Tuesday, April 7, 2015

First Maintenance

I rolled into my garage following the Green Swamp Loop (previous post) with 635 miles on the odometer ... time for the first maintenance. The owner's manual calls for the breaking in maintenance at 600 miles; close enough. This is the first shot at getting all the metal fibers that result from engine break in out of the oil.

I typically do most all maintenance myself, but may engage my dealer's mechanics on more technical areas. However, changing the oil and oil filter on a motorcycle isn't something that I don't want to pay someone to do and that's a big part of what the running-in maintenance requires.

The oil change and other running in procedures are addressed in the Owner's Manual. Additional important details are provided in the Service Manual, available from Kawasaki through dealers and parts suppliers. This post focuses principally on the oil and filter change.

I'm starting out using mineral oil in the Versys 1000 LT because the Florida climate calls for more frequent oil changes, particularly during the blistering hot summer months. My understanding is that heat is the biggest factor in breaking down oil. The other factor is air content, and we have a lot of dust and other crud in our air that kicks up from the sandbar that Florida is.

My dealer actually recommends 2 for 1 oil changes relative to manufacurer's guidance. Therefore, if you're going to have to change the oil at a more frequent level due to conditions (in my case 3,000 miles instead of 7,500 miles) may as well use the cheaper (as to price) mineral oils. So I picked up 5 quarts of 20W50 Valvoline motorcycle specific oil at Autozone for $28 (after Speedperks Credit); Mobil1 would have cost about $53; Royal Purple $88. I'll go back to 10W-40 after September when things cool down. btw, I actually only needed 4 quarts (with filter) but like to keep an extra quart on hand.

The good news on the oil filter front was that the Versys 1000 LT takes the same oil filter as my previous 2012 Versys 650*. That's good news because I had purchased a case of 10 Genuine Kawasaki filters for that bike and have seven left over. That stock will carry me now for 18,000 miles!

The only part missing is the crush washer for the drain bolt. Kawasaki recommends that it be changed with each oil change. However, since I hadn't procured the crush washer in advance of this service, I used the original crush washer. Subsequently I bought a bunch of them for $0.23 each from my dealer.

I've read some comments that some owners don't think the crush washer actually crushes and is just a plain ol' washer, not necessarily requiring replacement each oil change. Here's a photo of the crush washer from my second oil change. As you can see it does crush. It's a very light material, perhaps aluminum. It's probably not a good idea to by pass this requirement. Once you hold one you'll know what I mean.

The oil change is fairly uneventful. The drain plug is accessible on the left side without any dismantling and requires a 17 mm wrench or ratchet. I initially drained the oil with the bike on the center stand. When the oil stopped flowing in that position I lowered the bike down to the side stand and had an appreciable amount of additional oil flow out. In addition, rocking the motorcycle side to side resulted in more oil flowing out the drain hole. It takes some time to get all the oil out, but starting on the side stand seems to be the way to go.

The oil filter removal initially required the removal of the plastic left side engine cover. The cover removal involves two 6 mm hex key  bolts and one 4 mm hex key bolt. This exposes the oil filter to virtually any removal tool or a strong set of hands.

I use a cup wrench (or cap wrench) for oil filter removal and installation**. A cup wrench is most suitable for installation because you can use a torque wrench to torque the filter to proper spec (13 ft/pound). The specific wrench is a 65 mm cup wrench with 14 flutes***.

After allowing all the oil to flow out completely, clean both the interfaces for the oil filter and the drain plug. Assure that the gasket/crush washer is secured on the drain plug before reinstallation (21 ft/pounds***). Check that the gasket on the oil filter is firmly attached and add a film of fresh oil to the gasket before installation (13 ft/pounds***). See notes at the bottom with regard to oil filter installation and torques; hand tightening of the filter isn't allowed. Don't reinstall the engine cover just yet.

The specs on the 1043 cc IL-4 provides for 4.2 quarts. However, the engine change spec in the maintenance section of the Owner's Manual says that the change with filter requires 4.0 quarts. I put 4.0 quarts in the motor, ran if for a few minutes (while watching the gauge cluster for indications of problems), and then checked the levels both on the center stand and off the stand while held straight up (engine not running, of course). Both readings were between the two level lines in the oil level viewing window ... so 4.0 quarts is where I left it. Oil is easy to check and it's worth a look from time to time when your out riding.

Lastly, I ran the motorcycle for several minutes and checked for leaks. Actually lastly was reinstalling the engine cover that was previously removed to access the oil filter.

That was it for the oil change. From there I proceeded to the other run in steps listed in the Owners Manual without incident. Do note that there are some maintenance procedures that are required more often than the oil change interval. The chain lube interval, for example, is 400 miles.

One last point I'd like to make is that when you do your own maintenance, for warranty purposes it's very important to keep a contemporaneous log of everything you did and the dates/mileage you did it at, retain copies of receipts and take pictures. In addition, during the warranty period (2 years for the V1000) I retain all maintenance parts, including the used oil filters. Those parts may be useful to a maintenance tech should something go awry.

* The Genuine OEM oil filter specification for the 2015 Versys 1000 LT is part number 16097-008. I am using an oil filter with a part number of 16097-004, which part number was discontinued and replaced by 16097-008 when production of the oil filter was changed from Japan-based to China-based. Accordingly, the part number spec on the 2012 Versys 650 oil filter was changed to 16097-008 from 16097-004 in current OEM parts listings. Part number 16097-0004 is no longer available for general purchase.
** The Owner's Manual for the 2015 Versys 1000 LT states that the oil filter replacement should be performed by a dealer (page 121) and, accordingly, provided no step-by-step guidance or any form of instruction to its replacement. This is the first time in decades of new motorcycle ownership and maintenance that I've seen such a provision. However, in reliance of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act I will continue to perform maintenance, including the replacement of the oil filter, on the 2015 Versys 1000 LT. The procedures and torque settings reflected in this post were derived from the Service Manual for the 2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT.
*** Torques and Other Info:

  1. Drain Bolt (17mm head) = 29 N.m / 21 ft.lb torque
  2. Oil Filter = 17 N.m / 13 ft.lb torque
  3. Cup Wrench = 65mm / 14 flutes
On page 2-37 of the Service Manual it states, "Hand tightening of the oil filter can not be allowed since it does not reach to this tightening level." The tightening lever referred to is the oil filter torques above.


  1. I totally in agree with you. I love to do maintenance on my own vehicles. I would prefer it over paying someone else to do it. However, doing it right he first time is very important. I am always make certain to pay close attention to details while I am working, similar to what you mention about the crush washer.

    Abraham Yates @ Apache Oil Company

  2. Hi! What about the air filter? The air filter is located under the tank and to access it you need to take off the tank post disconnecting it. The weight of the tank is pretty heavy and at least 2 people are required