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How to Change the Oil in a 1999 Harley Davidson Evolution Engine.


I headed out to the garage to get my bikes ready for my trip to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.  I had a list of things to do to get my 1999 Harley Davidson Fatboy ready to ride 725 miles one way to Strugis.  First on the list is change the oil and filter.  I have done this many times, so I thought I would share some pictures and information about this process.  It's simple enough with a bit of time and a few tools you too can save a lot of money doing routine motorcycle maintenance on your own motorcycle in your garage.

The first thing to do is get your work area ready, clear the area and get out a few tools.  The process of changing the oil can be a messy adventure.  So I get a piece of cardboard and place it on the floor where I am going to change the oil.  This make easy work of cleaning up the floor if you happen to spill or drip a bit of oil around.  One of the tools you will need is a pan to catch the oil in.  I have two I use, a big round shallow steel pan, and one I bought just for changing oil in all of my cars.  The yellow one has a funnel on it which is helpful, but it is too tall to slide under my bikes. Other tools you will need are screwdrivers, oil filter wrench, and some disposable rags, and gloves.  Some mechanics use rubber surgical gloves, I generally just wear a pair of leather gloves, or let my hands get dirty.

Now check on your new supplies, a new oil filter, and 3 quarts of oil.  I use Harley Davidson brand oil.  I won't get into the debate about other brands being just as good, or Synthetic vs. Regular oil, or any of the other topics that can be debated about oil.  I figure it is only 3 quarts of oil and even if I pay a premium for Harley Davidson brand oil, it's only about 5 dollars more. At Sturgis one year I talked to an employee of Harley Davidson, and he explained a few of the benefits of using the oil that they have specially formulated for the Evolution Engines.  Because the motors are air cooled, and can run really hot, I don't want to take a chance.  In the past I have used other brands of oil, and I noticed that I was burning a bit of oil before I got to the oil change interval so I switched back to Harley Brand.  My 1999 Fat boy has 56,000 miles on it now and is still running strong, so I feel confident that it will continue to run strong.

The oil change intervals are listed in the owners manual, and a the Factory Service Manual.  I would definitely recommend purchasing a service manual, once you get confident with changing your engine oil you can move on to changing the other fluids and really save a lot of money.

Ok now you should be about ready to actually start the oil change.  One tip that makes the oil change a bit more complicated is to make sure you motorcycle engine is hot.   The means change the oil right after you have warmed it up and been for a ride and it is at the normal operating temperature.  The reason for this is to get all of the dirt, and carbon, water, and other bad stuff in the oil moving and ready to be drained.  Hot oil will also flow out of the bike faster.  But be very careful not to burn your self on the engine or mufflers. I wear my welding gloves when I am working around the hot exhaust pipes on my Fat boy.

Step one: Drain the oil.

In this first picture you can see the drain for the oil on my Evo Engine is a rubber hose that hangs down on the rear part of the Engine. To drain the oil get out a screwdriver and loosen the hose clamp around the plug at the end of the hose. Before I do this I bend the hose support a bit, and move the hose out the back and down so that the hose can easily drain into the drain pan and not all over the frame of the bike.

This picture show the drain plug as it sits on the rear side on my Engine. The hose clamp is easy to remove and then the silver plug slides right out.

This show how I pulled the hose below the frame just a tiny bit and let the oil drain. on top of the yellow oil container is the plug and the hose clamp I removed.

Now make sure you remove the oil filler plug. This will allow air to get into the oil tanks so the oil can flow out the bottom of the engine into the drain pan.

Checking the oil in a Harley

The oil filler cap is on top of the Oil bag. pull it out and clean it off and set is someplace it will not get dirty. Be careful to keep dirt and other junk out of the oil tank while the plug is removed.

Step Two: Remove the oil filter.

