I have just finished rebuilding a 617.952 engine and today put the oil filter cannister on. My engine is setting on the garage, so it was a little easy to get to.
Let me try and answer you questions by the number;
No.1- Yes,you will have to diconnect the oil lines You may have to loosen a bracket holding the lines at the A.C.mounting.
No.2-No. There is nothing fragile. Of course you shouldn't use a sledge hammer on this
No.3-Yes, but sparingly. Too much might clog up the oil passage ways.
No.4-No special tools required However. you will need a 27mm open end wrench for the oil lines:a 6mm Allen wrench for the screws(5) holding the cannister on.Clean out the heads of the Allen screws and make sure the Allen wrench is well seated. You might tap it with a hammer(no sledge hammer).
Also,different sizes of sockets to remove anything that might be in the way.Again I say don't despair, and good luck on your job
Bill Lewallen--- Lexington, Ky.