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I don't have one on my Prius (my WalMart doesn't carry the model for it), but I did have a Fram SureDrain on my previous vehicle, a 2000 (gas guzzling) Ford Explorer. I changed the oil with it maybe 4 or 5 times before I got rid of the truck.

I think the Fram thing was great. On the Explorer, when I removed the drain plug before, the oil would hit a suspension piece and spray all over the place for a second before it settled down and drained in a path lower than the piece. With the Fram thing, you don't need a wrench to get it draining (although I did go a bit beyond hand-tight on the cover cap, just a bit more with pliers), and the 6-inch drain tube solved my mess problem.

The Fram thing worked quite well. It drains slower, though, so you'll have to let it sit a while longer while waiting for it to stop draining. Also, the orange tube can be a little loose (which is actually OK because it makes it a little easier to thread the release nozzle on), so you want to be careful that it is fully on the nipple when the oil starts coming out.

I plan to get one for my Prius one of these days. I will only change the oil on my Prius myself if I can do it without jacking, stands, etc. Can anyone tell me whether the oil filter can be accessed/removed with the Prius sitting on the ground?

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Rob. I bought a Fram plug today, SD-3, for the 04 Prius. Will install it in another 2K miles. Pep Boys had 'em for 9.99, cheaper than Kragan or Auto Zone (they will match the price though).

From what I can tell, you can easily reach the filter and drain plug without jacking up the car....assuming you're not football player size. You just need a low profile drain pan 'cause there isn't that much room.

Brian
 

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brian,
I happened to stop at WalMart at lunch, after my previous posting...they carry the SD1, 2, and 4 but not the 3. They also want about $12.50 for them now...used to be $10. Not sure if they have Pep Boys in the Twin Cities (MN) but will take a look. Please let us know what you think of the SD3 on the Prius the next time you change oil and install it. (Although the first time around you'll just be putting in the thing after already draining it, not using it for the draining, if you know what I mean.)

I haven't looked underneath my Prius yet. On my Explorer the oil filter was way underneath, and hung upside down. I used a great tip from the old Explorer newsgroup when removing it....take an empty 2 liter plastic pop bottle, cut off the top half or so, and, once the oil filter is pretty loose, put the bottom half of the bottle over it and spin it the rest of the way off...the bottle catches all the dripping oil, keeps hands clean, etc.

Between the pop bottle and the Fram thingie I had my first oil change in 30 years without getting at least a little oil on my driveway!

I think the Prius oil filter is pretty tiny...maybe a 1L bottle would work better.

rob
 

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also noticed walmart now carries mobil 1 oil (in the Prius 5W30) in the 5 quart jug ($20) or the 6-quart bottle box ($24), in addition to the single bottles for $3.97. No savings other than convenience. Have to go see what Costco has.

rob
 

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filter...

Yes, the '04 Prius filter can be replaced without jacking. It is 'up there' a ways and small, but I've gotten used to where it is and can squeeze under the lower air dam thingy and twist it with a socket mounted oil-filter wrench. I have the Fumoto oil drain valve and love it. Very easy to drain, no wrenches or dropped bolts, etc. Plus the Fumoto requires 2 separate motions to get open, so chances are limited that it would 'accidently' open while driving. Love my Prius!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just goggled the Fumoto valve and it's $22 + shipping. I guess I'll try the Fram and see how it works.

Rob...when you used the Fram plug before, did any oil leak out when you twist on the tube? You mentioned it could become "lose"?

When I change my oil, I'll post my experience.

Brian
 

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smtrader said:
Just goggled the Fumoto valve and it's $22 + shipping. I guess I'll try the Fram and see how it works.

Rob...when you used the Fram plug before, did any oil leak out when you twist on the tube? You mentioned it could become "lose"?

When I change my oil, I'll post my experience.

Brian
(I was also too cheap to buy the Fumoto)...no, no oil leaked out. The orange tube gets a little memory to it over time, so it'll spin a bit on the nipple. You can swap ends to help that.

The tube remains curved a little instead of just hanging straight down, because it's plastic instead of soft rubber. The first time you change your oil, you install tightly the "permanent" sure drain plug (the one with the valve in it) and then the protective cap onto it. The next time you change oil (which will be the first time you are using the fram thing to drain the oil), you remove the protective cap (which I usually use pliers to install a hair more than hand tight) and then hand thread on the second part of the fram thing (with the hose on it)... doing so opens the valve and the oil starts draining thru the tube.

when threading on that second part, because the tube is sort of curving sideways a little bit, it swings around and, on my explorer, contacted something or other on the car...if I just kept threading the end on, it was possible that the orange tube could sort of get pushed off the nipple. So, I would hold the lower end of the tube, letting in spin around the nipple still but just making sure that it was fully inserted over the nipple. Once the oil starts draining out you can let it go and go drink a beer.

