I was at a point where I needed to go;
and so I bought the motorcycle, and I went...



Chain Lube

Chain Tension

Oil Change


Year Review
First Motorcycle Pages: Getting Started | Choosing a Bike | Selecting Gear | Cost of Ownership | Wind & Rain | Theresa Wallach |
Stories and Maps: Ride America 2005 | American Southwest 2005 |
Picture Sets: Arkansas - Texas | Austin | Chicago | New Mexico - Arizona | Santa Fe | Thorndale |
About Paul: Bio | Chicago Guide | Taxi Driving |

KLR650 - Lost in the fog: Highway 79, Texas.

KLR650 - Edge of the Painted Desert: Highway 160, Arizona, Navajo Territory.

KLR650 - Cathedral of Saint Francis: Santa Fe, New Mexico.

KLR650 - Bridge over the Arkansas River: Litle Rock, Arkansas.

KLR650 - Jerome: Highway 89A, Arizona.
Kawasaki KLR650: Oil and Filter Change
This document was prepared on October 16, 2007, after 25 months and 17,000 miles of life with a 2006 Kawasaki KLR650. Not a substitute for the Factory's Owner's Manual, or the publications in the Clymer series, the information presented below is intended to serve as a companion to the aforementioned works, i.e., it's a means of sharing experience with other owners, potential owners, and novices undertaking the daunting task of familiarizing themselves with mechanical work.
Motorcycle Oil and Filter Change "How To" Illustrated
Tools and Parts Required:
(1) 3 "1 U.S. quart" bottles of oil;
(2) 1 "crush metal" drain plug gasket;
(3) 1 oil filter;
(4) 17mm wrench;
(5) 8mm socket with drive;
(6) drain pan -- 3 quart [liter] capacity
(7) drop cloth, or newspaper;
(8) OPTIONAL -- 10mm socket to remove "bash guard"
Motorcycle Bash Guard
To begin, I start the motorcycle, OUTSIDE, and run the engine till it's hot. Then I turn the ignition off, and roll the motorcycle into the shop. I prefer to remove the (1) stock plastic "bash guard" at this time.
Motorcycle Bash Guard Removed
Kawasaki's "bash guard" is held in place by three 10mm bolts. I should stress that it isn't necessary to remove this part. But it tends to collect debris and this is a good time to clean it -- before it collects used oil as well. Too, the minute used to remove the guard allows the oil to settle.
Motorcycle Oil Drain Plug
I'm interested in the part numbered (1) above. It's the oil drain plug, fastened through a "crush metal" gasket. A 17mm wrench is used to loosen it -- once there's a suitable receptacle waiting for the oil. Lying under the bike, facing up, the drain plug is loosened with counter-clockwise torque. For orientation: (2) shift pedal; (3) drive chain; (4) left foot peg; (5) side stand.
Motorcycle Oil
Having loosened the drain plug with the 17mm wrench, I continue to turn the part with a gloved hand. It would be good to find a glove that provides protection from chemicals and heat. Applying upward pressure, I hold the drain plug -- and therefore the oil -- in place until I'm ready to QUICKLY withdraw my hand and the plug, together. If the drain pan isn't perfectly in-line with the stream of hot, used oil, you'll wish that you had used a drop cloth. I expect to make a bit of a mess, and so I spread newspaper under my bike before attempting any repair. Empty 24 ounce coffee bean cans from Trader Joe's are more than adequate for collecting the used engine oil. Recycle your oil.
Motorcycle Oil Filter Canister Cover
When the bulk of the oil appears to have left the machine, and only the sporadic drop falls down, it's time to remove the filter. The KLR650 employs a "canister type" oil filter that lives underneath a circular metal cover. Said cover is held in place by two bolts, each of which have 8mm heads. Orientation: (1) 8mm socket mounted on a 3-inch extension, on a 1/4-inch drive; (2) 8mm head of second bolt; (3) clutch cable, lower end mounting nuts; (4) exhaust heat shield.
Motorcycle Canister-Type Oil Filter
Having removed the two 8mm bolts, and the oil filter canister cover, I pull the oil filter out of the canister. Along with the oil filter, a small steel tube (1) should be apparent. Kawasaki refers to this small steel tube as the "mounting pin." Save it. Black, rubber grommets (2) should be in place -- between the mounting pin and the oil filter proper. The black, rubber grommets should be disposed of, along with the old oil filter. You should expect to find metallic debris in the oil filter of a motorcycle with a new engine and/or transmission. But if you find that metallic debris has collected on the surface of an older [stock] bike's filter, then you have found a problem.
Used Motorcycle Engine Oil
Even though both the oil filter and also the drain plug have been removed, some oil lingers in the engine. It is good to tip the bike side-to-side for the purpose of promoting total drainage. This might be a two-person job. That's OK. Just get out as much of the dirty engine oil as possible.
Motorcycle Oil Level Sight Glass and Filter Canister
Empty, clean, it's time to install the new parts and fluids. (1) Oil fill; (2) oil filter canister; (3) oil level sight glass with "max" and "min" levels indicated by horizontal lines cast into the engine's side case. In a normal operating circumstance, having been run till warm, and parked on level ground, then held upright -- off the side stand, the oil level should fall between the top and bottom marks.
Motorcycle Oil Change Tools
(1) 8mm socket with two different drives; (2) 17mm box-end wrench; (3) oil fill cap with black rubber grommet; (4) mounting pin; (5) new oil filter with black, rubber grommets intact; (6) oil filter canister cover with two 8mm bolts. You must have saved the mounting pin. You must be certain that your new oil filter has both black, rubber grommets in place. You must open a new quart of engine oil and use it to saturate your new oil filter -- especially the grommets. Don't blow it. Slip the "old" mounting pin into the new filter's oily grommets.
Motorcycle Oil Filter Mounting Pin
Having prepared the new (1) oil filter, the "narrow" end of the (2) mounting stud should be re-inserted first. Check the condition of the black rubber ring in the canister cover. And then re-apply the canister cover. Be aware that it is very easy to over-torque the 8mm bolts.

