V-Twin Forum banner

1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
490 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just did my first oil change by myself @ 3000 miles (the 1k work was done by the dealer). I managed to get it finished - but I sure ended up making a mess before I got done.

I've changed my own oil on bikes, cars, trucks, and boats before; and one thing I've learned is that each vehicle has its own peculiarities when it comes to oil changes. So this is what I learned doing the V-Rod.. if anyone has any other tips they'd care to share - I'm all ears.

1. To lift or not to lift? I've got a motorcycle lift, but with the lift underneath there was not enough room for my drain pan. So the bike stayed on the sidestand. Maybe next time I'll get a narrower drain pan that will fit between the lift frame and the front wheel.

2. Removing the drain plug. A 17mm socket on a 3/8" drive ratchet seemed in order here. Problem: With the drain pan ready to catch the flow of warm oil, the drain plug is so long that when it comes free of the crankcase, it drops neatly into the growing pool of hot oil. Next time I'll get a magnetized socket so that the drain plug stay puts until I want it off the socket.

3) Draining the oil. One beef I've always had with those 10-minute oil change places is they can't possibly let the old oil drip out completely in that amount of time. I figured 15 minutes was sufficient - the oil was hot to begin with and when time was up there were only tiny odd drops coming out.

4) Removing the old filter. I've got the H-D oil filter wrench, so this part was pretty straightforward. You do have to put the wrench part on the filter first and then plug the ratchet into it. Don't forget that the filter is full of oil, so when you twist it off by hand after loosening it there will be a gush of oil. Remember to leave the drain pan underneath to catch this oil (unlike me). Also, next time I might punch a hole in the old filter with a screwdriver first to let the oil drain out before removing it.

5) Installing new filter. After lubricating the gasket with fresh oil and wiping off the mounting surface it spins on pretty easily. The directions say to turn it about 3/4 turn after the gasket meets with mounting surface - this would be useful advice if it were possible to see this, but since this part of the engine is out of view I kinda had to go by feel - seems to have worked without leaking so I guess I'm OK.

6) Reinstalling the drain plug. I have a torque wrench, and there is a value listed in the service manual for the plug. But there was no way my torque wrench was going to fit in there and me get a reliable reading. So I torqued it by memory of what it took to get it off the first time.

7) Adding new oil. Do not buy the gallon containers of Harley oil, especially if you have not yet found the perfect funnel for the V-Rod. The funnels I've tried are either too small, or are so big that they don't fit well between the frame and the engine. Bigger funnels end up with the outer circumference below horizontal, so oil drips all over the jiffystand. I need to bend one edge upwards to prevent this, and find it hard to hold a full gallon of oil steadily enough while doing this. Also, gallon containers tend to "splurt" the first bit of oil all over the place, and it is hard to judge how many quarts you've put in. So I decide to decant the oil from the gallon jug into the quart bottles. Keep an eye on how much oil your pour in to a quart container - for some reason I thought it would hold more than a quart - so now I've got oil running down the side of my one quart container. Anyone with an ideal funnel for the V-Rod oil change, please post a picture of it and possibly info on where you got it.

8) Amount of oil. This was a tricky one. I guess I should have put the bike on the lift so it was level, and kept checking until I got to the "full" mark. But by now I'd washed my hands so many times from all the oil I spilled I just winged it. A full gallon and a good splash from my one quart. Install the dipstick, and start the bike in neutral. Let it idle for 30 seconds (open the garage door first) to fill the filter. Shut the bike off, and recheck the level. Half a quart low. Add another half a quart - recheck the level. Seems pretty good - just a hair below the hatched area. Add another splash.

9) Cleanup. I got oil all over my hands, the jiffystand, and on the crankcase. The new filter was filthy. The floor of the garage was in danger of becoming a Superfund site. My hands burned from all the pumice handcleaner I'd used, since I didn't want to touch the grips with oily hands. I pushed the V-Rod into the driveway, and got a bucket of Simple Green solution to degrease the dirty parts. Wipe the underside of the bike with Harley Gloss. Check for leaks - all OK. Now back to the garage with shop rags and oildry to clean up the spills. Finally a rinse with concrete cleaner, hose off the mess and use the shopvac to squeegee up the water residue. Take a shower, and take the bike out for a 10 minute test ride. Check the level with the oil warm - everything A-OK, with no leaks. Then I remember I've got a drainpan full of lukewarm dirty oil sitting under my tablesaw. Decant this into the now empty oil containers - wrap these in plastic bags and drive the twenty minutes down to my local recycling center. Don't forget to take the old filter down there too...

