The Pantera Place
"Your de Tomaso Connection"

Changing The Engine Oil 

By Mike Dailey 

You might wonder why someone that can afford to have a Pantera as a toy would bother changing their own oil?  The reason is simple, I don't like people at the oil change places that have never seen a Pantera messing with my car!  One damaged oil drain plug, oil dripped on the engine or dent in the fender makes it all worth while to "do it your self" and get it done right.

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Changing the oil on a Pantera is a little bit more difficult than your typical grocery getter but not too bad.  You will need to round up the following stuff:  

1.   Engine oil.  I like to use Pennzoil 20/50 for the warm Atlanta climate.
2.   Engine oil filter.  I like to use the Purolator PureONE PL30001.
3.   Oil drain container.  The closed type with the removable top.
4.   Oil drain pan.  The open type.
5.   Hydraulic jack.
6.   Jack stands.
7.   Wood block to fit under the back cross member.
8.   Oil filter wrench.
9.   Paper towels.
10. News papers.
11. Cardboard.
12. Mat knife.
14. Latex gloves.
15. Oil drain plug wrench.  My Pantera uses a 5/8" wrench

Take the Pantera out for a drive to get the engine up to normal operation temp so the oil will be hot and will drain out well.

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I use a wood block that I cut that fits under the back cross member and I jack up the car from this point.   After the car is fully jacked up, the jack stands are place under the frame rails and the car lowered onto the jack stands.  On my car, the ends of the jack stands lock into an boxed in enclosed area at the back of the lower side of the frame rails.   Make sure the car is fully supported by the jack stands and is stable. Follow the caution labels on your jack and jack stands.

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Locate the oil drain plug on the driver side of the oil pan.

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Cut a piece of cardboard to form a channel to guide the oil into the drain pan.   

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Remove the oil drain plug.  Although the latex gloves help some, be very careful of the hot oil, it can burn your skin.  The cardboard channel keeps the oil directed at the drain pan and away from the frame rail.  On my car you can see that the undercoating is missing in the area beside the pan from previous owners that let the "oil changers" get oil all over the frame rails.  I need to clean up this area and re-undercoat.  Inspect the oil drain plug gasket and make sure it is in good shape, no cracks or splitting.  After all the oil has drained out clean the pan area round the drain plug and replace the plug.  Do not over tighten the drain plug, it just needs to pulled up snug so it will not leak.    

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Next,  locate the oil filter on the driver side of the engine toward the front.  At this point I let the engine cool down some before starting on the filter removal because you do not need hot oil from the filter running down your arm.  To keep the oil filter from getting oil on the frame rails and engine block, I push a bunch of news papers up under the bottom side of the filter.  The papers extend down across the frame rail into the open drain pan.     

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The oil filter wrench is used to loosen the filter slightly to it can be turned by hand.  The filter can be unscrewed by hand, but keep the open end of the filter upright as you move it down between the frame rails so oil does not spill out.  The filter can be emptied into the closed oil drain pan.

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Remove the new filter from the box and put a light coat of new oil on the oil filter gasket.  Some people pre fill the filter with new oil.  Inspect and wipe clean the engine block where the filter will be installed, making sure the oil filter sealing surface on the block is clean and smooth.  Following the tightening instructions printed on the filter and install the filter and hand tighten. 

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Locate the engine oil filler cap on the passenger side of the engine and remove the cap.

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I like to put paper towels around the valve cover to keep any oil drips off the engine. The Pantera owners manual specifies four and 1/4 quarts of oil with filter and this small amount of oil specified for the 351 Cleveland is a big mystery to the Pantera community.  Because of the small pan on the Pantera, the very high G forces that a Pantera can place on the oil, the amount of oil that can be pumped up into the valve covers at high RPM, most owners run more oil than specified in to owners manual.  I run six quarts of oil, five in the pan and one in the filter. 

After all the new oil is installed, replace the oil filler cap, start the engine and let it idle while the oil pressure comes up to normal.  I takes a few seconds for the engine to fill the filter and get the oil pressure up to normal if the filter is not pre filled.  Do not rev up the engine until full oil pressure is reached.  While the engine is at idle check the oil drain plug and filter and make sure there are no oil leaks.     

Be sure to take the enclosed oil drain pan to your local auto parts store and dump the oil in their recycle used oil drum.  This is a free service at my local Advance auto parts store.

My Pantera, like most Panteras does not accumulate a lot of mileage in a years time so I tend to change the oil every six to eight months or about every 600 to 1000 miles.  I would not go more than a year between oil changes even when the mileage was less than 1000 miles.   I usually drive my Pantera every week but they are often short trips and I always try to keep a trip to minimum of 15 minutes so that the oil always gets hot.  It takes 1/2 hour to 45 minutes to really get the oil warm enough to burn off condensation and fuel residue in the oil but the hot Atlanta climate helps get the engine up to operating temp fast!