How to Change Oil in a Triumph Motorcycleby TJ Hinton
The Triumph Thunderbird Base, first marketed in 2010, represents the current favorite so far among Triumph customers for the 2014 model year. Built as a cruiser, the Thunderbird comes equipped with the 1,597 cc, twin-cylinder engine that uses a wet-sump lubrication system and spin-on filter similar to those automotive engines use. Perform the oil change while the engine is hot, so go for a little ride, then park the bike and let the oil drain down for five minutes before starting your work.
Support the bike in the vertical position. Locate the engine sump at the bottom of the engine case. Position a catch pan below the engine oil drain plug.
Using a ratchet and Allen-driver, remove the drain plug and allow the oil to drain completely from the engine. Remove and discard the drain plug gasket. Install a new gasket, then install the plug in and torque it to 18 foot-pounds, using a foot-pound torque wrench and Allen-driver.
Locate the oil filter and reposition the catch pan. Remove the oil filter using the service tool. Clean the oil filter contact surface on the engine, using a clean shop rag.
Wipe a thin coat of clean engine oil on the new oil filter gasket, using your finger. Spin the filter onto its base and torque it to 7 foot-pounds.
Find the engine oil dipstick on the rear of the right engine case. Unscrew it and remove it from the engine. Wipe the dipstick and thread it all the way in, then back out to check the oil level. Add engine oil through the dipstick hole until the oil level is at the "Max" mark on the dipstick.
Start the engine and allow it to idle for 30 seconds, then shut it off. Check for leaks at the drain plug and oil filter, and recheck the level.
Things You'll Need
- Catch pan
- Allen-driver set
- Drain plug gasket
- Foot-pound torque wrench
- Triumph service tool, No. T3880313
- Shop rag
- 1.1 gallons 10W40 or 15W50 semi- or full-synthetic oil, meeting specification API SH and JASO MA
- If the oil pressure warning light does not go out quickly after starting, turn the engine off and verify the engine oil level with the dipstick.
- Do not rev the engine above idle speed for the first 30 seconds of operation after an oil change, to give the oil a chance to get to all parts of the engine.
TJ Hinton trained as an auto mechanic at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and then later graduated from MMI as a certified motorcycle mechanic . He's also worked for 20+ years in home construction, remodeling and repair. His articles appear on InternetAutoGuide.com and TopSpeed.com.