Motorcycle Oil Change How-To – Ninja 650

Last updated on December 10th, 2018

In this motorcycle oil change DIY I’m going to take a look at changing the oil on the 2017+ Kawasaki Ninja 650It is also exactly the same process for the 2017 Kawasaki Z650. Thankfully, on these models changing the oil is easier than ever! Mostly thanks to an open bottom that makes it unnecessary to remove any fairings at all. While we are at it, we are also going to install an oil drain valve making future oil changes even quicker and cleaner.

Let’s begin!

Project Specs

Difficulty: Easy
Tool Requirements: Easy
Time: 20 Minutes –  1 hour

What You’ll Need

For this motorcycle oil change how-to on the 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 650, these are the things we'll be using.
For this motorcycle oil change how-to on the 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 650, these are the things we’ll be using.

Motorcycle Engine Oil

For a motorcycle oil change on this particular bike, you will need approximately 2 liters / 2 Quarts of engine oil (roughly). Here are my two favorite motorcycle oils:

  • Quality Low Cost Option: Castrol 03130 Actevo 10W-40 Part Synthetic 4T Motorcycle Oil – If you want a high quality, cheap oil for frequent oil changes, this is your best bet. At least in my opinion. It’s perfect for the break-in period (with frequent oil changes) given its price.
  • High Quality Synthetic Option: Castrol 06112 Power1 10W-40 Synthetic 4T Motorcycle Oil – In my opinion, the all-around best oil for severe use and long oil change intervals is this oil. It’s what I use when I do a motorcycle oil change. However, given that it is fully synthetic, I wouldn’t recommend it for the break-in period (it might be too good).
Depending on where you live, you might want to use a different motor oil viscosity.
Depending on where you live, you might want to use a different motor oil viscosity.

Oil Filter

Always change the oil filter whenever you carry out a motorcycle oil change. Personally, I prefer the OEM filter, but if other quality options are available for cheaper, they are equally good choices:

EZ-109 Oil Drain Ball Valve – Optional

This is the Oil Drain Ball Valve. For most Kawasakis the EZ-109 is the model needed.
This is the Oil Drain Ball Valve. For most Kawasakis the EZ-109 is the model needed.

Consider installing an EZ Oil Drain Ball valve. You won’t regret it. If you work quickly, changing the oil yourself will take both less time and less money compared to taking it to the shop. This valve helps you get the job done quicker, with less clean up afterwards. Instead of having to find a wrench to remove the oil drain bolt, swap the crush washer, or torque it down properly, you can simply flip the lever on this valve to quickly drain the oil. Another key point, if you accidentally fill the oil too much, you can open the valve a few seconds to fix it.

And if you are given to sample your oil for oil analysis, you can hook up a hose like directly to it. Or just use the hose to drain the oil directly into a waster container. Either way, it will make you motorcycle oil change much easier.

I install these on all my vehicles. The model EZ-109 is the correct version for most Kawasaki bikes, but to see the complete compatibility list click here. If you decide to install the oil drain valve, you should also install the EZ L-001 elbow to be able to angle the flow downwards. I also would recommend a 3/8 Inch Diameter Rubber Cap to cap off the nipple end just to keep it clean.

Tools

  • Rear Stand – To keep the bike upright and easy to work on. A must have for any sport bike owner. I used a SpeedMetal Rear Stand when documenting this DIY, but any stand will do.
  • (Oil Drip Tray– To keep the floor free of oil stains. No matter how careful you promise you will be, you’ll always end up splashing everywhere.
  • 65/14 Oil Filter Tool – 65 is the diameter, and 14 the number of flutes. The model linked is the right oil filter cap wrench for the Kawasaki OEM Oil filter.
  • Ratchet – Both 1/4″ and 3/8″ square drive are the sizes worth using in a job like this. An extension set is also useful to have on hand, to better reach the oil filter.
  • Adjustable Wrench– Ideally two. Here I used it mostly for the oil drain valve install.
  • Oil Drain Pan – This is a motorcycle oil change DIY, so you’re going to need somewhere to drain the oil. I like this model since it doesn’t leak, has a little spout for pouring and has a place to drain the oil filter. Also, it’s low enough to fit under most bikes.
  • 17mm Socket or Wrench – For removing the OEM Oil Drain Bolt.
  • 4mm Allen Wrench – To slightly remove the fairings or bolts if you’re doing the oil drain valve install.
  • 8mm Socket or wrench – Used for the same purpose as the 4mm Allen Wrench listed above.
  • (3/8″ Torque Wrench) – If you want to do the job right, a torque wrench is the right tool for reinstalling the original oil drain bolt.
  • Funnel – On this bike using a funnel to fill the oil is nonnegotiable. The port is small and in an awkward location.

