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VW MKIV-A4 TDIs (VE and PD) This is a general discussion about A4/MkIV Jetta (99.5-~2005), Golf(99.5-2006), and New Beetle(98-2006). Both VE and PD engines are covered here.

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Old November 17th, 2010, 04:32   #1
77 K20
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Default can the oil filter be changed without draining the oil?

I've spent the last 2 hours reading and watching videos of oil changes... learned a lot but not everything.

First of all I have owned a TDI now for 4 days. Previous owner took great care of it- he had just done an oil change with Rotella T6 synthetic oil. He gave me a few quarts of it and also the empty oil filter box so I'd know what oil filter to use. I just looked at it today and it is a Fram filter. Sounds like they used to be re-branded ones, but now are crap.

I was thinking I should buy an OEM one and change out the oil filter. Can I do that without draining the oil from the engine? Or will I make a huge mess all over the top of the engine?

Or who cares- and just change the oil in a few thousand miles and put on a good filter then?
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Old November 17th, 2010, 04:48   #2
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I wouldn't worry too much, wait your 10,000 miles and the oil change with the correct oil and good quality oil filter. The ALH engine is somewhat forgiving compared to other VW motors...

Yes, you can change the filter without draining the oil. Replace the filter, turn on the car for a few minutes, check the oil after a few minutes of the engine being off, and top up, if needed.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 05:38   #3
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Fram seems to get a lot of poor press. If you look at a new Fram filter and compare it to any of a number of other filters, you will likely see a real difference in how it appears with cardboard construction etc.
However if it is really tested, you will likely find little or no difference in function and reliability.
My advice is to not worry, but if it really bothers you then I suggest the cost of a new filter and the bother of changing it with whatever brand makes you feel more secure, would be worth the cost. It may not make any difference to your car, but there is real value in being comfortable with your car.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 06:23   #4
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I know a local member who changes his filter every 5K miles and oil every 10K miles. He uses Purolator filters I think. Doing this makes him happy.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 06:39   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe_Meehan View Post
Fram seems to get a lot of poor press. If you look at a new Fram filter and compare it to any of a number of other filters, you will likely see a real difference in how it appears with cardboard construction etc.
Fram's cardboard endcaps in canister filters don't really apply to this situation, since we are talking about cartridge filters here.

Of course no one says the Mann cartridge filters that uses some sort of resin-impregnated paper as the endcaps, including the ALH application, versus the interwebz preferred metal endcap material.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 06:47   #6
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YES, BUT...Don't WORRY, be happy !! It is actually a rebranded "MANN", which is one vendor that does oem for VW. As such, those oems conform to 30,000 miles OCI's.

Now the ones I saw (@WalMart & local Kragen's) were actually MORE expensive than what you can get any oem ones (MANN, Hengst, Bosch, etc)and from the VW dealers!!??

Conceptually it is as easy as (msg #7 sez); unscrew the cap/top, raise the now dripping old filter, (I put a plastic container under it, one of two expressly for catching used oil, whatever mess is contained within the ...container) and drop in the new filter (top on the UP side) and rethread the cap/top back on.

Last edited by ruking; November 17th, 2010 at 07:33.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 07:17   #7
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You can change the filter without changing the oil. You'll need an oil filter cap [wrench], which you can get at Autozone. I would wait a few minutes (maybe like ten) so that any oil would have a chance to drain out; but not too long, as then the oil will start to thicken. It will be *messy*. You should be able to pull the filter straight up out of the housing and then hold it there to let the oil drain back into the filter housing. Have a thick cardboard box within reach so that you can grab it and put it under the filter. A thin box (like the one the new filter will come in) will leak quickly, use something much thicker. Don't move the filter to the box, or you will drip oil all over the place; instead, move the box under the filter. Be sure to check your oil level when finished and top it off.

In all honesty, if you're concerned about it, I would just change the oil.

