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Rider on the Storm
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Oil Change
Kawasaki Vulcan 750

(updated 8-21-09 ~ comments/corrections/rebuttals welcome!)

Oil:
Use any 10w40 or 15w40 oil that meets Kaw specs and is not “energy conserving” – Viscosity = SAE 10W40, 10W50, 20W40, 20W50; Type = API SE, SF or SG; API SH or SJ with JASO MA. The most common suggestions I’ve received include:
• Shell Rotella T 15W-40.
• Mobil One 10W-40 synthetic; Mobil 1 MX4T 10W-40 synthetic motorcycle oil; Mobil 1 (“red cap”) 15w50; Mobil Delvac 1300 15W-40.
• Chevron Delo 400.
• Castrol GTX 10W-40; Castrol Syntec 10W-40; Castrol Actevo 10W-40; Castrol 4T 10W-40 Motorcycle Oil
• Valvoline Blue 15W-40.
• Kendall Motorcycle Oil 20W-50.
• Lucas Full Motorcycle Synth 20W-50.
• Amsoil 10W-40 motorcycle-specific synthetic.

Filter:
The stock Kaw part # 16097-1066 FILTER-ASSY-OIL 2003 (an auto parts store can cross reference a another one for you). The most common suggestions I’ve received include:
• Purolator Pure One Filter (PL14610) – it’s blue, so use flat black spray paint, several coats all at once, then let dry before mounting.
• Amsoil SMF103.
• Mobil 1 M 1-110 or Mobil 1 M-108, Champion.
• Bosch 3323 or 3300, Champion.
• Wix (black), # 51334 or 51356.
• K & N 202 – larger than most; also has a “nut” at the end for easier removal.
• Supertech ST7317 (longer), ST6607 (shorter) – cheap from Walmart.

Procedure:
• Change the oil when the engine is warm/hot. (Some riders add a little Seaform before heating up the oil just prior to changing it.) Remember: when the engine is running, there is no oil in the sight glass.
• Tools: 17 mm socket, socket wrench, oil filter remover, oil, filter, drain pan, wide-mouthed funnel, knee cushion, torque wrench.
• Gather paper towels, small sheet of heavy aluminum foil, a solid plastic container (for the old oil), newspapers, and a box/bag (for the oily towels/rags).
• Put the bike on the center stand over a thick mat of widely-strewn newspapers, and place the oil drain pan under the left side of the engine.
• On the left side near the bottom there is a 17mm oil drain plug. Loosen the plug, and let the oil begin to drain. As the flow decreases, remove plug entirely. (Some, who drain the oil on the side stand, will then lean the bike far to the left to get the last bit of oil to drain. I find this difficult to do with the full oil pan under the bike.)
• Once it’s drained, reach in and very gently remove the loose-fitting spring, the flat washer, and (with your pinky) the snugly-fitting (metal/tubular) screen.
• Clean the screen of any debris (you may want to soak it in high flash point solvent; some use Seafoam). Replace the screen, washer and spring in the correct order.
• Replace the drain plug. (If you have a torque wrench, tighten to ONLY 13 ft-lbs – lots of people strip drain plugs!)
• Move the drain pan to the front of the engine under the oil filter. Push the aluminum foil under the oil filter (making a crude funnel) before removing it. (The foil will prevent oil from leaking behind the starter, which is not easy to wipe away.)
• Remove the filter. (An oil filter remover may be needed.) Make sure that the rubber gasket comes off; if not, remove gently. Wipe off any leaked oil from around the oil filter plate and starter motor.
• Some prime the oil filter by pouring oil into it until it’s full and then let it sit for a few minutes (almost all of the oil will be absorbed into the oil filter, so it doesn’t make a mess when it’s screwed on).
• Rub a thin coating of clean oil around the rubber gasket of the new oil filter and screw it onto the mount, turning it hand tight – 1/4 turn past snug.
• Add the new oil. Once the oil site glass shows the oil level touching the H (full) line, stop and replace the filler cap and start the engine and warm it up. Then stop the engine and let the oil settle for around 5-10 minutes.
• Check the oil site glass – with the bike still on the center stand – and slowly (a little at a time) top off the oil level, if needed. Leave a bubble at the top of the site glass. (Do not overfill by trying to put in a full 4 liters! Most riders can only put in 3-3.5 liters to bring it up to the full mark. It’s easier to add a little oil later than to drain the excess!)
• Don’t be alarmed if the oil light comes on for a little bit once you fire the bike up. If it seems like it’s staying on too long, you may have an air pocket in the line somewhere. Loosening and then re-tightening the filter, while the bike is running (allowing a slight bit of oil to come out) usually seems to get the light to go out.
• Take used oil to Auto Zone or similar spot for recycling.
 

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Rider on the Storm
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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
A brief interjection...

I will continue noting all the posts on this topic for a while longer. When the energy dissipates, I will revise my oil changing procedure (at the beginning of this thread) and post the final draft.

Obviously, there are endless opinions/experiences on even this simple procedure, so I don't suppose there will ever be "definitive" guide to changing the oil on a VN 750!

I REALLY appreciate everyone sharing their opinions/wisdom!
 

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Rider on the Storm
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Discussion Starter · #26 · (Edited)
my first oil change

I had the oil/filter changed at these mileage markers: 842, 3160, 3801, and 5465. I wish that I had changed the oil myself earlier and more often. The first time I changed it myself was today, at 5465, and I found pieces of shaved aluminum on the filter screen! It makes me wonder if the two dealers who did the initial three changes bothered to clean the screen. In any case, I will do it myself from now on.

Question #1: No one has said anything about cleaning the oil screen with the high flash-point solvent suggested in the manual. Does anyone do that? Or do you just wipe it off?

Question #2: It was suggested that the oil drain plug be tightened to the specified torque of 13 pounds to avoid stripping it. I use one of those Sears Craftsman torque wrenches with the twin bars and the red needle that doesn't seem to give that specific of a reading. All I know is that I tightened the drain plug somewhere within the range of 12-20 lbs. Should I get a more expensive torque wrench, or is OK to simply be in the ballpark?
 

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Rider on the Storm
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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Just changed my oil/filter. I can't describe the sweet, satisfied feeling, but purging the dark, toxic sludge and replacing it with clear, pristine oil, and screwing on a fresh filter... all this TLC must be a sensual or mystical metaphor for something... ;)
 

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Rider on the Storm
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Discussion Starter · #50 · (Edited)
"I've got blisters on my fingers...!"

How do I keep from burning my little pinky when I stick it in to remove the spring, washer, and screen?!

I changed the oil today, a completely satisfying experience, as always. But I have a little blister on the end of my finger from the hot oil, even though I let it drain completely before going after the spring. I don't want to stick a screwdriver in there with that delicate filter screen. Maybe a popsickle stick? A chop stick? Or is there some kind of fingertip technique that I need to try?
 

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Rider on the Storm
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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
I always change the oil cold. That's what the shops do. Hot or cold, there's no way to get all the oil out.
Wow! That would certainly make it easier to handle the bike and the oil. On the other hand, I've always changed the oil while hot to make sure that I got as much of the old oil out as possible. (Unlike some, though, I leave the bike on the center stand throughout the procedure, never tilting the bike on the side stand.)

I think the spring-washer-screen was hotter the other day because, for the first time, I just cracked the plug to release the oil while I went inside to do something else. When I came back out, I removed the cap entirely to go forward with the oil change - so no wonder everything seemed even hotter than usual.
 
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