Another very important maintenance procedure is to clean and lubricate your air intake filter. When that thing gets dirty your bike will start running rough due to not getting enough air into the cylinders. Its an easy procedure that anyone can do with basic tools. If you have been doing your own oil changes you’ll already have all the tools necessary to do this. The owners manual that comes with your bike shows this needs to be done every 5000 miles. I clean mine with every oil change and that puts both maintenance procedures on the same schedule.
If you have the stock filter that came with the bike when you bought it, you can only perform this about 1 time before the filter falls apart. I bought a K&N stock air filter replacement at 5000 miles. K&N has a million mile guarantee on the life of the filter. The cost of the K&N at the dealership was $88.95. Not bad considering the stock replacement that can only be cleaned once is $60.
The only tools you’re going to need for this is a Phillips screwdriver and a Torx T-27 wrench/socket. Aside from purchasing the filter which I highly recommend you will also need to purchase a K&N Recharger Air Filter Cleaning Kit . You can get a small kit for $12.95 at the dealership or here: K&N Air Filters & Cleaning Kits which will do a LOT of cleanings.
Enough chatter on my part, lets get going! First remove the air filter cover.
Now remove the filter using the Torx T-27 wrench. Once you get all 3 bolts loose they will come off with a large bracket that holds the filter in place.
Now your left with the housing. There will be some oil all around this area which needs to be cleaned. A small amount is normal due to blow back. A good thing to know is if you overfill your crankcase when doing an oil change you will get excessive blow back and your filter will clog from the oil causing your bike to run rough. I use a shop towel and wipe all of the oil off. Clean all over including into the butterfly valve.
Inspect the gasket on the back of the filter. You can see mine is worn pretty badly. I had to make a trip to Harley to pick up a new one.
Now your going to use the cleaner that came with your K&N Air Filters & Cleaning Kit. Spray the cleaner all over the filter both inside and outside fully coating the mesh material. Let that sit for about 10 minutes to give it time to break down oil and particles that are in the filter. Don’t let it dry though.
Once you’ve waited about 10 minutes rinse it with cool water. Start from the inside of the filter until you can see that the majority of particles and oil is gone. The filter should start looking white in color when its clean. After washing from the inside I finish it off with a good blast around the outside too. This way I can flush out any oil or particles still inside the filter and between the fins. If the filter was really dirty you can spray the cleaner again and repeat the process using soapy water in a sink. Just be sure to rinse it well. If you have chunks of stuff like I had in the picture below you can easily dig them out with a pointed object. Just be careful not to puncture the filter. Somehow I got a rock wedged in mine. Often you’ll find grass still stuck in there that you’ll need to carefully dig out. Once your done with this part let it dry. This is critical and it warns you in the instructions from K&N to be sure the filter is FULLY dry before applying the oil.
I take the time to clean the air filter cover while its drying.
It was 100 degrees outside when I did this cleaning and took pictures so the filter dried completely within an hour. Now you use the air filter oil that comes in the kit. Hold it about 3 inches from the filter when you spray it. Your only going to want to coat the filter until it lightly covers it and turns the white part red. If you kind of use it like a paint spray can and use short moving strokes you can get down inside the folds well without over oiling the filter. Work you’re way all around the outside. Some of it will get on the metal housing and you’ll want to wipe that off when your done so as to leave only the actual filter part oiled. Some people have asked why we have to oil the filter. The reason is the oil will keep the filter fibers from being too porous and will help to keep small particles like dust from entering into the intake. Particles will stick to the oil instead of being sucked through. The oil also repels moisture so if any moisture gets into the filter housing the oil barrier will keep it from getting into the intake.
Install the new seal on the back of the filter and reassemble. There are 2 vacuum tubes that you will want to be careful to insert into the back of the filter when putting it back on as well. Just reach behind the filter and stick them into holes in the back of the filter. They don’t fasten or secure in anyway, they just stick in the back.That’s all there is to it! So how much are you saving doing this? Well, at 18K miles I had to take my bike in for another oil leak. The work to fix the leak was covered under the warranty which was nice. While they had it in the shop they called and said my air filter was dirty and would I like them to clean it while they had it in. I said sure since cleaning time was coming up soon. I didn’t realize that work was considered “maintenance” and not covered under the warranty. I didn’t complain, they did the work and I agreed to it without asking about charges. They charged $54 to clean that filter. So consider every time you take that bike in and have them clean the air filter they are going to charge you $54. They might roll that price into whatever other maintenance your paying them to do but that’s the price their gonna pass on to you.
Lets break this down:
Since your supposed to clean the air filter every 5000 miles you will pay this back starting after your 2nd cleaning at 10K miles if your paying the dealership to do it. You will also have the piece of mind that its being done thoroughly and correctly by doing it yourself, and once again, your getting to know a little more about your bike.