The Peugeot 205 is a great little car. The original ‘hot-hatch’ – they were immensely popular from the moment they were introduced back in 1983, due to their styling, performance, and nimble handling. The reliability of the diesel versions is the stuff of legend, and there are still plenty of well-maintained examples on the road today.
The cost of running a car has increased enormously over the last decade, and even owners of an economical car like the diesel 205 need to cut unnecessary spending wherever possible. One simple way to achieve this is to do your own oil changes.
The 205 diesel engine has a reputation for being virtually unbreakable, but only if the engine oil and filter are replaced every 6000 miles. This is an easy job to do and will only take around half an hour. Oils and filters can be bought cheaply at any motor factor or car-parts shop. I recommend that you use semi-synthetic oil, as it is more durable than ordinary mineral oil and only a little more expensive.
Before you start, be sure to assemble all the things you will need. These are:
1) 5 litres of semi-synthetic oil for diesel engines
2) New oil filter (FRAM part No. PH5566A)
3) New 16mm copper washer for the sump plug
4) Old washing-up bowl
5) Latex gloves
7) Kitchen paper
8) Tool for sump plug (17mm socket, or 8mm square for turbo engine)
9) Oil filter removal strap
I also like to flatten out a cardboard box to kneel on.
First, the car should be parked on a flat and level surface ideally in a garage, but if not pick a day when the wind isn’t blowing. Start the engine and allow it to reach near normal operating temperature then switch it off. This is because the old oil will drain out more quickly when it is warm. Next, put on your gloves, open the bonnet, and release the oil filler cap on top of the engine. It is orange, has two spring-clips holding it on, and the dip-stick goes down through the middle of it. The filler cap is located at the highest part of the engine. Now spread out the newspaper under the car to catch any drips and place the washing-up bowl under the sump plug. This is located at the lowest part of the engine. If you are fortunate enough to own the turbo version, use the 8mm square tool held in a socket to turn the sump plug anti-clockwise, otherwise, you need a 17mm ring spanner or socket. BE VERY CAREFUL HERE. The oil may be hot enough to burn you and will gush out very quickly when you remove the plug. The oil will stop dripping in a few minutes.
Meanwhile, carefully move the washing-up bowl towards you a little, so that it is now underneath the oil filter as well. On the non-turbo engine there is good access to the filter, and you can easily wind the strap around it and unscrew it, again turning anti-clockwise. Be aware that hot oil will spill out from the filter when it is removed, and it should to be kept upright until you can drain it into the washing-up bowl. This is not the case with the turbo engine though. Access to the oil filter is very limited, and I find I cannot remove it by normal means. The way that I remove the filter sounds drastic, but it works. What I do, leaning in to the engine bay, is to gently tap two long thin screwdrivers right through the top of the filter and down to the bottom, placed diametrically opposite each other, and as close to the sides of the can of the filter as possible. Then I lay a short metal bar on top of the filter and swing it round anti-clockwise until it contacts both of the screwdriver blades. By keeping the screwdriver handles vertical with one hand I have enough purchase to turn the filter with the other and loosen it. Once loosened, it spins off the rest of the way using my fingers. If you examine the filter once it is off, you will see that this method cannot cause any damage to the engine.
You are now halfway through…
Now it is time to put it all back together. Begin by cleaning the sump plug and then fit the new copper washer on to it. Now wipe around the plug hole with the kitchen paper, before screwing the plug back in (clockwise) until hand-tight. Use the tool to tighten it a further 3/4 of one turn and you are done. Do not tighten any more than this, as you may distort the metal and cause an oil leak. Next, wipe off any old oil from around the filter housing, being careful not to introduce dirt into the recess. Take the new filter out of its box and look at the underside. You will see a thick black rubber sealing ring. This must be lubricated with a little fresh engine oil before fitting. The easy way to do this is to dip a gloved fingertip into the new oil and then ‘paint’ round the rubber ring until it looks obviously oily. Now spin the new filter on (clockwise) being careful not to cross-thread it at the start. Keep turning the filter lightly by hand until you feel resistance, then turn it a further 1/2 of one turn. There is no need to tighten any further, and doing so would only make it very difficult to remove at the next service interval.
At this point you are ready to put the new oil into the engine. The engine requires 4.5 litres of oil in total, so you will find it useful to put 4 litres in straight away. It can be difficult to pour a full bottle of oil without spilling any, so go slowly, giving the oil time to drain away down the filler aperture, otherwise it may bubble up and splash over the side. If you are using a funnel you must be very careful about this, as you could easily lose a whole funnel-full because of this effect. After you have the first 4 litres in, it is time to start the engine and distribute the new oil around inside it. There will be a slight delay in building oil pressure until the new filter has been filled up, so the oil warning light may stay on for a few seconds at first. Run the engine for a minute, then switch it off and leave it for at least 5 minutes. This gives time for the oil to settle back down to the sump, and you can then get a proper reading on the dip-stick. Withdraw the dip-stick from the oil filler cap and carefully wipe it clean on kitchen paper. Now push the dip-stick all the way back into its slot and take it out again. This time, you will be able to see how far the new oil has come up between the two notches. The dip-stick looks a bit like a thin flat steel ribbon – be sure to look at both sides to get the true reading. A reading anywhere between the upper and lower level marks means that the engine has sufficient oil to run without damage, but you should always try to keep the engine oil at or just below the upper mark. This is for two reasons: a greater quantity of oil means there is more fresh oil in the engine, but also, oil serves to cool the parts of the engine that water cannot get to. So oil actually plays two vital roles in the engine: lubrication and cooling.
Getting the oil to the correct level on the dip-stick can be a bit tricky, and you must be careful not to over-fill with oil – at best, the engine will blow the excess oil out through its breather pipes and into the air filter; at worst it can cause oil seals to pop and subsequently leak. Just keep adding a little more oil then let it settle for a minute before wiping off the stick and checking again. It helps to know that the see-through window on the side of the oil bottle is marked in 1/4 litre sections, so you know how much has already gone in to the engine. Don’t just pour 4.5 litres straight in there though, because there is always a little of the old oil still left behind in the engine.
Now it’s time to tidy up. Wipe off any oil that has spilled over the engine with kitchen paper and place it in a plastic bag with the old filter. I then tip the used oil into old plastic milk bottles ready to take to the recycling centre. Likewise with the newspaper and cardboard I have used. On no account must oil or anything contaminated with oil be dumped as household waste, or tipped down any drain. It must be disposed of properly.
That’s it now. Clean your tools, wash your hands, and go for a drive. Notice how the engine sounds smoother and pulls just that little bit more eagerly – you might almost think it’s saying thank you! And you just saved yourself a load of money, and put in the best oil! Enjoy…