Classic Oil/Filter Change FAQ

compiled by Kristian #562
Edited and Updated by Winter
Please read the Disclaimer before attempting any work in this FAQ.
28 December 2005

Please also check the other following FAQs:


Changing the oil in an F650 is something that most of us Chain Gang members can do ourselves. It saves a bit of money and gives us flexibility that sometimes dealers don't have, particularly during the riding season. I'm going to get up on my soapbox a bit before we get started:

Section 1: Classic Oil / Filter Change

by Harl #380, edited by Kristian #562

Tools and Parts

Things you'll have to have:

Things that are nice to have:


Filter Service Kit (11 00 2 317 015)

Service Kit 11 00 2 317 015 contains the Oil Filter, O-ring for Filter, both Crush Washers, and O-ring for the Dipstick. Note that the Classic and GS Oil Filters and Filter Cover O-rings are IDENTICAL however the GS Sump Plug Crush Washer is Copper and the Classic's is Aluminium.

  • Oil filter 11 41 2 343 452
  • O-ring for the filter cover 11 42 2 343 247
  • Sump plug crush washer (usually good for a couple of changes) 11 31 2 343 091
  • Frame plug crush washer (usually good for a couple of changes) 46 51 2 345 500
Universal Filter Kit

When ordering an Oil Change Filter Kit, you may get a "Universal Filter Kit" that will work for several bike models, which is why the part numbers don't match the ones above and the reason for the extra washers/gaskets.

  • The kit number is # 11 11 7 658 311
  • The Aluminum Gasket A8x11.5 is # 9963041
  • The O-ring 59.52x2.62-N-NBR70 is # 7654013
  • The Oil Filter Inlay is # 2343118

Then there are 3 copper washers, one of which I know is for the drain plug-the other two must be for other models. I have no idea which # is for the bigger Drain plug gasket, there are no sizes indicated on the part list.

  • Copper gasket # 2343010
  • Copper gasket # 7652949
  • Copper gasket # 2343240

(Thanks to Runaway #1259)

Oil Change for an F650 (Classic)

  1. Read through the procedure to familiarize yourself with what you're doing. Some steps have descriptive text that may include explaining a "gotcha," like oil squirting out of places under pressure, etc.

  2. Ride the bike for about 10 minutes.
    This gets the oil warm and suspends all the engine's grime and crud (swarf as our Brit comrades call it) in the oil.

  3. Put your bike on the Centerstand and turn the front wheel to full lock, left or right.
    Note: Be careful when working around the exhaust pipe! It'll be hot for a few minutes. The oil will be hot and stay hot longer.

  4. Remove the dipstick from the frame.
    This equalizes the pressure in the oil system. It won't squirt out of the frame onto the floor and your tire or dribble out because the system is under vacuum.

  5. Remove the skidplate.
    There are four Allen head bolts, two on the front and two underneath, one angled off vertical.

  6. Place your drain pan under the plug in the frame reservoir.
    You may want to fashion some sort device Frame Tank Oil Drain Funnel out of wire or tape to hold a funnel under the opening to direct the oil into your drain pan. Or hold a can close to the drain. This is where the Al Jesse "Thingy" can save you some clean up mess. Here's a Picture of it: Jesse F650 Oil-drain Gizmo. Looks pretty simple to make your own.

  7. Remove the plug from the frame reservoir. This plug is located below the radiator and above the exhaust bend. See the photo and exhaust pipe warning above.

  8. Allow the oil to drain into your pan.

  9. Replace the plug in the frame, using a new crush washer if needed.

  10. Torque to 10 NM.

  11. Wipe the oil off the exhaust pipe.
    Not absolutely necessary, but it smokes a lot when burned and gunks up the pipe.

  12. Put your drain pan under the sump.

  13. Remove the sump plug from the engine. (Note this one has a tie-wire, yours may not).

  14. Wipe off any metal bits from the magnet on the plug.
    There shouldn't be a lot of bits and they should all be pretty small. If you have big chunks or lots of them you might want to show your dealer.

  15. Check engine casing for broken or loose threads (See step 25 for more info)

  16. Remove the sprocket cover (C/S Sprocket Cover) while the engine is draining. You'll need to push on the brake lever to get the lower bolt out.
    Tip: You can use one of the smaller Allen wrenches to prop the right footpeg up so that you can get to the (lower) C/S cover bolt by just pressing down on the rear brake pedal. There is a hole visible when you lift the peg up and the wrench fits in it. Chris in Santa Cruz, CA

  17. Remove the oil filter cover.
    Make sure that your drain pan is shifted enough toward the right so that it will catch the oil that runs out from the filter cavity.

