Oil change question

Discussion in 'Other Service and Maintenance' started by gasbag, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. gasbag

    gasbag Active Member

    This is one of those questions that embarrassingly demonstrates what an idiot I am and how little I know. So what's new?:newsmile036:

    I am slowly learning to care for my bike myself thanks to everyone and all the info available here but I am making a mess changing the oil and there must be a way to avoid it. I did a search in here but found nothing specific.

    I have a Heritage (88B) and I change the oil with my bike on a lift, so it is standing straight up. I drain the oil tank and then I remove the filter. After removing the filter I spend the next 15 minutes cleaning up the oil mess all over the front of the engine and on the tarp under the bike. I even tried making a trough/funnel thingy out of aluminum foil that slid under the filter.

    Would this mess be less if I put the bike down on it's side stand or is there another way to avoid it?

    Sorry for these amateur questions, I am just trying to learn a bit and be a little more self sufficient in caring for my bike.

  2. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Put the bike on the side stand punch a hole in the end of the filter at the top and bottom and most of the oil will run out so place a drain pan under it and when you remove the filter there is no oil left in it to make a mess

  3. dbmg

    dbmg Experienced Member

    The best advice is to not change oil on lift. Then you can get drain pan underneath to catch oil. If concern about bike being upright, then when oil almost drain out sit on bike and hold upright for a couple of minutes. Around filter you maybe able to cut up a gallon jug to slide under filter when removing and drain into pan.
    The only way a amateur become pro is to ask questions and pratice,pratice,practice......:s
  4. Bodeen

    Bodeen Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    The only stupid question are the ones not asked.
    I own a lift and never change the oil while the bike is on it. It just seems easier to get to everything. I do use a J&S wheel chock that holds the bike straight up. Now, whether or not it makes a difference in mess I cant say. It would seem since the bike leans on the side stand toward the filter, it would be less of a mess. For some reason I never seem to make a huge mess. I let the oil drain real good first and then put the drain plug in and move my pan to catch the oil from the filter. Some actually knock a whole in the end at the bottom of the filter with a punch and let it drain out before removing it. Cardboard makes a good oil duct to funnel towards the pan too. At any rate, you are doing yourself and you know its done right with a decent product. After some time you will get your own way of doing it that works best. Keep up the good work.

  5. Billbo

    Billbo Junior Member

    FIRST of all -- do not be so hard on yourself. You know plenty - maybe about other things, but yes, you are NOT an idiot and you are really smarter than others in many ways. Not everyone knows everything about everything!!

    Now- on this forum there are posts about using a 2-liter coke bottle or simular bottle and cutting it from the big end and using it like a funnel by sliding up under the oil filter and when you unscrew it it will drain MOST all of the oil into the bottle where you can place a pan under it. I use one. I have a Heritage and drain the oil while on the kickstand - then I place a 2x4 flat under the kickstand to almost hold the bike upright - DO NOT let the bike tip over the opposite direction - to the right. This gets any remaining oil out - works for me.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2011
  6. JBC2565

    JBC2565 Junior Member

    Looks like everybody has you covered (I use 2-liter bottle for filter on jiffy stand. Others I've heard is small cat litter pan or round snow saucer for pan).
    When you feel comfortable doing a basic oil change, try doing a complete oil change. Something to keep you learning and getting comfortable working on bike.
    Harley Davidson Community
  7. gasbag

    gasbag Active Member

    Thanks for the replies folks. I expected a little oil to get out and have some left in the filter but what I couldn't control seemed a bit excessive.
    I am going to try that "punch a hole in the filter" method next time and see how that goes and make a funnel/trough out of a pop bottle. Also try the side stand.

    I have been using a lift because I am at that age where getting down on the floor and back up again causes me to make some rather unusual sounds.
    Makes my dogs look at my legs like they could be their next chew toy.............:newsmile063:
  8. Fossil

    Fossil Active Member

    Anybody here like to have a talk to the Harley engineer who designed the oil filter placement? How about in a dark alley.

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

    Don't feel bad, when I first got my Sporty I tried the minimalist approach...! Seeing that everything leaned to the left, I figured I would change it on the jiffy stand...which as luck would have it, was the right thing to do.

    I then went to looking up on it on Google, and found HDT (they saved my bacon more than once). Reading all about changing the oil filter, would end up with a big mess that would pour all over the front engine motoer mount (and seeing an oil mess there from previous service made me read Joy's Oil Change info in the Self Help tips.:)

    I "improvised" by cutting up an ol' Ocean Spray Cranberry juice jug (thinking healthy here, and no aluminum tray), and went on to do the deed with nary a drop...


    and stuck it under the oil filter and used it to hold any oil that spilled out.


    Still use the jug as one of my "gifts" from being on HDT, it pays to stick around and learn the propler way to do things from Harley enthusiasts who are in the know...:D
  10. sharpscuba

    sharpscuba Banned

    AH yes Joy's great read. Her detailed step by step is so easy to follow that anyone that can pick up a wrench can do the required oil changes. Many of us have a bit of a variation but bottom line it gets the job done. Good luck and enjoy.