This video is Episode 4 of the $1,000 Kawasaki Ninja 650 rebuild series. In it, I’ll show you how to do an oil change on a Kawasaki Ninja 650R. This also works on a Kawasaki Er-6n/Er-6f, and the Kawasaki Versys, as all of these bikes share the same motor.
If you’re new to the series, here’s a recap:
Episode 1: I bought a Ninja 650 with only 200 miles on it for about $1,000 US, it was 13 years old and the guy who sold it to me clearly didn’t have the time for it. I decided to try to bring this bike back to her former glory, and discovered a mouse had made a home out of it along the way.
Episode 2: I replaced the battery, but all that seemed to do was set off an alarm. The seller then remembered that the Ninja had a Scorpio alarm installed on it, so after some help from the guys at Scorpio, I managed to disable the alarm and get the bike started, despite a run-in with some vapor lock.
Episode 3: I knew the gas in the tank was probably a year or two old and wanted to change it right away, so in this episode I show you how to use a really simply hand tool to easily drain old gas out of a motorcycle tank.
Tools you need for an oil change on the Kawasaki Ninja 650R / Er-6n / Er-6f / Versys
Let’s start with some good news: oil changes on the Ninja 650R are easy, and you can can usually do an oil change yourself in about 6-7 easy steps. Before we get to that, let’s start with everything you’ll need to do the job:
- 1.9 litres of 10W-40 semi-synthetic (or full-synthetic) motorcycle oil
- K&N KN-138 oil filter (in black for $10 or in chrome for $14)
- Torque wrench (even this one for $35 promises accuracy within 4% which is fine for our needs)
- Some hex keys (both metric and standard for $15)
- Adjustable oil filter wrench (I like that this one gives you options)
- A knife or a flat head screwdriver
- Something to pour oil into and a way of getting rid of it
- Black Widow motorcycle table lift from DiscountRamps (not necessary but sure makes it easy and the price was worth it – full review here)
Ok, now that that’s done, let’s get started.
How to change the oil on a Kawasaki Ninja 650R
Before we get started, note that I create how-to videos aimed at helping motorcyclists. In the past, some have complained that they preferred my old text-based how-tos, so now I try to provide both to make everyone happy. If something in this walkthrough isn’t clear, I suggest you check out the video in case that shows you something that I might have failed to point out here, and vice-versa if you started by checking out the video. If you still have any questions after that, please feel free to post them in the comments section under this video or on YouTube and I’ll answer and help you out. Thanks for your understanding!
1) Loosen your lower fairings
Some people say it isn’t necessary to loosen the fairings on the Ninja 650R in order to change the oil and filter, but I think once you get good at, loosening the fairings will save you time in the long run, and if you plan on keeping your Ninja 650 for a while, you may as well take this opportunity to learn how it all comes together.
There are a couple bolts on each side that hold the lower fairings in place, you’ll need your hex keys for that.
There are also some clips on the inner part of the fairings, and some clips underneath the center of the motorcycle. You can use the flathead screw driver to help pry those.
2) Start with a warm engine, and remove the oil cap and the drain bolt
Your Kawasaki Ninja 650R’s oil needs to be warm so it’ll flow out of the bike more easily. Go for a short ride to get the oil’s temperature up, but not so hot as you might burn yourself.
From this point on, all work I’m explaining should be done with your motorcycle in a completely vertical position, so use some kind of motorcycle lift, motorcycle jack, motorcycle stand, or even this $89 wheel chock to hold your bike straight.
The oil cap is on the right side of the bike, you just unscrew that. That’s where you’ll pour oil in later, but for now we need to leave that open to help the oil flow out in a moment.
The drain bolt is underneath the motor, it’s the part that sticks out the lowest under the bike. I use a socket wrench for that, and you’ll want something to catch about 2 litres of oil.
Note: The oil drain plug also has a washer, the washer might fall into your oil, so you might have to poke through to find the washer once the oil has cooled.
3) Remove your oil filter
While the oil is draining, you can remove your oil filter using an adjustable oil filter wrench.
Unfortunately, for me, this part really sucked. The oil filter was stuck solidly to the bike. I tried to take it off with every oil filter tool I had, nothing worked. I finally had to drill through the filter to get some leverage to loosen it a little before I could get it the rest of the way off with an adjustable oil filter wrench.
That was also the last time I used an adjustable filter wrench. Since then I bought this 30 piece set of oil filter wrench bits just so that I never have this problem again. If you have a variety of vehicles you might want to check that out too.
4) Replace the drain plug (and the washer)
Once all of the oil has stopped pouring out of your Ninja 650, you can put the oil drain plug and the washer back into your bike. The torque spec for your Ninja 650’s drain plug is 20 Nm or 22 ft. lbs. of torque, so be sure to set your torque wrench appropriately.
Torque specs are important because they stop you from under-tightening your drain plug (which could cause costly and dangerous oil leaks), and they also stop you from over-tightening your drain plug, which could cause you to have to replace your lower engine casing.
To make sure you’re getting the torque spec right, you should use always use a torque wrench. Even a cheap one (see links at the start of the article), offer accuracy within 4%, which is a lot better than most humans can guess.
5) Install the new oil filter
Before you put the new oil filter on, take notice of the rubber o-ring at the bottom of it. Get some clean oil on your finger and run your finger around the O-Ring to lubricate it.
Lubricating your oil filter’s o-ring before installing will stop you from having to deal with a stuck on oil filter like I did. You’ll thank me when you change your oil next and your filter comes off nicely and easily.
Again, you’re going to want to use a torque wrench to make sure you’re neither over-tightening nor under-tightening your oil filter. Attach your torque wrench to your oil filter bit and set your torque wrench to 17.5 Nm or 13 ft. lbs.
6) Pour the new oil in and test the bike
On the left side of the bike is the oil window or oil sight glass. It has a lot of names, but no matter what you call it, it’s purpose is to let you peak into the engine to see what the oil level is.
The oil sight glass has markers around it that represent the minimum and maximum oil you should have in the motor. Once you pour 1.9 litres of oil in there, it should be right in the middle.
Now that you’ve poured the oil in, put the oil cap back on, make sure nothing is pouring out or leaking out from the drain plug or filter, and turn the bike on.
If even after sitting for a few minutes, the engine oil is still below the “Min”, add some more oil. If instead the oil leave is above the max, you’ll need to carefully loosen off the the oil drain plug to let some oil out until you get the level right. Riding with too much or too little oil can damage your motor, and remember, you need to doing all of this with your bike vertical, not on the side stand.
7) Put the fairings back on and go for a ride
This last step is just the opposite of how we started. Put your motorcycle bag together. Wipe up any mess and put away the tools you used. Then gear up and go for a ride.
You might smell a bit of oil burning at first. If you do, don’t worry, it’s probably just because some oil fell on your exhaust pipe during the oil change. Don’t worry too much about that, it’ll burn off and the smell will go away with no damage done to your motorcycle.
That’s it for this episode of the $1,000 Ninja 650 rebuild series
If you want to see how to drain the gas tank on the Ninja 650 or how to replace the battery and how I got the bike started after so many years sitting, you might want to check out some of my previous videos. If you have any questions about the Ninja 650, leave me a comment, and if you liked this video please give it a like.
Thanks guys, ride safe.
COMMENTS: Was this helpful to you? Let me know in the comments.
UPDATE: If you haven’t already seen the previous episodes of the $1,000 Ninja 650R rebuild series, it starts here.