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Oil and Filter Change Tips
For the Ram/Cummins Engine
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The maintenance schedule in the owners manual indicates the oil and filter should be changed at:

Tools you will need:

  • Large Screwdriver
  • 1/2" ratchet wrench with long drive extension
  • 3/8" ratchet wrench with 3" drive extension
  • Strap wrench
  • plastic bag
  • rag
  • ladder
  • bucket, pan, funnel, and several old oil jugs
Supplies you will need:
  • 11 quarts of SAE 15W40 diesel oil with a dual rating of at least CF4 and at least SG.
  • Oil filter of your choice (choose wisely grasshopper - cheap filters are not the best idea here)
    • 24 Valve - Mopar 5016547AC, Fleetguard LF3959 or LF3894, Cummins 3937211
    • 12 Valve - 24V filters plus Cummins 3865405 or 3942470, Fleetguard LF3349 or LF3552
    • Other filters from Fram, Wix, STP, NAPA, AMSOIL, etc should be used with caution. There have been documented failures of Fram and Wix filters. YMMV!

OK, Let's change some oil!


Run the engine enough to warm and circulate the oil, but not long enough top make the oil too hot to handle.

2. Park the truck safely , set the parking brake, and spread a ground sheet just behind the left front wheel and under the truck.
3.   Place a large bucket (3 gal minimum!) under the drain plug.

Loosen the drain plug with a 3/8" ratchet wrench and 3" extension. The drive nose of the extension fits into a recess in the drain plug.

When the plug is loosened, drain slots in the oil pan will allow the oil to flow around the plug threads. Let the oil drain while you go to the engine top.
6. Use the screwdriver to loosen the band clamps on both ends of the intake hose, then remove the hose and set it aside.
7. Slip the strap wrench under the filter bottom and slide it up to the top of the filter. Insert the long 1/2" drive extension into the end of the wrench and wind up the slack. You will need to be turning the filter clockwise as looking down from the top of the engine. Now slide the wrench and adjust the ratchet handle to the position shown on the left when the strap is tightened, and loosen the filter enough to allow removal by hand.
      NOTE: The original factory filter is usually overtorqued and sealed to the engine by paint - it can be very difficult to remove. Make sure the strap is gripping the top of the filter and use the wrench position shown. If you still can't get the filter to loosen, use a breaker bar and cheater pipe in place of the ratchet, and pull hard - no stuck filters have been able to resist this much leverage. See D. Murdock's oil change page for additional details about the proper wrench position.
8. Slip a plastic grocery bag, zip-lock, or bread sack under the filter and pull it up around the filter body. Now unscrew and remove the filter. Make sure that the old rubber gasket is still on the filter. Set the filter aside to be drained.
9. Fill the filter with fresh oil and use your finger to coat the gasket face with oil.


ANYTHING poured into the center of the filter goes directly into the bearings and piston cooling nozzles when the engine is started. The killer dowel pin is now famous for causing expensive engine damage, but Cummins reports that far more engines have been heavily damaged by the foil that is used to seal oil jugs.

10. Install the new filter on the engine. Make sure it is tight, especially on 24 valve engines. After the gasket face contacts the housing, tighten the filter an additional 3/4 of a turn. If this is difficult, use the strap wrench to finish tightening the filter. Do not permanently bend, dent, or distort the filter can while tightening the filter - the body may stress crack at the bend and dump your oil.
11.   Replace the air intake hose and tighten the band clamps.

Install the drain plug (do not forget this important step - BTDT!).

Proper torque for 2002 models is 35 ft-lb.
Proper torque for 1994-2001 models is 44 ft-lb.
Proper torque for 1989-1993 models is 60 ft-lb.

Note: Geno's Garage has a HD oil plug for around $40. This machined plug features a thick shoulder, a 13 mm hex head, and a strong snap-on magnet to trap metal filings.

13. Fill with 11 quarts of oil. This funnel, which is made from a 2-cycle oil bottle, keeps the oil from spilling on the engine.
14. Install the oil filler cap. Clean any spilled oil from the engine with a rag. Pull the dipstick and make sure oil is at or slightly above the full mark (if it is not, go back to step 12 and try again). Start the engine and check the filter gasket closely for leaks.
15.  Pour the old oil into jugs and drain the filter into a jug. Please recycle the used oil.
16.  Grease the front suspension and steering components and adjust the rear brakes.
17. Ready to go! Clean your tools and then throw away the oily rag - it can spontaneously combust if not disposed of properly.

Oils used by various owners:



Last Update: September 25, 2001