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Hi all,

So recently I got an A123 on the old maintenance minder, that would be oil change, tire rotation, air filter change and transmission fluid change. There's somewhere between 27000-28000 miles on the 09.

So I started reading the board more carefully to see what people have been doing themselves. I used to do all the family car service when I was a teenager but I had been car-less living in NYC for many years and got out of the habit.

The thought of paying the dealer $400 to do their 30000 mile service was a little distasteful, so I started down the DIY path.

First I got some prices from H and A and Bernardi Parts for the things I needed. To be fair I called the dealer that I had been using to do the oil changes to price the same things. They were about twice what the online guys were asking so no money to a local business from me.

Being in NJ, shipping fluids across the country was expensive, so I got most of my bits from Bernardi. They were cheaper on some things and more expensive on others, but the difference was made up in the shipping.

I did get my oil filters from H and A, they sell a six pack of the A01 model by Filtech(?) while Bernardi sells the A02 model from Honeywell. Turns out the dealer has been using the Honeywell filters in the service Dept.

I got some bumper and fender clips and the crush washers from H and A too.

Turns out that I could have ordered the A01 filters from Bernardi, even though the website made it seem that the A01 had been replaced with the A02. It wasn't clear which filter I would get so I went to the West Coast. Bernardi includes the washer with every filter, while H and A got me for $0.96 for the six of them.

So the box from Bernardi arrives and I install the new wiper blade inserts ($10 or so for 3), and the cabin air filter with the help of the forums, and the engine air filter with the help of a phillips screwdriver.

Then the waiting for the oil filters to arrive from their longer journey begins. To kill some time I borrow a set of ramps from a friend since the oil change DIY shows how easy it could be to do all the changes from the ramps.

The oil filters arrive and I get a free day and head out to do some quick fluid changes. That is so not what happened though.

The old ramps did not work as planned. They were pretty narrow (which didn't really bother me) and pretty steep. Too steep. I could not get them under the bumper to do the whole turn right on the ramp thing. Bummer.

So I did what any self-respecting DIYer would do, I punted. Out came the floor jack and off came the passenger tire. A little bit of rubber mallet and I had some oil leaving the pan. Got a wrench on the filter and I've got oil leaving there too. Not everything made it into a collection device, sad to say. But I get a new filter and crush washer on and fill it up with oil. There was of course more jacking up the car so the torque wrench would fit, just eating up the time.

So I put the wheel back on and try the ramps again going straight. Still don't fit, bummer. So it means back up on the jack stands for me. I tried to remove the ATF fill bolt for some time, don"t know why it's so tight, give up, and move to plan B.

Plan B: Fill the ATF from the dipstick. So I have a cool expandable funnel that I was going to use in the fill hole but it doesn't fit the dipstick. OK, I've got a baster I use on the cars, let's use that. Doesn't fit either, bummer. But it's made out of plastic, so it can be modified. So 30 minutes of carving and filing and sanding later, I've got a workable solution for getting the ATF back into the transmission.

Now it's time to get the ATF out. A little bit of mallet on the breaker bar and out comes the bolt. Could not believe how much metal was on the magnet thing. Once again, not all the fluid makes the collection device. I see a pattern here. Must do better next time.

Get the fluid out, put some in, drop the baster thing and have to fish it out of the bottom of the engine compartment, then repeat (including the drop the baster thing).

Looks like rain, so start to put away the tools. Rain never really arrives so decide to rotate the tires. Don't have a better tool than the lugnut thing that comes with the car, no biggie, just kick it and the nuts break loose. You can see where this is headed. Drivers rear tire 4 nuts loose, one not so loose. Kick it, nothing. Stand on it, nothing. Jump on it, nothing. Large pipe on it, something. Broke the lugnut tool. Now I can't tighten up the loose ones.

Dinnertime, help the kids with the Mother's Day cards, bedtime, trip to Sears, pick up a tire iron and some 1/2 inch sockets on sale. Needed a 22 mm for the torque wrench, don't want to go through that again.

Get home, (after the trip to Sears and the supermarket to get the kitty litter for the mess in the driveway) and still can't move that nut, bummer. So the tire rotation will have to wait until I can get to a place with some air tools, can't tell my wife that I need a compressor and impact wrench and bits and things (though I really do ) because where is the money saving from not having the dealer do this work.

So far, wife not impressed by my skills, bummer.
 

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You did good for working on the car the first time since you were a teenager. :)
 

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In the future, you could try lengths of board (2x4) to get on the ramps. I did this for my '02. Driving on the board raises the front enough to clear the ramps. In my case all it took was two 12" lengths.
 

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A compressor and air tools go a long way. I have, over the years, collected a 25 gal Devilbliss 135hp, a 100ft blue (Costco) air hose, an I/R 1/2inch impact and a 3/8 Stanley impact gun. Both guns were from ebay and the sockets from Sears, Canadian Tire or Princess Auto. I have metal ramps, six jack stands and two floor jacks. I sure wish I had a hoist ;)
All that said, I find rotating tires a real breeze compared to the way I used to do it as a teenager :) With the 1/2 gun, I can have a tire/wheel off in less than a minute. Stubborn bolts are usually no longer an issue. If they are, soak in your favorite squirt lube (I like Release-All as it is biodegradable and non-toxic) and come back after lunch/supper or a beer.
I used to do it all with hand tools - boy am I glad those days are gone! :)
Hope your wife doesn't mind if you invest in a few tools to help out your cause - I'm sure she'd be more impressed if this all got done, saved the $$, and Papa was clean and still had some energy left over after! ;)
 
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