How-to: Routine Engine Oil &
Filter Change on Your Dodge Ram Truck!
Engine oil deteriorates and becomes contaminated over time. Quality synthetic oils and some
alternative fuels like propane can reduce engine oil breakdown. Regardless of the oil type, however, every
Dodge Ram truck engine requires periodic oil and oil filter changes to remove
If not changed in time, the oil filter can clog. Excessive contaminants
or stretching too far between oil changes will clog an oil filter and compromise engine
On modern engines, a "bypass valve" will open in the event
of a clogged oil filter. This allows vital oil to bypass the clogged filter and continue oiling
parts. The by-pass system protects bearings and other critical parts from oil starvation and risk of
immediate failure. However, the by-pass function comes with a price: contaminants and damaging
debris course through sensitive parts of the engine.
Engine damage from by-passing is visible on teardown as bearing
etching. Debris, embedded in the soft insert bearing surfaces, reflects the lack of filtration.
Dirty, fuel-diluted oil also shortens engine life.
For this reason, routine oil and oil filter changes
help maintain a cleaner engine, reduce the buildup of contaminants and assure that oil gets
This 'how-to' covers a routine oil change on
the 5.9L Cummins inline six-cylinder turbo diesel. The steps apply to the Dodge-Ram gasoline engines as
Note: If you perform your own truck maintenance and
service work, use the lubricant and service specifications found in a Dodge-Ram (official Chrysler Group)
Service Manual for your truck. For quality, professional results, invest in the 'Service Manual' for your
year and model Ram. See the Mopar
TechAuthority II section for information on how to access manuals and other official
Dodge-Ram truck technical information.
the Engine's Oil and Oil Filter
This 'how-to' outlines the steps for a professional oil and filter
change. The tools required for this work are minimal.
1. An oil
changed begins with draining the old oil. Hot oil can cause severe burns and injury. The oil should be
warm, not hot, for draining. Warm oil permits immediate flow and likelihood that more contaminants
will end up in the drain pan.
Caution: Use nitrile mechanic's gloves to protect against
the harmful contaminants in old oil. Note the use of a large drain pan to prevent oil from splashing onto the
shop floor or driveway. This drain pan is a cement mixing trough, made of durable
2. A notched
filter cap wrench is advisable. Here, the cap tool fits snugly on the bottom (end) of the filter. The diesel 5.9L's
oil filter mounts vertically, which is helpful. Note wiring beneath the filter. Carefully lower the filter past
this wiring. Avoid tilting or spilling oil from the filter. Several oil changes into the process, this gets
Caution: To prevent oil spillage and splash, keep the drain pan beneath the filter during filter removal. On slant
or horizontally mounted filters, loosen the filter slightly and let oil drain out before removing the oil
filter...After oil drains, clean and inspect the drain plug for gasket
damage. Install the drain plug by hand, then torque the plug to specification. Never leave the drain plug
finger-tight with plans to torque it later. Many drain plugs have fallen out on the road from failure to
follow-up with this step!
drain plug using the torque specified in your Dodge-Ram or Cummins service data or owners manual. A torque wrench
assures the proper setting. Wipe off any oil spillage to avoid drips.
Note: The 2005 5.9L Cummins drain plug torque is 37
3. A filter might
fit an engine but not have the proper micron filtration, pressure drop across the filter or bypass
valve setting. This Mopar-Cummins filter is your assurance that the oil filter meets the stringent engineering
requirements set by Cummins and Chrysler.
4. This Mopar oil filter mounts vertically on the Cummins diesel. Pre-priming before installation is
possible. Fill the oil filter to near full. (Allow for slight tilting of the filter during installation.)
Make sure oil entering the filter is spotlessly clean. Spread a film of fresh oil on the gasket
Note: Pre-filling the filter with fresh, clean oil will reduce the time to fill the new filter
when the engine starts. The highest wear to crankshaft bearings occurs during
engine start-up. Oil change start-ups are even greater risk to bearings. Minimize wear by pre-priming the
filter. Oil pressure will pick up quicker, preserving your engine's bearings.
Caution: Make sure the old oil filter's gasket came off with the filter! A common and
disastrous issue is "double gasketing" a filter at the engine mount. Make sure the oil filter mount is clear
and clean. When bringing the filter to the engine mount, prevent debris from falling into the open oil
filter. Keep the new filter gasket clean.
Advice: The oil filter or its box furnishes directions on how to tighten the filter. With
a thin film of fresh oil applied to the gasket, a good rule is to grasp the new filter shell with both hands
and cinch it down. Some use a filter cap wrench to confirm a snug fit.
Warning: Surely, nobody wants a filter to loosen, leak or fall off! However, an overly tight
filter can be very difficult to remove after the engine has run at operating temperature. In service, the
filter's gasket swells, which tightens the fit. Typical Dodge-Ram Truck service manual recommendations
suggest threading the Cummins oil filter onto the adapter by hand until the filter gasket contacts the
stand—then turn the filter one-half turn beyond this point. (See the added "Suggestion"
Suggestion: I approach filter tightening in a different way: First, I tighten
the filter by the specified method (1/2-turn or whatever recommended on the oil filter canister). Beyond
that, I perform a "two-hands-snug" test to confirm that the filter is secure...In my experience, the "two-hands-snug" (past the minimum "1/2-turn"
or recommended point) is a better approach, reducing risk of a false setting and nuisance leak—or
worse...Always check for leaks after start-up!—Moses
5. Mopar's MaxPro® 15W-40 oil is specified for the Cummins
turbo-diesel. Properly maintained Cummins inline six-cylinder engines are legend. Some run a half-million
miles without a major teardown. This is only possible with regular oil and filter changes. Mopar® offers a full line of engine-specified lubricants for your gasoline or diesel
Dodge-Ram truck. See your local Ram Truck dealer!
5. A five-quart
oil container with flex spout helps reduce risk of spilling oil during the crankcase fill. Set the can and spout on
a stable base that will support the weight. Make sure the fill can is clean before pouring fresh oil into the can
6. The Cummins
inline six takes 12 quarts of oil when a new filter is installed. This is the third gallon of Mopar
MaxPro® oil poured into the 5.9L turbo diesel. (One
quart from the first gallon went into the new oil filter before installing the filter.
Install the filter before filling the crankcase.)
7. The flex spout
helps reduce risk of spill. After all oil drains from the can, simply swing the flex spout upward to stop the oil
drip. Quality oil can be expensive. Make sure all of the oil ends up in the
engine! Install and secure the oil fill-cap.
After installing the oil filter, filling the crankcase and installing the oil fill cap, you can start the
engine. Start at an idle without opening the throttle. Make sure oil pressure picks up immediately. Circulate
oil for a few minutes, checking for leaks at the filter and drain plug areas. Shut the engine off and allow
several minutes for oil to fully drain into the oil pan. Check the oil level and top off oil if necessary—do
not overfill the crankcase!
effective, quality oil change begins with the best products. This is the oil and filter recommended by
Mopar® for the Cummins turbo-diesel. Make Mopar® your source for original equipment quality and engineering...See your local Chrysler
Group or Ram Truck dealer for lubricants, filters and service parts!