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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Due to an untimely event, I will not be able to get my oil changed this week but it desperately needs changing! Can I change the oil without changing the filter? Just want to drain the oil and replace it before I take my Sportster on a long trip this weekend. TIA, :Dennis
 

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You can, it will just not be as "complete" a change and will need less oil because of what is left in the filter.
 

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Oil

Sounds like your oil needs to be changed real bad. How many miles / months are you over? All the technical advise I've ever received was, "always change the filter with an oil change". Are you too far away to pick up a filter? I would say if you have time to drain the oil, it only takes a few more minutes to change the filter. I don't think I could ever (unless it was an emergency) change the oil without the filter -- I wouldn't be able to enjoy the ride for thinking about hurting the engine.
Anyway hope you have a good trip.
 

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You can change just the oil but what frequency do you normally change it? Harley recommends changing every 5000 miles. A lot of people change it at 3000, some 2500 and many variations. If you have less than 5000 and your trip isn't going to be very many miles I wouldn't even bother. A few extra miles on it will not make a big difference. But if you can get your hands on a new filter it doesn't take much more time to go ahead and change it too along with the oil. I use synthetic oil. One advantage is the fact that it will not loose it's lubricating properties in such a short period of use. It may keep it's lubricating abilities for 10,000 and much much more. It's not that it doesn't need to be changed as often though because the acids and contaminates that build up can hurt the engine parts if left too long. But a quick trip in time, even though lots of miles, doesn't give the acids/ contaminates from combustion time to work on the engine parts to do the harm that they would over an extended period of time. So going over on the recommended milage is not so bad if it's changed right away after the trip. This is my opinion and this subject is very controversial so opinions will vary. I change my oil every three thousand miles most of the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Logical! Do I just fill the oil tank with oil or is there a specific amount that is required. Draining the tank does just that right? No loss of engine oil? I'm basically looking for some protection because I have put on close to 4K miles since I bought it and my buddy said I should'nt have gone so far, ecspecially since I take long rides.
 

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Longer rides are better then short ones for your engine as a whole, the oil being no exception. Back in the old days, some car owners manuals said that you only had to change the filter every other oil change (I have never done that).

Are you sure that there is no way to swap the filter out? If it is because you can't get to a dealer, can a friend go for you? I would rather lose a little sleep to do a complete oil change, then to ride it with a dirty filter that may already be bypassing.
 

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Fourhour if you changed filter and oil 4,000 miles ago the hell with it. Change both when you get back, it will be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Cox9000 and Fifthgear, Thanks for your input earlier. I did not see it as it took me a long time to post the last message and both of you were posting at the same time. Sidewalk and JimmyK thank you also.
Here's the deal: I have the capabilities and skills to change the oil/filter but have'nt ever done that, I don't know where to begin. Couple weeks ago, we had this discussion and people spoke of the funnels needed to drain the filter, yadayadayada. I also need to replace the gasket on the primary cover as well as the spring behind it. An old friend, a Sporty man from the early chopper days said he will assist me. Wanted to do it last night, but unfortunately and sadly, his 53 year young Bride passed away this weekend. So I think it will be a couple weeks before he can get to it. Prior to that, I inquired an estimate at my repair shop and was quoted about $48 for parts and 2.5 hours labor! That's $200 that I want to drink with! Now, I bought the bike with 14,500 miles, now have 18,500 miles and do not know when the last oil change was. I drive it daily and plan a small trip to new Hampshire this weekend, approx 200 miles. I'm going to another repair shop this afternoon and will inquire there also. Thanks guys for your input.
 

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Ok, my understanding was 4k since last oil change.

Personally, in that you do not know the history I would do whatever I had to do to change BOTH. There is no telling on what miles you have on it and you should NOT take the chance of just changing the oil.

This is your baby. Take care of her and she will take care of you.
 

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If you're only goin 200 miles I wouldn't bother.
But you DO need to do it when you get back
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yep, made an appointment with a new (Custom Hawg) repair shop (ironically next door to the old Sheldon's HD dealership) for Tuesday afternoon. The estimate was cheaper both in parts and labor time than another. Wish I could do it myself, but will wait until the next time. Thanks for everyones help. Dennis
 

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284 posts and you can't change your own oil. Get a Service Manual or find a friend with a little mechanical know how to show you how to do this simple task. Make sure you use a quality motorcycle oil, car oil is not good due to the temp differences. It should only take 30 minutes to drain the oil, close the tank drain off, spin off the oil filter and spin on a new one and then refill to the recommended level.

HDKen
93 FXSTC
 

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Yep, I agree with the others - dump the oil & filter at the same time, it's cheap insurance and in your case the sooner the better as you don't know EXCACTLY when the oil/filter was last done and you have no idea if the oil is the "god-stuff" or K-Mart refined special.
A question from me - I plan on taking my '81 iron sportster to the great US of A next year, it has unknown total miles but I had new pistons, valves guides etc done about 15,000 miles ago, would it be wise to take it over from N.Z and if so what pre-planing and preparation should I do? Cheers, the Scumdog.
 
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