Feb 16, 2014

new fluids for the bike...

with all the snow and ice lately, the weather and roads haven't been conducive to riding. so i spent a little time yesterday working on the bike... okay, maybe a little time turned into more time than it should have taken!

i started the day out thinking i would just change the fluids - oil, transmission and primary chain. then i got to thinking while i have the primary case open, i may as well go for a clutch adjustment as well. my father-in-law has helped me through the process before, but this was the first time attempting the feat on my own. and even though i have the service manual, i called him to talk through the process before starting.

to get to the primary cover off on my road king, i have to start by taking the passenger footrest off the bike. how crazy is that? looking at my maintenance records, i see i didn't change the primary oil. probably because i couldn't find the tool to take the footrest off.

foot rest removed

next was putting slack into the clutch line by loosening the adjusting nut.

adjusting nut loosened

once the clutch cable is loose, the lock nut on the adjusting screw needs to be loosened ad the adjusting screw backed out a bit. once that's done, the adjusting screw needs to be screwed in until there's a slight bit of resistance. not quite knowing what a slight bit of resistance is, a call was placed to my all-knowing father-in-law. after some discussion, i felt comfortable with how it should feel. after getting to that point, the screw should be backed out 1/2 to 1 full turn. then, without moving the adjusting screw, the lock nut needs to be tightened again. easier said than done!

adjusting the clutch adjusting screw

time to tighten the clutch cable. the cable needs to be tightened until there is 1/16th to 1/8th inch between the ferrule and clutch bracket. again, a little easier said than done - i mean how much pull on the cable is needed to test the clearance? experience, i guess. once it's adjusted, the clutch lever should be pulled in a few times to seat the ball and ramp and then the clearance checked (again). repeat as necessary. when the cable is adjusted, the jam nut can be tightened and the boot replaced.

clutch cable adjusted

boot replaced

clutch adjusted, victory call made to father-in-law, time to move on to replacing the fluids. at this point, it's simple a matter of removing the primary fluid drain plug under the primary cover.

draining primary fluid

as usual, once the fluid is drained, time to put the plug back in and fill up the primary case. i find that draining the fluid is best when the bike is on the side stand. but putting the fluid into the primary case is much easier when the bike is level. once quart of fluid and time to close up the primary case and reattach the passenger footrest.

clutch adjusted and primary fluid changed

time to move to the other side of the bike to change the oil and transmission fluids. the oil needs to be done at operating temperature. since i couldn't take it out for a ride, i started the bike and let it run while i tinkered around the garage for a bit. satisfied it was warm enough, the oil drain plug was removed. with the oil draining from the pan, i move on to taking the oil filter off.

oil cap and transmission cap removed to assist in draining

i bought this handy little tool to help catch the oil when the filter is removed. i put it in place, run the hose to the catch pan and start removing the filter. one thing i didn't think of/realize, with the tool in place, as you turn the filter, it runs through the draining oil, making the filter slippery and harder to take off. as i'm fighting with this, i notice oil gathering on the tool and none going into the catch pan. this is when 20/20 hind-sight kicks in. i probably should have made sure the line was clear before hooking it up. so now, with good intentions of keeping things clean, i've got a head start on making a mess!

a mess brewing

oil filter removed. oil still in precarious place.

after some careful maneuvering, i manage to get the filter tool away from the engine without making much of a mess. i also checked the tube and it seems a family of critters decided to make it home while i wasn't using it. you can believe it's not a mistake i'll make again!

new filter on

with the new filter in place, it was time to replace the oil plug and drain the transmission fluid. both plugs are on the underside of the bike and not far apart.

transmission fluid draining

once the transmission fluid was done draining, the plug was put in and fluids added to both oil transmission cases. i cracked up the engine again to get it back to operating temperature to make the final check on the oil level.

job accomplished. now i just need some good weather to get the bike out and check the clutch adjustment. maybe lunch one day this week..