My 2006 Wide Glide has 27,623 miles on it and the last time I had it serviced was at 20,000 miles. I missed the 25,000-mile service and it is overdue. Up until recently, I have been an absolute fanatic about service every five thousand miles. I’ve been dragging my feet because I just didn’t want to spend the money to take it to the Harley dealer. Also, my extended service plan recently expired so there will never be any more warranty work performed by the dealer.
I said it’s time to start doing my own service. What the heck, when I was riding as a teenager, I did everything myself so now that I am older and wiser, it’s time to get out the tools and go back to work. I would like to say that this decision is based upon my burning desire to be immersed in all aspects of my motorcycle, but the fact is that this is a purely economic decision. I just don’t want to pay seventy-five bucks an hour to have somebody change the oil in my motorcycle. Keep in mind that this is a pretty simple job. Drain out the old oil, replace the oil filter, and put in the new oil. My blog is called “Motorcycle Rider Basics” and the whole idea of this site is to give you the basics. I’m going to walk you through each step of the process just like you never did anything like this before your life. So, let’s get busy.
I cracked open the manual (2006 Dana models 99481-06A $70) and found “Changing Oil and Filter” on page 1-10 right in front of the book. I put together a list of things I needed to change the oil and filter.
Oil filter, chrome (HD- 63798-99, $13.95 each) or black (HD-63731-99)
Oil filter wrench, (HD-44067)
O-ring, oil drain plug (HD-11105, $.95 each)
5/8 in, open-end wrench for the oil drain plug
Container, to catch the old oil, maximum 4 inches tall to slide under motorcycle
Funnel, 6 inch neck minimum
What kind of oil do I use?
First time I took my bike in for service I was asked if I wanted to use synthetic oil or not. I asked, “What’s the difference?” and I was told that standard oil must be changed every three thousand miles and synthetic oil every five thousand miles. Synthetic oil is more expensive. I chose synthetic oil. And I understand that once you start using synthetic oil, it is recommended that you always use synthetic oil.
So now that I am trying to save some money, so I searched the online motorcycle forums to find out what kind of synthetic oil people were using as opposed to Harley’s synthetic oil. (Check out HD Forums and V-Twin Forum.) I found a huge amount of information telling me everything I ever could possibly want to know about oil. It looked like the most popular were AMSOIL and SYN3. I decided to experiment with alternative oils the next time I change the oil, and now I went down to the Harley dealer and bought the same synthetic oil I’ve been using all along.
Let’s do it!
Warm up the engine to normal operating temperature by taking your bike for a ride. The theory is that warm oil will do a better job of completely draining the crankcase. Just don’t forget that this oil will be hot when you drain it and you’re going to be working all around the exhaust pipes which are hot also.
Unscrew and remove the oil filler cap which has a built-in dipstick. With the oil filler cap removed, the crankcase is vented on top which allows the oil to freely flow out the oil drain plug when it’s removed.
Find the oil drain plug. This sounds simple right? Well, it’s not very simple on the 2006 Dyna Wide Glide. Look at the diagram which is in the manual, and you’ll see that there are two plugs, one for the transmission fluid and one for the oil. When I was researching this online, I found some comments that the 2006 Dyna manual was wrong, and the illustration had transposed the labels on the two plugs. These online folks were saying that #1 in the illustration is not the oil drain but was actually the transmission drain and #2 in the illustration is not the transmission drain but actually the oil drain. One person had actually included photos showing that the Harley manual was backwards, very confusing. Despite what the Harley manual said I followed the photos that I found online and removed the #2 plug to drain the oil. Less than a quart of oil came out and I was expecting 2 to 3 quarts of oil to come out. I had just drained the transmission. I verified this by removing the transmission filler cap, which has a dipstick attached, and checking the fluid level to verify that the transmission was empty. I put the #2 drain plug back in and tightened it down. I refilled the transmission with the same fluid I had just drained out into my clean plastic container. Now I was back to where I started and ready to drain the oil. The oil plug is #1 in this diagram, no doubt about it.
Here is a shot of the oil drain plug. It’s right where it is shown on the HD drawing. One more time, there are two plugs on the oil pan. The horizontal plugin the bottom center is for the transmission fluid and the vertical plug on the kickstand side is the crankcase oil plug. Now that you have found the correct oil drain plug, use your 5/8-inch open-end wrench to break it free and start unscrewing it. Don’t remove it until you have some sort of container underneath it that will hold about 3 quarts of oil are you will have a big mess on your hands.
Slide your plastic oil catcher container underneath the drain plug area and take the drain plug all the way out. The warm oil will freely flow, and you should get 2 to 3 quarts of oil out of the engine. Wait about 10 min. to make sure they get all the oil you can out of the engine. Sit on the bike and rock it back and forth if it makes you feel good like you’re getting that last little drop out. Leave the plug removed and the container in place until you finish replacing the oil filter.
Replace the oil filter by first placing some paper or tinfoil underneath the oil filter to catch the oil which is going to spill out when you unscrew the oil filter. Not only is oil going to spill out when you unscrew the oil filter, but with the forward controls in the way on the Wide Glide, more oil is going to spill out while you wiggle around the oil filter to get it free from the engine area. I used piece of thin cardboard from a file folder.
Place the oil filter removal tool on the end of the oil filter. This oil filter removal tool from Harley has a small section cut out which allows you to fit this tool over the end of the oil filter in spite of the extremely tight clearance problem with the front engine cylinder next to the oil filter. I first tried to use an old oil filter tool that I had from an earlier Suzuki motorcycle and that simply would not fit because of this close clearance problem. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the Harley tool was only about 10 bucks.
Remove the oil filter using a 3/8 inch socket with a 4 inch extension. Make sure you have your paper in place before you remove the oil filter because as soon as it breaks free oil is going to be everywhere. With the oil filter removed, remove your paper and start mopping up all the oil that slopped all over the place.
Install the new oil filter by simply reversing the whole process. Moisten the rubber O-ring on the oil filter with some oil before you attach it to the motorcycle. You should have plenty of oil everywhere to get your finger wet and wipe some oil on this rubber O-ring.
Replace the O-ring on the oil drain plug with the new O-ring and then screw it back into the crankcase cover and secure it. Tighten it down firmly with your 5/8 inch open-end wrench. With the oil filter replaced and the drain plug secured it’s time to add the new oil to the crankcase.
Put the new oil into the crankcase by pouring 2 1/2 quarts in and then checking the dipstick. Keep adding oil until the dipstick says it is full. Take it for a short ride to warm up the oil and then check the dipstick again. You may need to have a little bit more now that the oil has circulated through the engine.
That’s it, let’s go ride!
There that wasn’t too bad, was it? Oil’s changed and I saved about seventy-five bucks in Harley dealer labor costs. Also, every cloud has a silver lining, now I know how to change the transmission fluid.