The $50 Oil Change

or How much horse bedding does it take to soak up 1 gallon of Castrol 10w-30?

Ugh… One of those days. I spent most of my day interviewing and eliminating candidates from a job we’re looking to fill. The nerve of some folks, man… It just goes to show that a good resume will get you in the door, and that you can’t judge a book (or person) by their resume alone. Felt like my whole day was a waste.

On the way home I decided I’d do something productive. The cage was a little overdue for an oil change and for the first time in a long time I had an evening free.

So I pull in the driveway, jump out, put the car up on ramps. It looks like it might rain soon. I run in the house, change clothes and get busy. Like any shade tree mechanic in 85 degree weather with 90% humidity I opt for my wife beater, shorts and flip flops.

This isn’t rocket science and I’ve changed the oil on this car ~20 plus times if not more. Should take 5-10 minutes tops.

I get the oil pail, of course it’s full, from the last time so I dump that into a 5gal pail. Crawl under and remove the drain plug. Simple as that.

Then we get to the oil filter. This particular car, a 1999 Chrysler Cirrus, has the oil filter right there where you can see it and reach it. It’s right there where you can’t really get a decent oil wrench on it. No sweat, been down this road before and I can usually muscle it off, but not this time. I really try not to over tighten them but with this car it always seems to bake them on or something. After busting knuckles trying all 3 of my wrenches and being unable to come up with the combination I’ve used in the past, I start the hunt for the big-ass channel locks that I have, but they are missing.

I finally give in and go with the ‘drive a screw driver through the filter’ plan. That rarely works unless you get it clean through the center, even then it’s a iffy situation. As in this case it only tore the filter open. But open enough to allow me to grab the damn thing with the smaller pair of channel locks that I could find and get it off.

Easy peasy…

I locate my spare filter, lube it up and install it. Just about then it starts to sprinkle, and thunder quite a bit. #@!$!, so I hop up, grab the gallon jug of 10w 30 and start pouring it in. Of course you can’t pour it in with the funnel I have so you dribble it in.

I’m about 3/4 way through the gallon, just about ready to stop and check the level and my right foot feels funny. Uhm, it’s wet and slimy feeling. I look down and realize that I never put the drain plug back in.

$#@%@$% The cardboard I was laying on is totally soaked and a river is forming that is running into my barn. @@#$#@! I don’t have any oil dry so I throw my rag down in the path hoping to slow it down. I hoof it back to the other barn hoping, no, praying, that we still have some shavings left. I grab the package from and run back to the car. About a 1/2 a package of shavings and think I’ve got it covered. But I’m also covered in oil/shavings…

What a waste and mess!

Luckilly I had another gallon so I could at least finish the job.

Sorry no pictures, didn’t want to get the camera in the messy state I was in.


Hope your day was better than mine.

FJR Maintenance Day & Barbarian Modification

Well at just over 6400 Miles and a weekend of hard riding last weekend it was time to look things over and do a little maintenance.

At the very least we needed an oil change though 3,000 miles is pretty short for today’s oils. The Yamalube was a little dirty but not bad at all when I drained it. I opted for 10w-40 Castrol this time. It was one of the few oils I could find without the friction modifiers so I thought I’d give it a go.

Also figured out that a FRAM PH7317 will fit my bike as well. That too will save me some dough, all though I do think the Yamaha/Denso filters are probably a little better filters overall, the FRAM should be just fine.

On tap for changes this time was the Barbarian modification.

For the 06 model it’s pretty simple. You peel off some plastic on the left side of the bike, expose the main wiring harness.

Unplug the big connector, push the plug out of pin location 25, remove the wire from 23 and move it over into 25, insert the plug into 23 and put everything back together.

DSC 3949

DSC 3950

This is all sounds pretty simple and it was until you break that orange/yellow wire. Grrrrrr….

Anyway we’re fixed and we’re good to go.

What this is supposed to do, is expose the CO level adjustment interface in the diagnostic menu. Then you can adjust the CO levels for each of the cylinders, giving you smoother (richer) off idle throttle response, and potentially, perhaps a cooler running bike too.

I haven’t taken it for a ride yet, but did adjust the levels +7 across the board as recommended. (Remember all manufacturers set everything lean as can be from the factory to appease the EPA).

My values were:

INITIAL Change to +7:

C:01 5 C:01 12
C:02 18 C:02 25
C:03 18 C:03 25
C:04 21 C:04 28

I wanted to resync the throttle bodies today as well but ran out of daylight. Will do that maybe tomorrow or on an upcoming weekend.

Total cost of today’s maintenance? Oil: $12 (on sale) Filter: $4.50 (already had the crush washer) Barbarian Mod, FREE.

For more information on the Barbarian Mod check out this resource.