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How to Change the Oil on a 1983 Kawasaki 550

by Chris Gilliland

In 1983, Kawasaki's 550 cc motorcycle range included four separate models: the sporty GPz550, the standard-styled KZ550, the cruiser-like 550 LTD and the Specter. All four motorcycles used a similar engine that required little attention beyond its regular maintenance routines. One of the most critical tasks is keeping the 550 cc motor filled with a fresh supply of oil, providing enough lubrication to keep excessive wear at bay. The job itself is simple enough for most 550 owners to accomplish on a weekend afternoon, using only basic tools.

Lift the motorcycle onto its center stand to hold it completely upright and as level as possible. Look under the motor to find the oil drain bolt and the oil filter's housing. The oil filter is held behind a cover near the cross-over tube, between the exhaust pipes. The oil drain bolt is positioned a few inches away from the oil filter, near the junction between the exhaust pipes and the mufflers.

Start the motorcycle while it is on the center stand and let it idle for three minutes. This will warm the motor's oil supply, allowing the oil to drain completely later in the job. Stop the motor after three minutes and let it cool for another five minutes.

Unscrew the oil cap from the right side of the motor by hand. Place your oil pan beneath the oil drain bolt. Unscrew the oil drain bolt with a 17 mm socket and drain the oil into your oil pan.

Pull the sealing O-ring off the oil drain bolt and wipe the drain bolt clean with a shop towel. Slip a new O-ring onto the drain bolt. Screw the oil drain bolt onto the motor after the oil has drained completely, using a 17 mm socket. Tighten the drain bolt to 22 foot-pounds with a torque wrench.

Move your oil pan below the oil filter's cover. Unscrew the bolt from the center of the oil filter cover with a 17 mm socket. Lower the cover away from the motor and pull the oil filter off the motor. Some oil will remain within the oil filter or its cover; drain this oil into your oil pan.

Place a new oil filter onto the motor and reinstall the filter cover. Screw the cover's bolt into place with a 17 mm socket, then tighten it to 22 foot-pounds with a torque wrench.

Place a funnel into the oil filler on the right side of the motor. Fill the motor with up to three quarts of SAE 10W40 motor oil. Remove the funnel and screw the oil cap into place by hand.

Wipe away any spilled oil with a shop towel, then start the motor. Watch for oil leaks at the oil filter cover or the drain bolt. If oil begins to leak from either spot, tighten the cover bolt or drain bolt an additional quarter-turn to stop the leak. Stop the motor if leaks do not occur.

Items you will need

References

About the Author

An avid motorcyclist, Chris Gilliland has immersed himself into the two-wheeled world while balancing work life and raising three daughters. When he is not managing the parts department of a local, multi-line motorcycle dealership, Gilliland can often be found riding, writing or working on his motorcycle blog, Wingman's Garage.

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