Today I’m going to be sharing with you how to do an oil change on a Harley-Davidson V-Rod as outlined in Harley-Davidson’s own official service manual.
I love the V-Rod. It’s one of the most amazing, and also one of the most controversial motorcycles Harley-Davidson has ever produced. Today we’re going to be going over how to do an oil change on the Harley-Davidson in only six easy steps, with only a few inexpensive tools, so that you can do it yourself.
This article will also be accompanied by a video. When I first set out to change my own oil and filter, I grabbed a copy of Harley’s own service manual, as well as a checked out some of the videos that were previously on the net. What I realized was that none of the videos out there were doing things by the book. They weren’t even sharing the correct specifications.
The result was that I decided to make one video to show you guys how to do a V-Rod oil change for people like me: those who are picky enough to want a Harley dealership-quality oil change, but cheap enough to want to do it themselves.
What you’ll need to change your own oil:
5 quarts or 4.3 litres of 20W-50 synthetic or semi-synthetic motor oil
- The V-Rod is an absolute beast, so it’s important to not get cheap “dinosaur” oil and go for the good stuff. I used Bel-Ray on my bike after hearing good things about it. Today however, I noticed that Maxima’s SynBlend as well as Maxima’s ProPlus+ are both on for great prices and you can’t go wrong with either. Just make sure you’re buying 5 quarts or 4.3 litres worth.
- You can use Harley-Davidson Part Number 63793-01K or any equivalent, including the FRAM6100 or the K&N 174B/174C.
17mm socket bit and wrench
- Don’t try to use a standard set of bits, this is a metric bike, your 11/16” has no business here. If you’re in America, go to Harbor Freight and pick up a cheap set. If you’re in Canada head over to Princess Auto or Canadian Tire.
Oil filter wrench
- I had some old ones picked up over the years, but you can check these out.
Torque wrench capable of 22-30 ft. lbs of torque (or roughly 30-40 NM)
- Most motorcycles give an exact torque specification, but for some reason the V-Rod gives you a pretty flexible range, which means that even this cheap torque wrench is more than accurate enough.
Rags and paper towel
- You’re probably going to spill something. The difference between a droplet and a disaster is how quickly you can get to your paper towel and rags.
Black Widow Table Lift
- You probably don’t need this, but once you have one it’ll make you happy every time you look at it.
- Everyone needs at least one. Visit your local shelter if you don’t already have one.
Step 1: Remove filler cap and drain plug
With a warm engine after a ride, but not too soon after that you’ll burn yourself, remove your oil filler cap and your drain plug.
Your drain plug comes with a crush washer around it. Don’t lose that in the flood of oil flowing out of your bike.
Step 2: Remove your oil filter
Remove your oil filter with an oil filter wrench and take your dog for a walk to pass the time until the oil is done draining. It’s important to get as much of the old oil out as you can, so if you don’t have a dog, borrow one from a neighbor. Dogs never get enough walks anyway.
If your oil is still dripping when you come in from your dog, now’s a good time to set your torque wrench to 22-30 ft lbs or 30-40 NM. I used a relatively cheap torque wrench and just set it to the middle (26 ft. lbs. or 35 NM).
Step 3: Install the new oil filter
First give everything a good wipe down (oil filter opening, oil drain plug opening). Nice. Look at you go!
Then put on a glove, open up your fresh oil, dip your finger in the fresh oil, and run it over the gasket (the black ring) of your oil filter. This will help the oil filter seal properly with your V-Rod.
If you’re wondering how tight to put on your oil filter, the service manual says: “Screw the filter onto the adapter until the gasket contacts the plate surface, then apply another 2/3 to 1 full turn.”
I hate these instructions, because a torque specification would be so much better, because the oil filter contacting the bike is damn hard to see and feel, but try your best.
Step 4: Reinstall the oil drain plug
First, you’ll want to clean any debris off of your oil drain plug, especially if yours is magnetic.
Next, you’ll want to make sure you’ve put your crush washer back around your oil drain plug and put it back in the bike, with your torque wrench set to 22-30 ft. lbs or 30-40 NM.
Step 5: Put in fresh oil
Put in 5 quarts or 4.3 litres of 20W-50 full or semi-synthetic motor oil made specifically for motorcycles.
I bought a 4 litre bottle, and a 1 litre bottle. Dumped in the 4 litres, and the 1 litre bottle had a little viewing screen to see how much I had put in, which made my life easy.
Step 6: Check your oil level
The Harley-Davidson V-Rod service manual calls for checking your oil level with the motor warm. That means ride your bike, then let it sit for 2 minutes so that the oil sinks back into your sump.
Then, stand your motorcycle upright (the best motorcycle chock that only costs $89 if you need it). Now, remove your oil filler cap again. The underside of it has a dipstick. Wipe that clean. Now put it back in. Screw it in all the way. Take it out again. You’ll see this:
If the oil level is too low, add some more and recheck. If the oil level is too high, let a little out from your drain plug and recheck.
Harley-Davidson made the V-Rod in partnership with Porsche. They put these motors through absolute hell in a top secret R&D and testing phase that lasted years. The V-Rod was designed to show off raw performance, and packs well above it’s size versus nearly any other 1130cc to 1250cc cruiser. With a little love, there’s no reason why your V-Rod shouldn’t last you 100,000 miles, so make sure you take care of it.
If you have any questions about the V-Rod or about how to do an oil change on the Harley-Davidson V-Rod, just leave me a comment down below.