Bill’s garage: Oil change for the ’02 BMW R1150RT

As you’ve seen, changing the oil and filter on a motorcycle is a relatively simple task that even a beginner can do. Servicing this BMW sport-tourer is no different. Here’s a straightforward how-to on the bike.

Everything you need except the torque wrench and the beer.

First, assemble your tools and parts. You’ll need four liters of moto-specific oil. I use Castrol 20-50 4T because it’s cheap and they stock it at my local auto parts store. My filter is a Hiflofiltro HF163 ($9.95) instead of the BMW-branded filter at $18.95. In addition, you’ll need two new crush washers and shop towels.

For tools, you’ll need a torque wrench, a ratchet, a 76mm filter wrench, an 8mm allen head wrench or driver, an oil catch pan and a funnel. An aftermarket service manual is a nice thing to have, too.

(Find out how to get free oil and filter drainer gear and recycle your oil and filters in San Mateo County, San Francisco, Alameda County, Sonoma County, Napa County, Marin County and Sacramento.)

Knowledge is power. Always have a shop manual nearby.

Get the bike hot and park it on the center stand. No need to remove the fairing. You can reach everything. Postion the catch pan and remove the drain plug with the 8mm driver. The plug is located on the bottom of the engine case. Be careful not to let it fall in the oil.

Drain plug with oil filter on right. Pink Schwinn in background.

Thar she blows!

Discard the old crush washer in a place where you won’t accidentally reuse it.

Clean plug and new crush washer.

Next, grab your filter wrench and ratchet and remove the filter. It is in a recessed spot near the drain plug. If the rubber gasket is not in the old filter when you take it out, check to be sure it isn’t stuck to the case. If so, reach up and pull it out.
Prepare your new filter by filling it with oil and spreading a bit of oil on the rubber gasket to help the seal.

Priming the filter and wetting the seal

Clean off any grit from the engine case before installing the new filter. The filter should be torqued to just 8 foot-pounds or about hand-tight.

You put the lime in the coconut … or something like that

Going up. Installing the filter.

Clean the drain plug, put a new crush washer on it and install it, torquing it to 23 foot-pounds. Don’t overtighten.
Now you’re ready to fill the bike with oil. It will take about 3.75 liters. Don’t overfill it. It goes in the oil cap atop the left cylinder head. I use a small funnel and pour the oil carefully, so it doesn’t spill on the engine.

Oil goes in da hole.

Check your oil level by looking at the sight glass below the cylinder and behind the fairing. A flashlight helps to see it.
Finally, start the bike and check for leaks.
Pour the old oil in a jug and take it back to the auto parts store to recycle it. Find out how to easily recycle your used oil and filters in San Mateo County, San Francisco, Alameda County, Sonoma County, Napa County, Marin County and Sacramento. If you’re not in those counties, find your own convenient oil and filter recycling location HERE.

High-tech records management system

I usually write the mileage and date on a piece of masking tape and stick it somewhere on the fairing. In 6,000 miles or so, I’ll change the oil and filter again.
You’re done!

10 thoughts on “Bill’s garage: Oil change for the ’02 BMW R1150RT

  1. Thank you very much for this article. As a first time BMW owner, I was at a complete loss of what to do. Hint: Do not go to a BMW users group and ask what oil to use; you will not like the response. It’s a relief to find everything I want to know all in one place.
    Thanks again,

    • Yeah, I tried that too. The MOA forum guy’s were actually quite rude, talking about millions of old threads etc. not bothering to think that there are first times out there. Disappointing to say the least about BMW MOA and my being a new member.

    • I found that being a 1st time bmw owner & going on a bmw forum was daunting, the arrogance was unbelievable! The replies were rude & disrespectful, when I owned a worked zx9r I’d help 1st timers as much as I could, steer them in the right direction & also set up a couple of bikes for track work. There’s a huge difference between litre race bike & bmw forums, may have a lot to do with European arrogance!!!!

  2. I have a 2002 bmw 1150rt. I took the under fareing off and cleaned the oil window to get a reading. All I see is sea green in the complete window. There is a light red circle around the perimeter of the window too.
    Is it full? Is it empty?
    I do not know what to look for. Please help:)

  3. Thank you for your very helpful guide, it’s always good to know that you are doing something right. I have a 02 R1150RT and the exhaust baffle appears to be cracking, can you suggest a replacement exhaust for my Beamer?
    Many thanks

  4. Asking questions are actually pleasant thing if
    you are not understanding something totally, however this article provides nice understanding even.

    • I have changed oil and filter in my 2002 R1150RT many times and have a fairly good understanding of how this should be done. Your explanation is clear, complete, and accurate IMHO.

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