Sunday, November 9, 2008

Is it really worth it...

...changing my own oil? Like I mentioned previously I like to do a lot of my own service and mods if I can. I change my own fluids most of the time because I can, and because $300 for an oil change (and a few other adjustments) is hard to justify. So, back in September I was prepping my bike for a trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas for Bikes, Blues, and Barbecue (pics to come later) and I changed my engine oil and filter. Well anyone that has changed the oil on one of these bike knows how messy that can be. I loosened the filter and proceeded to drown the area around the filter with old oil. I tried diverting the oil with cardboard and was not successful. I decided not to wash the bike, just detail it and clean all the oil I could off. When I got to Fayetteville, I found some oil on the filter. I cleaned it off and kept a close check on my oil level (as always) and it never dropped. So this tells me it was the old oil running off the hot crankcase. Well I got home and washed it and have only ridden twice since then (I am ashamed). I rode this morning and was messing around the bike and found some of the old oil on the plate behind the voltage regulator directly below the filter (an area that is almost impossible to get to in a normal wash). I went over this thing with a fine tooth comb and am confident it is not leaking. Plus this oil was old and gritty like it had been there for a bit. So, I spent the next hour taking the regulator and back plate off and cleaning old oil off the two plugs, the back plate and all the other stuff down there. I guess I am too anal about this stuff, but I only have one bike and it's gotta last me for several years and lots of miles. Anyway, this brings me back to my original question, is changing my own oil, or doing my own mods, really worth it?

Hmmm, heck yeah!!!! Because not only did I save money, I now know exactly how the voltage regulator and all the wiring and other parts are all connected and feel a little more educated about how it's put together. I little time is not too much to sacrifice, especially since it doesn't cost $80/hour.

This is in no way meant to say that not doing your own stuff is wrong or bad or anything. I certainly use the dealer or indy shop for work on things I don't feel comfortable doing. Everyone is free to make their own choice. I will be using the dealer at my 10,000 mile service to do all the adjustments except change fluids. They don't carry the type of oil I use.


fasthair said...

Mr. TRT,

Heres a little tip for you and your oil mess. Carb cleaner. Get a can of carb cleaner and after installing your new oil filter spray the area down with carb clean. This will clean the area well and then just wash the bike and no more mess.


Ann said...

My husband, Big D never goes to the dealership or anywhere else for service. We nearly have a full-service shop at the house. :)

I would never pay $300 for an oil change!

Allen Madding said...

yup, they don't carry Mobil-1 V-Twin :) And to make things easier on us, K&N (who make really good filters) makes oil filters for Harleys with a nut on the end, so changing an oil filter can be a lot easier in the tight confines. And Yes, they offer them in chrome.

Webster World said...

Another thing to use in clean up is Go JO or any shop hand cleaner. Works great on white walls. The oil near your regulator, if it's at the split in the cases there is not much you can do but clean it.