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Oil Change


(TT member Wrooster, TT Archives, Owner's Service Manual)

You should change your oil after brake in and then frequently. Exactly how often will depend on where, when, and how you ride. Keep in mind, you cannot change your oil too frequently and it is the one thing that will extend the life of the engine. You should replace your oil filter after break in but there after cleaning it will suffice (until it wears out). You will probably notice tiny pieces of metal particles captured in the oil filter during the first several changes. This is normal for the first few oil changes.


 Oil Level Inspection


2001-2002 Models

  1. Start engine, warm it up for several minutes, and then turn off engine and wait for five minutes.
  2. Place the machine on a level place and then hold it up in an upright position by placing a suitable stand under the engine.
  3. Remove oil tank cap behind steering stem on top of frame. Wipe off any oil with a suitable lint free rag.
  4. Lightly insert oil tank cap into oil tank but do no screw in. Remove oil tank cap.
  5. Inspect oil level: oil level should be between the maximum (a) and minimum (b) marks on the dipstick.


2003-2004 Models

  1. Start the engine, warm it up for several minutes, and then turn off the engine and wait for five minutes.
  2. Place the machine on a level place and hold it up on upright position by placing the suitable stand under the engine.
  3. Remove: Oil tank cap (1)
  4. Inspect: Oil level Oil level should be between maximum (a) and minimum (b) marks.
  5. Oil level is low → Add oil to proper level.

NOTE: When inspecting the oil level, do not screw the oil tank cap into the oil tank. Insert the gauge lightly.




  1. Read the following ThumperTalk Thread: Oil Change Thread
  2. Read your owner’s service manual including the detailed torque specs
  3. Order some spare OEM filters (~$8 ea.).
  4. Get a good 3/8" drive low-range torque wrench, metric sockets and a 3/8" drive 5 mm hex wrench
  5. Find a suitable container to catch the oil. An empty laundry detergent bottle, or similar BIG MOUTHED container works quite well.
  6. Clean your bike, especially on the right side in the area of the filter cover.
  7. It is generally easier and less messy to change the oil using the sidestand or triangle stand rather than using bike stand. You can put a scrap of wood under the sidestand/traingle to level the bike.
  8. Start engine, warm it up for several minutes, and then turn off engine and wait for five minutes.
  9. For those who cannot fine the oil drain plugs (yes there are some who have had problems) here is a map to the plug locations:


 Procedure 2001-2002


  1. Fully loosen the oil tank cap (1), but leave it loose right there in its hole behind the steering head. (loosening the oil fill plug/dipstick lets air into the system so the oil drains out of the bottom of the engine faster; leaving it in place will be a reminder later on).

  2. Put your container in front of the bike. Remove frame drain bolt that is located on the front of the frame, right behind the front tire (2) using a 12 mm socket. Do not loose the copper washer. The first time you change your oil this bolt will be very tight. The trick here is to loosen the frame tank drain bolt part of the way, pick up the container and put it's big mouth right where the bolt is, and back the bolt out the last couple of threads with your fingertips. Otherwise you'll have oil on your front wheel/tire, your shoes, and your garage floor (the oil shoots out like 6-8 inches horizontally).

  3. Move your container to the left side of the bike. Remove the crankcase oil drain plug (3), on left side of the engine case (also using a 12 mm socket), and drain the oil. DO NOT loose the copper washer. When there is only an occasional drip or oil, put a paper towel/disposable shop rag in place of the container.

  4. Move the container to the right side of the bike. Remove the oil filter element drain bolt (4) using an 5 mm hex wrench and drain the oil. Now the majority of the oil has been drained from the bike.

  5. If you will be servicing the frame filter, which is typically done at this point, see below.

    1. Note: the oil drain line that is removed for this step will effectively drain the oil from the frame as well. Removing this line will also remove the oil from within the line that normal would remain there if not cleaning the frame filter. Such that, if this line is removed, draining from the frame drain bolt is not necessary.


