2004 KLR-650 Maintenance: Oil and Filter Change

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I am not a mechanic or a representative of Kawasaki or anything else official. This page is only my notes on doing this procedure myself. Although I believe what I have documented here is correct, I make no promises and you do this at your own risk.


Changing the oil regularly is, according to mechanic friends of mine, the easiest and best thing you can do for an engine. In this article, we'll change the oil and oil filter. However, you don't need to change the filter every time you change the oil - see the maintenance schedule in your owner's manual. Mine says to change the oil every 5000 Km, and to change the filter every 10,000 Km.


Tools Required

  • Rear stand (recommended but not necessary).
  • Large Phillips and Slotted screwdrivers.
  • Socket set (metric) with at least 8mm, 10mm, 14mm sockets.
  • Torque wrench (recommended).
  • Pan to catch oil (capacity about 4 litres).
  • Small extra pan for a second oil dribble. The bottom of a 2-litre soft drink bottle, or a plastic food jar of some kind, is fine.
  • Two or three clean rags or disposable shop towels.
  • Container for storing used oil en route to disposal.
  • Funnel.
  • A friend or a zip tie to hold the funnel.

Parts Required

  • Motor oil of appropriate grade (my manual specifies SAE 10W-40, 10W-50, 20W-40, or 20W-50).
  • Oil filter of appropriate type.


This procedure is about as simple as it gets. Some difficulties could be:

  • Under-tightening (so it falls out) or over-tightening (stripping threads) the oil drain plug. That's why a torque wrench is highly recommended.
  • Reinstalling oil filter with the internal pressure relief tube backwards (which you will discover when the cover won't go on).
  • Disposal of your used motor oil. Your city may have regulations on how to do this. Don't pour it down the drain.


Putting the bike on a rear stand makes this job much easier, by creating some extra ground clearance underneath and by levelling the bike for reading the oil level in the filler window. KLR-650 on rear stand

If the only maintenance you're doing is changing the oil, and possibly the filter, you don't need to take anything off the bike. (I generally take both side fairings and the seat off before doing any maintenance, as it protects them from scratches and spills, and gives a chance to visually check for any other issues.)

Locate the Parts

The oil drain plug is just visible here, circled in green, looking at the left side of the bike. (Click on the picture to enlarge for a clearer view of the circle.) Oil drain plug under KLR
And, in this close-up, you can see the plug clearly. The drain plug is accessible without removing the under-pan. Oil drain plug under KLR
Looking at the right side of the bike, the oil filter cover is shown here. Oil filter cover

Drain the oil

Run the engine for a few minutes so the oil is warm and will flow more freely. Then stop the engine and:

Wipe the area around the oil filler cap with a clean cloth so debris doesn't fall inside, then. . .
Clean around the oil filler cap
Loosen the filler cap so air can flow into the oil chamber. This will help it drain more quickly. I usually remove it then set it back, loose, in the hole to discourage earwigs from crawling in. Loosen the oil filler cap
Put a pan with a capacity of at least 4 litres (1 gallon) under the oil pan. Pan to catch draining oil
Remove the oil drain bolt (14mm hex bolt), Loosening the oil drain plug
and let the oil drain into the waste pan. Draining the oil

Optional: If you are changing the oil filter too, have a new filter on hand.

Put a second, small pan under the oil filter cover since a little oil (only a few spoonfuls) will spill out; or drape a disposable cloth over the frame of the bike under the filter cover.

KLR-650 oil filter
Remove the two screws holding the cover in place (8mm hex bolts). Remove oil filter cover screws
The cover will not lift off easily because of the tight o-ring fit. A convenient tab on one side of the cover can be used to gently pry it away from the frame until the o-ring seal lets go. Prying oil filter cover loose
Remove the filter cover. Remove oil filter cover
Remove the filter, being careful not to lose the centre tube, and place it in the waste pan so the oil can drain out. Removing KLR-650 oil filter
Use a clean cloth to sop up any stray oil that has spilled. Cleaning up spilled oil

Replace the filter

The steel tube passing through the filter is re-used. Steel tube in old oil filter
Remove the steel tube and wipe it clean. Removing the steel tube
The tube contains an oil pressure relief valve that allows oil to flow in through the narrow end and escape through a hole in the side if the filter becomes blocked. (Click to enlarge this picture so you can see the narrowing of the tube, and the escape hole in the side.)
Oil pressure relief valve
Test that the spring-loaded valve is not jammed by pushing a narrow object (I am using a spare hex wrench here) into the narrow end of the tube and confirming that the internal plug moves against the spring and clears the hole. Testing oil pressure relief valve
Put a few drops of clean motor oil on the rubber grommet on the new filter. Apply oil to filter grommet
And smear it around so the entire grommet is moist with oil. Repeat on the other side. Smearing oil on filter grommet
Install the steel pressure-relief tube in the new filter, making sure that the thick part of the body is in contact with the grommets on both ends of the filter. Slide the filter/tube assembly back into the frame, with the narrow end of the tube going in first. Re-install tube, insert in housing
Carefully wiggle the assembly a bit until you feel the steel tube fit into the receiving hole in the chassis. Wiggle filter assembly into housing
Press the tube to snug the assembly all the way into the housing. Press filter assembly all the way in
Inspect the o-ring seal in the filter cover and replace it if it is worn. Then smear some fresh motor oil on the o-ring. Smear oil on filter cover grommet
Replace the cover so the pry-tabs line up. Because of the tight o-ring seal, it will not go on all the way. Replace filter cover
Tighten the two cover screws, alternating a little on one side then a little on the other, so the screws push the cover on evenly. One the cover is on all the way, tighten these screws firmly. Snug cover on, then tighten

Add new oil

Clean the oil drain plug bolt and washer, and smear some clean oil on them. Clean and re-oil the oil drain plug
Replace the oil drain plug. Carefully start it with your fingers to make sure it does not cross-thread. Replace oil drain plug by hand
Bring it to a snug fit with a standard socket wrench. Snug oil drain plug
Then, if possible, use a torque wrench to bring it to the exact tightness specified in your manual. Mine calls for 23 Newton-Metres. Bring oil drain plug to specified torque
Double-check that you didn't forget to re-install the filter and cover (I know from experience that this can happen). Then remove the oil filler cap. Oil filler cap
With small 1-litre bottles of oil you may be able to pour oil in directly. With a large 4-litre jug I find it impossible to pour without spilling. Large jug of oil is too awkward
A friend to hold a funnel will help. Or, if you are doing this alone, you can put a zip-tie through a funnel. . . Attaching a zip-tie to a funnel
and fasten it to the frame in a location that holds the funnel firmly in the filler hole. Attach funnel to frame
This allows the new oil to be carefully poured in. The manual specifies a capacity of 2.2 litres if the oil filter was left in place, or 2.5 litres if the oil filter was replaced. Pour oil carefully through funnel
When you get to a little less than the specified capacity, you will notice the level in the oil level inspection window is already at the "full" mark. Oil appears full
Stop pouring for a moment, put the filler cap on, and run the engine for 30 seconds. The oil pump will activate and move oil around inside the engine, including refilling the filter. Stop the engine, wait a minute, and check the oil level window again - it will no longer say "full". Running engine pumps indicator window empty again
Then you can add a little more oil, bringing the oil level window back to the full mark. It will take 200 to 300ml more. Note that "full" is between the engraved lines, not all the way to the top of the window. Oil showing full

Congratulations, you're done. Don't forget to dispose of your old engine oil in whatever safe manner your region prefers. One easy way to solve this problem is to see if a local garage or mechanic will take it from you, and add it to their disposal bin.

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