  18. Pull the filter out.

  19. Put the new filter in the cavity with the filter opening toward the motor.

  20. Replace the cover.
    Use the new O-ring, wetted with a dab of oil.

  21. Torque the cover bolts to 10 Nm. If for some reason you have an '05 or later GS and yo are looking at this FAQ, NOTE! The '05 and maybe later GS has ONE extra bolt. It is one of the connectors for Jump-Starting the bike. Do NOT Torque this bolt to 10Nm! If you do, it will break, like this one!

  22. Wipe up all oil that ran out of the filter cavity onto the motor.

  23. Replace the sprocket cover.
    It's plastic, so just tighten the bolts until snug.

  24. Replace the sump plug, using a new sump plug crush washer if needed. If you go easy on the Torque, the Crush Washers should last a couple of Oil Changes.

  25. The factory torque spec for the plug is 40 NM. HOWEVER, this amount of torque has been known to strip the drain hole, so some folks advise just tightening the plug until the washer starts to crush. You pays your money... There is a Sump Repair Kit (11 11 2 343 436) from BMW that runs about $150 USD to fix this problem, but the best thing is to avoid it happening in the first place. PLEASE Check The Sump Plug FAQ for more information. Either Snug Tighten it and Tie-wire it or add some RTV Silicone, or go to a maximum of 25Nm.

  26. Replace the skidplate. It's plastic, so just tighten the bolts until snug.

  27. Slowly pour about a quart and a half of oil into the frame. Any more and it'll run out on the floor...

  28. Replace the dipstick. Note: Some people who buy the Service Kit get an O-ring left over they don't know what to do with. It's to replace the O-Ring on the Dipstick.!

  29. Start the motor and run it for a minute or so, then shut it off.
    Make sure you have adequate ventilation. The oil pressure light will stay on for several seconds until the system primes itself.

  30. Check for leaks on the plugs and filter cover.

  31. Add the half quart of oil.

  32. Start the motor and run it for a minute or so, then shut it off.

  33. Check the oil level per the instructions in your owner's manual and add until it's at the proper level.


Now all you have to do is clean up and you can go for a ride. FWIW, some oil change companies recycle used oil or check with your local auto parts stores.

Section 2: Misc Questions and Problems

How do I check the Oil Level in the Classic F

By Flash #412, October ‘01

Note: The newer F650GS dual sparks (2004-onwards) also use a dipstick to check the oil level. If you have an older single spark GS, check the GS Oil Change FAQ

Call me a dip-stick, but...

Someone noted the the advice given in this FAQ section is different from the BMW handbook. This FAQ states that oil should be just right when the dipstick is pushed in but not screwed in, the handbook says screwed in. Basically as long as (a) you do NOT overfill it and (b) there is a reading between mix & max, you're OK. ed


Frame Oil-Drain Bolt Issues

Frame Oil-Drain Bolt Torque Spec

If you find the Frame Drain Bolt leaks oil after an Oil Change, don't be afraid to tighten it down onto the crush washer a little bit more. 10 Nm is the spec for 6mm steel bolts in aluminum, like ALL of the case bolts for instance. The frame is steel, the bolt is 8mm. NFW is the standard torque for an M8 bolt in steel (to a depth over twice it's diameter) 10 Nm. The bolt is about an INCH long. Try tightening it in 2Nm increments, up to say a maximum of 20Nm.

NOTE: The manual also notes you should clean the Frame-Tank Filter, which is located here. Note that MOST people have never found anything in this filter and as it is tricky to access (Not impossible but easier with the Tank Off ), you might consider leaving it until the 6000 or 12,000 mile services. A lot of people do!

How to Loosen the Frame Oil Filter Bolt and is it really Necessary

The manual also notes you should clean the Frame-Tank Filter, which is located here. Note that MOST people have never found anything in this filter and as it is tricky to access (Not impossible but easier with the Tank Off ), so you might consider leaving it until the 6000 or 12,000 mile services. A lot of people do!