  1. If you are servicing the oil filer remove the oil filter element cover (1) and oil filter element (2).

    1. There are three bolts that secure the oil filter cover in place, they are all different lengths and one is a hex head (which was removed in step 5). Remove these three bolts and remove the oil filter cover. Beware of the "O" rings in the grooves in the cover (they will usually stay right in place).

    2. There will be minimal oil in the filter cavity.

    3. Remove the oil filter. IMPORTANT: The filter has a blue gasket on each end (internal end=no hole; external end=hole). Sometimes the internal gasket doesn't come out with the filter. If so remove it with your fingers or screwdriver.

    4. Wipe the gritty oil in the bottom/back of the oil filter cavity with a clean paper towel or shop rag. Wipe off the gasket/sealing surface of the oil filter cover and also on the block itself.

    5. Clean the oil filter (see below). If you bought extra filters you can do this later in preparation for your next oil change.

    6. Put a small amount of clean oil on both sides of each of the blue gaskets. Put the clean filter in the cavity. The filter only goes into the cavity one way (with the endcap with a hole will be facing outward). Make sure the oil filter cover O-rings are still in place, and ensure that the cover is oriented correctly on the block. Carefully tighten the bolts in a criss-cross pattern and torque to spec (10 Nm, 7.2 ft·lb) using a "low range" torque wrench.


  1. Install

    1. Oil filter element drain bolt  (10 Nm, 7.2 ft·lb)

    2. Crankcase oil drain bolt  (20 Nm, 14 ft·lb)

    3. Frame oil drain bolt  (23 Nm, 17 ft·lb)

  2. Wipe up all excess oil around the bolts you took out.

  3. Wipe off any oil runoff on the cover, frame, bolts, etc.

  4. The oil fillplug/dipstick is loose reminding you that there is NO OIL IN THE ENGINE. Put 1.5 quarts into the opening and close the dipstick. This may not be the exact amount you need but it will be close enough for right now.

    Total amount

    1.7 L (1.8 US qt)

    Periodic Oil Change

    1.5 L (1.59 US qt)

    With oil filter replacement

    1.6 L (1.69 US qt)

  5. Start the engine. Note anything that looks like a leak near the drain bolts and around the filter cover. Kill the engine, wait a few minutes, and check the oil level using the dipstick (see above). Add oil accordingly. Run engine after adding ANY oil or you will get an inaccurate reading on the dipstick.

  6. Test for oil pressure using the indicating bolt on the right hand side of the engine block (see owner’s service manual).



 Procedure 2003


  • Start the engine and let It warm up for several minutes
  • Stop the engine and place an oil pan under the drain bolt
  • Remove
    • Oil tank cap (1)
    • Oil filler cap (2)
    • Frame oil drain bolt (3)
    • Crankcase oil drain bolt (4)
    • Oil filter element drain bolt (5)
    • Drain bolt (with gasket) (5)
  • Drain the crankcase and oil tank (frame) of its oil


  • Remove
    • Engine skid plate
    • Engine oil hose clamp (1)
    • Bolt (engine oil hose) (2)
    • Engine oil hose (3)
    • Oil strainer (frame) (4)
  • Clean oil strainer (frame)


  • If the oil filter is to be replaced during this oil change, remove the following parts and reinstall them (although the manual recommends it it is not generally necessary to remove the exhaust pipe:


  • Fill crankcase: YZ250F

  • Fill crankcase: WR250F


  • Install
    • Plain washer (1) (NEW)
    • Oil Strainer (frame) (2) (90 Nm/65 ft·lb)
    • Engine oil hose (3)
    • Bolt (engine oil hose) (4) (10 Nm / 7.2 ft·lb)
    • Engine oil hose clamp (5) (2 Nm / 1.4 ft·lb)
    • Engine skid plate
  • Install
    • Gaskets (NEW)
    • Oil filter drain bolt (10 Nm / 7.2 ft·lb)
    • Drain bolt (crankcase rear) (20 Nm / 14 ft·lb)
    • Drain bolt (crankcase left) (10 Nm / 7.2 ft·lb)
    • Drain bolt (frame) (23 Nm / 17 ft·lb)