Supplies

  • Threadlocker – If you’ve owned a bike for any amount of time, you probably already know that you have to use threadlocker on just about every single bolt you reinstall…or else.
  • (Heavy-Duty Aluminum foil) – I used this to protect the fairings from oil splashes. The “Heavy-Duty”, thicker version of foil is preferable. I always have a roll in my garage since it’s useful all the time. It’s also perfect for protecting components when you wash your car engine.

Notes on oil

On many modern motorcycles, like this Kawasaki Ninja 650, the engine oil serves simultaneously as both engine oil and clutch/gearbox oil. The benefit of this is only having one fluid to change, but the downside is dirtier oil as well as an oil with much more specific qualities. Especially related to friction modifiers. Always use oil specifically made for motorcycles. As in, don’t ever use car oil for a motorcycle oil change.

The number on the oil container, 10w-40, refers to the viscosity of the oil. In other words, how “thick” it is. 10w-40 is suitable for most users, but if you live in a more particular climate, check the images for a chart on other viscosity options.

Motorcycle Oil Change DIY – Ninja 650 Step-by-Step

Step 1 – Identify the oil fill and drain bolts

Take the bike for a short ride (5-10 minutes) to make sure the oil is hot and agitated, like in the thermal image taken with a FLIR camera above. That way, all the debris are suspended in the oil. It isn’t ideal to change the oil with the engine cold. It also makes the oil more fluid so it flows out of the drain quicker in cold environments.

The first step of the motorcycle oil change is to put the bike up on a rear stand. With an oil drip tray underneath, if possible. Then, identify the bolts you’ll be working on. On the 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 650, you’ll find the oil drain fill and drain bolts pictured in the attached images. Don’t loosen anything just yet, though.

Step 2 – Protect the fairings from hot motor oil splashes

If you don’t want to loosen the fairing to drain the oil (and who does?), cover the fairing’s tip with some aluminum foil to protect it from hot oil.

Step 3 – Remove the motor oil drain bolt

Let the bike take the time it needs to relieve itself...
Let the bike take the time it needs to relieve itself…

Use a 17mm socket or wrench to remove the oil drain bolt. You want to remove the bottom drain bolt before removing the top fill bolt. Doing so the oil flows slower at the beginning and doesn’t make such a mess. Try to avoid dropping the drain bolt in the hot oil!

Also, make sure you don’t lose the crush washer. Half of the time it stays stuck to the motorbike’s oil pan. If you need to replace the crush washer, this is the replacement.

Step 4 – Take an oil sample – Optional

Though originally marketed for aeronautic and heavy industry use, I personally like sending my oil for analysis to make sure all is well inside the engine. While in the States three months between oil changes is typical, in Europe the norm is 1 to 2 years – using the same oil. I personally fall within the long oil change philosophy. I’ll only change my oil sooner if it’s required for maintaining the warranty. Generally I’ll go about 1 year between oil changes, if I can.

The kit I tend to use is the WIX Filters – 24077 Oil Analysis Kit. The price includes the cost of the analysis. All you have to do is send it to the address on the included form (2-3$ via USPS First Class Package). A week or two later they will email you back a PDF with the results.

Above you’ll find a sample analysis. It tells you how dirty the oil is, and whether or not it’s actually deteriorated. I’ve gone up to 3 years (on the same oil!) without an oil change on a family vehicle and the oil is still good, per the analysis. You’d be surprised at how good modern oils are. By doing an oil analysis I can be confident I am in no way damaging the engine.

It also gives you actionable diagnostic info like if there is coolant or water in the oil (head gasket leak) or if there are excessive metal particulates (worn piston or engine components).

If you intend to take an oil sample for analysis, take it after a few seconds of flow so the dirtiest oil can drain out first. That way you’ll get the most homogeneous sample.

Step 5 – Remove the motorbike’s oil fill bolt

Remove the motorcycle's oil fill bolt.
Remove the motorcycle’s oil fill bolt.

Once the flow out of the oil drain bolt hole has slowed down a bit, remove the oil fill bolt at the top to speed up the draining. Personally, I installed this aftermarket CNC Oil Filler Cap. As it requires an Allen key to remove, it’s much less tamper friendly. Plus, it’s a lot more aesthetically pleasing given how flush it is.

For reference, the oil fill bolt for the 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 650 is 20mm x 2.5mm. If you have more questions regarding compatibility with this bike, check this Ninja 650 parts compatibility list.

