21,000 mile oil change

Old 04-15-05, 11:44 PM
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21,000 mile oil change

So I helped my friend do some maintnence on his friend's car the other day. This car is a 87 Olds Cutlass Ciera 3.8L. The oil hadn't been changed in 21k miles, and the air filter was basically crusted over with dirt and dust. Other than replacing them, we also changed the spark plugs, oil filter, and the PCV valve. We also needed to replace the Radiator. We spent about $200 at auto zone for a new radiator, fluid and a thermostat (a local shop wanted to charge us $580 to do it). I think the 5 cans of radiator fixing fluid kinda messed up the old thermostat... anyhow. Well I guess what I am asking is what else needs to be done, what did I forget? Do we need to change the oxygen sensor or spark plug wires. How hard is it to change the fuel filter in that car? Should we do that? Anything else... thanks for your advice. What we have done thus far has made the car run SOOOO much better. I think replacing the air filter really helped alot.
Old 04-16-05, 05:26 AM
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21,000 miles? That's a lot to go between changes, and think of all the gunk built up inside that engine. This is going to sound funny, but I recommend another oil and filter change. At least within a few hundred miles. This will really make a difference with all the gunk breaking lose, and will get it out of the engine. I know there will be other suggestions, but this is just my 2 cents worth.

Old 04-16-05, 06:31 AM
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Hey, your cutting into my business; that was a tow job just WAITING to happen! LOL

Sounds like you hit the high points and cuedude's suggestion is probably a good idea.

Check www.autozone.com for the fuel filter and, yes, it would be a good idea to change it. Ditto the plug wires; not going to cost a lot and if they're original they've about used up their life expectancy. You might also consider servicing the transmission, but be forewarned, sometimes changing the fluid in a badly neglected auto trans can loosen up gunk that was keeping the trans functioning and you could wind up with problems. Personally I would change the trans fluid and filter, but you have to weigh the risk.
Old 04-16-05, 09:05 PM
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Check the owners manual & see if there is a recomended oxygen sensor change interval. You don't say how many miles on the car. Check the owner's maunal for the fuel filter change interval. Some take an inexpensive tool to change the fuel filter. Look at a filter at the auto store & if it takes a special tool they can show you what you need. Be sure to bleed the pressure first so you don't get sprayed with gas.. There is a schrader valve like a tire has. It will be on the fuel rail by the injectors. Take the cap off. Get a rag to catch the fuel & press the center ov the valve.
Old 04-16-05, 09:13 PM
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After running 5 cans of stop leak thru it, he might be wanting a new heater core next fall. Some brands of stop leak will coat he inside of heater core tubes reducing the heat transfer.
Old 05-04-05, 12:16 PM
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I also recommend another oil change. I'd put about 1000 miles in the new oil, then drain it out and flush some new oil through until it comes out clear. I would change the fuel filter and PCV valve and breather element filter also. Clean the MAF sensor and the IAC (Idle air control valve) if it has these (is it fuel injected?). I would also try some Seafoam discussed here:
You do that before the next oil change though. Looks worthwhile.

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