changes are one of the best things you can do to extend the
life of any engine. If you start and stop the car often this
requirement is even more critical. Much of the ware in
an engine occurs during the first 5 minutes after the engine
has started before the oil has warmed up. It is during this
time when the oil has not completely worked its way into the
joints and metal upon metal contacts within the engine that
engine ware occurs. For this reason a Lamborghini engine
should not be revved up past 2-3000 RPM until the oil has
Fortunately changing the oil in these cars is simple to
do. I will describe how to do it for a 6L Diablo. The
process is essentially the same for other Lamborghini cars.
I hope the more experienced readers will forgive me, but I
am going to explain this process in very simple steps for
people that may not take on the more challenging "repairs" I
have in other parts of this site but might tackle a simple
task like this.
| Figure 1
Oil Collection Pan.
- Engine Oil
- Much has been written as to the choice of oil to run in
these cars. To some extent it is an individual preference
both as to the brand and the oil grade itself. For
Diablos, Lamborghini itself seems to favor AGIP SINT 2000 oil
(fig 2). In the US this brand of oil not too common.
Some people like to use Valvoline Oil, based on the
fact/belief/hypothesis that the high content of lead in the oil
coats the engine bearings leading to less ware. I think
however that the general consensus now is that for modern car
engines synthetic oils are best. Mobil 1 synthetic oil seems to
be the favorite and in most surveys comes in a winner. I
have switched over to Mobil 1 in all my cars. The wetting
characteristics and stability of the oil are outstanding.
The only word of caution I would offer is to owners of older
Lamborghini engines (Countach's & early Diablos). In these
engines the aluminum castings of the engine appear to be
slightly porous and the gaskets do not fit well. Over time
people have told me they have had synthetic oil leach out.
Besides the brand of oil we have to consider the oil grade. Again
much has been written on the subject. Oil grade is essentially
oil thickness. A thick oil will flow slow and has a high grade
number (e.g. 40-50). A very thin oil will have a lower
number (e.g. 10 or 20). Without getting into details, these
grades are measured in terms of the viscosity of the oil. Viscosity
is a measure of how long it takes a fixed ammount
of fluid to flow through a small hole. For car engine oils
viscosity numbers range from 5 to about 60. When an engine is
cold you need a light oil with a viscosity of 10-20. This light
thin oil quickly lubricates the engine as it warms up. However as
the oil gets hot it does not protect the engine as well against
friction as a thicker (lower viscosity) oil. The problem with
using a thick lower viscosity oils is that when they are cold they
are very thick and do not spread over a metal surface to lubricate
it well. For this reason most car engine oils are a mixture of
grades. For the 6L Diablo, Lamborghini recommends 5W-40 or 10W-40.
For a 1997-99 Diablo they recommend 10W-40 or 10W-50. This
mixture of oil grades offers the high viscosity oil for cold startup
and the low viscosity (thick) oil for when the engine is hot.
I like to use Mobile 1, 10W-40 Oil.
- Engine Oil Removal Tools
- Changing your engine oil can be a messy job. There is no
need for this to be the case if you start off with the right tools.
Figure 3 shows the containers you will need. Lamborghini
engines are big engines. You need to find the largest oil
collection pan you can find at an auto parts store. The total
volume of oil released from an engine can be up to 15 pints for
a Diablo. The Murciélago and Gallardo's have less since they are
"dry sump" engines. Nevertheless be prepared. I always have
an extra oil container pan nearby in case of oil overflows once
you release the sump oil plug (see below). Engine oil is
toxic and a pollutant. You need to have a drum container to
collect and dispose of the oil. Most oil changing stations will
take in spent oil for a nominal or free charge. Do not pour it
down the drain!
- We will also need to remove the oil filter. In Lamborghinis
these filters are larger than in most common US cars.
