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Discussion Starter #1
Last week I was getting ready to change the oil on my Volusia, and I was about to warm the bike up for the process. That's when I got to thinking about the conventional wisdom surrounding an oil change.

Conventional wisdom: An oil change should only be done after the engine has warmed up to operating temperature. Once an engine is shutoff, all the warm oil will flow from the top of the engine down to the oil pan/sump for easier draining. That's because warm oil flows better than cold oil.

But here's where I really started questioning that.

1) The last time I used the bike the engine was nice and warm and so was the oil. Consequently, when I shut the bike off the warm oil took its time and drained down to the sump as the bike slowly cooled. All engine oil should have made its way to the oil pan by the time the engine cools off, leaving virtually no oil hanging around up in the valve train, or on cylinder walls, pistons, rods, etc.

2). Modern multi-weight oil (e.g. 10W-40) is engineered to act just like thinner 10W oil when it is cold (to aid in oil circulation when cold starting) and the same oil actually thickens viscosity up to act like 40W oil when it is warmed up to operating temperatures. That's what makes multi-weight oil great.

So..... follow me on this....when the engine is cold, all the oil has already drained down into the engine's oil pan and this cold oil is at it's thinest multi-weight properties. Bingo! That should be the ideal time to do an oil change.

You know what? My cold engine oil change went great. The oil drained as quickly, if not quicker, then usual. And there was no danger of gently scalding myself on hot oil.

My theory on this? This engine-must-be-warm-to-do-an-oil-change myth was formed in the old days of cars using single weight oil, like straight 30W, when owners would actually switch to thinner 20W in cold climates for winter use, and back to 30W for summertime. Way back then, it made sense to warm up the straight weight oil because it would thin out at operating temperatures. But I don't think that is true any more.

Try it for yourself on your next oil change.


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To heck with conventional wisdom. I like your way of thinking. You cannot possibly do any damage to an engine by changing the oil cold. I have often wondered myself why it wasn't done this way.

Maniac
 

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Sounds logical to me! So, if a beer is really cold, it goes down smoother if the oil is warm. But if the oil is cold, is the beer just as good??
 

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I would have to agree with Scraper. Since it has been sitting for many hours, there will be less oil up top.
 

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I never do warm engine oil changes!

If you shut off your engine and the oil drains down, then why start it again??
Who cares if it sits overnight or what, it ain't gonna drain any more!
 

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You are correct! I have been doing oil changes on my bike using the same procedure for the last year. I have been using the same logic as you. Works great, the oil drains faster, and I don't have to worry about getting burned in the process.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
:idea: Cool. I might be on to something here.

I thought this thread would be filled with angry replies telling me I was plain nuts because "Doing a oil change with warm oil is the way my Dad taught me, and it's the way his Dad taught him! It's the only way to do it"

Nice to see others are doing it with cold engines too.


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Phloyd said:
I've always done mine cold because I am just lazy...
Me too! :lol: :lol: :lol: I've never had any problems doing mine cold.
 

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Not to mention the pipes are fairly close and those buggers get hot too!
 

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Conventional oil change

You may be right however consider:
1. The reason for warming the oil isn't to let it flow down into the pan. It's to distribute it throughout the engine. This way, the amount of oil in the pan is the manufacturering engineers specified amount that you measure on the dip stick/see in the window of C50s and vols. If you drain it all down, change it and measure it to the "full" amount, then start the engine and distribute the oil throughout the engine, wouldn't you be low on oil in the pan, and therefore throughout the system? And if we then top it off to bring it up to the correct "full" amount, what have we accomplished?

2. Single weight oils are still used today. They are not outmoded, such as the 30w specified in my Jeep. So don't let the weight system lead us to analyze the reason for warm/cold oil changes.

Just my opinion and would appreciate some comments.
 

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Re: Conventional oil change

MtMan said:
You may be right however consider:
1. The reason for warming the oil isn't to let it flow down into the pan. It's to distribute it throughout the engine. This way, the amount of oil in the pan is the manufacturering engineers specified amount that you measure on the dip stick/see in the window of C50s and vols. If you drain it all down, change it and measure it to the "full" amount, then start the engine and distribute the oil throughout the engine, wouldn't you be low on oil in the pan, and therefore throughout the system? And if we then top it off to bring it up to the correct "full" amount, what have we accomplished?

2. Single weight oils are still used today. They are not outmoded, such as the 30w specified in my Jeep. So don't let the weight system lead us to analyze the reason for warm/cold oil changes.

Just my opinion and would appreciate some comments.
Oil is supposed to be checked on a cold engine, so if it is checked warm, it will most likely indicate low. Adding oil at this time will overfill the crankcase.
Is your Jeep a 1962 model? I haven't seen a manufacturers manual specify single weight oil for quite a while...except for my lawn tractor!
 

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I like it, well put.

but I thought thte main reason for doing it warm was that all the crap sediment would be suspended more in the warm oil.
 

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Nothing like a good oil thread! I always drain mine cold but I allow it to drip for an hour before capping and refilling.
Ernie
 

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I always drain cold and on a lift so the pan empties completely. And when measuring fresh oil level, remember to account for the new filter keeping some.

Also, my stealer recommends replacing the final drive oil at every engine oil change, even though the manual doesn't call for it. It's cheap and doesn't take much more time, so I do it. Anyone else?
 

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Bubba_Lou said:
Also, my stealer recommends replacing the final drive oil at every engine oil change, even though the manual doesn't call for it. It's cheap and doesn't take much more time, so I do it. Anyone else?
Oil, filter, and final drive oil every 3,000.... probably overkill but cheap insurance for the fun I get in return.
 
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