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#354945 - 07/27/06 10:10 PM How tight is too tight?
The Critic Offline


Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 17781
Loc: Walnut Creek, CA
I tighten all of my filters by hand, and with the aid of a rag. This normally results in 3/4 of a turn once the gasket touches the base. As a result, I'm no longer able to remove that very filter using my hand only.

Several weeks ago, I did an oil/filter change on a mid-90s Civic. A SuperTech ST3593A filter was installed, and I was able to remove it by hand. No evidence of leakage...was this filter installed properly ?? I didn't think so, but I wonder if a low-torque gasket could be the reason why I was able to remove it without the aid of a wrench?

TIA...

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#354946 - 07/27/06 10:21 PM Re: How tight is too tight?
Kestas Offline



Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 10836
Loc: The Motor City
I think you have nothing to worry about. The Civic filter was probably undertightened a little, but not enough to cause leakage. Do you lube the gasket before installation?... you should. I recently started buttering oil filter gaskets with silicone grease to aid installation. Perhaps the Civic filter was similarly lubed.

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#354947 - 07/27/06 10:30 PM Re: How tight is too tight?
The Critic Offline


Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 17781
Loc: Walnut Creek, CA
Yes, the new SuperTech ST3593A filter was lubed with fresh oil prior to installation, at least the one I installed. I doubt the last person who installed it, used silicone grease to lube the gasket.

I asked as someone once told me that if one cannot remove the filter by hand, it is overtightened? [Confused] I didn't quite buy into that statement...

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#354948 - 07/27/06 10:34 PM Re: How tight is too tight?
Triple_Se7en Offline


Registered: 12/04/04
Posts: 6369
Loc: 1/2 hr. north of Detroit
I use the 12:00 to 3:00 method. I hand-tighten -- then go a 1/4 turn with the oil filter wrench.

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#354949 - 07/27/06 10:34 PM Re: How tight is too tight?
labman Offline


Registered: 03/14/03
Posts: 8711
Loc: Nothern USA
I am a strong believer in that ''If you followed directions, it was done right''. There may be a range where an easy to get at filter will be tight enough to not leak or come loose, and still loosen it by hand. As easy as it it to grab my trusty Channelocks and start the filter loose, I am going to continue the 2/3 - full turn like the directions say.

The coefficient of static friction is greater than dynamic friction. It is easier to keep something moving than to restart it. Filters aren't the only thing I can tighten up by hand and need a wrench to start loose.

Maybe this is another advantage to cartridge filters. They have a torque molded into the lid. Saves all this debate.

Anybody doing their cartridge lid by hand?

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#354950 - 07/27/06 11:00 PM Re: How tight is too tight?
Ray H Offline


Registered: 01/16/03
Posts: 4478
Loc: Southern California
I've never tightened spin-on filters any tighter than I couldn't later remove by hand. I always use a dab of the old oil to lube the new filter's gasket. Never had a leak either. Some would say I've just been lucky. Seems to me with 44 years involved, luck has precious little to do with it. (I do have an oil filter wrench, though, because old sumo wrestlers never die - they get hired to install spin-on oil filters on Japanese car and truck engines...)

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#354951 - 07/27/06 11:18 PM Re: How tight is too tight?
dwendt44 Offline


Registered: 05/17/06
Posts: 3571
Loc: Central Wisconsin
Some of use don't have the wrist strength to tighten it enough. In some cases, the angle and position of the filter makes it akward to twist it tight enough.
I, after having a leaky gasket on a new vehicle, tend to give a filter a little extra with the wrench. Not much, mind you; just a bit.
Wrench moves about a quarter turn to loosen enough to remove by hand when it's time.

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#354952 - 07/27/06 11:23 PM Re: How tight is too tight?
The Critic Offline


Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 17781
Loc: Walnut Creek, CA
Well, here's another thought. I was about to grab the wrench and give the filter an extra quarter turn on the Civic after I tightened it by hand, but I was unable to fit his only wrench into that spot. (Maybe I was weird that day?) So, perhaps the owner purposely installed the filter that way?

Fwiw, my father follows Ray's theory. I installed a FRAM filter on my Saturn with about 3/4 of a turn of force, and he said it was too tight...

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#354953 - 07/27/06 11:44 PM Re: How tight is too tight?
Kestas Offline



Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 10836
Loc: The Motor City
The amount of compression needed to provide a seal without deforming the seal out of position is engineered into the oil filter. Always try to follow directions. If it says 3/4 to full turn with an oiled gasket, do it that way, regardless of whether you do it by hand or wrench.

Like dwendt said, not everybody has the same strength, nor is every filter in optimal position to install by hand. Follow instructions on the box that came with the filter. Comments like "hand-tight", or "hand-tight plus quarter-turn" don't cut it.

How it comes off after proper installation according to directions doesn't matter and we shouldn't be worrying about it until the time comes for the next oil change. Oiling the gasket before intallation helps with removal.

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#354954 - 07/27/06 11:58 PM Re: How tight is too tight?
labman Offline


Registered: 03/14/03
Posts: 8711
Loc: Nothern USA
Yeah, Kestas. I admit using my own procedure in cases where the directions frequently give problems. I tighten up oiled filters as tight as I can get them by hand. Never had one come loose, leak, or stick.

Now lug nuts, they get a dab of anti sieze ecause I don't like the way dry ones come loose sometimes when I remove them.

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#354955 - 07/30/06 12:07 PM Re: How tight is too tight?
02StangGT4Foam Offline


Registered: 11/11/05
Posts: 92
Loc: Central CA, USA
The 2002 Dodge Intrepid Factory Service Manual states that the oil filter in all engines of that year should be tightened to 12ft-lbs. Ever since I read that, I've been installing oil filters in my family and friends cars at 12ft-lbs with ABSOLUTELY no problems and/or leaks. They install and come off with ease with the help of this orange oil filter thingy that i bought at WalMart that attaches to the ends of most oil filters and has a square 3/8" hole for a ratchet and/or extension. Makes using a torque wrench very easy with oil filters. Try it, you might like it.

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#354956 - 07/30/06 10:15 PM Re: How tight is too tight?
RD400 Offline


Registered: 06/20/06
Posts: 203
Loc: SoCal
I'm with Ray H. I've only bought wrenches to remove the factory applied filter. After that I apply used oil to the new gasket and hand tighten filters to a little looser than 'hand tight' so that I can easily remove them later by hand. They always get tighter with use and I've never had a filter leak in 30 yrs.

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#354957 - 08/01/06 12:27 AM Re: How tight is too tight?
sjlee Offline


Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 259
Loc: WI
quote:
Originally posted by RD400:
After that I apply used oil to the new gasket and hand tighten filters to a little looser than 'hand tight' so that I can easily remove them later by hand.

"Used oil"? Any particular reason why you use used oil instead of new oil?

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#354958 - 08/01/06 12:48 AM Re: How tight is too tight?
JohnnyO Offline


Registered: 09/26/03
Posts: 2484
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
quote:
Originally posted by sjlee:
"Used oil"? Any particular reason why you use used oil instead of new oil?

Because the drain pan is right there. I ease the filter into the drain pan so the oil only touches the gasket. Then screw it on.

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#354959 - 08/01/06 12:50 AM Re: How tight is too tight?
b_rubenstein Offline


Registered: 06/25/06
Posts: 45
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Before putting on a new oil filter I wipe the gasket with fresh oil and wipe the filter mating surface on the block clean. With the gasket and mating surface clean, very little pressure is needed for a good seal. I only hand tighten the filter. I can just about always remove it without a wrench.

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