Install An Oil Cooler In A Sportster

Oil coolers are a practical addition for riders who put many miles on their Sportsters or who live in hot climates. Oil coolers for modern Sportsters bolt to one or both of the front down tubes of your motorcycle, and two hoses connect the cooler to your oil supply. An oil cooler supply line connects the oil pump to the cooler, and an oil cooler return line connects the cooler to the crankcase. At least a dozen companies sell these accessories. Harley-Davidson sells and recommends its own brand of Sportster oil cooler, the kit number for which is 62996-07.


1. Free the drain hose from the boss on the frame below the battery box. Loosen the hose clamp on the drain hose. Remove the drain plug with pliers.

2. Drain the motor oil into a drain pan. Reseal and replace the drain hose.

3. Loosen the oil filter with an oil filter wrench. Carefully remove the filter by hand. Clean up spilled oil with paper towels.

4. Remove the oil feed line and fitting from the oil pump with open-end wrenches. Remove the existing oil return line and fitting from the crankcase.

5. Apply Hylomar Gasket and Thread Sealant (which Harley recommends) or the equivalent to the replacement oil pump and crankcase fittings included with your oil cooler kit. Attach the fittings to the oil pump and crankcase. Tighten the fittings to 60 inch-pounds with a torque wrench.

6. Attach but do not tighten the oil cooler return hose to the crankcase fitting and the cooler supply hose to the oil pump fitting.

7. Remove the clutch cable and wire harness clips from the frame’s left down tube behind the forks. Install the oil cooler clamps that came with your kit in the same spot.

8. Attach but do not tighten the oil cooler to the cooler clamps, using the Allen bolts and hex nuts that came with your oil cooler.

9. Attach the oil cooler hose from your oil pump to the rightmost fitting on the bottom of your new cooler. Secure the hose by tightening the hose clamp with a screwdriver.

10. Attach the oil cooler hose already attached to your crankcase to the leftmost fitting on the bottom of your oil cooler. It also attaches with a hose clamp and screwdriver.

11. Arrange the oil cooler so it faces forward. Check for hose kinks. Tighten the cooler clamp screws with a torque wrench to 30 inch-pounds.

12. Tighten the hose fittings with a torque wrench to 20 foot-pounds. Reattach the clutch cable and wiring harness to the clips on the cooler clamps.

13. Hand-tighten a new oil filter to the oil filter stud. Add four quarts of motorcycle motor oil to the oil tank.

14. Start the motorcycle and allow it to run in neutral until the engine is warm. With the engine running, examine all fittings for leaks. Touch the oil cooler to ensure that it becomes warm.

15. Turn off the engine. Allow the bike to cool, then retighten all fasteners.

16. Check the oil level with the dipstick. Add oil as necessary.