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Oil change on a 1980 Toyota Pickup: a guide

Illustration for article titled Oil change on a 1980 Toyota Pickup: a guide

I’ve been waiting to change my oil for a month, but since I only drive about 30 miles a week in this vehicle, it takes a long time for me to crank out 3,000 miles. In fact, I drove 20 miles tonight just so I could actually hit the 3k interval, and warm up the oil, of course.

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This pickup is equipped with the 2.2-Liter 20R engine, an engine that is superior to the 22R(-E) in so-called bulletproofness, but inferior in most every other conceivable way.

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Things you need: 14mm wrench, new filter, new oil, catch pan, rubber mallet, some rags or paper towels, gloves, beer, and something to lay down on.

Illustration for article titled Oil change on a 1980 Toyota Pickup: a guide

Before you ask about a jack, stands, or a ramp: let me tell that you need none of these. The ground clearance is outstanding, and the drain plug on the oil pan is easily accessible either from the front or from the passenger fender.

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I just crawl under, put on my wrench and give it a little tap with the mallet. I unscrew the plug with my hand and hope to God I don’t drop it but I almost always do, so the added step is fishing out the plug in a pool of scalding hot dirty oil.

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Holy shit, I held on this time!

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Next step is the oil filter. Another advantage of the 20R is that it’s accessible from the top. Just look at it:

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There’s only some stuff in the way, so here’s the reach-around position you need to fish it out:

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Reach down and unscrew. This is so easy because being up top you have all kinds of leverage and room to get it off if it was put on too tight, or if your hands are slick with oil. Make sure to have your pan repositioned to catch the oil from the filter. In the case of this 20R, slide your catch pan over about three inches. Make sure your gasket is still on the old filter and not stuck to your engine!

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After a few sips of beer, the pan should be done dripping. Put the plug back in nice and snug, and put on your new oil filter, with the gasket lubed up with some of that old oil. I use Wix because whatever. Then add your new oil. I use 10w-30 Castrol dino juice, because it’s an old ass engine that leaks and burns. It’s been much better since I switched over from 5w-30 of some other brand I was using before, though. I don’t have to add oil nearly as often as I used to. I have no idea where my funnel is.

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The oil capacity for the 20R is some number of quarts, but honestly, I just fill and check the dipstick until it looks good. I then crawl back underneath to make sure I’m not gushing oil from a bad gasket or a loose plug, and I always recheck the dipstick.

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And boom! Fresh oil good for another 3,000 miles.

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