Feedback on whether it is really needed:

Problems Loosening Frame Oil Filter Bolt

Typical Problem: Tonight had the Great Idea ...LOL to clean the Frame Tank Oil Filter ..... the one oil filter that no one ever thinks to clean with compressed air and is very hard to get to ... but I did take off the oil line to it and now I have a problem! I took off the oil line after draining the frame oil tank .... No Problem .... then I took a open end 17mm wrench and tried to go counter clockwise to loosen the drain plug with the filter at the base of the frame oil tank and no movement .... then a little heat to the outside with flame .... no movement ...... now the bolt is striped and vice-grips are no use. What can I do ??? Does this thing go clockwise or counter-clockwise .... Any good tricks to get this bolt free ? chas1969 '97 F650, Travel and Adventure.

How he solved it (last resort): After going to a couple hardware stores I found one with a long sharp chisel ..... and whaalaa the bolt moved with a couple good strikes. This over, now to order a new bolt/oil filter to replace this damaged sorry part. I think that it was placed with too much torque and time without loosening .... and the lack of a good 'bite' with soft metal .... a poor design/quality.

See above for how you should remove it.


Alternative Oil Filters

Cheaper Oil Filters

by Don#301 et al., 28-Nov-01

  1. For those of us that want the original oil filter without the high price :-) .

    Bombardier direct

    "Bombardier uses the Rotax engine in their SeaDoo line of personal watercraft also. I've been told that Rotax uses the same filter in a variety of different engines. If you have a Bombardier / SeaDoo marine dealer near by, you might want to talk to them. It might help if took in a new filter for your bike as a sample and asked them to eyeball match one from what they have in stock for a SeaDoo. Just tell them it is for a Bombardier/Rotax engine and let them figure it out.

    Hint: The first one they should look at is Bombardier Part Number: 711256186" (Harold)

  2. Simply go to your local motorcycle shop and order a filter for a 1996-2002 ATK 605. ATK's use Rotax motors which use the same filter as your BMW and about $4.00 a copy cheaper.

    Gaskets/seals/O-rings replacement Oil filter 265-180 $5.00; from Pricing.

  3. Of course you already knew you can get oil filters at the following: (Mtbiero)

Reusable Oil Filters

David H. Park #711

There is a metallic oil filter from Scott's Performance. You can see this at: under Oil filters - off-road bikes - BMW.

Alternative Parts Sources

Q. Can you buy the crush washers and necessary o-rings independent of the BMW filter? I have ordered a Scott's filter, but I presume that one still needs the crush washer and rings.


Other Questions

Is there a Breather for the Oil Tank?

by Todd #389

Sure there's a breather for the oil tank. It's the small tube welded into the top left side of the frame oil tank, goes down into the top of the valve cover. The larger tube welded into the left side of the frame oil tank is the pressurized line that fills the tank. If you overfill the tank with oil after an oil change, the excess will very slowly drain down that vent line. I often put all 2.2 liters of my oil fill in the engine that way, without having to start the engine to fit in the last couple pints.

Can I do the Oil Change Cold?

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was not able to complete the oil change on my 01GS. I got the tank drained. Was just about to drain the crank case, and that is when I had to stop. My question is, is it going to be bad to finish the oil change with the engine cold?

Service: Empty Tube from Crankcase?

I'm finishing up the 10k service. One item in the manual is "Empty tube from crankcase," about which I can find nothing on the web, the FAQs, or the message board. I did find a stoppered tube from the air filter, which had some watery oil in it. Where is the 'tube from crankcase'?

Swarf/Metal Particles on Sump Plug

How much debris would you normally expect to find on the sump plug when changing oil? I have just changed the oil on my 4k miles 650gs and consider the metallic debris unusually high compared to say my CBR600. The debris is definitely swarf and nothing larger, just the amount surprised me when compared with other bikes I have owned. I guess that these motors don't need to be as tightly controlled at the build stage as say a 600cc four that your trying to get 120bhp from.

Oil Filter and Sump Plug Disection and Analysis

Some people like to disect and keep copies of the images of their oil filter disections and sump plug at each oil change. Why? Because this can help identify problems with your engine early on. If you have a good history of previous disections, and there is a sudden or unexpected increase in the volume of particles, then something may be wrong.

