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Discussion Starter #1
During my last bike service, I discovered it actually IS possible to change your oil filter without making a mess! I actually changed the filter without spilling a drop! Anyone with a touring bike and the stock HD oil cooler knows what a hassle it is to change the oil filter - usually results in oil all over the bike and nice puddle on the floor. :(

I have the HD filter funnel, which I thought was fairly worthless but I learned it's actually useful if you use a little patience. Similar devices should work too but I already have this.

First, do the filter change with the bike on the side stand - the lean angle will help route the oil into the funnel. My first few attempts were done with the bike on the jack (upright), and a big mess was the result. I don't even use the jack now for changing fluids … its really just in the way. (While draining from the plug, I do straddle the bike to pull it upright for a bit to remove as much of the old oil as possible.)

Second, after the oil is drained and the plug still removed, push the filter funnel into place and rotate it so that the extended part fits into the open area of the filter housing - this gets the funnel under the filter the farthest and lessens the chance for drips. From the other side (brake side), I stuff a rag under the funnel to catch any small drips. It's kind of hard to get to with everything in the way so I use a screwdriver to help push the rag into the area and under the funnel as far as possible.

Third, once everything is in place, unscrew the filter very SLOWLY until you first see oil begin to drain and then STOP … just let the oil drain a while. (this is the patience part). The trick is to let it drain slowly … If you keep unscrewing the filter, the oil will overflow at the rear of the funnel and you'll have a mess. (I use the HD filter wrench - it's kind of a pain to use with the funnel in place but I found if I loosen the filter a little and then reposition the funnel, it works fine - I do this a couple of times until the filter is loose enough to let the oil start draining. Filters like the KN with the nuts welding on the end would be easier)

Last, once the oil flow has subsided down the funnel, slowly unscrew the filter until its free of the housing. Keep in mind at this point the filter still has a LOT of oil in it … make sure you angle the filter UPRIGHT after it's free of the housing. Otherwise you'll dump oil everywhere. Then it's just a matter of wrestling it out the rest of the way. Have a rag handy to wipe the housing because that will drip a little.

I searched and searched but never found anything that laid out a practical method for avoiding the mess … so after this last oil change without a single drop of oil reaching the bike or ground, I thought I'd share. I know I'll get responses like "I just let it run all over and wash the bike afterwards" and that's fine but i'd rather not make a mess in the first place. I've gone that route before and had drips for days afterwards even after washing the bike and paying extra attention to the oil cooler area.

Sorry for the long-winded post but hope this helps someone …
 

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Thanks, I will do exactly as you said. I hate getting oil on the ground or anywhere on the bike for that matter and I usually take my time anyways so patience is no problem for me.
 

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Yep, I found last time I changed the oil that leaving it on the side stand provides a good angle for slowly draining the oil filter.

I also pulled off a drip free filter change. The only difference being that I don't have the HD filter funnel. I fashioned something similar from a cardboard beer case (oddly, I just had one of them laying around). That cardboard is thin enough that it can slide all the way up under the filter and channel the oil where I want it to go.

I may pick up the filter funnel eventually, but the liquor store is much closer to me, so.... we'll see. -Jay
 

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Great right up. If you poke a hole in the bottom of the filter you can drain it completely before removing it as well. Not sure if that works with the funnel you are using but it works using aluminum foil wound up as a half funnel shoved under the filter.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Jay, save your $20 man. I tried a couple homemade solutions ... even took some clear lexan I had and formed it to the same shape as the filter with hot water. Still had a mess but now I realize that was just because of my method - probably would have been fine had I followed the above. In no way was I trying to say the HD funnel is necessary ... I only bought as a last ditch attempt but even that didn't work at first. You'd think charging $20 for $2 worth of plastic, HD could include a tip or two! lol

I could see how poking a couple of strategically placed holes at the end of the filter would be effective too ... and it'd work with the HD funnel. Thanks for the additional tip triplej.
 

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Doing a change on the wife's SG tonight... Might have to try beer case cardboard. ;)

Stephen
 

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I tried a bunch of the homebrew solutions. Cardboard, cut up plastic bottles, poking holes in filter but none worked as good as a zip top bag. Slightly loosenen the filter then take a gallon size zip top bag and sliding it over the entire assembly. Then you just grab the filter from outside the bag and unscrew it the rest of the way. The filter and any oil will all fall into the bag. Get a rag for the drips and throw the whole thing away.

I've always wondered why they designed the bikes for the filter to be there in the first place. Surely there's a better way. People shouldn't have to be so creative just to change their own oil.
 

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Get a Coffee-Mate jug, cut the end off, put the filter wrench in, put the ratch in small side, place jug and filter wrench on filter, loosen, let oil drip, remove, minimal clean up - cost $3.75 for Coffee-Mate. Drink coffee when finished. :)

 

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great idea

Get a Coffee-Mate jug, cut the end off, put the filter wrench in, put the ratch in small side, place jug and filter wrench on filter, loosen, let oil drip, remove, minimal clean up - cost $3.75 for Coffee-Mate. Drink coffee when finished. :)

That is genius already to start that one thank you.
 

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One thing to add to the already good ideas..... I take a 1/4" drill and zap a hole in the end of the filter down low and let it drain, using the orange HD filter funnel thingie. While that's draining, I pull the pan plug and let it drain.

When I get back to the filter it's pretty much empty.

You're going to throw it away anyhow ;)
 

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Get a Coffee-Mate jug, cut the end off, put the filter wrench in, put the ratch in small side, place jug and filter wrench on filter, loosen, let oil drip, remove, minimal clean up - cost $3.75 for Coffee-Mate. Drink coffee when finished. :)

I did the same with a pint milk bottle. Works well.
Doc
 

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Discussion Starter #14
That's a damn fine lookin' contraption ya' built there, joke! :)

HD_Shock, I'm thinking of visiting the Windy part of OK to see that method in person ;)
Great post thanks to all for the great tips.
Well, come on down, Dream! Plenty of room in the garage for another Roadie and a nice looking Heritage. :D
 

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this is probably more to my patience tolerate level>>>another good post and idea , as always this forum rocks
 

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Get a Coffee-Mate jug, cut the end off, put the filter wrench in, put the ratch in small side, place jug and filter wrench on filter, loosen, let oil drip, remove, minimal clean up - cost $3.75 for Coffee-Mate. Drink coffee when finished. :)

Great idea! I'll try that next time.
 

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Either we have the most creative problem solvers on here, or else we have a whole lot of folks with too much free time on their hands! Great solutions guys, especially Joke's filter in a bottle routine. Love it.
 

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I use tin foil under the filter long enough to to go out by the floor board, just loosen the filter to hand tight before putting the foil in.
 
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