Indian Scout First Service and Oil Change Kit

Long-Term Update: How we followed instructions and still managed to spill some oil.

LA Waterfront in San Pedro, CA
Project Scout down by the LA Waterfront.Photo: Brian Hatano

WRIST: Brian Hatano
MSRP (2015): $11,299
MILES: 2,799
MPG: 43
MODS: Oil change kit
UPDATE: 3

The Indian Scout is slightly overdue for its first service, and we're still in limbo on the pre-production fuel plate/pump issue (see Doin' Time, February, MC here), but so far the Indian has been a reliable machine and an excellent commuter.

Indian Motorcycle
Project Scout on the lift with TJ Jackson at the Indian Motorcycle press fleet center.Photo: Brian Hatano

According to the Indian Scout Rider’s Manual, “break-in” maintenance consists of an engine oil/filter change, inspection of all fluid levels, tire pressures, and serviceable components, and ensuring that all fasteners are tight. Basic stuff, right?

The first sentence of the Engine Oil/Filter Change section says, “Follow all instructions carefully. Do not overfill.” But somehow, we (Indian Press Fleet Manager TJ Jackson and I) managed to do just that, even while carefully following each step from the manual, including conducting the oil change on a motorcycle lift. Overall, the process is simple except to note that the Scout has two oil-drain plugs.

Indian Scout oil change kit
Scout oil change kit includes four quarts of full-synthetic 15w-60 oil, filter and two new crush washers for the two drain plugs (indianmotorcycle.com, $69.99).Photo: Brian Hatano

Eventually, step 12 says: “Remove the dipstick. Using a funnel, add 3–4 quarts (2.8–3.8 liters) of the recommended oil. Reinstall the dipstick securely.” Except that at step 12, with the motorcycle still on the lift in a vertical position, the crankcase overflowed halfway through the third quart of oil. What the?

Checking Indian Scout belt tension
With the Scout on the lift, we used a Motion Pro Belt Tension Gauge (motionpro.com, part #08-0350) to check the drive belt, which was within spec, measuring 12mm (.472 in.) at 10 pounds of force.Photo: Brian Hatano

Apparently there’s a separation between the internal oil sump and the crankcase cavity, and the level of the oil filler/dipstick hole is at or below that divider. We could have proved this theory with an engine blueprint or a borescope, but we had neither. So we drained the oil again, rolled the bike off of the lift, and set it on its sidestand. In this position, we were able to pour 3 quarts of oil into the engine with no overflow and complete the oil change without further drama.

According to Indian Tech Support, we made no mistake. But I’ll follow up on this when production Scouts start to show up at dealer service departments. In the meantime, I can only recommend that you add oil with the bike on the sidestand and then check the fluid level with the Scout in an upright and vertical position, which is how the manual calls for it. Every new model teaches you something.