We are picking up and continuing our Kubota Service 101 series with a quick article on something every owner of a tractor should be familiar with – an oil change.
Depending on the model, Kubota recommends regular oil changes every 75-150 hours (less for construction or heavy use). Check your operator’s manual for the exact service interval. Something else you will find in your reference manuals are 1) the part number for a replacement oil filter and 2) the oil capacity of the engine. If you do not have that reference manual handy, head over to Kubota’s quick parts look up and make a note to yourself to buy a manual in the future.
An oil change takes 5-10 minutes and costs about $20 including the filter. Not changing the oil costs a lot more when something goes wrong or wears prematurely.
What You Will Need
Before we get started, gather these tools and supplies:
- a 19mm wrench or socket
- a oil filter wrench
- a replacement oil filter
- replacement oil – we use 15W-40
- a funnel
- a large measuring cup
- a catch basin for the old oil
- felt tip marker
Quick Word About Oil Filters
Oil filters are not very high-tech and we feel that they are all pretty much created equal. We do not go out of our way to purchase Kubota filters unless we happen to be at or near a dealership when we need one. Comparable and very well performing filters are offered by Baldwin, Fram or even the Wal-Mart house brand. Expect to pay $5-10.
Drop the Old Oil
With your catch basin under the tractor, loosen the drain plug with your 19mm wrench. Note that some Kubota L Series Kubota have two drain plugs that must be removed. The reason for the dual plugs is that the drive shaft runs down the middle of the oil pan, splitting it in two.
Do not be alarmed if the oil is especially black. Diesels tend to blacken the oil pretty quickly. Do be alarmed if you see anything else in the oil like metal shavings, rust, coolant or water. With the oil draining we can move onto the rest of the oil change.
Remove the Old Filter
Depending on your model you may have to remove one of the engine side covers to get access to the oil filter. If you have a front end loader installed on your tractor it is also a good idea to remove the loader too.
Take your oil filter wrench and work the old filter off the engine block. A filter wrench is really handy here because of the tight tolerances often mean you cannot get a proper grip otherwise.
Be sure to dump the 1/2 cup of oil still in the filter down into the catch basis along with the rest of the old oil.
Install the New Filter
Take a new filter out of the box and lubricate the seal at the top by running some old oil around it. This helps to prevent the new filter from burning itself onto the side of the engine block due to the heat.
Before twisting the new filter on, give the surface where the filter mates a bit of a clean. Spin on the filter hand tight and then just a little bit extra. Remember that you will eventually be taking this filter off…
Replace Oil Drain Plug
By now the old oil is likely finished dripping out of the pan. Take the drain plug, clean it up a bit and inspect it for cracks and wear. You really do not want this one plug failing when you are in the middle of stressing your equipment. Thread the plug back in and then give it only a 1/4 turn with your 19mm wrench. Again, you will be undoing this plug in the future.
Grab your measuring cup and the amount of oil you need. We use 15W-40 because it gives us the right combination for the weather and work load that we use our equipment at. If you are in a cooler climate, operating your tractor in the winter or operating your equipment as part of regular construction your oil specification needs will differ.
Find the oil cap on the top of the engine and drop your funnel in.
After you have the new oil in, replace the oil cap and check the dip stick to see that you are at the correct level. You will likely find that the dip stick still has old oil on it – that is ok.
Quick Tip: Marking the Oil Filter
If you have trouble remembering exactly when you performed the last oil change, or when you need to do the next, here is a quick tip. With a felt pen, write the date and number of hours on your tractor on the side of the oil filter. That way with a quick glance you will know if you are coming up on another oil change.