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Old 02-21-2004, 10:53 PM   #1
Frank Zuccarini
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Default Oil Change Hatch

Hi all.

I changed my oil again today. Every time I do so, I get angry with the plastic hatch that has to be opened before gaining access to the filter or drain plug. Those five quarter turn screws frustrate me no end. Some fall right out, while I have to struggle with others. Then, the ones that fell out are difficult for me to put back in. I futz with the screws for a longer time than it takes me to change the filter and oil.

Anyway, I'd like to remove the hatch once and for all. However, it has struck me that in so doing, I may subject the remainder of the plastic engine shield to different wind flow. Without the hatch in place, at highway speed, the shield may catch the wind and howl or rip off.

Has anyone removed the hatch for good? If so, how has that worked out for you?

Thanks.......................Frank
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Old 02-22-2004, 09:42 PM   #2
Frank Zuccarini
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Bump.
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Old 02-23-2004, 08:31 AM   #3
Corkfish
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The whole plastic shroud thing mystifies me a little. I would think that it holds the heat in as well. Wouldn't the motor run a little cooler without it?
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Old 02-23-2004, 08:38 PM   #4
Frank Zuccarini
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Yeah, I think that I may remove the entire shroud.

The only purpose that I can think it serves is to keep some road water and slop from hitting the engine.

Just wish that someone other than me tries it first. A selfish position, for sure.

Frank
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Old 02-23-2004, 11:45 PM   #5
Ghostrider600
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Lol, I just thought the *same* thing last Friday when I was changing the oil in the XT.

Laying on the freezing garage floor, looking up at the hole, at the stupid twist-screws all over the floor, and then at the stupid flap debating whether it was worth it to put it back on or not.


I figure Subaru is paying someone somewhere to make the stupid thing, and have someone else put it on, and (eventually) charging us for it in the MSRP, and to do all that someone must have engineered the damn thing and said "Hey, you need to put this on the bottom of the car".

And that engineer must have convinced the bean counters that it was necessary or else it wouldn't have made it to production and onto our cars if Subaru could save itself the time/effort/money to put the stupid hatch on the bottom of the car.

So, eventually, I put it back on, knowing I'd be cursing it in 3000mi, and maybe having the same debate again.

..., but until someone *else* takes it off of their new XT, and goes offroading and splashing through puddles and whatever else, I think I'll leave it as the Subaru intended...
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Old 02-24-2004, 08:59 PM   #6
Frank Zuccarini
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I can't argue with your logic at all, Gostrider600. Ya gotta figure that Subaru put it there for a reason. That is, a reason beyond aggravating you and me.

Still, if it's simply to reduce road noise, I'd happily trade a little noise for the easier oil changes. It's just that it "may" have a more imortant purpose, and I'd hate to compromise that purpose.

Oh well........................
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Old 02-24-2004, 10:20 PM   #7
Hondaslayer
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Keeps debris out of the engine bay.No worries about rocks getting pitched up into your accessory belts or timing covers
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Old 02-25-2004, 12:46 AM   #8
jukes
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FWIW, on a lot of cars, those panels are there to assist in underhood air management, aerodynamics and to hel keep stuff outa there.
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:40 AM   #9
zhe wiz
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Quote:
Originally posted by jukes
FWIW, on a lot of cars, those panels are there to assist in underhood air management, aerodynamics and to hel keep stuff outa there.

Yeah, and I'm GUESSING that "underhood air management" is even more important with our top mounted intercoolers. I certainly wouldn't want to make any changes which might affect underhood airflow without knowing how that change might change airflow through the intercooler.

Jack Z
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Old 02-25-2004, 12:11 PM   #10
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Keep debris out? Maybe cause it's an SUV, because I've never owned another vehicle that had that much underneath.
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Old 02-25-2004, 12:33 PM   #11
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If you take off all that shielding, get ready for a really dirty engine compartment. It's really not that hard to take off, and at the most adds 5 minutes to an oil change . It's there for a reason; namely dust and debris protection, and underbody aerodynamics....it's possible you could even see a loss in mpg from the added drag - a lot of air flows under a Forester at stock ride-height.
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Old 02-25-2004, 01:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Corkfish
Keep debris out? Maybe cause it's an SUV, because I've never owned another vehicle that had that much underneath.

My friend's CRV has a warning about parking in tall grass when offroad, so maybe the shield isn't anything more than fire protection.

Otherwise, the ideas seem to be:

Airflow management
(though at idle and slow speeds it seems like it would just make things hotter in the engine bay)

Dirt/Debris Management
(doubt Subaru would pay for the design & installation of that thing just to keep our engines nice and shiny)

Snow/Water Management
(keeping spray from hitting the engine/exhaust/turbo housing?)

Roadkill Shield
(to prevent small animals flung up by the wheels from getting stuck in your belt? Or cooking on the exhaust headers?)

Other?

--Anyone email SoA just to see what they say about the thing?
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Old 02-25-2004, 01:33 PM   #13
Frank Zuccarini
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Thanks for all the input Guys.

I'll email SofA.

Frank
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Old 02-27-2004, 06:47 PM   #14
Frank Zuccarini
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OK...............I've contacted Subaru, and they've responded. It's like the guy didn't even read my question, but anyway, here is the exchange. In reverse order, of course.

I wrote back, and we'll see if anything comes of it.

Thanks................Frank





Dear Steve:

I am not asking you or Subaru to diagnose a thing. Can you please re-read my question and try to give me a pertinent answer.