The method is quite simple:

  1. Once you have removed the filter and plug, take a photo of the sump plug.
  2. Do not attack the oil filter right away - more than likely it will be very hot.
  3. Take a sharp blade or some sort, and carefully cut along the edges of the paper filter - they attach to the filter at one start / end point.
  4. Once you have made a continuous cut all around the sides of the paper part of the filter, you should be able to start pulling the paper away. When you find the endpoint, cut the paper off the metal part.
  5. Now carefully lay the paper out and let it "dry out" for a couple of days. You might want to put some paper towels under it or something.
  6. Take a photo of the specs you find on the filter
  7. Keep notes and a record so you can check when you next change the oil and filter

This image of the Oil Drain Plug Swarf was taken from a GS with 5,000kms (3,000miles) on the clock.

This image of the Oil Filter Disection was taken from a GS with 10,000kms (6,000miles) on the clock. You should be able to see small silvery bits of varying size in the filter. Towards the center of the image you can see on slightly larger piece.

Oil Filter Change Costs at BMW?

As at 8th Feb '02

In the next month or two I plan to be doing a bit of travel in California so I checked to see what cost would be for oil and filter change for my 99 F650. Some of the prices quoted were rather surprising and some probably didn't include tax. At any rate I thought it might be of interest to list the prices I received over the phone. Note the tild ~ means "about"--- which was indicated by the person I talked to. I selected these BMW dealers out of the BMWMOA Anonymous Book. I use BMW oil.

Brown Motor Works-Pomona $~68
BMW Santa Cruz 83.99
Irv Seaver-Orange ~65
San Jose BMW 68
BMW of San Francisco 95
Fresno BMW 80
Modesto Cycle Specialities 67.34
Calif. BMW Mountain View 133
Riverside-Malcom Smith 70
San Diego-Brattin Motors 88.62
Ventura RPM Cycles 55
Marin BMW 81

Calif. BMW in Mountain View said that this price was what their computer screen said. Is it because they are in Silicon Valley that their price is so high?? The long and the short of it is I will remember to change my oil and filter just before I leave home. Bill No. 391 Las Vegas

How Oil "Flows" Up Into The Oil Tank

Flash #412 & Richard #230

There are two oil pumps in the Rotax 650 engine. One is the normal pressure-feed pump to the main bearings. The other is called a "scavenging pump." It sucks the oil from the bottom of the sump through a screen and pushes it up into the oil tank.

The oil just sits in the oil tank until it is pumped out of the bottom of the tank and through the engine, gearbox and bearings. When the oil gets pushed out of the bearings, it flies around the inside of the engine for a while, until gravity pulls it down to the bottom of the engine and it falls into the sump (which has a capacity of about a quart). The oil is then pumped out of the sump by another pump (sort of like a well pump) and squirted back into the top of the oil tank. As you can see there is no way that overfilling the tank can affect the lubrication of the engine and this system is also quite resistant to a low oil level in the tank (compared with a wet sump engine), as everything will work fine as long as the oil intake line remains covered by oil.

The issue with wet sump motors (unlike the F650) is that the crank dips into the top of the pool of oil in the sump. It flings this oil around in a "controlled" fashion. If you overfill the sump, the crank dips too deeply into the pool and does the same thing your eggbeater does, whips air into the oil. This oil "foam" has very little lubricity or viscosity. Therefore it is hard for the oil pump to move the foam AND the foam does very little to actually lubricate the plain bearings. Very quickly the result is... engine salad.

See also the Sump Plug FAQ - Where is the Oil Pickup.

Q: How does the oil in the reservoir normally make its way to the crankcase? I ask because a novice (like me) would think when the drain-plug is removed from the crankcase, gravity would take over and empty the reservoir too! simpco1

A: I guess because we have two oil pumps, the oil can't flow backwards through the pump and out the drain plug. JC

Can you do an oil change with no filter change?

Yes you can change the oil and not change the filter. Some people like to do this between each service because they feel the 10,000kms / 6,000miles interval is too long. So every 5,000kms / 3,000miles they change the oil, but not the filter. There is some evidence to show that such regular oil changes are not required on the F650. BMW recommends you change the oil AND filter every 10,000kms / 6,000miles.

To all first time oil changers, it is NOT as hard as it seems.
For me it was a bit time consuming as I was very careful and
slow throughout the entire process. With the right tools, patience
and an eye for detail, changing your oil can be done effectively
yourself and allow you to get more familiar with your bike.
- Sean Mason