high-power/engine's components (pull out relative fuses) and connect a small 12V (1Ah) SLA battery across the main battery's terminals (to be disconnected) while servicing (to maintain power to the electronics).

 

I wonder if there's a market for (cheaper) cars without electronics.

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That's why you isolate the high-power/engine's components (pull out relative fuses) and connect a small 12V (1Ah) SLA battery across the main battery's terminals (to be disconnected) while servicing (to maintain power to the electronics).

 

I wonder if there's a market for (cheaper) cars without electronics.

No, thats why you take it to the dealership & let them worry about it ;)

All of that gibberish stuff you mentioned sounds like the typical linux support forum.

Newb asks question
Veteran always starts with "all you have to do is..." then gives lengthy, confusing, & vague process that only confuses said newb.
Newb doesnt understand answer
Newb gets frustrated and deletes linux from computer
Newb vows to never use linux again

of course.... I wouldnt know about this... it happened to.... some guy.

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ya that sounds like something ford would do. I helped a buddy with his ranger he had intermittent no start caused by what looked like a shim or some crap on the starter no it was how they grounded the whole car through that plate on the starter and bolt in it very dumb just like there exaust plug idea

 

never had a ford they didn't do weird stuff on

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For something as simple (yeah, right) as an oil change, there is almost no sense in doing it your self, now a days, with as cheap as the quick lube places are.

 

Most smaller Fords, have ALWAYS been absolutely ridiculous to work on, as are most smaller cars now a days.

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I hate that car manufacturers do that, to force customers to take the car back to the main dealers, even for somethimg simple like an oil and filter change.

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I hate that car manufacturers do that, to force customers to take the car back to the main dealers, even for somethimg simple like an oil and filter change.

My friend had a 2008~ Jeep Grand Cherokee while we were in the military (He recently sold it). He changed the brakes, but had to pay $100 to reset the brake pressure, otherwise it would keep giving a brake PSI warning.

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They didnt used to be - only recently has Hyundai built decent cars


I know people that bought theirs several years ago and have had great luck with them.

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My friend had a 2008~ Jeep Grand Cherokee while we were in the military (He recently sold it). He changed the brakes, but had to pay $100 to reset the brake pressure, otherwise it would keep giving a brake PSI warning.

That's the thing, there are lots of people who know exactly how to do advanced maintenance on their cars, but the cars are now made to be hooked up into a diagnostic machine, (one of the reason I prefer older cars, no sensors to fail or give false signals due to not being reset)

sorry, just venting about the rip off main dealers....

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That's the thing, there are lots of people who know exactly how to do advanced maintenance on their cars, but the cars are now made to be hooked up into a diagnostic machine, (one of the reason I prefer older cars, no sensors to fail or give false signals due to not being reset)

sorry, just venting about the rip off main dealers....

First time I changed the oil in our '06 Ford Explorer, I was not aware that there was a computerized oil timer.  It started flashing "Oil Change Recommended" a few weeks after I changed it and I had to look up how to reset it.  Luckily it did not require connecting to the computer with a code reader, you could do it through the menus on the computer on the dash, but things are getting more and more complicated any more.  It's one reason that I've clung to my old 1999 Dodge Dakota.  It has a computer that operates the trip meters, odometer, fuel injectors, O2 sensors and a few other things, but it is not nearly as embedded in the car as it is in newer vehicles.  I will admit though, it is handy to have all those sensors available.  On several occasions I've had a turning lamp go out on the Explorer for some reason throughout the course of an evening when I wasn't driving, and when I got in the next morning the computer would tell me to check it, or to check tire pressure (usually caused by cold weather causing the tires to contract) or that a door isn't quite shut completely.  It's nice to have the car helping keep an eye on things, but I'm really not a fan of the computer actually being in charge of controlling mechanical parts like the gas pedal, it makes me nervous having had one bad experience already, so I'll cling to my older truck as long as I can.  When and if it throws a rod I'll replace it, but I know how to replace valve seals, pistons and piston rings and things of that nature, so I'll keep it running until the frame rusts out from under it or the head/block cracks.

 

Interesting. So the solenoid's positive terminal is connected directly to the battery's, and the negative side is what is switched through a relay? I doubt it. There should have been no power on the positive terminal. As mentioned, all components are usually grounded via the chassis (so should the solenoid).

The end result is that it was positively charged, so touching it with a metal filter wrench that was also contacting the negatively charged oil filter/engine caused a short.  I have no reason to lie about it.  If you look at the solenoid in the picture, there is a 3rd wire (white with red stripe) connected about halfway down the side of the solenoid.  I'm guessing that operates an internal relay on the solenoid itself, but I'm not sure.

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I know people that bought theirs several years ago and have had great luck with them.

...and your point is ? 

 

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