Step 6 – Remove the oil filter and prep the replacement filter

Once most of the oil has drained out, remove the oil filter currently on the bike. There are no pictures of this since it was hard to get a decent image. Simply use the oil filter removal tool to remove it with a ratchet. Make sure the oil pan is underneath it since it will release oil.

Fetch the replacement oil filter and fill it partially with oil. In this case where the oil filter is installed horizontally, you want to fill it only about half way so it doesn’t spill. Let the filter absorb the oil. If the filter was installed vertically, you’d fill it completely. This is to make sure the oil filter isn’t empty when the engine first starts, making it take longer to get oil to where it’s needed.

Also, use your finger to apply some of the motor oil to the gasket to aid with sealing.

Install the replacement filter and only tighten it just past hand-tight. It should be snug but not much more than that. Contrary to what one would expect, oil filters don’t need to be extremely tight. Also, be careful with the exhaust pipes, since they should still be hot.

Step 7 – Install the oil drain valve or reinstall the oil drain bolt

I’ll admit I’m very biased towards EZ Oil Drain ValvesChanging the oil yourself is only worth it if you can do so quickly and cleanly. This valve helps you do that.

It’s also great when you mistakenly over fill the oil, since you can release only a bit at a time. Plus, the option to attach a hose means you could even drain the oil directly to a container for recycling without the need for an oil pan. It doesn’t get any cleaner than that. I also use the same feature to take samples of oil directly to the test container for oil analysis.

Simply apply some blue threadlocker (medium strength) to the valve and screw it in. Make sure the lever can be moved freely however you install it.

On this bike, you need to install the right angle hose end to make the oil drain downwards. To screw it in you’ll have to remove the 4mm bolt securing the fairing tip, and loosen the 8mm bolts holding the fairing bracket. You don’t have to remove the bracket completely though, as pictured.

After installing, pop a 3/8″ Rubber Cap on the hose end tip to keep it clean.

If you're reusing the Oil Drain Bolt, these are the OEM torque specs. Whenever possible, you should always change the crush washer.
If you’re reusing the Oil Drain Bolt, these are the OEM torque specs. Whenever possible, you should always change the crush washer.

If you’ll be reusing the original oil drain bolt instead of installing this valve, replace the crush washer if possible. If you have a torque wrench, torque the original bolt down to 30 N m (3.1 Kgf m, 22 ft lb).

Step 8 – Fill the Oil

You’ll need 1.8 Liters or 1.9 US Quarts of oil to fill the compartment, roughly. Never pour it all in straight away though. Pour in about 90% and then pour the rest while looking at the engine oil level window.

You’ll need a funnel to pour the oil in this bike. The fill port is way too awkwardly positioned to do it without one.

Step 9 – Check the oil level

You should never check the oil while the bike is on its side-stand. Ideally, it should be on the ground and upright. While using a rear stand isn’t ideal, it is acceptable to check the oil level while it’s on it. If not, the oil would be “incorrect” while driving downhill. Make sure the oil level is between the two marks, biased towards the top mark.

After making sure the level is correct, reinstall the oil filler cap. And to avoid any motorcycle oil change horror stories, always double-check.

Step 10 – Recycle your oil

If you have to go recycle your oil after every single oil change, you won't be saving time. Better store a few gallons like this and save a few trips.
If you have to go recycle your oil after every single oil change, you won’t be saving time. Better store a few gallons like this and save a few trips.

It makes no sense to save the time taking your bike to the mechanic for a motorcycle oil change if you have to take your used oil to be recycled each time.

The best solution I’ve found so far is this 7 Gallon Emergency Water Container. You can put just about a years supply of used oil (including brake oil, hydraulic oil, etc) in there and simply do the trip once. Most major auto-parts stores like AutoZone have a huge deposit in the back where you can empty the bottle there. It’s free, and you don’t have to buy anything to do so.

Just make sure to mark the container as used oil. I used these cute stickers to make that clear.

All done!

The only thing left is to grab a beer 100 miles away to test it out...
The only thing left is to grab a beer 100 miles away to test it out…

Now that the motorcycle oil change is done, double-check the bike for leaks or uninstalled bolts and then take her for a ride! Always check the oil level afterwards as well.

Hopefully this was helpful to anyone wanting to change the oil on this, or any, bike. Also, if you want to see what other projects or mods I’ve done to my bike, check out my Kawasaki Ninja 650’s mods list.

If you found this interesting, check out the homepage to see what other projects I’ve been up to — here are some you might like:

Got any tips, suggestions or questions? Leave a comment below.