Change Oil On A 2001 Sportster

Replacing the fluids in your 2001 Sportster’s motor and transmission is a important step in maintaining your motorcycle. Unlike the other models in the Harley-Davidson lineup, which use three separate fluids, the Sportster’s Evolution motor utilizes only two fluids. Draining and replenishing these fluids is a simple task, however, warming up the motor before beginning can speed up the process. Allow yourself at least one hour to complete the task properly. With practice, you’ll find yourself finishing much sooner.


1. Turn the motorcycle’s ignition on and start the motor. Let the motor idle for two to three minutes to warm the oil in the oil tank and transmission. Stop the motor and turn off the ignition switch. Place the motorcycle on a stand to hold it in a vertical position.

2. Remove the oil tank’s filler cap from the right side of the oil tank. Locate the oil tank’s drain hose on the left side of the frame at rear of the motor. The drain hose is secured to the frame by a worm-type hose clamp. Loosen the clamp with a flat screwdriver and pull the drain hose off the frame. Drain the contents of the oil tank into a drain pan. Wipe the tip of the drain hose with a shop towel and reattach the drain hose to the frame. Tighten the hose clamp with a flat screwdriver.

3. Slip a strap wrench over the oil filter on the front of the motor and turn it counterclockwise to loosen the filter. Completely unscrew the oil filter from the motor and discard it. Fill the new oil filter with oil and spread a thin layer of oil over its gasket before screwing the filter onto the motor. Tighten the oil filter an additional quarter of a turn after it is seated against the motor.

4. Place a funnel into the oil tank’s filler neck. Pour fresh motor oil into the oil tank, filling it with up to three quarts of oil. Remove the funnel and wipe up any spills with a clean shop towel. Replace the filler cap to seal the oil tank.

5. Move the drain pan below the primary assembly on the left side of the motor. Remove the drain-plug bolt on the bottom of the outer primary cover with a socket wrench and allow the fluid to drain into your drain pan. Wipe the tip of the drain-plug bolt with a shop towel before reinserting it into the outer primary cover. Tighten the drain-plug bolt with a socket wrench.

6. Open the outer primary cover by removing the round derby cover, using a Torx-27 driver to unscrew the six mounting bolts along the derby cover. Pull the derby cover away from the outer primary cover to reveal the clutch assembly. Use a funnel to pour fresh primary fluid into the primary cover, filling until the fluid is level with the lower edge of the diaphragm spring on the bottom of the clutch assembly. Remove the funnel and wipe up any spills with a clean shop towel. Mount the derby cover onto the outer primary cover and tighten the mounting bolts with a Torx-27 driver.