Twin Cam 88 Oil Capacity – Everything you Need to Know

Do you own a Harley-Davidson Twin Cam 88? You’re in good company—the Twin Cam 88 engine is one of the most popular engines ever put on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

And whether you just got one or you’ve had yours for years, it’s important to understand exactly how much oil the engine needs, and how often it should be changed.

We know it can be confusing, but we want to help. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the Twin Cam 88 oil capacity – everything from what type of oil to use, to how to change the oil yourself. We’ll also cover common questions about Twin Cam 88 oil capacity, so you can make sure your bike gets the service and care it needs for many miles down the road. Let’s get started!

Twin Cam 88 Oil Capacity

What Is Twin Cam 88?

You’ve probably heard of the Harley-Davidson Twin Cam 88 engine if you’re a motorhead. But what is it exactly? Well, the Twin Cam 88 is a 45-degree air-cooled V-twin engine that was first introduced in 1998 by Harley Davidson and marked a huge shift in the production of Harley engines.

This classic stands out from other Harley engines due to its two overhead camshafts. Hence its name allowed for faster acceleration and more power than its predecessors. The Twin Cam 88 was offered in displacement sizes of 88 cubic inches (1450 cc) or 95 cubic inches (1550 cc). So, if you’re looking for performance and power, this is the engine to get!

What’s The Proper Twin Cam 88 Oil Type?

Harley Davidson strives to use the best engines for their motorcycles. You must use the right engine oil to get the best performance. Now the question is, what is the recommended oil for twin cam 88?

It recommends using fully synthetic 20W-50 oil for these engines. However, you don’t have to be limited to just 20W-50 engine oil. When you look deeper into the numbers, you will find that many manufacturers have 5W-40, 10W-40, etc. model engine oils. So, you can also use these engine oils.

What Is the Oil Capacity of Harley Twin Cam 88?

The oil capacity of a Harley Twin Cam 88 engine depends on the specific model of the motorcycle, as well as the year it was manufactured.

However, most Harley Twin Cam 88 engines have an oil capacity of approximately 2800 ml or 3 quarts (or 2.8 liters) of oil. It is important to note that this is only a rough estimate and that the exact oil capacity for a specific model may vary slightly.

To determine the exact oil capacity for your Harley Twin Cam 88 engine, it is best to consult the service manual for your specific motorcycle. Because depending on the manufacturing model Harley’s twin cam 88 may need 3 to 4 Quarts. So the manual will provide detailed information on the type of oil that should be used and the proper oil capacity and oil change intervals for your engine.

Following the manufacturer’s recommendations for oil capacity and maintenance intervals are essential to keeping your Harley Twin Cam 88 engine running smoothly and reliably.

Signs You Need to Change the Oil in Your Harley Twin Cam 88

If you own a Harley Twin Cam 88, you should be aware of the signs that it’s time to change your oil. Knowing when to perform an oil change could significantly extend the life of your engine and ensure it runs reliably for years to come.

Here are a few signs that you may need to change the oil in your Harley Twin Cam 88:

Unusual Noises

If you’re hearing clunks, rattles, or taps coming from the engine, low oil pressure could be the culprit. Low oil pressure often causes poor lubrication and leads to wear on internal parts of the engine. If you hear any suspicious noises coming from your bike’s engine, stop riding it immediately and check the level of oil.

Dark or Dirty Oil

Old oil in your bike’s engine looks dark or dirty after a long ride, especially when compared with fresh motor oil. Not only does this look unappealing, but these dark oils no longer provide sufficient protection for your engine’s internal components. Check for dirt and grime in your bike’s engine by removing its dipstick. It may be time for an oil change if it looks dirty and smells burnt.

Check: Clean Vs Dirty Engine Oil

Loss of Power/ Poor Performance

One of the most obvious signs that you need to check the level of oil in your motorcycle is if its performance suddenly drops off or if it lacks power when accelerating. If this happens, pull over somewhere safe. Then, open up the hood and check if there’s enough motor oil in there — low motor oil could explain why your bike suddenly lost power or why it isn’t performing as well as before.

