Automotive Systems

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Lubricating System Maintenance


There are certain lubricating system service jobs that are more or less done automatically when an engine is repaired. For example, the oil pan is removed and cleaned during such engine overhaul jobs as replacing bearing or rings. When the crankshaft is removed, it is usual procedure to clean out the oil passages in the crankshaft. Also, the oil passages in the cylinder block should be cleaned out as part of the overhaul.

As a Construction Mechanic, you will be required to maintain the lubrication system. This maintenance normally consists of changing the oil and filter(s).

Occasionally you will be required to perform such maintenance tasks as replacing lines and fittings, servicing or replacing the oil pump and relief valve, and flushing the system. The following discussion provides information that will aid you in carrying out these duties.

Oil and Filter Change
It is extremely important that the oil and filter(s) of the engine are serviced regularly. Lack of oil and filter maintenance will greatly shorten engine service life.

Manufacturers give a maximum number of miles or hours a vehicle can be operated between oil changes. Newer automotive vehicles can be operated 5,000 miles between changes. Older automotive vehicles should have their oil changed about every 3,000 miles. Most construction equipment average between 200 and 250 hours of operation between oil changes. However, depending on the climate and working conditions the miles and hours between oil changes can be greatly reduced. Refer to the service manual for exact intervals.

To change the engine oil, warm the engine to full operating temperature. This will help suspend debris in the oil and make the oil drain more thoroughly.

Unscrew the drain plug and allow the oil to flow into a catchment pan Be careful of hot oil; it can cause painful burns.

Usually the filter elements are replaced at the same time the oil is changed. The most common filters are the spin-on filter or replaceable element type oil filter.

  • Spin-on, throwaway oil filter—replaced as a complete unit. Unscrew the filter from the base by hand or a filter wrench and throw the filter away. When replacing, wipe the base clean with a cloth and place a small amount of oil or grease on the gasket to ensure a good seal. Screw on a new filter, tightening at least a half a turn after the gasket contacts the base. Do not use a filter wrench because the filter canister could distort and leak.
  • Replaceable element oil filter—removed from the filter housing and replaced. Place a pan underneath the filter to catch oil from the filter. Remove the fastening bolt and lift off the cover or filter housing. Remove the gasket from the cover or housing and throw it away. Take out the old element and throw it away. Clean the inside of the filter housing and cover it. Install a new element and insert a new cover or housing gasket (ensure the gasket is completely seated in the recess). Replace the cover or housing and fasten it to the center bolt securely.

After the oil has been completely drained and the drain plug replaced, fill the crankcase to the full mark on the dipstick with the proper grade and weight of oil. Start and idle the engine. Check the oil pressure immediately. Inspect the filter or filter housing for leaks. Stop the engine and check the crankcase oil level and add to the full mark.

Oil Pump Service
Service on oil pumps is limited since they are relatively trouble-free. An oil pump will often still be operating trouble-free when the vehicle is ready for salvage.

A bad oil pump will cause low or no oil pressure and possibly severe engine damage. When inner parts wear, the pump may leak and have a reduced output. The pump shaft can also strip in the pump or distributor, preventing pump operation To replace the oil pump, it is first necessary to determine its location. Some pumps are located inside the engine oil pan Others are on the front of the engine under a front cover or on the side of the engine. Since removal procedures vary, refer to the manufacturer’s service manual for instructions.

Most mechanics install a new or factory rebuilt pump when needed. It is usually too costly to completely rebuild an oil pump in the shop. Before installation, prime (fill) the pump with engine oil. This will assure proper initial operation upon engine starting.

Install the pump in reverse order of removal. Anew gasket should be used and the retaining bolts torqued as specified by the service manual.

Pressure Relief Valve Service
A faulty pressure relief valve can produce oil pressure problems. The valve may be located in the oil pump, filter housing, or engine block.

If symptoms point to the pressure relief valve, it should be disassembled and serviced. Cleaning and adjusting is all that is usually required. Remove the cup or cap, holding the pressure relief valve. Then, slide the spring and piston out of their bore.

Measure the free length of the spring (length of extended spring) and compare it to the specifications. If the spring is too short or long, install a new spring. Some manufacturers recommend checking spring tension.

Use a micrometer and a small hole gauge to check the valve and valve bore wear. Also, check the sides of the valve for scratches or scoring. Replace the parts if any problems are found.

Assemble the pressure relief valve. Make sure that the valve is facing correctly in its bore. Slide the spring into place. Install any shims and the cover plug or cap. Refer to the service manual for details.

The pressure relief valve may be adjusted in one of two ways. One way is by an adjusting screw (having a jam or locknut) which adds or relives pressure on the spring. The other way is by adjusting shims that are added or removed to adjust opening pressure of the relief valve.

Published by SweetHaven Publishing Services
Based upon a text provided by the U.S. Navy

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