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Have a 97 TJ and did the oil change on it about 1k miles ago. After about 2 weeks I started to notice a burning smell after the Jeep got hot and also noticed that I would drop 1 or 2 drops of oil at times and once had a bit of oil on the side of the passenger side door.

I started by looking for wires that could be burning to cause the smell and kept checking the oil level but it never did drop. The oil pan screw was in tight but I did notice a layer of oil had gotten on the outside of the oil pan and seemed to be working its way down from the small gap between the rear of the pan and the transmission; the oil filter is roughly right above this area.

I go to check the filter and I was able to twist it half a rotation. Now every-time I've driven the Jeep in the last few days I check the filter after and today, after smelling more burning, I was able to turn it another maybe 1/8 of a turn. To see if its actually turning, I marked the filter and the metal right next to it both with a sharpie.

What can be causing this? I used the correct Mopar filter, oiled the filter/gasket before putting it on.

Another question is (never had to do this), can I pull just the filter off and just a bit of oil will come out just like during a normal oil change or will there be a problem with pullign the filter off while the rest of the system/oil pan is full? I was thinking about checking the filter for damage.
 

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I think your filter was simply not tight enough and vibration from everyday driving slowly worked it loose. Not sure what your procedure is for tightening it down at oil changes, but don't do that "hand tight" routine and walk away. Get it completely tight by hand, and then give it another half turn or so with a filter wrench. It won't back out again. You would be surprised how much more it can be tightened past hand tight. On the flip side just don't over-do it on the tightening with a big ass torque wrench or something.

Maybe someone else can confirm, but I believe the oil filter sits above the oil level in the pan, so if you take it off, you'll lose what's in the filter but it will not come gushing out unless the engine is running. I have never done it so I can't speak from experience.
 

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Sounds like when you changed the filter the gasket from the old filter stuck to the engine and when you installed the new filter you now have 2 gasket's [it happens more than you can imagine] you should remove the filter and check it before it blows out and you lose all of the oil while going down the road. you can remove the filter without losing the oil in the pan but you will lose some from the filter but it is a must do before it leaves you stranded
 
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