Twin Cam 88 Oil Capacity

How to Change Oil on Harley Twin Cam 88

When it comes to changing the oil on your Harley Twin Cam 88, might seem like a daunting task. But don’t worry, with the right tools and a bit of know-how, you can easily do it yourself. Here is what you need to know about the Harley Twin Cam 88 oil change:

Step One: Gather Tools

The first step in changing the oil in your Twin Cam 88 is to gather the necessary tools. This includes an oil drain pan, a socket wrench, an extension, an oil filter wrench, and some torque wrenches.

Step Two: Drain Oil

The next step is to drain out the old oil. You will need to locate the drain plug under your motorcycle’s primary cover. Once you have found it uses the socket wrench and extension to remove the drain plug and drain out all the oil. Position the oil pan underneath the bike beforehand (don’t ask me why I mention this specifically). Make sure that all the oil is out of the bike, I prefer to allow it to stop dripping and then carry on.

Twin Cam 88 Oil Drain Plug Location

Keep this in mind when looking for the 88’s drain plug:

  • Under the Bike: Look under the engine area. The engine oil drain plug on the Twin Cam 88 is located underneath the bike, towards the rear of the oil pan.
  • Appearance: It’s usually a standard hex-head bolt.
  • Near the Rear Tire: The exact location can vary slightly depending on the model and year, but it’s generally found near the rear tire area, on the underside of the bike.
Harley manual showing the drain plug location on a Twin Cam 88

Step Three: Install New Oil Filter

After draining out all of the old oil, you will want to replace your old oil filter with a new one. You can do this by loosening the filter with an oil filter wrench and then replacing it with a new one. Make sure you tighten it securely until it is snug but not over-tightened. Some people prefer to pre-fill the oil filter with oil, but I just tighten it onto the bike and move on.

Step Four: Fill With New Oil

Now you are ready to fill up your Harley Twin Cam 88 with new oil! First check that all of your plugs have been properly tightened before pouring new engine oil into your motorcycle, following manufacturer recommendations on how much motor oil to use. Finally, use torque wrenches to double-check that all of the bolts are properly tightened before taking her for a spin!

Checking The Oil Level on A Twin Cam 88

  1. Warm Up the Engine:
    • Start your motorcycle and let it run for a few minutes. This warms up the oil, allowing for an accurate reading.
    • Turn off the engine after a short idle.
  2. Position the Motorcycle:
    • Ensure the bike is on a level surface.
    • Stand the motorcycle upright, off its side stand, to get a level reading.
  3. Locate the Oil Dipstick:
    • Find the oil dipstick, typically located on the right side of the bike near the oil tank.
  4. Remove the Dipstick:
    • Unscrew and remove the dipstick.
    • Wipe it clean with a rag or paper towel.
  5. Check Oil Level:
    • Reinsert the dipstick fully, then remove it again without screwing it back in.
    • Look at the oil film on the dipstick to see the level.
    • The oil should be between the full and add marks.
  6. Evaluate the Oil Condition:
    • Check the oil color and clarity.
    • Dark or dirty oil indicates it’s time for a change.
  7. Reinsert Dipstick:
    • After checking, screw the dipstick back into place securely.

Final Thought

The topic of Twin Cam 88 oil capacity is an incredibly important one, as it can help ensure your engine continues to run well and last for a long time. It’s important to choose the right oil for your Twin Cam 88, use the right amount, and change it regularly.

With the right maintenance, you can ensure your Harley-Davidson Twin Cam 88 continues to run smoothly and provide you with the performance and power you need.

Now Check: Best Primary Oil for Harley


Rio is a car & motorcycle mechanic who is working with different kinds of problems relating to oil and grease. He is also a passionate technical writer.