Author Topic: Oil Change DIY  (Read 4281 times)

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Offline Technostructural

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Oil Change DIY
« on: February 04, 2018, 01:25:59 AM »
Hello folks,

Most of you on this forum will be well-ahead of the game in terms of changing the oil on one of these bikes. I am too. Every once in a while though, one of our members on this forum will happen upon an XS500 or TX500 as their first bike, and they'll be looking for basic guidance. If you feel that I've left anything out or explained anything erroneously, feel free to comment with your corrections.

Currently there is no oil change DIY on this forum (that I can find). I took the time today to do some work on my TX500 and took some photos while I was at it. I figured I'd put together a quick DIY guide for changing the oil.


I'll start with a brief introduction. I've owned a few vintage bikes, but this is my first TX/XS. Last year I rebuilt a BMW K75, and it's now my daily rider. My good friend had this 74 TX500 and left it with me at a very good price. He had to leave town for work. It had also been let go in recent years. I thought I'd start by getting the old oil drained out and see if I need to buy one of those expensive filter adapter kits. Turns out I do =(.

Anyhow - assuming you've just gotten your TX/XS and you're wondering where to begin with changing the oil, there are a few things you should know from the beginning:


(1) These engines were a bit ahead of their time. They were arguably over-engineered for the time, and they use a canister filter. This is contrast to many bikes of this era, which used a paper filter that went inside the engine crankcase. These filters are similar to how many car oil filters are designed - they screw on and are enclosed in a metal casing.

(2) Generally speaking the design of the oil filters is good, but as you have probably read, the threading on the filters used on the TX/XS was a rare thread spacing (M22), which is out of step with what is normally used for most filters (M20). The result being that if you can't find any of the old ones kicking around from the 70s, you need to find some clever way to get an M20 filter on there. There are some expensive kits on eBay and other rigged up solutions -- all of which are expensive.

(3) You CAN change the oil without changing the filter. Many TX/XSs have been treated this way for years. Chances are, if you've just gotten this bike, it's time to actually figure out a solution though. This guide can serve as a way for you to figure out if you need to buy an adapter, or if your bike has already been equipped with one. If you don't have a replacement filter, carry on with this guide, but start looking for a filter or adapter NOW!


(1) 3L of 10w40 or 20w50 motorcycle oil (I use old school dino oil, but feel free to bore yourself to death reading up on what the "best oil to use" is)
(2) 5mm allen/hex key or socket
(3) 19mm wrench
(4) 17mm socket and rachet
(5) 10mm wrench
(6) oil filter (bit of a long story, but if you've got one, congrats!. If not.. well, start planning on a solution for next time)
(7) narrow funnel
(8) flathead screwdriver
(9) philips head screwdriver ("star")
(10) philips head socket (ideally).
(11) rubber mallet


Preliminary step: put the bike on its centre stand, on level ground

Let's start with the left side of the bike.

Note: unfortunately, this is not my bike, but a photo I found on Google. Someday, mine will be this clean.

So, you've got a dipstick and an oil filler cap. Notice how the filler cap is inset a bit. In order to get your oil to pour in there cleanly, you're going to want a narrow funnel. For the purposes of changing the oil at this stage, the dipstick shouldn't be much of a concern. Feel free to turn it loose for later, but you may as well leave it in place.


Notice how the crankcase cover above the shift lever is broken in two pieces? Well, the oil filter is behind that cover on the right hand side. Taking it off will require us take off two things first:

(1) left footpeg; and
(2) shifter/lever

The left footpeg should be pretty easy. Get your 19mm wrench on there and take the nut off. The footpeg should then slide right off. Others may argue that you don't need to take this off, but I think it will make your life a little easier and it is really not hard to get off.

Next, loosen the 10mm nut that clamps the gear selector/shifter on. The gear shifter should pull off. It may take a bit of wiggling and encouragement. If needed, you can use a flathead screwdriver to help pry from behind. Just don't go full caveman on it. Be relatively gentle here.

Once you've got that all out of the way, get your 5mm allen key and take out the 5 fillister head screws/bolts that hold the left cover on. They will be in different lengths so keep track of which one goes where the best you can.

The cover should then come off. You can use your rubbet mallet to tap it loose, and you can also use your flathead screwdriver to (gently) pry around the edges. Once you get it off, you'll see what's underneath. Hopefully yours will look cleaner than mine:

Ok, yeah. So, it looks a little nasty. Chances are, yours does too. Don't freak out. We're going to move to the bottom of the motorcycle now and drain the oil before going any further. Remember the oil filler cap? Twist it loose now. You can leave it in place, just loosen it enough so that air can get in as the oil drains out.

