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changing oil without making a mess

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by nov141992, May 31, 2005.

  1. nov141992

    nov141992 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    I just changed the oil for the first time on a used 2002 Exmark TT HP w/Kawi 17hp engine that I just bought. What a mess. The engine deck has a slotted hole beside the horizontally oriented engine drain plug. I put a large drain pan beneath the slotted hole. Problem is when you pull the plug all of the oil doesn't conveniently go thru the hole, a lot of it spills all over the top of the engine deck. If you own one of these you can picture what I'm talking about, if not this probably doesn't make much sense. Or perhaps most Walk Behinds have this arrangement, I don't know.

    I'm thinking there's got to be a trick or technique to doing this without making such a mess every time. Can any one tell me how to do this without spilling oil?

    Also there actually are two drain plugs on this engine. The Kawasaki engine manual that came with the mower doesn't reference both of them. Any one know which is preferred to use and why? I suspect it doesn't matter. Both are at the same elevation so I wouldn't think they both need ot be pulled (plus again the manual doesn't even mention the second one).

    Thanks for any help.
  2. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,200

    On the single cylinder engines 12-15hp I pump it out. After taking the filter off then I pump anything remaining through the filter hole. I have doing this for years on all our equipment and don't see any down side. On the dual cylinder engines I get a lid off a plastic storage contrainer and put my oil pan on it. I agree oil seems to go everwhere but at least I catch it in the lid.
  3. dutch1

    dutch1 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Jayhawk
    Posts: 2,231

    If you have an air compressor, the Thomas Industries air activated vacuum pump would be a worthy investment. Oil can be sucked right out of the oil fill tube. No mess-no fuss.
  4. mike76

    mike76 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 27

    Take the numbers off the engine and get a valve made for the engine. After you put it on then all you have to do is connect a hose and open the valve and put the oil where you want it. Very sinple very clean.
  5. Lawn Masters

    Lawn Masters LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 850

    Were it my engine, I'd take the drain plug off, put a short piece of metal tubing with threads on both ends, and a 90degree elbow with a threaded plug that points straight down over the drain point in the chassis. simple solution thats VERY effective.
  6. nov141992

    nov141992 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    Thanks for all the replies so far. I know that oil drain valves are available for automobiles. If anyone knows of a source for mower engines, please let me know. I think my custom making one (or paying some one else to do so) for this engine would be problematic since the existng drain plug uses an o ring gland to create a seal.

    Im just surprised that a manufacturer would make it so that it's almost impossible to not make a mess when doing a basic oil change. If any one has any other advice / work arounds please speak up.

  7. lwcmattlifter

    lwcmattlifter LawnSite Senior Member
    from NC
    Posts: 859

    Did you change the oil filter yet? That's just as messy.
  8. nov141992

    nov141992 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    I removed the oil filter after removing the drain plug and allowing the oil to drain for a while, so for me the oil filter replacement wasn't that messy. At least it's possible to get a small container somewhat directly beneath the filter.
  9. rander

    rander LawnSite Member
    Posts: 45

    The link below will take you to a site where you can order a valve to fit your oil drain plug port. These valves are a bit pricey but are very well made and work very well. I use them on a number of pieces of equipment.


    I also use a Liqui-Vac vacuum oil sucker to change oil on some of the equipment and vehicles. It sucks the oil out through the dip stick tube on the cars and trucks and through the oil fill port on the smaller equipment. There are several makes of the vacuum oil suckers. About the only thing I have found they won't work on are some motorcycles and ATV motors that you can't get the tube to go to the bottom of the oil pan.
  10. nov141992

    nov141992 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    Thanks for the information. From looking at the site they offer a version of the valve with a nipple for attaching a hose. From looking at the different categories though I don't see a listing for Kawasaki engines. They do have a listing for Kohler and B&S but all of those drain valves are for engines with tapered pipe threads (not likely found on a mower engine).

    How do shops that service mowers deal with this? Perhaps like you they use an oil sucker. I'd be interested to hear from people who service these for a living.

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