Change your Harley’s oil frequently to ensure the bike is always ready to ride.
A Harley-Davidson motorcycle can be ridden almost indefinitely when cared for properly. Although completely maintaining your Harley will involve a broad spectrum of procedures, periodically changing the oil is one of the most vital tasks that contribute to your motorcycle’s overall health. Under normal circumstances, the oil within your Harley’s motor, transmission and primary chaincase assembly should be changed in 2,500-mile increments. However, extended riding sessions may degrade the oil supply much sooner. The entire process is fairly straightforward and shouldn’t take longer than one and a half hours to complete.
1. Locate your Harley-Davidson’s motor oil drain plug. Softail models place their drain plugs along the cross-member on the bottom of their frames, while Touring models place their drain plugs beneath the transmission, behind the motor. Alternatively, Sportster models use a drain hose that is plugged into the bottom of the left frame rail.
2. Remove the drain plug from your Harley-Davidson, using a 5/8-inch socket and a socket wrench. Allow the motor’s oil supply to drain into an oil pan until the flow is reduced to a slight trickle.
3. Clean the drain plug with a shop towel, then screw it into place with your 5/8-inch socket. Tighten the drain plug to 20 foot-pounds with a torque wrench.
4. Unscrew the oil filter from the front of the motor with a strap wrench, then discard it. Remove the packaging from your new oil filter, then fill it with fresh 20W50 motor oil. Rub a small amount of oil along the filter’s sealing O-ring with your finger.
5. Screw the new oil filter into place by hand until it is seated gently against the motor. Tighten the oil filter an extra quarter-turn by hand.
6. Fill your Harley-Davidson’s oil tank with 3 qts. of 20W50 motor oil, using a funnel.
7. Locate the transmission’s drain plug along the bottom of the transmission housing. Unscrew the drain plug with a 5/8-inch socket and a socket wrench. Allow the transmission oil to drain into an oil pan until it reduces to a trickle.
8. Clean the transmission drain plug with a shop towel, then screw it into place with your 5/8-inch socket. Tighten the drain plug to 20 foot-pounds with a torque wrench.
9. Fill the transmission with 1 qt. of 85w140 gear oil or Harley-Davidson transmission oil, using a funnel.
10. Unscrew the bolts from the round clutch inspection cover on the primary chaincase on the left side of the motor, using a Torx T-27 screwdriver. Pull the cover and its gasket away from the primary chaincase.
11. Unscrew the small drain bolt directly below the clutch inspection cover’s port with a Torx T-27 screwdriver to drain the fluid from the primary chaincase into an oil pan.
12. Clean the the drain bolt with a shop rag, then screw it into place with your Torx T-27 screwdriver once the flow of the primary fluid has reduced to a trickle. Tighten the drain bolt to 16 foot-pounds with a torque wrench.
13. Pour 1 qt. of 5W30 motor oil or Harley-Davidson primary oil directly into the primary chaincase through the clutch inspection port.
14. Reinstall the clutch inspection cover and its gasket onto the primary chaincase. Screw the cover’s bolts into place with your Torx T-27 screwdriver. Tighten the bolts to 10 foot-pounds with a torque wrench, alternating between bolts in a criss-cross pattern.