Put your trusty oil pan underneath of the bike while on the centre stand. In my case, I use a 20lb fish bin. I like these because they're flexible and easy to pour the contents into other jugs, etc.

It's probably easiest at this stage to move over to the right side of the bike. The oil drain plug is closer to that side. If you could look straight up at the bottom of the oil pan, this is what you'd see:

Now you're going to want to get your 17mm wrench, or ideally a 6 point socket and stick it on that oil drain plug. There's a good chance it's been a while since this has been removed, so get ready for a bit of a pain in the ass. You can use a hammer to tap the rachet a little bit to help free it up. You may need to be patient here, or use a breaker bar if you've got one. The actual oil drain plug itself is quite large in there, and I think very unlikely to break, so feel free to give it some hell to pull it out if its stuck.

Once you've got it threaded out, oil will be rushed out into your oil pan below. Take note of the colour and thickness of the oil. Very old oil will be opaque black and not very viscous. Hopefully it's more on the honey brown side of things.

Ideally your oil pan will be large enough to span underneath both the drain plug and the oil filter area back on the right side of the bike. You'll see in my photos that it does. This is ideal because we're going to move back to the right side of the bike now and take that sucker out. When we do that, some oil will come out there as well. It shouldn't be a ton, so you could always put down a few rags as well.

Ok, so, time to take the filter off:

Use a 21mm socket or wrench. It should come off fairly easily.

Yup, it's old AF. Looks like this bike will need some kind of M20 solution, because finding these M22 filters is near impossible now.

Once you have it off, some oil will drip below, as mentioned. You'll see a piece that looks something like this:

If you're lucky, this will be one of the new adapter ones that will allow M20 filters. If you're like me, it isn't. You'll probably need to get one. If that's the case, you're going to need to take it off by removing the three philips screws that hold it in. Make sure the philips head is a fairly big one. Give it a tap with a hammer first and these screws should come out without too much hassle. The filter base and gasket (shown above) should both come off, and what you will see will be this:

This is a good opportunity to clean things up in here. Put on some gloves and get a few rags and clean that grime outta there. If you've already got your new adapter with M20 threading, zap that baby on there with the new gasket. Your new filter will need a little bit of oil around the rubber seal ring before it goes on. Screw it on hand tight.

Now, move back to the underneath of the bike and put your drain plug back in. If you've got a new crush washer, now is a good time to replace that. If you don't, put one on your to do list. You can reuse them, but don't make it a habit

Next, get your long funnel and fill up your crankcase to the manufacturer's spec, which in my case is 3L.

Start the bike and check for leaks. Look around the oil drain plug and oil filter. Make sure everything is staying dry. Let the bike run for a few minutes and then shut it off.

After the bike sits for a few minutes, use the dipstick to check the level. Top up the oil if necessary.

Once you're satisfied that everything is good to go, put your left side cover back on with the 5 x 5mm allen bolts. Then, put your shift lever and footpeg back on.

You're good to go! Happy riding.

P.S. I will be updating this DIY with more involved photos once I get the adapter parts! Stay tuned.

« Last Edit: February 04, 2018, 01:35:52 AM by Technostructural »

Offline Joffa1

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Re: Oil Change DIY
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2019, 07:20:55 AM »
Great write up thanks for that.

Iím just doing first oil change on my xs500c since buying and one oddity I found was there are 2 drain bolts. Both 17mm there is one on an angle and the other closer to the right side of the motor isnít. Make sure to drain oil from both.

Offline CrouchyUK

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Re: Oil Change DIY
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2019, 09:02:43 AM »
Yes- good spot on the 2 drainplugs- I must have missed this otherwise very helpful oil change write-up.

As an additional point- it is essential to replace the smaller drain plug with the same or identical?  You will have noticed it looks a bit longer on the threads than might be considered necessary for a drain plug.  But itís length also seals a side oil port that drains the crankcase chamber for the oil change- normally this port is blocked and the crankcase oil is pumped away by the oil pump.  Effectively these engines are dry sump.

We have had members tempted by these modern magnetic sump plugs- these are too short and the end result is that while standing the main oil charge drains back into the crankcase.  Symptom is having to keep adding more and more oil to get a level on the dipstick.  It took us months to figure this out!
« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 09:10:05 AM by CrouchyUK »
1975 Honda CB200T (2) - 1975 Yamaha XS500B (2) - 1976 Yamaha XS500C
1977 Yamaha RD400D - 1977 Yamaha XS500D - 1978 Honda CB550K - 1980 Honda CB400N
1980 Honda CB900FA - 2000 Kawasaki ZX6-RG2 - 2002 Suzuki GSX-R1000K2