You'll see what I mean. It's a piece of cake. At least it was on the Explorer, which I could crawl completely under pretty easily.

Rob
 

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Re: filter...

finman said:
Yes, the '04 Prius filter can be replaced without jacking. It is 'up there' a ways and small, but I've gotten used to where it is and can squeeze under the lower air dam thingy and twist it with a socket mounted oil-filter wrench. I have the Fumoto oil drain valve and love it. Very easy to drain, no wrenches or dropped bolts, etc. Plus the Fumoto requires 2 separate motions to get open, so chances are limited that it would 'accidently' open while driving. Love my Prius!
thanks finman...what size oil filter wrench do you use (or is it one of those self-tightening kinds)? and, prior to the Fumoto, did you note what socket size removes the prius drain plug?

rob
 

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oil drain...

oil drain plug is 14 MM (9/16 is too loose). Oil filter wrench measures 2 5/8". No model # on the tool or anything. Got it at Checker. Hope that helps! I was a little unsure about doing my own maintenance on this tech car, but from an ICE point of view it really is 'standard': change oil and filter, check fluid levels, clean/replace air filter, etc. Then just drive it. Love my Prius!
 

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Been reading all the above posts and believe the auto drain a good investment for cars that get a lot of milage one them in short time. It took me six months to acquire my first three thousand. Anyway if these engines are fitted with aluminum oil pans there would be much less chance of any "cross threading" done by the constant removal of the standard plug. By the same token, the "fumuto" sounds like a much better investment because of the procedure required of the fram. I'm skipping all of this however since my toyota dealer through in free 3,000 mile oil changes along with new filter for the life of my car, along with two free car washes a month.
 

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Re: oil drain...

finman said:
oil drain plug is 14 MM (9/16 is too loose). Oil filter wrench measures 2 5/8". No model # on the tool or anything. Got it at Checker. Hope that helps!
thanks again, finman. btw, I did notice this weekend that my local Costco has Mobil 1 5W30 in a 6-quart case for $23.39. I think WalMart was 23.99 or so for the same thing.

Also, as of 9/1, Costco will no longer rotate tires for free if you didn't buy the tires from them.

Rob
 

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smtrader said:
Rob...if I change oil more frequently (every 3k), will the Mobil 1 make that much difference??
I really don't know, but kind of doubt that it would. Certainly wouldn't make up for the cost. The amount of increased MPG seems to be a matter of argument. I went to synthetic oil for no real reason other than I never tried it in any of my cars before. Figured it would help prevent wear on cold starts (I live in MN), give me good long engine life, and allow me to comfortably stretch change intervals to 5k, as well as give me some possible MPG increase. Maybe saves a bit of our natural resources, too.

From the many discussions I've seen of the benefits of synthetic oil, my conclusion is that the jury is not yet in. But I have no expertise on the topic of lubricants...just maybe some on changing them!
 

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hyperion said:
By the same token, the "fumuto" sounds like a much better investment because of the procedure required of the fram. I'm skipping all of this however since my toyota dealer through in free 3,000 mile oil changes along with new filter for the life of my car, along with two free car washes a month.
Dang, that's a nice deal. The Fram is pretty simple to use, but my impression is that the Fumoto is a level up in quality. On the old Explorer newsgroup, a lot of people had the concern that the Fumoto might be susceptible to opening or breaking off if you ran over something...probably more of a danger with the lower-riding Prius than on an Explorer, but one that I didn't see as a practical concern. I probably would have purchased a Fumoto, but ran across the $10 Fram in WalMart one day and you know how it is when something is right in front of you.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Appreciate your opinion. I've heard essentially the same thing about synthetic oil...that it takes longer and hotter to break down, but may not do much in a new car. I'm sure Mobil would argue that point. :lol:

I don't think the Prius runs particulary hot, and if the oil is changed frequently, it might work just as well. Of course, regular oil is not as "trendy" as synthetic, and doesn't make me feel like I'm babying my Prius...which I don't mind doing! :lol:

Got my first dink the other day...ouch! I need side molding bad.... :cry:
 
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