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Ford Explorer 3.5L V6 Engine Oil Change Guide
How to change the motor oil and filter on a 5th generation 2011-2015 Ford Explorer with the Duratec 35 V6 engine.

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2014 Explorer 3.5L V6
Twist Off Oil Filler Cap
Pull Up Oil Dipstick
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the fifth generation (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015) Ford Explorer SUV in changing the motor oil and replacing the oil filter on the Duratec 35 3.5 liter V6 engine.

Owners of other Ford or Lincoln vehicles equipped with a Cyclone V6 series engine such as the Edge, Taurus, Flex, Fusion, Mustang, F-150, MKX, MKZ, MKS and MKT may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The items needed to complete this procedure include a floor jack, two jack stands, a 15mm socket, a 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench, a used oil catch container, a new oil filter, an automotive funnel and 6 quarts (5.7L) of new SAE 5W-20 oil.

A few compatible replacement oil filters with their part numbers are as follows: Motorcraft FL500S, Royal Purple 20-500, Purolator L22500, K&N HP-2011, ACDelco PF63, Pennzoil HPZ-173, Fram PH10575, Wix 57502, Mobil 1 M1-212, Bosch 3502, Mann Filter ML 1049 and Hastings LF641.

Raise Front Passenger Side
Drain Bolt, Oil Pan, Filter
Silver Metal Oil Drain Plug
The first steps are to warm up the engine for a few minutes, park the SUV on a level surface and turn off the engine.

Warming up the engine will help suspend any contaminants within the old oil and also allow it to drain out more quickly.

Engage the emergency / parking brake and chock the rear wheels to prevent the vehicle from moving.

Open the hood, twist off the oil filler cap in the counterclockwise direction and pull up the dipstick an inch or two out of the engine.

Removing the oil filler cap and pulling up the dipstick will help prevent a vacuum from forming and also allow the old oil to drain out more quickly.

You may be able to access the oil drain bolt and oil filter with out raising the vehicle. I found it to be a lot easier to work with some extra room below the engine.

Raise the front passenger side of the vehicle with the floor jack and securely support it with at least two jack stands. Do not rely on the floor jack alone to support the SUV.

(Some Explorer models may be equipped with a plastic under engine cover or "aero-shield" that is held in place with four quick release fasteners. It will need to be removed before you can access the oil drain bolt or the oil filter.)

Slide under the front passenger side of the engine bay with the 15mm socket, a ratcheting wrench and a used oil catch container.

The silver metal oil drain bolt is located on the rear edge of the silver metal oil pan facing the back of the vehicle.

The oil filter is mounted vertically just in front of the oil pan.

Oil Filter In Front of Pan
Loosen 15mm Drain Bolt
Used Oil Catch Basin
Slide the used oil catch basin to just below the oil drain plug.

Loosen the oil drain bolt by turning it counterclockwise with the 15mm socket and ratcheting wrench.

Be careful when you remove the oil drain bolt since the old oil may still be hot enough to burn your skin depending on how long you warmed up the engine.

Remove the drain bolt and allow the old oil to drain out for at least a few minutes or until the flow slows to an occasional drip.

Replace Oil Drain Bolt
Move Basin Forward
Spin Off Old Oil Filter
If the oil drain bolt is equipped with a washer, inspect it and replace it if necessary.

Clean off the area around the oil drain hole with a rag.

Spin in the oil drain bolt a few turns by hand in the clockwise direction to prevent it from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten the oil drain bolt in the clockwise direction with the 15mm socket and ratcheting wrench to just past hand tight or about 20 ft-lbs of torque.

Move the used oil catch basin forward to just below the old oil filter.

Spin off the old oil filter in the counterclockwise direction.

If you have trouble removing the old oil filter, use an oil filter wrench such as the Lisle 63600.

Allow the old oil to drain out from the filter receptacle for at least a few minutes.

I recommend buying either the Ford OEM Motorcraft FL500S filter or the Mobil 1 M1-212 filter since they have excellent reviews on Amazon.


Dip Pinky In New Oil
Lubricate Rubber O-Ring
Twist On New Oil Filter
Dip your pinky finger in to some new SAE 5W-20 oil and lubricate the rubber o-ring gasket on the new oil filter.

Lubricating the filter gasket will help it form a better seal, prevent oil leaks and also make it easier to remove during the next oil change.

Clean off the area around the oil filter receptacle with a rag and make sure that the rubber o-ring from the old filter is not still attached to the engine.

Twist on the new oil filter in the clockwise direction. Tighten the filter to about 1/4 to 1/2 turn past hand tight.

Do not over tighten the filter and do not use an oil filter wrench to tighten it. Over tightening the filter may damage the gasket and lead to oil leaks.

Double check that the oil drain bolt and the oil filter are tight before moving on to the next steps.

Lower SUV From Stands
Insert Automotive Funnel
Pour In New SAE 5W-20
Lower the vehicle from the jack stands by using the floor jack.

Insert an automotive funnel in to the oil filler hole.

The total oil capacity of the Duratec 35 3.5L V6 engine for an oil change with filter replacement is 6 U.S. quarts (or 5.7 liters).

(The turbocharged "EcoBoost" version of the Duratec 35 has the same 6.0 quarts (5.7L) oil capacity. Ford specifies SAE 5W-30 oil for the 3.5L turbo engine.)

It is far better to have slightly less oil than necessary in an engine than to overfill it. Running an engine that has been overfilled with oil may damage seals, gasket or other components.

Slowly pour in only about 5 to 5 1/2 U.S. quarts of the new SAE 5W-20 oil in to the engine.

Check Dipstick Oil Level
Twist On Oil Filler Cap
Oil Life Reset Procedure
Temporarily replace the oil filler cap and push down the yellow handled oil level dipstick.

Start the engine, let it warm up for a few minutes, turn it off and allow the oil to drain back down to the pan for at least 5 to 10 minutes.

Pull out the dipstick, wipe it clean, re-insert it and pull it out again to check the oil level.

If necessary, slowly pour in more oil and repeatedly check the level on the dipstick until it reaches just at or below the upper hole which indicates the "Full" or "Max" line.

You may not need to pour in the entire 6.0 quarts of new oil depending on how long you allowed the old oil to drain out.

Replace the oil filler cap in the clockwise direction and make sure it is tight. Push in the dipstick.

Hold "OK" To Reset
Oil Change Complete
Close Hood
To reset the oil life meter, navigate to the "Vehicle" menu and choose the "Oil Life Reset" option. Press and hold the "OK" button until the remaining life resets to "100%".

Be sure to record the oil change in your vehicle's service records. It would be a good idea to check your driveway, garage or parking space for drops of oil that might indicate a leak from a loose drain plug or oil filter.

For more, check out my other Ford Explorer DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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