I owned a 2004 Cavalier. To change the oil filter I had to remove the passenger side front tire to be able to access it. It is located on the back of the engine. It can not be accessed from the top or bottom. This is one of the oddest locations for an oil filter I have ever encountered
For the 2004 ecotec engine, it's a little to the left and underneath the top radiator hose. Looking down, you can see it without removing anything. Look for a black plastic circular cap with a protruding hex-shaped center. This is the oil filter. If you have slim hands, you can get to it without removing anything.
In the front of the motor under the intake manifold. It is a canister style filter. There is a black plastic cap with a hex head, i think 3/4 in. remove that and the filter is in there.
There are two different engines that were available. One is exposed and you should be able to find on the exterior lower right side of the engine. And the other motor sports a cartridge style filter. This one is located on the top of the motor slightly towards the driver's side. Ther is a black cap with a large hex nut on it that needs to be unscrewed. I find it curious on the previous post that there is a mopar filter on a newer Chevy motor.
It's near the front of the engine on the top. It is in a black houseing. You will need a 32 mm or 1 1/4 socket to get it out. Just take the filter out and clip the new one in (it's an elmental one). Make sure the filter housing is empty before you put the new filter in. It will take 4.7 L (Canadian Litres). Don't worry about filling the filter housing with oil, it will fill itself when you start it.
You access it from under the hood, not from under the car. It is on the front (bumper) side of the engine block on the drivers side next to the intake manifold. The filter casing is molded into the engine block and it uses a paper type filter element unlike the usual metal screw on kind. The filter housing has a black plastic cover with a hex shape on the top. Glad to know someone else could not find the thing. The hex shape is actually a bolt on a black plastic cover just like stated above. This cover unscrews using a big socket. You will need an extension to get it started to be removed, then you will be able to remove the cover. The filter is an insertable and snaps to the cover. I love this design because it makes life a whole lot easier to replace the filter. The issue that you will run into is trying to put a new filter back in place without getting junk from the engine either in the filter casting on the engine or on the filter itself.... Clean all your surfaces, Remember to avoid dry starts, pour some oil on the filter (not a lot sporatic is better) just to get it partially wet, put some oil on the tip and O ring on the filter. Put it into place and reinstall..
There is a special low profile socket for the gm 2.2 ecotec engines. A normal socket could result in a cracked intake manifold due to clearance issues.
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