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First time bike owner here. Has 55,000 miles on it (2002, 1100c). The guy I bought it from had owned bikes all his life. He was older and it seemed biking had just lost its appeal. Unfortunately he didn't take the best care of his bike. So I started by changing the oil. Not only was it very dirty, the level was way low. (I sure hope these Honda Shadows run like Toyotas.)



The oil filter was super hard to get off. I almost knocked the bike over. Tried a bunch of different tools, and finally had to resort to the old screwdriver. Even bent it trying to get that filter off.



The guy gave me the bottle of oil he was using...



I read on here about needing to use special oil, but I didn't know where to find some. I was in town on another errand, and wanted to get the oil I needed for the bike, but had no idea where to go, so I just stopped at a car mechanic. The guy spoke with a thick accent (I think he was Vietnamese), very friendly, and he said laughing, "I've been living here thirty years, and I don't know where to send you!" Then he looked down the street and said, "Wait, there's a motorcycle place down there. Try them." So I drove down a couple of blocks, and sure enough, there was a motorcycle shop. It looked like Harleys were their specialty based on all of them lined up in their yard. A guy came out to greet me. I told him I had just bought my first bike. He immediately put out his hand and said, "Congratulations!" Then we talked for awhile. He showed me the oil to use and told me where to get it. He told me some other things. One thing he said was important was tire pressure. He said I really needed to stay on top of maintaining that. Real friendly and helpful guy. Anyway, so I went and got the oil he recommended.



The manual says to use 80 weight for the rear differential. I could only find the stuff below. Is it ok to use?



Next I changed the spark plugs. I just went with what the manual said to use.



Here are the old plugs. This first set is from the front cylinder. Quite dirty.





This second set is from the rear cylinder. They look nothing like the others.





I'd sure appreciate any feedback based on what these plugs look like. I have a compression tester and that's what I want to do next...
 

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2002, Shadow Spirit 1100
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It was probably time for an oil change. Squirt a light mist of water on the plug wires and coil at night to see if you are leaking spark somewhere. You may need new plug wires. If your not leaking spark I would put the new plugs in and then check them after you put a few hundred miles on the bike. Maybe something wasn't running right and he repaired it. They look dirty but the heat range looks about right except the one oily looking one. The viscosity you got for the rear end fluid will be fine. I have a 2002 Spirit also but mine has nearly half the miles yours does.
 

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The oil has the JASO MA designation and the weight is in the range specified in the manual,,,your good to go.

I believe the oils for rear end gear oil have GL ratings, you will need to find out which is recommended for your bike. This is as/more important that the weight. My 2013 Phantom calls for GL-5 and my ‘80’s Yamaha calls for GL-4, they are not backwards compatible from my research.

Eric


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2001 Valkyrie I/S
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From the looks of the plugs it might be running a little rich but check the new plugs after you've put a few miles on the bike.
 
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2003 VT1100C Spirit
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Congratulations!

I think your good to go and I believe the motorcycle shop guy certainly gave you good advice. (Could be a good place for future repairs, if needed.) Anyway, check the age of the tires. If they're getting up to four or five years old, they should be replaced even if you have good tread. Tire Age Code

Couple of things...brake fluid and coolant. Probably wouldn't hurt to replace both.
 

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I feel your pain concerning the oil filter. I tried several things and then I found a miracle tool. Spring loaded jaws with teeth on the edges that bite into the oil filter. MotivXTools, part number MX2330. Fits a 3/8 inch rachet. Came right off. 20 something bucks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the helpful feedback and suggestions! I'm going to apply them all....You all are amazing...

It is running better now anyway, for sure. And certainly has plenty of get up and go. Still need to do the compression test to really get a good picture...

Been trying to learn to ride. Little bit every day after work. Weaving between water bottles, doing circles and figure eights...Gotta be ready to pass the test. I think it would be a lot easier with a smaller bike, but this is what I got. I've put her down on the pavement a couple of times, but she just rested on the foot peg...no damage. Little hard to pick back up though...
 

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Based on those spark plugs there is a few things I would do and a few suggestions:
1. Oil filters are often far too tight. Best way is to put a little oil on the threads and a little oil on the rubber seal and then hand tighten using nitrile or latex glove for extra grip. I dont use any tool for installation. Check for oil leak just in case but I never had any. If you want it tighter: hand tighten and then a slight turn using a tool. What oil filter are you using?
2. That previous oil was completely wrong and the guy should have known it: not the correct viscosity and not the correct specification. You need JASO -MA2 certified and 10W40 is preferred such as the Lucas.
3. I would change the coolant since the last guy probably didnt. I use Prestone pre-mix (cheap and convenient and available everywhere.)
4. I would change brake fluid since the last guy probably did not. Again your manual will tell you which one (DOT 4?) and not specific to motorcycles are OK
5. I would use a Top Tier fuel such as Chevron, Shell, Exxon etc to clear up any build up in the valves/cylinders.That engine requires 87 octane.
6. I would change the air filter.

