Changing your Oil

For Sale: Leather Oil Filter Washers

Changing your motorcycle's oil every 5,000km is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your machine a long life.  You should also change the oil just before putting your bike away for the winter and once again in the spring.  One thing that is of the ut most importance when changing the oil is to always use a new oil filter.

A new filter is required so that it will continue to filter out impurities to the best of its abilities.  An old filter will do nothing for you.  The only time I don't change the filter is in the spring, if I had installed a new one when I stored the bike for the winter.

Until recently I have maintained that motorcycles need motorcycle specific oil.  I was always told that, as the gears in the transmission mesh together, it puts incredible stress on the molecular chains that make up the motor oil.  I have come across a scientific study that has actually tested Automobile oil against Motorcycle Specific oil.  The results has shown that as long as the oil you choose is SG rated, regular automobile oil is fine in your motorcycle.  According to the results though, the best oil you can use in your bike seems to be Mobil 1 Synthetic.  But don't take my word for it.  Click over to the article that has changed my mind and give it a read.

VISCOSITY Most oils on the shelves today are "Multigrades", which simply means that the oil falls into 2 viscosity grades (i.e. 10w-40 etc) Multigrades were first developed some 50 years ago to avoid the old routine of using a thinner oil in winter and a thicker oil in summer. In a 10w-40 for example the 10w bit (W = winter, not weight or watt or anything else for that matter) simply means that the oil must have a certain maximum viscosity/flow at low temperature. The lower the "W" number the better the oils cold temperature/cold start performance. The 40 in a 10w-40 simply means that the oil must fall within certain viscosity limits at 100°C. This is a fixed limit and all oils that end in 40 must achieve these limits. Once again the lower the number the thinner the oil, a 30 oil is thinner than a 40 oil at 100 degC etc. Your handbook will specify whether a 30, 40 or 50 etc is required.

Always recycle your old oil and oil filter!  When I'm finished an oil change, I throw the old filter into a plastic bag  and pour the used oil into the containers that the new oil came from.  These items then go back to the store I bought them from for disposal.  If I'm not mistaken, in Ontario, by law, any company that sells motor oil has to take back old motor oil for proper disposal.  This includes the filter, since there can be a good cup or so of oil soaked into the filter material.

Now then, on with the show.

Tools needed:
- New oil filter
- 3 litres of 20W40 Yamalube (bought at your local Yamaha Dealer)
- 17mm socket and wrench
- Funnel
- Oil catch pan
- 5mm hex key
- Rag for wiping oil.
Location of the drain plug, filler cap and sight glassRun your engine for a few minutes to warm up the oil.  The oil will drain faster this way.  Place your bike on the center stand.  Put a catch pan below the gear shifter.  This is where the oil drain plug is located.  Use the 17mm socket to remove the drain plug.  Careful here.  Depending on how long you let the bike warm up, the oil could be quite hot.  Let the oil drain for about 15 minutes.  While the old oil is draining wipe the drain plug clean.  You may see deposits of metal on the end of the plug.  There's a strong magnet attached there to catch any loose particles that are floating around in your engine.  I assume that getting a few small pieces is normal, otherwise I've got a problem and I don't realize it!  :-)

After the oil has stopped dripping, replace the oil drain plug.  Screw the plug in until it turns no more.  Give it a bit of torque so that you turn it about 1/4 turn.  We don't want to over tighten it.  I would offer you the correct torque required, but I don't have that info in front of me at the moment.

Location of the filter coverSlide the drain pan over so that it rests under the brake pedal.  If you're working on a Virago 1100, you're going to have to remove the footpeg to get at the oil filter cover.  I own a 1000 so I have no need to remove the footpeg   :-Þ  The oil filter cover is located on the bottom, front of the engine.  There are 3 allen bolts holding it in place.  Using the 5mm hex key, remove all 3 bolts.  On the very bottom bolt there should be a bracket that holds an electrical wire in place.  Take the bracket along with the bolt.  Now, remove the cover.  Don't pry at it with a screwdriver because there's a rubber O-ring on there.  You wouldn't want to damage it.  As you pull the cover off, there should be some oil dripping out.  Look inside and you should see the oil filter.  put your finger in the hole and pull out the filter.  Please take note of how the filter was installed.  You will have to install the new filter in the same way.  Wipe clean the oil filter cover and O-ring.

Before installing the new filter, wipe away any dirt around the opening where the oil filter came out.  Don't get dirt inside the engine.  Fill the new filter with some oil and roll it around.  This will pre-soak the filter and it will make it easier on the engine when you start it up.  Push the new filter into the engine.  Be sure you get it in there the same way the old one came out.  Reinstall the oil filter cover. 
ensure both O-rings are on the cover and the third small one is installed in the very bottom hole.  One usually tries to sneak away.
Install the allen bolts but don't over tighten them.  Wipe away any spilled oil.

Remove the oil filler cap, located on the top of the crank case, above the gear shifter.  Insert your funnel and pour in 3 litres of oil,  I use Yamalube 20W40 because;

1.) 20W40 is a thick oil that holds up well when hot
2.) Made by Yamaha.  They should know what's best for their engines.

Replace the oil filler cap and wipe clean any spilled oil. Clean up your work area and start your bike.  Let it run for a few minutes and then shut it off.  Wait a few more minutes for the oil to settle and then have a look at your oil sight glass.  The oil level should read near the top of the glass.

Now, get out there and ride!  Just be sure to repeat this procedure every 5,000km.

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