Re-install the 17mm drain plug -- with a new "crush metal" gasket. If you took it off, put the bash guard back on. Add 2 of the "1 U.S. quart" bottle of oil via the oil fill port indicated above.

Roll the bike back outside. Start it, and let it run till warm. Turn off the engine, and give the oil time to settle again.

Stand the motorcycle upright, and look at the oil level sight glass indicated above. The oil level should be between the upper and lower horizontal lines cast into the engine's side case -- at the sight glass. It is easier to add a bit more oil than it is to drain a surplus. But if it is necessary to remove some oil after over-filling, just loosen the 17mm drain plug enough to let it drip out slowly...

Keep the engine oil between the upper and lower levels -- indicated by Kawasaki's engineers. Running the engine with too much oil, or too little oil, will cause problems. Many owners, myself included, have reported some engine oil consumption after prolonged highway operation of the KLR650. If you take a long trip, check your engine's oil level. In another circumstance, heavy oil consumption might indicate a problem.
These motorcycle pages reflect their author's personal experience. Information presented on this website ought not to substitute for any professional service. Go to Kawasaki, the MSF, the SMF and the AMA; they want to help you. Read the Hurt Report. Do your own research; formulate a hypothesis; test it. Read the material linked from this site. Take responsibility. Ride to be alive.

- Never run your engine indoors.
- Recycle your used oil.
- Wear gloves.

Motorcycling Safely
Cutting to the chase: The best oil that I have found is Shell Rotella T 15-40 Heavy Duty commercial diesel oil.

Kawasaki recommends engine oil types: API SE, SF, SG, in addition to SH and SJ with JASO MA.

Kawasaki recommends engine oil viscosity: 10-40 between 14 and 104 degrees F (-10 to +40 C), 10-30 between 14 and 86 F (-10 to +30 C), and 20-50 between 32 and +104 F (0 to +40 C).

KLR650 engine oil capacity: 2.6 quarts (2.5 L) if filter is removed; 2.3 quarts (2.2 L) if oil only is changed.

(1) Manufacturers "spec" a viscosity [10-40, 20-50, etc] and an additives package [SG, SF, etc] and it's good to pay attention to those recommendations.

(2) If running a wet-clutch and/or wet-sump [like the KLR650] give some thought to changing your motorcycle's "engine" oil more frequently than you otherwise might -- as said oil becomes contaminated more quickly when servicing both the transmission and clutch in addition to engine.

(3) Too, oil fails not only with miles driven -- but also with hours of operation, increasing operating temperature and rpm's, etc. Again, if the aforementioned applies, change oil more frequently.

(4) Almost everyone agrees that you should avoid "Energy Conserving" oils.

(5) The old saw was that synthetic oil ought to be avoided during break-in -- and also at very high mileage. This is a point of contention.

(6) Cost-Benefit: Synthetic oil is more expensive. If you change your oil frequently [1000-2000 miles, or every 1-2 months] is the added cost worth it?

Based upon my own riding habits, even if I don't change the filter, I've decided to try to drop my used oil after 1,000 miles of operation.

I have used, without incident:
Castrol GTX 10-40 & 20-50
Mobil 10-40 automotive
Valvoline 10-40 ATV
Spectro 10-40 motorcycle-specific
Valvoline 10-40 motorcycle-specific
Castrol Syntec 10-40 synthetic
Mobil-1 10-30 & 15-50 synthetic

The great difference between oil types seems to be that while engine performance improves with use of synthetics, transmission and clutch performance improves with the use of "wet clutch safe" products, i.e., motorcycle or ATV oils.

