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Custom Wrench for an Odd Oil Filter

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My car uses an oil filter for which I have not been able to find a commercially made end cap oil filter wrench. Based on a forum for my make of car, others have the same problem. I need an end cap wrench because the oil filter peeks through a round hole in the splash pan under the engine. I made my own custom wrench. Some welding is necessary. (There are also adjustable filter wrenches that fit various sizes of filter, but these have a limited contact area for gripping the filter.)

Materials:
  • 1/8 inch steel about 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches
  • 1/8 x 1/2 inch steel bar
  • 1/8 inch rod
  • An old socket from a wrench set
  • An extra new or used oil filter to use as a pattern (No harm will be done to the oil filter in the process of making one of these end cap wrenches.)
Tools:
  • Hacksaw
  • Angle head grinder with a cutting wheel
  • Grinding wheel
  • "C" clamp
  • Vise
  • Screwdriver
  • Welder
I first made one of these filter wrenches when my wife got a 2002 Subaru Forester. The local auto parts store did not have an end cap wrench to fit the filter. I used a new filter from the dealer as a pattern to make an end cap wrench like the one shown in this Instructable. After buying a new Hyundai Sonata recently, I discovered the wrench required to remove the filter is the same as that required for my wife's Subaru. KIA and all  four cylinder Hyundai engines use the same filter. I do not know which KIA models use this filter.

I thought I would use the FRAM filter specified to fit my car, but all after-market oil filters, even FRAM, have a rubber gasket that is just a little undersize, and those filters begin to leak sooner or later. After learning that, I decided to use only the factory filters. They are no more expensive at the dealer than a good after-market filter.
 
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rimar20002 years ago
As always, excellent work, Phil.
Phil B (author)  rimar20002 years ago
Thank you, Osvaldo. Do not look too closely at some of my welds. They do not break, but they are not very pretty.
finton Phil B11 months ago
"They do not break, but they are not very pretty." Describes my welding perfectly Phil!
3366carlos1 year ago
u da man
Phil B (author)  3366carlos1 year ago
Thank you for looking and for commenting.
amclaussen1 year ago
EXCELLENT project !!!
You gave me the idea of welding my cap type oil filter wrench to a used 3/8" socket, or better: a universal joint surrounded by an steel spring or short piece of rubber hose, so that the extension I need to reach the filter in one of my cars (VW Jetta IV) maintains it more or less aligned to the extension but provides some misalignement capability.

The thing I DON'T like about the sheetmetal can type of oil filter wrenches, is that the cap has a simple square hole in it, so that it is all too easy to loose the connection between the ratchet extension and the cap wrench, specially when the filter end is domed and tends to push the extension end out of the cap type wrench.  With a socket or a stiffened universal joint, the fit will be much more secure!

Quoting from your Bio: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects...
Let me tell ypu that I miss those magazones too. Too bad present day hobbies are to haevy on video games/computers/iPads etc. and too slim on mechanical crafts and projects.
As I have a little (2 year) old baby, I plan to give him a "Meccano" type of toy, in order to pormote his building abilities and gusto.

