How to Install the Harley Oil Cooler

Written by don davis
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How to Install the Harley Oil Cooler
If you ride in the desert, you might want an air cooler. (Mojave Desert 5996 image by St Clair Photography from

Oil coolers are a practical add-on for bikers who ride long distances, who ride in the desert Southwest in the summer or who have modified their engines to produce 130 per cent or more power than a stock engine. For riders who frequently make short commutes in winter in cold climates, oil coolers may do more harm than good. Several aftermarket manufacturers, including Lockhart, Jagg and Ultracool, pioneered these accessories. Harley-Davidson markets its own line of oil coolers and this is how the motor company recommends that you install one of theirs.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Drain pan
  • Socket wrenches
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Rags
  • Torque wrench
  • Allen wrenches (for some models)
  • Flathead screwdrivers
  • Gasket and thread sealer
  • Oil filter
  • Motorcycle motor oil

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  1. 1

    Drain your motor oil into a pan using the proper procedure for your Harley. Most Harleys use a drain plug. Softails drain through a hose.

  2. 2

    Remove the oil filter with an oil filter wrench and drain the residual oil into the pan. Clean all spilt oil off the front of the motorcycle with rags. Legally dispose of all waste.

  3. 3

    Remove the oil feed hose from the oil pump. Remove the feed hose fitting from the crankcase and discard the oil feed hose.

  4. 4

    Apply gasket and thread sealer to two oil line fittings included with your Harley oil cooler kit. Attach one fitting to the oil pump and the other to the crankcase. Torque to between 55 and 65 inch-pounds.

  5. 5

    Loosely install the oil cooler return hose assembly included with your kit to the crankcase fitting. Loosely install the oil cooler supply hose assembly in your kit to the oil pump fitting.

  6. 6

    Remove the two clips that secure your clutch cable and wire harness to the left frame down tube of your motorcycle. Replace them with the oil cooler clamps included in your kit.

  7. 7

    Loosely attach the oil cooler to the clamps using the Allen screws and hex nuts in your kit. Use a flathead screwdriver to attach the oil return hose to the inboard connection of the oil cooler with a hose clamp.

  8. 8

    Attach the oil feed hose to the outboard connection of the oil using a hose clamp and flathead screwdriver. Tighten the hose clamps.

  9. 9

    Adjust the oil cooler so it is facing forward and there is no tension on the hoses. Tighten the oil cooler clamp screws to 30 inch-pounds of torque.

  10. 10

    Insert the clutch cable and the wiring harness into the clips on the oil cooler clamps.

  11. 11

    Disconnect the oil cooler supply hose assembly from the oil pump fitting. Attach the oil cooler return hose assembly to crankcase and tighten to 18 to 20 foot-pounds of torque.

  12. 12

    Re-attach the oil cooler supply hose assembly to the oil pump fitting and tighten the nut to 18 to 20 foot-pounds of torque.

  13. 13

    Install the oil line clips to the metal tubing of the oil cooler feed and supply lines.

  14. 14

    Screw on a new oil filter. Add oil to the oil tank until the dipstick indicates that the tank is full.

  15. 15

    Put the motorcycle in neutral. Start the motorcycle and allow it to run until the engine becomes warm. Check all fittings for leaks. Ensure that the oil cooler becomes warm.

  16. 16

    Retighten all fasteners to torque after the engine has cooled. Remove and read the oil tank dipstick. Add oil as needed.

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