How to REALISTICALLY check your oil on a VStar 650? - Motorcycle Forum
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Old 08-18-2008, 08:59 PM   #1
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Default How to REALISTICALLY check your oil on a VStar 650?

So I'm about 800 miles into this new bike of mine, its been through its 600 mile service, and everything's all good (in fact smoother these last 200 miles than the original 600 - whatever they did at the 600 mile service was all good)... I figure its time to start normal maintenance checks, and all of a sudden I realize there's no real good way for a single guy like me to physically check the oil level in the bike.

Who the hell designed a bike with no center stand, the oil level window down around the left floorboard, and the bike has to be LEVEL in order to check it? In short - its impossible... the only way I could check it according to the manual is to have someone else sit on the bike and hold it level while I lay down on the ground and look in the window.

That just plain old isn't feasible for me...

Any hints? Suggestions? Laughter?
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Old 08-18-2008, 09:08 PM   #2
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Laughter?
At your service!


telescoping mirror:
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Old 08-18-2008, 09:15 PM   #3
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Are you serious? I need to actually get a mirror and do a balancing act? Gaaaaaaah!
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Old 08-18-2008, 09:16 PM   #4
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Save your other hand free to hold the flashlight!
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Old 08-18-2008, 09:25 PM   #5
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How... non-enlightening... but if thats what it takes I'll mutter expletives and ATTEMPT to do so.....

Last edited by chipps61; 08-18-2008 at 09:27 PM.. Reason: I also can't spell while attempting to check my oil.
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Old 08-18-2008, 10:45 PM   #6
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Man, all this hassle over such an easy chore. Be sure the bike is full when it is upright. Now lay it over on the stand and see what appears in the window. This should be the same each time while still on the side stand, problem solved.
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Old 08-18-2008, 11:40 PM   #7
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Set it up straight and estimate how much 'lift' you need under your side stand to the bike to be 'vertical'. Use 1" x 4"? 2" x 4"? etc for cribbing under the kickstand to get a good vertical position. Keep slight pressure on the stand side of the bike so it doesn't tip the opposite direction. Dismount and inspect (with slight hold toward the stand side) your oil level.
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Old 08-19-2008, 02:50 AM   #8
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I use the mirror method....works great. If you can see oil in the sight glass on a quick visual inspection your good to go. Ultimately I shoot for 1/2 to 3/4 full on the sight glass.
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Old 08-19-2008, 03:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hogrider View Post
Man, all this hassle over such an easy chore. Be sure the bike is full when it is upright. Now lay it over on the stand and see what appears in the window. This should be the same each time while still on the side stand, problem solved.
I think most of the time the oil is up over the window when on the side stand so it is hard to tell where it is that way. I tried it once. I guess you could always make sure it's over the view window and assume it's safe.
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Old 08-19-2008, 06:38 AM   #10
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I put a block of wood on the ground and put the kickstand on that
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Old 08-19-2008, 07:41 AM   #11
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Oil only has less than 200 miles on it, when its on the sidestand that window is either empty or completely covered - (we'll call it completely covered since I still have an engine).

Ok, so a block of wood and try not to dump the bike on its right while I lay down on the ground to look (window is quasi hidden behind and just under the left floorboard), or try the mirror.

Guess I'll pick me up a mirror and do the expletives thing.
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Old 08-19-2008, 10:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WACB650 View Post
I think most of the time the oil is up over the window when on the side stand so it is hard to tell where it is that way. I tried it once. I guess you could always make sure it's over the view window and assume it's safe.
One thing is for sure, it isn't low enough to damage anything..
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:12 PM   #13
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Not sure how well this would work, but ...

I talked with a person who has a V-Star that said they checked their oil level the regular way to make sure it was properly filled. They then put the bike on the sidestand and stuck a plastic zip tie into the oil fill hole. They marked the oil level on the zip tie with a permanent marker so they would always know where the "full" level was.

I haven't had a chance to try this yet, but I'm going to give it a shot.
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by louturks View Post
I put a block of wood on the ground and put the kickstand on that
Thats what I do ; I think most bikes are like this -- hard to check oil.
I tried the mirror method too, but the block of wood method seems easier.
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Old 03-04-2016, 12:33 AM   #15
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Default V Star 650 center stand

If you are looking for a center stand for the V star 650, you may want to take a look at the "vs650upright".
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Old 03-04-2016, 03:02 AM   #16
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Do you have a good sense balance?
The way I check customers bikes is......

Put the side stand down, left hand on the left grip, right hand on the seat and pick it up to center balance.
Then hold it there with your left hand and lean down enough to see the oil level. (KEEP the bar STRAIGHT at all times).

Not as hard as it may sound.

Maybe have the right side near a wall just in case.
Try it a few times with a buddy standing on the right of the bike.
But, gotta have a good sense of balance......

Or you could get some wood blocks to put under the right frame tube.
Experiment stacking them till you get the right amount to reach level when they make contact when you lift the bike up against them.
Probably the better way to go for a new guy.

Edit: Oops, just noticed this is an old thread. He's already got it figured out by now. Oh well.

Last edited by SemiFast; 03-04-2016 at 03:04 AM..
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Old 03-04-2016, 09:23 AM   #17
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Default V Star 650 center stand

Quote:
Originally Posted by SemiFast View Post
Do you have a good sense balance?
The way I check customers bikes is......

