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Dummies Who Don't Read The Manual First


It was time to change the oil in my Mexican 2009 Sienna, this week. I referred to this issue in an earlier thread. It is not like the 2002 was. No filter can. A filter case assembly under the car, and can’t access it without raising car. I scrounged up the correct tool, I think from Rock Auto. I bought heavy duty ramps and two jack stands, the type with the U-bolt.

I had a five quart container of Mobil-1 EP, 10W-30, plus one quart.

When it was time to do the deed, I ran the car up on the ramps, made sure it was properly lined up. I put the jack stands under, but they are the type with the U-bolts, so I could not make a perfect contact. I noted in the jack stand manual the warranty is not valid in Mexico. Sigh!

I took the 3/8 driver which is supposed to take out the drain cap so you can drain the oil without making a mess. Ha! With all my force on the 3/8 handle, it would not come out. I had to take off the whole assembly. It still took all my force to break it loose. Stated spec is, I think, 15 - 23 ft. lbs. Grrrr!!! I wonder if they used a heavy duty impact driver to put that thing on. So, I had oil all around the assembly.

I put the filter assembly back on and drained the oil from the oil pan. There was the previous washer on the drain plug, looked like some plastic substance. I had two of the same nylon washers I used for nearly 200,000 miles on the 2002 and put one on, and tightened it by experience.

I added the five quarts of oil, and checked the dipstick. There was more than one dipstick present!!! One was made of metal; the other one was human, sort of. There was no oil on the dipstick, I mean the metal one, the other one had a bit on him. Then, and only then did I dig out the manual. You did know Real Men don’t read manuals, didn’t you? :slight_smile:

The manual said the motor takes 6.4 quarts with new filter. Oops!

I only had one more quart, so I put it in. Knowing half a quart low is not a disaster if the motor is not pressed, I chose not to add a half quart of dino oil until I can get another quart of the same oil. Now that I know, next trip to the States I will buy a number of 5 quart jugs of Mobil-1 EP. They are twice the price in Mexico, over sixty dollars, if you can find them, and I will use empty quart dino oil bottles to break down that 1.4 quarts the motor needs during refill.

I also learned that the manual does include 20W-50 as a choice, though 5W-30 is shown as preferred. I am guessing they know the Mexicans all use 20W-50 so to avoid alienating customers include it in the oil choices. I am also guessing that listing in the manual frees the customer from warranty violations for using the heavier oil.

When I finished, I gave the 6+ quarts of used oil to a cousin. He said he can use it for coating boards when he pours cement, but may use it in his Stihl chain saw for the chain lube system. He never had a chain saw until I took one and he borrowed it a few times. I also taught him how to fix minor problems, such as clogged exhaust screen and fouled plug and weak gas mixture from excess storage time. Oh, and how to sharpen the chain, which he instantly was better at doing once shown the concepts. He is a clever man.

A further note here. When I was done, I tried to take off the special filter assembly tool. It would not come off. Concerned that it would fall off when driving and bounce through the windshield if a Mercedes Benz and kill the mistress of a government official, [/sarcasm] I spent a lot of time trying to get that special tool back off. I even got a claw hammer under there. I finally realized it is probably not going to fall off and just left it. I theorize that the force it took to get it off crimped the aluminum tool over the assembly and bound it in place. I have no idea how to get it off if a hammer and a screwdriver and a claw hammer won’t take it off.

Well, the only idea I had was to buy a new filter assembly cap and a new special tool from Rock Auto and make sure no one uses a high speed impact tool on it.

'‘dummies who don’t read the manual first’‘
hits home in a different way.
As a kid we’d visit the grandparents’ Green on Christmas and birthdays.
as far back as I can remember . . .
whenever you gave grandpa Green ANY gift,
he would unwrap it . .
open the box . .
and promptly set the box down withOUT taking the gift out of the box . .
and sit back . .

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I have to admit; I was the nerd that for years would read the instruction manual on everything new first. Be it a new TV/VCR or a car. I would drive the new to me car home very carefully and park it, run inside and start reading the manual making sure I didn’t do anything wrong on the way home.

Now, I have noticed that everything is built for those who never bother. Want to boot that new laptop, sure, just power on and keep hitting accept and see what happens.

On cars, I still do a nauseating amount of research even before buying them; how is the oil change, what oil/etc. Maybe I will change with age.

LOL, many years ago (very early '80s) I bought a metal shed for my tractor etc.
I invited two coworkers who were buddies of mine over to help me assemble it. We were all three experienced engineers, one of us a methods engineer, a very dangerous combination. I also made sure I had plenty of beer on hand. We skipped the directions.

Well, lo & behold, we all got wobbly and the shed got assembled… incorrectly, of course. The following days I spent taking everything apart, reading the directions, and putting it together properly. I learned a lesson that day that I, of all people, should have already known. Read the directions. Or pay the price. :smile:

I have learned that lesson–the hard way–on more than one occasion, which–I suppose–qualifies me for the category of slow learners.

No, it qualifies you as certifiably human!

The man who reads all the directions reminded me of something that happened a long time ago. We had a second generation German working with us. He was sort of like Pigpen of Charlie Brown cartoons, but anybody who could tell true stories from his family history like Fred could was not going to hear complaints from me because he didn’t change his clothes every day.

I was nominally Senior Electronic Technician, but my actual job description was very broad, including liason with customers. My boss came to me and asked me if I could work with Fred. A government inspector had caught him not carefully following the procedures for testing a unit, and he was on probation. Well into his 50’s, it would be very hard for him to find another job.