Having written that, the use of Shell Rotella T 15-40 has produced the best combination of engine, transmission and clutch performance. Additionally, Rotella T is a very affordable product. I'm sold.
oil on-line
Oil @ Dan's MC

Oil @ Calsci.com

Oil @ VFRworld.com

MCN on Oil @ XS11.com

KLR650 Oil Use @ ADVrider.com
KLR650 on-line
One of the best things about the KLR650 is the fact that thousands of riders have been on-line sharing their experience with said model for a decade. Make use of that knowledge. Find as much relevant information as possible - prior to making your own decision.

klr650faq - The most encompassing single-page collection of general information that I have found, on-line. Compiled by Chris Krok.

multisurfacemotorcycling.com - Elden Carl and company. A great resource for Kawasaki KLR, Suzuki DR/Z and Honda XR/L riders. Maintenance, ride reports, etc.

f650.com - BMW F650GS focus, with useful commentary on tires, riding tips, etc; applicable to most 650cc single-cylinder motorcycles.

Diesel KLR650 - Diesel engine conversion from F1 Engineering.

U.S. Marine Corps KLR650 - YouTube video, including multi-fuel capable segment.

Owner's Pages

1999-2006 KLR650 - Five-time KLR650 owner Verle Nelson. A good read.

2001 KLR650: mods, trips, etc. - Good pictures of Ortlieb dry bags mounted on a KLR650. Mods, etc.

1999 KLR650 - Mods, tires, etc.

An unhappy owner :(


KLR650.NET - The first, and still the largest, KLR-specific forum on-line.

klrforum.com - ?

klrworld.com - ADV's Hondo and company; member's rides featured.

Yahoo - Dual Sport News' Yahoo! Groups KLR650 list. Since 2000. Register to read.

Adventure Touring

Bob's KLR650 Arctic Adventure: 2005 - Gear reviews and mods, on the road to the Arctic Circle via Alaska (again).

Motorcycle touring - An old hand's advice on packing, gear, lodging, etc. Good stuff.

ironbutt.com - The Archive of Wisdom at Iron Butt.

horizonsunlimited.com - An awesome, global, adventure touring website.

advrider.com - A great forum, and archive, dealing with adventure touring, and motorcycling, generally.

Greg Frazier - Crow Indian Tribe, PhD Economics, author, motorcyclist. He's been doing it a long time.

Parts Options

dual-star.com - Racks, bags, etc. Fuel tanks. Washington State.

happy-trail.com - Racks, aluminum panniers, guards etc. Made in the U.S.A., at the Happy Trails shop in Idaho.

ronayers.com - Parts, tires, helmets, etc.

Arrowhead Motorsorts - Utah, Moab, "Fred" has a good reputation.

Eagle Mfg. and Engineering - Most "doohickey" upgrades appear to be "Eagle" Mike's work. And people are pleased.

Schnitz Motorsports, Inc - In addition to the usual parts, also the 685cc upgrade. Folks have mentioned being happy with their work.

Tires - A compendium of rider's opinions on various tire models culled from the Yahoo! list, and the klr650faq. Check f650.com for additional.


AMA: 2005 model review - On the road, in Alaska.

Motorsports-Network: 2004 model review - Up the California Coast.

Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly: 2002 model review - Through the Upper Midwest.

Motorcycle Daily: 2002 review

Epinions.com: 2000 model review

Specs: 87-96 models


When I began looking for a motorcycle on which to take a long ride, I found Mariola Cichon's "Ride of the Heart" website. It's gone, living now only in memory and the Internet Archive . But it was because of that Polish lady from Chicago that I wound up on a KLR650. Thanks!
Had it not been for the women in my life, on-line, and behind the books, I would not have done this - this way. The best MSF course that I took contained the most female students - including two mother & daughter pairs. (It was taught by the oldest instructors too.) There are height, weight and strength issues in motorcycling; but there are no gender issues between you and the machine.

Women on bikes, on-line:

And Melissa Holbrook Pierson wrote a really good book:
The Perfect Vehicle.
Paul E. Germanos
478 S. York
Elmhurst, IL, 60126





Chicago Guide
It seems impossible to discuss what has, and has not, worked - without making reference to particular products. "What should I get?" "Where should I get it?" "How much should I expect to pay?" "Who has good service?" People want to know. Prior to making a major purchase, most savvy consumers attempt to gather as much information as possible. For most of us, a motorcycle is a major purchase. Look around. Be informed.

If I write about something, it is only because I have used it. If I link to something, it is only because I have found it to be helpful. If I include ads, it is to help to pay for the cost of the website. And Google's ads seem to supply content that is relevant to this page's purpose. Again: I don't know how to provide information about the KLR650, accessories and motorcycling generally, without advancing, or inhibiting, someone's commercial agenda.

Be smart: Look; learn; decide; and then get away from the computer - and go ride. Motorcycling isn't in here; it's out there.
Oil On-Line
KLR650 Resources On-Line
Women in Motorcycling
Contact Information

KLR650 - Gas stop: Thorndale, Texas.

KLR650 - In the desert: Highway 285, New Mexico.

KLR650 - The Pacific Ocean.

KLR650 - Mission Beach: San Diego, California.
    copyright: paul e. germanos
e-mail: paulgermanos(at)msn.com    

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