All the above are fairly simple procedures that will take just a few hours and make the bike much better.
 

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First time bike owner here. Has 55,000 miles on it (2002, 1100c). The guy I bought it from had owned bikes all his life. He was older and it seemed biking had just lost its appeal. Unfortunately he didn't take the best care of his bike. So I started by changing the oil. Not only was it very dirty, the level was way low. (I sure hope these Honda Shadows run like Toyotas.)



The oil filter was super hard to get off. I almost knocked the bike over. Tried a bunch of different tools, and finally had to resort to the old screwdriver. Even bent it trying to get that filter off.



The guy gave me the bottle of oil he was using...



I read on here about needing to use special oil, but I didn't know where to find some. I was in town on another errand, and wanted to get the oil I needed for the bike, but had no idea where to go, so I just stopped at a car mechanic. The guy spoke with a thick accent (I think he was Vietnamese), very friendly, and he said laughing, "I've been living here thirty years, and I don't know where to send you!" Then he looked down the street and said, "Wait, there's a motorcycle place down there. Try them." So I drove down a couple of blocks, and sure enough, there was a motorcycle shop. It looked like Harleys were their specialty based on all of them lined up in their yard. A guy came out to greet me. I told him I had just bought my first bike. He immediately put out his hand and said, "Congratulations!" Then we talked for awhile. He showed me the oil to use and told me where to get it. He told me some other things. One thing he said was important was tire pressure. He said I really needed to stay on top of maintaining that. Real friendly and helpful guy. Anyway, so I went and got the oil he recommended.



The manual says to use 80 weight for the rear differential. I could only find the stuff below. Is it ok to use?



Next I changed the spark plugs. I just went with what the manual said to use.



Here are the old plugs. This first set is from the front cylinder. Quite dirty.





This second set is from the rear cylinder. They look nothing like the others.





I'd sure appreciate any feedback based on what these plugs look like. I have a compression tester and that's what I want to do next...
Lucas
First time bike owner here. Has 55,000 miles on it (2002, 1100c). The guy I bought it from had owned bikes all his life. He was older and it seemed biking had just lost its appeal. Unfortunately he didn't take the best care of his bike. So I started by changing the oil. Not only was it very dirty, the level was way low. (I sure hope these Honda Shadows run like Toyotas.)



The oil filter was super hard to get off. I almost knocked the bike over. Tried a bunch of different tools, and finally had to resort to the old screwdriver. Even bent it trying to get that filter off.



The guy gave me the bottle of oil he was using...



I read on here about needing to use special oil, but I didn't know where to find some. I was in town on another errand, and wanted to get the oil I needed for the bike, but had no idea where to go, so I just stopped at a car mechanic. The guy spoke with a thick accent (I think he was Vietnamese), very friendly, and he said laughing, "I've been living here thirty years, and I don't know where to send you!" Then he looked down the street and said, "Wait, there's a motorcycle place down there. Try them." So I drove down a couple of blocks, and sure enough, there was a motorcycle shop. It looked like Harleys were their specialty based on all of them lined up in their yard. A guy came out to greet me. I told him I had just bought my first bike. He immediately put out his hand and said, "Congratulations!" Then we talked for awhile. He showed me the oil to use and told me where to get it. He told me some other things. One thing he said was important was tire pressure. He said I really needed to stay on top of maintaining that. Real friendly and helpful guy. Anyway, so I went and got the oil he recommended.



The manual says to use 80 weight for the rear differential. I could only find the stuff below. Is it ok to use?



Next I changed the spark plugs. I just went with what the manual said to use.



Here are the old plugs. This first set is from the front cylinder. Quite dirty.





This second set is from the rear cylinder. They look nothing like the others.





I'd sure appreciate any feedback based on what these plugs look like. I have a compression tester and that's what I want to do next...
Lucas oil is all I ever use I’m my bikes , 96 ace 1100, 2014 Yamaha fjr 1300 and my 08 1800 Goldwing, they all shift much better with this than anything else I have used. Ride it and enjoy!
 
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