Install A Remote Oil Filter On A Harley Shovelhead

Harley-Davidson Shovelhead motorcycles employ an element type oil filter. The oil return line carries pressurized oil back to the oil tank. The pressure forces the return oil through the filter element and into the tank. Remote mounted oil filters employ the more modern spin-on type oil filters, adding more convenient filter changes and the bypass valve function to the oil system. Remote mount filters are typically mounted on the frame downtubes in front of the engine where air flow from forward motion aids in cooling the oil.


1. Drain the oil tank. Remove all the old oil lines except for the line that feeds the oil pump from the oil tank. Remove the filter element from the oil tank.

2. Install the remote oil filter base at a convenient place on the downtubes but stay below the cooling fins on the front cylinder so as to avoid interfering with airflow to the cylinder cooling fins. Cut a section of oil line to run from the return side of the oil pump to the inlet spigot on the remote base. Route this line under the engine and along the right frame tube and secure it to the frame with zip-ties. Clamp the new line to the spigots with new crimp-type hose clamps.

3. Cut a section of oil line to run from the filter base output spigot along the bottom right frame and back up to the old return oil spigot on the oil tank. Clamp the new line onto its spigots with new hose clamps. Secure the oil line to the frame with zip-ties. Lightly lubricate the new spin-on filter gasket with fresh engine oil and spin it onto the filter base. Tighten the filter hand tight.

4. Add fresh oil to the oil tank and wipe off any oil present on the new components with a clean shop rag. Start the engine and observe the new connections and the filter base to insure that there are no leaks.