Put the side stand down, left hand on the left grip, right hand on the seat and pick it up to center balance.
Then hold it there with your left hand and lean down enough to see the oil level. (KEEP the bar STRAIGHT at all times).

Not as hard as it may sound.

Maybe have the right side near a wall just in case.
Try it a few times with a buddy standing on the right of the bike.
But, gotta have a good sense of balance......

Or you could get some wood blocks to put under the right frame tube.
Experiment stacking them till you get the right amount to reach level when they make contact when you lift the bike up against them.
Probably the better way to go for a new guy.

Edit: Oops, just noticed this is an old thread. He's already got it figured out by now. Oh well.
Semifast, you can do away with the balancing act if you have the "vs 650 upright center stand". Plus you have it at home or on the road.
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Old 03-04-2016, 09:25 AM   #18
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This thread is ancient but just in case anyone finds it in the distant future..., the best solution I've found is a long extendable mechanic's mirror, with a built in LED light in the head.
About $15 at sears or your local auto parts store, it made the nuisance job much easier. Just sit on the bike, stick the mirror down there ( after a while you'll know just where to put it) and take a quick peek.
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Old 03-04-2016, 09:55 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike721 View Post
This thread is ancient
I believe it was resurrected as a way to market the posters new center stand.


Mike, I've not seen the telescoping mirrors with built in light... might have to check that out. I've tried the mirror alone but wasn't able to see well enough to trust it (just dim eyes).
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Old 03-04-2016, 10:00 AM   #20
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You have to hold the mirror in one hand and a flashlight in the other. Just don't drop the bike.

The ones I work with are light enough to hold up with one hand while bending down to check. Most bikes are too heavy to do that safely.
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Old 03-04-2016, 10:03 AM   #21
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You may be right, but yeah, the LED mirror is pretty slick, it really helps. I think it's a Craftsman brand, but they are easy enough to find, we use them at work too.
I'm pretty sure this is the one I bought.
http://www.sears.com/craftsman-light...B&gclsrc=aw.ds
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Old 03-04-2016, 11:20 AM   #22
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I have a block of wood I put under the side stand, it is close enough to level to get a reading. Or I just put it on my lift to check it,
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Old 03-04-2016, 11:35 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Critter View Post
I have a block of wood I put under the side stand, it is close enough to level to get a reading. Or I just put it on my lift to check it,
I tried that one time and the bike went over on it's right side when I turned my back. It sat perfectly upright for a good 60 seconds.
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Old 03-04-2016, 11:41 AM   #24
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LOL, Mine isn't totally upright on the block but close enough. I don't walk away from it. Roll it forward from the right side on to the block. Then get down and check it and roll it back off.
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Old 03-04-2016, 11:49 AM   #25
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I use a 2X6 block when parking at home to allow the motorcycle to get closer to the left wall. It takes a 4X4 under the stand to hold it up near level, but that's in the danger zone. If I need it to be level, I'll use the frame stand I built or a motorcycle jack.
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Old 03-04-2016, 11:53 AM   #26
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Quote:
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I don't walk away from it.
Once I left the wheels in the wheel rut and the side stand in the higher center at a drive up ATM. It looked fine until about 1/2 minute later when it fell over as I was making a deposit.
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Old 03-04-2016, 11:54 AM   #27
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2x6 with another shorter 2x6 nailed on top. I think it is just under the height of a 4x4 plus it is wider. I checked it on the lift first and then the wood just to see how much difference there was and it was less than the width of the mark I made on the glass with a wax pencil.

There have been a couple of times when I have moved it because I didn't like the way it was sitting on the stand. I would hate to have mine fall over, it is heavy. I had it fall over once when I was parked on a slight left incline and I put the stand down. I started leaning it over on to the stand and didn't have it down all the way. rolled forward off the stand while I was still on it but I couldn't stop it from going down. Couldn't get it back up because of the incline, someone stopped and helped me. I moved it and parked somewhere else.
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Old 03-04-2016, 12:12 PM   #28
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I would just put the jack under the bike until it would sit vertical on the ground, not lifting the tires. Then I could just get down and check it and fill it without having to balance it.

I also noted how much oil it took on a change and that is how much I put in it every time. Never had a problem, but still would check it every time I changed it.
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Old 03-04-2016, 01:22 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 04 classic View Post
Semifast, you can do away with the balancing act if you have the "vs 650 upright center stand". Plus you have it at home or on the road.
That would require the purchase of yet another special tool to use on other peoples bikes.
Luckily, I find it easy to just hold it left handed.
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Old 03-04-2016, 02:15 PM   #30
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Default Combo plan

Block of wood under the side stand. Lift bike off the block, check to be sure it will fall towards block. Adjust block thickness so bike is near level, but still returns to block. Do the Semi fast plan. Level bike with one hand on bar. Probably need to be on knees to do this and see the window. You can feel when the bike is near level. The oil height in the window will also indicate. You are in control of the bike tippyness. It is not rocket surgery. It does not require extra expense.

Plan B, what I do with Yami. Bolt on the side car. But the car restricts my view.

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Old 03-04-2016, 03:09 PM   #31
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Quote:
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Plan B, what I do with Yami. Bolt on the side car. But the car restricts my view.
Move the viewing window to the other side or bolt the sidecar on the left.
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