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I thought the oil was supposed to be checked while warm. After the engine is warmed up, let it sit for 3 minutes or so so the oil drains down, then check it. I believe this is because the oil expands somewhat when hot, giving a different reading than if you checked it cold. Just what I heard or read somewhere... might be right or wrong.

As for draining when cold... it probably is just fine for our Volusias and C50s, but that doesn't work for a dry sump system with an external tank like my Buell. The oil is drained from the external tank via a hose. When the engine is run, oil is pumped into the tank. After it sits for a while, some of the oil drains from the tank back into the crankcase. Therefore on this particular bike, there is no way you could drain all the oil if you do it cold. I try to drain the tank immediately when shutting the engine down. No problem with burning fingers on this one though. If you check the oil on this bike when cold, the level will look low and if you top it off, you will definitely be overfilled. I know... not a Volusia... but I'm just passing along this info should someone read this thread and apply the knowledge to all bikes.

Steve
 

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I agree with 1983Z28.

Oil is contaminated with abrasive and chemical impurities. But the dirt in oil is just like dirt in water, leave it undisturbed and it settles to the bottom. Drain cold oil and much of the sludge may stay behind. Therefore, I run the engine and get all of the contaminants in suspension so they come out with the oil.

Another trick, after oil is drained, is to add fresh oil and let it wash out the sludge before you install the drain plug.
 

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There are sound mechanical reasons for running an engine for a brief period of time prior to changing the oil. To remove all of the impurities that cause engine wear, it's necessary for the engine to be run. (It isn't necessary to run the engine to the point at which the oil is hot and unsafe to handle.) The problem is that the filter only removes 98 to 99% of the dirt and impurities from the oil. Sub-micron particles and particles up to two to three microns will invariably pass through the filter and, over time, contaminate the oil. This is the reason to change the oil in the first place. (plus thermal breakdown) These particles will settle out into the bottom of the engine oil pan and there is no way to get them back into suspension to be removed when the oil is drained out without running the engine first. Eventually, the "cold" method will result in excessive engine wear and premature mechanical failures. Hence, there are two reasons for running the engine prior to draining the oil: 1) to get all of the impurities into suspension in the oil for removal and 2) to warm the oil to a point at which it will readily drain from the engine. Experience with your own type and model engine will tell you how long you must run it to get the oil warm. At that point you may be satisfied that all of the smaller particles not trapped in the filter are being removed along with the old oil.
So here is my answer. Do it warm. Not hot, just warm. I know that's how I will always do mine cause it's not just about the flow. That is of course, unless someone can find me a write up that says something different. :D
 

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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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I've always changed oil on my 2004 cold - never any issues. I also use conventional and have NEVER had a problem. Same with lawnmower etc! Always cold!
 

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I've always changed oil on my 2004 cold - never any issues. I also use conventional and have NEVER had a problem. Same with lawnmower etc! Always cold!
Welcome from Kennesaw GA!

Your 2004 was only a year old when this thread was last updated.
 

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I change my oil and filter cold every 5000 miles whether it needs it or not. So once every 2 or 3 years.
 
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