Furthermore they are often screwed in tight to the engine. There
are many tools available at auto stores to remove oil filters. I
have found the type shown in figures 4-6 the best. The jaws lock
into the filter and you can get good leverage. This device is
only good for opening/removing a filter however. To tighten a
new one in place (see below) you can use the common type
shown in figure 7. This type is not good however for removing an
old filter. It tends to slip around the filter and one cannot
get good leverage with it.
- Step by Step Engine
- First we need to raise the rear end of the car enough to be
able to get under it to remove the sump oil plug bolt and oil
filter. As shown in figure 8, be sure to attach two jack
stands in case your hydraulic jack failed while you are under
the car. Pull the hand brake before raising the car and be sure
to raise the car on a level surface.
Next we need to expose the oil filter. To do this you have to
remove one of more panels under the car. In the 6L Diablo the oil
filter can be seen by removing one triangular panel by opening one
screw (fig 9). However in order to put back this nut and bolt and
to better access the filter you really need to remove the nearby
panel as well (fig 10). On a 1999 Diablo the panel is much
larger and is held in place by about a dozen screws.
We then drain the old oil out of the engine. Use a Torex socket
wrench to fit into the large screw on the underside of the engine
and turn the nut anti-clockwise (fig 11). It may be rather tight use
a lever if necessary. The removed nut and washer as well
as the Torex socket is shown in figure 12. (Note the plug is sitting
in Mobile I oil bottle cap - may be confusing). Before you
remove the oil plug be sure to have the oil collection pan directly
below the engine. Use gloves. Also let the car engine cool down if
was recently used. This oil gets hot! At first the oil gushes out.
Allow at least 20 minutes for it all to drain (fig 14). If you are a
real purest you can lower the car temporally to make the car level to
get the last of it out. Be sure not to crush your oil
collecting pan! Then raise the car again.
Next you need to remove the old oil filter. Using a tool like the
one described above screw open the filter. Twist anti-clockwise to
open it. When it turns freely be sure to have an oil collecting
container directly under it. Again use gloves. There are a lot of
treads on the filter so it takes time to screw it out. About one
pint of oil will burst out when you remove the filter. Be prepared
There are probably a number of equivalent new filters you could
use. I like to use the one Lamborghini uses. It's a UFI filter (UFI
part # 23-110-02). See figures 15 and 16. Other equivalents are
FIAAM (#FT4653), FRAM (#PH 2842) or TECNOCAR (#R67). You can order
filters over the web. For example at
Other cars may use different filters. Check your car manual.
In all cases the new filter must be filled with oil before
attaching it to the engine. It takes about a pint of oil to fill it.
Then use your finger to smear a film of oil along the rubber gasket
on the top of the filter (fig 17). Then screw new filter in place
(fig 18). Tighten it up with a tool such as the one shown in figure
7. It does not have to be really tight.
We now need to add new oil to the engine. First replace the oil
plug under the engine. Tighten it well but at the same time do not
rip the treads. Lower the car and check it is level with a spirit
level as shown in figure 19. Locate the oil filler cap (right
hand side of engine) and remove it (fig 20). Surround the area with
a towel and add an oil funnel (fig 21). Locate the oil dip
stick (left hand side of engine) and remove it slightly so air can
get out of engine sump (fig 22). For a Diablo you will need to
add at least 13 quarts of oil. Let the oil settle for a few minutes
and then check oil level on dipstick. The total capacity for the
engine (counting the oil in the filter) is about 15 quarts.
After each further quart check the oil level five minutes later.
Take care not to overfill. The oil levels should be between the MIN
and MAX marks on the dipstick (fig 23).
Next start the car and let it warm up a about 1200 RPM. When warm
check for oil leaks on the floor. If none, rev the engine up briefly
to 4000 RPM to increase the oil pressure. Hold for one minute. Then
turn off the engine. Raise the car one last time. Check for any oil
leaks. If none replace the panels on the car's undersurface.
Remember the engine is hot at this stage. Take care. Drive the car
on a short local trip. Let it cool down for an hour or two and then
do one final check of the oil level. Adjust if necessary. Your
car is good for a few thousand miles at least!