In all, including the time it took me to pick up the oil and filter from the dealership, and to properly dispose of the waste oil it took me three hours to get this done.

Lessons learned:

If I'd had the bike on my lift just about every operation would have been a lot easier and cleaner. I probably could have lifted the front wheel high enough that it would have cleared the drainpan I used.

The right funnel is mandatory.

Safety supply companies sell matting that absorbs oil. I'm going to buy/steal some of this and place it under the bike next time.

Magnetize the 17mm socket before you remove the drain plug.

Buy oil in 1-quart containers.

Wear latex gloves.
 

·
Infidel
Joined
·
6,331 Posts
VRodDrew said:


7) Adding new oil. Do not buy the gallon containers of Harley oil, especially if you have not yet found the perfect funnel for the V-Rod. The funnels I've tried are either too small, or are so big that they don't fit well between the frame and the engine. Bigger funnels end up with the outer circumference below horizontal, so oil drips all over the jiffystand. I need to bend one edge upwards to prevent this, and find it hard to hold a full gallon of oil steadily enough while doing this. Also, gallon containers tend to "splurt" the first bit of oil all over the place, and it is hard to judge how many quarts you've put in. So I decide to decant the oil from the gallon jug into the quart bottles. Keep an eye on how much oil your pour in to a quart container - for some reason I thought it would hold more than a quart - so now I've got oil running down the side of my one quart container. Anyone with an ideal funnel for the V-Rod oil change, please post a picture of it and possibly info on where you got it.

VRodDrew,

I just did my first owner's oil change this last Sunday (at 5,000 miles). I too learn some things to make it smoother next time. Regarding the 1 gallon jugs, there is a thin clear strip down one side that has 1 quart gradations.

wyo
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
I thought I was doing bad, took me 15 minutes to change the oil and filter including the fill. About 30 minutes to get the oil and filter (Lazy way I had our pickup driver go get it). And since we have 500 gallon disposal tanks and a filter crusher, clean up took maybe a minute, including cutting the filter open to check for debris. It was my third oil change though with 2000 miles now (500, 1000 by dealer and 2000 to check for wear and send oil sample out). The oil was still so clean I think I'll wait until 4000 for the next one unless the sample shows problems.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
603 Posts
Did you all have an O-ring on the drain plug ? Mine did not ( 6/02 build date ). My service manual shows a drain plug O-ring, but the parts manual does not show an O-ring in the parts listing or schematics for an '02 or '03.

JMS
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
First thing put rear tire and kick stand on a 2x4 makes it easy to do the oil change and it tilts the oil pan down a little, drains good.
 

·
Still Serving...U.S. Army
Joined
·
160 Posts
A regular funnel with rubber tubing hose-clamped has served me well for years. I suspect it's just what you need - and cheap.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
I didn't have an o-ring either. I didn't install one and haven't had a leak yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
544 Posts
Wow I guess I do it differently too, I move the jack back towards the rear tire. I lift on the main frame and the pan and frame under the gas tank. By doing this it leaves the front tire on the ground and only lifts the back, also tilts the bike forward for better drainage. I take out the two bolts on the bottom the radiator gives you more room to work. Drain pan fit fine then. I also use H-D- oil filter wrench, but I am looking at maybe a slip wrench type of wrench next time.

I also always pre oil my filters, meaning I put oil into them and work it around to get the inside as full as I can to the point when I put it on it's side I just start to have oil coming out. This saves the engine from having to pump it full. I guess I am lucky so far because I have gotten a funnel to work a plastic one I bend around and it fits fine.

I also just use all 5 quarts because my bike has to have the 5 quarts to make it to the full make on the stick.

Oh well that's how I did mine the last time anyway and it seemed to work for me.

Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
252 Posts
I want to thank you for all the lessons you learned. I was reading what you had to say and used all of the tips and changing the fluids in my RKC was a snap.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
234 Posts
VRodDrew - Great write up, for those that might attempt to do their own maintenance and saving a few dollars at the same time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
234 Posts
JMS - I did the oil/filter change on my 1014 mile 03 V-Rod this morning with a build date of 01/03. Their was no O-Ring.

I did look up in the microfiche and found the p/n of the drain-plug but no O-ring was called out for.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
Are the V-Rod oil filters interchangeable with any other Harley models?
If so I would like to buy the K&N, they have the nut on the end.
They (K&N) don’t show one for the V-Rod.
Larry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
139 Posts
I also changed my own oil on my V-Rod. I wanted to start using Synthetic oil at 8000 miles.

I thought that I am a smart person, and I should be able to do it.

I had a very similar experience to Drew's (oil everywhere). I bought a jack to get the bike up in the air. The jack was centered below the engine and I didn't notice until I removed the plug that the platform extened past the drain plug. I caught much of the oil in my bucket, but lots of it went on the platform down the jack over the floor and myself, and my jack. And it happened again when I finally removed the oil filter. It was a freaking mess. With the wheels on the jack I was able to move the V-Rod to a clean area so the wheels didn't get oil on them.

I sealed my cement garage floor last year and now it has paid for it self. All the spilled oil on the floor cleaned up with rags, with no stain on my concrete.

I also needed a full 5 quarts to fill up the V-Rod, which is contrary to what the owners manual states. I was very concerned about this until I read someone else write about it on this forum.

My oil change lasted about 4 hours. Even though I CAN change my own oil, I think I will let the people with the equipment and the experience do it. Yes my next oil change would go more smoothly, but I had such a bad experience, I will pay the guys at my dealership to do it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
709 Posts
TR check out the Sears Craftsman jack, you can get them on sale for about $100.00. They will work on your V-ROD and ATV. I have a similar one as you mentioned also but it has 2 cross bars. You can get both wheels in the air. It's heavy and unsafe for one person to operate. If anyone wants it come and get it, it's to heavy to ship and I havent used it in a couple years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
I hate changing oil. Cages (I have a place that does it for the price of oil and a filter), bikes, whatever. Now I have more reason to have the dealer do it. Thanks for sharing your stories!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
490 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Messy.. but worth it?

I did my second "owner" oil change recently, @ 5200 miles (that makes five in total). And I have to say, the second attempt was much smoother, and considerably cleaner.

I located a funnel with an "accordion" type spout that extends to allow the tip to fit down into the oil fill hole while holding the quart of new oil comfortably clear of the frame.

I also bought 5 quarts of the new H-D synthetic oil (hey, its a 21st Century Harley, why not a modern motor oil...?) I also elected to leave the bike on the sidestand rather than pulling out my jack.

The last time my oil was changed was at ~4200 miles, when I put my bike in winter storage. The dealership changed both the crankcase and the primary oil. I don't know what sort of tool they used, but the drain plug took a lot of torque to get off. First time I've ever thought of using a cheater bar to loosen a drain plug.

The only problem I had this time was moving the totally full drain pan around without slopping oil over the side, and then transfering the used oil to the now empty quart bottles. At one time I had a neat drain pan called a "draintainer", made by Rubbermaid. It was neat because it had a large screw top, with a pour spout in the top, so you could close it up and transport your warm dirty oil to the recycling center. I will have to search for this, because they don't seem to have them in the stores any more.

Five quarts of H-D synthetic and a filter left me little change out of $40, which is a lot for an owner oil change. I'll ask the dealership next time I'm in there what they would charge. I personally like changing my own oil - I guess I feel it helps me keep in touch with my bike mechanically, and feel that I am doing my part to keep it running smoothly. There aren't a heck of a lot of other mechanical things I'd feel comfortable doing on this thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
829 Posts
Re: Messy.. but worth it?

VRodDrew said:
At one time I had a neat drain pan called a "draintainer", made by Rubbermaid. It was neat because it had a large screw top, with a pour spout in the top, so you could close it up and transport your warm dirty oil to the recycling center. I will have to search for this, because they don't seem to have them in the stores any more.

I picked up one of these drain pans (not Rubbermaid tho) at Advantage Auto in Virginia for $4. The large opening in the top is meshed so your oil plug won't fall into the container.

Mike
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top