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Hey folks, just a heads up. Yesterday, I was changing the oil with my mechanic/friend and while my IS was up on the lift I was looking around and found a big old greasy mess right were the rear pinion seal should be. I have only had the car since last november and currently there is 15K miles on the odometer. I also notices that the plastic under carriage is still in place, however I am seriously considering just removing it all, what's the point of all that nasty plastic?

Also, found a way to remove the oil filter through the top of the engine bay. First make sure the engine is cool or you have mechanic's gloves and long sleeve shirt. then get a small 2x4 piece of wood and something to provide some leaverage, like the handle of a large screwdriver. You basically set the piece of wood against the shock tower side and the handle of the screwdriver between the wood and the intake and push on the handle, as if you are shoehorning the engine into the bay. Because the engine is sitting on top multiple engine mounts, the engine will "give" or move about 1 inch of which you only need about 1/2 inch to pull the oil filter out. Your best bet is to remove the filter first and rest it on the plastic cover below and then once everything is in place get a large vice grip plier and grip the old oil filter by the inner threads and the outer lip and simily pull straight out. Took us all of 1 minute to do this. Also, filter comes out much easier through the rear portion of the engine bay right under the brake master cylinder. No cables, tubes or wires had to be removed and you can slide a fllter in the same way. Note, if you are not mechanically inclide or worried about damage, probably still best to have dealer do oil change or simply remove the plastic under carriage, however this is the way for me from now on. Also, with the oil filter, our IS actually needs 6 quarts of oil to be happy.
 
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