How To: Harley-Davidson® Primary Oil Change

Performing a Harley-Davidson primary oil change only takes a few minutes. Check out the video for step-by-step instructions.

June 7, 2021

Periodically changing primary oil guards against chain, gear and bearing wear while helping prevent clutch slip for confident takeoffs. It’s a simple job you can do with basic tools and a little know-how. Here’s how to perform a Harley-Davidson primary oil change.

For this demonstration, we’re using a 2014 Harley-Davidson Softail Fat Boy Lo.

Tools you need for a Harley-Davidson primary oil change

Harley-Davidson Primary Oil Change
  • Locate the primary-fluid drain plug, which is right below the primary case.
  • Next, use the socket wrench and T27 torque bit to remove the primary cover. There are five bolts; make sure you set them somewhere safe so you don’t lose them. Set the primary cover aside.
Harley-Davidson Primary Oil cover.

Drain the primary oil

  • Slide your drain pan in place, then use the 5/8-inch socket and socket wrench to loosen the drain plug. Remove it the rest of the way by hand so it doesn’t fall into the drain pan.
  • Next, replace the gasket on the primary case cover. You should be able to pull the old one right out. The new gasket should drop right into place, then set the cover aside.
Harley Davidson primary cover.
  • Clean the drain plug and install the new O-ring. Start it by hand and then snug it up with a socket wrench and 5/8-inch socket. Set the torque wrench to 14-21 foot-pounds of torque and tighten the plug.

Fill the primary with oil

  • It helps to use a funnel designed for a primary case. Harley-Davidson Softails require one quart of primary fluid. Be sure to check your owner’s manual or the AMSOIL Product Guide for the correct primary oil capacity for your bike.
Harley-Davidson Primary Oil Change
  • Once you’ve filled the primary case with fluid, double check the fluid level visually. The primary fluid should touch the bottom of the clutch plate.
  • Finally, replace the primary cover. After hand-tightening each bolt, use a torque wrench and T27 torque bit to tighten them to the proper setting. Your torque wrench should be set at 84-108 inch-pounds of torque. Remember to tighten them in a star pattern much like the lug nuts on a car tire.

That’s all there is to performing a Harley-Davidson primary oil change. Make sure you dispose of the used oil properly. For your specific bike, consult the owner’s manual for oil capacity and viscosity, or check out the AMSOIL Product Guide.

Check out how to change oil on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and how to change transmission fluid on a Harley.

Harley-Davidson owns the trademark rights to Harley-Davidson and the motorcycle models listed. No affiliation or endorsement claim, express or implied, is made by their use.