How to Change the Oil and Filter on an R1150rt (oilhead)
Changing your own oil and oil filter is one of the easiest maintenance items to do on an Oilhead BMW. These instructions are specific to the R1150RT but are very similar for all oilheads.
Ride the bike until the oil is up to normal operating temperature.
Place bike on side stand for 5 minutes to let the oil cooler drain.
Place bike on centre stand.
Remove the oil filler cap.
Locate the oil drain bolt, it is directly below the engine near the middle of the engine block.
Place the oil drain pan under the bolt.
Remove the drain bolt and let the oil drain.
When the oil has drained replace the bolt, tighten to 32Nm. Don't forget the little washer that goes on the bolt, or you'll be doing this operation twice.
Locate the oil filter, it is forward of the drain bolt and is recessed into the engine, it is not visible except from below.
Place the drain pan under the filter.
Use the filter wrench to remove the filter, a little oil will run out while you are unscrewing the filter.
Pour the oil from the filter into the drain pan.
Let the last few drops drip from the engine into the pan.
Smear some oil on the rubber gasket of the new filter, just a little.
Fill the filter with fresh oil, this will take several pours as it takes time to seep down. (Optional step)
Screw the filter into the recess until finger tight.
Torque the filter to 11Nm, many people just turn the filter another 1/4 to 1/2 turn rather than using a wrench, do so at your own risk!
Pour fresh oil into the filler until the total used is 3.75 quarts including the amount in the filter. The manual calls for 4 quarts but this is usually too much as not all the oil drains.
Replace the filler cap.
Ride the bike until up to normal temperature and check the oil level.
There is no need to remove the belly pan to change the oil and filter though some people do.
BMW makes an oil filter wrench, it is expensive. A Fram type B works just as well and is cheap and easy to find. Take your new filter to the store to make sure you get the right one.
You can drain the oil from the filter before removing it by punching a hole in the bottom with a screwdriver, this may make less mess. It would be best to ensure you can turn the filter before doing this or you will have a bike that cannot be run.
Many drain pans are big enough that you can remove the filter while the oil is draining from the engine.
If it is difficult to get the filter to engage in the recess make sure you do not still have the old gasket up there, it is Very hard to see, you can use a mirror and a flashlight to look or poke around.
Which oil to use - this question is subject of much heat and not much light, BMW provides recommendations and their own branded oil but many other oils are as good or better (or worse).
How often to change - BMW recommends every 6000 miles, again this is disputed with people ranging from 3000 to 15,000 miles.
Used motor oil is carcinogenic, wear rubber gloves while changing the oil and clean up any spills thoroughly. Please dispose of the used oil properly, many auto shops and gas stations will take it for recycling.
The oil will be hot when you start the process! You want this so that it drains quickly and completely.
Things You'll Need
4 quarts/litres of oil.
1 BMW oil filter kit (includes crush washer for drain plug)