 Cleaning the Oil Filter


  1. Use aerosol brake cleaner to dislodge any metallic particles
  2. Use compressed air to clean everything off
  3. Carefully inspect the brass filter mesh closely for tears or holes.
  4. Let the filter sit and dry, then store in a clean place so you can swap it with the dirty filter at your next change.
  5. Under normal conditions you should get about 5 uses out of one stock filter. Many riders purchase the Scotts filter (~$70) which apparently filters better and has infinite life.

For more information of oil filters see The Secret World of Oil Filters.

A stainless steel filter is cleanable and reusable. The initial investment is steep but with proper care a stainless filter will last the life of your bike.


 Cleaning the Frame Filter


The Owner’s Service Manual (manual page 3-16) recommends cleaning the oil strainer with each oil change. Some riders feel this is unnecessary and never clean the strainer unless they have reason to suspect that something catastrophic has occurred in the engine. Others are concerned that the attachment of the oil tube to the frame is fragile and that frequent changes may lead to costly damage. The frame filter mesh is sized to collect things the size of BB's, not the metallic grit like the oil filter collects. You should check / clean the frame filter after break in and periodically thereafter.

  1. Remove lower engine bracket (skid plate)

  2. Remove oil hose clamp (1)

  3. Remove oil hose bolt on right side of engine case (2)

  4. Remove oil hose (3)

  5. Remove oil strainer from the frame (4)

  6. Clean the oil strainer by blowing it with compressed air

  7. Replace

    1. Copper washer (1) / oil strainer (2) (90 Nm / 65 ft·lb)

    2. Oil hose (3)

    3. Oil hose bolt (4) (10 Nm / 7.2 ft·lb)

    4. Oil hose clamp (5) (2 Nm / 1.4 ft·lb)

    5. Lower engine bracket (10 Nm / 7.2 ft·lb)



 Recommended Frequency of Oil Changes


  1. Consult the Owner’s Service Manual

  2. Definitely change after break in (see Owner’s Service Manual for break-in procedure

  3. Some recommend that in the beginning (up to 100 miles or so) you should change your oil as frequently as possible. There are some leftover bits of the Yamaha manufacturing plant floating around in your cases that you need to get out of there.

  4. Thereafter, change the oil and clean the filter after every 2 rides, or 100 miles, or however much you can afford to. Maintenance is always cheaper than repairs. Many riders clean the filter every other time that they change the oil. It's certainly not going to hurt to change/clean more often.


 What Type of Oil to Use


There are three schools of thought here, and all of them pretty much have valid arguments:

  1. Motorcycle-specific oil (Mobil MXT4, Yamalube 4 or 4R, etc). It is purported and in some cases documented that these oils have higher concentrations of certain additives which “may” prolong your engine or increase performance of your clutch.

  2. High quality synthetic which does not contain "energy conserving friction reducers". One sign that the oil does not have these additives is that the API service ring on the back of the can does not say "ENERGY CONSERVING" in the bottom half of the ring. One such "non-EC" synthetic oil is Mobil 1 15W50 (it has a red cap).

  3. High quality automotive oil (Castrol GTX, etc). Be sure that the oil does not contain EC additives -- check the API service circle.

If you change the oil frequently, as you should, you will not notice any difference in these types of oils. Moto-specifics are the most expensive and the generic auto oils are the least expensive. You can't go wrong following the manual recommendations and using Yamalube 4 (dinosaur) or Yamalube 4R (semi-synthetic) and many folks on TT use Mobil 1 15W50 non-EC and have good results as well. As a rule of thumb, pick an oil type which you can afford to change frequently, and you'll be fine.

For additional information see this recent write-up from Motocross Action Magazine: Fourstroke Oil



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Last Updated 03/08/2004