I went over and talked to him at length. I was harsh. Fred was a real Scrooge and money got his attention faster than anything. So, I hammered on what would happen to him if he got fired, and explained he had to read those procedures or he would eventually be fired.

He was rather crestfallen as any of us would be, even if the chewing out came from a fellow technician. He said, “I understand. I will read the procedures.”

He had a specialized tester set up with a circuit board to be tested connected. He turned and turned the switch on, WITHOUT READING THE PROCEDURE!!!

That tester had a number of fuses on it. That was the most fuses in my life that I ever heard blow out at one time! Yes, sometimes you can hear fuses blowing out if they are hit hard enough, and those obviously were.

Up to that time, I had been as diplomatic and kind as I could be, because I liked Old Fred in spite of his bathless nature. I talked to him at this time because I figured it was better than management doing it, because that can end up in his personnel file. But, when I heard all those fuses blow, I screamed at the top of my lungs. “FRED!!!”

I thought I was done talking to him, but realized at that instant that I had barely started talking to him. :slight_smile:

This time I got more into things like what it would be like at his age sleeping in a cardboard box under a bridge. I wasn’t sure if I had reached him or not. But, long after I retired, I was talking to another retiree and Fred came under discussion. I told his story and the retiree laughed and laughed, and said “That’s why when he moved to our building the first thing he did was ask to see all the procedure books he was expected to use, and sat there for hours reading every page. We wondered what that was all about.”

So, yes, I had reached him.

In the oil change caper I posted here, the only result of failing to read the manual was feeling very stupid and knowing I had messed up.

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My daughter and I both have Toyota’s with that stupid cartridge filters. We both got 64 mm filter wrenches to take then off. Neither of us could get them off with the filter put back on the car.

His solution was to leave the cap wrench on the housing.

I am a little more anal retentive than he so my solution was to go to Harbor freight and buy a cheap nest of oil filter caps . One of them was a 65/68 mm cap. It wouldn’t fit tightly over the housing because the outer 68 mm part was bottoming on the housing before the 65 mm could engage. I took a hacksaw and cut o the 68 mm part.

I now take the housing off with the 64 mm wrench, put the housing in my vise and pry it off (easy when you have the room) I put it on with the shallow 65mm wrench.

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Mañana! Hee, hee.

I’m still wondering how you use jack stands in combination with ramps?

I must have missed that question. Sorry. Once the car was up on the ramps, I reached under there, and found two places where it looked solid. I then adjusted the stands as close as I could and left them under there.

Their use is not perfect, but if something did ever happen to the ramps, it would be some added protection.

I hope.

If I use them for serious support, such as brake work, I expect to set the car back down on the jack stands so they are actually supporting that part of the car.

When I was young, I’d look at the pictures, not read the instructions and correctly put it together (usually…) As I got older and stuff got more complicated I started to read the instructions, got disgusted as the incredibly bad instructions and went back to figuring it out for the most part. But I DO check capacities before heading to the parts store, my little OCD.

As for electronics… Very, Very minimal instructions translated from Chinese or Indonesian or whatever using Google-translate. Useless packing paper.

OK, I see what you mean. A back up for extra safety. I don’t use any add’l safety back up when using ramps besides preventing the wheels from rolling, but my Corolla probably weighs less than your Sienna. For my truck, which is probably as heavy as your Sienna, I usually can do what I need just by crawling underneath as it sits pretty high. No jacks or ramps needed. When jacking my Corolla I use jackstands as safety item number one, but I always use a second safety backup, either the wheels or more often I use some wood beams sections. Good for you for taking safety seriously :wink:

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In the past, when I used only a jack for work, such as brake work, I did put the wheel under there as a final backup. But, I felt rich when I was setting up for oil changes and decided to get the jack stands to use the rest of my life. Now I wish I had the ratcheting type so I could snug it up, but will probably not spend the second bundle for new stands.

Mustangman, we call that sort of instructions “Linux quality instructions.” In the early days of Linux, the programmers wrote their own instructions which were horrible. I started Linux in 1999, and wanted to be able to send and receive e-mails with Linux. had instructions on the log-in script. I am sure my example is not correct but a good example.

{‘net-name’ (“user-name”) ‘password’} but I am sure there were more squiggily things in there.

I tried for days, and finally downloaded a sniffer program for Windows to see what it actually did. It was:

net-name user-name password

and that was all, period. No squiggles at all, no ticks no double ticks no brackets. Later, almost all e-mail programs had fancy User interface programs which took care of the details as the Microsoft programs did.

Later, the Linux teams realized they had to have separate instruction writers, and Linux began to take off.

But, when I read instructions, any instructions that are totally useless the words Linux-quality still pops into my mind.

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I like to ignore directions as much as the next person, especially the two pages of legal warnings. So I scan and staple the non-English language pages together or cut them off entirely so I don’t have to be bothered.

On a car though, I do have a procedure. I keep a maintenance book with a section for the cars, mower, house, yard etc. where I record everything. I have done this for years and have everything in one book. So when I get a new car, on the index page for the car, I actually list all of the pertinent information as a quick reference. That includes capacities, oil plug size, tires, VIN, codes, and so on. Anything I might want to know without having to go to the car and dig through the manual. I also start a file folder for the car with all the other papers are put in. Just what I do.

The manuals were written by some real dummies… I have never opened an automobile owners manual and found the answer to any question that I had by searching logically. I long ago quit looking for directions to find a particular fuse in an unfamiliar car by looking in the owners manual. And heaven help the owner who wants to get his first oil change using the correct oil. There is more legalese verbage regarding even trivial issues than concise, meaningfull information.