Best wishes and please continue writing more Instructables like this.
Amclaussen, Mexico City.
Phil B (author)  amclaussen1 year ago
Thank you for your comments and thank you for looking. I expect the fear of lawsuits may have reduced good DIY articles in magazines. Back in the late 1950s and through the 1960s there were articles on converting circular saws to bench or table saws. Other than some on Instructables, one of which I did; you do not see those any longer. And, the video game craze has hurt creative DIY projects. The bright spot is robotics. It draws on the gamers, but requires learning about mechanics and electronics, too. I currently have 223 Instructables, most of which are attempts solve useful DIY needs. Whenever I get a good idea, I will publish it.
It is a real pleasure knowing people like you, with 223 Instructables, you are an Expert Instructable writter! I see your point with circular saws. Talking about this subject, I have plans to build a practical Saw Bench that can also hold a Router and/or a small Drillstand; all of them mounted in removable baseplates. This bench will have small lockable wheels, to make it easy to move and store away. The concept is sold by Skil, but I plan to make my own, larger, sturdier and even more practical. But my job leaves me little time to do my things, so that it will have to wait. Best wishes, Alfredo M. Claussen, Mexico City.
Phil B (author)  amclaussen1 year ago
Alfredo, I missed your comment. Here is a link to a saw bench like you want to build. Steli has been gracious in his responses to me. I am sure he would answer any questions you have.
mikeasaurus2 years ago
Nice solution, Phil. I've had a few cars where the filter is a pain to get off.
Phil B (author)  mikeasaurus2 years ago
Thanks, Mike. This seems like a lot of effort in some ways, but every time I use my custom wrench, I am glad I made the effort.
I bet you save a lot of time and effort using your wrench!  As I perform al the maintenance of the three family cars, I frequently perform oil changes. But I also use an "Oil System Cleaner" bottle by Wynn's or a similar product in order to maintain clean the inside of the engine and to remove the harmful dust produced by one volcano about 35 miles from my home in Mexico City, as it is very hard and fine, and tends to destroy engines if you don't take oil changes seriously or don't have a good air filter!
OH yeah! MOST recently (designed?) cars seem to be projected by a bunch of monkeys dressed in automotive engineers clothes!  It seems that their bosses told them to first draw the sparkplugs, filters and belts in their AutoCad PC's, and THEN start placing all the other engine components around them, to finish wrapping tightly the engine compartment sheetmetal around the resulting mess.  Amclaussen.
spylock2 years ago
Drive a screwdriver through the odd sized filter and it should turn right off.
Phil B (author)  spylock2 years ago
That may work in some situations. But, if you look closely at the photo in step 1 and grasp what it shows, you will realize the filter is enshrouded above a hole in the splash pan and there is no room for gaining leverage from the side adequate to turn off an oil filter. Even if I could get enough leverage, there would be a terrible mess of old oil running over a large area.
caarntedd2 years ago
My car also has an odd filter that my wrenches don't fit, and there isn't much room to work in either. When I find it too tight to undo with my hands, I just wrap a short length of rope around it 5 or 6 times in an anticlockwise direction, then pull on the rope and the filter twists loose like a rotating pulley. Because I'm pulling the rope from out in the open above the engine compartment, I can really put my strength behind it and if it slips, no skinned knuckles. Great instructable. Rated.
Phil B (author)  caarntedd2 years ago
Thank you for sharing your good idea. Some cars, including mine, would not have space for wrapping or pulling the rope because of the splash pan.
A bicycle inner tube might work, though the stretch and the fact that it grips itself well too might scupper that idea...
Phil B (author)  killerjackalope2 years ago
That is a good idea. Oil filters are sometimes greasy on the sides of the filter and that affects the grip you might get with rubber. Again, on my car the end of the filter is accessible, but the sides really are not. Thanks for looking,.
iceng2 years ago
Like the way you made it.
Phil B (author)  iceng2 years ago
Thank you. I wish there could be a version of it that does not require welding. I know that is a stumbling block for quite a few. Thank you for looking.
With more precise cutting(hacksaw skills, or plasma, or waterjet, or however)

Cut the piece to look like a very rough gear, then bend the tines up?
Probably use a bit of heat at the corners, when bending to prevent cracking, but it should work ok.
Finally, it would have to be thick enough plate, so that the reinforcing top ring was unnecessary.
To avoid the need for welding on the socket... drill a 1/2" hole, then file it square.
Now you can stick the socket wrench right into the mating hole. :-)

With a little patience, it SHOULD be just about the same amount of work.
Phil B (author)  ironsmiter2 years ago
What you suggest would provide a way to make a filter wrench without welding. The cutting would be a lot of time consuming hand work. It is always helpful to find a friend who can and will do a little welding for you when you need it.
something like this as a pattern, before bending the "teeth/tabs" up to form the wrench. http://geararium.org/Antique%20wooden%20gear%20Japan,%2012%20teeth.jpg

Phil B (author)  ironsmiter2 years ago
You could give it a try. It is not what I would want to do. Thank you for looking.
awesome Job Phil !!
Phil B (author)  coolbeansbaby682 years ago
Thank you. How are your projects coming?
There coming along . Im still waiting for the extra money to purchase the pump and cylinder for the hydraulic lift . I got a lot of time in that. A lot of fights because i got home to late lol... Maybe i should send ya a sneak peek and see what you think?
Phil B (author)  coolbeansbaby682 years ago
Please do, if you wish. I may not have enough of your concept in my mind to be helpful. Still, I would be glad to look at it.
ok how about a email to send it 2 ?
Phil B (author)  coolbeansbaby682 years ago
I will send you a private message with the e-mail. Thanks.
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