I have Perfected the Art of the Quick Oil Change

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by mikem9, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. mikem9

    mikem9 Wanderer

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    Moto-writer Peter Egan recently addressed this topic, and this is not meant to copy him, but to share my own experiences and to hopefully hear from others.

    The art of the quick, and low mess, oil change is based on planning and preparation. Today, there was a good bit of rain in the forecast so I thought it would be a good day for a needed oil change on my Suzuki Bandit. I thought I'd see if I could do an oil and clean-up in 30 - 45 minutes. They tell me it can be done!

    First I needed to do a quick clean of my bike. During a break in the weather I rode to the local spray wash at around 12:30pm - Just a light wash to wash off the winter road grime. Then, I went to a local moto store that is open on Sundays. Picked up some nitrile gloves to do the oil change. I told the guy at the store I needed some rubber shop gloves and he brought them from the back. He said they were the latest and greatest in shop gloves. I had previously purchased oil, filter and crush washers, so I should have everything I need.

    Last year I purchased a home style, manual foot-pump hydraulic bike lift that was very reasonable and has a small footprint. I've been very happy with it and it lifts the bike up to make it much easier to work on. I also consider it a key part of the being prepared for the art of the quick oil change. By the time I got home from the wash and the store, it was now around 1:45.

    So, time to get to work. Since I've already invested 1 hour and 15 minutes, plus the previous trip to get oil and filter, I figured I better just count the time from the time I rolled the bike back into the garage. I was getting excited - totally prepared, with all the right tools, and supplies. Ready to quickly do the job!

    I needed some help getting my bike on the lift - it's not a smart one man job with street bikes. I went to find one of my sons and he came to help. First we had to take a friend's dirt bike off the lift and move some bikes around. We got the Bandit up and secured. So, now, here we are ready to go. I opened the new box of Nitrile gloves. Wow, these are cool (first time I've used nitrile). They are made with grip and says they won't tear easily and will let my hands breath. Dang! These don't fit! They are small enough for a child. I notice on the outside of the package - Adult medium. The felt more like Adult small. I couldn't even get them on my hands. Bummer! I should have checked the size. I go find my son again. Do we have any of our regular latex gloves? Nope. Hmmmm - do the job without gloves? Naw - I need some anyway. Back to the store to get some gloves that fit.

    So, now it's somewhere around 2:30. But, I'm ready to practice the Art of the quick, low mess oil change. Put on my new gloves, take the needed tools out and go to get our oil collection pan. It's one of those new ones that collect the oil and you close it up and keep a few oil changes in it. Well, it's full. My son, who uses it a lot, didn't dispose of it when he last used it. I go looking for our 5 gallon gas can that is used for old oil. It's full also. So, I have to take it to the place where we take used oil.

    So, now I'm back and ready to go again. I have the oil, the filter, the tools and now the oil collection pan is empty. Ready to go! Wait a minute! The oil collection pan will not fit under the Bandits exhausts on the bottom of the bike. Oh yeah, now I remember this from last oil change. We have a flat old fashioned oil collection pan someplace that fits under the Bandit. I go looking for it in the garage and a storage shed for several minutes. Can't find it. I go get my son, he shows me where it is. Right under my nose.

    So, now I'm ready to really get started. I put the thinner pan under the bike and loosen up the oil drain bolt. Some oil dribbles down the bike and out past the oil collection pan onto the lift and the floor! I try to move the oil pan and step in the oil on the floor. Ugh! Can this ever be done without getting oil everywhere? Thankfully, most of the oil goes into the oil collection pan.

    Now it's time to tackle the oil filter. It's a screw on type, kind of like a car. Seems like we have one of those oil filter remover thingymajigs. Can't find it anywhere. So I just go with large channel lock pliers. It has a hard time fitting in the space around the oil filter. I'm able to barely move the thing - only a few mm's at a time - slow process. After a few tries, I've totally buggered up the oil filter. That's ok, I'm not going to use it again. Finally it starts to feel loose and I can reach up with my hand and finish loosening. Oil runs everywhere - down my arm, over the exhaust pipes and oh crap, I don't have the oil catch pan far enough. It barely reaches under the oil filter and the still dribbling oil drain hole. Now, I've got oil on me, my gloves, all over the pipes and bottom of the bike and more oil on the bike lift. I'm so proud that at least I didn't drop the filter into the oil collection pan this time! :)

    Before I get started putting the new filter on, I've got to clean up some. Wiping oil off my arm, new gloves etc. I put on the new filter and then go to put on the oil drain plug. Oh yeah, the crush washer! This one has already been used on both sides. But, that's ok I bought a pack of them last time and I know just where I keep crush washers (we have some dirtbikes also). I have two sizes and neither one fits correctly! What, where are the Bandit's crush washers I bought last time? Damn it!! Of to the cycle store again, for the 3rd time today! They just laugh when I return to the store.

