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Tech Tips
Garage Basics
Oil Change

Oil Change

One oil change per riding season is a good rhythm, so the perfect moment to change your bike's oil (and the filter) is the last ride of the season. Throw out the old gunk and settle the bike well lubricated into hibernation. Waking up your bike in spring is also a good moment to do a lube job.

If you’re ignoring the seasons and ride year round, you’ll have to keep an eye on the oil change intervals given in your bike’s user manual. It also tells you the correct viscosity and amount of oil needed.

By the way: if you noticed the name PanAm frequently popping up in this chapter, that’s because PanAm is W&W's favourite oil brand. It’s been tested on thousands of road miles on a diversity of Milwaukee bikes and we think it’s just great.

We happen to know that changing the oil on a hog can be a messy and dirty job, that’s why we have a few items on offer to make it as convenient and hassle-free as possible, even when using other brands of lubricants ;-) So best take your time to read this through once before opening that drain plug.

1) Order your favourite oil.

There’s great choice, but usually a bike needs a specified viscosity. Use the oil specified in your bike’s manual. If unsure, send our operators at service@wwag.com a quick e-mail or call them at +49 931 250 61 16.

2) While you’re at it, order

a new drain plug gasket (model specific).

3) Order new oil filter.

Refer to your bike’s manual, go to wwag.com or call W&W +49 931 250 61 16, especially if you have a full-on custom. A quick picture of oil tank, drain plug and so on can help.

3a) Don’t forget the useful helpers

that you wish you had ready once the black sludge has covered half of your garage floor :). Make a list of everything you need before you order. Once that parcel hits your door mat, there’s no turning back :)

4) Warm up your bike real good,

to give the hot oil the chance to absorb as much sludge from your oil system as possible. Anything above 50 kilometers is OK. Do a little cruise around the county :)

5) Park your hot bike in your garage,

place an oil absorbing mat 81-000 underneath.

6) Grab your PanAm oil slide

35-400 and form and bend it so that it can be placed under your oil tank drain plug. Angle it so that the spent oil can leisurely slide down to a recipient, ideally the very practical 05-150 (doubles as a canister).

7) Remove drain plug.

Big bunches of steel filings clinging to the magnet (if fitted) are a bad sign. While the hot oil makes its way to the recipient, get a funnel 35-300, and open the first can of fresh oil.

8) Don’t try to flush your oil tank.

If the bike is well warmed through when you change the oil, most of the dirt will be gone. A few drops of remaining spent oil are no problem. Trying to use solvents to clean out the hardened residue in the corners will jeopardize the fresh oil's lubrication properties.

9) Replace the well cleaned drain plug,

using a new gasket, and tighten down snug. Don’t over tighten. 

10) Using the funnel, fill your oil tank

with the correct amount of oil. Refer to your bike's manual or your Clymer repair manual (model specific).

11) Oil filter: Place oil drain pan

05-150 under filter (possibly in combination with PanAm oil slide (35-400). Remove oil filter. If it proves stubborn, this handy self-adjusting oil filter wrench 93-967 will get it off.

12) Apply a little fresh oil

to the filter's rubber seal. Place new filter on thread, screw on and tighten gently, using no tools.

13) Start the bike up and let it idle

a couple of minutes. If a puddle of oil forms under it, you forgot to properly tighten the new filter :)

14) Dispose of the spent oil and the filter responsibly.

Think recycling.

Bingo. You’re clear for another well lubed season of potatering.