Hope that helps!
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Last edited by jeremy1701; November 17th, 2010 at 08:35. Reason: added 'wrench'
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Old November 17th, 2010, 07:21   #8
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^^ Odds are, jeremy1701 meant oil filter cap wrench, FWIW. You can also make a strap wrench work or use bare hands depending on how tight the cap was torqued on previously.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 08:38   #9
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lol... Thanks honeydew! I did mean wrench and edited my post to include it.

I found I could not use the strap style wrench b/c the lip on the oil filter cap was just too small. The cap wrench is seriously about $5 at AZ. Very worth the price for the massive head ache you save (IMHO).
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Old November 17th, 2010, 09:20   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 20IndigoBlue02 View Post
Fram's cardboard endcaps in canister filters don't really apply to this situation, .
True, Most of the information about various test don't include our TDI filter styles. I provided this information simply to point out that some (a high % of the those available on line) tests are not valid, even when the testers intend it to be and they believe it to be valid.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 12:31   #11
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I thought I read here that the oil filter wrench from AZ does a poor job due to improper grip. Check out the real one from Metalnerd.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 12:34   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JB05 View Post
I thought I read here that the oil filter wrench from AZ does a poor job due to improper grip. Check out the real one from Metalnerd.
It works fine for me. I've never had an issue with it. Do you have linkage to Metalnerds product? I'm always happy to help out someone on a forum making a custom part rather then getting the one from Bigbox.

Edit: Found it. Looks like the same one I have. http://www.metalnerd.com/cat05.htm
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Old November 17th, 2010, 14:15   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruking View Post
Conceptually it is as easy as (msg #7 sez); unscrew the cap/top, raise the now dripping old filter, (I put a plastic container under it, one of two expressly for catching used oil, whatever mess is contained within the ...container) and drop in the new filter (top on the UP side) and rethread the cap/top back on.
IMPORTANT!: Be sure to fill the housing up with oil before reinstalling the cap/top. This serves to wet the new filter and prevent oil starvation at startup. The oil filter should have a dam inside that prevents the filter from emptying completely after shutdown to keep oil in there for the next start. Since you're installing a fresh filter that's DRY and empty, you need to prime it with oil before putting the cap back on.

I say "should" about the oil dam because early version filters didn't have an oil dam in there. These early filters didn't have a top and bottom orientation. Buyer beware, some aftermarket brands may still be using the old design. Buy only the latest OEM filter to be sure you've got the right filter.

Old & BAD filter: DO NOT USE!!!! (1999.5 - 2001 timeframe?)


You will experience severe oil starvation at startup with this filter.

NEW filter design with oil dam inside:


This filter has OBEN/TOP on it and is the correct filter to use. When I bought oil filters back in 2002, I checked them while still at the dealer's parts counter to make sure I got the correct filter. The only reason I mention this about the oil dams is some aftermarket brands might still be using the old design....more reason to stick to OEM filters.

Original "Damn the Oil Dams!" thread:
http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=32782

Good luck.
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Last edited by n1das; November 17th, 2010 at 14:56. Reason: D'Oh!
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Old November 17th, 2010, 18:47   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 20IndigoBlue02 View Post
Fram's cardboard endcaps in canister filters don't really apply to this situation, since we are talking about cartridge filters here.

Of course no one says the Mann cartridge filters that uses some sort of resin-impregnated paper as the endcaps, including the ALH application, versus the interwebz preferred metal endcap material.
Thanks for all the replies. I have worked a lot on gassers- but the TDI is a bit out of my realm of comfort. I have never seen a cartridge filter before.

I'm just going to leave it in for around 5,000 and then change it. It is still a shock at how black that oil is right after an oil change. Gotta change the way I think about a few things.
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Old November 18th, 2010, 07:03   #15
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@77k20 - I felt the same way when I first got my Beetle. It's not so bad. In fact, now that I've done it a bunch of times, I actually like the paper filters better. Easier to change, not nearly as messy and totally less waste then those big ole metal filters.

@n1das - I did not know that. Thanks for the info! I'll keep it in mind moving forward.
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