    I take a detour on the way home to buy some donuts as a peace offering for my son. "Hell hath no fury like a man who can't find his tools!" I've been giving my son hell today. But, I'm blessed really. He's in high school and has a passion for mechanical things. Has several projects going on in the garage (motorcycles, jet ski, neighbors lawn mower etc.). I'm proud of him.

    Back home again, I put on the oil drain bolt with new crush washer and fill the bike up with oil. Now it's time to run the bike and let the oil settle to see if I need anymore. I go find someone to help me get the bike off the lift.
    I let it run a few minutes then let it rest for a few minutes. It needed a little more oil. Checked for leaks - looked like it was leaking some, but I determined it was just extra oil from taking off the oil filter the first time. Whew - good.

    While the bike is out, it looks like the chain is pretty loose. I check it and it is. Decide to tighten the chain. 5 minutes right. Won't add much to my overall time. Some of the tools aren't as easy to find as they should be. Finally find them and loosen the axel. I adjust the adjustment screws and leave the chain a little loose because it always tightens up as I tighten the axle. It's kind of a guessing game. I tighten the axle and the chain gets way too tight. So, I loosen it again and loosen up the Adjustment screws some. i tighten back the axle and now the chain is too loose. The 3rd or 4th time I guess right and get the chain tension into spec. This 5 minute job must have taken another several minutes.

    Alright - Oil change complete. Not so fast, I've got a good bit of clean up to do. Trash and Oil everywhere. What a mess! Go to work with a trash bag and degreaser. The bottom of my shoes have oil residue and I use degreaser and a brush on them. While I'm at it I decide to take a few minutes and sweep and reorganize part of the garage. Oh yeah, I also have to write down the date and mileage of this oil change in my manual. Where is my shop pen? Gotta go find a pen!

    So, now I'm finished. I go back into the house with that sense of pride of a job complete. I've washed the bike, changed the oil, adjusted the chain and did a little reorganizing and sweeping. I started the whole process at 12:30 and now it's 7:05! (Thank goodness I had already purchased the oil and filter!) :)

    Do simple jobs on a motorcycle take longer than they are supposed to take for anyone else here?
    #1
  2. Benduro

    Benduro I<3CrayCrayVaJayJay

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    Thank you for that bit of levity! I've definitely had luck like that at times in the past, but honestly, it takes me maybe 15 mins start to finish to change the oil in my dr 650. With, I might add, 10 minutes of that being drain time. Now my tdi jetta wagon however...
    #2
  3. Tuna Helper

    Tuna Helper Rawrr!

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    I'm glad my oil changes aren't like that. Well, sort of. I have a cut down milk jug I use as a catch pan. Drain oil, prep new filter. Put plug back in, move pan under filter. Change filter, then the hard part, putting fresh oil in. I don't have a dedicated funnel, and the Buell oil fill is behind the passenger peg bracket. Even after I took the brackets off I still end up spilling some.
    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. BryonLewis

    BryonLewis Been here awhile

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    This past weekend was my first jump into motorcycle maintenance. I changed the oil on two bikes, suzukib b-king and vtx1800c. I also installed speed bleeders on all brakes and clutch valves, bled and replaced clutch/brake fluid in both bikes and replaced brake pads on the B-King. Took quite a while, biggest issue was the oil filters, I like the new K&N filters I got because they have a 17mm nut on the back which should make removal easier. I started at about 10:00 AM and ended everything around 3:30 PM. Now that I know what I'm doing I assume it will be quicker when I do it again.
    #4
  5. BanjoBoy

    BanjoBoy Been here awhile

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    [​IMG]

    I can chang mah oil in less time than it'd take me ta read post #1! :huh
    Don't know wut all the fuss is 'bout, it only takes a few minutes ta pull a drain plug, screw back in the drain plug, (With a new crush washer) un-screw the old filter, screw in the new one, and dump 4.3 quarts of oil in. :dunno Butt I usually let it drain fer 'bout an hr. :deal
    #5
  6. Wlfman

    Wlfman Long timer

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    Dang man. I changed the oil in my DRZ (takes three different size sockets) and the oil in my car in less time than all that :freaky
    #6
  7. tvpierce

    tvpierce Been here awhile

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    Get yourself a bottle of Techron. Dump the contents in your fuel tank. Then cut the bottom off the empty container.

