Sunday, June 7, 2009

Suzuki V-Strom DL650 Oil change

Changing the oil on a Suzuki V-Strom DL 650 is pretty easy. I commute about 60 miles round-trip per day and this puts a lot of miles on the bike. I follow a few rules:

1. Use reasonably priced good oil and good oil filters
  • Shell Rohtella T Syntheic 10w-40w (Blue container)
  • Mobil 1 5w - 40w Synthetic
  • Puralator Filters or Suzuki stock filters
Oil in my DL 650 takes a lot of punishment since I'm on the freeway a lot, ~5-6k RPM's while cruising, as well as up and down hills in San Francisco (Wet Clutch in the DL650).

Therefore I have found the either of the two-oils above work well in the DL650. Puralator filters (ML16818) are available from Amazon and are around $11 for two filters . I have had very good results with the Puralator filter and have used it many times. Many people report that the stock Suzuki filter is also good, just a bit pricey ($?).

2. Change the oil frequently around 3.0k - 4k and always change the oil filter
I change the oil pretty often since I am running at such high RPM's, freeway, much of the time on the bike. My ST1300 does not break down oil as fast since it aveage freeway RPM's are around 3.8k-4.2k. This high RPM from the Strom breaks down the oils viscoity a bit faster. When the vicosity of the oil begins to break down the lubricating abilty of the oil dimishes and engine damage begins. I have around 39k miles on the bike now following this oil change period and expect to get 100k from the bike as long as I keep it maintained.

3. You'll need a small funnel, an oil drip pan, a fiter scocket and have a scocket set on-hand.
You're going to need to pour the oil into something. I purchased a inexpensive oil drip pan at Pep Boy's (big auto store). An invaluble tool for taking off the oil filter is the filter scoket. It fits over the filter and allows you to twist off the filter. I read heard horror stories of the strap style filter remover and have always used this tool with great sucess.

4. Center stand or center risers and bungie to keep front brake engaged

Let the games begin...
1) Unscrew the oil filter one turn, while the engine is cold, to get it started. No oil will be dripping unless there is a crack in the gasket. Note: this "pre-turn" will make removing the filter later a bit easier.
2) Turn over the engine and let it warm the oil. Let the engine heat up to the first bar then turn the engine off.
3) Put the oil pan under the drain bolt and carefully remove both drain bolt and washer. Be careful as the oil will be a bit warm and the washer may stick to the engine.
4) Wait about 10 minutes for warm oil to drain.
5) After 10 minutes I then remove the oil filter letting the majority of the oil drain from the engine.
Note: Some people turn the engine over a couple of turns to get 'all' the oil out. Not me, I don't mind a little bit of old oil with the new oil. The risk/reward of turning over the engine without oil in the engine just never made much sense to me so I don't do it.
6) Put the drain bolt, with washer, back on.
7) Put a few daps of fresh oil around the new oil fliter gasket to help it seal. Screw on the new oil filter and tighten it pretty tightly. Remember you'll need to take it off again (About 12-13 ft/lbs).
8) Put oil back into the engine and check to make sure it goes to the 'TOP' of the window.
9) Cover the oil fill port.
10) Start the engine and look for leaks - fix as necessary run about 3-5 minutes.
11) Let engine cool and oil drain back into reservoir - about 10 minutes
11) Add a bit more oil if the engine oil doesn't return to the center mark. Note: the new filter will absorb some oil.
11) Confirm oil level is correct before taking off center stand.

To summarize:
1) Start with good oil and a good filter (always change both)
2) Use the right tools, namely oil wrench, and take your time.

The cardinal rule is: safety first. It's important to not do this job on the side-stand as if the bike fell on you it would make for a very, very bad day. But rather a center-stand (or what I use, center risers).

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