Harley Shovelhead Fluid Specs

by James StorminUpdated October 25, 2017

The Harley-Davidson shovelhead engine followed the panhead engine and was produced from 1966 until 1984. Originally manufactured as 1200 cubic centimeters (cc), the engine was increased to 1340cc in 1979. Although the shovelhead was replaced by the evolution engine in 1985, most of the shovelheads that were made are still on the road in the United States and Japan.

Fluid Maintenance Intervals

Motorcycles need their main fluids changed at regular intervals. That keeps the engine and other moving components lubricated and operating efficiently. The official maintenance recommendation is to change engine oil every 5,000 miles, but changing the oil at 2,500 miles is a good idea for an older shovelhead. The primary lubricant should be changed at 5,000-mile intervals, the transmission oil every 10,000 miles and the the fork oil every 20,000 miles.

Recommended Fluids

Harley-Davidson recommends 4 quarts of SAE 50 or 60 engine oil in all 1966 through 1984 shovelheads. The transmission uses 1.5 pints of HD transmission lubricant, although many people use 75w90 gear oil mixed 3-to-1 with Lucas oil. Harley-Davidson makes two types of fork oil for shovelheads. HD Hydra-Glide fork oil is for 1966 to 1969 models. All shovelhead models 1970 and later use HD Type B fork oil. HD Primary Chaincase is used in the primary chaincase. Shovelhead models from 1966 to 1975 use Dot 3 brake fluid. Models 1975 and later use Dot 5 brake fluid.

Front Fork Oil Capacity

The front fork oil capacity varied over the 18 years the shovelhead was in production. Instructions for new front forks include the amount of oil required.

Models from 1966 to 1969 use 6.5 oz. of fork oil. In 1970, the capacity changed according to model. The FX series uses 5.5 oz. in 1970 to 1972 models, 5 oz. in 1973 to 1978 models and 5 oz. in 1978 through 1984 models. The FL series uses 6.5 oz. in 1970 to 1977 models and 7.75 oz. in 1977 through 1984 models.

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