Checking Primary Oil Level on '10 Softail Deluxe

Discussion in 'Softail Models' started by Doctor Deluxe, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. Doctor Deluxe

    Doctor Deluxe Member

    OK, you would think that with as many of us aging baby-boomers in the world, the MoCo would give us a dipstick to measure the primary oil level. With my poor near-vision, peering into the little crack between the mechanical parts and the inside of the primary housing to try to "see" the oil level (with all of it's wonderful reflective qualities) is impossible. So, I devised a crude plan to measure the primary oil level. (My description probably sounds more difficult than it actually is.)

    On a level surface, with the bike ON THE JIFFY STAND, and a warm (not hot) engine, remove the primary inspection cover. The inside bottom lip of the case has a small notch cut out, about the size of a dime cut in half. Using a clean, straight object to measure with (I used a clean 16d nail), lower the measuring tool (nail) into the case at the notch PARALLEL to the angle of the case (i.e., the angle of the bike) and continue until your tool (nail) contacts a ledge inside the case. Remove the tool and measure the oil level using a standard ruler. On my bike, with the primary "full" per the HD instructions, the oil on my "dipstick" (i.e., nail) measured 5/8 inch.

    Can anyone confirm my method and measurement?

  2. Dr. Dolittle

    Dr. Dolittle Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    If it works for you, that's all that matters. Just don't drop the nail!

    Since you're already taking the inspection cover off, have you tried just slipping on a pair of reading glasses and using a flashlight to illuminate the area you're looking at? Works great!
  3. Chopper

    Chopper Senior Member

    The capacity should be 32 oz. wet, I just fill by volume every 10,000 miles, so long as there are no leaks it works out fine, other wise you can check the level if you want, but I need a flash light and reading glasses to do so anymore, never thought of using a nail:)
  4. Doctor Deluxe

    Doctor Deluxe Member

    Reading glasses, a flash light, and the reflection off the chrome and reflection off the oil itself really give me fits which is why I was looking for something a little more tangible than what I could "see". I did measure what I drained (32 oz), so putting back 32 oz should make for the correct amount anyway.
  5. walleye

    walleye Junior Member Contributor

    The nail method works I am sure, but with my luck, down goes the nail! I use the method chopper said, fill to specifications and watch for leaks. It is a non consumable oil, so no leaks means no problem. Much easier to check for leaks then to remove derby cover anyway. But I like the way you came up with a solution for all us old people!:s Trouble is I could not see the nail either!
  6. Billbo

    Billbo Junior Member

    I have that same problem reading the oil levels on my oil dipstick (chrome) and my trans dipstick (chrome) --- both oils just seem to blend in with the shinny chrome and wet oils making it difficult at best to read levels ---- I think Chrome dipsticks should NOT be used. Anyone here ever thought of just sanding all the chrome off of these dipsticks??

  7. Doctor Deluxe

    Doctor Deluxe Member

    I actually forgot to say that I used a magnifying glass once I took the nail out in order to be able to see the oil level! I've actually adapted as I had forgotten that I replaced the original oil cap/dipstick. As it turns out, the original dipstick can be disconnected from the oil cap, so the second time around I used the flat plastic dipstick as my tool to measure the primary oil level. Not being shiny, that seemed to work a little better.

    BOWHIKER Junior Member

    Now maybe this is a stupid question but since the primary is sealed and if you don't have any leaks what is the point of checking it ? Where would the oil go unless you had a leak ? The engine and tranny both have dip sticks for checking which i do relgiously so am i missing something here ?
  9. glider

    glider Veteran Member

    There's been occasions when the crank seal on the engine went south and the engine oil migrated to the primary so if you discovered the primary was overfilled and don't check your engine oil on occasion, this may be a tip off that there is a problem before something else goes.