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Garage Basics
Airfilter Maintenance

Airfilter Maintenance

For some really healthy potatering and throaty gargleblasting a Harley engine needs a steady supply of clean air. To keep foreign matter such as dust, beetles and low flying hamsters from clogging up the delicate mechanical innards of your engine, some bright spark back in the good ole days invented the air cleaner. Depending of the vintage or customizing level of your ride, these gizmos are filled with a variety of filter media. Reaching from metal mesh for the really old Linkert filters to foam elements or cotton gauze media elements (washable) to disposable paper elements on the later models.

Even when you’re not the heavy mileage eater, filters get clogged up with dirt after a time, foam and K&N type filters also lose their cleaning power due to the loss of air filter oil. The air resistance grows and the engine’s power decreases, the idle suffers and both you and your engine start feeling less than happy.

Service intervals can be found in the bike’s manual or in a model specific Clymer repair handbook. Once a year (or a riding season) should be the minimum. If you live in a dusty place, do it more often.

It's not hard to do, so let’s get started:

1) Depending on your model,

remove the air filter cover, using an appropriate screwdriver, allen wrench, or just open the clips, whatever is applicable. Remove the cover and check, what type of filter have you got toiling away in this dark and lonely place. Foam? Metal mesh? A K&N type filter? Or a paper element?

2) In the case of a paper element,

order a new one. To find out, which one you need, consult your bike’s manual or the model specific Clymer repair manual. Or give us a call at wwag.com, we’ll try to find out for you. (The question, whether paper elements can, or should be cleaned, keeps many message boards busy. We’d recommend to discard used elements and recycle) Jump to step 6).

3) If foam, metal mesh or K&N type filter,

spray the filter element with K&N air filter cleaner 97-251, let the cleaning action work for a few minutes.

4) Clean the element under running water,

giving it a good wringing, if it’s a foam element. Follow the instructions on the bottle. Let dry thoroughly.

4a) If the element seems no longer up to the mark,

discard, recycle and get a new one.

5) Spray the well dried filter element

with air filter oil 97-250 from all sides. Wipe off excessive oil.

6) Clean air filter base plate

and cover and let dry.

7) Place the filter element in its correct position

inside the air filter housing, fasten the air filter cover with mounting screws or clips. Threadlocker Loctite 97-220 is always worth a thought.

Bingo. You’re ready for some fresh wind in your face.