Drag site icon to your taskbar to pin site. Learn More

Harley-Davidson Touring Bike Oil Change

Monday, April 15, 2013
Find out how to change the oil in a Harley-Davidson Touring bike in this step-by-step guide courtesy of Billy Bartels.
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.

Shopping list:
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)

Optional:
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 dont have a lift  you can definitely do this on the ground-level  it just involves more crawling around.
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 youll need: Four quarts of H-D 20w50  a new oil filter and two quarts of Formula + for the Primary and Transmission.
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.
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.
Heres a better look at the plugs.
Here's a closer look at the plugs.



Be sure to drain into a portable container for transfer to your local recycling spot  see sidebar .
Be sure to drain into a portable container for transfer to your local recycling spot (see sidebar).




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.
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 derby gaskets new in the plastic in the middle. Weve got the oil filter tool is the black disc at left  which were about to use to remove the filter from the front of the motor.
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 youll be operating between the shifter and the engine  instead of out farther like we did. Pro tip: If it doesnt come off easily  as it didnt for us  you can always stab it with a cheap screwdriver and twist it off.
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.

Heres a closer look at the oil filter.
Here's a closer look at the oil filter.

Before replacing the drain plugs clean them thoroughly with brake cleaner  or other solvent .
Before replacing the drain plugs clean them thoroughly with brake cleaner (or other solvent).

Next replace the o-rings on the plugs with the new ones in the oil change kit.
Next replace the o-rings on the plugs with the new ones in the oil change kit.
Apply some high-temp thread sealant to help keep your motorcycle oil tight.
Apply some high-temp thread sealant to help keep your motorcycle oil tight.

Replacing the derby gasket is straightforward  just apply a little oil to all surfaces and stretch it into the groove with your thumbs.
Replacing the derby gasket is straightforward, just apply a little oil to all surfaces and stretch it into the groove with your thumbs.
Pour oil into the oil filter until it reaches the threads and let it soak until install.
Pour oil into the oil filter until it reaches the threads and let it soak until install.

Spread some oil around the integral gasket on the oil filter.
Spread some oil around the integral gasket on the oil filter.

Since we were at a service center  the oil got dumped into a 55 gallon drum for later recycling. You can just set your drain pan aside.
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.

Clean surfaces before buttoning up and filling up.
Clean surfaces before buttoning up and filling up.

Put all the drain plugs back  and torque to manual specs  14-21 lb-ft .
Put all the drain plugs back, and torque to manual specs (14-21 lb-ft).

Screw on the oil filter snugly.
Screw on the oil filter snugly.



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 its just: dump a bottle in each.
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 of 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.
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.
Bolt on the derby cover  84-108 lb-in   and the fillers.  25-75 lb-in for the transmission cap .
Bolt on the derby cover (84-108 lb-in), and the fillers. (25-75 lb-in for the transmission cap).

HD Touring Bike Oil Change Gallery
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Slideshow
Other Cruiser Feature Articles
Venier Customs Moto Guzzi Tractor 02
Stefano Venier gets his hands on a brand new Moto Guzzi V7 Stone and creates a slick scrambler dubbed the Tractor 02.
2014 Sturgis Rally Review
It was a crazy eight days in the Black Hills for the 74th annual Sturgis biker rally. We bring you some of the best storylines from the 2014 Sturgis Rally, from the Indian Scout's debut to Biker Battleground baggers.
2014 Rats Hole Custom Bike Show Sturgis
The 26th annual Rat's Hole Custom Bike Show went down at The Buffalo Chip's CrossRoads, this year's show featuring the Black Hills Bagger Showdown.
Oil Disposal
Since we were at a service center  the oil got dumped into a 55 gallon drum for later recycling. You can just set your drain pan aside.
When you do your own oil changes, obviously you're going to have to do something with the spent oil. As just about all municipalities frown on pouring it down your closest storm drain, or dropping it in your trash can, a more reasonable alternative is called for. Thankfully, there are a slew of places ready and willing to accept your used oil for recycling. Though the oil coming out of your motor is full of contaminants, the long-chain hydrocarbons are still in good shape and can be re-refined into all sorts of petroleum products. Conversely, those same hydrocarbons are massively polluting in bodies of water and landfills, so go the extra mile to dump your oil somewhere responsible.

Recycling Resources:
www.earth911.com
www.irecycle.com

Login or sign up to comment.

Comments
WilCon   June 9, 2013 04:41 PM
Could this be anymore complicated? 3 Drain plugs, a derby cover, the filter, 3 fill points as well? There is something to be said for a unit construction engine. 1 drain plug and 1 fill point, filter located at the back of the motor instead of over the engine components where you have to clean it all off and American made. Clearly someone spent a minute designing their competition.
Egaibl   April 16, 2013 12:37 PM
Feel mention should be made to get oil temperature up to operating temperature, before changing oil. Oil will flow better and any foreign matter will be removed easier.
ssalmons   April 15, 2013 09:31 AM
What's next, an "article" on how to wash your bike?