Find out how to change the oil in a Harley-Davidson touring bike in this step-by-step guide courtesy of Billy Bartels.
Presumably, if you ride a touring bike you’re at least throwing down moderate amounts of miles. The net result of all this riding is the need to change oil frequently. While the official factory manual only mandates every 3000 miles, many riders in the know do so at least that much, if not more. Especially if you ride your touring rig around town a lot and do lots of shorter stints on it, you’ll want to have frequent oil changes. But all that oil swappin’ can get spendy, fast, so perhaps you ought to learn how to do it yourself.
Be sure you read the whole article before proceeding, and get all the parts on the list so you don’t have to take a break to run to the H-D shop.
Portable/sealable oil pan.
4 quarts H-D 20w50 (or other motorcycle-approved motor oil)
2 quarts H-D Formula +
O-ring/gasket kit (17396-06)
oil filter (63798-99A chrome or 63731-99A black)
Oil filter tool (94686-00 or 94863-10 end cap style)
brake cleaner (or other degreaser)
funnel (or two, or three)
Basic hand tools including hex wrenches, ratchets and sockets (including an extender)
Primary filler (funnel is also acceptable here) 63797-10 for 06′ and later Twin Cam models or 62700015 for Evolution and early Twin Cam models.
Latex or nitrile gloves.
Thanks to Harley-Davidson‘s fleet center for their help in putting this together. Though this was done by a professional, with professional equipment, as you will see there’s not much rocket science at work here.
The Road Glide on the lift. If you don’t have a lift, you can definitely do this at ground-level, it just involves more crawling around.
Some things you’ll need: Four quarts of H-D 20w50, a new oil filter, and two quarts of Formula + for the Primary and Transmission.
First step is, drop the old oil via a trio of drain plugs on the bottom of the engine and transmission cases. The two bolts in the foreground drain primary fluid and engine oil, while a horizontal plug drains the transmission itself.
You can do the next two steps in either order, but next we popped off the primary “derby” cover via the five hex screws that hold it in place. Then removed the inner gasket, as it typically gets replaced every time. You can reuse it, but run a greater risk of leaks. Doing this first gives the oil filter a chance to drain a bit before removing it, which makes for less dripping and mess.
Out with the old, in with the new. The three drain plugs are at the bottom, the derby cover and old gasket at the top, and the drain plug and new derby gaskets in the plastic are in the middle. We’ve got the oil filter tool in the black disc at left, which we’re about to use to remove the filter from the front of the motor.
Now take the oil filter off with an oil filter tool. We used a ratchet/socket-type with an extension. You can use a shorter extension, but you’ll be operating between the shifter and the engine, instead of out farther like we did. Pro tip: If it doesn’t come off easily (as it didn’t for us) you can always stab it with a cheap screwdriver and twist it off.
Replacing the derby gasket is straightforward, just apply a little oil to all surfaces and stretch it into the groove with your thumbs.
Since we were at a service center, the oil got dumped into a 55 gallon drum for recycling later. You can just set your drain pan aside.
This nifty little tool allows you to just pour the bottle of Formula + into the primary case. Gone are the days of long ago (the ’90s and earlier) when you had to measure a bottle and a half of primary fluid and not quite a bottle of different transmission fluid. Now it’s just dump a bottle in each.
Transmission and motor oil fillers are right next to each other on the right side. Tranny on the right (blue) and motor on the left. The transmission just gets the whole Formula +, while the motor gets three-and-a-half quarts. After finishing the job, start the bike, warm the engine, and add until at the full line on the dipstick.