Oil change tips #2 Changing the oil.

OK…we haven’t got our hands dirty for a while so lets get something techy done –  the humble yet often overlooked oil change. Pretty simple really but there are a few little tips here that might work good for you and your AG. As Jamie Oliver says; lets tuck in!

First things first, take your bike out for a good thrash! That’s right, give it the berries! The oil is (or should be!) thick in the AG200 so make sure the oil is nice and hot. I use a procedure here that leans the bike over on both stands for a period of time so the hotter the oil is the longer it will flow well and therefore drain well.

Remve drain capAfter you have set a new land speed record, get the AG into your shed and get it over on the right hand stand. This gives you easy access to the drain plug. Get yourself a 19mm single hex (go and see my discussion on the drain cap here) socket to release the drain cap and place something under the AG to catch the oil. You might have to juggle the gear lever to remove the cap and actually, you can remove the lever if you want because it does make things a lot easier and it’s only one 10mm bolt. If the cap feels like its going to give you pain removing it, give the end of your 19mm socket a firm tap with a hammer while on the cap to help loosen it.

When you get the cap loose and you feel it’s about to pop off, Drain oillean the bike over to the left side stand. Make sure you move the oil drop container to suit. Now you can totally remove the cap, spring and filter gauze and drain out that old Middle Eastern Gold. As the oil is draining on the left hand side, take the opportunity to remove the oil filter cover and the oil filter on the opposite side of the bike.

Filter housing screwsOn later bikes (’98 onwards) you will need to remove theFilter housing2 two top 8mm hex bolts and the lower 5mm Allen bolt. Older bikes use Philips (see at left) on the top two bolts. Remove the cover carefully and pay careful attention to the rubber o’rings under the cap. If they look daggy, replace them. Pull out the filter and have a good look at it, I have discussed in other posts about the filter specifics so if you think it looks dodgy, replace it. If it looks OK give it a wash, remove the metal from it and it’s ready for another service interval.

While the oil is draining and the bike is on the left side stand you might asFilter cove2 well have a good look in the filter housing and give it a bit of a clean out with a rag. Oil would of dribbled down the casing after removing the filter cover anyway so while you have the rag handy you might as well clean out the cavity or filter housing.

Drain capWhen the old oil slows to a drip out of the left side oil drain, lean the bike over to the right hand stand. Make sure you shift the drain container to suit the oil drain. A bit of oil drain might pick up but probably not. The oil is draining internally as you will see later. Take this opportunity to have a good look at the drain cap. Is the o’ring OK? If not replace it. Now give the cap a good clean, remove the o’ring and have a really good look at it. Most people do it up too tight, even Yamaha do it up too tight! It can easily crack around the edges near the o’ring grove. Yamaha specifies 43Nm for it and that, in my humble opinion, is crazy talk! It’s at least 10Nm too tight.

OK, the bike has been over on the right side stand for ten minute or so right? Time to lean it over on the opposite stand. Get ready to move the catch tray, more oil will start to drain. I like to combine the oil drain with a few other maintenance jobs (valve clearances?) so you have the time to go left and right on the two stands for an extended period. If you don’t have the time then fine, a couple of times back and forward will do the trick.

We have all the oil out, now it’s time to reassemble. Your oil filter is new or freshly cleaned so its time to get it back into the filter housing. It can only go in one way so don’t stress. Install the filter cover and tighten up the bolts. Make sure that bottom Allen bolt does not hang up on that small o’ring and damage it. Put a bit of fresh oil on the bolt and the o’ring. The two top bolts are set to 7Nm while the lower Allen bolt is set to 10Nm. Not very tight so those used to hanging off a wrench with a piece of gal. pipe will learn all about Easy Outs and HeliCoils pretty quick!

Drain filter+springLets turn our attention back to the drain cap and its’ related parts. Is the spring and wire filter OK? Not much to go wrong with the spring but make sure there is no rubbish in the filter. Lean the bike back over to the right side and slap them back in the way they came out. I like to put a bit of grease on the alloy mating surfaces of the cap – i.e. the lip outside of the o’ring. You can now screw the drain cap back in and as stated, it doesn’t have to be too tight.

So here comes the biggy – what sort of oil? I have two modes of thought on this issue. If it’s an old bike that’s a bit of a basher and a bit worn and daggy – mineral oil and change often. Newer bike that you want to keep for a long time, do trips on and want it to last and give years of reliable service? Full synthetic. The common ground between them is go heavy. 10W40 minimum, preferably 10W50. You will find the gearbox works much better with a heavier oil. Remember, the AG200 was designed back when consumer synthetic oil was expensive and/or hard to get and the clearances and design has not changed since that time. Also remember, bike oils only, wet clutches dislike car oils and their friction reducing additives.

Oil fillerThe spec from Yamaha is 1.1 Litres with a filter clean/change. Oil fill3Remove the filler plug and use a funnel or a pourer with a tube that fits into the filler hole. Pour your oil in and use the sight glass to get the level right if needed. Screw your filler cap back (clean around the cases and check the o’ring on the cap) and you’re good to go. The paranoid among us can undo the 10mm oil pressure check bolt (circled at right) in the head to make sure there is pressure up there. You don’t have to totally remove it – just loosen it to the last few threads and if there is pressure it will find its way out. Be real gentle doing this check bolt up…5Nm and no more or it will snap off.

