Maintenance - You Can Do It
by The Vette Nut's

Maintenance job of the month - Changing the oil in your C5

Oil is the life blood of any internal combustion engine. It cools and lubricates moving engine parts. Oil also cushions the the loads generated by the explosive force of each cylinder. The high compressive forces generated by a modern Corvette V8 require special attention. That attention has been addressed by the good engineers at GM. The development of synthetic oil by Exon-Mobil has made life for the late model Corvette a lot easier.

Light weight synthetic oil reduces internal engine friction, increases cooling efficiency and prolongs engine life. The high initial cost of synthetic oil is offset by the savings in reduced maintenance.

The following is a list of things that you will need prior to starting the job.:

Six and a half quarts of Mobil 1 5W-30 synthetic oil - $35 (Walmart)
KN oil filter (HP 1007)- $12 (Advanced Auto or Autozone)
10 quart oil catch basin - $7 (KMart)

Total Cost: @ $54


If you don't have access to a lift you will also need hydraulic floor jacks or a pair of heavy duty front drive up ramps. You must also employ a pair of safety jack stands.
If this sounds like overkill remember, the life you save may be your own. Before you start this or any project that requires you to get under your car you need to understand the dangers involved.

Jacks have been known to fail, especially the cheapo made in China hydraulic units that are sold in the discount Mart outlets. If you must get under a vehicle safety is of the utmost importance.

The use of hydraulic jacks in combination with safety jack stands under seperate jacking points must be utilized to minimize the risk of the car crushing you to death.

If you are considering taking any shortcuts do not perform this service.

We had several tried and true jacking methods ready for press. Our legal beancounters advised that we refrain from publishing any jacking procedure that could potentially lead to an injury.
We assume no liability for any damage to your vehicle or injury to yourself as a result of performing this maintenance to your vehicle.

There have been many article written about the proper jacking procedures for late model Corvettes. All you have to do is Google the word "corvette jacking procedure" and you will get an earfull.

That being said we will outline the standard methods of a C5 oil change without the Jacking instructions.

Some Tips

-Warm up the oil

Take your Vette out for a short cruise, this will heat up the oil and help to drain out any nasty material that may be lurking in the engine.
- Make sure you place the floor jack under the cross member and not the oil pan.

- Place a set of short safety jack stands under the frame as well.
- Place a wedged chock behind both rear tires. This will ensure that the car wil not move backwards during the jacking procedure.


An alternative to jacking up the front end involves using a set of ramps. The only ramps that seem to work on a late model Vette are the heavy duty plastic ramps that are sold in auto parts outlets and are marketed under the name Rhino Ramps. These units have a 17 degree approach angle and are wide enough to accomodate the front tires.

The oil drain plug can be accessed from under the drivers side of the car. The plug is on the base of the pan facing towards the front of the car. Using a 15mm box wrench remove the plug and let the oil drain into your 10 quart collection pan. Lower the car to allow the oil to completely drain.

Let the oil drain until it slows to a drip, it usually takes about about twenty minutes to completely drain the pan. This is the special procedure that is referred to in the owners manual. After all the oil has drained raise the car again and reset the jack stands.

Removing the oil filter can be a pain in the ass as there is very little room to utilize most filter removal wrenches. Some are better than others, the adjustable clamping type wrenches work better than compression type removal wrenches.

A smart move is to replace the filter with a KN unit. The KN filter has a 1/2 inch nut welded to the top of the filter can. Removal with a socket wrench is a snap.

After you remove the old filter check it to make sure the rubber sealing gasket is still on it and not stuck to the filter mounting base on the engine.
Lubricate the gasket on the new filter with some oil.

Pour a few ounces of fresh oil into the new filter prior to installation. This will aid in minimizing the risk of dry operation at start up. Install the new filter by hand until it snugs up against the mounting base. After the filter initially contacts the base give it another 1/4 to 1/2 Turn by hand.

Make sure that the plug is clean and the gasket is still intact. Clean the plug mounting pad on the pan. After the oil has completely drained replace the drain plug. Do not over tighten the plug or you may damage the aluminium pan .

After everything is buttoned up pour six and a half quarts of the good stuff back into the engine.

Reset the oil life monitor on the DIC panel. With the engine off put the key in the on position. Press the trip button several times until the oil life indicator is shown. Press and hold the reset button on the panel until the reading goes back to 100%.
That's it, you are now good to go for another year.