    The long, thin neck allow it to fit perfectly in the oil fill hole -- in fact, it supports itself in there so you don't even have to hold it.

    Makes the ideal oil funnel for just about every bike. It's worked for me on several Hondas, a Kawasaki, and a BMW.

    You're welcome. :D
    #7
  8. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

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    The most time-consuming part of the oil change is the ride to get the oil hot enough for the change. That can sometimes take ALL DAY. :rofl

    --Bill
    #8
  9. mikem9

    mikem9 Wanderer

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    Ha! good one. True.
    #9
  10. urbanXJ

    urbanXJ Long timer

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    Next time I wouldn't bother with the gloves.

    Glad your proud of your son.
    #10
  11. GI_JO_NATHAN

    GI_JO_NATHAN Long timer

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    lol
    Nice one OP.

    Reminds me of something I read years ago, about an old guy trying to figure out why he can't get anything done, or something like that.

    Edit: Sorry it's a long read.

    Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D.
    Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.
    This is how it manifests:

    I decided to wash my car. As I start toward the garage, I notice that there is mail on the hall table. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car. I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the trashcan under the table, and notice that the trashcan is full.

    So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the trash first. But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the trash anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

    I take my checkbook off the table, and see that there is only one check left. My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go to my desk where I find the bottle of coke that I had been drinking.

    I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over. I see that the coke is getting warm, and I decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

    As I head toward the kitchen with the coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye--they need to be watered. I set the coke down on the counter, and I discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning.

    I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers. I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly I spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table. I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, we will be looking for the remote, but nobody will remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.

    I splash some water on the flowers, but most of it spills on the floor.
    So, I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.

    Then I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

    At the end of the day: the car isn't washed, the bills aren't paid, there is a warm bottle of coke sitting on the counter, the flowers aren't watered, there is still only one check in my checkbook, I can't find the remote, I can't find my glasses, and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

    Then when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I'm really tired. I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail.
    #11
  12. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    :lol3:lol3:lol3:lol3

    I have a disorder with symtoms similar to those described here. It's called CRS. Unfortunately this disorder is not age related and I have had it for as long as I can remember........although I can't seem to remember how long that is:huh
    #12
  13. RideDualSport.com

    RideDualSport.com TPB all the way

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    That was quite entertaining! Even the most simple maintenance task - can turn into a fiasco! Being prepared for the task - actually starts right after the last maintenance task. Did I put my tools back? Did I leave some clean rags available? Did I empty my large old oil container? Did I use all my hand cleaner up? If I don't put everything back in place from the last job - it takes longer to do the next job!
    Plus each bike is a little different - oil filter access and removal can be easy or complicated, the oil may drain straight into the pan or not, a lower fairing has to be removed or not...
    Cheers!
    #13
  14. HooliKen

    HooliKen Awesome is a flavor

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    You have NOT performed a proper oil change unless there is at least 1/2 liter on the garage floor and the sleeve of your shirt.......
    #14
  15. mikem9

    mikem9 Wanderer

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    Have you ever shared your garage with teenagers? :D

    When I'm getting hot under the collar and can't find tools and supplies, and threatening to make the garage off limits (again), my wife reminds me that one day I'll look back longingly at these days when the garage is all messed up and my sons and friends are are working on their projects! I suppose she is probably right.
    #15
  16. mikem9

    mikem9 Wanderer

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    Ha! A like minded soul.
    #16
  17. Idle

    Idle Been here awhile

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    How's this?

    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. bwalsh

    bwalsh UUU, UUU!!!

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    What are you talking about?











































    :D
    #18
  19. Bubbachicken

    Bubbachicken learning fast!

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    Now, THAT is my luck!! "Don't put anything slick on the tread surfaces of your tires (tire dressing etc.)" and here you have not only greased them up nicely, you managed to create a nice spill at the same time! You INDEED demonstrated my level of talent! Congrats! (DOH!! :huh)
    #19
  20. HooliKen

    HooliKen Awesome is a flavor

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    :lol3 I give it an 8. Now if you could of managed to splash a little on your rotor and caliper......10.


    I equate the oil change to the diaper change after my boy has a good ole colon blow. I dare anyone.....ANYONE.....to complete this evolution without getting shit on your hands...:D

    It is much like the "anti-seize theorem" which states. "No matter how clinically and carefully you apply anti-seize to a component, you will get some on your hands, your face, your clothes, and other components that you did not intend to anti-seize." :deal
    #20