So there you go, wasn’t too hard was it? Now get back out there and improve on that land speed record.



14 thoughts on “Oil change tips #2 Changing the oil.

  1. Hi AGman,

    Thanks for another very interesting and useful post. You are much appreciated !

    I mentioned to you my 10,000 km trip through central Africa coming up soon…..and the AG chain has been much on my mind. Obviously, I am ‘belt and braces’ for this route but reading your comments about the HP appetite of O ring chains leaves me still not 100% clear. Would you take a spare chain and stay with the original in this case ?

    Talking of spares. What would your list include ? 4000 km through DR Congo there is no access to parts and track very tough on the bike. I was thinking taking clutch/brake levers, all cables, front sprocket, chain, plugs, filters and inner tubes.

    Also, will be running at slow speeds, 10-15 mph for 8 hours a day with a lot of gear work. I was reckoning changing oil every 500 km. Would you think that was about right ?

    Apologies for all the questions but your views much appreciated. Not much activity yet on the ADVRider forum…….but I’m sure it will pick up in time.



    1. Hi Richard
      The ADV thread is about what I expected because I haven’t really posted anything up there to get some interest going. I need to get pro-active about it and then the people will come.
      I personally would have no issues trusting a quality (RK?), non-o’ring chain for your trip. I would take a few spare links and a short length (say 10 links) and a chain breaker and leave it at that. Keep an eye on it and give it a squirt of lube in the mornings if it looks like it needs it and your away. If its worrying you then go for a sealed O or X ring, its really up to you.
      As for spares, about the only cable you cant live without is the throttle cable and they do fray at the carby end. Brake and clutch levers and I would convert the lever brackets to split perch units so you dont have to pull the grips, crash bars, electrical switches and everything else to get them off if you break them. Its pretty unlikely to damage them with the bar protectors, but you never know. Front sprocket, spark plug, quality tubes and tube repair kits (I’ve heard horror stories of how hard Africa is on rubber).
      Have you got yourself a set of wide pegs? The oil change interval certainly wont hurt your bike but I’m not sure it needs to be that often. You would probably get more info from the guys on ADV that have done big trips on small capacity bikes and see what sort of issues they have had. Feel free to ask the question in my thread or the minimalist one.
      Good luck and dont hesitate to ask any more questions – actually the ADV AG200 may be a better system to use than this blog – might reach more touring oriented people…

      1. Hi AGman,

        Not sure why my comment went to “oil changing tips”, I must have hit the wrong button ! I meant to reply to your post on chains.

        But thanks for all your information…. and yes I have just received the wide pegs from Bill in the US. Also taken your advice on the extended gear lever and Zeta engine plug.

        I’ll be looking forward to your next posts.



  2. My Bike is really sluggish in the mornings atm, ( its been pretty cool, but not frosty yet) and takes 3-4 minutes to warm up during which time if you over throttle is will stall. I recently changed the oil with some 10-40 topdog gulf western oil. Cold that have anything to do with the cold starting problems?

    1. Hi Tony
      I’m pretty sure it wont be an oil problem. I’m thinking the choke circuits in your carby could be blocked. Start by removing the choke plunger from the carb and inspect the related components. You may need to pull the carby out and give it a clean. Let us know how you go.


    1. Hi Amidu
      The Yamaha service manual recommends changing the oil in the first 1000km, then at 6000km and every every 6000km after that. It depends a lot on how you treat your bikes. If your riders treat them hard I would do it more often, say 4000 to 5000kms.

  4. Hi AGMan. Thankyou for this phenomenal resource (and homage) for the AG200. I’ve recently purchased 3 of ’em from work. All ’03 models. All around 5000kms each. And it looks like they’ve been standing for years! So oil changes- i changed the oil and filters first before starting the bikes. Didn’t want to take any chances. And i also used Castrol GTX 20W50. I see now that it’s not a good idea using car oil. That coupled with the fact that probably quite a bit of oil didn’t drain out should mean another change soon right? My biggest concern is this. Oil from 2 of them was a (rather normal) black. But the 3rd was a milky brown. Even saw quite a few traces of white in it. I was told that this was prob. Water contamination but an ex diesel mech i spoke to recently said he wouldn’t worry – just change and go. Your thoughts?

    1. Hi Tej
      Thanks for the comments, much appreciated.
      I wouldn’t be too concerned about the oil, if the bike was liquid cooled I would be but not with the AG200. Id say what happened is that the bikes were used for a lot of small jobs where the bike never got hot enough to evaporate the water in the oil from condensation and it has built up over time. Or maybe someone tried a creek crossing that was too deep and water got in via airbox and crankcase breather.

      Give them a good run with the new oil so all the water can be evaporated and then drop it out and refresh. Yes, car oils generally are bad and the special friction reducing chemicals in them can damage the plates. To be safe I’d get it out of the bikes ASAP.

      Good luck with it all, oh – ’03 models and only 5000kms? What’s up with that? Not farm bikes then!


      1. Wow thanks for the superprompt responses sire! Ok that’s a relief.. will do as you say! I work for the electricity utility here in south africa. Bikes were to be used on line patrols i think. But guess newer safety regs put in place put paid to that!

  5. Could anyone tell me the drain bolt part number or even better when I could get a new one from? I have an 84 model. Thank you in advance!

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