Thank-you...............Frank

-----Original Message-----
From: SOAMail@sun.subaru1.com [mailto:SOAMail@sun.subaru1.com]
Sent: Friday, February 27, 2004 8:33 AM
To: fzuccarini@wideopenwest.com
Subject: Re: Service Related (E-mail #619592)

Dear Zuccarini:

Thank you for visiting the Subaru Web site and for your message. We are sorry to learn of the circumstances that prompted your message. Your frustration is understandable, but we are not in a position to diagnose your vehicle via e-mail. We rely on authorized Subaru dealerships to handle technical matters. If you wish to contact our Customer/Dealer Services Department and provide further information regarding your concerns, please call us at 1-800-SUBARU-3 (1-800-782-2783) and refer to Case #594729. Best wishes!

Steve Sampson
-----------------------------------------------------------
YOUR ORIGINAL MAIL:

Hi.

I have a 2004 Forester XT, and I find the 'hatch' which must be opened to gain access to the oil filter and oil plug to be troublesome (see this thread for details.....http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...42#post5799542).

Can you please tell me what purpose the cover (shroud?) over the bottom of the engine compartment serves, and what whould happen if I removed it?

Thank-you very much.........Frank
First name: Frank
Last name: Zuccarini
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Old 02-27-2004, 10:53 PM   #15
nitrohuffer
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It is an underspoiler. It helps reduce lift at high speeds, and greatly reduces road noise. I took mine out of the legacy for cooling at auto-x's. Wind and road noise is really bad above 85. Not to mention my headers are filthy. If it gives you that hard of a time just use two or three of the pop screws, or take the oil filter cover off.
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Old 02-27-2004, 11:05 PM   #16
Peaty
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My 02" OB has a similar hatch but just 3 of those screws
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Old 02-28-2004, 07:23 AM   #17
turnbuckle1212
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hmmm... i always thought they put those underguards on there to catch the oil leaking from the front of the engine
-cory
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Old 02-29-2004, 01:26 PM   #18
Ghostrider600
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Quote:
Originally posted by turnbuckle1212
hmmm... i always thought they put those underguards on there to catch the oil leaking from the front of the engine
-cory
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Old 02-29-2004, 04:44 PM   #19
Frank Zuccarini
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Thanks folks.

I'm unfamilar with the term "underspoiler", but it makes sense.

I simply find the special screws to be not particularly well thought out, and hence, aggravating.

It seems that the underespoiler does serve a purpose, and so I'll tolerate the hatch and it's screws.

Again, thanks....................Frank
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Old 03-01-2004, 08:14 PM   #20
Frank Zuccarini
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Okay..........SOA got back to me again.

Here is their official response:



Thank-you, Steve. You have answered my question satisfactorily.

Frank

-----Original Message-----
From: Subaru of America, Inc. [mailto:SOAMail@sun.subaru1.com]
Sent: Monday, March 01, 2004 9:10 AM
Subject:

Date: Mon, 1 Mar 2004 10:11:06 -0500
To: fzuccarini@wideopenwest.com


Dear Mr. Zuccarini, I apologize for the misunderstanding of your original
email. Your question also included a hypothetical situation which could be
interpreted as a request for technical information. I have since received
an answer that should satisfy you. The purpose of the cover in question is
to protect the oil filter from dirt and objects that may damage it. It
should remain in place unless the vehicle is being serviced in or around the
area of the oil filter. I hope this answer meets your needs. Once again,
thank you for contacting Subaru of America. If you have any other questions
please call us at 1-800-SUBARU3 (800-782-2783). Please refer to case
#594729 when calling. This will help expedite your call.

Thank you,

Steve Sampson
Subaru of America, Inc.
Customer/Dealer Services
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Old 03-01-2004, 09:50 PM   #21
Ghostrider600
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So it's not even an underspoiler, it's just to keep crap out.


Now we should ask them why we have to use a crush washer when no other car requires one.
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Old 03-02-2004, 12:35 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ghostrider600
So it's not even an underspoiler, it's just to keep crap out.


They were refering to the filter cover hatch that is located on the underspoiler. I went a year before learning they were single use crush washers.
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Old 03-02-2004, 01:09 PM   #23
Frank Zuccarini
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Yes, that's how I read the response from SOA too. The oil filter hatch is PART of the underspoiler.

It's been fun....................Frank
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Old 03-02-2004, 01:38 PM   #24
ForesterXT04
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Quote:
Originally posted by Frank Zuccarini
Yes, that's how I read the response from SOA too. The oil filter hatch is PART of the underspoiler.

It's been fun....................Frank
Frank,

Perhaps you could try switching out the 5 tabs? My Explorer uses the tabs but they require a phillips screw driver to remove (look a lot like the dry wall screws with plastic sheath that expand behind the dry wall). In this case, Ford uses a plastic screw and plastic sheath much like Subaru, but this one comes out like a normal screw. Over time the plastic screw wears so I replaced all of them with metal stainless screws from Home Depot. You can probably find the "sheath" at any auto store.

Another thing I recently discovered is that you don't have to remove all the screws from the oil hatch. The hardest one, at the rear of the hatch, can be left on and the hatch can be slid out of the way during the oil change rather than removed all together. The first time I did a change I took the whole thing down and wrestled to get it back up...saves a few secs here and there.
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Old 03-02-2004, 02:45 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by nitrohuffer
I went a year before learning they were single use crush washers.




...so what are they for?
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