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Thread: checking primary oil

  1. #1
    Member evilokc's Avatar
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    checking primary oil

    the bike is new to me and im slowly checking things out. i know there is an inspection cover to look into the primary but when you remove it ya cant see jack. i know there should only be a quart in there and from what ive researched you cant see the oil and there is no fill line. im probably going to drain and fill just to be sure but i would like to know if there is a way to actually check it. the closest ive come to a correct way is to remove the serby cover on the primary and see if the clutch is half way submerged.

  2. #2
    More experienced will chime in. Best bet is to drain it, and fill. From what I've heard 28-30oz. Some use formula+ some use 20w-50 vtwin oil.

    https://youtu.be/PhLcUzvadHo

  3. #3
    Senior Member 34nineteen's Avatar
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    The fluid has to be enough of a lubricant to keep the trans gears well oiled, but not enough to have clutch slippage issues.

    Formula+ us $8.50/qt and available at and HD dealer. It is the factory fill and every bike produced by the factory has/had a warranty that backed it up. So, it works well, is reasonably priced, and relatively easy to find.

    Are there better lubricants? Probably. Some swear by Lucas, AMSOIL, or others. You’re on your own and if something goes awry, it’s all on you. Maybe it works better, maybe it doesn’t. But if you’re running a stock-ish setup Formula+ is the best baseline fluid to start with.

    Read the manual and it shows an illustration of fluid level. In my experience, that level is achieved with a little less than a full quart. On a Sportster or tuber, it’s closer to the full quart. If you overfill, it can make the trans shift rougher than it can. However don’t expect a 2003 Buell to shift as nice as a 2003 Honda. Not even close.

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    I'd be one to say Lucas synthetic. Excellent oil, period. Amsoil is awesome, so are the others. Basically, pick one that meets your demands and the engine's - read the manual on the ratings. Frankly, modern synthetics are going to meet those standards so you'd be happy with about any brand. I'm sure someone will disagree but I don't care.

  5. #5
    Senior Member 34nineteen's Avatar
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    However, some aftermarket clutch manufacturers such as Energy One and others explicitly call out NOT to use a synthetic.

    This is the balance you have to deal with... or yeah, I’d just recommend a top shelf synthetic such as amsoil.

    Cooter tried that once. He can tell you how that worked out.

  6. #6
    Well I hope the drag specialties synthetic 20w-50 vtwin doesn't give me a problem. I'll stop by my local HD and grab a few qts of formula+

  7. #7
    Senior Member Cooter's Avatar
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    I found using the wrong fluid (20W-50) on a wet clutch made it grabby and hard to manage slipping off a stop light. Once I put Formula+ in there the problem cleared up.

    The current clutch recommended ATF so thats what I used. No need to outthink the people that designed it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member 34nineteen's Avatar
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    You only need one quart of formula + or whatever you choose.

    On my last XB i ran type f atf in it and it seemed to run fine.

    I have nothing against amsoil whatsoever and think that it’s a fine product. However for me, formula+ is priced right, easy to get (the harley dealer is right down the road) and works great for this application.

    There were some issues years back with stators being damaged due to people running hypoid gear oil in their primary. But I haven’t hear anything about that in years either.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Cooter's Avatar
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    Ya, I forgot to address the level. While the bike is on the side stand(*), pull off the three bolt plate on the primary cover and fill with proper fluid (about a quart) until the level is just under the hole. The level isn't actually critical in any way, get close.

    RTFM:
    Buellmods.com

    Screen Shot 2021-03-27 at 9.42.49 PM.png

    Edit: *straight up and level
    Last edited by Cooter; 03-28-2021 at 05:27 PM.

  10. #10
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    Did this thread just turn into a which oil is the best thread again? Smh



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