…Can’t Help You With Your Honda Four-Stroke Oil Change, But Team Honda’s Shawn Ulikowski Can!
Intro and Photos: Ryan Cooley
If you own a modern-day four-stroke and aren’t performing routine oil changes, you’re making a huge mistake! The internal motor parts of today’s high-performance machines have huge demands placed upon them, and the proper level of fresh oil is critical to their performance and life expectancy. For the weekend warrior who’s just cruising the trails from time to time, less frequent oil changes may get you by. But for those of you out tearing up your local tracks a day or two a week, the repercussions of not changing your oil on a regular basis can lead to serious damage down the road. So don’t blow your wad on a motor rebuild when for the cost of a couple of lattes you can keep your little darling fresh and running like a champ.
Given their enormous popularity and the fact that they require a different oil-changing procedure than other four-strokes, we recruited Travis Preston’s factory Honda wrench, Shawn Ulikowski, to show you the proper technique for Honda four-stroke oil changes. Take it away Shawny….
For those of you who don’t already know, your Honda four-stroke has two different oils; engine oil and transmission oil. I prefer this design because motor and transmission parts have varying requirements and therefore benefit from oils with different properties. On the CRF250R, the engine oil drain hole is found on the bottom of the case (12mm bolt), and the transmission oil drain hole is on the left-side crankcase behind the shift lever (12mm bolt). On the CRF450R, the engine oil drain is found on the ignition cover on the left-side case (10mm bolt), and the transmission oil drain hole is on the left-side crankcase behind the shift lever (12mm bolt). When it’s time for an oil change, always change both oils!
(Tip: Check out the Billy Who? Product Report at the bottom of this page. For simplicity I’ve decided not to use the Billy Who? products in order to help those of you who aren’t willing to spend the extra cash. I personally use them on a regular basis, however, and highly recommend you do the same.)
STEP 1: Before getting started, make sure that you’ve got everything you’ll need to get the job done, including engine oil and transmission oil (check your owner’s manual for the proper grade and quantity of each), a new oil filter, an 8mm T-handle to get to the filter, a 10 and 12mm T-handle wrench for the drain bolts, an oil drain pan, a triangle stand and a 10mm Allen wrench for the primary gear inspection window (optional).
STEP 2: I recommend starting your bike and running the engine for a minute or two before draining the oil. Running the bike will heat the oil slightly, making it less viscous so that it will drain out more efficiently. I generally use a triangle stand rather than a box stand to hold up the bike to leave more room to work when draining the oils. Place your oil drain pan directly under the oil-draining hole that you empty first.
NOTE: Steps 3 & 4 can be done simultaneously.
STEP 3: Using your T-handle, remove the engine oil drain plug and allow the oil to drain into the pan.
Tip: Because oil gets trapped underneath the piston, once you think the draining is just about completed, I always recommend holding the kill button and gently kicking the bike over about five times. This will help to remove the trapped oil. Be prepared, however, as oil will shoot out of the drain hole and all over your garage floor if you’re not careful.
Now, put the drain bolt back in and tighten it appropriately.
STEP 4: Using your T-handle, remove the transmission oil drain bolt and allow the oil to drain into your pan. Put the drain bolt back in and tighten it appropriately.
STEP 5: To access the oil filter you’ll first need to remove thee engine guard. Remove the 8mm filter cover bolts with your T-handle, and pull the cover off. Pull the filter out and inspect it for metal shavings. Your oil filter acts as a sight glass into your engine. If you find more than just a couple small shavings, I recommend visiting your local dealership for a consultation. With your new filter in hand, be sure to place the spring in the slot at the end of it, and slowly slide it into the motor, lining up the other end of the spring into the slot on the inside of the case.
STEP 6: Now it’s time to fill your bike back up with fresh engine oil. The engine oil is poured directly into the filler hole located on the top left side case (ignition cover).
STEP 7: The last step is to quench your bike with fresh tranny oil. With a stock head pipe you can pour the oil into the fill hole located on the right side of the engine. If you have an aftermarket exhaust that features a drop-down head pipe, however, here is a little tip. Using a 10mm Allen wrench, remove the primary gear inspection cover that is located just below the fill hole. With the bike leaning on its side you can fill the transmission oil into this hole without having to remove the head pipe.
Bonus…below is the Product Report referenced above…
Billy Who Man Funnel And Factory Fill
APPLICATION: All four-strokes
PRICE: $21 (Factory Fill), $15.99 (Man Funnel)
// WHAT IT IS: The Man Funnel and Factory Fill bottle are tools to make your oil changes a cleaner, simpler affair.
// HITS: We’ve been fans of the Man Funnel ever since it came out, as it makes draining your dirty oil into a container a snap. Without the Man Funnel, oil spills in the TransWorld MX garage were a regular occurrence, but now nary a drop is lost. If you read this month’s Race Shop installment, you’ll know that the final step in getting all of that dirty oil out of your engine is kicking the motor over a few times. Normally, oil will spurt out of the drain hole like water out of a whale’s blow hole (or Big E’s nose during a sneeze), but the Man Funnel has a special attachment that allows you to kick the bike like you’re starting a dead-engine Grand Prix, without fear of splattering your garage walls. The Factory Fill, meanwhile, eliminates the math you have to try to do in your head when using the reverse calibrations on an oil quart bottle. With oil capacity specifications for just about every modern thumper printed on the sides, it eliminates the guesswork and makes pouring in the new oil easier as well, thanks to the handy spout tip.
// MISSES: Why didn’t we think of that?
// THE VERDICT: If you ride a four-stroke, you need both of these items in your garage. If oil changes are made cleaner and quicker, perhaps they will occur more often, as well. Don’t be a cheapskate: invest in the longevity of your bike’s motor.
Call 972/874-0841 or visit www.billywho.com