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Seasonably Uncool
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi there!

After having procrastinated on doing an oil change myself for way too long, I finally had no more excuses. I have a service manual and an oil filter wrench and I went for it.

Besides beginning by using a Torx bit instead of a hex bit for the drain plug (it seemed to fit so well until it slipped...) it went alright. I did make a pretty good mess, but I guess the learning curve on this is pretty steep and I should be ok next time.

I cleaned the mating surface,oiled the gasket and spun the filter on. I tried using my hand to tighten it, but having greased up everything pretty good and having nowhere to wash my hands close by, I couldn´t budge the filter as soon as it barely touched. So I used the filter wrench to tighten it to the "book" value between 1/2 and 3/4 turns after touching.

So far so good. I rode the bike through the garage for about 5 minutes and let her idle for another two and checked for leaks.
So- it leaks. No gushing leak, but I had a pretty good puddle under the filter (dollar bill size maybe).

Now I feel like a total left handed nerd for writing this lengthy post on something as simple as an oil change, but what to do now that I have a leak? The filter is surely on tight enough- maybe too tight.
Should I tighten it some more?
Loosen it?
Try again and replace the filter?

BTW, if I change the filter with the oil tank full (Softail), will I get a major mess or will it be about as much as taking it off with an empty oil tank?

I´d appreciate any tips you can give!

Sponk
 
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First, do you truly have a leak? If you spilled old oil removing the filter, it can take a while for all of it to stop dripping. Can you verify if the drip you have is coming from the filter, and not dripping from components below the filter?

Second, did you wipe down the mating surface just before installing the new filter? If not you may have oil outside of the filter gasket, but within the filter housing. That tablespoon full of oil will seem like a lot when it drips.

Third, you might try tightening a little more. I realize the book says only to hand tighten the filter. However, I always go to hand tightness, then do 1/4 turn with a filter wrench. This is after applying the film of new oil to the filter's gasket.

If none of these things help, you can remove the filter with the bike full of oil, with no more mess than with it drained (which, as you've found it plenty of mess).

Harris
 

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it sounds like oil is dripping from when you changed the oil filter. I take mine out and spray it down with s-100 cleaner, when bike is still cold, under oil filter, around the voltage regulator and under the engine where oil might be. basicaly just spot cleaning the bike. I then ride it for 10 to 20 miles, then check the oil level. I wouldn't over tighten, it sounds like your fine there. you rode it around your gargae for 5 minutes? you have a big garage.
 

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Sponk,

If you used a strap style oil filter wrench, you may have poked a hole in the new filter. The strap kind of wrench has raised "bumbs" to grip the filter. Just cut a 2 liter Coke bottle in half and slid it under the filter. Start the bike up and watch for any leaks.

Let us know your results.

Ken
 

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next time take a couple of cheap paper plates put them together and fit them under the filter, with the bike on the jiffy stand the oil will fall on the plate and roll to your oil pan.
 

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TL
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In line with what Harris said, here are two things that have happened to me.

1) read in a thread here that some folks were pre-filling their new filters with a few ozs of new oil. So I tried that and it dripped out before I could get the filter spun tight.

2) tried to do the filter box trick about 3 times and never got it right so oil leaked down behind where the voltage regulator is. I don't think the Amsoil boxes work. LOL. Thought I got it all wiped off but it was in all sorts of nooks and crannies and I found a puddle under the bike a day or two later. Now after I change the filter, I slide under the bike and spray it down with Simple Green and clean it all up really well.


To determine if you are actually leaking at the filter, wipe it down very good including beneath the filter. You can fold a shop paper towel and slide it under the filter and clean up the oil. You can see between the bottom of the filter and the motor with a flashlight. I've done it. In fact, after each oil change, I always check under the filter with a flashlight for leakage. After you've cleaned it up, check it every day or so.


I'm guessing it's number 2.
 

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filter changes

Just a thought on the box/plate/card etc under the filter......i tried all sorts on my last and current HD,and i always now use oven foil doubled two or three times,then slide in under the filter and shape a bit ..presto no mess on bike...try it. Best nicked when the wife is otherwise occupied.:whistle:
Dave,England.
 

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The secret to using the filter box as a "channel" is to do it very slowly and adjust a little when you back the filter off enough for the oil to start flowing. Another real key is that once you have drained all the oil out make sure the old seal didn't come off the old filter. Now, go in the house, wash your hands really good and dry them good. Take the new filter, untouched by oily hands, apply that coat of oil to the seal, and then screw it down as tight as you can get it with CLEAN, DRY hands. Clean filter + clean hands = filter much easier to tighten. (I still snug it a little more with the wrench...just human nature). This is how I do my bike and all vehicles....have NEVER had a leak or seepage.

Something else that works well is a large turkey pan (aluminum, reusable..about $3). Get the one that is about 24" x 18" and you can actually drain all three holes at the same time and then do the filter last. The main thing is to just take your time and enjoy working on your own bike. Like I have said before...a little Creedence on the boom box and a cold brewski don't hurt either. It's all the mental thing of having fun while the bike is trying to piss you off.

