The right way to do an oil change on YZF and other sportbikes...

Oct 11, 2002

The Bottom Line Happy twisties to all...Ride safe, always!

Hi all - I'm writing this only because I checked up on a few older reviews of mine (YZF600R and YZFR1) see here:

Anyhow, I saw a considerable amount of criticism about difficulty with oil changes, specifically on the YZF, however also on many other sportbikes, and it instantly occurred to me that evidently alot of guys are doing this way all wrong! My goal here is to make people's lives alot easier and take the grumbling out of doing a simple oil change - the YZF is actually one of the easiest bikes to do -- Much easier, in fact, than the 02 R1, which is also easy, but the oil filter is burried in between the spaghetti-bent headers (remember, new R1 has a 4-2-1 exhaust, as opposed to 98-01 R1's which have a 4-1 exhaust and a slightly different header arrangement which makes filter access easier) Anyhow, let's start with the YZF:

The YZF should take a maximum of 10 easy minutes to change the oil- regardless of whether or not you have a swingarm stand, though having one makes it REALLY quick and easy.

First WITH a swingarm stand: Put the bike up on the swingarm stand. Remove ONLY the back-most side fairing retainer bolt, this is an allen-key fitting. CONTRARY TO ALOT OF PEOPLE, it is NOT NECESSARY to remove the entire fairing, TRUST ME.... THe fairing is made of very flexible plastic, and is DESIGNED to be able to be moved out of the way easily... While you have the bike on the swingarm stand, put the kickstand in the "up" position (the position it is in while riding) now pull out the back part of the fairing enough to put the kickstand in the "down" position - you'll find that once the kickstand is down, it will hold the fairing away from the bike giving you PLENTY of room to get a wrench around the drain plug to remove it - you will also have plenty of room for oil drainage without worrying about any spillage on the bike or the plastics.

On the YZF the oil filter is easy access - you should be able to unthread it by hand...if the jamoke who last change the oil filter made it gorilla tight, there are a number of easy solutions:
1) Get a bonnet wrench - they cost a few bucks AND sometimes slip anyway - oil filters are for the most part, not designed to intellignetly.
2) (the easy way) stab the oil filter with an awl or a screwdriver and use this to unthread it - when YOU replace the oil filter, do the right thing and don't make it gorilla tight!

Very easy - now fill up the oil, tighten up the drain plug and replace the fairing bolt and go ride! Literally a 5-10 minute job! FYI, if you do not have a swingarm stand, you can do the same trick with the kickstand - just stand the bike up on the kickstand and loosen the rear-most fairing bolt as per above...Now sit on the bike, pull up the kickstand, use your left foot to push the fairing out of the way and at the same time push the kickstand down to hold the fairing off the bike - stand the bike on its OWN kickstand now and procede to drain the oil as per above.

Final note: I highly recomend a swingarm stand over the kickstand-only method just because it is alot easier to be accurate when you FILL the oil. With a swingarm stand the bike stands straight up side-to-side, so when you fill the oil you get an accurate reading out of the sight window. When the bike is leaning on its kickstand, it is angled such that it prevents you from getting any kind of accurate reading from the oil sight-window, you'll need a friend to hold up the bike or just pre-measure your oil...but the best way IS the swingarm stand.

For the R1: Basically the same rules apply for the fairing, only the R1's fairing is so svelte, you don't even need to kickstand to hold it out of the way - the left and right fairing pieces actually interlock like legos at the bottom-rear section, so once you unlock them (slide the lefts piece forward 1/4 inch and the right one back with your hands, from right underneath the bike). Once you do this, the piece will just flop out of the way, granting you easy access to the drain plug. Procede as per above.

Lastly, the oil filter, as I mentioned, is really a pain in the butt on the new 2002 because of the 2-on-2 header configuration... Be very careful using your hands, because you need to get a oil a bit warm to properly drain AND this means running the bike...furthermore, this means the headers will be HOT HOT HOT - so use extreme caution is yuo're trying to uscrew the filter by hand. Otherwise, be smart and either
1) use a bonnet wrench OR
2) Copy K&N's great idea of welding a hex nut on the head of the oil filter..... this is a great idea - I wish more intelligent people would do the same on ALL oil filters! There no need to weld - just use high-temperature, high-stress epoxy and simply epoxy and 12 or 14mm hex nut on the top of the oil filter - when it comes time to change, stick a socket on that filter and BINGO - you're done.

Hope these little tricks make your lives ALOT easier... I still can't believe people were wasting so much time removing the ENTIRE fairing! This should save you time, energy AND aggrevation...Best of all, these tricks work with most comparable sportbikes!

Best wishes and please, always ride safe.

Happy twisties to all of you

Nick1326 AKA "The Scud"

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