The oil filter is on the front lower section of the Engine. It is easy to get to and easy to remove with the correct tools. You will need a small oil filter wrench, or a very large pair of pliers. The best option is to get the proper oil filter wrench and wrap it around the oil filter and slowly and gently turn the wrench counter clock wise to remove. Its is the standard right to tight, lefty loosy threading. In a pinch you can use a big set of pliers to grab the filter and crush it and remove it. (Note the very last option is to punch a screwdriver through the filter and twist it off using the screwdriver and a wrench.) Like I said the best option is to just get the proper tool.

Changing the oil filter on a Harley EVO Motor

This picture show the chrome filter on the front of my bike. The filter is tucked between the frame and the engine.

Once the Oil filter is removed you will need to clean the threads and the area on the engine that mounts the oil filter. Be very careful to keep this area clean and keep any and all dirt out of the engine. This area of the bike tends to build up oil, sand, rocks, dirt, and grime. Keeping this junk out of the engine is important. Don't spray or hose this area off with the oil filter removed.

Oil Filter on a Harley

When you take the oil filter off you will see the exposed threads of the mounting bracket. Get a clean cloth and clean the oil off the mounting surface of the bracket and remove and extra oil the is here.

Step Three: Install a new Oil Filter.

Get you new oil filter and before you install is get some clean oil and spread it around on the rubber gasket. You can even put a little bit of oil into the filter. This primes is so when the bike starts is has oil in it versus, needing to pump the oil from the oil tank and the engine running for a few cycle without oil. On my Diesel Truck when changing the filter I completely fill the filter with oil before installing it. Once you have placed oil on the rubber gasket, slowly thread the oil filter on to the threads on the engine. Be careful not to cross thread the filter on the threads. Once the Oil filter snugs up to the engine using only your hands tighten the filter about 1/4th of a turn more. This is about as tight as you can twist the filter on using only your hands. Do not get out your oil filter wrench just use your hands.

new oil filter

This picture show the bottom of the oil filter. This is an oil filter for a Jeep, but you get the idea and all oil filters are basically the same.

Step Four: Install the drain plug.

Now all of the oil has been drained out you need to put the drain plug back in. To do this get the hose clamp and slide it over the hose, then get the drain plug and slid it into the drain hose. It will slip back into place. Once the plug is in place slide the hose clamp over the top of the drain plug. you want to make sure the screw is line up so it is easy to get to tighten it up. Once in place hold it with one hand and tighten the hose clamp. Not too tight just nice and snug and the oil will not leak. If you put to much pressure in this hose clamp it will cut into the hose.

Step Five: Add new oil.

Like I said I use Harley Davidson Oil, and I am not a fanatic of synthetic, but you can certainly use any oil you think will protect your engine.

Harley Davidson Motor Oil

This is the 20W50 oil I use in my bikes. If you live in a really cold environment or a really hot area, you may want to consider a different weight of oil. This 20 weight 50 motor oil works pretty well for me.

The EVO motor when changing the oil and filter takes 3 quarts of oil. It is simple to add the new oil, just remove the cap and pour it into the oil tank.

Oil tank on a EVO Motor

Easy enough. You are almost done.

Harley Davidson FatBoy 1999

Just put the oil can in and let it all drain into the oil tank.

Checking the Oil on a Harley

Once the oil has been added to the oil tank you can check the oil level. On the oil filler cap are two notches. If the oil is below the lower notch you are really low.

One other note about starting your bike after and oil change, Make sure you put the oil tank cap on before turning over the engine. If you leave if off the air coming back from the engine will blow oil all over the place, believe me I learned this the hard was once.

When you first turn over the engine do it slowly and let the bike idle, don't start it and rev it up let the engine lubricate all the pieces and parts before you rev it. This only takes a few seconds, but being careful here will certainly not hurt you.

Step Six: Cleanup.

Be sure to recycle your used motor oil. Any and All modern parts stores like Autozone, Checker, or Napa will take your used oil and put it in the recycle bin for free. Don't do anything silly like put it in the garbage or pour it out back.






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