Semper Fi,
Steve....Pensacola
USMC 1972 - 2003
 

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I might get flamed for this but you can spot clean with brake cleaner from the autoparts store. They all have it. I have been doing this for years with no bad results AT ALL. just thought id throw that in there as well... better luck next time....
 

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Just don't expect those J&P cycle oil drain attachments to work with the oil filter adapters included in many oil cooler kits. The plastic attachment has a cutout for the shifter that no longer works when the adapter is in place because the adapter moves the oil filter out a little. I wasted $20 on one and it is useless. Now I just use the thick back page of a J&P cycles catalog to direct the oil to my oil pan. I also place a paper towel under the filter. I catch most of the oil using the page and the towel but a few drops still get down below.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hi Guys!

First off, thanks for actually taking time to answer a question pertaining to something as silly as an oil change instead of giving me (much deserved?) $hit about not having tried to do one before!

To the point:
Do I really have a leak? Well, after I noticed the oil puddle after that quick ride in the garage, I also assumed that it might have simply been spillage from mounting the oil filter. I cleaned her up and let her idle at high idle for a couple of minutes. I checked again and there was oil pooling under the filter again (on the knees with the flashlight, like you said TL). It was less than before, but then I didn´t run her for as long as before. That´s when I went ahead and posted this thread.

Yes, I did clean the mating surfaces and as far as I could tell there was no gasket material stuck to them.

No, I didn´t use a strap style wrench, I used the "nut" style that fits over the end of the filter, so I´m sure I didn´t punch any holes into the filter.

Yes, the garage is big, but unfortunately it´s not mine. It´s a big parking garage for our block and I only own a spot there, but it´s about 50 yards end to end so you can ride around in pretty big circles even in winter.

Thanks for all the advice on avoiding spillage during filter changes. I think one or the other will come in pretty handy next time.

As for my "leak", I went ahead and tightened the filter a little more and I´m letting it go at that for now. The battery is out and she sleeps til spring. I´ll see what happens when I start her up then, and if I have to I´ll put on a new filter then.

Ride safe or sweet dreams of spring, as the case may be!

Sponk
 

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Make sure the old gasket from the old oil filter came off with the filter. If it stuck on there and you screw the new filter on it will leak. It can blow out a lot of oil if you are going down the road. Good luck.
 

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calif phil said:
Make sure the old gasket from the old oil filter came off with the filter. If it stuck on there and you screw the new filter on it will leak. It can blow out a lot of oil if you are going down the road. Good luck.
already said that...:)
 

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I'm having the same problem, only I can tell my oil isn't coming from the filter area, it seems to be dripping down one of the wires and pools on the frame then drips on the ground. I really don't think the oil is coming from the filter and it sounds like it's a pretty common problem for the oil to be coming from the wiring harness/ voltage regulator. My question is if anyone knows how long it takes the oil to get out of the voltage regulator or if it is necessary to take it apart and clean in side of it. It's been dripping pretty steadily now for around 3-4 days.
 

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grab yourself 2 cooking pans from walmart 1 small and one large enough to hold 3 L run the bike for a few mins so you get the oil out of the crank. turn the bike off drop the drain plug. then while thats draining grab your oil wrench pop the filter off. let that drain for a few mins then give it a good spray down with break clean making sure not to spray in the holes. now tak your drain plug clean it off replace the o ring and put a little thread sealent on it screw it back in. when you torque on the drain plug go untill you feel it get snug then a little touch more. now take your oil since you have a softail i like to use 2.8 ish its a good number. before you do any thing prime the filter your installing and rub some oil on the o ring on the filter. now turn the filter hand tight and then take your filter wrench and giver a small little pull it will insure the filter will always stay tight till your next change. now take the remainder of the oil and pour it slowly into the bucket you know you have the right oil level by taking a flash light and looking in the inside of the cap hole you oil level will be sitting at the bottom of the weld if not just add a little till that point. but with 2.8 L your golden =) no replace the cap start the bike and let it idle dont rev the throttle just let the oil cycle. Walla a perfect oil change with more practice you will be able to pull this of in no time flat. sorry for the spelling mistakes and bad typing i am a mechanic not a pencil pusher. =)
 

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I'm having the same problem, only I can tell my oil isn't coming from the filter area, it seems to be dripping down one of the wires and pools on the frame then drips on the ground. I really don't think the oil is coming from the filter and it sounds like it's a pretty common problem for the oil to be coming from the wiring harness/ voltage regulator. My question is if anyone knows how long it takes the oil to get out of the voltage regulator or if it is necessary to take it apart and clean in side of it. It's been dripping pretty steadily now for around 3-4 days.
This is most likely the cause of a o ring on the end of your clutch cable i have seen this many of times its running down the line and transfering to the frame remove your exaust pull the cover unscrew the cable replace the small o ring and screw it back in and replace the oil you lost. you would be surprized how far oil will travel when its hot. that should solve the problem and also before you go ahead and do that drive by a pressure washer or if you have one spray ever where down there even on the underside. just to make sure its not just excess from changing the filter.
 
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